Meditations/Industry from Bill Converse marks something of a departure for Dark Entries. The San Francisco label spent 2015 in reissue mode, and the nearest its catalogue got to the present day was the Kittin & Hacker 12”. While Meditations/Industry is a contemporary album – originally released on tape in 2013 – Converse’s sound is rooted in the past, albeit shaped by influences not normally reflected in Dark Entries’ lexicon or indeed in its approach to re-issues.
That said, Converse’s production style does share the basic techniques as many of the electronic acts that Dark Entries’ work has shone a light on. This is audible on “Inward Fathoms” and the title track, where the US producer uses raw, tonal bleeps – on the latter they are underpinned by rough claps and a jacking rhythm – before Converse steers both tracks into naive-sounding melodies. “Sea Bering” is markedly different. The wide-eyed sense of wonder is gone, replaced by rolling Detroit electro drums and sub-aquatic textures that sound like they were filtered through one of The Hague’s many grubby squat studios.
That Dutch influence comes to the fore on “Phantom Pain” and “Between Electrons”; grungy rhythms, crashing snares and grime-soaked buzz saw bass conspire to create the kind of swampy Jak that usually appears on Panzerkreuz. Occasionally however, Converse hits a stumbling block. This is most evident on “In Love / With Light”, a confused affair where he tries a fusion of his melodic and visceral influences.
It’s only a temporary hiccup though and on “30.26367, -97.77082” – try saying that after a few dry sherries – he manages to sound like a lo-fi version of Ross 154; those raw, low-slung drums providing a basis for beautifully melancholic hooks and a yawning robotic vocal. Meditations/Industry sits well outside of Dark Entries’ comfort zone, but this unlikely union makes for one of the label’s most fascinating oddities.
1. Inward Fathoms
2. Sea Bering
3. Phantom Pain
4. Between Electrons
6. In Love/With Light
7. 30.26367, 97.77082