Boomkat Product Review:
Opal Tapes' Basic House cracks out a trans-North Sea dialogue with Nina and Good News’ Hamburg-based V I S label, taking their carte blanche remit to commit an imposing selection of concrète chicanery, broken games consoles, electric razors and shortwave interceptions into six animalistic spells.
Starting out as a mixtape, Stephen Bishop aka Basic House’s natural predilection for textural complexity and encryption lead the project off on its own path into something much more difficult to define, perhaps best grasped as a bouquet of thistly representations of his North Eastern english psyche and the blurred boundaries of rolling moorland, sawn-off coastlines and stark, post-industrial landscapes that can’t help but influence his work.
The album’s last track, an inversion of the shipping forecast translated into MIDI and used to trigger samples of fog horns and ships horns, forms the most literal and immersive manifestation of that impressionist or even situationist aesthetic. For 9 minutes we’re bathed in a sound recalling the Souter Lighthouse Requiem as much as Ingram Marshall’s Fog Tropes or Jim Haynes’ “rusted” soundscapes, only much more somnolent and echoing the atmospheric haar of BM from the opposite side of the North Sea.
Using that as the key, the decayed grain and deathly rumble of the rest of the album’s collapsing contours and convolutions may be easier to get a dog grip on, as the spectral greyscale mass of Double XP calves scree into the deepwater harbour pressure of Season Pass 4 D-Nest, and the visceral gargle of A Cat With A Throat gives way to the lushly vicious attrition of Calc and Towers Of Simple with little recourse to conventional narration or syntax.
But then again, if you’re reading this and know Basic House’s music, you’re probably not looking for ease of use.