Tabs Out | Shedding – Plod & Play Vol.1

Shedding – Plod & Play Vol.1
9.21.15 by Mike Haley

shedding large

“Plod & Play Vol.1” is one of those recordings that doesn’t need to do a lot to do a lot. Does that make sense? I guess what I’m trying to say here is that Shedding, real name Mr. Connor Bell from Louisville, KY,  takes an extremely gentle approach to tinkering, with a process that seems to blend conscious efforts with happy accidents. He goes minimal, but never meanders. He has fun.

There’s an excellent use of sparseness, weirdness, and beauty over the course of these dozen tracks. Shedding often sends the listener down an ooey-gooey slip-n-slide of squishes and gurgling tones, like on the second track, Lhaze Too. Here, seemingly random synth gulps rattle into each other like introverts navigating Walmart on a Black Friday. The nervous dance can be concerning, but it’s fun to watch. And in the end they all make it to the check out line alive. On the last track of side A, Kiss (one of the longer cuts at just four minutes), Bell offers up one of his condensed dream sequences. Unlike the more fidgety moments on the tape, Kiss focuses more on thick foggy floor sounds and the allure of vivid blinking.

The B side of “Plod” (this was all recorded between 2002-2005 & 2011) is a bit more focused. Patterns begin to emerge, oscillators still croak and jitter, but with more of a purpose. Maybe more direction? The track Abend is a pretty sweet example of that. Melodies fade from wet to dry, rich vapors sweep in the background. A nice warm hug from tonality and randomness. Even with that focus, you’ll still get the feeling that everything is stream-of-thought. And I like that. Connor Bell had some excellent thoughts to share.

The artwork for this, and the other releases from City State Tapes, is pretty damn superb. You can pick up “Plod & Play Vol.1”, made in an edition of 50 copies, now. Please do so.

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