Askild Haugland has been making 'improvised freeform psychedelic music' under the project name Taming Power since the mid-1980s. Between 1997 and 2009 his recordings were documented through an extraordinary series of more than 20 releases – mostly 10" vinyl, though also on a handful of LPs, 7"s and cassettes – on his own Early Morning Records. These recordings are typically focused on a single sound source – electric guitar, tape recorder feedback, radio noise, Casio keyboard – sometimes alone, sometimes multi-tracked, sometimes accompanied by percussion and other objects, sometimes manipulated using tape delay – and presented in paste-on sleeves featuring Mr Haugland's own photographs and/or paintings, with handwritten trackless and labels, titled using the date of recording alone. Taken as a whole, this catalogue forms a remarkable, visionary body of work – and still more remarkable is the fact that most, if not all, of the first pressings – some in editions as small as 100 copies – are still available.
This collection gathers together some material from out-of-print cassette releases and, most intriguingly, unreleased recordings from as recently as 2013. At the suggestion of the artist, the tapes are grouped and presented according to instrumental sound source – one side of electric guitar pieces; one side of electric guitar and tape recorders; one side of analogue feedback; and one side of varied instrumentation (piano, percussion, backwards tape...). Mr Haugland has a way with multi-tracked electric guitar that I find particularly pleasing – often using a repeating circular core melodic phrase that he bounces counterpoints off and around; the results sound like time-lapse footage of a pile-up, or an introduction to astrophysics. And, while it's hard to say exactly what it is that unites, for instance, the combination of deep surging hum and hiss at the beginning of side C with the naked piano track that starts the flipside, there is a common pure-colour soundmood here – a certain yearning melancholy dissonance, or exploratory lonesome moan – that belies the diverse instrumentation and 16-year recording span.
The release comes packaged in a double tape case constructed from a double-size broken down pallet, with a single-colour screenprinted photographic cover, a typewritten title page and two inserts. Edition of 93 copies. £15 plus postage (£3.50 UK / £4.50 Europe / £6 World)