Swayzak member James Taylor is the man behind the Lugano Fell curtain but don't let that fact mislead you: Slice Repair sounds nothing like the kind of song-based tech-house Taylor produces in his other, better-known group setting. Having spent twelve years producing Swayzak music, Taylor found himself itching to do something different and the experimental, found-sound world of Slice Repair (which was, in fact, compiled from two CD-Rs released during 2008-2009) is the result. Taylor builds his collages using a multitude of treated and untreated sound sources, some natural (guitar, piano, organ) and computer-based (Apple MacBook, Garage Band, Ableton Live) and many sampled from objects (springs, hair twisters, telephone pickup, table, dental spitton insert, 9-volt battery).
That the solo project will be different from his regular gig is confirmed immediately when “Bleaker” begins the set with three minutes of shuddering electronic-ambient sounds. In “Slope,” a squealing whir waywardly skates over a glutinous mass of textures and guitar strums. A relatively quiet setting by comparison, “Vallory” at times suggests the magnified murmur of an insect sleeping within a field of creaks and scratchy noise textures, while “Hofnah” sounds like the industrial exhalations of clock mechanisms.
Some of the album material calls to mind the Oval of old (not the one heard on the recent O). Just as material by early Oval was populated by distressed noise-making, electronic glitches, hyperactive thrum and stutter, and distorted clicks deployed as rhythm elements, so too are a number of Slice Repair's tracks teeming with similar sounds. And also like Oval, Taylor shows that one can find beauty in even the noisiest experimental setting. That connection comes most fully to the fore during the album's longest piece, “Two Hundred Clocks and a Metre,” which pairs shards of plucked and strummed acoustic guitar with a skipping CD player for fourteen dizzying minutes. The towering cyclone of stutter that results from the pairing plays like some direct homage to the Oval project. Listeners longing for new material in the vein of Szenariodisk and Ovalprocess could do worse than turn their attention to Slice Repair.