REVIEW: Untitled’s “Untitled09”

Untitled09 photo Untitled09_cover_zpsd85a7586.jpg There is someone who has been releasing music under the name Untitled. Or at least the artist’s name is without a name and his or her albums are also called Untitled. For the sake of some sense of continuity, their albums are numbered in the sequence of release so… Untitled01, Untitled02, Untitled03 and so on. The CD’s come in thick, beige card stock, stored inside of a pocket and being accompanied with photos or some type of imagery. That’s it. Each “song” is also “Untitled”, and the identity of the creator (or creators, if it is a duo, trio, or group function) remains unknown.

The appeal for me is exploring the unknown, wondering what they’re creating and how to listen to it. We’re now up to Untitled09, a 4-track CD. Each track (it’s hard to say song, they’re more like sound pieces as they’re not rhythmic, but of course a song doesn’t have to have a rhythm in order for it to be a song) features a good share of what sounds like tape hiss, and the songs sound like they’re slowed down by half, maybe 75 percent. I’m sure if I wanted to, I coudl speed up each track and find out the source material for the sounds that create these pieces. As is, the tracks are very atmospheric and ambient, very spacey and roomy and comes off as introductions or interludes for progressive rock. Keyboards or synthesizers end up sounding like wind going through a church or temple, and what may sound holy and sacred may be nothing more than a few notes recorded, then played at slow levels. Yet there’s a beauty in it, being able to hear something that’s altered and not being sure if what you’re listening to is known or not. Maybe just taking it in is part of its pleasure.

The last of the four tracks is a 20-minute piece that could be interpreted as anything, or at least what you interpret is what you’re thinking of while listening. Is it the last stretch of a marathon? The last thoughts before one is executed? The sound of anticipation of seeing someone you haven’t looked at in years, if not decades? Or is it just life as we know it, explored at half speed? There are points where the effect sounds like audio tape flutter, and in the days of the cassette, hearing that flutter might lead to the taep being eaten up by the tape heads, and snapping. This is a digital world so the tape can’t snap, but what if the song creates a snapping effect? You’re (metaphorically) sitting at the edge of your seat until the track ends, but leaving satisfied when it simply fades out.

I was hooked by Untitled’s work simply by its simplicity, minimalism explored beautifully, and I look forward to hearing what Untitled will offer next.

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