Wednesday, September 28, 2011

FAVORS - "Five Million Years" c40 (self released)


This randomly showed up in my mailbox last week, and I haven't been able to put it down since I popped it in my tape deck."Five Million Years" is the debut cassette from Favors, and anyone that digs on early 80's Manchester acts, and any "classic" electro-pop, is going to go bananas for this tape.Hints of New Order, ABC, Soft Cell, Cabaret Voltaire, and even Talking Heads, are all over the place, respectively.Favors are doing it right.It's all here, funky synth bass lines, heavy electro beats, icy synthesizer workouts, and the vocal hooks are cold and catchy.Some parts of Five Million Years lean more towards a rather modern electronica vibe, conjuring some more recent acts like The Faint, Holy Ghost, and Hot Chip.Whichever direction they are heading in, each track is really tasteful and easy to listen to, as this sort of thing can fall victim to the "generic" and "hacky" tags so easily, and they pretty much avoid that altogether.I didn't love every minute of it to death, but it's nice to see that someone is out there doing this kind of stuff well, really well.For a minute there, I was convinced that ecstasy was the only thing to make it out of that scene alive.If you are into this sort of dance revival, you will want to get a hold of this.Get a copy here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

SPIRES - "Puzzlebox" c30 (Lava Church)


  Lava Church is a fairly young cassette label out of Sarasota, FL.They've got a handful of noisy gems for sale, and this one is indeed my favorite thus far.Puzzlebox, is the newest mind melter from one man drone project, Spires.Their site says he has been making all kinds of music for the last twenty years, and if this is true, I'm about to be all over that junk.Puzzlebox isn't anything terribly original, nor will it offer any sort of religious or mind blowing experience.However, it's completely free of boundaries, and filled to the brim with weird.Most of the sounds on this tape are incoherent, and nearly impossible to make sense of, and this is a compliment.Industrial machine clank, minus the hard beats.Space signals mixed with subtle, low end drones and warm synths make up a good part of the album, and the constant shift in overall mood and tone is more than enough to keep you listening.Pieces of it are really compelling, as it swells and drops and random.You might hear a bit of Throbbing Gristle worship at times, and that is a very good thing.Rarely does a song take shape, but it's the lack of "song" that made this interesting.Nice stuff.Edition of 30!?Get one from Lava Church, quick.

Monday, September 19, 2011

HEX BREAKER QUARTET "Chemical Angel" & "Crowned And Conquering Child"
(True Color Of Venus)


Grasshopper and Telecult Powers are two of the most high quality acts in New York's glamorous and cocaine fueled drone scene. Wait... let me start over. Grasshopper features two of the most in demand flugelhornists on today's light-classical scene and Telecult powers meet yearly at Bohemian Grove and drink virgin's blood. That's more like it, wait not quite...

Grasshopper and Telecult Powers, both formidable space travelers in their own right, become far more powerful than you could ever imagine under the combined Hex Breaker moniker. The seldom scene Quintet version of the group comprises the trumpets and electronics Grasshopper duo of Jesse DeRosa and Josh Millrod and the synths of Telecult Powers Mr. Matthews and Witchbeam. The more common configuration of this group, (the Quartet, which performs and records as a trio without Witchbeam) is the one found on this absolutely outstanding pair of tapes released on Mr. Matthews' True Color Of Venus label. Wait a second, "Quartet? Three member?" you say? Dig this: the fourth member is a fucking ghost. Just sit back and take that in!

What really sets these guys apart from the pack (besides their downright human decency and good hygiene) is the focused group dynamics and lack of overplaying. Yeah sure, one guy or gal could make this music with the aid of ample technology, but these boys keep it simple and work together to create something astonishingly beautiful (remember "bands", yeah they still exist). Matthews uses his homemade equipment to lay down the synth based bed on which the two horn players rest. Millrod generally plays beautiful "trumpet sounding" trumpet with a light echo effect and De Rosa plays the EVI, which is a high-tech electronic trumpet that sounds more like a synth.

Hex Breaker Quartet deals in subtlety and serenity and it's the highly methodical strain in their work that really makes them an essential group in my book. Maybe it's the fact that two of these guys are making the music with their lungs and the other is using instruments he built by hand that make the group sound so organic. But mark my words, this is a living breathing world that is worthy of repeated visitations.

The Quintet has a tape coming up soon on NNA, so stay tuned.

