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9 June 2010

Burning Star Core - 'Brighter Summer Day' (Thin Wrist)

Has this been ten years already? Thin Wrist catalog #B, a label that does them alphabetically, which will have to fold after release #Z? This is C. Spencer Yeh's first vinyl long-player, with two side-long beasts showcasing the sound construction of his project back in 2000. As elegantly-packaged as LPs come, this is a super thick vinyl pressing that really makes the deep tones ring, particularly on side A's 'A Brighter Summer Day'. This track is immensely powerful, with thick layers of violin constantly combining and recombining microtonally into a bulldozer of sound, simultaneously occupying every available frequency. There are electronics as well, and additional electronics by another player, though it's hard to distinguish what is what. There's a percussive element to these "electronics", sounding like a rollercoaster ripping through the sun. The electronic sense is far more prevalent on the B-side, 'Baybe It Wasn't Meant to Me', a 16 minute set of 'sleep deprivation experiments' performed on a 'computer', of course a catch-all for who knows what source material. We get synthesisers, field recordings, and natural acoustics but heavily processed and constructed in a piecemeal manner. Unlike side A's horizontal vision, this does a few abrupt about-faces, challenging in its internal logic. Circular, maybe, or a spiral that changes direction a few times? An underrated track for sure, and one that certainly feels influenced by Oval as much as Ash Ra Tempel. There's a sealed envelope in here that I never broke the seal on, not that I am typically collector scum but I saw what was inside someone else's (back when this came out) so I never opened mine. Of course, I've forgotten what was in there, and now I don't want to open it cause this is a nine-year old antique LP! As a first LP, I think it's an impressive debut. It certainly suggests both sides of what is to come - side A presages the violin-driven improvised elements (often now performed under his own name) and side B hints at the incredibly constructed, composed soundworlds that populate later LPs like Challenger. If anything, these two sides have become intertwined and indistinguishable.

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