. issue XX : vi .

by barathron

. artist : marshstepper .
. album : s/t .
. year : 2012 .
. label : chondritic sound .
. grade : b plus .


Marshstepper make swamp disco of dated drum machines, urgent vocals made to stutter, and unearthly tides fuzzy and cold. On this self-titled effort, courtesy of the notorious Chondritic Sound label, Marshstepper manage to be brusquely communicative even in their murkiness, alternately guzzling down samples and regurgitating them through a foghorn. It’s indeed like sinking in up to your knees, and it doesn’t take long to become fully submersed.

With two sides at 15:58 each, Marshstepper is like being held under the particulate, burning water of a noxious fen for half an hour, the rat-a-tats and dum-dum-dah of the 80’s pitter patter platter bobbing occasionally into view. Other highlights include the shriek of a siren and particularly nebulous stutters: “wake up wake up wake up wake up wake wake wake wake,” and so on with the even more ill-applied “are you are you?” ad nauseam. The entire cauldron forms the distortion of percolating peat tongues dripping with the rustling, nervous pants of a pack of dogs, hoary psychedelic rays of warbly guitar through ashen stained glass, and the restive, unceremonious urgency of the Jonestown suicide sermon.

Why only a b plus? Because this self-titled cassette seems like sweet buns, puppies and whole milk next to the fervor and the putridity of their latest score for Ascetic Houses’ ‘reel’ terror, on film, complete with the loud texture of retrace lines.

by Brittany Tracy