Voice Damage

Limited-edition Cassette release published by Psychic Troubles Tapes on March 1, 2019

“Byron Westbrook produced some incredibly refined electronic music in recent years, summoning spellbinding alien textures into abstract rhythms and clouds of trippy synaesthetic colour. Voice Damage is a slight departure though, presenting us with two 21-minute improvisations. “Nearly all of my recorded music is pieced together from organised edits of various improvisations of some sort,” explains Westbrook. In 2016 however, the artist found himself with a take that “felt distinguished in its raw form, mistakes and all.” 18 months later, a second such improvisation struck as intrinsically consummate in its raw form. “It seemed that a work had completed itself,” as he puts it. The result is, for want of a better term, fucking glorious.

Both pieces take on something of a raga-like form, setting a meek drone section in motion (there are even some pretty tambura-like tones on offer) while Westbrook instinctively rides a roller coaster of noise generators and rippled synthesizer screeches. The first side features a languid single percussive tone beating slowly behind the action, cycling over its droney bed for infinity. Westbrook’s all the while reaching mini climaxes on his abstract set of electric leads, sounding like whistling wires or grumbling amplifiers before hitting some outright shredding during a face-melting final act. Side two is entirely beatless, but no less compelling, with Westbrook swatting his way through siren-like screeches until settling on beautifully quivering tentacles of synth portmanto. Sometimes a musician just has a perfect moment of serendipity with their instrument, and it all just comes together; like peering into the sky to see rays of pink and orange sunset scattered across a refracting atmosphere for but a few blissful minutes.”
– Tristan Bath, The Quietus, 2019