Review of Weather & Worn [12k2012]

Tokafi (.COM)

While Vinyl was a natural part of Uhlig’s education, digital formats had long ruled the world of Taylor Deupree. Everything seemed to argue against his 12k label ever setting foot into the world of turntables: Higher manufacturing costs, thus higher risks and, from an artistic point of view, the difficulty of finding a vocabulary truly suited to the format. His love for the haptical and visual pleasures of vinyl finally won him over in the end. As with most of Deupree’s decisions (such as his commitment of releasing a new sound recording every day in 2009), Weather & Worn is not just a one-off, but the beginning of an ongoing commitment and a continuous series of publications. On the outside, the single has all the bearings of a quality product: A black sleeve containing the clear disc is protected by a heavy and nicely rough chipboard cover. The care has paid off. Even though still available from a few select mail orders, Weather & Worn has already sold out from 12k in an edition of 250 copies no mean achievement considering the 7inch is generally regarded as one of the least commercially-viable outings available.

If the process of entering the world of Vinyl was long and laborious, recording Weather & Worn may well have been one of the most intuitive and immediate things Deupree has ever done. In fact, the entire material came together in a single session on a dreary and depressing day of rain and dark clouds. Bathing in the colours and warm resonances of a variety of acoustic instruments, it has yielded two short dreamstates drawing as much from soft melodic textures as from discreetly noisy and granularly scraping sounds. While “Weather” is embedded into a dense sheet of pointilistic Guitar pickings, micro-palpitations and cat snorings (which sound peculiarly like someone speaking in a foreign tongue), “Worn” comes across as a calm, consoling and comforting. Brushed metallics and airy hiss provide spatial components, as two melodic lines, one in gentle overtones and another on the Guitar, start overlapping and dissolving.

Both pieces at times sound as though they were taken from a much larger whole, as though they were merely introductions to an epic trip through hazy territory. And yet, this time, Deupree went about exactly the other way round. Extracting a loop from “Worn” after it had been finished and slowing it down from 45rpm to 33, Deupree created an extended, 23-minute lullaby only available as a digital download. To some, this decision underlines the problematic aspects of a 7inch, which is forever bound to circle its own axis. And yet, this is also what lends it that peculiar and incomparable power. A whole life and endless stories are contained within this small space, just like a photographic snapshot can reveal an ocean of emotions. When I played Weather & Worn again last night, a real thunderstorm suddenly started to groan and rumble in the dark distance outside, offering coolness and release after a day of immense, claustrophobic heat. And there seemed nothing could be more wonderful than the short stretches of silence between the end of one side and the beginning of the next.

View Release