This is alien music. Go watch ’Forbidden Planet’ (1956) again if you don’t believe me. Local plug-swapping, tape-tampering, circuit-bending trio TRIODE have started their own label and released this space-music gem as a holy offering to the mighty tape-head god. STICKY HEAD SYNDROME simultaneously titles their label, this album and a disease of magnetic tape recordings. As one might expect, therefore, ‘hiss’ plays a component integral to the compositions here, leaving impressions of late night short-wave explorations and ionospheric flux.
Track 1, ‘Cross Field Heads pt.1’ most closely parallels the pioneering work of Louis and Bebe Barron (soundtrack artists for ‘Forbidden Planet’ and early electronic music pioneers). This is likely due to TRIODE’s related methodology of building sound generators the old-fashioned way, and then torturing them to death with electricity. On track 2, ‘Transparency Deceives’, the feeling is very radio, with lots of falling escalades as though a meteor shower was causing interference. Is that a sign of intelligent life in the universe I hear, or is it a bug crawling on my antenna? On Track 3, ‘Cross Field Heads pt.2’, we return planetside for further alien musicology. The last track, ‘Magnetospheric Shadow Two’, measures radiation in a variety of waveforms and closes the album continuing the feel of certain 50’s-70’s soundtrack music, particularly the spacier scenes.
Despite there being three minds at the wheel, the works on this album do not feel crowded. A lot of attention must have been spent on the precision of each component. TRIODE members Peter Gumaskas, Stephen Bonner and Jesse Cousineau can sometimes be found performing or curating experimental performances over at WEIRDO RECORDS in the ‘Monday Series’ there. Keep an ear out for ’em.