Monday, July 25, 2011

KEN SEENO - "Open Window" c48 (Watercolor)

Ken Seeno has already pumped out a handful of great releases in 2011, and it's only July.Open Window is his debut solo release for the fantastic Watercolor imprint.You may know him better for his tactical shredding, along side fellow axeman Dustin Wong and crew in Baltimore act, Ponytail.Seeno has adapted quite the patented style over the years, with a tight, razor sharp guitar tone, and a knack for mesmerizing free-pop freak outs.With his solo work, Seeno applies his quirky styling to a more laid back, droning electronic warble.Building on simple guitar chords and minimal noodling, he uses an array of buzzing synths and thudding sequencers to create something both fresh and compelling.Bits of minimalist kraut and electro are sprinkled throughout Open Window, with more than a few nods to Eno's "Another Green World", as well as his work with Cluster.Seeno's work is fairly modern sounding, utilizing a handful of digital synth modelling and analog machines, yet his music holds a very warm, vintage analog tone for the most part.Shadow is a subtle micro-house tune, and it the bpm's a bit with a miniature tropical electro beat.Swirling sine waves surround robotic 8-bit Casio blips, creating a colorful contrast that's very, very easy on the ears.Perfect for morning rituals and headphone escapism.Good vibes cover every inch of this.Get yourself a copy his stunning debut, here.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

QUICKSAILS "Silver Balloons in Clusters" (Deception Island)

Quicksails is the solo project of Tiger Hatchery percussionist, Ben Billington. Unlike his fierce work in Hatchery (or his staggering 90 minute solo percussion session for 905 Tapes) Billington indulges in synth and electronics as Quicksails. This tape for the Deception Island label follows up a very cool tape on Cylindrical Habitat Modules. Silver Balloons sounds cleaner and the percussion and synth elements are less integrated creating a contrasting pallet of smooth synth-tones and reverberating bells, cymbals and other percussion. Billington seems to be occupying dual roles here as keyboard/electronics guru and percussionist. The synth is certainly the central element pushing each track but it feels fresh to have percussion in the mix.

Update: UK label Under the Spire has since pressed Silver Balloons in Clusters on vinyl

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

You may have noticed...


We've changed Cassette Gods ever so slightly. For one, you can now comment on our posts. Also, note the new addresses on the right hand side of the page. I guess it looks like a lot of us live in Western Massachusetts... Guess that's just cause it's the coolest place ever! If it's ever seemed like a tape you worked real hard on, stuffed into a pretty envelope, affixed bountiful postage to and sent our way simply vanished into a void, rest assured we'll be getting a lot more reviews up soon, so keep those tapes coming! We've decentralized our operation and have provided the addresses for all the active Cassette Gods writers. So try to pick the reviewer who seems to best fit your aesthetic and send it directly to them. Hopefully we'll be getting some more in depth content up here soon, like audio samples, interviews and band/label write ups. But don't worry, we will remain firmly rooted in our archaic 2007 trappings.

The tapes I've been jamming for the last couple of weeks:
Angels In America / Weyes Blood split Northern Spy Records
Bastian Void "Ported" Digitalis ltd #202 NEW
Post Materialists "Love" Eggy Records #27 NEW
Ryley Walker "Evidence Of Things Unseen" Plus Tapes 050 NEW
Warren G "Regulate...G Funk Era {Clean Version}" Def Jam OOP
Psychic Steel "Marthyan Reign" Catholic Tapes NEW
Astral Plane Junkies / Servitor split Hidden Temple NEW
Dead Girl's Party (Foust/Krefting) "The Things I've Lost" Entr'acte NEW
Boo Frog "Undead At Satyricon" Skullman Records NEW
Attar Cups "S/t" Sloow Tapes OOP
Jack Callahan / Matthew Reis Factotum Tapes fact039 NEW
Miracle Johan "No Time For Maniacs: 80 Dub" tlt004 OOP

Actually, that last tape deserves special mention. I have no clue where it came from, and neither does my partner, who it belongs to. It's a really strange and arresting mix of funky wah-wah guitar psych jams and heavily reverbed spoken word pieces about the illusory nature of time. Reminds me of weird private press records like Vulcan's "Meet Your Ghost" or ???. If anyone out there knows anything about it please write me at cavebears@gmail.com. A cursory internet search reveals that this guy started out writing Rap songs exclusively about the Boston Celtics. Weird...

