Sunday, January 24, 2016

Jen Gelineau // C.H.S. Split Cassette

Sam Hadge is becoming a big wig in the western Massachusetts alternative music scene. I go away for one Summer and he's running the place when I come back. He engineers and produces original music cassettes frequently besides going to many shows and videotaping them ala Ted Lee. Besides those busy activities, he also has procured some dynamic shows around the area. Tonight as I write this I am considering a trek to Amherst from Greenfield to see/hear some righteous sounds.

In the meantime, I will take this opportunity to exhort you all to acquire his latest release which is a split between Sam's project C.H.S., and Jenifer Gelineau. Believe me, it is worth more than Five Bucks.

It is hard to know what to write about Sam's side. All my superlatives have been used in other reviews too many times. I liked how it wasn't anything I expected. Hearing sounds and sound stories which I haven't heard before or imagined is the way I like to hear music. Sam maintained the surprised interest I like for the whole 30 minutes of his uninterrupted piece. I won't give away how he surprised me because !spoiler! right? Buy your own cassette.

At first I thought "annoying" but quickly, in that pleasant Stockholm Syndrome way, I became a complete convert to determined noise message he was sending. Occasionally, he pulsated differently, adding a surprise which I found pleasing. These were not necessary and I often wondered if there was really anywhere else to go with his palate of sounds and there always was. There was always a new level to explore and I was happy to do that. During the third or fourth surprising level of change, the music made me stop eating the spicy stir fry David had made and sit up straight, as if I needed to be sure of what I heard. "It sounds like sound powder-sharp pieces of powder raining sideways." I ventured, trying to describe the sounds in words. He nodded, dumbfounded. We kept listening avidly until the end of the cassette clicked finished.

Jenifer asked me to listen to her side a week or 2 before she submitted it to Sam. I gave a few critiques and asked some questions but basically said Ready to Go. A month or two later she told me the cassette release had dropped and I asked her if she had made any changes. She said yes so of course I was not interested in hearing the new version.

Being a great friend, I paid the five dollars and bought her cassette. It was rewound to Sam's side so we listened to that first. The next day I played Jen's side.

Enough time had gone by that I don't even know what the difference was between her first version and this final. I have seen her play live a few times recently and I found her recording to be a departure from her live performances, which I was glad to hear. I love the unexpected. Her 30 minute set was divvied up into 3 movements. At times it sounded like the perfect compliment to Sam's side, with its persistent hum and cry. I would used the word industrial but I abhor the general cliche. There were times I felt like I was hearing what a pet hears in the airplane's cargo hold but also what seemed like animal screams. Overall, it sounded more organic when she played violin, like an animal's screams and moans, all conducted with occasional flourishes and thundering.