BEE MASK: Elegy For Beach Friday (Spectrum Spools)


Posted on Aug 2nd 2011 01:40 am

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Bee Mask: Elegy For Beach Friday

Elegy For Beach Friday
Spectrum Spools 2011
11 Tracks. 48mins45secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP US: CD | LP Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

Following a string of CDR and cassette releases published over the best part of the last decade, Bee Mask landed on Editions Mego’s sister label Spectrum Spools, curated by Emeralds’ John Elliott, with a stunning LP, Canzoni Dal Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico earlier this year. While the album had originally appeared on cassette a few months earlier on Seattle-based Gift Tapes, the Spectrum Spools release gave Bee Mask a much wider exposure. Barely a few months later, Spectrum Spools deliver an album of material recorded between 2003 and 2010 and originally published on very limited cassette or CDR series.

Bee Mask is the project of Chris Madak, a musician hailing from Cleveland, OH, currently based in Philadelphia, PA, who has, since his first releases back in 2006, operated on a somewhat artisanal scale, with some of his early work made available in editions of six. The release of Canzoni… on Spectrum Spools got much attention and established Madak’s strong musical identity with just two evolutive electronic pieces, harking back to the sprawling experiments of the Krautrock movement. Elegy For Beach Friday considerably broadens this scope. Recorded within a seven year period, the tracks collected here have been carefully selected by Madak himself, and re-edited and remastered especially for the occasion.

While much shorter than the two fourteen minute pieces that made up Canzoni…, the tracks on this album show the same taste for elegant textures and complex evolutive structures. Even at its barest and most minimal, Madak’s music remain incredibly detailed and layered. Most of the pieces here deal with drones, applied in various forms, from processed noise components (Fallen Tree Thursday And The Half-Crushed Arc Of The Sky Taking Tea In The Pastoral Index, … So That We Each Wander Through A True Elysium) or somber electronic soundwaves (Askion Kataskion Lix Tetrax Damnameneus Aision) to treated guitars (The Book Of Stars Vibrating), arid electronic textures (Deducted From Your Share In Paradise, Causes And Cures) and kaleidoscopic soundscapes (Stop The Night), but this would be reducing the span of this record greatly to simply acknowledge these without noting any of the miniature electronics which scintillate through most of the record, whether these are given prominence or are pushed deep into the backdrop. None of these compositions are ever static in any way. Instead, Madak calls upon an incredibly varied set of tools to build up his pieces, at times by slowly building a composition from the ground up (Deducted…, Fallen Tree…), at others by doing the exact opposite, stripping it down continuously, removing its coarse outer layers to reveal a much smoother core (Askion Kataskion…, Elegy For Beach Friday). On How To Live In A Smashed State, Madak pushes this to a very different level as he dips resonating bells in a bubbling bath of electronic squelches.

To add to the hypnotic aspect of these sonic structures, the tracks often blend pretty seamlessly into one another to create compact units lasting a whole side. This however works slightly differently to the tracks from Canzoni... While these were made up of clearly identifiable sections, Madak purposely places his tracks so they contrast enough from each other to retain their own identity. This said, the fluid stream generated by this process is extremely effective and contributes greatly to the overall dreamy aspect of the record.

The tracks of Elegy For Beach Friday may have been created over a long period of time, but they have been especially selected to show a different side of Chris Madak’s work. This album feels surprisingly consistent considering its make up, and this is a testament to Madak’s maturity as a musician and sound artist.


Bee Mask | Spectrum Spools
Amazon UK: CD | LP US: CD | LP Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

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