FELIPE ARAYA "Punata" C52
(Eh? Records/Public Eyesore)




When not using the built-in mic of his cellular phone to steal the sound-souls from Bolivian & Chilean passersby, Felipe Araya acts upon his cajon like so:

rub, smoosh, flutter,
clack, swipe, squeak,
massage, caress, shuffle,
drag, scrape, massage,
tinkle, creak, shudder!

&do not look for rhymes or reasons here.

Then, he plots Andean flute, Earth winds, footsteps.
Oh, do not look for rhythms or raising hairs.

As kerfluffle ubiquifies unto ambiance-hood,
and seismic groans drone plaintively below twinkling scraps,
do not look for rams or rustles near.

………………………..
found within are field recordings from South America, electro-acoustic compositions via treated solo cajón, flute, & pretty much most sounds harvestable via natural frictions & jigglings about.

http://publiceyesore.com/ehcat.php?eh=096
and/or
https://felipearaya.org/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

DAVE SCANLON "Coupling Duet" C39 (Shinkoyo)




“Coupling Duet” is a clinical collection of avant-garde studies in repetition, phasing, overtone and space/time that’d fit right in next to several Steve Reich and Morton Feldman releases. Every track is a snack-sized inner world unto its own, each collected element demanding various degrees of multi-focused attention and patience as it engages with its surrounding (sparse) group of peers.

Listen loudly with headphones in the morning before traffic picks up for an altered sense of pacing, posing, and passing things/thoughts.

https://shinkoyo.bandcamp.com/album/coupling-duet
and/or
http://www.davescanlon.com/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

IE "Ark" C39 (Shinkoyo)




In an excerpt from IE’s bandcamp page (hosted by Shinkoyo), a poem by (2/5ths of) the recordings artists reads as follows:

“About ARK:

The drone is an ark. It is not a negative space. It is a positive void. Its sound is built upon frequencies held steady with no aim. There is no place involved. There is consumption and repetition and shame associated with these activities. There is a world of rhythms and animal repetition. The drone is an ark. It is not a negative space. It is a positive void. It is a place of not knowing what. It can be played backwards and forwards. The drone is made of frequencies held steady with no aim. They have length. There are sensory motor pleasures that rewire consumption machines and there is shame involved. There are chords and they are a puzzle; people are working on the puzzle; the puzzle is the ark. The drone lasts for some time outside of time and inside there are only shapes, and possibly more. If you have shame, you can always make it into a movie instead of a drone. So then you might have left the ark. Shameless cinema is the absent work of drones. The drone is an ark. It is not electricity and also is what it is. It is not a negative space. It is a positive void. It is an ark. Drones are built upon frequencies held steady with no aim, and there is disruption of sensuous pleasures and consumption and repetition and all the shame associated with them. It may or may not be filled with emotion. It has beginnings, endings, inconsistencies and mistakes, or pretends that it does or does not. The drone is and makes perfect and imperfect pairings. The drone is an ark. It is not a negative space. It is a positive void. It is not a place. It is an ark.”

Recorded with the charms of brutalist architecture in mind, this electro-acoustic live document of the resonations culled from thrice-amplified keyboards, bassoon and saxophone is a minimalist dreamer’s drone (and vice versa) for all of us in love with naturally occurring binaural warble and the nuances inherent in stairwell echoes and austerely-constructed open art spaces.

Think Ellen Fullman, La Monte Young, & Phil Niblock, but, like, much younger, and from the Twin Cities. Make no mistake, this is an elegant, vibrant release, and IE know what is shaking. Specifically air molecules.

https://shinkoyo.bandcamp.com/album/ark
and/or
https://iesounds.bandcamp.com/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

NEW POPE "Meet the New Pope" C44 (Shinkoyo)




Sharing psychedelic DNA with the legendary Oneida, New Pope churns out some pretty far out there, dynamics-focused post-rock for dizzy headphone walkers. Part polyrhythmic hypnosis, part ceremonial drone, part krauty-space jam, this studio-born&raised release proves the glory of studied counterpoint, angular groove, and deft mixing/production.

https://shinkoyo.bandcamp.com/album/meet-the-new-pope
http://www.claralatham.com/new-blog/2017/9/12/new-pope
and/or
http://shinkoyo.com/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

C. WORTH "A Farther Sea"
C54 (Gertrude Tapes)




The sound of all lone bedrooms
lit only by streetlamp,
fading candle, & intervals
of distant lighthouse flash.

