A Story of Rats: Relinquishment

Relinquishment presents two cassette sides of gothic dronescaping from A Story of Rats, otherwise known as Seattle-based multimedia artist Garek Druss. Straight up, the material's haunted in the best way possible, with Druss serving up some seriously disturbed kosmische shudder just in time to make one's skin crawl. Each composition weighs in at about sixteen minutes, with Druss using synthesizers, harmonium, melodica, voice, and electronics to generate his undertow and pulling guitar by Matthew Merris into the fray on side two. The instruments' sounds meld into a scabrous mass on the first side, while the second's phantom voices and metallic guitar pulsations generate a slow-moving drift that's more peaceful than harrowing. Listening to FSS's first ever cassette release (a one-time edition of 100 copies, though FSS digital subscribers will receive wav files of the album's tracks) thus proves to be no Merzbow-like test of endurance, but a veritably pain-free, even soothing exercise, as Relinquishment 's nuanced settings fall, much to this listener's satisfaction, on the understated side of the equation.

April 2011