Info David Tagg - Waist Deep Seas of Milk 
"Waist Deep Seas of Milk"
by David Tagg
Second Sun Recordings (SSRCD-07)
"Waist Deep Sea 1"
"Waist Deep Sea 4"
"Waist Deep Sea 2 (extract)"


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fn issue October 2011
'N-Plants' - Biosphere
'Sky Snails' - The Electric Golem
'Echo Park' - Willamette
'Gramophone Transmissions' - Broken Harbour
'Negative Space' - Blue Sausage Infant
'Home Patterning' - compilation
'Polychromatic Integers' - Richard Lainhart
'Generate Records' - compilation
'Sung In Broken Symmetry' - Aquarelle



Novelist Romain Rolland once wrote to Freud of a feeling he believed all religious sentiment was founded on: “[...] a sensation of ‘eternity’, a feeling of something limitless, unbounded - as it were ‘oceanic’... a feeling of an indissoluble bond, of being one with the external world.” Leaving God aside, there's something similarly metaphysical in the eternalism of Waist Deep Seas of Milk and its ocean of sound. David Tagg, looking where beyond the sea lies the stars, has seen The Future of Modern Guitar. And this sonic seer's astral projections are sumptuously spread across the ambient expanses of Waist Deep Seas..., though all trace of twang, pluck and strum is dissolved in FX haze and spun out in endless echo returns. Second Sun Recordings, label baby of Tagg and sidekick Brian Grainger/Milieu, deals in diverse forms of guitar-based music. Tagg's one of a new breed of 'popular' (i.e. not avant garde) experimentalists who've gathered up the remains of the ambient day into a kind of backwoods lo-fi naturalism (note WDSoM is "performed completely live on two reel-to-reels"); an affiliation of kindred spirits who've retreated to their analog-cabins, like the 80s/90s bedroom raiders of the lost ARP (er... ok, Casio), reclaiming popular music-making from being crushed by the wheels of industry, tramelled by technology, finding renewal through more intimate connections, more physical devices.
As for musical orientation, a rich Eno-vein flows through WDSoM, communing with the more spatial areas of post-rock (or perhaps the more post- areas of space rock), distilled till all rock contamination is removed. The legacy of long-format drone, deep listening, and minimalism is detectable too, though the names of The Theatre of Eternal Music, Pauline Oliveros and Phill Niblock may mean less to tyro Tagg than, say, Spacemen 3 and Stars of the Lid. Tagg’s tones take liberties with the ADSR envelope, abstaining from attack, denying decay, stretching sustain and release.
Less in abstraction than remotion, the instrument's resonances, liberated by some adaptation of Eno's intermediate technologies of tape delay system (or perhaps of its precursor, Terry Riley's Time Lag Accumulator), are drawn out into long swathes of swell and swoop. The dynamic is one of outfolding, downwards - towards more cavernous depths-sounding, outwards - into wide open creamy washes, and upwards – into stratospheric timbral elevations. Tagg's is an infinite guitar extending in a mellifluous ooze across WDSoM's 50 minutes, sliced into distinct sections, loosely characterisable as compositions - choreographing layers to unearth buried harmonies. Six seas are formed, distinguished by numbers, signalling variations in sound and feel of their dronal contours. Between the gorgeous swells of "WDS 1" and the blissful billows of "WDS 4" the eerie cloudbanks and high-end keenings of the 16-minute "WDS 2" are to be navigated. "WDS 6", resonating with memories of its steel-stringed ancestor suspended in its morphed descendants' translucent loop-blur, finds an intermission for this engrossing staging of a new theatre of eternal music. Press repeat, and the endlessness begins again.

Review by Alan Lockett

 

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