Dust, devoutly swept into
all four corners, achieves
topsoil status, hosts
modest ice plant colonies.

Foghorn husk and battered,
barnacled hiss, Sea Worthy
hazily fingerstyles his subtle siren
strings of electric guitar,
mutely of pluck, or
jazzily strum’d, leagues
of reverb and delay coloring
even post-midnight horizons
with ghostly sails of unpinnable
drone.

Tides dependable, concurrently
peaceable, despite infinite opportunities
to dreamily
drown.

… … … …


This tape may actually be a perfect decompression-hour soundtrack. With or without headphones and/or neighborhood noise, it absolutely delivers, time and time and time again. The slippery blend of bass and treble and its rhythmic interplay, the arpeggios that slide into strums, the seamless movements between keys, the waxing and waning delay levels; C. Worth embodies all that can be transcendental about virtuosic guitar playing, with positively zero traces of the onanistic qualities so common in the genre.

https://thegertrudetapes.bandcamp.com/album/a-farther-sea

--Jacob An Kittenplan

BRYCE HACKFORD "Looking Off"
C30 (Perfect Wave)




Side A: With sustain pedal to the metal, Bryce Hackford patiently plots & plods a select few sentimental grand piano chords with minimalist-mantric repetition, creating a hollow peace within that is uneasy and inevitable.

Side B: Metronomic deep bass pulses around a lonesome, keyless chord. With no other subtext, its erratic cries ring out, untethered to any major or minor constraint, even when a low drone surfaces and recedes. Despite superficial tranquility, the gestalt yield is again uneasy & inevitable, leaving us looking, and feeling, “off”.

https://brycehackford.bandcamp.com/album/looking-off
and/or
https://www.perfectwave.org/


--Jacob An Kittenplan

PRIVATE ELEVATORS "LA Looks"
C83 (Perfect Wave)




One point five hour’s worth of distilled sonic sleep apnea, magnetized and perched for a lackadaisical swooping into the vicinity of your ever-too-functioning-pulmonary caves. Read: this time-freezer is on le-fritz, again, so just shut some eyes, massage the back of a scalp; just enjoy the ride. Just…

Best visual: an emaciated taxi driver stuck in armageddon traffic, blissful. Each yard moving forward no less celebrated than the last. No less dreaded. No less Anything.
Just…

Notes of:
-mausoleum reverie,
-emotional trainwreck nostalgia,
-abandoned artifact stoicism,
-torn subway ticket despair,
-space held by-and-for space itself,
-organs of organs of…

Just…
Given William Basinski couldn’t eulogize his own wake, this’d do just fine.

https://privateelevators.bandcamp.com/album/la-looks
and/or
https://www.perfectwave.org/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

TROPICAL ROCK "Yellow Dock" C45 (Perfect Wave)




Two to three High Priestesses pace the perimeter of an impossibly morphing Yellow Dock, each one a-flutesaxophoneanalogsynthcrystalsingingbowltenori-onvocalizin’ to the others’ past/present/future inner ear through the slippery delay (pedals) of time. This cosmic circle-pit is jubilant, intense, revelatory, mesmerizing. It is a time-lapse party portrait at both micro- and macro- levels, in dynamics, narration, rhythm, and space.

Yes. There are nuanced, sonic jokes, social tropes. There is bickering, splitting hairs, these sounds all ringing intensely and timelessly, part & parcel to this cathartic gathering. There is unity; the tension acts as glue every bit as much as the countering, blissfully waxing moon’s pull. And then they all go out on a midnight-herbal-tea run, leaving said Yellow Dock shaken (and stirring) in the falling humidity.

