Issued over a decade ago as a CD on Housepig, Unicorn's beautiful and sinister album "Playing With Light" is re-introduced to listeners as a rearranged and remastered LP. Unicorn is WT Nelson, known previously as party to 90s avant-hardcore outfit Man is the Bastard and its spawn, the prolific Bastard Noise. "Playing With Light" features three tracks originally prepared to accompany short films by Stephanie Miller, and, interspersed with standalone compositions, works cohesively to limn a world where the alien oscilloscapes of Bastard Noise merge with earthy synths and electric mandocello. The album opens with a transfixing music box motif that wouldn't be out of place ushering in the opening credits of a vintage thriller. In "Spots," the 10-minute centerpiece track, a mostly unaccompanied synth melody uses syncopation to create the impression of stumbling through darkness. "Clay & Fire" threatens to burst into full-bore power electronics territory but doesn't; the narration we hear is not a transgressive confession but instead a factory worker's discovery of pottery as a respite from his labor. From there the record offers an electronic crescendo before resolving in the almost-comforting "Far Away; Close To You," which trails off in Morse code blips clearly transmitted but only possibly received. "Playing With Light" is unique in Nelson's discography and is entirely deserving of this vinyl reincarnation. "Rhodes, Electric Mandocello, Various Trogotronic Electronic / Electro Acoustics Prototypes & Field Recordings."
Unicorn - Playing With Light LP
Edition of 250, with download code.
Mastered for vinyl by Timothy Stollenwerk.