Ten years after his debut CD, "Stone Blind" (Intransitive, 1997), Howard Stelzer presents Bond Inlets, his first widely available solo cassette-tape composition. Stelzer, a Boston-based composer and sound artist, was never happy with his previous album and threw away most of the pressing as soon as it returned from the factory. He took the occasion of his label’s tenth anniversary to dissect the source sounds of that work and filter it through the lens of the interceding decade in order to build a piece that more accurately reflects what his intentions were then, and what his aesthetic is today.
"Bond Inlets" is a subtly emotional work of foreground drone that beats its head against the plastic walls of cassette-tape technology, laying bare the physicality of the process of its creation. The dying motors of ancient cassette players, tape-saturated percussion, and blown-out condenser-mic wail are mixed with elements of live tape improvisations and surreptitious field recordings taken in Stelzer’s neighborhood to create deep chasms of no-fidelity murk and evocative hiss. There is an implacable melancholy to Bond Inlets, with fragments of distant melodies that surface briefly only to be subsumed again into the grime.
Praise for "Bond Inlets":
“Rich, immersive piece with drama and detail aplenty. Hear this!” – Brian Olewnick, Just Outside
“…a large expanded dread. Like walking into a cave, the further you go into Bond Inlets the more the darkness spreads and impenetrable it may seem. But there is a calm to this material that never moves into predictable explosions of noise. This is my favorite stuff by Stelzer yet!” – The Fader
“Stelzer knows and likes his noise, that much seems to be clear, but unlike so many noise makers around, his main effect is not the pure wall of noise, but rather a full wall of sound, with small events happening on all levels. A great work this one that shows a much more mature composer and one that has been constant refining his work over the last decade to cook up this master piece.” – Vital Weekly
“Stelzer’s drones come in waves, long and slow, while the other gestures are bitty, percussive and often shrill, and are given salient structural impetus by their silent framing. As a structural system, this has real depth, and it lends itself well to observation as one approaches it from different points of view… a haggard melancholy is all pervasive; in the fleeting half-melodies, the warm though foreboding bass drones, and the fetishistic hiss—all so many residues of a living whirlwind that devours the darkness.” – e/i Magazine
“For all the gloomy imagery that Bond Inlets produces in the mind, it’s not an overly somber affair. The sound is dark in hue, but Stelzer’s most sinister storms are offset by segments of an almost relaxing (though still bleak) sonic drift.” – Dusted Magazine
“Consisting of a single electro-acoustic composition (in two distinct parts), Bond Inlets works a wide variety of source-material; from distant field-events, super low-end rumbling, and various anti-music lineage crackle and thump; all recorded via Stelzer’s main instrumental palette – handheld cassette recorders (whose hysteresis/heterodyning fingerprints can be heard throughout…). The piece is a veritable study in creaking morass; on part with the venerable crackle of The New Blockaders, as dense as the best David Jackman / Organum materials and one of Howie’s finest recorded moments. highly recommended !!!” – Keith Fullerton Whitman, Mimaroglu Music Sales
released January 1, 2008
Composed and recorded 2005 to 2007 at Intransitive - Cambridge, MA. Cassette tapes etc by HS, with a few moments of cello and electronics from Vic Rawlings. Photography and design by Mike Shiflet. Mastered by Ernst Karel.
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