Some kind words about Second Species
From Justin Spicer at TMT:
It’s the night after the parade. Pieces of ticker tape and distressed newspaper gently sweep the streets, the city workers tasked to clean up the mess long gone after hours of hopelessly chasing these remaining tatters. It’s just turning to dusk, so the small town’s five downtown buildings are just beginning to glow above the purple horizon. After the ecstasy of celebration, the rural people have retired to their homes. Vandals and ne’er-do-wells will be out soon, says the old folk. But it’s really just kids looking to capture their own magic, to escape Saturday afternoons full of tradition no one’s dared to tie them into. So they make their own, soundtracked by seasonal winds, sneaked booze, and someone’s beat-up car. The city has nothing to offer this evening, at least nothing worthwhile for those operating outside societal protocol. All that remains is Prayer. Hands are folded, not to the heavens, but to the worship of another; the object of desire. This will all be nostalgic rambling in a decade, but for now, it’s your own parade. As still as the night is, it’s alive with want. You make of this evening what you want from it. Prayer has given you this opportunity; don’t forsake it for a dalliance with an unyielding god or reprimanding adults long out of touch with these feelings. You know this sound without a word.
From Eric Hardiman over at Foxy D:
The name of this project, comprised solely of Joe Houpert (HMS, Loud & Sad), suggests quiet contemplation and thoughtful reverie. And indeed that’s not far off mark. Adorned with striking minimal blue art, this tape would make a fitting accompaniment to meditation, prayer, or simply quiet rest. Using an appealingly narrow palette of tonal colors, synth figures float into and out of the mix in overlapping loops of repetitive motion. Similar to the recent works of Guenter Schlienz, Houpert establishes a mood and then provides slight alterations in a manner so gentle and assured that the effect on the listener is a cumulative sense of warmth and comfort. And like Schlienz, this music is resolutely unafraid of beauty. Houpert demonstrates superior control and patience, along with an unfailing attention to melodic repetition and gentle harmony. Each side offers a 12 minute hymn to the quiet unknown. And while there are moments of soft fuzz and creeping static (particularly on the b-side), it never threatens to destabilize the sense of pervading calm and peace. The layered synth tones at times recall church organs, but in a hazy half-awake blur of hypnosis. Music for quiet moments, this tape is gorgeous in its ability to lull one away from the stresses of the world and into its magical minimal soundworld.
From Honest Bag:
Joe Houpert is a prolific artist. Along with Nathan McLaughlin, Joe forms the excellent, Loud and Sad. This has been a fruitful year for them, releasing a tape on //Cae-sur-a//, an lp on Greenup Industries and issuing lathe 1 and 2 on FET. A more recent project is Tilth, Nathan and Joe’s trio with Cody Yantis. They released a lathe on FET and a full-length on Soft Abuse. Additionally, Joe has a solo project, Prayer. Earlier this year, he released a tape on Sunshine Ltd. Now, he is here to cure your end-of-year blues with the four compositions of serene and contemplative synth. Second Species, on Constellation Tatsu, finds Joe at his sharpest. To induce the aforementioned tranquility, synth is looped and layered while treated with effects; the ideas are slightly altered throughout. His acute sense of pace is conspicuous over four tracks. Furthermore, he is adroit at juxtaposing/ordering dissimilar sounds, ultimately begetting a beautiful synthesis. Due to these characteristics and his musicianship, Second Species reminds me the Swedish masters, Tape.
The second track on side A is my favorite of the tape. It is an unmistakably uplifting track, as looped synth reverberates placidly, glistening like the embryonic sun. Waves of serenity abut elongated, contemplative tones – the effect is beautiful. After one ascends to the peak, the comedown is soothing. Another great track opens the flipside. In this track, protracted organ like tones echo calmly – this is unabashed relaxation music! Soon, another layer of synth is added, the contrasting tones produce a moment of beauty. The track swells around the middle and ascends more proximate to the end.
The soothing blue colors and minimalist design are a strong signal to expect something beautiful. Constellation Tatsu has caught my attention recently with a string of awesome releases. It has been a great year for this young label!