Absurd Cosmos Late Nite – 2016-17 [2CD]

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Absurd Cosmos Late Nite – 2016-17 [2CD]


Label: Index Clean

Year: 2017

Format: 2CD

Mark Groves’ most recent project treats us to an addictive format that imparts the sensation of tuning into a strange and beguiling radio broadcast, complete with bed music that often evokes the limp jazz and new age indigenous to the modern open air shopping mall experience—but in a good way. Ever fallen in and out of sleep while listening to a worn out tape of Chris Morris’ Jam? Each track presents a fuzzily rendered aural animation, synthesized from sources such as petty restaurant, product, and shop reviews; ad copy and radio nonsense; tidbits gleaned from staring at tabloids while waiting in the checkout line; the brief snippets of dialogue from passersby that seem solely for your benefit. The tipsy backing tracks have a warped in-the-room quality, peppered with stumbling piano and some shuffling rhythm box. The results are as relaxing as they are funny and disorienting. When delivered from a pleasantly dosed voice, consumer grievances are disarmed and snake-charmed into a neutral state. Omnipresent, bitter, smug online grousing that makes the internet a wasteland is magically transformed, encased in amber, doused in soft blue lights, and placed on a rotating pedestal. From where I stand, this is a crafty backdoor approach to creating so-called ambient music that exists comfortably outside the confines of sleepy field recordings and held synth chords. Overt instances of humor are not too hard to find—“Cool Ranch”, complete with dueling chip munching, is bizarrely hilarious and plays like the tape music version a rap skit. It’s difficult to sidestep the superficial similarities between the general getup of Absurd Cosmos Late Night and the muted backdrop, tight delays, and sputtering consonants of Robert Ashley’s Automatic Writing; however, more significant comparisons could be drawn to Ashley’s later works like Dust and Concrete, where street talk and banal chatter are finessed into carefully metered librettos. ACLN falls somewhere in between, as it’s neither stream of consciousness, nor is it meticulously locked into tight patterns or rhythms. The pacing of the text is similar to the way anecdotes are conveyed over meals, replete with long pauses for a swig of Farmers Union (check me out, learning about other cultures!). What’s especially fun is the way we’re ushered along between autonomous supersize song length tracks, almost always delightfully punctuated by the reels firing up or coming to a halt. I’ve listened to these tapes more times than I can count, so to have them all here in one place ripe for overindulgence is an affordable luxury. Five stars.

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A two compact disc collection of Absurd Cosmos Late Nite cassettes and live material. Vinyl style gatefold sleeve with 4 panel insert. Photographs by Xavier Irvine. Mastered by Joe Talia. Dedicated to AG Picks.


1-01 Dental Records

1-02 Night Sweats

1-03 Farmers Union

1-04 Cool Ranch

1-05 Didn't Turn Out

1-06 A Special Lack

1-07 Swallow Up

1-08 Your Holy Man

2-01 Clean This Mess Up

2-02 Misty Night Time

2-03 There In His Place

2-04 Jolly Roger

2-05 Papa Say

2-06 The Change Of The Guard



Disc 1
Tracks 1 - 4 originally released as IC-003 in 2016
Tracks 5 - 8 originally released as IC-004 ‘The White Drifters’ in 2016

Disc 2
Tracks 1 - 4 originally released as nicemusic011 ‘Lost Wages’ in 2016
Track 5 recorded live to air at 3RRR for O’Tomorrow on Wednesday 28 September 2016
Track 6 recorded live at LongPlay, Fitzroy Thursday 19 January 2017