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Strategy
Noise Tape Self

Strategy — Noise Tape Self (1 June 2015)

                               Strategy — Noise Tape Self Strategy — Noise Tape Self (1 June 2015)•±   Paul Dickow, Greg Gorlen a Tanner Garza jsou pouze začátkem nauky o loopech. Návody uvnitř eseje. Reminiscence na: Paul Schutze’s 1996 masterpiece, Apart. Having generated a lot of buzz over the last decade for his own productions, multi–instrumentalist makes his debut on Further Records having already turned in celebrated releases on stables like Orac, 100% Silk, Endless Flight, and Entr’acte. With tape–loop experimentation and a more ambient–leaning disposition, Noise Tape Self is a beguiling and strangely addictive LP that seems to uncover more layers on every listen. From the watery rush of Lovely Loop to the more digitalised distortion of Rhen’s Loop, the whole LP is a masterclass in bold creative strides made with a DIY ethos.
Location: Portland, Oregon.
Album release: 1 June 2015
Record Label: Further Records (Seattle, Washington)
Duration:     35:50
Tracks:
1 Awesome Piano     6:22
2 Cassette Loop     6:09
3 Ominous Lovely Piano     4:22
4 Lovely Loop     6:44
5 Hobgoblin     3:21
6 Rhen's Loop     8:52
Credits:
•±  Written & produced by Paul Dickow
•±  Mastered by Pete Swanson
•±  Cut by CGB
•±  Artwork by Chloe Harris
•±  Mastered by Pete Swanson and cut by CGB @ Dubplates & Mastering.
Description from label:
•±  With a quiet intensity over the last 12 years, Strategy has proven himself to be an incredibly resourceful and rewarding musician in both group settings and as a solo artist. In the latter guise, this Portland producer/multi–instrumentalist (aka Paul Dickow) has released a prolific amount of excellent work for quality indie labels such as Kranky, Orac, 100% Silk, Endless Flight, and Entr’acte, putting a cerebral yet sensual spin on dub, ambient, post rock, and house music.
•±  For his Further Records debut, Noise Tape Self, Strategy delves ever deeper into his more ambient inclinations and experiments with tape loops. Most of the six tracks bear titles more suited for a library record, but Noise Tape Self lacks library music’s faceless functionality; rather, it’s an immersive soundtrack to stimulating one’s imagination or losing one’s bearings. Dickow says he became obsessed with making tape music in 2008, after tiring of using the computer as his main instrument. Fellow Portland producer/ingenious gear–tinkerer David Chandler (Solenoid) taught Dickow “how to make a tape loop that could be put inside a cassette tape. I got really into this, and got a 4 track, knowing this would allow me to have four synchronized loops per tape. I would then run each channel through a series of effects and ‘perform’ live mixes using the loops. I alternated between using source material of my own devising and using whatever source material happened to be on the cassettes I was hacking.”
•±  Noise Tape Self kicks off with “Awesome Piano,” in which a fragment of a beautiful piano motif gets overwhelmed by a glorious vortex of static and distortion. We’re immediately submerged in Strategy’s alluring and disorienting world, where rupture and rapture converge. “Cassette Loop” is a gorgeous ambient piece with a lulling, aquatic quality that recalls such masters of uneasy listening as Rapoon, O Yuki Conjugate, and Aube. The self–descriptive “Ominous Lovely Piano” is a ghostly, microcosmic form of dub, an ultimate kind of headphone music of deep psychedelic interiority that’s reminiscent of Paul Schütze’s 1996 masterpiece, Apart. The hypnotic/amniotic ambience of “Lovely Loop” whispers of a peaceful eternity; this track could be an important step toward a new, improved strain of New Age. The album closes with “Rhen’s Loop”; here’s where the album really soars into the stratosphere and grows surreal wings. A five–dimensional headfuck of what sounds like analog–synth growls and whirs and desolate drones, “Rhen’s Loop” is Doppler effected and disorienting, like a more somber take on Conrad Schnitzler’s Ballet Statique. With Noise Tape Self, Strategy has found a way to build works of compelling, intimate grandeur with some of the humblest of sonic atoms. It’s an alchemical wonder.
REVIEW
By Philip Sherburne; May 29, 2015;  Score: 7.8
•±  Dub is a way of tunneling through space–time. Like hanging two mirrors opposite one another in a small room, it opens a window upon the infinite. Dub burrows an endlessly regenerating maze through the otherwise finite confines of the mixing desk. Paul Dickow's Noise Tape Self goes one step further: it tries to wring infinity out of a single cassette tape.
•±  Dickow, who lives in Portland, Ore., has made a lot of different kinds of music over the years. His debut LP, 2003's Strut, was a homebrewed response to the blippy, squirrelly sounds then coming from UK labels like Planet Mu and Rephlex. His '00s releases for Kranky veered into dubby ambient music indebted to Pole and Arthur Russell. He's no stranger to the dance floor — disco and Afrobeat often linger at the edges of his music, beckoning — but he seems most at home in pursuit of headier ideals. On this year's Seeds of Paradise, for the Bristol bass–music label Idle Hands, and Pods of Punishment, for the experimentally inclined Entr'acte, he has ventured ever deeper into a sound of his own making, one lying at the overlap of dub, ambient, and DIY electronics.
