Sound artist Josh Peterson runs the Force Neurotic label. This 2019 cassette release consists of two very dark 20 minute pieces. Both are rambling and disquieting sound collages accompanied by the artist’s voice reading found texts from criminal cases. The A side piece deals with murders and the B side piece concerns unsolved disappearances. The compositions have a desolate attitude, combining melancholy and eeriness in a turn somewhat comparable to the films of David Lynch. Manipulated and damaged tapes of spelunking piano and other tuneless, toylike instruments, field recordings of public places, mournful clanking, desperate scrabbling.
Peterson intones, whispers, and declaims the dry facts of an uncertain number of these sad cases. Forensics. Autopsies. Surveillance footage. Traumatised family members trying to make sense of it all. The last few minutes of side A assume the aspect of Power Electronics, as piercing and squealing electronic tones back a more aggressive, urgent vocal delivery. Subtler side B ends with peaceful field recordings from a natural spot. Is it a hopeful epilogue… or is that what it sounds like where the poor girl’s body is buried?
The scrambled cut-up texts, intimately delivered, will remind some people of recent work by Sutcliffe Jugend and Consumer Electronics, and indeed Peterson has published a book with Philip Best’s Amphetamine Sulphate press. No FCCs but some edgy stuff (postmortem description of “anal injuries”) on side A.