Tabs Out | Planning for Burial – Below the House [PHASE III]

Planning for Burial – Below the House [PHASE III]

12.4.20 by Matty McPherson

Is Planning for Burial going Caretaker on our ass? No, but those tik-tok teens inadvertently discovering the Caretaker and turning it into a six hour challenge is a huge achievement in the “year of internal music discovery 2k20”. But also, Caretaker doesn’t do tapes, so why does Tabs Out care?! Meanwhile, this entire time since 2k17, Thom Wasluck’s long running blackened slowcore project within the Flenser Label Universe (FLU) has been toying with tape denigration of his last album, Below the House, to degrees that would face melt the average tik-tok teen.

Below the House is the kind of slowcore album that took roots from both death metal and blackgaze, while still retaining an innate instinct of Codeine’s slow n’ steady self-immolation. It balances melody with brutal stompage and unrelenting isolation. It was made to rot and turn itself inside out into a degraded memory. And Walsluck had done that, casting Below the House into a terminal, long form analysis of noise degradation with each passing reissue.

Where in Phase I, Wasluck was just simply planning his tape for a winter hibernation burial and letting it melt in summer, Phase II expanded on this, taking a Phase I copy with a brutal beating and shock surgery before suffering the worst fate, “played over and over in a cheap tape deck”. Phase III has emphasized warping the tape by playing it at different speeds for months. It also is the first time that Wasluck opted to add additional instrumentation, doing so across a period of 10 months. 

But don’t expect that the album has suddenly found a new clarity. We’re only further in the storm that Phase I originally crashed into. Tracks are now akin to faceless ambient dirges that sound like a CIA helicopter hovering over your house or a misbegotten memory from that last underground basement show. This tape is gloriously fucked and will randomly slip out at times; it is caught in a perpetual brain fog from a hangover. Yet, there still radiates a crevice of clarity. The new instrumentation occasionally acts as a roadmarker and completely prevents the tape from going into full headass degradation. Sometimes, you feel like you are floating high above, hitting a serene spot beyond cohesion.

In fact, the tape is fantastically listenable and packaged to perfection. So, saddle up next to a roaring fire, knock yourself out with that special liquor you’ve saved, and savor a long night of solace with Below the House.

Sold Out at Planning for Burial’s Site although a few more may become available soon + Phase IV is in planning stages-whatever is to come of it, whenever. So, add it to your calendar to watch for!

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