From Aquarius Records of San Francisco said of the CD release of this album:
Ready Set Disengage is a brand new, and super limited release, created especially for aQ for this year's Record Store Day (the title a play on the abbreviation for Record Store Day, you'll notice), and unlike a lot of the RSD releases, we DO have a bunch of these, for all you loyal aQ-ers who couldn't be here in person on the big day...
We'd long been a fan of Clarinette, aka Dan Vallor, long before it was revealed he was actually a local, his releases tended to find their way onto faraway micro labels, like Campbell Kneale's Celebrate Psi Phenomenon, so we always sort of assumed that he was in fact from NZ, and in many ways, Vallor's mysterious sprawling psychedelic noisescapes did nothing to dissuade that notion, sounding right at home amongst groups like Birchville Cat Motel, 1/3 Octave Band, Omit, With Throats As Fine As Needles, RST, and lots of other aQ NZ faves. This latest is yet another mysterious missive from this audio alchemist, a fantastical collection of deftly linked, meticulously designed miniature sound worlds, and while there is definitely a sonic thread tying it to those past releases, it definitely forges its own distinctive path.
Opening with a haunting collage of effected pianos, swirling ominously, darkly cinematic and dreamily melancholy, panned heavily, the sounds drifting from speaker to speaker, Vallor is like a slo-mo Lubomyr Melnyk, adding lots of space and dousing the notes in a blurred dubbiness, all underpinned by a sinister low end melody, we would have been happy if the whole record had just been an hour long version of the first track. And in a way, it is, with that smeared dubby piano the focus of many of tracks here, but Vallor adds skittery drums, and glitchy skipping melodies, to turn one track into a sort of abstract cut and paste Necks, all looped and mesmeric, a loose tangle of melodies drifting above a slipstream of slow shifting layers and a dark jazzy shuffle, reminding us a lot of some of the jazzier recent releases from Aidan Baker. Elsewhere the sounds are layered into thick billowing clouds of swirling notes and bleary chords, the comparisons to Melnyk particularly apt on tracks like "A New Reason For Existence", that essentially sounds like a psychedelic collage of multiple skipping Melnyk cds, there's a bit of an Oval vibe as well, but the piano continues to lend even the most abstract moments a hint of jazziness.
At one point, deep into the record, those sounds melt and ooze into swaths of crumbling blackness, hazy washed out melodies buried beneath heaving slo-mo swells of dense low end thrum, sounding almost like the Caretaker at 16rpm, crackly, and warbly, and gorgeously gauzy, then the sound shifts once again, becoming a dizzying bit of tranquil ambience, all disembodied guitar strum, sampled birdsong, warbly rumbling drones, the various sounds a bit atonal and detuned, giving the sound a definite creepy, almost carnivalesque vibe, once again, very cinematic, before bleeding into the 20 minute closer, an epic brooding sprawl, that mesmeric Necks feel returns, but this time way more minimal and blackened, the piano sounds drifting in fields of rumble and hum, dense black pulsations, an epic slowly unfurling blackened classical creep, hazy and droney, dense and tense and bleakly beautiful, an abstract ambient dronescape that should definitely hit the spot for all you dronelords, and anyone obsessed with the slow and low, will likely find themselves playing that track (and this whole record) over and over and over...
released April 20, 2013
Written and recorded by Dan Vallor
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