I start this review with a disclaimer: I have a track on this compilation CD, so clearly I have cause to write for its success, and pride to stand amongst the other contributors to this various artists CD. But the truth is, I'm a late-comer to this party, having moved Squidco to this town a scant 7 years ago, attaching my sound to an already–existing community.
910 is the area code for the Cape Fear River region, including Wilmington, NC and adjacent counties. It's a beautiful water-rich section of the East coast of the country about half-way along the coastline, a water basin with intercostal waterways, swamps, lakes, the ocean itself, and the Cape Fear river. With a diverse set of wildlife, it's also holds great interest sonically, and the area is not so densely populated that you can't enjoy its beauty and hear it's own varied audio character.
The 910 Noise scene was started with a handful of audio experimenters, in particular, August Traeger, known for his Bicephalic label; Ryan Lewis, who heads the independent Obscura Films; and Carl Kruger, known both as an audio explorer and obscure music disseminator, and [another disclaimer] the order manager for Squidco; guitarist Justin Ward; subterrene's Grant Stewart; and Authorless' Sean Hart. Spawning a number of organizations, the players on this scene perform solo, in small groupings, and even as an ensemble in the Wilmington Sound Orchestra. Working collectively, concerts are organized and presented in and around the Wilmington area, and members of the collective have participated in the regional Sarus Festival.
There are 18 tracks on this compilation, and they run the gamut in approach to sound, noise, composition, improvisation, and unexpected or perplexing permutations of the same. August Traeger's "Liquid Purple Wilmington", using psychedelic non-abrasive sound and tone that transitions to surreal chirping and spurting ambiences; subterrene's richly aggressive tonal developments; Carl Kruger's cranky audio construction for his nephew, starting like a boat coming to pieces in shallow water; the beautifully rhythmic Caucasians, as they fold owls over a cantankerous floor of inexplicable objects; the expansive modular synthesis and rubbery friction of Authorless; CHANGES TO blind's musique concrete, blending field recordings, synths & sound effects; Cockatron's abrasive and building distorted environment; the lush and gorgeous audio chamber of Spa Recluse; murky and heavily reflected subvocal resonance and air chambers of Teleportation Chamber; ending with Baby Daddy (Ryan Lewis and Carl Kruger) and their abrasive and succinct definition of noise.
The 910 Noise community is a great example of the unleashed energy found in so many small cities, where like-minded yet diverse sound artists find each other and join together in collective form. This community connects to the history of cassette culture and the early days of industrial sound and noise research, expanding both the scope and the audio quality of what's come before it. Exploring the work of regional artists, who are influenced by global ears via recordings, the internet, and similarly connected regional experimental scenes, makes for fascinating listening and a glimpse into the sound predilections that are organically cultivated in small town around the globe. Of which the 910 community is a vital example.
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