"Waves of analog depression and hypnotically-activating klaxon emanate from a pocket of Beijing buried in soot and dryer lint. This, the product of one Charles LaReau, came out in 2002 as a cassette on Animal Disguise and emulates the solitude of that label’s headlining act Mammal, minus the persona; this is active haunt, the oppressor not the oppressee, all around you even on the odd track of field-recorded bell and gong. It feels like back when people legit did not know better than to think the Sun revolved around the Earth (yeah, back when), only the answers are not borne out of confidence, but out of a suffocating surrounding – that the environment follows you wherever you go, imposing its benign will. Wow. I just pulled out the insert and you’ll have to believe me when I say the liner notes to this are remarkably similar, but yeah. This seems to have been the artist’s world and its key for him to escape by documenting it all at once." - STILL SINGLE
"During a particularly dull fourth grade science lecture, a younger, bespectacled version of myself sneakily scanned the collection of Roald Dahl short stories that I’d concealed in the lower compartment of my desk. Lacking the spidery, pen-scratched Quentin Blake illustrations that inhabited much of Dahl’s bibliography, there seemed something counterfeit about The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More. Two rows of brownstones lined the borders of the yellowed little anthology’s cover, pear-shaped townsfolk clogging the block with outstretched hands as a yellow-haired man in a burgundy suit showered them with twenty-pound notes from his top floor patio. This man, the titular star of the collection’s title piece, was an archetypal Robin Hood figure of sorts, a psychic who used his abilities to ensure victories at the casinos he visited across Great Britain.
Henry Sugar’s origin story is one that, for whatever reason, is planted deeply in some godforsaken cavern of my mind to this day: to train his faculty to enter states of intense psychic focus, he’d perform a nightly ritual.
'Each night now I light a candle and I begin by staring at the flame. A candle-flame, you know, has three separate parts, the yellow at the top, the mauve lower down, and the black right inside. I place the candle sixteen inches [aprox. 40 cms] away from my face. The flame is absolutely level with my eyes. It must not be above or below. It must be dead level because then I do not have to make even the tiniest little adjustment of the eye muscles by looking up or down. I settle myself comfortably and I begin to stare at the black part of the flame, right in the centre. All this is merely to concentrate my conscious mind, to empty it of everything around me…So I stare at the black spot in the flame until everything around me has disappeared and I can see nothing else'
This passage was exhumed from the catacombs of my subconscious about midway through the A-Side of Das Torpedoes’ The Madness Inspiration, a vinyl re-issue of the dark ambient project’s 2002 cassette debut via Animal Disguise Recordings. Each of the record’s 7 compositions is an intensely focused field recording conducted in the center of a candle-flame’s dark alcove - most tranquil are Acts III and VI, tracks that could be simultaneously described as claustrophobic and spacious. Each cut is flooded with the static hush of stale air and pools of bass that resemble ectoplasmic ooze. Das Torpedoes’ tickly alien soundscapes sound as if they’re being eavesdropped on from another room, the residual rumble of commercial airliners and stalled traffic seeping through paper-thin walls.
'If only we could develop these inner senses of ours, then we could smell without our noses, taste without our tongues, hear without our ears and see without our eyes' -TINY MIX TAPES
Originally released on cassette by Animal Disguise.
Co-released on vinyl in 2016 with Unread Records.
released October 14, 2016
Performed/Recorded by Charles LaReau.
Mastered by A.F. Jones at Laminal Audio.
Sleeve design and layout by Bryan Day.