Cassette Corner: William Clay Martin - "Future Street"

William Clay Martin - Future Street
(2013 Self-Released)
"Alien, yet familiar"

Upon first receiving this cassette, tucked away in an off-yellow package lined with bubble wrap, I wasn't sure what to make of it. A good majority of the self-released ambient material I hear these days is quite bland, but the cover art for this particular tape gave me hope. It's a vast landscape, crisp in the foreground, muted in the background, and appears alien, yet familiar. Such a sentiment is conveyed well on William Clay Martin's Future Street. His instrumental tapestries exude a warm feeling of comfort, yet never placidity. While each song is built around a centrifugal idea, it acts as an organism, seldom staying in place, lest fading away into the subconscious. This is ambient music that refuses to be played as background noise. 

"Look Out Today" acts as an overture, and is quite similar to the tune that ushered in each episode of 'Twin Peaks'. There's a whirlwind of grimy, hollow noise that spookily blows through cracks in imaginary walls. A winter draft that is irksome, but no one seems to mind. A baritone guitar lazily struts into this blustery scene, making its presence known with understated thuds and plunks. It's the least intrusive track on the album, but is elegant; crystalline, even. "Shipswatch" opens with the sound of a helicopter hovering nearby, and then this noise morphs into extended, groaning electric guitar notes. On side B, "Temporary Crown" bursts forth with energy in the vein of Explosions In the Sky, slowing down for my favorite song, "Chloe at the Pocahaunted Show". A nod to Bethany Cosentino's (of Best Coast) old experimental band, the track is built around a repetitive, shimmering sound effect, carried by synth strings that evoke the soundtrack to an 80s nature documentary. Listen Below.