Monday, August 21, 2017

HIFI ENVELOPE
“Transitional Objects”
(Illuminated Paths)




From what I understand, and I paraphrase top scientists here, if you slow down R&B samples enough, in space, no one will hear you scream, correct? That’s how vaporwave gets you – it chucks you out of the airlock of your 1970s-style retrofuturistic pleasure cruise ship into the cold vacuum of space, and you feel stupid for a second before you freeze and/or implode for letting it get the jump on you in the first place. Sure, vaporwave acts all cool at first – I mean, this has to be label honcho, right? Doesn’t this movie take place in Florida? – but once it sinks its teeth in, to obliterate the first shaky metaphor with a second equally shaky one, it’s all over. Curses. Foiled again. And whatnot. But Hifi Envelope has emerged from the disgusting swamps of Gainesville (sorry! I mistook the University of Florida for an unholy cesspool – go Gators?) to chuck all that vaporwave nonsense right back in your smirking face, you buffoon, because TRANSITIONAL OBJECTS is a chillaxed repertory of the dankest proportions. I have forgotten what vaporwave even means while listening to it, if it ever even meant anything to begin with. This is not vaporwave. It is a valiantly composed electronic opiate, not outside the realm of Boards of Canada or even some of your favorite melodic ambient artists. It is at the very least obviously made by a human being with real human emotions and feelings, not a slick, ironic superhuckster. In fact, I’m so blissed out right now right in my OWN human face that I’ve lost all threads of warning you about awful unfunny music masquerading as unfunny satire. Hifi Envelope is the real deal, a joy to listen to on more than one occasion, a repeatable entity whose tape is almost bloody sold out from the IP page. Wonder if you should buy one? I say you should buy one. I am at the very least a non-ironic superhuckster, hocking some sweet tunes with a sincere smile on my face. Not like Chris Sarandon in FRIGHT NIGHT (two for two!).
--Ryan Masteller

COLA可樂巫術NECROMANCY
“family vacation”
(Illuminated Paths)


 
Slide into the comfort of vaporwave. It fits over your earholes like a forbidden glove made especially for ears, lovingly caressing their canals and stroking their drums. Illuminated Paths is the suave purveyor of the luscious vaporwave, meaningful glances firing in your direction from just over the top of tilted-down shades, even though it’s night time and you’re in a dimly lit club and Illuminated Paths isn’t really a person but an enterprise, personified here for effect and also just for funsies. Today Illuminated Paths is as charming as Chris Sarandon in FRIGHT NIGHT, luring you in with the promise of romance and adventure, and delivering with COLA可樂巫術NECROMANCY. I don’t know why this is called FAMILY VACATION – it comes off as waaay too adult for the kiddos, but hey, who’s arguing? Not me, I’m fully stoked, and I’ve got some of the most erotic liqueurs and some candles and stuff like that, ready for an evening of sweet, glorious, processed smooth-jazz sax and warped adult contempo slow jamz. I might even break out the bubble bath.

Illuminated Paths

--Ryan Masteller

Sunday, August 20, 2017

GIRLS OF SLENDER MEANS
“Synthesizer"
(Hollow Home Ministries)




Sometimes harrowing, at others transcendent, the five-piece knob-twiddling maestros known as the Girls of Slender Means, named after the novel by Scottish author Muriel Spark (which I’m now going to have to read, thanks a lot for extending my book list even further than I have time for), fiddle with the titular instrument throughout a multitude of interesting permutations. A quick perusal (that’s all you’ll get regardless) of the Hollow Home Ministries tumblr page reveals that this release was announced on December 9, 2011. In fact, the last entry on that tumbr is four years old. So, I guess you guys probably missed out, but feel free to electronically contact the label at hollowhomeministries@gmail.com to see if someone answers and if they still have more of these tapes. Did this one get buried somewhere? It’s utterly fascinating – noise meets kosmische, straight up synthesizer dirt, all the way, till you can’t stand hearing any other sound except for this one. Please. Synthesizer is filling my body with unfamiliar pulses. I am at its full mercy. Don’t bother sending help, I’m fine – maybe pizza. Send pizza.

