Rambutan - Parallel Systems
Friday the 13th brings a weight with it. An ominous undertow of sick feelings lying beneath the current of the day. The augmentation of this state rest in so many experiences throughout the conscious wake. On this Friday the 13th, Rambutan's Parallel Systems was playing through the car stereo while driving on highway 28 in North Carolina. Fontana Dam Visitor Center was closed and empty due to the long list of COVID park shut downs of more than a year in duration. The dam's spillways were shut creating empty tunnels descending into the earth. Only trickles of water heard from each, while another selection on Parallel Systems blares from the car. I am sure it was System 4 with Gayle Brogan, Andrew Paine, Mike Watt, Kevin McCarvel, Chris Robert and Eric Hardiman. Their selection pushing on the thresholds just a little bit more, a post catastrophic world empty of the energy of people.
Parallel Systems was not intended to drive us past what we are comfortable with. From this massive assembly of artists and tracks curated and mixed by Rambutan, the tones and feelings are widely dispersed. The complete work is a singularity of sound, like a spider web with a dark spot in the middle. Silken threads radiating outward with sticky sonic properties. But on this day, there is and alignment of feelings, superstitions, deserted places and sounds. This alignment is fueled by sinuous mountain roads covered by dense summer foliage, an empty popular recreation spot that is normally busy this time of year, a descent into a world of rhythmic crevices and the three hundred plus curves waiting ahead on the Tail of the Dragon.
As System 8 with Campbell Kneale, Ray Hare, Sindre Bjerga, John Olson, Karen Schoemer and Eric Hardiman, began it's playback, we saw it in our rear view mirror. A pickup truck with a mismatched hood and rust above the windshield. The absence of a bumper creating infinite tines of radiator teeth ready to rip. Our speed increased just a little, fighting off the pull of the car around the curves in conjunction with the accelerated rate, tire traction and road conditions. The franken-truck hung behind, like a stiff connecting rod held it in place. With ten more of the total eleven miles to go (exit the Dragon), this would be an experience to talk about, if we were lucky. System 10 with Jon Collin, Grant Capes, Jon Schlesinger, Paul Haney and Eric Hardiman, begins and works to de-escalate the tension. An more ambient piece with just enough guitar filled energy to help make better decisions. At this point any embankment on the side was welcome for potential pull over and pass by the disfigured truck trailing us. The chance materialized, slamming the brakes and veering right simultaneously, the truck passed to the left in a slower speed than we were both traveling. With windows much higher than the Honda we were in, most noticeable was an arm hanging down with a thick piece of rebar in hands grasp. On the bicep was a tattoo of an upside down car in the center of parallel cross hairs. Like a plus sing with two parallel lines in each direction and the turtled car in the center. But even more disturbing was the echo of our stereo manifesting as the truck came and went beside us. They were listening to Parallel Systems as well, and exactly synchronized to us.
At this point, removing the potential for more intimate encounters was the most desired plan. The car was gingerly turned around in limited space. The pressed accelerator quickly creating a surge of momentum to create distance from this perplexing event. And without thought Parallel Systems continued to play into System 13 with Peter Wright, Sindre Bjerga, Phil Donnelly, Ali Robertson, Ray Hare, Mike Griffin and Eric Hardiman. The entire composition becoming a soundtrack to the past events. As we made headway back to Fontana Dam, the music darkened on System 13. Maybe it was the ambient void or the momentarily disturbing muffled voice, but this caused a quick glance at the review mirror, the truck was approaching from behind again at a faster pace then ours. Our heads snapped back as the impact caused loss of control. The car left the road and tumbled down the embankment to violently lodge into a few trees. We were battered and bruised, but not unconscious. Parallel Systems had stopped playing from our car, but in the distance we heard the laughing like backward tones of System 14 with Mike Bullock, Anla Courtis, Jefferson Pitcher, Paul Haney and Eric Hardiman, as we hung upside down from the seat belts .
This double compact disc is a co-release from Tape Drift Records and Sedimental Records. Beautiful presentation on the fold out ecosleeve. The descriptive story used above only touches on such a small portion of the incredible amount of sounds on Parallel Systems. One hundred and fifty four minutes across thirty three tracks and sixty nine artists. This compositions seems daunting on paper, but Rambutan has meticulously brought everything into fabulous fluid focus. Really an incredible body of work.
There are only three hundred in the production run so don't put purchasing this off to long.
Mike Barrett * Jeff Barsky * Frank Baugh * Sindre Bjerga * Andreas Brandal * Gayle Brogan * Mike Bullock * Fraser Burnett * Grant Capes * Jon Collin * Roberto Conlazo * Anla Courtis * Euan Currie * Phil Donnelly * Malcy Duff * Paul Fagoaga * Bob Fay * Tim Feeney * John Fernandes * Rob Forman * Glen Galloway * Jenifer Gelineau * Mike Griffin * Paul Haney * Ben Harbert * Claire Hardiman * Eric Hardiman * Graham Hardiman * Ray Hare * Ceylan Hay * Holland Hopson * A.F. Jones * Michael Kiefer * Campbell Kneale * Thomas Lail * Todd Lent * Brian Lucas * Walker Martin * Kevin McCarvel * Sandy Milroy * Melanie Ó Dubhsláine * John Olson * Andrew Paine * Arttu Partinen * Guy Picciotto * Jefferson Pitcher * Michael Potter * Peter Prescott * Chris Robert * Ali Robertson * Derek Rogers * Donna Savoy, Jr. * Jon Schlesinger * Karen Schoemer * John Schoen * Mary Staubitz * Howard Stelzer * Steubs * Rhian Thompson * Phil Todd * Antti Tolvi * Michael Troutman * Joe Tunis * Scott Verrastro * Russ Waterhouse * Mike Watt * Patrick Weklar * Matt Weston * Turner Williams * Peter Wright