Like many musicians, Kirsten Reynolds and Ashley Davies make records. But here the similarities end. The principals behind Project Dark literally make their records--out of hair, cheese, grass, biscuit dough, glass, or any other moldable substance that might be on hand--and spin them like so much popular DJ-friendly wax in notorious performances that breach the divide between music and conceptual art. Reynolds and Davies' initials explain the "DARK." That modifier also describes the textural clamor created as the stylus skips, skids, and grinds against their unplayable art-ifacts.
GRAMOPHONES was recorded at various 1998 performances, during which Tony Pattinson, Dub Colossus, Tim Whelan, and folk-punk Billy Childish occasionally fleshed out the grates, scrapes, and squeals with rip-roaring drum n' bass rhythms and penetrating basslines. While most sounds are of the intense teeth-grind/power tool-whirr stripe, GRAMOPHONES also has its subtler moments. These are often even more intriguing. Vitreous ambience cushions the scuffling, lurching breakbeats of "Spongersà" and "àShift Right." Slavering crustaceans munch and claw through "The Sand Of Music." Scalding acid corrodes "Return To Sander." Spidery noise webs the frigid, beatless void of "A Short Hop From Sarajevo." And "White Leather Jacket" is brittle industrial gamelan of near-operatic complexity.