Hollow Home Ministries

--Ryan Masteller

MYTHICAL MOTORS
“Running the Shine”
(self-released)




Mythical Motors, Chattanooga’s favorite indie-pop outfit, are back, this time in pog form! Not really, though – they’re just back with a new tape, RUNNING THE SHINE, continuing along the same rock action path as their previous work, such as SELECTIONS FROM THE PSYCHIC’S MUSEUM, reviewed by me not terribly long ago. (And remember pogs? I was a little old for them when they came out, but whatevs.) EQ in the red? Check. Guitars blazing a power-pop trail? Check. Melodies to die and/or kill for? Double check. In fact, the quartet sounds particularly energized in this iteration, as always led by the probably-GBV-worshipping Matt Addison. The sixteen songs are crisp, delivered effortlessly, and fuzzed out for maximum eardrum poppage at the right volumes. Any one of the tunes would be safely snuggled in good and tight on the CHILDREN OF NUGGETS tracklist. Or on one of Bob Pollard’s mixtapes, if he made mixtapes instead of tirelessly making the music of other people’s mixtapes instead. Which is sort of what Addison and crew do: tirelessly make side A/track 1s for all us proles whose guitars are hidden under beds or in closets, cases covered in dust and strings rusty from disuse. I am one of those of us. My guitar strings are rusty. I listen to Mythical Motors and I think to myself, “Gee, I should really bust out the old guitar and tune that thing up.” Then I remember that takes actual effort, so I’ll leave that effort to the professional rock-and-rollers. When there are tapes like RUNNING THE SHINE around, who needs to do anything besides kick back, strap in, and feel the Gs. Or maybe go out to one of Mythical Motors’s live shows – I bet when they’re plugged in they can really shake some teeth. In a super catch way.

Mythical Motors

-- Ryan Masteller

Saturday, August 19, 2017

NEW BATCH: THIRD KIND RECORDS AUGUST 2017


Happy summer! Did you expect a couple new tapes from Third Kind Records, especially since they just graced us with the spectacular WIDDENDREAM by Nikmis and the equally spectacular SELTRAC by International Debris? I sure didn’t, but here I am, stupefied in my glee. The Brighton, UK, label (hey, I’ve wandered down Brighton Pier, etc.!) even doubles down on the Nikmis, flashing some serious street cred when it comes to your baroque synthesizer musicians. I’ve often thought to myself, in the past month or so, gee, if only I had something to listen to by Nikmis after WIDDENDREAM ends. I no longer have to wonder about the answer to that question. The answer is here!

NIKMIS – 10 MOVEMENTS FOR LARGE SYNTHESIZER (1909)

I’m a huge fan of classical music permeating whatever genre or scene I’m digging into, whether it’s Patrick Higgins’s guitar interpretations of Bach or David Kanaga’s interpretation of opera (or something) – heck, there’s an Orange Milk subset that’s all over this classical thing. But Nikmis goes a step further – well, a step in parallel with 10 MOVEMENTS FOR LARGE SYNTHESIZER (1909), a lovely meander through the baroque while often sounding like he’s set up his instrument of choice in a large cathedral. The effect is sort of like a pipe organ, but the timbre throughout betrays its electric origins. Not unlike Wendy Carlos’s SWITCHED-ON BACH, Nikmis plays it straight-faced, simply reveling in the possibilities of marrying the old approaches with new technology. The result is never less than fascinating, as Nikmis proves himself a deft composer and performer, flitting through arpeggios and movements with ease. And this is doubly fortuitous, as the answer to my earlier question is now and always 10 MOVEMENTS. (Plus it has a reversible cover!)



CRUSHTRASH – RECLAMATION YARD

But that begs the next question – what’s next after 10 MOVEMENTS? Well duh, if you’ve bought the batch it’s obviously Crushtrash. RECLAMATION YARD is a reclamation project of sorts for Third Kind, as it comprises the remastered/reissued recordings of a “friend made long ago” – the mid-1990s! God, I remember the mid-1990s. I was into a lot of great music back then, and a lot of stupidly horrible music. Crushtrash stands the test of time, coming off as a mix between Depeche Mode and Morrissey, but a lot darker and a lot synthier. Maybe if Julee Cruise was male? Anyway, the synthpop/darkwave tunes are a nice trip down memory lane, as they’d be perfectly at home popping up on the 1st Wave station I constantly listen to in my car. I’m sure it was a blast for Nick at Third Kind to revisit and beef up his friend’s old tunes – they sound fantastic to this day.

