Magnified Palette is the debut LP of Diamond Catalog, also known as the duo of Lala Conchita and “Glamorous” Pat Maherr. I won’t pretend to have any knowledge of the past work of these two, but I think with a name like Glamorous Pat we can just assume it is good. NNA Tapes describes it as “cross-bred dance music and mutated, swirling noise bricolage”, which is really probably the best description you’re going to get for this release. Though danceable might be a stretch, this is an LP defined by the drum and bass: twisting, almost polyrhythmic drum runs snaking through massive doses of low end blasts. A lot of experimental music that focuses on sonic concepts such as texture and mood does so with a beat in order to sort of anchor those sounds from floating off into a seemingly unfocused mess. I think this is a technique that can be done very well, but often it comes off as repetitive or just boring. If what you’re doing isn’t interesting in the first place hearing a drum beat repeated several thousand times over isn’t going to solve anything. In Magnified Palette the drum and bass are the most interesting parts. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t like this LP more for what it’s not than what it is, but it’s very refreshing to see a different approach to well-traversed aural landscapes. The rhythm throughout this really ties it all together, but it is also extremely varied and challenging. It works its way towards a greater purpose than serving as the backbone for synth wankery. The drum lines are actually the story themselves. The “bricolage” is dark, atmospheric, and generally a pretty crazy swirl of paranoid and anxious sounds, not wanting to be pushed forward, but absolutely caught up in the relentless flow of the drumming. Magnified Palette is a nice break from the seemingly countless limited cassette/LP/CD-R that are content with being stagnant, if not druggy. Equal parts cyber-punk attitude, dark and ominous atmosphere, and driving rhythm, this record is about exploration, blazing a smoldering path of indeterminate direction that does not suffer from any kind of trepidation.
Please visit NNA Tapes and pick up a copy if you like this. Be sure to look into the back catalog and the future releases, as this is the kind of niche label that does it the right way. Swing by if you’re in Vermont, they’d love to have you.