Buy a tape: mister.matthews@gmail.com
Audio samples here: http://soundcloud.com/hexbreaker
New Telecult and Grasshopper LPs here: http://thebakeryfloor.com/bt/

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

DAY CREEP "Underneath The Mess" c20
(Snow Clone)



Columbus Ohio. Wow! This tape is great! One man band from a guy named Aaron Troyer, who I hear has a band called Day Creeper. I think I'd sure like to hear that, cuz this tape is fitting me like a glove today. Much of it sounds like a full band and it's a rather wonderful rock mess, maybe along the lines of K Records best stuff. Or something better? This guy formed his group out of the ashes of a Thin Lizzy cover band if you'll believe that. Some of it's got a tough Johnny Thunders or whatever kind of edge, some of it is more "indie rock" but not all that cute. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for people who like music.

get at aaron here: aarondestroyer@yahoo.com
the label: http://tapesprogressadministration.blogspot.com/

PETER KALYNIUK "Willy Songs" & "Digital Dementia" c60 (Canada Goose Tapes)


This is what I'd like to see more of! It's such a wonderful thing to put on a new tape from an artist I've never heard of and immediately be met with a work of compositional brilliance that is both melodically and rhythmically inventive. It's not that I don't enjoy my fair share of drone and noise tapes, but I have to say that I'm always especially pleased when folks use the cassette medium to share other forms of music than the ones that so frequently grace these pages. (hear that you eccentric popsters, folksters, punksters, etc out there: send me your tapes).

This tape actually contains two albums by Peter Kalyniuk, one recorded on a digital 16 track in 2005 and the other recorded on an analog four track in 2001, but released just this year on a new label called Canada Goose. This makes me think "where on earth has this guy been for the past ten years"? A cursory internet search reveals little information: he's from Toronto, apparently he's also a comic artist. That second tidbit makes a lot of sense because his music definitely has a madcap cartoonish feel to it.

How to describe it? Maybe like a much more dense take on Esquivel for the current millennium? That definitely does this tape some justice. Across 30 different songs, Kalyniuk layers strange and varied keyboards over beats and assorted instrumentation (all digital? I can't tell, probably) to create one of the most strangely grooving releases of recent memory. It's actually kind of shocking to me that this guy doesn't have more of a name for himself as I can see this stuff fitting into collections of decidedly diverse bents. On second thought, who am I kidding? This stuff is pretty darn near psychotic. From madhouse carnival romps & space alien waltzes to psychedelic civil war marches, Kalyniuk delivers the goods in ways I'm not sure you'll even begin to comprehend.

Lucky for you, you don't have to, I've already done all the comprehending necessary, all you need to do is go spend $5 at http://www.canadagoosetapes.com/tapes/ (they've even got some audio samples up there).

RAIN DRINKERS "Urthen Web" c32 (Brave Mysteries)



This is a lovely and mature spooky/mystic kind of tape from the occult themed label Brave Mysteries. Omninous organ, desolate guitar work, bowed strings and dark chanting/moaning. Very organic. This is like some of the more atmospheric parts of some Sun City Girls records, but with none of the humor...or evilness for that matter. It's definitely something a little more than just music though, and it gets to really deep places almost from the get go. What ever portal these guys are trying to open, I think it's safe to enter. I think...

http://bravemysteries.com/

Various Artists
"Negro Woman Of America
Your Electric Future is Now
Stay Beautiful"
c80 (Teen Action Records)



What do you say about a compilation cassette/zine that features 19 different artists? I don't know, um..."I like this. This is good". Does that do? No? Okay. The San Francisco label Teen Action Records has put out the work of some of the best and brightest: Emeralds, Sword Heaven, Skin Graft, 16 Pileup, Tusco Terror, Cave Bears, Bee Mask, Ryan Jewell & Mike Shifflet (just kidding about Cave Bears, that's my band. Those people are assholes!). Well, you won't find any of those bands on this compilation and due to the format, I was not able to decisively determine which part belonged exactly to which artist, especially seeing as they are almost all unknown to me, but I can say that this compilation all flows together really quite nicely throughout it's 80 minute running time. A lot of the stuff on here sounds like it could have come off of some long lost Throbbing Gristle demo tape. Keyboards, both shrill and droning, vocal samples, a little live percussion and Burroughsian cut ups all wend their way throughout this jungle of seething weirdness. If this were one band, then they would surely be a force to be reckoned with. I've got to start listening again and make some track markers so I can find out more about who, or what, is behind my favorite parts.

Nineteen tracks and 20 pages of audio visual anomalies, creaking, blasting, groaning, squirming and churning through your innocent head holes, welcoming you to a bold new tomorrow. From ecstatic group improvs, to pummeling electronics, to blissful drones, and beyond, the electric future IS now. Includes a bonus cassette with music from INTERSTATES ETC., FURFUR, PREGNANT SPORE, COPY LAKE, POTASIUM SIANADA, CRIBDEATH, DR PVPKHS, REACHING, HISS AND HUM, RXCCXXNS, MILLION BRAZILLIONS, CHROME GENIE, SCOAM, FORKED, HORSEFLESH, BONEYARD JITTERS, FILTH AND PISS, CELINE DION, and 73 PEOPLE WHO CARE. Limited to 99 copies.

that's the description from http://teenactionrecords.com/, which is where you can go to buy this tape, or at least find out where you might still find one. If you want to.

