6.29.20 by Tony Lien
Though I was already intrigued by the homage to Kurt Vonnegut’s fictional alter ego, I was sold by the fact that “Sound Experiments For Reel to Reel Tape” by Kil Gore Trout was recently released on tape via Fargo, ND noise label Black Ring Rituals — possibly the brightest beacon in the Midwest for fringe artists who dabble in noise-based sub-genres such as power electronics, industrial, harsh noise wall, or dark ambient.
Don’t just sit there and brush over those genre tags. Click on that link and (after experiencing Trout’s album, of course) explore the rest of the BRR catalogue. You’ll surely see — as I did when I first stumbled upon the label — that owner/operator Brandon Wald cares deeply for fostering an incredibly diverse array of creative projects. While some are saturated with revolutionary/socio-political undertones (see any of Wald’s own music released under the moniker Support Unit or the self-titled split tape courtesy of Aids Victim/Straight Panic), others exist in more abstract dimensions void of identifiable cultural rhetoric.
“Sound Experimentations For Reel To Reel Tape” is of the latter category.
If noise music could feasibly possess classical qualities, this tape certainly does. The cacophony of buzzes, shrieks, and frequency-bending sine waves is symphonic in terms of compositional scope. With a virtuoso’s touch — articulation and intent present with every twist of a knob — Trout is able to wed freeform noise experimentation with the same sort of amorphous (yet distinctive) vision coined by contemporary classical heavyweights such as Steve Reich or Fred Frith (except Trout, of course, uses electronics rather than guitars or xylophones).
I’m not sure whether or not Trout (or any other noise artist for that matter) would punch me in the head for attempting to categorize their noise music in such a way. Regardless, it must be acknowledged. Noise music is always evolving, and Trout is one of the fish determined to crawl out of the water.
There are still copies available on the Black Ring Rituals site — but keep in mind that there are only 25 copies that exist in total. This is far too few, in my opinion.