Third Kind Records

--Ryan Masteller

Friday, August 18, 2017


sorry for the brief interruption
of our regularly scheduled programming
we'll be back at 8am tomorrow

from here on out
we will began posting
two reviews per day
on most, but not all, days
in order to keep up
with the massive
influx of packages
we are are receiving

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

CRUDE REZNOR
“Vernon#30
(All Gone)



Two things are hard to escape when listening to the garbled nether-vibes of Crude Reznor: (1) the inescapable presence of everybody’s favorite Reznor, Trent, and (2) the palpable degradation of composition to its “hoagie sleaze” state. Make that “moistening” instead of “degradation.” Well, not really “moistening.” It’s more of a smeary concoctability than anything, a devil-may-care attitude to the whole idea of consumption. But you’re distracting me; it’s hard to concentrate on anything when you’re questioning all my “hoagie sleezes.”

Crude Reznor’s compositions don’t remotely not draw comparisons to early industrial music – they surely recall the experimental cacophony of early purveyors of the genre, replete with the requisite bizarro samples and wacko electronic touches. But if you were going to pit Trent Reznor against Crude Reznor in a winner-take-all freakout competition, I’m not sure the Crude wouldn’t outweird the Trent. The plunderphonic craziness, especially as the tape progresses, might just make Trent nuts enough to toss in that towel fairly early in the match.

And you know what hoagie sleeze is, right? It’s when you get a hoagie from a supermarket or something, and it’s gotten extra moist because it’s been in the wrapping, so the bun starts to disintegrate from the wetness when you try to eat it. It’s icky and sloppy, and it begins the inevitable decay of the sandwich at perhaps too early a point in its existence. Sometimes Vernon#30 seems moist and disintegrative, like the tape’s been stuck in a fridge and saran wrapped in with some leftover watermelon slices or something. It’s exactly the kind of post-post-production the tracks needed – they’re gross, they’re humid, they’re wonderful.

This all to say – I’ll provide some thumbs in the general up direction for Vernon#30, as it’s a weird-ass, perfectly relistenable smattering of wackjob composition. If I may give you some advice, all of you one-on-one Thunderdome-esque gladiatorial aficionados: never bet against the weirdest dude in the room. That’s the guy that’s gonna walk away with the trophy.

All Gone

-- Ryan Masteller

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

JEMEZ “Jemez” (self-released)




If I were to paint shoegaze by numbers, the colors would be represented by the letters “J,” “E,” “M,” “E” (yes, again, it’s a subtly different “E”), and “Z,” which spells Jemez, duh, pronounced “Jeemz.” Just kidding, it’s “HAY-mez,” so I’m told on the Bandcamp page. As I faint with damning praise, I implore you not to misunderstand the “painting by numbers” aspect of my reaction as a real criticism. See, it’s really hard to pull off anything terribly innovative in the whole shoegaze spectrum, and Jemez at least has the overdriven and tense guitar thing down. It’s certainly not unpleasant, and the noise quotient is sure to entice even the casual fan. But there it is, a curio within the genre, an equation that can be written x = Morella’s Forest + “Summer Babe,” where you can solve for x if you want, but you don’t need to. Just relax and enjoy it. Or pull out your older, better shoegaze records and enjoy them instead. Jemez will at least wet your whistle.

https://jemez.bandcamp.com/releases

-- Ryan Masteller

Monday, August 14, 2017

MONAS "Freedom"
(Astral Spirits / Monofonus Press)




Side A:  "Visible Spirit"

