Joo Won Park & dRachEmUsiK – Side Dish Side Affect

Ah, after all this metal blasphemy and power, it's good to sit back and think.  Refreshing to run our minds over the more complex matter that surrounds us, the human being, and to try to figure out what it all means, but end up figuring out nothing and drooling into a stupor.  There is quite often nothing better for this effect than a heavy dose of experimental, and this one came to us courtesy of legendary 'found object' musician Joo Won Park, though he's not the only person who was part of this collaboration album (that link will lead you to the solo-project of the other guy in question, Charles Shriner).  Click on both of those links for their work in separation, but here's it's together.  Park's work, as as 'found object' creations, focuses on a utilization of things typically not used to make music to any degree.  Plastic toys, kitchenware, vegetables, basically anything that isn't directly related to sound art unless you make it so.  This sort of thing isn't new, in fact the Futurists were doing it as far back as the early 1900s, but of course lacking the kind of recording programs we have today, it wasn't very successful, nor did anyone really "get it".  So, in this day and age when such things are possible, and where, rest his soul, Aube has died, what better idea than to combine something of that nature with the skills of an artist known for ambient/drone?  Shriner, also behind the label that released this particular album, combined forces with Park for this collab, titled Side Dish Side Affect.

  

It's been awhile since we had something of this nature, and it's a welcome release from digging through piles of horrid punk, hardcore, and metal submissions.  Sorry, but we're picky now, we have too much coming in to give negative reviews, unless we really feel the need.  We get plenty of good music of those types, but there's so much of it there's a high chance for suckage.  Not so with experimental, however, because it requires skills to even pull off an average release.  Joo Won Park was kind of enough to send this himself, seeing as how he's coming near where, I, the editor live for a special performance in November, so we play on doing an interview afterwards.  Shriner, well, this is our first exposure to him, but if you check out his site by clicking on this link, he has several awesome samples of the work he does via his solo project, dRachEmUsiK (check link again above).  Sample some of those sounds to get an idea, as well as some of Park's (first link above), before we delve into this one, then you can understand how they come together on Side Dish Side Affect.

 

The concept of the collab is something of a risk depending on how it's done, but Park and Shriner's combined powers seem a lot more deliberate than some of the work we've heard in the past.  The approach here is electroacoustic with a conceptual focus on Korean dishes, so each of the songs is named after a particular dish.  Interestingly, unless it's simply an intentional directing of the listener's creative thinking, they're actually excellent representations of said dishes and the live studio context where they were created does further justice developing this idea of "food through sound", if you will.  Park and Shriner's work here is much more structured in nature that similar collaborations; there seems to be purpose behind what they do, and the song titles almost force the mind to take the sounds as they're presented to develop the suggested imagery.  "Steamed Monkfish" sounds like a pot beginning to boil, with wisps of steam, bubbles, spattering fish fat hitting the stove, and other images coming from the actual sounds themselves.  But, if there's one complaint to be made, it's that Side Dish Side Affect has a little too much similarity between tracks and could have used some more thematic development.  Had they taken an even more deliberate approach, perhaps selecting actual food or kitchenware particular to a dish, it would have had even more to offer.  The imagery in the album itself is diffuse, as well, just imagine it with all of the food elements combined on the front and it would have been a stellar, all-encompassing release.  There are plenty of sounds to investigate, but at times some of them can seem too similar, especially the electronic, sine-wave type sweeps you hear in almost every track.  But, for this type of release, definitely of the higher quality.  Hopefully we'll get more from this label in the future.

 

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Written by Stanley Stepanic

Joo Won Park & dRachEmUsiK – Side Dish Side Affect
MCSD NetLabel
4 / 5