Boomkat Product Review:
An amazing selection of works by American composer Robert Ashley, Alga Marghen's release The Wolfman compiles tape music from 1957 to 1964.
The earliest composition is 'The Fox' a stuttering, half-broken recording of a story being read out with a creepy delivery by Ashley. The broken tape sequences are somehow tinted by darkness - a fragmented, discordant flow of sound that can barely prepare the listener for 1964's 'The Wolfman', a scouringly ferocious noise piece that rivals anything you'd hear in modern times from Wolf Eyes, Prurient or even Merzbow.
It's just incredible, and almost impossible to place within the wider context of music being made in sixties America - you really have to hear it. As an accompaniment, 'The Wolfman Tape' takes away the vocal elements of the recording, resulting in a more subdued collage excursion. Finally comes the three-quarter-hour piece 'The Bottleman', conceived as a soundtrack to a George Manupelli film. This hollowed out drone work is a deeply subtle exploration of tonality, quietly plotting out a tundra-like sonic plain with an eerie sense of harmonic fluctuation.
It's a breathtakingly good conclusion to an album that reveals a visionary figure in electronic music - one you may never have encountered previously, but whose output should be regarded as being of immense historical value. Very highly recommended.