Thursday, January 29, 2009
Belong "Colorless Record" 12" (St. Ives)
When I was compiling my year end list I knew that a few records would slip through the cracks. While cleaning up and re-organizing my LPs the other night, I came across this briefly forgotten gem, namely, Belong's "Colorless Record". I missed this one because the sleeve is made of another recycled sleeve that was turned inside out, thus having no spine and being near-impossible to detect in the stacks. Anyways, it seems as if the record flew under a lot of other year-end lists, as I didn't see it mentioned anywhere else, though there was a bit of blog hype when it dropped near the beginning of '08. It's really no wonder this one got lost, however, because this 12" EP was limited to a mere 300 copies and didn't take long to vanish.
Belong are a duo from New Orleans who struck ambient-drone gold with 2006's "October Language", garnering a small applause of praise from anyone who happened upon it. The duo took the static fuzz of Fennesz and Tim Hecker and the dreamy swarm of Kevin Shield's guitar, and refined it into a warm morphine wash that enveloped the listener's skull. This follow up takes that sound and plies it atop 4 semi-obscure psych-pop songs from the late 60s. Tracks like Billy Nicholl's Girl From New York sound as if they are being heard in a recurring dream--distant and hazy but oddly familiar. Each of the four songs are so submerged that they are almost unrecognizable, though a chorus here and there will float to the surface, only to be pushed back under the weight of the haze. William Basinski's Disintegration Loops also come to mind. But rather than slowly disintegrating tape loops, the tracks here sound as if they've been endlessly looping on a turntable that's on it's last legs.
Though this idea of taking older songs and modifying them through electronics is not a new idea (see Tim Hecker's destructive take on Van Halen in "My Love Is Rotten To The Core", Fennesz's drastic reworkings of Beach Boys and Rolling Stones classics and Ekkehard Ehlers many deconstructions of artists like Robert Johnson and Albert Ayler), Belong bring their own unique touch to these songs and breathe new life into them.
Original version of Late Night by Syd Barrett
Cleaners From Venus cover of Late Night, which is the actual track used in the Belong re-working
Original version of Beeside by Tintern Alley
Original version of My Clown by July
Girl From New York
Original version by Billy Nicholls
Download here. (via Flockheart)