HADALS “The Dog” C15 (Nailbat Tapes)




This is not a rescue; this is a stray, a mutt, a mongrel, a cur. The Nashville duo Hadals channel their inner Wolf Eyes/Hair Police, and the result is astonishingly ravaged death noise. Strip Gaza of the technical prowess and dump a truckload of corrosive sludge on top of the entire process and you’ve nailed the Hadals aesthetic. It’s terrifying and exhilarating at once, as wonderful as getting flayed alive could ever feel, but through the magic of musical instruments. The slow grind of torture penetrates every pore; every second is an ear-shattering disaster. This is EXACTLY what you want and what you need right now – destruction never felt so invigorating!

Hadals

Nailbat Tapes


--Ryan

PERRACHE “Une Cassette Comme Les Autres”
(Taping Desk O-phon Mania)



Joachim Henn isn’t one to relax. The Stuttgart native has released many things with many folks under many guises, some of which I’ve heard of (e jugend! trikorder 23!) and some I haven’t, but whose ignorance I will rectify posthaste (Frood of the Loop, Olumpique Jazz Trio). Here he drops “Une Cassette Comme Les Autres” as Perrache, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s a knockout of a tape release.

You can’t shake its trance, that’s for sure, as waves upon waves of nocturnal energy billow and pulse, densely coalescing and interacting like the friction of cloud formations. Henn builds massive sound structures that don’t come off as imposing as they are, as if their enormity was relegated to sheer distance. In fact, they’re not imposing at all – they’re inviting, hovering like lullabies and gently enveloping you as their characteristics emerge. Even when the tones are harsher, they’re still capable of engendering an awestruck response.

Beginning and ending with the fascinating “Chien de Loop,” the tape eats its own tail, ouroboros-style, although neither “Chien” resembles the other really; instead, they’re complementary pieces. But it illustrates how one of Henn’s ideas can be distributed in completely different ways. And it showcases how tightly controlled those ideas are, as if the elements of them find their way into each other and vice versa, each track resonating with and expanding upon the others. There’s not a dull moment on “Une Cassette Comme Les Autres,” so track one down as soon as you possibly can (not sure how easy that’s going to be for you Americans – I guess you can do a little distro digging).

Perrache

Taping Desk O-phon Mania


--Ryan

A.M. STATIONS “Nonsense” C34 (Already Dead)





The noise rock recipe is fairly simple if you were going to write it down: distorted/jagged/angular guitars, (sometimes distorted) spoken/sung/shouted vocals, distorted riff-happy bass, pummeling drums. A.M. Stations features all of these things, and their brand of noise rock is therefore eminently successful.

There are even glimpses of melody throughout – not everything is a punishing wall of sheer serration. But even as tunes like “Milk Siblings” and “Charred Wings” offer a break from the onslaught, it doesn’t last long. Sure enough, even these diversions erupt with the intensity and propulsion of a roadside IED, flinging sonic shrapnel in all directions. The impact is lasting.


Check out these wily Chicagoans if you get a chance – I imagine their live show is a sight to behold.


A.M. Stations

Already Dead


--Ryan




REGATTAS "Garudas" C35 (Shinkoyo)




Free-Jazz lovers, rejoice! Tenor sax virtuoso, Sam Hillmer, plays in like a bajillion projects (check his personal site link below), but here, he’s on his own, exploring pretty much every sound one could possibly make with brass & reed.

I suggest not listening to this tape while your partner attempts to study or you might just be threatened with actual death.

https://shinkoyo.bandcamp.com/album/garudas
http://www.samhillmerprojects.com/
and/or
http://shinkoyo.com/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

FELIPE ARAYA "Punata" C52
(Eh? Records/Public Eyesore)




When not using the built-in mic of his cellular phone to steal the sound-souls from Bolivian & Chilean passersby, Felipe Araya acts upon his cajon like so:

rub, smoosh, flutter,
clack, swipe, squeak,
massage, caress, shuffle,
drag, scrape, massage,
tinkle, creak, shudder!

&do not look for rhymes or reasons here.

