Tabs Out | Gram Hummell – Meshes of Exotopic Escape

Gram Hummell – Meshes of Exotopic Escape

10.13.20 by Matty McPherson

Sans Irréalité is a new tape label based out of Baltimore, Maryland with intentions to release “interesting electronic musics, tellurian and interstellar.” Their inaugural release, Meshes of Exotopic Escape, from Baltimore stalwart, Gram Hummell, nicely fit in all three boxes (and not just because it was released on 4/20). Hummell is able to traverse eclectic territory without giving a damn nor forgetting to better the collective vocabulary prowess of the Tabs Out community!

Take the opener of Side A “Telesm for Three Voices”. I’ve no idea what a telesm was until I spent ten minutes on dictionary sites to discover that it’s a talisman-huge score! The track opens with fridge buzz static waves, as if my boombox was having trouble playing, before being hijacked by someone that states, “I’m going to attempt and communicate with you telepathically”-and it’s none other than top dollar vocal synth, Microsoft Sam! Hummell (through MS Sam) discusses dystopia in meager 2019 words and ideas, before letting everything disintegrate into harsh noise…and then rebuilding itself with vocal samples turned dance a la The Field. Part-brainwave, static transmission, and post-field recording glitch synth bath, the expansive ground covered on “Telesm” is traversed with featherweight precision. Nothing ever feels out of place or poorly contrived, it just moves at the pace of Hummell’s brain.

Side B’s “Interlude/Korybantic Dolphin Dance/Heka.dylib/Dog Solitude/KDD-2” might be a string of five tracks or a genuine attempt to simulate the struggle of this aquatic techno lifer in under 15 minutes. Either way, close listens show how Hummell can traverse genres like its freeform lsd tv, no problem. Interlude may be quick, but through Korybantic Dolphin Dance (hey another word!), the track enacts an elliptical patch of head scratching pulse shimmers, xylophones, and hi-hats. You could make a dance vid or sacrifice to a (lowercase) god this part, real easy. Either way, it sets the tone for the back half’s pull to the womb. With a synth that recalls Pacific State and a callback to the Korybantic Dolphin Dance part of the track, Hummell lights up the dance floor, if only momentarily before a droney disintegration pulls the track to the finish.

The nature of this tape, which can descend from harsh noise to synth euphoria like you just fell down a trap door, have made it an excellent relisten. Perhaps it is perfect for your 1 person 2020 dystopia dance party in your roommate’s closet even! Get hip.

Top audio quality imprinted azure cassette with four-panel artwork. Edition of 50.

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