Tabs Out | Cranky Bow – The Blue Ball Session

Cranky Bow – The Blue Ball Session

10.12.20 by Matty McPherson

I assure you that Cranky Bow is not trying to rob you of any pleasure during the “Blue Ball Session”, an unnamed two part odyssey from the twisted mind of Gábor Kovács. His reputation over the last decade has been a steady one, transitioning from one alias to another moniker without ever stopping a consistent output of abstract and devious technological music-for European labels of course! 

“Blue Ball Session” sees Kovács going one step further with the Cranky Bow moniker, introducing elements of library music while keeping things in a delicate lo-fi balance. Part 1-perhaps better known as “There’s ‘Hell’ in Hello, But More in ‘Goodbye’”, opens with a “Goodbye!” that last 400 times as long as an Irish goodbye, with the faint pulse of what is akin to train wheels on the tracks. As it traverses away past the salutation, it becomes apparent that you, dear listener, have arrived at a resting place. A light synth welcomes you to a burial ritual in the graveyard of broken dreams. As it mutates and welcomes in odd percussive elements, the track still never loses its simplicity or desolation. The spaciousness provided by the track is indeed perfect for that room clean or when you need to find your dead wife in a small American suburb.

Part 2, also known as, “Cranky Bow is murdering the Hannah Barbera sound effects library!” is much more playful with the samples and noises that appear. No longer are you in the graveyard, but in the haunted train track (with a light piano playing) and…“is that the sound of an energy charge or spring loaded trap going off?”-I don’t know either, but it keeps the haunted train track piano going until suddenly the track introduces a warped library sample of horns, organ, and tip-toe indebted percussives. It’d fit like a glove in the hands of Jules Dassin, perfect not just for those noir soundscapes, but the tension offered from the heist. For the track’s back half, the tension seamlessly builds with the percussives and horns becoming less tethered to typical sound structures, popping in and out like it is death by a thousand cuts. As it ends with a vocal sample of a man speaking, probably sitting at a jazz lounge contemplating the things only a man can do, for the first time during the tape, you feel safe.

Library music is still a genre I rarely interact with across these cassettes. Understandably so, this is music made for the cheapest of cheap seat shows or the b-movie. Yet, seeing Kovács’ ability to squeeze it for the tension while stripping these samples of their temporality has kept me coming back. Talk about  “Goodbye!”

From Vadlovak Records

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