unknown artist 22/11/66 – the unheard tapes
Impossible to truly define, unknown artist 22/11/66 sculpts a series of half-forgotten dreams on the hazy daze of “the unheard tapes”. Wearing its lo-fi heart proudly on its sleeve, everything here simply stuns. Texturally rich with thoughtful attention paid to atmospherics, the whole album teems with life. Surrealist with its fantastic swirls of sound, elements of darkwave, industrial, shoegaze, and more help to frame the entirety of the album. Lyrics further emphasize the hallucinatory elements that make this album appears otherworldly at times. Attention to detail means that these pieces cover a wide swath of terrain, going from gloom to defiance, oftentimes even within the same song.
After a ghostly sample, “unheard silence” bursts out of the ether with a driving rhythm. Drums have a physicality to them as they underpin the poignant and intimate vocals of “stranger to myself”. One of the highlights of the album comes early with the woozy “motionless roadside” where the jagged edges of the guitar can be felt in full. The full-band feeling of “silence comes + goes” has a majestic aura to it, with guitar working cascading one layer on top of the other. The pastoral quality of “skin” goes for something quite timeless, with a folksy sheen giving a reassuring sensibility. Some fantastic post-punk musings grow out of the disoriented “asleep at the wheel” with the journey continuing in earnest on “untitled”. Rather playful “the empty drawer” has a graceful, hopeful message residing deep in its heart. Dreamy waves of sound crest on the soothing “boojum tree”. Ending the entire album on a high note is the tragic story of “rear view mirror”.
With “the unheard tapes” unknown artist 22/11/66 delves into a strange aural universe, one that feels fully realized and quite hypnotic.