The noise genre is sometimes criticized for its lack of subtlety, as if it were the death metal of electronic music. It is an unfair generalization of course, but you have to invest a good chunk of time in between a pair of headphones to hear it for yourself.
Yavor Grancharov’s new 10-track cassette, recorded under the name Slit In Slot, is a good place to start if you’re looking for subtlety. Birthmarks combines noise elements, drones, field recordings and an exquisitely light compositional touch.
The album opens with “Accrete.” A synth line repeats, alongside the sound of a train rattling down the tracks. The rhythm is uneven, adding to a sense of movement. Clearly, we’re headed on a journey.
Next is “Levee,” and the first of many unrecognizable noise sections. These picturesque, often grainy sounds evoke visual after visual over the course of the album.
Later on, we get “Опитомен от вятър. Пясъци. Метеж.” (Google translates the title as “Tested by wind. Sands. Mute.”) This one is almost pure noise. But in Grancharov’s hands, the material retains a gentle musical quality.
“Test life” is another highlight. Its beginning sounds like wet snow bouncing off a window. A spoken word collage follows, with a pretty music box set against ominously whining electronics.
The album moves from one beautiful moment to another. It will be as appealing to noise fans as it is to ambient music lovers. As such, Birthmarks is a wholly original work that Bulgaria’s Grancharov can be proud of.