The Opaque track is a stuttering, clattering wall that is dedicated to a wonderful recent Moncler design, the elegant Rhin, which has been available in pink, yellow and – as featured here – black. The B-side features an excellent Scarlet Diva wall with a great, deep yet detailed crackle. The tape was released in an edition of 25 copies and features a J-card designed by myself, combining trademark features of Opaque artwork – down jacket picture, Helvetica type – and Scarlet Diva artwork – layout, background, its photograph.
You can pick up your own copy of the split tape through the Summer Interlude Bandcamp, and, of course, you can also listen to the release in full on the Summer Interlude Bandcamp right here.
liz ✉️ second skin \ enveloppeis the 46th release on Absent Erratum. This submission features one track at a total of 40 minutes and 0 seconds. It was released on 15 September 2019.
Absent Erratum drags translucent, weightless relics of a wall along the floor behind her, insomniac and elegiac, the faint thuds and drums of shuffles, trailing, footsteps merging, then emerging as a spirit of clay and sound: stretched thin and bound to Earth, terrestrial undertones surrounding her private place amidst bricks and secrecy. An awareness presents itself to her, mingled with the scent of plums and apricots; a tenderness nests itself into her chest, recursive, embedded endlessly into itself; a ritual is established, lovingly, performed in times and places unlit and unsounding; her task is to guard what is ancient and primitive – to shield it from the light.
I already alluded to Minute Walls in a previous post dedicated to another social media only project, Santuario De Sangre. While Santuario De Sangre in many ways exhibits characteristics typical of any other online label – streaming format, static cover image, conventional album length, to name some – with its key difference being that it isn’t available on a platform typically used for streaming sound only (such as Bandcamp or Soundcloud), Minute Walls is a different enterprise altogether. It inhabits a space that is not typically used for full-on music releases, period – Instagram – and also does away with some of those more traditional remnants that Santuario De Sangre retains: there are no static cover images (the videos, in full, comprise the artwork) and the length for each release is dictated fully by the restrictions Instagram places on the end user, meaning that each track (including the label coda – more on this below) is only a minute in length.
Much conventionalism surrounding HNW has it that walls need to be long, and while examples to the opposite certainly exist (and have since the earliest days), it is certainly clear that, by far, most HNW releases tend to go for long form. Reasons for this may be manifold: the lengthier the wall, the deeper the immersion, it is sometimes argued. Another motivation may be that to achieve extremity in every dimension (not just in sound and imagery, for instance) the wall should pose a challenge to the listener also in sheer endurance. No doubt, most wall heads will agree that the more extreme releases in the genre are those that run to considerable length (an article on the longest walls can be found in the first issue of A Wall Of Text).
Minute Walls, in that respect, is a relatively accesible HNW venture, requiring of the listener no more than a minute of her time for each release (and, as it stands, no more than eight minutes for the full discography). And with the ubiquitousness of Instagram – those not having the app installed on the equally ubiqutious smartphones being the exception these days – accessing the material is very straightforward. Just follow Minute Walls and any new release will automatically pop up in your feed: digital, bite-size, short attention span-friendly walls amidst all your other social media needs! Of course, the true intent in using Instagram as a medium is, at heart, to provide a level of inconvenience. If anything, it requires you to keep your screen active (unlike YouTube, nowadays, Instagram does not have a ‘music service’ that allows you to listen to audio only) as the walls are not available in any other format other than as Instagram videos – and the fact that it requires the use of Instagram may (perhaps, should) to some be in and of itself an inconvience (necessitating either installing the app or accessing through a browser on desktop, where navigating away pauses the video). There is something of an irony – some will argue even a definite lamentable state – in the fact that a niche, outsider scene such as HNW relies so strongly on pervasive capitalist social media (and indeed, my own departure from major social media platforms is the reason Minute Walls has not seen a new release for a good while – what a bind!).
In any case, the creation of Minute Walls, and its brief curation, was an enjoyable challenge. I love working in short form walls myself, and Minute Walls (it may be evident that minute here is to mean both extremely small and a time unit of 60 seconds) provided the perfect opportunity. Additionally, in the vast majority of my projects the sonic and visual sides had always been of equal importance, with sound influencing artwork decisions, images providing inspirations for recording, a sort of symbiosis that Minute Walls provided the perfect context for to practice even more intensely. I set to work to create the first two releases myself, creating two walls and their accompanying videos for two special projects, Opaque and Okujo No Sukima Shiroi Sora. Both have distinct but recognizable sonic and visual identities (I’d be inclined to say): Opaque is dedicated as much to experimental walls on the harsher side of the spectrum as it is to down jacket appreciation, while Okujo No Sukima Shiroi Sora is a restrained, minimalistic project, with the walls generally being very minimal, and the artwork consistently presenting cleanly laid out stills from J-pop videos (the project name is derived from a brilliant song by Rev.from DVL) on oceans of white background.