Camille Padgitt-Coles and Ka Baird are not only the main contributors (with additional accompaniment from T. Peterson, another STITSR alum) to Tropical Rock, but also the head honchos of Perfect Wave, an NYC asset to experimental music promotion/curation. Do check out their website below to see how you might get involved/bare witness!

https://tropicalrock.bandcamp.com/album/yellow-dock
and/or
https://www.perfectwave.org/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

NAGUAL/ZACH ROWDEN
"Self Titled" C26 (Pidgeon Records)




Nagual, Oberlin’s own nefarious, electric guitar triumvirate, teams up with Zach Rowden (on bass guitar here) to deliver two nerve-wracking slabs of droning feedback for the calloused-of-heart only.  Each side plays as a build-up to and/or come-down from some inferred breakdown (of the hardcore punk variety) without so much as a beat or chord strangled.

I can’t help but envision a mute, sweaty-brow’d vocalist flailing about stage between these four fullstack-abusers, madly pacing back and forth, jumping up on the bass drum of a never-to-be-played kit, threatening to bash a crash symbol with his unplugged, battered-in microphone, fervently awaiting an eternally undelivered count-in.
Pretty intense stuff. Play loud as fuck on a stereo with a good subwoofer, for sure.

https://nagual.bandcamp.com/album/nagual-zach-rowden
and/or
https://zachrowden.bandcamp.com/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

GARY HILL “Earth” (Windhaven Enterprises)




Totally rad font for this folded paper “j-card,” Gary Hill: I’m all ready for “Earth” to be some sort of text-based RPG adventure for an ancient PC, somehow confronting “Earth-Crisis (Impressions) 1-15” on side A, while “Earth Crisis (Impressions) 16-24” await on side B. The music does not disappoint. Warbly synth and Casio, mothballed melodies sprinkled quickly, transitioning quickly. The feel is exactly the look, and I am keen on it.

There is also a manifesto of sorts from Gary Hill in the folded paper accompanying the tape, something about saving the world from ourselves, it’s not too late, etc., but I’m not sure how serious to take it. (I mean, saving the planet is certainly important, as are green initiatives and restorative practices, don’t get me wrong.) Maybe it’s that this was released by something called Windhaven Enterprises … in 1990. That leads me to believe the whole retrofuturism thing might be a stylistic ploy. And my momma didn’t raise no dummy.

Oh, and please don’t get confused with this Earth Crisis. Unless you want to.

There doesn’t seem to be much info on this one, but here’s a YouTube link with the whole thing playing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLyMvL9URDg


--Ryan

COMFORT FOOD
“Falling Up a Down Escalator” C45
(Already Dead)




Depends, I guess, on the season? If it’s cold, chili definitely. My brother-in-law’s Thai creations. Spaghetti. Warm weather I’m more into seafood stuff – we get this great shrimp ceviche around here that’s just so refreshing. I can taste it right now.

I’m talking about comfort food, obviously. Now I’m going to talk about Comfort Food.

Named after the kind of food that makes me (AND ONLY ME) feel good, Comfort Food the band is sort of the opposite, scattering their noise rock discontent among the jazz funk soil, like they’re filling your underpants with sand or something and making you walk the two miles back to town instead of giving you a lift. Comfort food, the food, this is not. This is scratchy and herky, uncomfortable, awkward. In short, this is everything that this kind of music should be.

“Falling Up a Down Escalator” is as unusual as its title sounds, like it’s really hard to do what it suggests. But bassist/vocalist/trumpetist Daniel Wolff and percussionist Jake Marshall are adept at turning gravity on its head in their tunes, and they’re up to the task at putting you off your equilibrium. These tracks churn and sizzle, fester and bubble, sometimes all at once. You guys like Jerkagram? You should. Comfort Food are spiritual siblings, but weirder. And Darko the Super even drops by to drop a couple of rhymes!

Comfort Food

Already Dead

--Ryan

SCRATEBOARD “Your Hand” (Peconic Records)




Scrote up, scrateboarder! Kirkflirp that rollie to a nrose slide, and try not to totally breef it. Raxle starl on a harf parp. Autograrfed Trorny Hark knee pards hanging on my gararge warl. A million back issues of Thrarsher margazarn in a borx downstors. Scrate or drie!

Birdhorse.

Shrrrederrr synthersizer torns. Blirp flirprs. Thrs chrmrng mrn. Trance brandrt. Rrrarrtrrraterr.

