mark dicker played a vital part in london heroes trencher’s sonic assault, providing the casio for the three-piece’s unique take on grind. now a member of palehorse, he has been tinkering away with solo work, playing shows and recording as twilit grotto. having dropped that moniker, talk of the university sees mark reducing the scree of 2013’s holiday snaps (beartown) and full english hernia (vacant fulfilment) to an absolute minimum, forcing one to think about space and sound. the three pieces on talk of the university explore sparseness in a fashion that creates a taut, surreal sound world, excitingly reminiscent of the work of coil and nurse with wound.
read an interview with Mark in the Quietus here:
"dicker focuses on sparsity and minimalism, instrumentally limiting the music to only the very bare necessity. the experiment works and then some, the sonic scarcity coming across as hauntingly phantomic, while the interjection of warped vocals and metropolitan field recordings hint at some semblance of narrative... this tape gets a hell of a lot from its unique minimal dialect." - the Quietus, july 2014
from the Quietus' tapes of 2014:
"All tracks created using a variety of synthesizers, feedback loops and field recordings of London" declares the sleeve of this menacing tape of stirring oddball drones from Mark Dicker. He provided Casio and vocals with grindcore heroes Trencher, but this record couldn't be further from that band's noisy assault (which landed them support slots alongside The Locust and Some Girls). Dicker focuses on sparsity and minimalism, instrumentally limiting the music to only the very bare necessity. The experiment works and then some, the sonic scarcity coming across as hauntingly phantomic, while the interjection of warped vocals and metropolitan field recordings hint at some semblance of narrative; as if the tape is a sermon or broadcast from some observing alien consciousness. '...Hell Is A Grammar School To This' opens side one, emerging with the gristly rumble of synthetic bass tones, and eventually bursting into light as it grows to a luminescent stereoscopic overture of unwinding chords and whirring synth bass. 'Dies Saturni' comes next, travelling at a snail's pace through looped synth detritus, building a quivering chamber of menacing sparse drones and muddy sounds of the city, until Dicker's voice begins intoning an ice-cold whisper-sung tune over the top. The second side's sole 12-minute track - 'Love Me, Love My Dog' - traverses its ground with similarly languid lethargy, as whirring drones flit slowly up and down, and Dicker chants the song's title in a manner that seems initially meditative before soon morphing into worrying insane asylum ramblings. As his intonations are steadily pitch shifted more and more unrecognisably, additional keyboard lines get added to a droney mass that ominously wills itself onward to a climax. With signposts of narrative, and a strictly limited sonic palette, this tape gets a hell of a lot from its unique minimal dialect." - december 2014