To say that Houston has one of the strongest experimental scenes going in America right now would perhaps be the understatement of the century at this point, considering it has been growing and evolving seemingly uninterupted for nearly half a century since Red Krayola stumbled into existence in the mid-60′s. Outside of the more notable characters to those of us in the international post-industrial spotlight — including classic artists like Richard Ramirez (Black Leather Jesus, Werewolf Jerusalem) and Jandek to relative newcomers Moths and Chiasma — there is a wealth of artists whom are criminally overlooked by many of us outside of the Houston area. Though some may argue, one of those artists, for us, is the gentleman simply known as Domokos. Domokos has steadily been solidifying a name for himself in noise history, along with Ramirez, since the 1980′s when Rusted Shut was founded. Later he would become part of the psych rock outfit Indian Jewelry, and eventually his multi-faceted path would lead him through his solo alias, A Pink Cloud, and leave him here upon evolving with the experimental industrial project Future Blondes which, prior to this LP, has seen releases from Robert & Leopold, Skrot Up, Free Loving Anarchists, and Dull Knife Records.
“Feather 17″ is a difficult release to decipher. For the listener, there is little in the way of emotion or exoteric concepts to grasp onto other than the abstract. Still, there are plenty of rhythmic industrial and (some) pop sensibilities left over as fragments in the structure of the tracks, and Side B, specifically, hints at remnants of a spiritual/ancestral infusion from the artist from his days as A Pink Cloud, interestingly enough in the Hungarian language. Of course, outside of the abstract and Domokos himself, there are still contibutors to Feather 17 that help inhabit its crooked, abstruse, looping paths with textures of their own personalities, all of which are unfortunately either operating under an alias or as simply unknown. Regardless, it is still Domokos’ unique style that comes out from behind the industrialized rhythms that pulsate, almost infinitely, throughout the entirety of “Feather 17″ — rhythms that, purposely or not, leave a bit of a cold nostalgia at the table in the end.
The opening track, “Synth 1″, represents exactly that — a cold, textbook description of the music that lies within. This is the most ambient of the three featured tracks, utilizing a modestly dark atmosphere and industrial intricacies to create a droning, tidal synth track which evolves with the help of subtle noise texturing and a cavernous fluctuating tone. This creation eventually finds a building rhythm and turns into “Feather 17 (Love and Destruction)” before long. This title track takes on the same atmospheric role as its predecessor, but retains a noticeably more psych tendency because of the unintelligible vocal performance that seems every bit as fractured and fragmented as Domokos’ own writing when it involves this project. “Fehe’r A Tuz (Finom A Ve’red)”, the lengthy track inhabiting the entirety of Side B, is a Hungarian title which loosely translates to something like “White Fire” and seems to hint at being inspired by a depressive poem by the same name that was written by the 20th century Hungarian poet Attila József. The mood surrounding the track doesn’t mesh well with the poem, so perhaps it is a coincidence. Nonetheless, it gives this album a much-needed, albeit minimal, intellectual boost and helps to pry it away from its cold industrial foundations just a bit.
In the end, figuring out where I am at with “Feather 17″ on a critical level was almost as difficult as deciphering the music itself. There’s so little to grasp on to with it that it almost seems beyond understanding in some ways. Of course, as is often the case with experimental music, the composer usually offers up a blank canvas that he textures only for himself, allowing the listener to conduct its meaning as they see fit. In that sense, it’s a strong effort, and based purely on structure, “Feather 17″ is flawlessly performed and its loop-plagued foundation is a strong basis for the compositions.
A1) Synth 1
A2) Feather 17 (Love and Destruction)
B1) Fehe’r a tuz (Finom a Ve’red)