Review: Grasshopper – The Day America Forgot (SicSic Tapes, 2012)

Echoes of Jasper Johns resonate througout the cassette artwork, with a tiny strip of the United States flag spread across the bleak, abstract smeared paint, as if signifying the last remains of American identity in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Or rather, the last remnants of cozy, comfortable life in the times of neverending bleakness and despair.

Listening to The Day America Forgot is like drinking irradiated beer or eating pre-war food products found in various shops in Fallout 3. They may taste (rather) good, but they definitely leave a nasty aftertaste – plus they serve as bitter reminders of the bucolic, happy pre-war times. Same with sounds on the cassette – occassional glimpses of laid-back, relaxing synths one tends to associate with ambient or New Age music emerge from the sea of abrasive drones and sandpaper-like processed trumpet wailing like a dying animal. A black cloud of heavy synth mutilation dominates everything, tinging everything into a blackened state of mind. This is probably what Golden Retriever might sound like if they decided to go for the dark, noisy atmospheres instead of beatific La Monte Young worship. In fact, the drone-jazz unit (with more drone than jazz, actually) Grasshopper are closer to the noisy free improv skronk of Wasteland Jazz Unit, except without the deafening super-amplification and with more penchant for dark ambience, instead.

Jesse DeRosa and Josh Millrod spice up the noise underground with their brass instrument outbursts, proving that with the right treatment even the trumpet (one of the last instruments you would thought can sound “evil”) can create some of the most ominous, bleak sounds around. Great work.

Buy the tape from SicSic Tapes!

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