Fruck irt.

https://scrateboard.bandcamp.com/

https://peconic.bandcamp.com/

--Streve Craballero



MARLO EGGPLANT/ARVO ZYLO
“Split” C40 (No Part Of It)



Maybe my favorite in this four-part “split” series, Marlo Eggplant and Arvo Zylo offer juxtaposing studies- re: minimalism vs maximalism- and t’is one hell of a treatise!

While both sides demand concentration and good headphones, ME’s collection of six contrasting psycho-electro-acoustic vignettes explores clinical nuance and forces acting upon forces acting upon forces. Sound poses are shaped by ME’s intentional tides, which, in turn, re-transform into yet further magnetic fields to act and be acted upon ever-so-subtly.

AZ’s side, on the other hand, is gallstones-to-the-wallstones harsh brutality, an explosive string of blown-out 90s-modem-connection samples looped into a dub-dance-tastic frenzy. Imagine robots high from snorting battery acid, jerkily swaying to the new step “doing the human”. Shit is grooving, jarring, & nasty.

http://nopartofit.blogspot.com/
https://nopartofit.bandcamp.com/
http://corpuscallosumdistro.com/marlo-eggplant/
and/or
https://marlodelara.tumblr.com/


--Jacob An Kittenplan

BBJR/ARVO ZYLO “Split” C40 (No Part Of It)




Veterans Bob Bucko Jr and Arvo Zylo each churn out a mantric slowburner of epic proportions on this “Split” series release (one of four) via No Part of It.

BBJR, himself having kicked out some 53 bandcamp releases to date, has made it a point to leave no subgenre unexplored & his part of this tape wades through varying states of looped jam band territory by overlapping beginner 4/4 drum-kit practice-tracks overtop one another in various phase-phrasings, along with a smattering of other stock percussion samples.

AZ’s side couldn’t be further from the prior, eschewing any semblance of whimsy for a stilted, panic-inducing stack-upon-stack-upon-stack of Steve-Reich-meets-hyperspeed-cloned-Conlon Nancarrow sequences that amplify, obfuscate, & further bastardize each and every one of themselves with every passing layer added. Though the trajectory is plainly mapped, the psychoacoustic effects are not. This is a pretty wild ride for anyone willing to exercise their patience, and sanity, to be sure!

http://nopartofit.blogspot.com/
https://nopartofit.bandcamp.com/
and/or
https://bobbuckojr.bandcamp.com/

--Jacob An Kittenplan



ANDREW QUITTER/ARVO ZYLO
“Split” C40 (No Part Of It)





Dumpsterscore Home Recordings and No Part Of It label heads team up here for a disorienting release on NPOI’s “split” series.

AQ delivers two ten minute sonic slabs of dark mysticism titled “Casper 1” and “Casper 2”; these tracks that may share the same name, but the moods are starkly contrasting…as far as hauntings go. C1 centers around a static, tribal drum loop and synthesizer/tractor-beam exhalation, where, around these, demons, aliens, and mouth-frothing cult members flail about, in unchained ecstacy. C2 could conceivably be a recording of that event, but far, far away, allowing industrious, machinelike woodpeckers and bump-in-the-nighters to take center stage, their amblings and toil echoing across a petrified forestscape.

AZ’s side is yet another re-working of his UPHEAVAL studies; here, he’s ever closer to finding the construct/membrane between ghost & machine, cog & aura. The unrelenting sound of warm destruction through stoic friction is all.

http://nopartofit.blogspot.com/
https://nopartofit.bandcamp.com/
and/or
https://andrewquitter.bandcamp.com/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

PBK/ARVO ZYLO “Split” C40 (No Part Of It)





Prolific mellow-harshers Phillip B. Klingler & Arvo Zylo take 20 minute turns on this split tête-a-tête-to-le-death, each massaging deliciously heinous, ominous horrorscapes into bleak, long form industrial decay, in their own personalized ways. I’m moved to a mild breakdown choosing which soundtrack’d best suit the decomposition of my own body in 40 years time. Perhaps BOTH, please?

