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Gertrude Tapes

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My first exposure to Russ Waterhouse was the mysterious Rhuem cassette The Animals 04/06/99" released on his White Tapes label. The blown-out sounds recorded in an echoey bathroom received a lot of airplay in my grim studio apartment circa 2000 or 2001, more so than most releases from that fertile era of sub-underground/experimental tapes. Music, after all, can take the place of furniture just as easily as a life, and "Animals" resonated with me then and now. 

Since those days RWs propulsive/forward-thinking ideas have helped shape some of my very favorite groups - Blues Control, Watersports and the SB. Amaro shares "Animals" near preoccupation with spaces - physical rooms and/or buildings, definitely - but also the bleary distance between notes and sounds resembling shapes. The overall atmosphere is the primary movement at times, but these two side-long tracks are surprisingly fluid - considering RW is centered in Richmond, VAs ADA gallery with no musical instruments outside of tapes, a Rhythm-Matic, microphones and objects - and highly engaging. The door is opened and outside sound enters, exits and is manipulated with the rawest of gear. 

This amplified air is especially thick and disorientating on Side A. Side B "Amari" is the more palatable one - beautiful conceptual confusion and clashes with melody, introducing a fragrant musical phrase that very quickly collapses before more fade in and wither away. 

Well, we all set fire to the summer wines at some point." - Edmund Wilson, May 2018.
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