Ienki Ienki Michlin Arctic Blue Foil Jacket was released in an edition of 30 on appropriately icy blue tapes in a snow-like white-backed case. The lay-out for the cover-art was done by Zachary Ledsinger. This tape is the second Ienki Ienki-focused release from Opaque, the first having been the digital-only, self-released Ienki Ienki Michlin Supreme Rose. Ienki Ienki is a great Ukrainian high-fashion brand whose wonderful Michlin jacket is an absolutely classic puffy design.
On June 2nd 2021, a new Opaque tape was released through the excellent Veil Tapes, Pink Duvetica Diadema Nylon Down Jacket. It is the latest instalment in Duvetica-centred releases and features beautiful artwork courtesy of Veil’s own Eric Benson (of Twin Aperture). This C45 tape contains two 22:30 minute recordings, both exploring the more minimal, unconvential side of Opaque. The recordings are not currently available online.
Over the centuries, the legend has become deeply engraved in the minds of the people that live on the Zephyr Plains. The imperious Calanthia Temple, built thousands of years ago as tribute to the now nameless creatures that returned the sun, is off limits to people – but one day, driven by a curiosity the legend has firmly instilled in them, Ceri and Owain, two teenagers from Agana Village, sneak off and enter the deserted building. What they find is anything but a hallowed shrine to legendary benevolent creatures: Calanthia Temple is a haunted place, and the tranquility and light of Zephyr Plains appears to be the result of perpetual suffering and sacrifice.
Amidst the books and paintings they find in a mysterious hidden room, they uncover clues to the true identity of the creatures, the history behind the legend – and a task they know they must commit themselves to. Their intrusion is soon noticed by the souls that still dwell in the temple, and Ceri and Owain narrowly manage to escape the emissaries of the secret Order Of Calanthia. Soon, clouds gather, darkening the skies, blanketing the plains in darkness once more. The duo resolves to seek out the truth, step by step, retracing the legend and reconstructing its history, to release Zephyr Plains of its burden and restore its light – this time, for good and forever.
Catalog No: AENW-21006~8 Product type: CD Number of Discs: 3 Release Price: ¥3,500+tax
DISC 1: 始まり 1. Premonition 2. Ereganzia ~ On The Wings Of The Wind 3. Confrontation 4. Battle! 5. Battle! (Bonus Stage) 6. Healed 7. Agana Village ~ Day 8. Agana Village ~ Night 9. Zephyr Plains (Overworld ~ Day) 10. Calanthia Temple (Entrance) 11. Calanthia Temple (Hidden Room) 12. The Order Of Calanthia 13. Narrow Escape 14. Descent 15. Under Cloud Cover 16. Misty Swamp 17. Lightning Girl 18. An Unexpected Visitor 19. Crisis! Flood 20. Saviours 21. Flight Into The Trees 22. Haunted Forest ~ Day 23. Haunted Forest ~ Night 24. Ruins Of Lamia 25. Crisis! Fire 26. Rest
DISC 2: 検索 1. Lakeside Tower 2. Lost Memories 3. Mt. Graveyard 4. The Climb 5. Moments Of Reflection 6. Boss Fight: Aguares 7. Return To Agana (Fly) 8. Return To Agana (Sail) 9. Devastated By The Light 10. Betrayal 11. Search For A Sunken City 12. Amdusa 13. Amdusa ~ Submerged 14. Light Relic 15. Cloud City 16. Gone 17. Boss Fight: Behemoth 18. Resolution 19. Mirror Lake 20. A Hidden Path 21. Dark Zephyr Plains (Overworld ~ Night) 22. Zephyr Plains At Dusk (Overworld ~ Twilight) 23. Afterglow
DISC 3: 免除された 1. Serpent Island 2. Crisis! ~ Shock 3. Sacred Sword 4. Another Legend 5. Orobas Town ~ Day 6. Orobas Town ~ Twilight 7. Secret Hideout 8. A Tale Of Bright Skies 9. Ereganzia ~ At The End Of The World 10. Boss Fight: Astaroth 11. Earthquake 12. Rapid Ascent 13. Maze 14. Night Palace 15. Final Confrontation 16. Boss Fight: Leviathan 17. Resolution 18. Forever Light 19. Stardust ~ The Voice Of Ereganzia