Belgium £13 (including postage)
Europe £15 (including postage)
Rest of world £17 (including postage)
Limited edition of 200 copies
Fleshpile Sister [Vimeo]
Fleshpile Thematic, released by
The Tapeworm, reconsidered as an album of dub versions. Smooth edges roughed out. Re-engineered space.
All human vocals erased.
Fleshpile Sister is the sibling of Dale Cornish’s Fleshpile Thematic, a cassette release from earlier this year that
centred around words — specifically, Cornish’s own dryly recorded, London accented prose/poetry and monotone
singing over sparse and itchy electronics and processed sounds. “This... specific... habitat”, he intones slowly on Canopy, and it’s this innocuous line that sticks in the mind when describing that album, which evokes the tedium, isolation and intimacy of domestic space both verbally and, in an often microscopic and subtle way, sonically. Sister takes away the vocals and presents re-engineered versions of almost every track on Thematic; understandably these have been described as dubs, but that implies a certain dynamic relationship between vocal and instrumental that isn’t quite what's going on here. While this is, inevitably, a smoother, more ambient listen than its predecessor, with none
of the intrusiveness of the spoken word,
Cornish’s decision to absent his voice feels provocative — Sister offers a somewhat easier experience, but is it now too easy, too immersive, too tastefully within the discourse of psycho-geographic, ghostly processed sound?
Not always: the five minutes of Lowlight are opened out into a brooding piece of twice the length (and subtitled SW8)
on Sister, the better to allow its room-
hum bass, carefully placed chimes and struck strings to drift across the mix,
but other tracks such as Weathermud,
in which gentle rainfall is compressed into a staticky scree, are more aggressive than their originals. Sister is at its most
impressive when the spirit of Thematic seeps into a track in a way that hints at
a new presence rather than revelling in absence: on the version of Canopy Cornish’s words are nowhere to be heard, but there is the hint of a different vocal, a couple of notes made by what sounds like a voice, almost imperceptible, sung (if indeed it is sung) in the way you might find yourself humming along
to a dial tone, remembering the exact sound of an alarm, suddenly tuning in to the pitched world.
Frances Morgan in The Wire
Portrait by David Keen
Photo by Dale Cornish