Then, he plots Andean flute, Earth winds, footsteps.
Oh, do not look for rhythms or raising hairs.

As kerfluffle ubiquifies unto ambiance-hood,
and seismic groans drone plaintively below twinkling scraps,
do not look for rams or rustles near.

………………………..
found within are field recordings from South America, electro-acoustic compositions via treated solo cajón, flute, & pretty much most sounds harvestable via natural frictions & jigglings about.

http://publiceyesore.com/ehcat.php?eh=096
and/or
https://felipearaya.org/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

DAVE SCANLON "Coupling Duet" C39 (Shinkoyo)




“Coupling Duet” is a clinical collection of avant-garde studies in repetition, phasing, overtone and space/time that’d fit right in next to several Steve Reich and Morton Feldman releases. Every track is a snack-sized inner world unto its own, each collected element demanding various degrees of multi-focused attention and patience as it engages with its surrounding (sparse) group of peers.

Listen loudly with headphones in the morning before traffic picks up for an altered sense of pacing, posing, and passing things/thoughts.

https://shinkoyo.bandcamp.com/album/coupling-duet
and/or
http://www.davescanlon.com/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

IE "Ark" C39 (Shinkoyo)




In an excerpt from IE’s bandcamp page (hosted by Shinkoyo), a poem by (2/5ths of) the recordings artists reads as follows:

“About ARK:

The drone is an ark. It is not a negative space. It is a positive void. Its sound is built upon frequencies held steady with no aim. There is no place involved. There is consumption and repetition and shame associated with these activities. There is a world of rhythms and animal repetition. The drone is an ark. It is not a negative space. It is a positive void. It is a place of not knowing what. It can be played backwards and forwards. The drone is made of frequencies held steady with no aim. They have length. There are sensory motor pleasures that rewire consumption machines and there is shame involved. There are chords and they are a puzzle; people are working on the puzzle; the puzzle is the ark. The drone lasts for some time outside of time and inside there are only shapes, and possibly more. If you have shame, you can always make it into a movie instead of a drone. So then you might have left the ark. Shameless cinema is the absent work of drones. The drone is an ark. It is not electricity and also is what it is. It is not a negative space. It is a positive void. It is an ark. Drones are built upon frequencies held steady with no aim, and there is disruption of sensuous pleasures and consumption and repetition and all the shame associated with them. It may or may not be filled with emotion. It has beginnings, endings, inconsistencies and mistakes, or pretends that it does or does not. The drone is and makes perfect and imperfect pairings. The drone is an ark. It is not a negative space. It is a positive void. It is not a place. It is an ark.”

Recorded with the charms of brutalist architecture in mind, this electro-acoustic live document of the resonations culled from thrice-amplified keyboards, bassoon and saxophone is a minimalist dreamer’s drone (and vice versa) for all of us in love with naturally occurring binaural warble and the nuances inherent in stairwell echoes and austerely-constructed open art spaces.

Think Ellen Fullman, La Monte Young, & Phil Niblock, but, like, much younger, and from the Twin Cities. Make no mistake, this is an elegant, vibrant release, and IE know what is shaking. Specifically air molecules.

https://shinkoyo.bandcamp.com/album/ark
and/or
https://iesounds.bandcamp.com/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

NEW POPE "Meet the New Pope" C44 (Shinkoyo)




Sharing psychedelic DNA with the legendary Oneida, New Pope churns out some pretty far out there, dynamics-focused post-rock for dizzy headphone walkers. Part polyrhythmic hypnosis, part ceremonial drone, part krauty-space jam, this studio-born&raised release proves the glory of studied counterpoint, angular groove, and deft mixing/production.

https://shinkoyo.bandcamp.com/album/meet-the-new-pope
http://www.claralatham.com/new-blog/2017/9/12/new-pope
and/or
http://shinkoyo.com/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

C. WORTH "A Farther Sea"
C54 (Gertrude Tapes)




The sound of all lone bedrooms
lit only by streetlamp,
fading candle, & intervals
of distant lighthouse flash.

Dust, devoutly swept into
all four corners, achieves
topsoil status, hosts
modest ice plant colonies.

