GIUSEPPE FALIVENE “Air Chronicles” C44 (Amek Collective)

I do believe “atmosphere” is the operative word for Giuseppe Falivene’s “Air Chronicles” – the idea of it is emblazoned all over the j-card after all, what with the billowing clouds surrounding peaks and whatnot. The red filter’s a nice touch on the triangle that receives it. Kinda makes that atmosphere look dangerous.

That atmosphere manifests itself in heaving disruptions throughout the tape, punctuated by passages of lush drift. Or is that the other way around? Either way, conditions are ripe to burst at any time, and the energy simmering in the air is constantly palpable. All we need is a little friction, a little spark to set it off, and then potential becomes kinetic with a finger snap. (Oh, maybe that’s the catalyst!)

Drone meets noise at the foot of an upside-down mountain in a thunderstorm. There is so much movement, so much going on, that it’s impossible to restrict this tape to those two stylistic descriptors. Might as well throw them out and start fresh, but make sure you bring the atmosphere into it. Always mention the atmosphere.


“Live, Laugh…Die” C21
(Permanent Nostalgia)

Taking Musique Concrète to an overwhelmingly schizophrenic level, T. S. Rockafeller gives us “Live, Laugh…Die”, a self-smothering quilt of disembodied soliloquies, de-contextualized pop snippets, bizarr-o soundbite-crumbs, synth-jamz accompaniments, cascading vocal utterance-overlaps, hi-lightred one-line zingers, commercial cadences, wilderness field recordings, distant ceremonial documentations, a good part of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator" speech, legless tap-dancing percussives, botched karaoke participations, and a whole slew of other titillating, if not emotionally taxing, aural ephemera to (attempt to) digest. You won’t get any particular passage stuck in your head so much as a nagging feeling that you’re now a li’l more plugged into the greater collective consciousness…for better or worse is contingent upon your own stress capacity at the time. Much like camping hanky-panky, this release is FUCKING INTENSE! You have been warned.

— Jacob An Kittenplan

JAKE ANDERSON “Memory Excellence: Selections 1989-2018” (Deathbomb Arc)

Hi! This is a review about a tape by Jake Anderson, who makes music in both Gang Wizard and Yuma Nora, both of which should be familiar to you if you’ve paid attention to Deathbomb Arc ever. And yes, the label has put out this collection of tunes that Jake has recorded over the years covered in the title of the tape. What’s fun is that Jake recorded these tracks under a variety of pseudonyms, and they’re good ones. Here is a list:

--Cruise Missiles Named Bob
--Yak &
--Yak Brigade
--Spirit Duplicator

Like his work in Gang Wizard, Jake rips through quick and dirty guitar workouts, but it sounds like he plays his guitar with his teeth, as in it sounds like he bites down on the strings like he’s a dog and shakes the instrument until he’s gotten bored with it. There are other odd concoctions: the greasy synth weirdness of “The Tower (Afternoon Delight),” the torch song spilled on its side and leaking all over the place of “Waverly,” the rotted fruit ballad “Midnight Harvest,” the blown speaker pop punk of “Let’s Climb a Mossy Hill,” the seventies flute psychedelia of “Listening to Aphrodite’s Child’s ‘666’ in the Parking Lot of the Tigard Babies ‘R’ Us at Night”… Come to think of it, there’s a lot going on here. Jake’s got a wonderful imagination. Thank god he recorded a bunch of what came out of it.


“Weird Person” C30
(Permanent Nostalgia)

“Loose & Dirty” isn’t a fairly common description for a New Age-y artist's synth improvisations, but it fits Cool Person fairly well. Alternates would include “Lo-Fi”, “Aleatory”, and “Stream-O-Conscious-Slippery,” to name a few. CP’s “Weird Person" is a glorious study in dynamic interplay as its own cohesive set; for every single stoccato element, there lies its equal, sustained counterpart somewhere nearby; for every minimal field of vast open space there lies an underground city teaming with squirming, frolicking life; for every delayed note there lies an arpeggiated one in the vicinity, as well, this ever-wily-cycling-chaos of a recipe tumbling over itself in endlessly varying possible perceptions. Which is to say, it’s a deceptively complex string of simple poses that won’t grow old any time soon.  Permanent Nostalgia shows yet again how they know how to keep it weird and interesting!


— Jacob An Kittenplan

(Tubapede / Heat Retention)

Brian Osborne is a drummer and Dan Peck is a tubist.  You may know their names from the weird underbelly of NYC music scene in the aughts.  Theses freaks have played in The Gate/Dan Peck Trio, George Steeltoe Ensemble, Blastocyst etc.  Both play their instruments in WAY unorthodox ways.

The Osborne side sounds like 'very zen' bells combined with Osborne kicking shit over in a fit.  Maybe a jab at this era of McMindfulness.  I also like that the sounds from the beginning, reprise at the end.  Free music with a hook.

Peck's tuba abuse side starts out sounding like he is snaking a toilet...but gets to the depths of hell pretty quick.  Then there are swarms of bees flying out of a gaping maw.

May the spirit of Brooklyn's free music underground skree on and on.