In the year 4040 A.D., Miracle Johan crash landed on planet Earth. His ship hit a shark on the tooth and blood was everywhere. After he fixed the shark teeth with his hat, he swam through the icy ocean to Hadley, or where Hadley once was. There was a great amount of ice and snow and general coldness. It was the first time Johan saw his breath, ever, seeing as though his former planet's atmosphere was made of a whole mess of birds, solid with birds. It kind of freaked him out. I mean the seeing his breath. He kind of liked it. He also kind of liked the freak out...he had never been freaked out before. Then, just as he was noticing a giant herd of giant ice age horses ice skating towards him on their ever-evolving lucky shoes, perhaps to fight, perhaps to offer assistance, the shark returned. He was walking and with one giant flipper he was holding his cheek. Perhaps Johan hadn't fixed that sharktooth at all. He only had one option...he travelled back to the year 1996 and began recording on a 4track. Along the way he learned to love drum machines and keyboards and the celtics. And dub. He loved dub. He still likes pretty and meandering guitar parts. The shark will be back, of course, but this time Johan will have just the thing for that crappy shark.

Friday, July 1, 2011

BORON - "Aria Statica" cs (Field Hymns)


This tape starts with a batch of sine waves and various frequencies ,all blipping and buzzing against each other, without any real tune or melody.Just when you are about to snap, things begin to plateau a bit, and a more subtle, "catchy" tone sets in.Layers of busted synths, outdated processors and random analog machines pile atop one another every so often, creating a pretty interesting sound collage.I felt like i spent most of this listen waiting for some sort of song to emerge, or at least something resembling one, which never really happens, but that is also the allure of this album.Batches of channeled distortion and bent machines going haywire, at the bottom of a dry ocean, in outer space.The anticipation factor, was enough for me to listen to the other tape i got from him, which is also pretty interesting.Boron's harsh and sprawling tape loops are far from accessible, and yet, it won't bore the shit out of you.If scathing electronics are your thing, check this out.Headphones are suggested.Edition of 100, with download code.

GREM - "Esme" c30 (Skrot Up)


I really can't stop listening to this tape.It's nothing terribly unique or unheard of, but the songs are well written, and after hearing it on from both my computer and my ipod, it's one of those rare recordings that actually sound spectacular through Walkman headphones.Grem is a solo project of one Mr. Shaun Durkan, a core member of San Fransisco band, Weekend.With a lack of any real information about this release, I'm going to have to assume that he plays all of the instruments on the songs, which is quite impressive.This has a heavy 90's alternative vibe, and that is a very good thing in this case.It sounds like an early AmRep band trying to play melodic indie pop tunes, but also like a modern folk band playing messy grunge jams.It's somewhere right in the middle.Fuzzy, blown out guitars create walls of riffing, with some insanely catchy melodies and heavy chord structures.Dirty acoustics strum along quite often, coupled with dense synthesizer buzzing, making for a glitchy, eclectic sound.Most of the songs are mid-paced bangers, with heavily processed guitars making for a heady ,shoegaze vibe.Durkan's voice howls away beneath the murky swells, but there's a few moments of slow and muddy balladry, where the vocals burst through a bit more, and they are quite nice and tuneful.The highlight of this tape, is the ultra-slowed, downer cover of Chris Isaak's mega hit, Wicked Game, if you can imagine anything more of downer than that.It's fantastic.Black Skull is a deep closer, and Durkan shows that he knows how to track an album properly.A perfectly gloomy ending to this awesome piece of music.