Friday, 18 May 2012
Format: Cassette-only release, a split demo with US experimental band Mystified, released on W.A.R. Productions in 2007, cat. ref. WAR033. This demo comes in a colour cover and with bespoke band logo labels on either side of a C90-style tape.
Edition: Twenty hand-numbered copies
Side A: Mystified
04. Static Pulse
05. Level Three
Side B: Bonemachine
01. Friendly Fire
A funny thing happened recently, to be followed by a rather disastrous thing. Read on for the trials and tribulations of Nazgul...
So, it all began when a month or two ago when Hugin was cataloguing the release history of W.A.R. Productions over the decade or so of its existence, and send a copy of his list to Nazgul for information. Whilst scanning this formidable list of releases Nazgul suddently realised that this particular tape - the second split demo between Bonemachine and Mystified - had completely passed him by. Not just in the sense of being a tape that had not yet been found for the collection, but in the sense that the very existence of the demo was unrecognised until this sudden and unexpected epiphany!
In an edition of only 20 copies (this copy - that Hugin was able to locate, fortunately enough - is #9 in the series) it's perhaps not surprising that it had slipped off the radar, although as we've seen on many occasions on Honour and Darkness other releases have been released in much lower editions than this. In Nazgul's defence there is almost no mention of this release online (and only by knowing of it's existence already would you to find it on the Mystified website), so perhaps the grey cells are may not be finally failing after all these years after all...
However, let's be thankful that this little gem has come into Nazgul's possession, as it allows us to catalogue it in our virtual museum and to consider it in the wider context of Bonemachine releases. And the first thing to note is that the two tracks herein are unique to this tape, which is always a bonus and a welcome change from the recyling of material that can plague compilation and split albums generally.
It was almost exactly 3 years ago (26 May 2009) that the "Mystified vs. Bonemachine" CDr was reviewed, in all of its hand-painted, tin-dwelling glory, and in that particular demo Bonemachine put forward three songs - 'Iron Age', 'Nuke 'Em', and 'After The War'. Would this second demo - recorded in the same year (2007) - be in a similar vein to those industrially-tinged songs? Only one way to find out...
Tape duly inserted into into the portable device Nazgul had recently bought to review these releases whilst out and about, the play button pressed, 3 or 4 seconds of music then ... silence. Hmmm, thought Nazgul, this is rather strange...? A quick check of the machine reveals it to have (i) not only eaten the tape, and (ii) snapped it clean apart too, rendering the whole cassette - in technical parlance - buggered!
So the sad reality is that this very rare tape is now, essentially, destroyed (pending some ham-fisted attempt at opening the case to re-splice the tape). Hugin is very helpfully scouring the W.A.R. archives for a possibility of a second copy, otherwise this might be an act of particularly unfortunate vandalism indeed.
Let's dwell on something positive: One nice aspect of this release is the design: in particular, the band logo stickers that are present on either side of the tape, in a format that Nazgul hasn't seen before and which suit both bands perfectly. The cover design is also rather interesting, and leaves us- quite literally - mystified. What is the peculiar metal structure, and why is it apparently sitting in the middle of a forest? Is it an industrial relic, or something more sinister?
For anyone new to Mystified, the project was conceived by Thomas Park (who trained in classical and jazz music as a teenager, and played the trombone and piano). After several years of writing techno as the band AutoCad, Thomas was fortunate enough to collaborate with Robin Storey of Rapoon. This project helped Thomas to evolve into the ambient / drone band Mystified. Mystified has found considerable success, both through online and physical releases, and is known for being proficient, creative and prolific.
The music of Mystified captured on this tape could be called of a mostly atmospheric nature where less is more, music ideal for listening while working, sleeping or doing other things. The music of Mystified especially explores texture and consistency, and is not the utopian ambient of the typical soundscape artist.
Of course, if only Nazgul to could to the wretched tape he could confirm all this for you at first hand!!
So - consider this a holding position, pending a possible future recovery of the "2" material for a future update.