by: Ali Shana
Milwaukee-based label, club, and internet radio station Close Up of the Serene embraces experimental and modern music. The record label releases music from various artists, numbering the releases as 'CLOSEUP001', 'CLOSEUP002', etc.
Today, Kenneth Tarek Sabbar releases his two-track single 'Plastic Bags // 8 & 14 (CLOSEUP008)' via BandCamp. These tracks are Sabbar's debut releases in this solo monicker. This post-punk electronic project stems from Sabbar's history in experimental music. Sabbar is a member of both post punk band Heat Death and ambient/noise band Dead Pawn. While 'Plastic Bags // 8 & 14' has strong elements of post-punk and ambient music, the two-track single has a much more electronic and hypnotic feel to it.
The first half, 'Plastic Bags', is nearly seven minutes of a lurking distant guitar riff drenched in feedback over a steady drum beat. The apathetic vocals are almost inaudible, however, an important factor to eerie and discontentment vibe of the song. The track slowly and tastefully ends in a looping, overlapping distorted noise, which slowly muffles out. Truly a great track to allow your mind to wander.
'8 & 14', on the other hand, is slightly more up tempo. The use of a steady drum loop is still present, but this time, the drum hits are industrial sounding and deep in sub bass. The staticky track never looses it's attention grabbing qualities by utilizing whirly, windy synths. Overall, the track's factory like heartbeat is reminiscent of Nine Inch Nail's more experimental work.
Close Up on the Serene describes the project as:
"Working under his government name for the first time, Kenneth Tarek Sabbar (Heat Death / Dead Pawn) debuts with two machine-driven cuts for Close Up of the Serene. Lead track "Plastic Bags" is a brooding, spiraling, kraut-inflected after hours anthem that nearly feels touched by another force. Its counterpart "8 & 14" is a heady mid-tempo exercise in restraint, wonky synths twist and contort over a steady pulse of sub pressure and factory floor hi hats. CLOSEUP008 is out April 14th via bandcamp. Plastic Bags written, engineered, produced, and mixed by Tarek Sabbar. 8 & 14 written, engineered, and produced by Tarek Sabbar. 8 & 14 mixed by Tarek Sabbar, Max, and Will. All tracks mastered by Will and Max. Cover art by PJ Moody."