AZ’s ability to allude to an industrial pulse, all the while gracefully flitting over its clinically-chalked outline is one of his many consistent, enigmatically engaging skills to bear witness. Visions of dance clubs where participants willingly consent to being low-level-‘lectrocuted at random on a non-grounded, copper floor come to mind, often.

PBK’s side reminds us the tension felt when our sleepless defeatism weighs in with a whispered “So, maybe there really IS a prowler in the house. Fine. So what?” while our peppier fraction offers, “What would a “peaceful” death ACTUALLY look like, anyway, ANYWAY?”

The narrative, Thomas Carnacki-esque vibe throughout both sides is undeniably hypnotic, especially when getting lost in the vintage wallpaper cutting & found photograph that is included with each otherwise austere cassette in this “split” series of 4.

http://nopartofit.blogspot.com/
https://nopartofit.bandcamp.com/
and/or
https://pbksound.bandcamp.com/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

WYATT PROSPER/ZEBULON
“Split” C22 (Permanent Nostalgia)




Ontario’s Wyatt Prosper & Floridian, Zebulon, each honor R. Murray Schaefer’s request that we let our ears take in a rich soundscape every bit as hungrily as our eyes take in a beautiful landscape.

WP’s half documents a meditative, rural traversing and its yielding nuanced blends of distant highway din, immediate path-frictions, and a slew of wind-battered artifacts. Z’s side juxtaposes with a focusing on a small-to-mid-sized port town’s weekend’s farmers’ market’s eclectic, eccentric mix of diverse musics, languages, and social rhythms.

Pretty amazing stuff! Keep ‘em coming, Permanent Nostalgia!

https://permanentnostalgia.bandcamp.com/album/wyatt-prosper-zebulon-permanent-nostalgia-no-39

--Jacob An Kittenplan

COOL PERSON “Good Person” C47
(Permanent Nostalgia)




Gainesville’s Permanent Nostalgia label has been kicking out some seriously visionary tapes these days & this newest release has pretty much everything one could ask from experimentally progressive New Age music. Acoustic timbres of kalimba, pan flute, xylophone & chimes (seemingly) independently stumbling gracefully about underneath soaring sci-fi synthscapes, disembodied samples & cheesy preset tones, all of these elements themselves operating as one cohesive unit while individually flailing and fluttering about at random. Like watching a headless-tailless funnel of Vaux’s Swifts preparing to roost; No leaders, no riffs, or any apparent mission, yet, somehow, everything just…fits, right as rain. More, please!

https://permanentnostalgia.bandcamp.com/album/good-person-permanent-nostalgia-no-38

--Jacob An Kittenplan

RAVEN “Downfall of a Modern Man” C38 (Nailbat Tapes)




Not even remotely a surprise coming from Raven or Nailbat Tapes, “Downfall of a Modern Man” “is the soundtrack for oblivion, an unflinching assault that offers no breathing room, no compromise.” I mean, that’s so Raven, right? So Raven! So… unbelievably… Raven…

The Serbian noise machine stares into the abyss, and the abyss stares back. “Downfall of a Modern Man” and “Pathetic Example of Earth’s Organic Heritage” are two sides of the same coin, or more accurately two sides of the same tape, each a 19-minute barrage of gutted static periodically shredded with shrapnel. It’s precisely the psychological warfare Raven’s waging in the face of the status quo. The status quo won’t know what hit it! The… status… quo…

Nailbat Tapes


--Ryan


FIN “Ice Pix” C45 (Hausu Mountain)




When 2017 wasn’t even three months old, Rebecca Fin Simonetti dropped “Ice Pix” on Hausu Mountain as simply “Fin,” like she had something to prove or something. I mean, at that point we all did – we had a brand-spanking-new president in the White House, and we all pretty much had to kick ourselves into overdrive as people in order to remain above the essentially constant scrum that played itself out in the media on a daily basis. We had to do this essentially to avoid getting the living stink of human behavior all over our pristine selves.

Or was that just me? Am I the only one who considers themselves morally pristine?

