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The Telescopes - Hungry Audio Tapes (Hungry Audio)

1989 and I'm merrily spinning the volume dial so that The Telescope's chaotic, spitting noise rattles round the room, filling in the gaps with its shrieking post JAMC/Spacemen/Valentines power. Move on seventeen years and The Telescopes are still creating powerful music, but its infinitely more controlled. The blustering feedback-fired chords and screamed lyrics have been replaced with pulsating, abstract washes of sound, and again I'm twisting the volume dial, listening hard, trying to pinpoint the place where The Telescopes severed their musical mooring ropes and set themselves adrift. Their new mini album 'Hungry Audio Tapes' suggests a world come to the end of time, a place where inanimate objects are all that's left in an uninhabitable wasteland and music rises as static from a dead planet's surface, the true sound of secret machines.

Despite the shapeshifting chaos and form-free soundscaping, The Telescopes' music is delicately crafted. It's not really 'ear-bleed' as the press release would have it, a term that suggests superficial distress caused by surface noise. This goes deeper, it's more insidious, music that slyly draws you close, making you listen hard, picking out individual fragments, following one chain of sound until it dissolves into another; disorientating, chilling.

The drone and warp of 'Another Sky' (a Krautrock nod to Can's 'Mother Sky'?) is the eerie melancholic keening of abandoned machinery, Suicide's 'Rocket USA' played through an electricity sub-station. Over drifting Godspeed! You atmospherics 'Household Objective #2' burrs with the monstrous purring breaths of some mechanical appliance that's taken on a life of its own. The intoning voices of 'Winter #7' sound leached of vitality, but there is a glimmer of humanity and warmth to the track thanks to the traces of brass that slide through its tolling bleakness, as if Miles Davis is trapped beneath creaking sheets of ice, playing 'Sketches of Spain' for a frozen world. Most unsettling is 'Demon Landscape', the sound of absolute alone-ness; the furred rattle of white noise over a dead radio or electromagnetic interference rippling through the atmosphere. The track ends with looped noise that could be the sound of rushing water or the non-sound of pure nothingness echoing in your ears.

To end, The Telescopes look to their beginnings. 'The Perfect Needle' always had a certain stately grace about it, but where once it elegantly swirled, 'Perfect Needle #4' now floats, muted, on a fathomless undertow of barely-there bass that's more sensed than truly heard. It's like catching an echo of the song from aeons ago still drifting in deep space, the words 'It hurts too much to be where you are' a final explanation beamed in from the other side.

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