roadside picnic and charles barabe

Best described as epic, ‘worn paths in crown dust’ finds the workaholic Mr Wiggan forging alliances with La Cohu head man Charles Barabe, again limited, again on cassette this time on the much fancied A Giant Fern imprint, this 60 minute plus face off sees these two unique alchemists of sound going toe to toe across two sides of chrome, each side sub divided into several mini-suites that pretty much freewheel around the full gamut of abstract electronica, admirers of fat cat’s early days forays into  split series will be suitably satiated as will those whose record buying preferences were buoyed by the rummaging through the records racks of the esteemed Smallfish for here memories of Pan Sonic and old school Autechre find their way flittering to the surface albeit as though rephrased by a particularly chilled Pimmon, like found artefacts abandoned and lost, the last preserve of a dead civilisation if you will, these ghostly apertures loosely play out like a sonic photograph album with moments of serene bliss. Never once threatening or scary its instead playful and impish to which in all truth I’d have  to admit the last time I had this much listening fun was tuned  to some strange unpronounceable platter unearthed by those Mixing It dudes more often than not from an Eastern Europe locale. Add to that the attractive proposition that you’ll rarely hear Wiggan sounding so ‘pop’ here for once you suspect with wings a clipped by Barabe and pressed into melodic mediums. Amid this sonic scrap heap – by the way that’s meant to complimentary – assortments of cannibalised cosmic transmissions and kooky frequency squiggles play merrily to strangely obtuse Stockhausenian codas cooking up along the way an updated radiophonic workshop vista. Side two is the more expressive, where dreamy frost tipped mirages tiptoe delicately into mind tripping trance montages, the sleepy tones and the subterranean Clangers routines oddly connect to lost childhoods immersed in weird and wonky East European animations and fleeting future peaks from dawn of space explorations silver age. That’s not to say that it’s all light and fluffy for there are brief passages of gloopy doom draped drone overtures spiked with momentary detours into overt sparseness and detachment- that said overall a pleasurable romp particular loving the psychotropic Echoboy like daubs at the 22 minute marks very ‘Scene 30’-    

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