Monday, April 25, 2016

HECK YEAH "Say Yes to the No-Nos"
C33 (Greentape)




If you know me, you know I’ll never understand experimental tapes. What is the point? Do people actually listen to these? Who actually gets up in the morning and thinks “today, I’m going to experiment with my music genres!”?

If you know me, you also know I give credit where credit is due; I don’t like experimental tapes very much, but I judge them on nonpartisan criteria and am pretty generous with my ratings.

And finally, if you know me, you know I very much dislike writing negative reviews — I’m the guy who always tries to look for the best in everything. Alas, this is the third time in my career as a Cassette God that I’m being forced to write such an appraisal.

A note to Say Yes to the No-Nos: if you want to deem a song “experimental”, make sure it’s a damn song first.

Here’s how the word “song” is defined: 'A song is a single work of music with distinct and fixed positions and patterns using sound and silence and a variety of forms that often include the repetition of sections.’ I think we can extend some leniency to music with less "distinct or fixed positions" — as long as some pattern exists. "Sound and silence”? By all means. “Repetition of sections”? Be my guest!

My problem is this: the tape reeks of desperation. It screams “I wanna be an experimental tape!” under the guise of an accomplished one. There are too many positions and none of them fixed — too much sound and not enough silence — too much repetition and a dearth in unconventionality — too much vice and not enough versa.

Below is the link to a website that has the tape listed and nothing more. There was no download card or bandcamp link listed, so I did some hardcore research and came across this site. It just exists — you can’t purchase it or even stream it online.

And honestly, maybe that’s for the best.

http://www.freewebs.com/greentape/

-- M. Syed

26 comments:

  1. Why the hell are you reviewing tapes if you don't like experimental music? That's something like 3/4ths of tapes. It's like saying you like spaghetti but aren't really into noodles.

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    1. Yeah, this writer's tough to read here. He needs some guidance, I think. Not a lost cause, just needs some adjustment in his outlook.

      Or maybe he's a lost cause, I dunno.

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    2. the real shame is that they keep sending this guy experimental music - reviews on this site could very well be the only review a work ever receives - i'm not saying all cassette gods reviews should be positive, but they should be fair - someone who doesn't enjoy experimental music should not be reviewing experimental music, no one benefits from that

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    3. Absolutely agree.

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    4. Ricky went a-fartin and he did ride
      Ricky went a-fartin and he did ride
      Ricky went a-fartin and he did ride
      With a keyboard and a mouse by his side
      Well he rode right up to Cassette Gods door
      He rode right up to Cassette Gods door
      He rode right up to Cassette Gods door
      Gave three nasty comments and a very big roar

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. Hey all,
    Just a reminder that CG is a non-profit (anti-profit?) service that receives tapes/genres from all walks of life (be they ambient-doom-drone, Katy-Perry-Cover-Band, and pretty much everything in between) in such a high volume that the reviewing has to be sub-contracted out (I'd say "for free" but CG pays to mail the tapes) across the four corners of the continental US to its reviewership, sometimes giving non-preferred tapes to folx who have to sit by, traumatized, listening to delay/distorted mouse-farts and/or a full hour's worth of sloppy renditions of "Don't Stop Belieeeebing", in hopes to give the composition a fair shake.

    Note, I, myself, LOVE experimental music (and find "songs" to be pretty uninteresting for the most part), so this tape might have sat a lot better with me (or Ryan Masteller or Roy Blumenfeld), but we wouldn't know because there's no link to a soundcloud or bandcamp or whathaveyou.

    So, things to take away:
    a) a non-niche-specific reviewership has its faults (that could possibly be fixed. propose away, knowing full well how hard it is to do anything for free anymore)
    b) free publicity is good publicity, especially if you c)
    c) get a soundcloud/bandcamp page and/or some form of account to show some accountability

    :)

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    1. After reading the comments I was going to say pretty much the same thing, Jacob. I enjoy things that fall under the umbrella of 'experiential music' in moderation. However, I appreciate that Nick has been giving me tapes and letting me write about them for over a year now a lot. Even more importantly, I appreciate the fact artists send the tapes in to begin with. According to my biggest fan, Mr. Ricky Fartin, my negative reviews direct him to things he likes! So with that in mind I guess any press can be good press.

