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The Rainbow Body – Return Unto Void

November 8, 2012

By Jamie Wolfert

When I received a cassette tape in the mail from The Rainbow Body my
initial gut reaction was “Oh, a cassette tape...how old-timey and
adorable! Thanks a lot, hipster”. But upon reading the note that accompanied
the tape and doing a bit of googling, my interest was thoroughly piqued.
I'm always intrigued by anybody with a unique approach to playing and
composing on guitar, and the reviews I found of The Rainbow Body and its creator
Matt Kattman's other project, Utsuro Bune, indicated this was something worth
checking out. Phrases like “crushing blackened doomdrone” and “raga like
thrum” always get my attention. Fortunately The Rainbow Body also has a
Bandcamp page for Return Unto Void, saving me a trip to Goodwill to sift
through a pile of crusty cassette decks. Infernal machines!

The Rainbow Body is Mr. Matt Kattman, his guitar, and a handful of
effects pedals, but you'd never guess that just by listening. The sounds
on Return Unto Void range from synth-like tones to hypnotic washes of
ambient static, deep fuzz drones, and layered, looping melodies and
chords that are almost orchestral in texture.  In fact, "Void 3" (the tracks
are labeled as Void 1-8) is not unlike listening to a chamber orchestra
perform on a 747 preparing for takeoff. The strength of  this song, and
much of Return Unto Void, is in Mr. Kattman's propensity for lost, forlorn
fragments of melody awash in a warm bath of hiss and hum. Certainly fans
of psychedelic, noise, and drone-oriented music like Keiji Haino, Sunn
O))), and Earth will understand the appeal of this music, but even some
mainstream-ish rock fans may find something to like about The Rainbow
Body, given the strong melodic elements and the fact that most of the
tracks average around 3 minutes. It's ambient drone music for people with
short attention spans.

Matt Kattman's minimalist guitar work is masterful on The Rainbow Body's
Return Unto Void, offering a breath of fresh air to a genre that can grow
stale and boring very easily. The ever-shifting moods and sonic landscapes are
definitely worth spending some quality headphone time with, whether on
those adorable little cassette tapes or in the digital format of your
choice via Bandcamp. While you're over at Bandcamp, you should also have a
listen to Mr. Kattman's other project, the somewhat heavier Utsuro Bune,
for some of that “crushing blackened doomdrone” the kids go crazy for.

http://therainbowbody.bandcamp.com/album/return-unto-void

http://utsurobune.bandcamp.com/

Comments

  1. Matt Kattman says:

    Thanks PGS for the kind words about my music! I have to say though, why so much distaste for analog cassettes? You guys sell analog guitar pedal right? Please consider this:

    Many music listeners love the sound of vinyl, but for independent DIY musicians like myself simply cannot afford the cost involved in pressing even a small run of vinyl records. The reason for the recent swell in independently released analog tapes is not only audio based but economically driven as well. Audio cassettes are inexpensive to manufacture, and when professionally duplicated on high quality tape the sound can rival that of vinyl records. You get all the warmth of analog without the crackle and pop produced by a turntable stylus, and in many cases better stereo imaging. Although cassettes have their obvious limitations too, let’s face it these days no one buys CDs and digital albums are all too easily distributed freely on the internet. Releasing my music in this format allows me to present my work in a tangible, aesthetically pleasing package existing outside of the vastness that is cyber space. It’s not meant to be hipster or elitist. If that were the case I would not make my music available digitally at all. You can still buy my recordings on Bandcamp, iTunes, etc.

    Regardless, thanks again for the great review. I’m glad you enjoyed my sounds, no matter the format! ;)

    Sincerely,
    Matt Kattman

    posted on November 9, 2012 at 5:07 am
  2. Sean Marsh says:

    x 10 kudos to you Matt!

    posted on November 9, 2012 at 11:27 am
  3. Jamie Wolfert says:

    Hey Matt,

    I kid about cassettes…mostly.  We do indeed sell and enjoy lots of analog things, and I would agree that the economy of cassettes makes them a viable format for independently released music. With a high-end deck, quality tape, and good noise reduction a cassette can potentially approach the quality of good vinyl on a decent playback system, but on an average or low-quality deck (like most people would have) playback quality can be pretty disappointing. Disturbing signal-to-noise ratio, wow-and-flutter, limited dynamic range, and limited frequency response are but a few of the “charms” of cassettes. I wrestled with and cursed at cassettes throughout my youth and have little nostalgia for them. An average quality turntable with a decent needle and quality vinyl will best the average cassette deck under most circumstances.

    But that’s all audio nerd nonsense. The important part is that I love what you’re doing, whatever the format, and I thank you sincerely for sending your music my way. Your approach to guitar is inspiring and your records are intense and absorbing. Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing what you come up with next. I’m even considering hunting down a decent cassette deck!

    Thanks again,

    Jamie

    posted on November 10, 2012 at 3:54 am
  4. KEITH MURRAY says:

    Nakamichi 582Z or Dragon’s are still to be found on eBay for a fraction of what they used to go for!  ;-)

    posted on November 10, 2012 at 6:42 am
  5. Richard says:

    I’m cool with tape. I thought from reading what’s on Bandcamp, that the tape was the 8-track mix. I do appreciate tape, but that would have been rad. I could have dug out my old Tascam and broken down the songs. Hey, good idea, maybe I’ll try something like. that. lol

    posted on November 13, 2012 at 2:40 am

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