Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Rimarimba - Chicago Death Excretion Geometry (1987)

Rimarimba was a name which turned up on tape compilations back in the eighties, specifically the Real Time series put out by Unlikely Records. Robert Cox was the man behind both Unlikely Records and Rimarimba, so it sort of felt a little as though he was sneaking this stuff into my home by wrapping it up with the music of acts I actually wanted to hear, Attrition and others; and it sort of felt that way because it's exactly what I would have done. I didn't actually dislike the music of Rimarimba, but it seemed repetitive and fiddly and not entirely my sort of thing; and then suddenly, thirty years later, I bought this album because it was there, affordable where the first two now cost a fucking fortune, and I somehow felt it my duty to buy the thing, like maybe I owed Rimarimba an apology. It felt as though I should at least make an effort, besides which I always find it pleasing when it turns out that some tape dude has made it onto vinyl.

Rimarimba works much better at length - as opposed to broken down into five minute snatches on some cassette - and with a better understanding of what he was trying to do - thanks in part to extensive sleeve notes of the kind one would expect to find on a classical recording. Simply, this is systems music in the vein of Philip Glass, Steve Reich and so on, and as such really needs a broader span of time in which to build up momentum and achieve its effect. I gather this is mostly programmed - sequences of notes, tunes which repeat over and over, change, or are replaced with fresh sequences - and yet it doesn't quite sound so, retaining an organic sense of progression, and the instrumentation is such that it could be played by a small orchestra without anyone giving themselves a hernia. Not being classically trained, as Cox clearly is, I don't fully understand the promises made in the sleeve notes regarding the structure of the music or what he was trying to do with it, but it nevertheless feels like a satisfying, rounded piece of work, not quite hypnotic but definitely immersive, which leaves faint traces of mood in the consciousness even after the needle has lifted from the end of the second side - sort of how the ambling melodies of village church bells can stay lodged long after one has passed by.

No comments:

Post a Comment