Wreck And Reference – Black Cassette

Electronic doom huh ? But that’s not even a thing !

Well. That’s where you’re mistaken. Because electronic doom is probably the best label you can put on Wreck And Reference. A band creating doom soundscapes using naught but electronic wizardry. And some drums.

1. All The Ships Have Been Abandoned

2. Surrendering

3. In Chains, Awakening

4. Evening Redness

5. Desire, Ether

6. A Lament

Black Cassette is the duo’s first record, and damn, what an introduction All The Ships Have Been Abandoned is to this group. Stuttering into life, it’s fuzzy and lo fi and uses distortion to great effect, creating a sense of loss and desolation. Experimenting with what you and I think doomy drone should sound like and giving us every reason to think that this is something special.

Surrendering begins with a deeply struck note, staggering into a vocal full of remorse and regret, soaring over the rumbling bass like sounds beneath it. Slow and unforgiving at first, the music suddenly bursts into life picking up gorgeous electronic nuances along the way. The voice becomes lost in the mix, whereas before it was at the forefront, yet still holding such power and emotion.

Wreck And Reference seemingly enjoy pushing as many boundaries as they can, In Chains, Awakening beginning with drums that wouldn’t be out of place on a black metal record. The only difference being the masses of electronic bass that underlay the pounding rhythm. Stopping as abruptly as they began, a militaristic beat kicks in and again that electronic noise cuts through each sound. This track is huge, the entire final minute just filled with noise that builds and builds into a colossal crescendo of discord.

Evening Redness, from it’s outset is a mournful proposition. The pace is slow, it’s heavy and the vocal is astounding – full of passion and exquisite sadness. If you couldn’t hear the absolute doom before, then this will convince you of the bands intentions. Having much in common with genre greats in terms of feeling and tone, this track elevates Wreck And Reference to genre re-inventors. Check out the three and half minute mark for an excellent example of how this band aim to blow your preconceptions away in one fell swoop. The whole style changes, lightly picked notes with an element of the blues play this song out perfectly.

So perfectly that it segues into Desire, Ether sublimely. Crashing cymbals and beautifully constructed electronic ambiance add to the overall feeling of melancholy. Jarring sounds compete with each other and a low mixed vocal completes the design of the song. Hints of feedback creep through, until the cacophony reaches it’s peak. And then. It ends. A trademark, if you will, of this record would probably be the suddenness of sounds commencing and then concluding with nary a warning. I suppose that’s the one drawback of creating music utilising samples and the like. It’s difficult to get that organic sound from a processed beat and things come to a halt almost too quickly at times. But, don’t despair, that’s the one thing I can say is a downside to the album and even then it’s not really a issue. I’m just being picky.

It’s really difficult to comprehend that this album was created without the use of guitars. You can hear what you think should be a guitar line or a bass riff but it’s so cleverly done and you aren’t ever left thinking, “damn, that song could have done with a bit of a mad riff there.” It’s an incredible feat. A Lament builds from a quiet drone, introducing lightly hit notes and a somewhat catchy electro-riff before stripping it back to reveal a despair filled vocal. Thundering along to the finale, the galloping pace takes no prisoners. You cannot help but scream along to this climax. Black Cassette bringing to the fore all the anguish you didn’t know you had.

 Wreck And Reference take all that you know, obliterate it, and then create something entirely different. This, this is the future.


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