Geweih Ritual Label: First Two Releases


I just got two really cool looking tapes from a new label called Geweih Ritual. While neither one of them is exactly up my alley, they sure might be up yours (no pun intended) and they look and feel so dang cool that I thought I tried to spread the word. Both tapes come in neat little cardboard folders with screen printed covers. One of them is hand sewn together. Cool! The main reason I'm posting this on here is that the quality of the actual tapes (as in sound quality) and packaging is astounding and I hope this guy continues to make more stuff.

The first (and better) tape is by Jah Connery, a Detroit DJ, and it's described as "30 minutes of instrumental, avant garde, break beats that consistently bloom from beautiful, erie sounds into intense hectic noises, laid over smooth and stylish grooves". Couldn't agree more! I enjoyed it. The second tape is a split between CA/OR artists Palo Verde/Cinder Cone. Both bands are guitar/drums duos. Palo Verde has no/vocals and Cinder Cone other has some/okay/vocals. Had/enough? The first band is a little more on the "heavy" side and the second is a little more on the "mathy" side. All well recorded, all well...okay. Good in fact.

This could be for you???

http://geweihritual.blogspot.com/

Saturday, September 10, 2011

NUDE SUNRISE "Should Be" c62 (Spooky Town)



Stoners, skaters, psychers, slackers, jammers, burners. Chillin' with this tape. First time I put this one on was after leaving Chicago on the way to Dover, OH on a tour with some dudes back in April. We had just spent a weekend with these guys, who also run that dank Nitetrotter blog, first at their homebase Schwag City, a dumpy old house with a useless ceiling fan, and then at their now-defunct warehouse paradise called Drone City (RIP). There was a lot of getting high, mostly puffing on some Mary Jane but there was DMT around and some weird pills. They had some chill ass cats with names like Fela Booty and De'mond Dekker. We watched a gang of skate videos. We saw some noise shows. It was fucking tight kicking it with this crew of weirdos and their awesome weirdo friends but I had no idea what to expect from their music. We had been listening to all kinds of records at the warehouse so there was little to infer from their tastes alone. I guess I anticipated something tripped, considering that Jay Feather put on a Rene Hell tape for us to fall asleep to (it ended up giving us killer Starcraft flashback dreams). So when I cranked up the stereo from the backseat to hear the first song, which is the title track, I was pretty surprised to hear a one-chord, six minute space-blues jam with wah pedals and a funk-ass bass line, with some scrawny sounding dude singing about some weird trippy shit and asking "Are you a God? No? Then die!" like we were at some fucked up acid party on a star-temple or some shit. I was way down. The eight or so other tracks definitely keep on the psych/kraut jammer style but reveal a distinct aspect of the band with each song. There's an excellent Neil Young cover on here that even your dad would probably like. They have the blues down, no problems. They also do a particularly drippy T. Rex jam that is perfect for rolling and smoking a fatty doobie to. There's a live track on it too with some voice samples played in reverse with a primitive drum line, wish I could have seen that performance. This music can be listened to anywhere, that's one of this tape's strengths. I've played it at work, on drives, BBQ-ing and in between sets at shows. The dudes definitely locked in on something sick here. Future Americana Midwest Industrial Mutant Vibes, Chicago Style. Spooky Town Records in Brattlebro, VT just gave the tape the pro-treatment, complete with an innercity skate art j-card and fresh, pro-dubbed, grape-popsicle-purple cassettes, limited to 200. One of my favorite tapes of the year, hands down. Feeling good in the USA.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

BRUCE HART - "Music For Drawing" C31 (NNF)


Goooood lord!NNF continues to just melt my brains away this year..(and Paypal balance).Bruce Hart is the solo project of Blanche Blanche Blanche's Zach Phillips.Music For Drawing is his first venture under this moniker, and it's pure magic from front to back.Diluted synth dynamics, with a heavy sci-fi and digital punk-noir vibe.This is a mysterious and all consuming noise indeed, and some of the tracks come off as somewhat heroic, even.Something like a funkier, more futuristic version of Axel's Them, smashed together with the more skittering moments of the War Games score.Each movement tells a similarly dark and seedy tale, with layers of gold spray painted bass lines and mirror-lensed keyboards, all trying to crawl atop one another.I'ts sometimes backed my dusty machine drums and the occasional foreboding vocal creepout, but all in all, it's a fresh and deeply compelling synthesizer pop workout.Deep drone interludes will bulge and then drop, giving a nice break from the constant high speed chase, but not for long.It's not entirely too far off base from Blanche Blanche Blanche's un-retro curiousities, with piles upon piles of freakishly perfect synth scales, but Hart lets the keys do most of the talking.This dude knows his way around electronic instruments, and if this were any better it would be terrible.Highly Recommended.Get one from Not Not Fun.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

