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Fossil Aerosol Mining Project, "Revisionist History"

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cover imageThe enigmatic Fossil Aerosol Mining Project have somehow managed to retain their anonymity in the eight years since the project was reactivated.  With this, their consistency in presenting long lost audio recordings (or excellent forgeries of them) in a new and reconstructed context has not waned in the slightest, and this second release this year (the other being digital-only) keeps that mystery alive and fascinating.

Afterdays Media/Helen Scarsdale Agency

Revisionist History is actually a two-plus hour work, consisting of the full length CD and an additional nine pieces (Revisionist History Volume 2) downloadable with an included code.  The material on the physical portion of the release is comprised of new compositions that utilize previous work from the group’s expansive past as a source material, while the downloadable portion is more explicitly based in revisiting and reworking older compositions.

Because of that the CD based material has the more fleshed out and diverse sound to it when comparing the two.  The FAMP sound is in full effect, however:  layers of decaying audio tape mixed with bizarre studio treatments and processing.  In many of these cases though, the band(?) straddles that line between noise and music extremely well.  A piece such as "Napthol Impermanence" is an example of this:  shimmering sounds and what may be an actual synthesizer underscoring the more dissonant moments well.  There are simple melodies also to be heard within the clattering noises and field recordings of “Filtered By Limestone” as well.

At other points on the album what sounds like existing music is used as a source, destroyed and manipulated into oblivion.  What best sounds like ancient recordings of strings and music boxes lurk below the surface of "Vestigial Sideband", but seemingly rotting below layers of organic static and warm crackles of decay.  A similar sense appears on “Mistranslated Practices”, as expansive electronic passages lay beneath crunchy loops and disorientating production, with fragments of radio communication adding to the confusion.  On "Squatters at the Launch Facility", FAMP uses the piece’s nearly 16 minute duration well, first blending voices and field recordings with rhythmic loops, building complexity and variation.  It has a cyclic structure to it, but the layers pile up atop each other wonderfully to just disintegrate at the conclusion.

The downloadable portion supposedly consists of previous works revisited (of which I have not heard the originals of), but it could just as easily be entirely new material.  The sound is consistent with the physical portion, capturing an array of textures, found recordings, and rotting magnetic tape and reshaping them into complex collages that bear little resemblance to how they began.  It seems as if the treatments of this older material were more restrained, however, and so the sound lacks a bit of the complexity of the newer material.  This would make sense if the group is reworking material dating back to the mid 1980s, however.

Fossil Aerosol Mining Project's sound is one that has been well established in their recent spate of releases, and Revisionist History is another strong entry.  The music is murky, weird, and at times uncomfortable, which is exactly what the mysterious group intends I suppose.  As it stands, it is a wonderful collage of crackling textures, mutated tones, and a motivation to decode the sounds as much as possible, though I have had little success doing that myself.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 02 October 2016 22:54  


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