Actually, this compilation album isn’t a Concern Void release, but it’s a project of my long-time friend and Shadowplay City collaborator / contributor, so I’m going to review it, as most of these tracks appeared on annual Shadowplay City samplers.
Man With a Dictaphone was formed in 2010, though I don’t know much about its 1st year, but in 2011 this project participated in our sampler “Low Ambitions”. It’s certain that real dictaphone was used to record samples at least for some of MWaD’s tracks.
MWaD has his own web-community named “Tatu-mentu” (A Tattoo for a Cop), which we considered as friendly, but during last times it seems to be little less active and disciplined, unfortunately. So, the tracks often appeared both on our and their releases, but that was ok as we’ve never been real labels.
“MWaD (10–12)” is the only solo MWaD release so far; despite the fact it doesn’t include all solo stuff created by this one-man project. Also, Man With a Dictaphone frequently collaborated with other musicians, and released 2 collaborative albums, mostly consisting of improvisations. MWaD also recorded 2 collaborative improvisation tracks with me, and I might review them in the future.
The sound can be described as ambient, sometimes “bright”, sometimes dark and almost drone with a sense of roaring tension (“A-B”, “April Twilight”); sometimes the sound changes to more cheerful beats. Live / field / “musique concrete” recordings have always been important for MWaD, though they weren’t always dominant in tracks’ structures. The sound is often lo-fi but MWaD has a great taste in applying effects, you’ll never find any “cheap” tricks like computer distortion and similar stuff on Man With a Dictaphone’s tracks.
Horns’ (“April Twilight”) or strings’ (“Shadow Dancer in Rainbow Village”) sounds could be created with synthesizers (I saw MWaD’s collection of musical instruments and was pretty impressed!) but it can’t be considered as a drawback.
“Forest Pipes” mixes wonderful industrial soundscapes with bass guitar, reminding me of Factrix, but forest sounds (which, if I’m correct, were recorded live by MWaD using a dictaphone) create quite a different mood – Man With a Dictaphone definitely has his own “signature”.
By the way, “Forest Pipes” end with a street recording of some (drunk?) hobo (?) performing a song which is, most likely, he wrote himself.
Have a listen to some of MWaD's tracks:
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John “Grey Lenses” Grey