Many of us are familiar with Opal Tapes, the multifaceted brainchild of Stephen Bishop. The synthesis of post-punk industrial sound-design with less abstract House and Techno has attracted a devoted following since the label’s humble beginnings in his Teesside bedroom. Leftfield, warped interpretations of these styles form the lion’s share of the label’s extensive catalogue, a subversive musical in-between that’s neither dance music, nor instrumental. Fuelled by Bishop’s own sustained loyalty to the cassette tape, Opal Tapes’ signature sound nostalgically revives this clunky medium’s whirring machinations, its faulty imperfection.
Somewhat less is known about ‘D Glare,’ whose one previous release on the label, ’68 Samples at 68 BPM for Phased Heads’ is packed with trance-inducing feedback. Apart from this, there is little information available, leaving only the music and its unassuming title. Their latest venture is nothing less: a 4-sided LP comprised of yawning, enveloping distortion. Drawn-out, granulated loops form the backbone of each side, with disintegrating sound textures that insist upon a sense of imperfection: drone-like, but not uniform, a tangible ambiguity pervades each 20-minute track. Less abstract musical forms (psychedelic guitar-chords, semi-muted symbols and snares) also make disjointed appearances. The listener remains adrift in a derelict soundscape, denied the consistency we are taught to expect from commercial genres. Later excursions into syncopating polyrhythms ebb and flow to give the album’s closing stages an organic quality, fluctuating in tangibility.
D Glare’s odyssey into this abstract environment is totally unique in that it consistently defies expectations: where it begins to seem instrumental, it escapes into the intangibility of drone-like monotones; where it begins to sound like common-or-garden electronica, it teases you with its innately human inconsistencies. Highly recommended listening from a truly individual label.
By Alex Davidson | Loose Lips
D Glare - 4 Oscillators & 130 Samples at 130 BPM (Opal Tapes) // Format: Limited edition cassette