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Two Comissions for Cassette Tape

by Ex-Easter Island Head

  • Super Limited Edition Featuring Endless Loop Cassette of 'Mercy Comission'
    Cassette + Digital Album

    In addition to the regular release, we have 10 super limited editions of the record which include an additional 'Endless Loop' tape dubbed by Benjamin Duvall which contains a 3 minute, constantly looping excerpt of 'Mercy Comission'. There are only 10 of these available, purchased directly from the Tombed Visions bandcamp.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Two Comissions for Cassette Tape via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Sold Out

  • Limited Edition Deluxe Cassette
    Cassette + Digital Album

    New Packaging Design! Cassette comes house in a double sized case. All tapes a pro dubbed on Aqua Blue shells, the 2 panel inlay has been printed on 300gsm recycled paper. This album also contains 2 linear note inserts printed on 300gsm recycled paper. Only 90 copies for the world!

    Includes unlimited streaming of Two Comissions for Cassette Tape via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Sold Out



Two Commission for Cassette Tape is Ex-¬Easter Island Head's first release for the Manchester-based Tombed Visions label and their first release ever on the format. Encompassing two fifteen minute pieces, Two Commissions explores new territory for the group, following on from their recent works for trio and massed electric guitars and drums (Mallet Guitars Three, Large Electric Ensemble) to present a pair of intimate, personal works using the sonic and mechanical qualities of the cassette medium as a compositional element alongside the groups' ever expanding vocabulary of prepared guitar techniques. ‘A Curfew Tower for Bill Morrison’ was commissioned by Static Gallery, Liverpool and was written and recorded across five days in The Curfew Tower, Cushendall; an 18th century tower functioning as an artists' residency in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Using a pair of microphones, two prepared guitars, cassette four track, percussion and the resonant properties of the stone walls, wooden floors and narrow passageways within the four-story structure’s architecture, the piece sees the duo of Benjamin D. Duvall and Patrick Morrison reflecting on the life of playwright, director, actor and mentor Bill Morrison (1940-¬2011). Part celebration, mourning and wake, the piece sees Bill's typewriter returned to Antrim ¬ the county of his birth and resting place of his ashes – and incorporated into a deeply personal ritual of sound and remembrance. ‘Mercy Commission’ was an evening ¬length installation piece for three cassette tape loops and multiple speakers, commissioned by Mercy Arts/Literature agency as part of the Spectres of Spectacle event held at Static Gallery, Liverpool, 29 September 2011. The brief was to create “Half¬-erased, deliberately fogged works across lo¬fi, spoken word, and the analogue/digital crossover”. The three loops each represent a fragment of a personal history: a lost mangled loop of voice and synthesiser unearthed, a prepared bass guitar inherited from a friend no longer with us, a hundred year-old harmonium ¬ threads of narrative cycling permanently in slow phase, combining and separating to produce a meaning just out of reach. The piece ran continuously for six hours with no processing, save for volume adjustments performed from a simple timeline based score and the changing timbral and dynamic effects caused by the movement of people through the gallery. Presented on this release in a significantly condensed form foregrounding the melodic, tonal qualities of the piece over its durational ones, Mercy Commission is Ex¬-Easter Island Head's first 'performerless' piece, with the mechanical certainty of the endlessly repeating loops taking the group's use of repetitive processes to their logical extreme.

"“Were it not for the actors and the Irish, so they say, there would be no plays in England. Like George Farquhar, whose Love and a Bottle he adapted, the playwright Bill Morrison was both Northern Irish and an actor, and a director and trade unionist to boot. Morrison, who has died aged 71 after suffering an oesophageal rupture, had a career in theatre, television and radio that was exceptional in its range and scale, and innovative in subject matter and dramatic form.” — Guardian Obituary 22/12/11 for Bill Morrison, playwright and director, born 22 January 1940; died 7 December 2011.

Low Point stalwarts Ex-Easter Island Head’s first excursion onto Manchester-based Tombed Visions is ‘Two Commissions for Cassette Tape’. Two expansive fifteen-minute pieces see the Liverpool ensemble developing their sound even further afield, the unique elements being locative briefs, a focus on loops, the sonic and mechanical qualities of cassette tape, and a faintly discernable elegiac crosscurrent. Whilst some parts of the three-pronged “A Curfew Tower for Bill Morrison” bring to mind previous outings such as ‘Mallet Guitars One’, other parts (namely the blistering, chiming distortion) are new elements entirely. Commissioned by Static Gallery, Liverpool, the piece was written and recorded inside The Curfew Tower in Northern Ireland, with everything developed completely in situ: all material, down to the specific tuning of the guitars, was developed over the five days of the residency.
Using microphones, prepared guitars, a four-track recorder, percussion, and the acoustics of the 18th century structure’s four-storey narrow passageways and stonewalls, Benjamin Duvall and Patrick Morrison have crafted a personal audio wake both celebratory and mournful. The clattering percussion has substantially more bite than usual, likely owing to the large helping of authentic reverb the location seems to have gifted. The mixing by James Rand is sharp, with the dynamics centre-stage and with just enough of the location at the edges to give it character. “Mercy Commission” is a piece developed for tape loops and multiple speakers, commissioned by Mercy Arts/Literature agency for an installation at Static Gallery, Liverpool, 29th September 2011, based on a “half-erased, lo-fi, analogue/digital crossover” brief, using prepared bass guitar, harmonium and a slowly deteriorating cassette tape from 2005. The results, upon installation, ran on a six-hour loop, so the version presented for release is clearly in a much-condensed form. Although the installation piece apparently benefitted from the changing dynamic of people in the gallery, altering the timbre and shape, the piece still maintains weight in recorded form.
‘Two Commissions’ sees the arc of Ex Easter Island Head curve yet ever wider; both an assertive blend of personal musical catharsis and a document of practiced artistic process. Over a growing number of releases, they have chosen to deliberately avoid comfortable ruts and regularly injected new elements to broaden their range. In an age when everything that can be done with an electric guitar has almost been done, their idiosyncratic take on it well deserves the wider coverage that it often receives. Given their seemingly boundless potential and taste for innovation, their orbit is fascinating to watch. Hopefully the sold out cassette release will prompt digital availability soon."
- Charles Sage, Fluid Radio

"Holed up in a stone tower in Antrim, Northern Ireland, Liverpool’s Ex-Easter Island Head refined and tweaked their prepared guitar techniques amidst the cavernous natural reverb of their surroundings to beguiling effect on this recently sold-out release for Manchester tape label Tombed Visions. The heightened atmosphere of their makeshift studio adds a wider dimension to the group’s usually compact intricacies that's been hitherto unseen in their frequently minimalist musings."
- Simon Caitling, The Skinny


released December 9, 2014


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Tombed Visions Records Manchester, UK

Tombed Visions is a Manchester based cassette label specialising in improvisation, ambient music, experimental electronics and noir aesthetics and aims to showcase the fringes of contemporary independent music. All releases are limited edition and packaged with care, combining a love of graphic design, photography, typography with the wondrous sounds released. ... more

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