Reverse Death – Stretching to Infinity

2.7.23 by Matty McPherson

The Reverse Death trio of Daniel Onufer, Connor Johnson, and Ben Rea seemed to arrived on Drongo Tapes near the end of 2022 too blissed out amongst the endless listening pile. Yet, within the tumultuous soak of January’s winter rains, it’s found its way into my walkman and hi-fi once more, and as such I realized the curatorial ear of Drongo does not fail. The trio’s emphasis on a Side A/Side B affair across 5 tracks was purposeful; the result of a tour in Mexico imparting new wisdom in sequencing. As such, this wisdom results in a lot of sounds that beckon to be returned to for concurring reasons.

The opening “Water Orbit” shares a common thread with the droney, longing textures of Shells’ recent for Astral Editions, but often shares a keen ear for aquatic acoustics. The kinds that put it in lie with Scissor Tail tapes of early 2020 as much as vague debris of new age listening scattered across thrift shops. But the approach is neither spendthrift nor cheesey; there’s a sauntering lullaby quality to the movement, one that turns inward across “Floating Delight.” It’s here where reverb laden jangly guitar strings (amongst a cello!) and soft keys work in tandem to create a harmonic bliss akin to Bitchin Bajas’ search for the ultimate transcendent loop. Reverse Death doesn’t champion perfection here though, instead letting the improvisation and their own recordings of bird sounds or synth drones endlessly welcome you across the Side A.

Side B meanwhile, is the vocal psychedelic pop side; yet that sells the process short. The 4 cuts on this side, seem to carry a naturalistic ambience to their palette. The way the effect-laden drum crashes like salty waves on the jazzy Teapot, the almost-dub bass and twinkling melodies of Sweet Flower Moon’s slow waltz, Infinite Syd’s infinite looping reverb chords that invoke mid-aughts Paw Tracks, and the lo-fi reverent textures squeezed out of Temporary Ground. These are little elements that imply a distinct adherence to a subterranean silence second and virtuosic patience first and foremost the qualities that are of utmost necessity with what makes this style music so rewarding. Their PR mentions they’d been listening to Jessica Pratt, and it does show in the sheer amount of reverb and acoustic space amongst lo-fi recordings they’ve netted out of these 6 excursions. Their ability as such to use these drawn out cuts as a way to craft immense zones becomes their own private press achievement in that respect. Stretching to Infinity’s slow burn effectively rewards the wait, with each nugget becoming a knockout zone of its own volition so you give it the chance.

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