Chasing Voices, Awoken By Tears

[Preserved Instincts]

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Dispatches from Myrtle Avenue: Dope Jams is gone and a stroller store is taking its place. While this development won’t surprise many New Yorkers, there’s still something altogether perverse, triumphant, and sinister about prospective parents shopping for baby gear in a store that housed books on Satanism and some truly subversive music. Though the physical store may be gone, the webshop has remained open and all of the Slow To Speak exclusives, reissues, and oddities seem to be continuing apace. Some of the most intriguing of those curios the past couple years have been the Chasing Voices 12″s, (almost) all single-sided techno excursions that operate on their own frequencies. Releasing approximately one track a year isn’t exactly the road to techno superstardom, but enough intrigue and interest has been generated by each Chasing Voices missive to make every release a minor event.

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Awoken By Tears, the fifth from our genuinely shadowy operators, is simply their best work yet. It seems to fold many of the things they’ve tried along the way (the distorted syncopation of “Acidbathory,” the cutthroat techno of “Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit,” the foreboding, morose electronics of “Another Walk”) into a satisfying, sinister whole. Ceaselessly building (and building, and building) towards a climax that never arrives, myriad elements are stacked one on top of the other in a deliberately overwhelming fashion. Rhythmically suffocating, “Awoken By Tears” is a dance track for the most ruthless of dance floors — one populated by feral creatures and the flayed men seen on the record sleeve. Millions of press releases try to create an artifice of mystery and ingenuity around artists and labels, and the daring, unknowable work of Chasing Voices reminds why all of these attempts ultimately fail.


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