Side A adapts and mimics the paramount free jazz of Sun Ra, where the electricity of instruments are exploited to create cosmic sounds that conjure up images of the depths of space. But instead of Sun Ra's contorted organ being a prime instrument, "Visible Spirits" instrument of choice is a rock 'n' roll classic; the electric guitar.  At its best moments, Monas' Colin Fisher gets his guitar to sound like a Godzilla death cry.  It's "awakening" is accompanied by the appearance of a bass guitar which rattles out a fuzzed out escalating, doomy melody. The guitar transforms into spacecraft bleeps and back to cyborg bear groans.  The drums are feral and anti-socially bubble about in the background, like a boy in his diapers splashing around in a puddle of mud.  Monas is performing some bad behavior for sure.  At times the guitar becomes recognizable as it performs endless metal scales which seem to not be in rhythm with anything but an inner monologue that is occurring inside the musician.  Side A ends with the musicians embracing the fundamentally punk nature of this session; a crescendo of the themes priorly described in this review followed by the acceptance of the void - broken speaker feedback.

Side B: Invisible Nature

Side B, "Invisible Nature", trades in the electric guitar abuse for a saxophone which expresses endurance by playing improvised virtuosic melodies until what feels like physical breakdown.  The drums go in and out of rolls that respond to the saxophone in real time.  Philosophically, the drummer seems to be treating this session as exercise as well, testing his physical abilities while pushing the sonic boundaries of no wave-free jazz. The clashes of symbols scatter the improvised composition like fireworks crackling a fourth of July sky.  The Bass remains uncommitted, gradually dictating and establishing a rhythm before abandoning it, drunkenly positioning itself between 3 or 4 notes.  The bass is strongest sonically when slid, as the distorted amplifier exaggerates the instrument's primal core; hyper picked Dick Dale single note freakouts - Miserlou attempted by an unchecked Existentialist just in time for their mid-life crisis.

By the time the bass has found its groove, the saxophone has hit staccato pitches which mimic a cat in heat, a dying rabbit or perhaps a science fiction type robot short circuiting.

The music's unhinged, endless freeform produces both sensations of catharsis but also fear. The music suggests an unsettling situation in which the listener, accustomed to looping vaporware and television commercial jingles with the sole purpose of getting stuck in your head, cannot know what will happen next.  There is simply no relief from the imaginative on-slot which purposely dismisses harmony, pattern or order for freedom.

Invisible Nature ends with the Saxophone spiraling around nonsensically, with no direction but still with the same level of passion and energy ... the saxophone's volume fades out, unresolved, implying it never ends.

Fans of Sun Ra, Lambsbread, Mothmus and other Ecstatic Peace noisemakers will dig this release.

-- Jack Turnbull

Sunday, August 13, 2017

PYROLATROUS
"Become the Earth"
(Already Dead Tapes)




A really solid fine piece of black metal/punk crossover craftsmanship here from Pyrolatrous ... Excellent use of metal typography, with the band's name just legible enough while remaining enigmatic, cryptic and menacing. There is also phenomenal use of symmetry and geometry as the text resolves around a silhouetted circular sphere that mirrors itself with radiating abstract lines that reinforce the gnarled nature of the text.

While the remaining text of the cassette design is more classic, an Olde English font commonly found within the photoshop font presets, the old proverb fits here; "if it ain't broke don't fix it".

While you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, the graphic design of the cassette is representative of the music inside; two metal sonic blasters that bring home the bacon, get your head banging while you occasionally stroke your professorial goatee. This is some thinking man's metal, with influences all over the aggressive music spectrum.

Side A, "Become the Earth", is the dominant track here, although this is not to lay blame of the Side B, which is totally slaying and epic, but suffers from less dynamic tempos; the blast beats blend into one another more on side B, where as the shifting beats and Tempos of side A feel more cut and paste, thus being more disorienting, hence more metal.

But really, I'm slicing hairs here. This 2 song appetizer is just the thing to get your motorcycle rally, Satanic Seance, horror movie marathon ice breaker, or whatever transgression of your choice, ... goin'!

Fans of Motorhead, Liturgy, Horrendous, Candlemass, ... perhaps even those of you who dabble on the heavier side of prog (???) will love this ... You get the picture. Enjoy! 