Foghorn husk and battered,
barnacled hiss, Sea Worthy
hazily fingerstyles his subtle siren
strings of electric guitar,
mutely of pluck, or
jazzily strum’d, leagues
of reverb and delay coloring
even post-midnight horizons
with ghostly sails of unpinnable
drone.

Tides dependable, concurrently
peaceable, despite infinite opportunities
to dreamily
drown.

… … … …


This tape may actually be a perfect decompression-hour soundtrack. With or without headphones and/or neighborhood noise, it absolutely delivers, time and time and time again. The slippery blend of bass and treble and its rhythmic interplay, the arpeggios that slide into strums, the seamless movements between keys, the waxing and waning delay levels; C. Worth embodies all that can be transcendental about virtuosic guitar playing, with positively zero traces of the onanistic qualities so common in the genre.

https://thegertrudetapes.bandcamp.com/album/a-farther-sea

--Jacob An Kittenplan

BRYCE HACKFORD "Looking Off"
C30 (Perfect Wave)




Side A: With sustain pedal to the metal, Bryce Hackford patiently plots & plods a select few sentimental grand piano chords with minimalist-mantric repetition, creating a hollow peace within that is uneasy and inevitable.

Side B: Metronomic deep bass pulses around a lonesome, keyless chord. With no other subtext, its erratic cries ring out, untethered to any major or minor constraint, even when a low drone surfaces and recedes. Despite superficial tranquility, the gestalt yield is again uneasy & inevitable, leaving us looking, and feeling, “off”.

https://brycehackford.bandcamp.com/album/looking-off
and/or
https://www.perfectwave.org/


--Jacob An Kittenplan

PRIVATE ELEVATORS "LA Looks"
C83 (Perfect Wave)




One point five hour’s worth of distilled sonic sleep apnea, magnetized and perched for a lackadaisical swooping into the vicinity of your ever-too-functioning-pulmonary caves. Read: this time-freezer is on le-fritz, again, so just shut some eyes, massage the back of a scalp; just enjoy the ride. Just…

Best visual: an emaciated taxi driver stuck in armageddon traffic, blissful. Each yard moving forward no less celebrated than the last. No less dreaded. No less Anything.
Just…

Notes of:
-mausoleum reverie,
-emotional trainwreck nostalgia,
-abandoned artifact stoicism,
-torn subway ticket despair,
-space held by-and-for space itself,
-organs of organs of…

Just…
Given William Basinski couldn’t eulogize his own wake, this’d do just fine.

https://privateelevators.bandcamp.com/album/la-looks
and/or
https://www.perfectwave.org/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

TROPICAL ROCK "Yellow Dock" C45 (Perfect Wave)




Two to three High Priestesses pace the perimeter of an impossibly morphing Yellow Dock, each one a-flutesaxophoneanalogsynthcrystalsingingbowltenori-onvocalizin’ to the others’ past/present/future inner ear through the slippery delay (pedals) of time. This cosmic circle-pit is jubilant, intense, revelatory, mesmerizing. It is a time-lapse party portrait at both micro- and macro- levels, in dynamics, narration, rhythm, and space.

Yes. There are nuanced, sonic jokes, social tropes. There is bickering, splitting hairs, these sounds all ringing intensely and timelessly, part & parcel to this cathartic gathering. There is unity; the tension acts as glue every bit as much as the countering, blissfully waxing moon’s pull. And then they all go out on a midnight-herbal-tea run, leaving said Yellow Dock shaken (and stirring) in the falling humidity.

Camille Padgitt-Coles and Ka Baird are not only the main contributors (with additional accompaniment from T. Peterson, another STITSR alum) to Tropical Rock, but also the head honchos of Perfect Wave, an NYC asset to experimental music promotion/curation. Do check out their website below to see how you might get involved/bare witness!

https://tropicalrock.bandcamp.com/album/yellow-dock
and/or
https://www.perfectwave.org/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

NAGUAL/ZACH ROWDEN
"Self Titled" C26 (Pidgeon Records)




Nagual, Oberlin’s own nefarious, electric guitar triumvirate, teams up with Zach Rowden (on bass guitar here) to deliver two nerve-wracking slabs of droning feedback for the calloused-of-heart only.  Each side plays as a build-up to and/or come-down from some inferred breakdown (of the hardcore punk variety) without so much as a beat or chord strangled.

