This beautifully designed two-tape set, Ohio Volume One, was curated by David Russell and Wyatt Holland (of Skin Graft), with the respective sides of each tape divided up by region: Dayton, Cleveland, Columbus, and “other.” In terms of packaging, the only unique part that requires mentioning is that the information sheet for Ohio Volume One has been printed on to a separate lovely little piece of vellum.
Going into to this compilation, I had already listened to, traded with, or seen a number of these individuals perform live sets, so it was nice to have acquired some direct context to realizing the nature of their geography to one another.
I have to say, comparatively speaking, the Dayton side of the first tape absolutely kills it on this compilation. Here, you’ll find Shredded Nerve’s vocal tape manipulations paired with synth drone on “Feel It Fading,” more of Developer’s manic cut-up harsh noise and field recordings, and some excellent examples of Midwestern musique concrète. Being keeps things uptempo and intense with his reflection on the death of self by self-portrait with the track “Selfie,” which is coincidentally the best recorded piece of Being that I’ve had the opportunity to hear so far. Inbreeder utilizes tape manipulation and loops over some beats for his part, eventually allowing vocals to kick in on “Pleasure Before the Torture.” This side of the two-tape collection alone is a great gathering of interesting, geographically similar projects that sound nothing alike.
Opening up the Cleveland side, Collapsed Arc does some of my favorite work with short, fast loops that build and disintegrate at different rates and intervals; piano recordings and tape loops call and respond in a closed circuit here. Witchbeam drops a decent track of minimal, almost ritualistic drone inside synth tones with a plodding pace, while Plague Mother pulls all the seams apart at the edges of your speaker with his raw, constant harsh layers that battle one another for supremacy. Then there’s Blackfire, whose tape on 5nakefork I hated so much that a publication wouldn’t let me print it for fear of my life and what repercussions could come from the Ohio mafia. This track, however, is actually great and somehow still sounds like that horrible tape though with more creepy-crawly vibes. The sounds on this side certainly do their damage, infesting its audience with a Midwestern miasma.
Columbus isn’t an area that I’ve had much contact with, although I do have some works from David Reed, Mark Van Fleet, and Ryan Jewell in my tape collection. Reed’s Envenomist project seems to have morphed into Imvixor. The project features the same mournful synth landscapes as many of his other exceptional projects. John Also Bennett’s track of Tangerine Dream-style improvisations with a fish tank is a hushed affair of small sounds and synth swells that suggests a humid landscape with wide-open spaces. Mark Van Fleet does a nice sped-up tape-music piece that is a high-point of the whole compilation. Ryan Jewell’s painfully short piece of musique concrète (at a duration of just 2:40) leaves me wishing the composition had lasted just a bit longer, though C. Kirkendall follows it up as the opener for the “other” side with the curiously short “The Road Is a Bad Place to Fall Asleep,” which lasts a mere twenty-six seconds.
Ohio Volume One is a great compilation, not just for its focus or the quality of the creations contained within, but for its sheer variety. Regional compilations are assuredly well-loved by many and this is a solid example of why: fine design, invested curators, uniform focus, etc. The collection represents a nice juxtaposition of the weirder experimental action against the more in-your-face harsh material.
A1) Collapsed Arc – On a Frozen Lake
A2) Witchbeam – Ohio Oo-ee-oo
A3) Plague Mother – Arsenal Station, Harvest Station
A4) Blackfire – Second Pattern
B1) Developer – Untitled
B2) Shredded Nerve – Feel It Fading
B3) Being – Selfie
B4) Inbreeder – Pleasure Before the Torture
C1) Imvixor – Loderstone
C2) John Also Bennett – Talking Puddle
C3) Mark Van Fleet – Dungeon Summer Excerpt
C4) Ryan Jewell – Civilrightsforthehomeless
D1) C. Kirkendall – The Road Is a Bad Place to Fall Asleep
D2) The Nevari Butchers – A Scattered Fucking Mess
D3) Interstates (Etc.) – Beyond Life and Death
D4) Moth Cock – Fairchild Rehab