Dusted Reviews

Clarinette - Haze

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Clarinette

Album: Haze

Label: Ecstatic Yod

Review date: Sep. 5, 2002

Eccentric noise from Ecstatic Yod

I hadn’t listened to my turntable for quite a while before Dusted sent me Clarinette’s new 12”, and the first time I tried to play it I couldn’t hear anything. I found a problem with the cable that runs from my turntable to my speakers, so I replaced the cable. I gave Clarinette another try and didn’t hear anything until I turned the volume all the way up, at which point thin prickly noises leaked from the speakers. Confused, I picked up Clarinette’s press release, which says that Haze is the work of one man, Dan Vallor, who worked with California indie-pop groups like Thin White Rope, Rain Parade and the brilliant Game Theory in the ‘80s. Game Theory?

I put on GT’s Lolita Nation, which confirmed that not only was there nothing wrong with my phonograph, except that it was playing too quietly, but also that Game Theory and Clarinette sound nothing alike. I put on Clarinette again and as the initial confusion wore off, I realized I was listening to a bizarre gem of a record.

The reason I was confused the first time I actually heard the album is because it sounds seriously fucked up—like nothing a human being would try to make on purpose. “Ripple and Stir,” probably the most representative track, is a little like dub in that in employs heavily attacked articulations that burst forth and leave trails of echoes behind them. There isn’t any deep bass, though, and the instruments playing the hard articulations aren’t snare drums or, say, melodicas, as we might expect to hear on a dub record, but rather tinny, scratchy atonal guitar scribbles not unlike U.S. Maple’s high guitar parts. “Insomnia and a Ghost” makes Clarinette’s connection to noise rock a bit more explicit, with clouds of guitar tremolo raining all over each other. “Dry Leaf Echo” takes up all of side two with what sounds like a slowed-down trumpet improvisation accompanied by a repetitive, distant-sounding drum loop.

Unlike The Hair & Skin Trading Company’s Psychedelische Musique, the closest reference point I’m aware of for Clarinette’s emotionally elusive plink-and-hiss, nothing on Haze seems even a little self-conscious. It’s easier to hear this album as disorienting music created accidentally by machines: a loud faucet dripping while a fan hums loudly, or an airplane taking off. The album doesn’t actually sound like either of those things, but it’s so completely unassuming that it almost feels machine-generated. Listening to this record is like a puzzle, and its sounds themselves are interesting enough to make me want to try to fit the pieces together again and again. Haze is one of the weirdest and most captivating albums I’ve heard all year.

By Charlie Wilmoth

Other Reviews of Clarinette

Transmuting Fall

Read More

View all articles by Charlie Wilmoth

Find out more about Ecstatic Yod

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.