•±  Noise Tape Self is the most focused thing he's done, and it's also the most experimental. Its six tracks date from between 2008 and 2010, and all of them were made using an arcane system of Dickow's own devising. At the risk of getting too technical, it's worth explaining his process in some detail, simply because it's so inventive — and also because it's hard to fathom how such strict limitations could yield music this enveloping.
•±  Using a technique developed by David Chandler, aka Solenoid, Dickow first created his own looping cassettes by disassembling the plastic housings of cassette tapes, extracting the tape, cutting it, and re–threading it in a loop configuration. (These images help explain the technique.) Those then became, in a sense, both his canvas and, when he recycled the contents of the tapes (many of which were often found on the street or given to him by friends), his raw material. Plugging those into a 4–track recorder, he recorded his own sounds and also utilized the existing material on the tapes, all of which he ran out, via separate outputs for each track, through a handful of effects: analog delay, high–pass filter, spring reverb, a broken loop pedal, and a tube overdrive built by Not Breathing's Dave Wright. (He diagrams his process here: http://www.boomarmnation.com/strategy-talks-the-process/.)
•±  Why does any of this matter? You can listen to all six of Noise Tape Self's tracks on Bandcamp right now, so you tell me: Would you have guessed that any of these were the product of a single set of loops, all running in parallel? I doubt it. They move like water — not in circles but in long, winding streams, a muted rainbow of intermingled currents, some faster and some slower. Four parallel eight–second loops become, in effect, a series of garden stakes drowned in vines — overgrown, unruly, uncontainable.
•±  "Awesome Piano" is a sawtoothed raga suffused in mist, a gentle call–and–response between gravelly synthesizer and watery keys. "Cassette Loop" recalls both Seefeel's spectral ambient dub and Grouper's drain–circling drones; a rhythmic clacking suggests the movement of a train, while the glassy sway might be buoys far out at sea. That's as lonely as the album gets: "Ominous Lovely Piano" plays with whimsical, daydreamy loops — major–key, frayed around the edges — and something that sounds almost like a dog sighing in its sleep. "Lovely Loop", cooler and more distant, wouldn't be out of place on Kompakt's Pop Ambient series. It also has something of the aquatic to it, complete with the rustle of what might be waves and seagulls: If "Cassette Loop" is a fogged–in bay at night, then "Lovely Loop" is the same scene by the light of day, sun–baked and ringed by green pines. "Hobgoblin" employs the 4–track's variable–speed feature to create a spooky gliding melody, and the closing "Rhen's Loop" settles into nine minutes of resonant drones that glisten like a pit full of beetles.
•±  None of these tracks deals explicitly in reggae — not its bass lines, not its backbeats — but the album's commitment to dub as a process, an ethos, is total. And it shows that dub, as a technique and a tradition, transcends musical styles; it reveals dub to be a kind of magic. The filters and delay act as both sieve and telescoping rod, catching sounds and propelling them out toward the limit of our perception; they wrest time from the rails and send it flying off into space. “The studio must be like a living thing,” Lee "Scratch" Perry told David Toop, and Tape Noise Self implants dub’s DNA in a whole new host. As studios go, Dickow's couldn't be more modest, but there is no doubt that it is alive. http://pitchfork.com/
Label: http://furtherrecords.org/album/noise–tape–self
Website: http://www.strategymusic.com/
REBEL MOUSE: https://www.rebelmouse.com/CultureChannel/listen-strategy-noise-tape-self-1133051654.html  
ABOUT
•±  STRATEGY is me (Paul Dickow), a musician, DJ, producer, and record label operator based in Portland, Oregon. Inkeeping with the tradition of aliases in house, techno, disco, etc. I adopted the pseudonym Strategy in 1999, to represent my solo production work, and first officially released under that name in 2003. There are numerous other artists called “Strategy” out there, with whom I am happy to share the name. I also used the alias Extinct briefly, but have been pretty consistent about using one pseudonym. Go to the Discography and Remixography to learn about the labels and records I have worked with/on.
•±  I also play in the bands Sound People, Smoke and Mirrors, Fontanelle, Nudge, and One Human Minute, and I previously played in the bands Emergency, The Cold War, Two Noises, and the Fracture Line.
•±  Together with David Chandler I run the Community Library label established in 2005. Together we had a monthly musical event called Community Library where each DJ set was based around specific themes. We’d also have live performers and show movies and such.
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Strategy
Noise Tape Self

 

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