Saturday, August 12, 2017

MUSTAPHA BIERE
“Fieldwork”
(Tape Du Jour)




I don’t know about the other reviewers here, but most of what I get is electronica. Given that, I’ve developed quite a taste for it and feel that as a result I’m better able to discern the distinctions much better than when I started. So thanks, Cassette Gods!

This is electronic but with a heavy influence of soundtrack stylings and even smooth jazz which, in this case, makes for a very listenable experience. The tape is very well recorded, in fact one of the best sounding (fidelity wise) tapes I’ve heard come through here yet.

Mustapha Biere (Mathew Greasley) is a UK based multi-media artist and musician with several releases to his credit. There are only 25 of these tapes (and I have one) which were duplicated real-time unto TDK tape. The insert is on nice linen paper, with artwork by Ben Holmes. Purchasing the tape allows you unlimited streaming via bandcamp. It’s a nice package, but you better hurry over to Bandcamp if you want one.

www.tapedujour.bandcamp.com

-- Bob Zilli

Friday, August 11, 2017

LEISURE SERVICE
“Dank Hell” C30
(\\NULL|ZØNE//)




Leisure Service, aka Michael Pierce, is a tricky customer. Maybe you read into things like record sleeves – or in this case J-cards – and book covers, and you think you’ve got something pinned down, only to find yourself not only wrong but dead wrong, face down in puddle of goo, wishing you hadn’t fully prepared yourself for an eventuality that existed only in your mind. That’s me right now – pushing myself up to free myself and especially my face from all this goo!

Dank Hell sounds like a slog. Doesn’t it? Maybe a miasma of power electronics awaits the listener. Four lengthy deep dives into harsh noise wall with no escape at the other end. Track titles reading like recipes from the nihilist’s cookbook: “Satan’s Sulphur” and “Human Intention” and “Which Strain” and the title track. But guess what? All that potential negativity is released into the recesses of imagination as soon as the play button is smashed and the ominous synth squiggles of “Satan’s Sulphur” gain their crispy beatwork, electronic pulses with the head-nodding intensity of, dare I say, a Wax Trax! revival festival? Oh – oh my, I can’t believe my ears. This makes me … what’s the word? Happy? Happy. That’s it. Feet moving, bass grooving. I mean, seriously, “Which Strain” would probably find itself at home on Daft Punk’s Homework, and that’s a pretty fantastic place to find oneself at home.

It’s not all sunshine and lollipops – and actually, there is very little sunshine and there are very few lollipops, it’s just that the relative lack of unremitting black evil kind of puts the nice stuff in relief – and, in fact, “Dank Hell” the song is a subterranean, nocturnal, introverted, [insert-similar-adjective here] dub minefield stretching almost nine minutes until the density of its bass causes the track to collapse in upon itself, bubbling out of existence. Still catchy, but certainly shadowed by its sinister intentions. But Dank Hell the tape is a fantastic listen for even the most casual of electronic music fans, a portal into a dimension where mood meets accessibility and everyone’s a moon orbiting the righteous musical quasar that is Leisure Service, at least until Michael Pierce gets tired and needs to hit the hay.

https://nullzone.bandcamp.com/

-- Ryan Masteller

Thursday, August 10, 2017

HEAVY POCKETS “Mopeless”
(Reflective Tapes)




From New Hampshire we have this three piece (Shayla, Nate and Zack) Heavy Pockets with this tape offering titled “Mopeless.” Fourteen songs and they’re all blasts with amps on eleven,

but somehow it works. “Circadian Schism,” a powerful indie rocker with hints of everybody, leads off the tape and is followed by “Ex Pat” and “We” which keep things at high energy. Only the stop-start of the jingling “Lacking” hints at things letting up, but no-even that one bursts into a fury.

“Love Song,” the single, is more power pop (and the best song on the collection) than anything else heard before it and opens the door to an exhibition of more influences meaning everything from folk-rock to The Shoes and Cheap Trick.

As the tape progresses (meaning Side Two) not only does the energy tone down but it’s clear they put all the better stuff at the front end of this album. Not an unusual tactic, admittedly, but maybe a little more obvious here than with most. That said, the songs throughout are all strong and it makes for an great listen. My only complaint is that in the heavier songs, the vocals are mixed into the sound as opposed to being on top, even just a bit.