Regardless of how impeccably I approach the rest of the human race, Simonetti decided to take a somewhat more aggressive tack, if the anime drawings of two women battling on the cover of “Ice Pix” are any indication. And while the music isn’t necessarily antagonistic or anything (quite the opposite, actually), there’s an emotional aggression in the music that mirrors Simonetti’s physical art as well (ah, the dangling sheep). “Ice Pix” is the energy and violence brewing beneath the surface that we all should be hiding and keeping in regression, not allowing it to manifest itself in any form. Frustrating its release is what keeps the façade of morality intact.

I mean, no façade for me, of course. Pristine, remember.

Not unlike Alexandra Drewchin’s work as Eartheater (with whom Simonetti is both a kindred spirit and an actual acquaintance), “Ice Pix” fizzes and clicks its way through a variety of electronic melodies, resulting in a smeared approximation of trip hop with imaginative flourishes. And whether or not Fin intends her music to be confrontational or simply a reflection of the aggravation and discouragement that surely we all feel these days, “Ice Pix” serves as a multidirectional outlet for us listeners, ready to be “press played” regardless of our emotional state. And again, to really put a fine point on it, “Ice Pix” has helped to calcify my own self-awareness and self-actualization within the framework of the greater population.

And for those still wondering, self-seriousness is not remotely a facet of my character.

Fin

Hausu Mountain


--Ryan 


ANDY LOEBS “About Me” C28 (Terry Tapes)




Me. I made this. “Me” being Andy Loebs, and all things here were written and performed by “me.” “About Me” is a definition of identity, an autobiographical account of “doing this,” of barreling through expression without regard for reception. Of making “my” own kind of music, just like Mama Cass Elliott told “me” to do. Sometimes you gotta just listen to what Mama Cass has to say.

Andy Loebs LOVES music, loves making it, and it’s not a particularly veiled sentiment. This one-person prog wrecking crew lights our fusion fires with otherworldly synths, psychedelic excursions, time changes in multipart suites. Normally I’d be like, “one person = micro prog!” or some such nonsense, but Loebs is the full effect, somehow a “full band” contained within the body of a single human being – if that is indeed what Loebs is. We can’t be too sure he hasn’t simply piped himself in from across the cosmos and slung universal truths in our direction that we probably should’ve figured out already.

Maybe he’s a host for, like, a multitude of aliens inside his own body. Aliens that jam eternally to Yes and Herbie Hancock.

No, that’s not it at all. That’s madness. “About Me” is the real Andy Loebs, sprawled out for 28 indulgent minutes and infused with every sort of fluorescent accoutrement progressive psych has to offer. It’s experimental in its creativity but familiar in its execution. It’s an autobiography that feels like your autobiography too – with a couple of random space adventures thrown in for good measure, of course. You don’t do prog without a good space adventure.

Terry Tapes


--Ryan


GABOR BONZO “Wad” C18 (Terry Tapes)





Gabor Bonzo coat their kaleidoscopic dork-prog with enough sugary cartoonish fun it’s like they’ve shaken a can of grape soda to perfection and exploded it all over the damn place, allowing it to get in the cracks and circuits and reeds and of their instruments, all over their strings and drumheads. Welcome to “Wad,” the musical equivalent of a novelty can of spring snakes but filled with actual snakes, or a card trick gone horribly wrong or right depending on whose nicked artery is spritzing blood at a pace that probably requires a swift 911 call. That’s right, these chaps somehow managed to slap a sinister-looking twirly mustache onto the childlike whimsy their quick and demonstrative and jazzy meltdowns seem to constantly exude. A mustache like Waluigi’s.

Cartoonish fun is the name of the game on this gonzo debut (see what I did there?), and while many a Dr. Seuss-on-shrooms creature adorns the tape’s j-card, the more you look at them, the more you realize they’re crammed-together amalgamations of disparate entities dressed up to look maybe a bit more sinister than they really are – a “wad” of illustrator hyperactivity if you will. And the tape sounds an awful lot like a “wad” of hyperactivity as well, mainly a Herbie Hancock-meets-Dr. Seuss-on-shrooms kind of zany Technicolor stickiness that moves from one idea to the next with a rapidity that would make your straight brain spin. Good thing these lads are up to the challenge – they provide you with a ton of taffy to unravel as these twisty passages careen down unknown corridors. Sweet, sugary mind taffy.

Terry Tapes


--Ryan