Local Wire

James Fella

Patchwork tapestries glued together from trash, cityscapes made out of discarded glass bottles, and junk mail assembled into fancy wall collages are just some of the scavenger exhibits you may find at your local contemporary art gallery. While it's a hot trend in visual art, the hunter-gatherer/assemblage spirit hasn't caught on too much in music. That changes with Salvaged Tapes, a release by Tempe-based, do-everything audio wizard James Fella, who pieces together a weirdly beautiful and strangely serene 21-minute composition from about 25 discarded cassette tapes. There's definitely a priority on noise, with quick-hitting passages of ambient guitar loops and such naturalist sounds as chirping birds thrown in the mix. At one point, a percussion instrument groove transitions into sounds recorded in a traveling car with the windows down or in a wind tunnel, followed by a lo-fi orchestra of stringed instruments and horns that sound like they're in pain. Possibly the most surprising element is the absence of voices, though when they do appear, they sound alien (is that a guy trying to sing a homemade love song to his girl, perhaps?). It's times like these, when we can't really tell what's going on, that makes this beautifully compiled album so great. Salvaged Tapes is packaged in a visually striking DVD case wrapped with fugitive cassette tape.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Steve Jansen
Contact: Steve Jansen