Boston’s Howard Stelzer has long been a favorite of mine. His discography is full of gems the deeper you dig, so it’s great to see he’s got a new full-length just released by the always interesting Dokuro. Based on this short excerpt, Brayton Point is a bleak, windswept hellscape that worms its way inside before settling in for the night. The facade fades away and the muted sounds of nightmares trapped behind the wall begin to seep out. Stelzer is a master of using subtle shifts and mutating textures, turning them into fully-fledged lifeforms. I can’t wait to hear this whole thing.
Howard Stelzer’s “Brayton Point” is a massive slab of slow throb built out of the sounds of the Brayton Point Generating Station in Somerset, Massachusetts.
Brayton Point is the largest coal-fired power plant in New England. A town sprang up around it as the suburbs expanded, so now the complex sits across the street from a park and a baseball field where kids play. Local residents enjoy looming cooling towers (designed to be aesthetically pleasing, believe it or not) blocking the view of the sky above their back yards. Stelzer has always felt ambivalent toward power plants, both amazed and repulsed by their architecture. He explains his goal in constructing music out of the sounds of the site: “I aimed to get across what these structures are like in my imagination… monstrous, horrible, imposing, completely stoic and inhuman and yet also beautiful in a way that’s difficult to articulate.”
“Brayton Point” is Stelzer’s first solo album since 2008’s “Bond Inlets”
Howard Stelzer has been making music out of cassette tapes and tape players since the mid-1990’s. He ran the Intransitive Recordings label from 1998 to 2012, and currently teaches middle school in Lowell, MA.