The music is definitely there, and John Collins McCormick is determined to enlighten the listener to this fact. The main base of Garbage Strike is stasis – elements left to unfold without dramatic change, often manifesting as a vigorous and atonal rustle that dominate the foreground – and what originally appear to be anti-musical entities gradually become more compelling and complex as their persistence brings details and hidden rhythm into focus. At first, one only hears high pressure water jets fired at a concrete wall (“Sheerest CWTKK”) or the rattle of unstable boiler room piping (“Blast Place”), until the fruits of attentive listening begin to separate out the sound into complex arrangements of frequency and intricate timbral shape.
But as musicality seems to increase,a certain surreality starts to become apparent. McCormick is teasing, embedding sounds of an earthly and industrial familiarity within a more murky and abstract context. The 80 seconds of “Reduce, Reuse” sound like the sonorous groans of metal, bowed and scraped until a tortured tonality comes oozing out, but it’s just too sonorous to be real – those metallic whistles feel disproportionately dominant compared to the rasps of friction that cause them, and the noise begins to resemble some sort of distorted animal whimper as time goes on. Reality is tilted off axis but only slightly, with slight contortions of form acting as the irregularities that quietly out a dream as a mere imaginative figment, becoming ever more apparent as stasis beckons a listening of increasingly obsessive attention to detail.