There is a bit of a buzz on this band right now. The album version was released by Dead Broke and they have garnered a fair amount of press. Might be a good time to grab up one of these homemade tapes for a measly five bucks while you still can.

www.reflectivetapes.bandcamp.com

-- Bob Zilli

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

SEVERED + SAID
"Pyrrhic Fortunes”
(Dead Tank Records / Popnihil)SEVERED + SAID




Oh, this is electronica alright. Dark and menacing electronica. Movie soundtrack stuf. Scary movie soundtrack stuff. This tape begins the assault with “Error Unknown” which has a drone effect layered with various synth ornamentations and manages to keep its musical tentacles reaching out for just over seven minutes. The remaining two tracks on the first side are equally suspenseful, though running a shorter duration.

Side two opens with “Secret Master II” (There is a “Secret Master I” on the first side) which features low pitched droning and a synth drum accompanied by various other electronica/noise contributions. The tape ends with the title track which, with multi-layered tracking, builds to a frenzied climax, several times-appropriate for a closer.

This release was recorded and engineered by Jeremiah Johnson and the artist. The vocal on “Pyrrhic Fortunes” is done by Electric Petal. It comes in a jewel case with a full color j-card but not a lot of information.

The saving grace here is the e.p. length as this format works well for this style of music. A full length album might have been too much. This artist (he, she, they?) are good at what they do and if you’re inclined toward this direction, then by all means get this one.

www.deadtankrecords.com
www.popnihil.bandcamp.com

-- Bob Zilli

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

GRAHAM REPULSKI
“I’m Even Younger Now”
(self-released)



Graham Repulski – unabashed Phillies fan (probably, he’s from Philly), just like me, your favorite talking cartoon dog … I mean music writer – is seriously like the greatest lo-fi indie rocker going today. It’s not close, folks – I mean, Bob Pollard’s gotta be sixty by now, right? Repulski has Pollard’s flag, and he’s charging up the mountain to plant it at its peak. But wait – that’s not “Ol’ Dayton” Repulski’s got! That’s his own damn flag! And his legs are moving really fast! Well, if Repulski’s gonna start tossing out cassette releases left and right like parade participants toss candy to onlookers, then we’re obliged to cover every last one. Because that’s what I’m Even Younger Now is, fifteen tracks of blasted-out pop tunage recorded to Dictaphone or something. As he’s wont to do, Repulski heaves the artifacts unceremoniously in your general direction until you pay attention for once, and I’m here to continue that heaving with my words, because you really should pay attention. Do you like catchy rock and roll songs? Do you like them formed effortlessly, recorded quickly, and released with abandon before their creator moves on to the next project? Are you a fine, independent person who just “gets it”? Then Graham Repulski’s your man, and you should be blaring I’m Even Younger Now from the tape deck of your two-door Honda Accord. Who says 200,000 miles on a car is a pipe dream?

Graham Repulski Bandcamp page – holy crud, so many releases!

--Ryan Masteller

Monday, August 7, 2017

COLLIN RUSSELL “Etudes"




This is the second of three releases from Berklee grad Collin Russell. Russell, who now works as Director of Technical Support at Qu-Bit-a California based modular synth manufacturer; created this album using “recorded and synthesized audio to create an ambience that transforms the listeners perspective…” The end result is a unique slice of electronica.

Russell modestly understates his role in all this. Sure, he used tones generated by the set-up but it was the human element that had the final say on what was and wasn't "appropriate" for release. He has an exemplary knowledge of the gear, of course; but he also has an ear for what works and what doesn't. It would be interesting to know how many bits were not used in the production of this tape.

