Baltimoreans Mold Omen are a duo that concern themselves with rough sounds. This recent cassette on upstate NY’s Cae-sur-a Records is a compelling listen; harsh synth and rusty bits of found sound compete for sonic real estate with slashing, heavily phased strips of noise, creating a deranged take on the concept of drone. Where drone is a smooth-surfaced form for some, for Mold Omen it is a blistered and corroded form that hides its most interesting parts in its darkest regions.
Side A’s “The Driver/the Mechanic” churns along on a seasick oscillating tone before ditching its harshest elements for a blissfully distorted and sweetly melodic finale. Even when offering snippets of melody Mold Omen disfigures them thoroughly with barnacles of sonic distress, creating a nightmarish clean break from the world of more traditional drone. On side B, “The Girl” opens with a wheezing dronescape that uses trebly shrieks of tape manipulation to further the unsettling mood. Tape closer “GTO” works around a pulse to set up its structure, before quickly spreading tatters of flanged microphone feedback gather around the pulse at the root of the piece. Things develop more slowly with both pieces on side B, and the duo’s patient approach undercuts the momentum of their sound somewhat. Either way, the results are still creepy, and the subtle, slow-moving dread contained within Mold Omen’s soundworld is often as effective as any wall of harsh noise.
Overall, this tape is another solid release for Cae-sur-a and Mold Omen. Check out Mold Omen’s “Soil” tape too if you get a chance, on the fine House of Alchemy label.