Review of Monocoastal (10th Anniversary Vinyl Edition) [12k2050]

Zen Sounds (DE)

Musician and visual artist Marcus Fischer came up in the Los Angeles indie music scene, then moved to Olympia, Washington and finally Portland, Oregon, where he resides to this day. A drummer by trade, he employed tape loops, electronics, field recordings and acoustic instruments to create his first solo full-length “Monocoastal”.

The compositions unfold extremely slowly on a base layer of noise and hissing textures that imitate the steady washes of ocean waves. There’s guitars – acoustic and electric ones – and other instruments, some of them found by chance, in public or abandoned spaces, others self-built and nameless. The music appears as if it was recorded on cassettes baked in the afternoon sun for years, sounding every bit as hazy and blurred as the original cover photo, taken on expired Polaroid film.

If there’s one specific album that fully encompasses the 12k sound, it’s probably this one. First released in the same year as “Shoals”, it features some of the Oval-type glitches characteristic of the early label catalogue. But there’s a transcending analogue warmth in those bittersweet, improvised-sounding melodies as well, one that would prove crucial for the decade ahead.

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