Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Main

I'm currently listening to Robert Hampson's post-Loop isolationist project Main, and I’m reminded that one of the tracks on the group’s 1996 collection Hz, is dedicated to sound designer extraordinaire Alan Splet. I’d actually forgotten about this until I went looking in the CD notes for something and came across the dedication. This is more than idle name-dropping, as the music that Main were making during this era was very much in the vain of Alan Splet’s work – all hissing, gaseous drones, clanking metallic reverberations and ominous rumblings – the kind of nightmarish sounds Splet created for Eraserhead, Elephant Man, Dune, Blue Velvet and Mosquito Coast among others. I’m pleased that I dug out this Main collection, a double-CD no less, because it’s an album I don’t listen to enough, requiring headphones and a quiet room to fully appreciate all those delicate, lowercase sounds. The packaging on this collection is rather lovely too, instead of the fuzzy video and computer screen textures of previous Main releases, the Hz album is adorned with striking images of rock and lichen textures, plus graphic symbols which I presume relate to the music in some way. There’s a kinship here with the design concept of Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II, and I see on the credits of the Main album, another David Lynch reference, the images credited to one Frank Booth…

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