Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Nov. 21, 2014
Smokey EmerySoundtracks for Invisibility, Vol. III: Qui Mal y Pense (Holodeck)
Surrounded by a patchwork of recently antiquated playback devices, Houston-born vagabond Smokey Emery (aka Daniel Hipolito) summons wave after harrowing wave of impending cataclysm with his adroit tape manipulation. Initially released in 2011, this cassette-reissued third volume of Emery's Soundtracks for Invisibility series was recorded over four years in Austin and San Francisco. Disorientation is the stated theme of this highly evocative ambient noisescape. Accordingly, the mélange of dessicated instrumentation and scavenged sound comes cut, looped, mixed, and pitch-shifted to the point of nearly unrecognizable. Definitely not music that stays in the background or encourages party banter. Instead, Qui Mal y Pense (Anglo-Norman for "Who Thinks Evil of It") functions as a set-piece for contemplating dark voids of every hue. Close your eyes as "02" unspools and it's easy to envision the low-end growl of foghorns warning fighter jets in the skies above or atomic submarines being twisted apart in slow motion on the sea floor. There's a last-gasp quality to "The Room Falls Away," its glacial basslines melting into a swirling eddy of oblivion. Despite assuming the mantle of invisibility, the gradually unfolding drama of Emery's elongated meditations demands attention.