The Fun Years: Life-Sized Psychoses
Barge Recordings

Barge Recordings made an auspicious debut last year with the Innature compilation and maintains the high batting average with its first artist release Life-Sized Psychosis by The Fun Years, a duo consisting of turntablist Isaac Sparks and baritone guitarist Ben Recht. Don't equate two ‘instruments' with minimal, however, as the musicians generate thick, coagulant drones of ‘audio magma' on the album's five densely textured soundscapes (four of them longer than ten minutes each). As one piece bleeds into the next, one might just as easily broach it is a single, fifty-minute work.

The two loop tiny cells into rhythms that induce a hypnotic effect through repetition yet their cumulative masses also gradually intensify in volume and detail. Naturally one thinks of Philip Jeck when the turntable's decayed sounds enter the equation but Recht's presence within the mass helps The Fun Years establish a unique persona. Recht isn't a soloist, however, but a texturalist who embeds his playing into Sparks' blurred swirl (though his biting lines do assume a more front-line role in “Softy As Stilts”). “Powerball Annie” begins with a brief passage of guitar-led jazz interplay that morphs into a becalmed, pop-and-crackle-laden stream of muffled guitar fragments, speaking voices, and assorted other noise, on top of which Recht's guitar repeats a simple rising theme. That repetition merges with the metronomic loop of a starburst accent to produce a lulling movement, until the music swells in volume and density to reach an even hazier plateau. A more pronounced meter prods “In Case You Had Any Doubts....” while “d>>2” shimmers and shudders like a set of chimes whose sounds are faintly detected beneath layers of radio interference. At disc's end, guitars multiply into a near-Frippertronics mass before being sucked into Sparks' vortex during the rather meditative dronescape “Garbage Man, Poet.”

July 2007