Recommended Listening: Tender Crust - FS100
A big ol' congratulatory shout-out to Full Spectrum Records, who celebrates their 100th release this Friday. Woot woot! Across 12 years, the noisy NC label has amplified so many excellent sound artists, and they're still cranking out quality releases today. I mean, shit, so far in 2021 we've already highlighted Lucy Liyou's Practice and dumped these two cuts into our SOTY reservoir:
Now, to commemorate this impressive milestone, Full Spectrum's creative nucleus (who performs as "Tender Crust") is releasing the aptly-titled FS100. Due to the pandemic, Gretchen Korsmo, Carl Ritger, and Andrew Weathers jigsawed FS100 remotely over the course of several months, and the nature of this collaboration allowed the three-piece to reach out to other members of the extended FS family for contributions. The result is a sprawling 100-minute sound collage, with an intermission to split the two movements. Both longform pieces are unique, but together they showcase what makes Full Spectrum so special.
The first movement runs just about 58 minutes (!!!) so make sure that you've got a good chunk of uninterrupted time to take it all in. Insect drones open the composition, but the collage also features birds, frogs, human conversation, and...sheep? Listening closely, you will eventually pick out footsteps and rushing water, as one might hear on an autumnal tromp through the woods. But the first movement is not just layered field recordings. Strings and synths swell in and out of the track, adding light melody to the journey. These first 58 minutes have a warm aura and the track teems with life.
By contrast, the second movement feels dark and much colder. Crows open the track, so it's not devoid of life, but they soon fade away to clinks, drips, and tinks. About halfway into the 42-minute movement, a distorted wall of sound begins to build, and behind it you can barely catch a distressed vocal hiss. That summertime walk on side A? Yeah, it's veered off path, and nighttime is now creeping in. Eerie squeals eventually close the second movement, all sounds snuffed out. This track may feel unsettling opposite FS100's first half, but both movements together capture the scope of the label's sonic curiosities.
FS100 is out on May 7th through Full Spectrum's Bandcamp page as a digital download, so check it out this Friday. And hey, here's to another 100 releases of noisy goodness.