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    Grant Cutler – Dust

    Grant Cutler - Dust

    After offering the music listenin’ public a (non) Self Portrait on CD back in 2017, Grant Cutler is back with Dust, the title of which is (or at least should be) a tribute to that faint yet ubiquitous material that nearly every surface on Earth collects in spades. Hell, dust even plays a prominent role in outer space. Galaxies are chock-full of the stuff, and as every music nerd knows, vinyl records boast even more of it within their micro grooves. Cassettes, though, are a different story. Housed within a plastic shell, they don’t really attract as much dust as other formats. How ironic, then, that Grant Cutler’s album of heavy ambience, Dust, would be released on cassette only.

    Also ironic is the opening track, “Speed,” which contrasts its very own name with a heavy bout of slow motion, corroded, rhythmic rumbling backed up with some siren-like wailing. “Michaux” follows that up with a bunch of distant knocks, synth washes and held pipe organ tones, while “Being Carried” finds the listener being carried along by a deep fluttering sound with more synth. “Rhum” presents a vast room of almost new age flotation complete with a rainstorm inside an abandoned ship.

    Maxwell tape ad.

    “After Collapsing” lives up to its name as some shimmering synth clouds dissolve into wispy ambience. “Mediterranean” is the loud mouth of the album, boasting a collection of glowing synth lines that segue back into a field of rumbles accompanied by the whine of jet engines. “Rhine,” which conveniently rhymes with whine, presents some subtle, musty melodies that wash in and out of view. The title track offers up some twinkling puffery, while the closer, “Mescaline” sounds like someone dismantling an old water tower in India, somehow ending up with a gallon of sizzling gravel goodness.

    As the label description says, “Dust layers made, found, and reshaped documents of threatened sounds—pre-hurricane winds on the Florida Gulf, arctic wildlife, waves in the Pacific Northwest—with improvised instrumental performances from different times and places in the world. The result of heavy manipulation is a surprisingly uncontrolled, minimal, and emotional environment. Evading any predictable pattern, Dust evokes the climatic pulses of an impending storm.” Overall, Dust is a fine addition to the shelf of any self-respecting fan of heavy ambient music. On a visual note, if you took the cover photo, turned it 90 degrees counter clockwise and flopped it horizontally, the results would look just like that musicblown guy slouching in a chair in those old Maxell cassette tape ads.

    Label: Æther Tapes Catalog Number: AT-003 Format: Cassette Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 9 Country: United States Released: 2018 More: Bandcamp, Discogs

    Text ©2019 by Arcane Candy.

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