Pretend is the début release from experimental producer “Beachers”. Through tape manipulations, processed field recordings and minimalist electronics, Pretend is a dark, bleak electronic release, ghostly and haunting. It’s a release filled with tension and build up – showing that horror lies in the fear, not the fear’s object.
On pretend 1 percussive tape manipulations and dark repetitive start to unfold. Bleak droning ambience courtesy of the field recordings flow and ebb, thin and ghostly. Frail reminiscences of voices come through against the rhythmic sounds, distorted to incomprehensibility. Set against the dark repetitive backdrop, it invokes a strange ritual for lost souls. The random hisses and clicks interspersed throughout give an element of uncontrollability to the bleak proceedings. The voices die down for Pretend 2 and luminescent ambience lights up the popping and skipping. But deep dark drones prevail. Unsettling, tense. Building towards a climax which never materialises, it revels only in the tension – the fear of what’s to come is worse than the feat itself. The effervescent pops and luminescence don’t gel well with the darkness. Unreconcilable. Strange. Madness?
Pretend three, and a liquid flow comes to the otherwise mechanical noise, industrial drones chime and echo. Urban decay, abandoned industry left behind to clank away unattended, the sounds of clattering irrelevance. But still the whirring continues in its futility. The ghosts of Pretend 1 are back to fill the void left by the abandonment. Thin and coursing through the sound towards the end, ebbing up and down while the drones linger on. A percussive rhythm returns for Pretend 4. The slow pulse of a beating heart. A haunting swirling melody in the background. Mysterious, unknown. Intriguing yet unsettling. The rattle of a key trying the door. The pulse quickens. Clattering against the door. Flowing yet mechanical drones return as the pulse fades out. But once again, the climax never comes, the tension was enough.
Pretend 5 and a moment of catharsis. Slow, rhythmic bass notes create a lulling calm. Quiet ambience flows like liquid, bubbling along. Brims to the surface. A soft drone comes through, and it all combines for a soft, cathartic, yet bleak wall of sound – for now. But the tension increases, the thin ghostly drones re-sow the seeds of doubt. Grainy images come to the mind. Before it all fades into one drone that all at once invokes tension and calm. Then a percussive pulse – the sound of footsteps. The drone ever intensifies, yet the pace of the rhythm stays the same. Drones come in and out, different swirls of ambience introduce themselves, and then the footsteps pick up the pace. Running away. From what is uncertain. But it’s the running, the tension and the fear that matters. And what matters all along for Beachers on Pretend.
Ultimately the unsettling music coupled with the lo-fi production makes Pretend sound at points like the forgotten soundtrack to a grainy black and white horror film, and at others the aural embodiment of urban decay. It’s dark, lo-fi and strange. It’s cinematic and provides the tension – letting the listener provide the source in their own minds.