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    2. I said kind of the same thing on the black metal review from last week. Anonymously. Because this is the Internet, and I can!

      I mean, I sort of agree, though - I don't like everything I get, but I give it a good crack. Even for the stuff I hate, I try to provide info. Which is sort of what I suggest that Mansoor does.

      Roy, I think you do - I don't think RF was talking about yours? I could be mistaken.

      Also, I gotta admit, Ricky's spaghetti comment is hilarious.

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    3. wait, never mind, i saw it.

      --ryan

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    4. Ricky has professed his love of my reviews prior to today, Ryan. We have a history. It's similar to the Steven Seagal/Jean Claude Van Damme rivalry. I am obviously Seagal and Ricky is obviously NOT Van Damme. He is Random Dead Guy #3 - the one who looks super cool lying still on the floor of the set while thinking about all the moves he would be doing if it weren't for the fact he was cast as a corpse.

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  4. The problem with reviews that have a bunch of "If you know me" and "I don't like this or that" is that the reviewer is too busy writing about himself or herself at that point. The least you can do is respect the time and effort the artist put into creating those sounds and actually make the review about those sounds. To M. Syed's credit, we get there by the end of this review, and I don't even think that this was necessarily a bad one. There are better examples of flat-out bad reviews that are more about the author than the artist (looking at you Blumenfeld). I was just taken aback by the idea that a person could be interested in tape culture and not experimental music. They seem inextricably tied to me.

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    1. But Ricky, I think we are on a first name basis now so I will start referring to you as such, if I didn't write bad reviews how would you know what to like?! We've all got opinions. Thank you for having one on mine.

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    2. this is the last thing i'm going to say on this thread: there are some really good points here. ricky makes one - as does anonymous above: "reviews on this site could very well be the only review a work ever receives." i try to respect that. i think we all should. and jacob's point is a good one too, on how the system works. it's a lot of fun for me, fortunately.

      we don't have to always give good reviews. god knows i don't. but i think some level of analysis should take place.

      ricky, your points are cogent (and funny!) - have you thought about writing here?

      --ryan

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    3. I would love nothing more than for Ricky to email Nick and become a contributor if writing about music interests him. All of this, including the banter with him that begun with his personal attacks on me, is fun. No one makes any money off this except for potentially the artists who get extra clicks from people reading the site. In all seriousness, when I do receive a tape I make sure to Google it and dig for any sort of online info to help accompany my opinion. Most of the time I can at least discover a soundcloud or bandcamp page. I always listen to things at least twice. But at the same time, if the tape isn't what I as a listener typically like or am into it reflects in my review. Just as a lot of the non-experimental rock that comes through here doesn't engage some of the writers and it reflects in their reviews, sometimes the wall put up by an artist in the name of experimentation feels like so much of a turn off that I am compelled to call it out. After doing this for more than a year now, which is a rain drop in the bucket of how long this site has existed, I have tried numerous approaches on how to handle it. One was through humor. I am not the only one who has taken this approach. Google "Cassette Gods" or just look through past reviews and you can see the different ways people deal with things they don't like on here. I have never pretended to be anything more than an novice writer that enjoys cassettes. I welcome others with differing opinions to contribute. I regularly visit this site to see what everyone else is listening to and I try my best to give valid contributions so that people know what I think about whatever release I heard. However, if Ricky doesn't want to write he is still welcomed to have an opinion on the quality of things he reads. I just wish he would explain what more he was looking for or what he thought about a release as opposed to shallow personal attacks but as an internet persona he can do whatever he wants. Free speech ftw.

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    4. For a guy who has crapped on more than a few albums, to take what I'm saying as a "personal attack" seems a little thin-skinned. That's not what this is at all. I love this site and am glad it exists and have found great sounds that I never would've found otherwise, but there have been a few times where I've thought reviewers have been a little too flippant when they didn't like something. That doesn't mean you can't express a negative opinion about something or that you have to pretend to like it. Please, continue crapping on stuff you don't like. Just add a little more fiber to your diet. Or something. You're better at the metaphors than me.