-- T Penn

ZURICH CLOUD MOTORS “Highwire Jet Convolution EP + Catapult Sunbeam EP” (self-released)

Rock music means very little to me anymore.

Wait, let me back that up: NEW rock music doesn’t matter that much to me anymore – I just don’t seek it out. Can you blame me? I write about all sorts of weird outsider crap for Tabs Out (and here) (and TMT) that I can barely recognize a 4/4 rhythm if it hit me in the forehead.

So why, then, is Zurich Cloud Motors so awesome? Easy: they’re frickin’ noisy, but still noisy hellish rock music.

The Providence, Rhode Island, fearsome foursome(ish) strangle the heck out of their guitars, the manic strumming and angular melodies overloading the rhythm until you can’t help but crash around whatever space you’re in like Zurich Cloud Motors probably crash around the stage at live shows. I was at the library, so I to clean up a lot of books before I was summarily dismissed from the premises.

Like Parquet Courts run through “No New York,” Zurich Cloud Motors take alternate paths to get to exactly where you want them to go, and if they stop, then I’m having an unshakable nightmare. You get that, right? They detour through a little more melody by the end of the second EP (there are two EPs collected here, if you hadn’t figured that out yet), but it’s still a nice touch. In fact, that lands them more in Parquet Courts’, er, court than anything. God, “Wide Awake” was so good.


CARRIE FORD “Poems 1” (American Damage)

Remember poetry slams? So scary! They were too violent for me to get into, all that impromptu yelping and movement. I’m pretty delicate when it comes to that kind of stuff.

But wrap it up in noisy electropunk that features more static than melody? Count me in. I’m certainly more inclined to appreciate the spoken word when it’s wrapped up in a pulsating maelstrom of hiss, like a hot dog in a bun. That’s what I like about Carrie Ford’s “Poems 1” – those poems get the royal treatment here.

Ford’s delivery is engaging in its personal approach, ruminating on biology, birth, chromosomes, agency (so the cover text says, anyway) before caring so little for YOUR feelings that Ford turns out to be “not sorry.” Ford turns out to be “fuck you” about it, actually. The vibe throughout the tape is a great big kiss-off of convention, with no sympathy. That’s what makes it both fun and, dare I say, subversive. I dare say it.

Yeah! Screw convention.

Plus the music – the emotion-damaged electronics and sandblasted rhythms – just perfectly helps to jam everything down your throat so nicely.


“F” C30
(Specious Arts)

On “F”, Barcelona’s mesmerizing ambient trio, “Aalbers”, doesn’t create a mellow “groove" so much as a playful ambiance, any sudden movement the listener might make in reaction to their sounds likely taking the form of a jerking torso away from Sandman’s embrace. The names of the game here are Subtlety, Nuance, Space, & Chill. Through heavily processed electric guitar, modular synth, & a detail-keen computer program, Aalbers paints a spacious (mural-sized) portrait of serene, minimalist textures and shimmering radiations that flow calming and concentric towards the listener’s antennae. Sounds like a shade-parked hammock swaying just perceptibly by intermittent gentle breeze & nearby butterfly flirtations. Consonant. Blissful. Beautiful.


— Jacob An Kittenplan

PHILIP SULIDAE “Glass” (Verz Imprint)

This is one of those tapes that’s fingernails on a chalkboard for people who aren’t into noise. The sounds are sourced from air and ventilation intakes. Some of my personal favorites for field recording. Of course there is digital manipulation. Ambient rumble and grey noise is pulled and tweezed into fine, spindly drifts of tone that raise the hair on the back on my neck and make me tense like a good horror movie. Glass takes the endless hum of the modern world and brings it forward, pulling out the qualities that give us migraines and anxieties. We tune out these sounds as we go about our days, but when they are harvested and served back to us as music or art, it’s a smack in the face with the constant affront that the urban soundscape is. I love it.

-- Mike Barrett

PTAH “Ptah” C60 (self-released)

Ptah is the Egyptian god of craftsman and architects, so it’s sort of a surprise that he lives in Carbondale, Illinois, now. Or maybe it’s not – “Little Egypt,” as the area’s called, may in fact be the exact proper home a deity-turned-experimental-musician. That little nugget of information had me stroking my chin in contemplation for a while, and as I stroked, I congratulated myself on the cleverness of uncovering this little Easter egg of knowledge. Well done, me.

And go Salukis!

As the god of craftsman and architects, Ptah is also the patron manipulator of industrial worksounds: the clash and clank of hammer, the screeching metal of machine shop equipment, the strangely soothing hum of some rotor left on for a while. Over sixty minutes of finely shredded and hashed sonics – or, er, hacked and blasted sonics, depending on which of the sixty minutes is spooling through the tape head at the moment – Ptah heats up the gear till it can melt steel, then lets the recording equipment have it. Sometimes Ptah’s work even becomes songlike, the melted punk of “viii” completely ruining any tape player it spins through with its unhinged metallic shards, even as the rhythm holds it together for a while.

But it’s mostly eardrum-ruining nastiness, which, let’s face it, is almost always more fun than anything else.

Edition of 25. No two tapes have the same cover!