Boomkat Product Review:
An album so visual you can practically touch it, 'A Magnetic Road to Hell' is a hypnotic unwinding of vastly different universes - chopped and manipulated field recordings shredded by instrumental squeaks as animal sounds fuzz into radio static. Spannered, in the best way.
Argentinian field recordist Bardo Todol (aka Pablo Picco) is well known for his surrealist tape collages, often put together with his brother Nico and their Córdoba associates. Robert Millis has an even more knotty past: a co-founder of legendary Seattle duo Climax Golden Twins, he's released music everywhere from Sublime Frequencies to Helen Scarsdale Agency, working in so many different bands it's hard to keep track. "A Magnetic Road To Hell" was recorded over the last couple of years, and the two artists traded sounds they collected independently in Córdoba, Seattle, and Mexico: radio transmissions, 78rpm records, broken instruments, children's stories, birdsong, drums, basically anything was considered, and only the most textured expressions made it to the final mix.
Honestly the record's depth is startling; a cursory listen might reveal little, maybe a few tweaked field recordings or unstable loops might catch your ear. But listen closely and you begin to perceive so much it's like gobbling a full dose of acid and staring at coral for an hour. Both artists have an outsized understanding of the power of not just sound, but texture itself. So the recording of an instrument might be just as important as the instrument's actual timbre - the tape hiss, the vinyl crackle, the radio static, all this is valued just as highly as the scrape of strings or the chatter of children. Picco and Millis don't make journalistic recordings though, they're not trying to introduce us to particular sonic landscape or even recreate a phantasmagorical fourth world, they're playing with sound and place to evoke wonder, wake up perception and help us work out what it is we actually want from concréte experimentation.