Surface of the Earth - s/t
Long-time-in-the-post double LP reissue of Surface of the Earth's self-titled debut, a record with modest origins that now represents a line in the sand moment of sorts for New Zealand's experimental underground. The more glib amongst us might suggest it's all underground down that way, but even in the context of such remote climes, the trio of Paul Toohey, Donald Smith and Tony McGurk seemed to be operating out of their own subterranean dwelling. Founding the World Resources imprint solely so they could release their own music, they were essentially working in isolation and free of expectation, issuing a handful of hyper-limited lathes and cassettes that served as personal documents as much as wider communiques. Remarkable, then, that the legend of the music should resonate as far and long as it has, testament to the magnetic and often transcendent qualities of what they created. There may have been constraints in terms of available resources - instruments, recording equipment, venues, money - but the ambition gazed skywards. This is free music with a focus on drone and repetition that clocks in at just under two hours, yet it seems to reject homogeneity at each turn, a reverb heavy lifeforce that feels physical and alive. So alive, in fact, does the music appear that it could function as phantom fourth member, which begs the question of who is guiding who? It lends the recording a haunting, spectral quality, and its lo-fidelity is integral to the experience, the hiss, the clangs and scrapes, all suggestions of some other Unknown Presence. It makes the music essentially unknowable, and like with all great noise/drone composition, rewards repeat listens, the song seemingly different each return as if it might have mutated in your absence. It's tempting to draw connections with the US & EU traditions of Conrad, Radigue, Niblock et al, but really, this is in a different zone, elemental and free in a way you can only be when there are no rules and no one is watching. Total classic and glad to finally have it here in the shop.
LT01: 70% wool, 15% polyester, 10% polyamide, 5% acrylic 900 Grms/mt