Monte & Hep! – ‘Samphappalapa’

Lately, I’ve found myself delving deeper into the realms of abstract and unconventional music; although, ‘sound experiments’ may be a more appropriate term. For those who readmy recent post on my accidental cassette-only 2017, it will come as no surprise that this post is related. It is also, in part, due to my fondness of the medium that I have a new-found motivation to get out there and discover new music, as opposed to resting in the comfort of familiar labels and the work of friends admired. It is through these recent discoveries that I found the Endinburgh-based label, czaszka (rec.), and have found the stunning ‘Samphappalapa’ – a collaborative patchwork warped recordings by Monte Burrows and Hep!Collective (Joe McKay and Lorenzo Peluffo respectively).

Released on czaszka earlier this month, the duo has provided a half-hour sonic journey that delivers warbled bell tones that lull, masked voices removed from source and context, and the minute nuances of various analogue mediums. Rather than choosing specific tracks or sections from ‘Samphappalapa’ in search of highlights, I will suggest the release is listened to in its entirety, ideally via tape as intended. Despite the obvious rests between tracks, the release benefits from being presented on the label’s Bandcamp as sides A & B.

The album name, ‘Samphappalapa’, refers to the Buddhist teaching of refraining from useless speech, as defined by the Pali dictionary; shamphappalapa would be idle or ‘useless’ chatter, which I interpret as commentary on contemporary music practice. Appropriately, Monte & Hep! avoid descending into an unintelligible cacophony of noise and dissonance without discernible meaning or direction. Upon reflecting, I may in fact be providing my own shamphappalapa in the form of unnecessary analysis when I should simply advocate this release for what it is: a subtle, detailed, expressive, and adventurous offering that has put czaszka (rec.) at the top of my labels to follow for 2018.

Monte & Hep! – ‘Samphappalapa’ is available as a limited edition cassette that includes a two sided black and white poster, or as a digital download via czaszka (rec). The cassette can be bought as part of a batch, alongside Angel Dust and Palace Lido, but do be quick… There are only three batches left!

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