Boomkat Product Review:
**Keening microtonal drone explorations and slow, shapeshifting industrial/electro-acoustic structures recalling work by Ilpo Vaisanen or Ketev. C46 tape housed in oversized case with pro-printed J-card. Edition of 30 includes instant download dropped in your account**
"Taking an immediate left step from the crystalline beauty of ‘Soft Focus’, composer Peter J Taylor has amassed 40 minutes of roiling, gaseous and slow moving nocturnal dread with his second recording under the School House moniker, titled ‘Herd’. The electro-acoustic properties and micro-tonal investigations from his debut have now been refocused and made recognisably more menacing, adding multi-layered guitar textures and clinically cold beats to eek shards of clarity in the otherwise dungeoned atmospheres. Opener ‘Perceivable Attraction’ is propelled by a surgically skeletal rhythm that acts as trail through a haze of oscillating sine tones that helicopter round the mix like some infected digital insect. A distant saxophone makes a forlorn crescendo, marking a downturn into near subliminal soundscape work that envokes the detailed silences of Richard Chartier and Steve Roden. ‘Water Surface’ glowering dub is the most rhythmic on the record and can be envisioned played through multiple monstrous speaker systems to a district of empty warehouses, scuttling debris and industrial waste. A muted horn pad hovers round precise clips of static that to and fro with propulsive drum programming. The track is gutted halfway through to allow Taylor to explore the timbre qualities of each specific drum sound whilst never taking sight of the movements that make the head nod, making its drop back into the main theme all the more infectious. Album centre piece ‘We Came From This Wasteland’ offers little reprieve from the overall disquiet of the record, as glimmering showers of tones that radiate with the type of warmth of Wolfgang Voight’s acclaimed GAS project are bookend by further introverted soundscapes. Closer ‘Persona’ is fittingly the most grandiose of the four pieces, beginning with sheets of dissonant saxophone that entwine and retract in waves of moonlit melancholy. A cavernous deep beat shudders it way in as the samples of saxophone and multitrack guitar begin to swell in an ecstatic choral high point. Again, Taylor eviscerates the melodic elements to leave just the sparse reverb of drums, slowly bringing in mechanised snarls of feedback which reach tinnitus inducing levels. With ‘Herd’, Taylor has made an assured and methodical continuation of the minimalist aesthetic which made his previous release Soft Focus so well received, importantly reconfiguring his music making process to detail a more derelict and darkened vision of ambience that provides far more drama and weight in its well-timed use of tension and release."