Release: human heads – in the afternoon (tape, scent, digital)

ARTIST: human heads
TITLE: in the afternoon

FORMAT: tape / vial of scent / digital
LABEL: Fractal Meat Cuts

RELEASE DATE: 20th March 2021
FMC58: Edition of 50 cassettes
FMC59: Edition of 50 vials of scent
Both with digital versions of the album

Olfactory edition of In the Afternoon by Human Heads comprises the audio files and a vial of scent. The scent was mixed with the help of Clara Weale at the Library of Olfactive Material, Glasgow.

Keywords: field recording, olfactory composition, poetry, electro-pop, found sound

Human Heads are an electro-pop sprechgesang duo from Glasgow.

Human Heads deliver a whopping sensory twofer; a vial of fragrant oil for your proboscis and six doses of throbbing-synth-extrusions and poetry-speak-sung for your inky flappers.

On listening, it’s the overall heaviness what mugs me first – narrative and synthetic. ‘You shouldn’t have met’ is a slice of crafty street recording, school kids on the blab rapping on death, that’s soon dive-bombing deeply like Sabbath picked up a couple of Korg SB-100’s rather than them dirty guitars.

As the tracks unspool we follow stories (possibly reflections, possibly prophecies) on the full-body foxtrot and crucifixion. Pixelated piano is preceded by the delighted squeaking of a small child, a train’s rhythmic rattle and Scott Joplin’s entertaining hands. R.D. Laing is in a nostalgic mood so things end with the sort of dry-rot clunk Kanye would have chipped a tooth for on his self-titled Yeezus opus.

And if you are wondering? This is all decidedly, deliciously groovy. This release is both sweet and suspiciously tangy. Think peaches and goat’s cheese. I offer you ‘Pure Plaza’ dear reader…the very real sound of a zeppelin slowly deflating, warm gaseous breath fluttering out of the loose tarpaulin. Overhead, untrustworthy sparks crackle, grey birds fitting in mid-flight. It gets choppy as a rowing boat on the briny – waves of sparkling keyboards a dangerous undertow, moving my feet one way and my hips the other.

‘Diana & Paola’ scoops the heart out of the very idea of a ‘song’. The domestic rattles (a spoon on a cup perhaps) anchor me as the songs recording processes are unpacked, laid out and stripped bare as a freshly delivered foal, slick with gore. In fact all through the proceedings narratives pick up loose ends, make new knots and connections. Ideas leap between tracks. Sounds suggest other sounds, mutate and evolve; beautiful like drizzle, the soft slips kiss my exposed face and neck.

Make no mistake; Human Heads are standing on the edge of mystery-blood and psychiatry mathematics.

– Joe Murray (September 2020)

Scent as described by Rebecca Wilcox

They reverberate,
they also absorb dregs
that came from our teenage diversions
Cold and stony, the rubbery shadow
Brought to life
With a whiff of a dank man-made hole
And now a brightness
Feels higher and more determined
Fuller now, gathering to block out extraneous letters, sights
My own fingers trawling and trailing
lips overstretched
Rid the flavours from the mouth
A narrative fading – good
Metallic churning // reaching out,
receding again and overlaid with a negative etching
A breathing cog
Not circular but returning
// familiar but not mine
a sweet spot between nape, pit, popper, pear //
A breathing cog
Not circular but returning
Do it with your eyes closed
A sweet spot between now, then, the rear of a dream
Trapped Doppler,
Metal is cooling, becomes corky
Lips overstretched, adjective snatched
Sucked and blown
To reach equilibrium //
Thinly domestic now
A drawn out teeter I can no longer perceive
But it came from somewhere massive and hard
A slow shock
// A pattern cut from a metal sheet
and now it’s on the move
lays itself down over spoken undulations
until they form a new pattern, called a beat //
received, pressing, driving,
old and flammable
sneaked up from within a refrigerated box
another slow, pleasant shock
Thickly domestic now as we sink
Survey the scatter
Manipulate the joint
Tiny and early, the echo ate its tail

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