All said, it's a phenomenal journey he takes the listener on and having declared that-I must say this is one of the finest electronica tapes I've heard, regardless of how he chose to attain the end result. The tape is of a limited, numbered edition of 100 and comes with download card. It is housed in a nice O-card sleeve.

www.collinrussellmusic.com
www.collinrussellmusic.bandcamp.com

-- Bob Zilli

Sunday, August 6, 2017

FUTURE APE TAPES “Camouflage Music” C50 (\\NULL|ZØNE//)




“The Future Ape Tapes need another release from the Future Ape Tapes,” so says “Release,” the inaugural song to Future Ape Tapes’ inaugural release on \\NULL|ZØNE//. As we enter this ouroboros situation, where the ape eats its tail somehow, and we suffer the consequences (apes can’t bend like that…), I am reminded that the Future Ape Tapes do not live in an insular world where their output is considered and consumed by Future Ape Tapes alone. There is an external existence where we are, we listeners, and we are confused and frightened by the sentiments of “Release.” The world needs another release from the Future Ape Tapes, don’t you see?

Camouflage Music is music hidden in plain sight. The requisite sonic barfage is whirled into terrifying maelstrom of experimentation, googly-eyed synths and samples colliding with live instrumentation and vocal-processing gymnastics that barrel toward the end of the runtime with overt disregard for bystanders. Plain sight? Squint and you glimpse a pop hit, a “Dry the Rain” High Fidelity gag that propels every basement-dwelling sonic scientist to the fore of popular imagination. But Future Ape Tapes are exactly that – the future. The present isn’t ready, save for the 25 or so of you lucky enough to score the physical artifact, or the 800 or so others dropping hard cash on digital files. We are all experiencing the milk of human indifference through Camouflage Music, an indifference to the unfortunate human condition that the Ape Tapes are reflecting, and that indifference will be our downfall. Hail the future – may it come sooner than we hope.

https://nullzone.bandcamp.com/

--Ryan Masteller


Saturday, August 5, 2017

AAA “Fruit” (Elestial Sound)




Recorded in 2014 and released two years down the road, “Fruit” by AAA is described as electronic, jazz, cool jazz and smooth jazz and, well, it’s all that but a bit more adventerous at times as well. AAA, which is in actuality is one Chris Szombathy, a Canadian, is well-versed with both synth technique and layering to create within each piece a flowing melody that never strays too far from the initial concept yet remains interesting.

The ten tracks are all complimentary, but not derivative of each other. The production is excellent as is the packaging which is a jewel case with a multi-page full color j-card insert. This tape comes from Elestial Sound, an artist cooperative label based in Florida with a number of releases to their credit-and is only available in cassette and digital download formats.

For those who enjoy this style of music, this comes highly recommended.

www.elestialsound.com

-- Bob Zilli

Friday, August 4, 2017

SMOKEDOG
“Drinking Under the Table”
(\\NULL|ZØNE//)




What’s missing is the “You.” As in, Smokedog is drinking you under the table. Because somehow they’re still recording music here. Still standing. Maybe still … smoking? Or maybe they’re too insular a bunch, and they really are drinking under the table, with their recording equipment, encased in a perennial cocoon out of sight of everybody else that happens to be around at any given time. They’re too busy in their own heads, they have no time for you wandering around the kitchen looking for the bottle opener.

Smokedog, from Athens, Georgia, is so not R.E.M. that it’s not funny, and \\NULL|ZØNE// is so not IRS that it’s stupid. There are thirty-nine free-associative tracks here, ranging from noise experiments, spoken-word between-song live banter, live renditions of songs (all of which are simply “Untitled”), smoky blues experiments, blues experiments, smoky fusion experiments, live half-jams, shamanic nocturnal seshes, acoustic asides, more hairy blues, and all of this is sort of pieced together in a, I want to say, intentional way, but I’m not sure. It’s like if Tonstartssbandht’s music got into a car accident with itself (the music, not the ’Bandht) and fragmented in a bunch of directions. Also if Tonstartssbandht was more into the Dead instead of High Rise and International Harvester. There’s some actual accessible rock music of the classic vein here! The ’Dog’s gettin’ in, gettin’ out, and somehow it works.

But whatever, intentional or not, you can make the case that Drinking Under the Table makes perfect sense how it’s presented, where songs don’t begin or end but are instead entered in medias res and cut mid-riff. It’s a weird, and dare I say bold, experiment, bringing blues music into the realm of noise and just letting it sit uncovered in the microwave until it overheats and explodes and makes a mess that’s impossible to clean up. Maybe that’s Smokedog’s motto: “Making messes you can’t clean up.” Or maybe it’s “R.E.M. is for suckers.” What do I know. Drinking ended up being a lot more extroverted than I expected it to be. Smokedog’s more on top of the table, nude, thrashing instruments, horrifying their roommates. Drinking you under the table, because for some reason you think you can win.

