The Vanishing Voice

Stone Tablet

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Good luck making sense of this one, Stone Tablet is a two-track album that sounds like it was recorded by two different bands from a single extended family: one, a downtown collective of noise-obsessed city cousins and the other an inbred and possibly drunk group of country cousins. The genetic relationship is clear, but it seems rather distant. "Peace Symbols," the album's first track, is 33 minutes long and builds up slowly around the sound of distant guitars and other ambient noise; eventually the drums kick in and it begins to rock in a more or less straightforward way. Then, after another 15 minutes or so, the sound collapses in on itself and fades off into the distance again. From the back we hear faint wails and variegated clangor, while in front we hear splattery fuzz guitar. Then everything faints out on a somewhat dubby note. The second track, which in relative terms is a model of concision at a mere ten-and-a-half minutes, opens with the sound of male voice and acoustic guitar -- it's an actual song, written and performed in an explicitly country style while backing vocals wail dolorously behind the singer. Things can't go on this way, of course, and eventually the tape is slowed, spindled, and mutilated, and about halfway through the proceedings the whole thing is overtaken by layers of buzzy electric guitar. Then everything slides slowly into a shivering mess of feedback and distortion. And there you have it. The perfect thing for people who like this sort of thing.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
blue highlight denotes track pick