      And I'll be in touch about contributing. I'ma mull it a bit.

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    5. Well Ricky the only interactions I have had with you involve you saying you personally don't like me or my review style. Rather than try to prod me to discuss with you what I don't like about a release or express your own opinion about what you've heard, you just go after me for saying certain things aren't in the review. All the while offering no actual substance in your own comment. I really don't mind it but along with your silly screen name it makes you feel more like a troll/countertroll to what you view as me trolling in a review than anything else to me. Whether you decide you'd like to review or not, you still have an opinion on music. If you feel inclined enough to come up with one I'd be more interested in hearing it rather than how you hate everything I like and like everything I hate.

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  5. When did I say I didn't like you? C'mon now. Don't be silly.

    And I have a good reason for the goofy pseudonym! I've gotten reviewed on this site before and didn't want that to play a part in what I'm trying to say here. It also makes me giggle.

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    1. I am referencing the comments on the D. BURKE MAHONEY / PERSONA MERCURE review. There is no need to continuously rehash it though.

      I certainly can understand your reason for using a screen name. I figured it was someone with some sort of ties to the site and it all makes sense now. In your defense, it is hilarious so if you need to stay anonymous then you might as well stay amusing with your handle too.

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  6. Ricky, if you want to write here, shoot me an email and I'll put you in contact with Nick. I'm not sure if his email in the blogger profile is right anymore. It's not the one I send anything to anyway.

    I'm at criticalmassesmedia at gmail dot com.

    And I'm super curious who you are now. Have I reviewed you???

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  7. i get that it costs time and money, and most of the time this site lives up to the "cassette on a pedestal" mission - i can get behind negative reviews that meet the artist and reader half way, but a review like to me has no merit - all i learn from this review is that he hates experimental music, but i already learned that the last time he reviewed experimental music - i guess there's not much to be done about it, other than not publish the infrequent bad apple (that is what i would do) - just my opinion as a reader and fellow tape connoisseur, curator and reviewer

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  8. M. Syed- To understand experimental tapes, please keep in mind the following meditations:
    -pitch is tempo on a micro level
    -mood is, in itself, pattern, on a macro level
    -timbre is chordal
    -subtle variation, though not "accessible" per pop standards, can be amazingly rewarding...& catchy!

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  9. Wow, that's quite a few comments on one of my posts. I almost feel overwhelmed.

    Let me just clarify something real quick — when I say I don't like experimental tapes, I say it for the sake of the review. For the most part, I have actually learned to love lots of experimental tapes, and I do try to give credit where it's due. Some tapes just aren't worth a listen, though. This one was one of them. (@Ricky Fartin)

    Also, @anonymous, you're right, I have talked far too much about myself. I'll avoid doing so in the future.

    @other anonymous thanks for the tips!

    If all of you just listened to this tape, you would realize how awful it was. It's literally just the sound of people cheering and clapping over random note extensions. I could go into dissecting the song for its better properties, but if the final product sounds like shit, is dissecting it really even worth it?

    Anyways, sorry for causing so much commotion, I'll try to be a better reviewer next time I guess!

    Feel free to send me hate — or advice, which I'd much rather prefer — at mansoorsyed@gmx.com.

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  10. "If all of you just listened to this tape, you would realize how awful it was." - while grossly dismissive, there is no accounting for taste -- "I could go into dissecting the song for its better properties" - this would nullify my complaint -- to be clear my concern is not hate, please do not read my comments with hate - but some folks do care about this music, be it listener or creator, and blasts like "Who actually gets up in the morning and thinks 'today, I’m going to experiment with my music genres!'?" would seem indefensible in a music review setting, whether the music "sounds like shit" or not

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  11. wow. i am pleasantly surprised to see so much discussion on the review of this silly tape i put out. its true there is no bandcamp, as you found out. but there is a link to a youtube clip of the show this tape happened at. and the tape is now out of print, so i shall be uploading the mp3 to mediafire with a link to download on the site.

    thanks for taking some time with the tape. and a new greentape will be there shortly, this time a rock n roll cassingle.

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  12. oh, and i just now realized, haha, that you have the band name and title reversed. anyways...

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