Smokedog

https://nullzone.bandcamp.com/

-- Ryan Masteller

Thursday, August 3, 2017

JIM SHORTS “Eternal” (Trash Dog Records)




What do you get when you combine garage/trash rock with power pop sensibilities? Jim Shorts. This guy (Jim Shorts is David Haynes) has more hooks than you can shake a stick at.  The tape kicks into gear with “Christine”, an original that could well be a single were it not for the muddy, vocal-buried production that is prevalent throughout this tape. The side does well for itself with hook after hook, song after song so consistent that by half way through you’ve come to expect nothing less.

Alas, the flip side is not the same deal. Don’t get me wrong, the hooks are there, just not the same quality as those that graced the first side. In any event, it’s a very good contribution by an extremely talented writer.

Apparently Haynes did everything here except artwork and mastering (Emily Jean and Zach Ramsey.) The release is a 75 unit run, mine was signed and comes in standard jewel box with j-card insert and a small credit sheet.

I can’t help but wonder what a band and, more importantly, a producer, would do for this release-or his next. Great effort regardless.

-- Bob Zilli

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

LA FORÊT ROUGE “Hygiénique et noble” C37 (Small Scale Music)




Go ahead, La Forêt Rouge, you Montrealers just sit up there beyond our northern border and hock metaphorical loogies of scorn in our direction, us Americaners. I mean, Hygenic and Noble? Really? That’s what Hygiénique et noble means, and don’t think I don’t get the reference to our healthcare situation down yonder. Yes, it would be nice to have healthcare for all, and sure, it would be just swell if our women and poor, you know, probably the people who need it most, could get some semblance of affordable health insurance, but you know what today is? Today is the Bud Light afterparty (or not, actually) of our “government” at work, where we the people are stripped of human rights and sentenced to an existence based on hopes and dreams – as in, hope I don’t get sick, and, I dream of a time when that bike accident didn’t happen because I can’t afford to have my leg fixed and I’m a bike messenger, oh noes…

Motherfucking IRONY!

Or, maybe, you’re here to take our mind off of the hilarious and hilariously awful House of 1000 Corpses torture chamber our lives here have become, and banishing Dr. Satan is your foremost mission with your music and your positive outlook. Isn’t it true that a spirit of holy improvisation summons benevolent spirits? I think I read that somewhere, maybe a comic book. But still, it’s a good thing your music has all the healing capabilities that a Johns Hopkins–educated physician does – and for only six measly dollars! Hygiénique et noble is essentially the vanguard of Canadian fusion, at times frizzing itself out into Sonny Sharrock territory, but mostly puttering around the old workshop intent on discovering every sonic nook and cranny that the four-piece can infiltrate with their imaginations. Live improvisation doesn’t always sound this adventurous, but when it does, it often comes from La Forêt Rouge. Oh, didn’t you know? I reviewed them once before, gave ’em an ol’ positive reaction right here in these hallowed electronic pages. Doing it again here. Well, except for calling them out for their smug Canadian-ness. Which, come to think of it, is all America ever does, so, … we deserve it? But not this leadership. Fuck us.

And then I think of the people of the Global South… Oh boy. Perspective. Jesus.



--Ryan Masteller

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

WEIRD WOMAN “Blaztech”




"Blaztech" by weird woman is a project of Corum in collaboration with partner Seth. The recording guides you through the ritualistic experience of encountering the weird woman, ready for sadomasochism, readying you to be fucked like something that is owned.

The soundtrack of synths, hypnotic drumming, manipulated vocals provide for a nice listen. "The weird woman's vision held me in its thrall but was soon unmoored by the complexity of its own characters - it was first freed of form, and then from time and finally these wraiths dissolved fully into the infinite, taking with them my tiny mind."


https://corum.bandcamp.com/album/blaztech

-- Lucas Martinez