Shasta Cults: s/t LP
Shasta Cults is the musical project of Canadian electronics technician Richard Smith. For almost two decades, Smith was the official Buchla & Associates go-to repair person for studios, collectors, and musicians around the world, having worked with artists such as Aphex Twin, Suzanne Ciani, Mort Subotnick, and institutions such as The Library of Congress and Mills College, Smith has had the unique experience of restoring and interacting with nearly every model of Buchla instrument constructed over the past 50 years. "Recording demonstrations of the rare equipment that found its way on to my work bench," is how Smith describes the origins of Shasta Cults. Although sounds have been trickling out for decades, it wasn't until 2017 that Smith recorded his first album using one of these rare instruments: the Buchla 700. Configurations, released in September 2019 by Important Records (IMPREC 432CD) and the catalyst for this latest release, features eight tracks of heavily-modulated, wave-shaped explorations drenched in effects. Recorded over the span of three months in the fall of 2018, this album was programmed using the only fully-functional Buchla Touché. Developed in the early 1980s with hardware by Don Buchla and software programmed by musician David Rosenboom, the Touché features waveforms generated internally by twenty-four digital oscillators and uses frequency modulation along with sophisticated digital and analog signal processing to produce complex timbres. This LP is a continuation of themes first heard on Configurations, with more consideration given to the generation and recording of the pieces. The album's six tracks -- a collection of sonic experiments and hypnotic drones -- span almost forty minutes, showcasing not only the incredible fidelity of the Touché but also Smith's evolution as an audio engineer. Put on some headphones, find a comfortable chair, and let this LP transport you to the mystifying southern cascades of Siskiyou County. Manufactured at RTI and cut by John Golden.