Dusted Reviews

Seht & Stelzer - Exactly What You Lost

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Seht & Stelzer

Album: Exactly What You Lost

Label: Intransitive

Review date: May. 15, 2007

The twisted and spirited tape abuse that opens Exactly What You Lost isn’t indicative of what’s to follow. In fact, as soon as the first track ends, the disc departs into a wholly dissimilar territory, something far more murky and ambient. But, such contrast in sound is a surprisingly rare occurrence here, especially considering its origins. Created through the mail by Intransitive head honcho Howard Stelzer and Kiwi Stephen Clover (a.k.a. Seht), Exactly What You Lost was made with no predetermined focus, developing organically as it shuttled back and forth between Massachusetts and New Zealand. It’s unknown what might have caused Seht and Stelzer’s synergy, but their efforts result in a cohesive sound, understated and wholly lacking the one-upmanship and excessive addition that can mar such long distance collaborations.

In the creation of Exactly What You Lost, Seht and Stelzer exchanged tapes through the mail, a somewhat romantic idea in this age of file sharing and virtual information transfer. However, given each man’s penchant for tape loops and cassette manipulation, this more physical transfer of material was a choice practicality. Suprisingly, the first track aside, there’s not a great deal of telltale tape wrangling on the disc, which operates largely in a foggy stew of dark auras and viscous aural ooze. Decay and disintegration were consistent themes in Seht and Stelzer’s yearlong correspondence, and Exactly What You Lost shows it, with music that’s allowed to move, breathe, and, ultimately, expire.

The album’s opening track is perhaps more indicative of what seems like an alluring concept for tape conductors, that high-energy technique that favors sonic mutilation over the creation of an ambience. And while such hyperactive flair has its place, the more minimalist exploration of tape degradation found on Exactly What You Lost signals a more patient approach, one of a more immersive character. Its sound is more anonymous than that of the traditionally frenetic and demonstrative mode of tape manipulation, but Seht and Stelzer’s debut collaboration is a work no less impressive in its utlilization of tape’s latent potential.

By Adam Strohm

Read More

View all articles by Adam Strohm

Find out more about Intransitive

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.