Homogenized Terrestrials came to my attention in 1993, I believe. I was playing in a punk band and we had just recorded our one and only demo. Our drummer’s older brother worked at Econo Foods stocking shelves and to pass the time he would have conversations with a co-worker about music. One night he brought one of our tapes to give to Phil so he could hear what we were up to. Phil gave him a copy of Homogenized Terrestrials – “hOLTH” cassette in trade, along with a mix tape of bands like Controlled Bleeding, Coil, Clock DVA, etc. It wasn’t his thing, so Brian ended up with them. It was our first exposure to that type of experimental noise stuff and we didn’t know what to make of it. From curiosity and repeated listens came appreciation, but we didn’t know what we were listening to. It was all so bizarre to us. Somehow, over the years I amassed a large collection of Homogenized Terrestrials tapes, all in weird oversized packaging. “Rapid Mustard Theories” was one of only a couple of those early tapes I missed out on, so Phil was nice enough to upload it to his Bandcamp for me to grab.
20 years later, I still don’t know how he created this stuff. In my naive teen years I just assumed he created all of these sounds on a synth, but I know better now. I assume there are samplers, tape loops and a drum machine at work, but that’s as close as I can get to figuring this out. Truth is, it doesn’t matter how this stuff was created. “Rapid Mustard Theories” fits right in with Phil’s other releases from that era. It’s noisy, percussive and repetitive with snippets of voice punctuating segments (most of the time indistinguishable, sometimes to a comedic effect). Some of the tracks sound like sound collage, but most sound as if they were solely his creation. There’s always a wide range of sounds on his releases, and this one is no different. All of the tracks sound different and the changes keep things moving along nicely. Nothing overstays its welcome. Overall, this is dark and unsettling. There’s a creepy quality to Phil’s early work that he seems to have shed over the years, but his newer releases are just as interesting and varied. The recording is nice and clean, free of the saturation most noise tapes are plagued with. Pushing everything into the red is cheating, in my opinion. It’s a testament to his skill as an artist and engineer that he’s able to creating an unsettling experience without resorting to those tactics.