THE FIRST BAD REVIEW

Here at Cassette Gods, we've traditionally taken the view that positivity should be paramount on these pages. The thinking has been: "well this label/band/person only put out 100 copies of the tape anyway, why waste the time to dis on it", but after an intense 24 hour meeting of the Cassette Gods, fueled by coffee cake and Merzbow tapes, we've come to the conclusion that we will let the iron curtain of positivity fall, essentially opening the floodgates to a whole new era of bilious spew. I figured I'd be the first to make a crack in the dam of good intentions and post some reviews from the last few years that I thought it better not to write in the first place. So keep those tapes coming buckaroos!

THURSTON MOORE "Black Weeds / White Death" c40 (Meudiademorte)
Thurston Moore? Talk about Thurston Less. No thanks!

NONHORSE "Subtle Revenge" c90 (NNA)
Nonhorse? Talk about FeelsForced

MERZBOW "April 1992" c48 (Green Tapes)
Merzbow? Talk about Merzboring!

DENNIS TYFUS "Kje Fij Gloo Arte Nieece" cTAPE TAPE (Ultra Eggs-ema)
Dennis Tyfus? Talk about Dennis Lifeless!

ANGELS IN AMERICA / WEYES BLOOD "split tape" c30 (Northern Spy)
Angels in America? Talk about Angels in Why-care-ica! Weyes Blood? Talk about Weyes Dud!

CAVE BEARS WITH KOMMISSAR HJULER AND MAMA BAER "You Find The Key" c43 (Feeding Tube Records)
Cave Bears? Talk about Cave Unbearable! Kommissar Hjuler? Talk about Kommissar Drooler! Mama Baer? Talk about Who Cares?

DOLPHINS INTO THE FUTURE "The Voice Of The Silence" c30 (Catacean Nation)
Dolphins into the Future? Talk about Dolphins into the Pooper!

NOISE NOMADS "Hermetic Devices" c30 (Bonescrapper)
Noise Nomads? Talk about Noise NO-mads!

UNICORN HARD-ON "Forever Fantasy" c15 (Tangled Hares)
Unicorn Hard-On? Talk about Unicorn Hard-to-really-groove on!

RUSSIAN TSARLAG "Classic Dog Control Booth c40 (Not Not Fun)
Russian Tsarlag? Talk about um...oooo spooky graveyard! Not Not Fun? Talk about not fun at all!

WOLF EYES "something something people illegible 2" c? (American Tapes)
Wolf Eyes? Talk about the Wolf must die. Like Los Lobos, but different.

DUCKTAILS "II" c30 (Future Sound Recordings)
Ducktails? Talk about Duckfails!

PAK "Box" c20 (Eggy)
Pak? Talk about Pack It In!

SAM GAS CAN "Dedicated To Lauryn Hill"c22 (Ydlmier)
Sam Gas Can? Talk about Sam Gas Can't!

DIAGRAM A "New Double Tape" (Self Released)
Diagram A? Talk about Diagram Aimless!

STRANGE BREW "Live Weird, Die Weird" c30 (Ecstatic Peace)
Strange Brew? Talk about Strange Boo!

CHRIS WEISMAN "Fresh Sip" c60 (Autumn Records)
Chris Weisman? Talk about Chris Why Man?


Hey, I love all you guys...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

MICHAEL JOHNSEN & PASCAL BATTUS "Bitche Session" C50 (OMFT)


Organized Music From Thessaloniki is a tape label from Greece.They cater to mainly avant-noise and improv acts from all over the world, and this is their thirteenth release.A 49+ minute cassette from improv dudes Michael Johnsen and Pascal Battus.Bitche Session is overflowing with action/reaction type minimalism, or "new music", and rarely does it hold a tune or any real melody.By standards, this is just a bunch of clicks, cracks, thwaps and hums.To fans of this type of thing, this is pure gold.Together, the Johnsen and Battus manipulate mysterious analog machines, tapes, magnets, light percussion and a saw.And although you might not pick up on it by just from listening to it just once, it's actually got plenty of replay value.Side A kind of reminds me of more recent Wolf Eyes, with about 90% less sheer terror and little to no distortion.Things begin slow, with a wobbly saw sent through the meat grinder, and over time build into some fairly intense busts of random noise.Every so often they pull out these tiny squealing notes and percussive gallops, and things almost make it into "actual song" territory, but alas, they shift the very next second into a wild thudding and scratchy electronics.Side B is a bit different, it's a bit more harsh and loud.No big finishes, or catchy grooves, but consistently weird and wildly unexpected for sure.If you are a fan of this stuff, you're gonna want this one.Edition of 135.