Time to review the neighbors. Not literally neighbors as in go next door for sugar, but down the road apiece neighbors...fellow Austinites. Austin based label Haute Magie has had a lengthy ride to were they are today. Founded in '09, the label closed up show to rethink and refocus their vision. Operations began again in 2011 with a more professional look and structure. I recently received four tapes from this haunted crew and I'm pleased to say that I love both the art and the sounds. For the most part the music straddles a fine line between archaic mysterious vibes and modern ingredients.
Mike Bruno & the Black Magic Family Band's album The Willing of the Wisps has the charm of backwoods religious-cult-folk music mixed with a touch of Jandekian isolation. The songs do not reveal themselves to you easily, but the sound of the listening experience is thrilling...if you want to get lost that is...deep, in acoustic guitar lines, mournful ballad voices, and "out there" percussion hits. Bathaus is a one-woman cut&paste electronic collage maker. Her beats are classic, but her end results are new. ArcaneIIICut is a close tie with the Mike Bruno release as my favorite music from the cassette world this month. I can dance the blues away or meditate on mortality with this album. Bravo!
The next two tapes I listened to from the stack of Haute Magie are more layered and unexpected listens. Pan and Mitchum both have albums of thoughtfully composed sound-cycles that will likely appeal to a discerning fan of fluttering tonalities and motion sickness. Pan's self-titled album is one delicate creature. The vocals (when they appear) are as much pure sound as the prepared guitar or washes of feedback. I can't say where I've been, but I've been through the looking glass with this tape. Mitchum's tape is...wait...is this hip-hop? Holy Shackleford...instrumental tracks of beats, samples, (even) flutes! Damn, I'm digging this ride!! Who knew Germany (the country of origin here) had such a skilled producer roaming their streets? Check out "The Pit."
Bottom line here folks: explore the releases from Haute Magie. I haven't heard such varied sounds from a label in weeks. These bastards live in the same city as me? Wild. Proud.
Buy and Listen HERE.