I can’t help but envision a mute, sweaty-brow’d vocalist flailing about stage between these four fullstack-abusers, madly pacing back and forth, jumping up on the bass drum of a never-to-be-played kit, threatening to bash a crash symbol with his unplugged, battered-in microphone, fervently awaiting an eternally undelivered count-in.
Pretty intense stuff. Play loud as fuck on a stereo with a good subwoofer, for sure.

https://nagual.bandcamp.com/album/nagual-zach-rowden
and/or
https://zachrowden.bandcamp.com/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

GARY HILL “Earth” (Windhaven Enterprises)




Totally rad font for this folded paper “j-card,” Gary Hill: I’m all ready for “Earth” to be some sort of text-based RPG adventure for an ancient PC, somehow confronting “Earth-Crisis (Impressions) 1-15” on side A, while “Earth Crisis (Impressions) 16-24” await on side B. The music does not disappoint. Warbly synth and Casio, mothballed melodies sprinkled quickly, transitioning quickly. The feel is exactly the look, and I am keen on it.

There is also a manifesto of sorts from Gary Hill in the folded paper accompanying the tape, something about saving the world from ourselves, it’s not too late, etc., but I’m not sure how serious to take it. (I mean, saving the planet is certainly important, as are green initiatives and restorative practices, don’t get me wrong.) Maybe it’s that this was released by something called Windhaven Enterprises … in 1990. That leads me to believe the whole retrofuturism thing might be a stylistic ploy. And my momma didn’t raise no dummy.

Oh, and please don’t get confused with this Earth Crisis. Unless you want to.

There doesn’t seem to be much info on this one, but here’s a YouTube link with the whole thing playing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLyMvL9URDg


--Ryan

COMFORT FOOD
“Falling Up a Down Escalator” C45
(Already Dead)




Depends, I guess, on the season? If it’s cold, chili definitely. My brother-in-law’s Thai creations. Spaghetti. Warm weather I’m more into seafood stuff – we get this great shrimp ceviche around here that’s just so refreshing. I can taste it right now.

I’m talking about comfort food, obviously. Now I’m going to talk about Comfort Food.

Named after the kind of food that makes me (AND ONLY ME) feel good, Comfort Food the band is sort of the opposite, scattering their noise rock discontent among the jazz funk soil, like they’re filling your underpants with sand or something and making you walk the two miles back to town instead of giving you a lift. Comfort food, the food, this is not. This is scratchy and herky, uncomfortable, awkward. In short, this is everything that this kind of music should be.

“Falling Up a Down Escalator” is as unusual as its title sounds, like it’s really hard to do what it suggests. But bassist/vocalist/trumpetist Daniel Wolff and percussionist Jake Marshall are adept at turning gravity on its head in their tunes, and they’re up to the task at putting you off your equilibrium. These tracks churn and sizzle, fester and bubble, sometimes all at once. You guys like Jerkagram? You should. Comfort Food are spiritual siblings, but weirder. And Darko the Super even drops by to drop a couple of rhymes!

Comfort Food

Already Dead

--Ryan

SCRATEBOARD “Your Hand” (Peconic Records)




Scrote up, scrateboarder! Kirkflirp that rollie to a nrose slide, and try not to totally breef it. Raxle starl on a harf parp. Autograrfed Trorny Hark knee pards hanging on my gararge warl. A million back issues of Thrarsher margazarn in a borx downstors. Scrate or drie!

Birdhorse.

Shrrrederrr synthersizer torns. Blirp flirprs. Thrs chrmrng mrn. Trance brandrt. Rrrarrtrrraterr.

Fruck irt.

https://scrateboard.bandcamp.com/

https://peconic.bandcamp.com/

--Streve Craballero



MARLO EGGPLANT/ARVO ZYLO
“Split” C40 (No Part Of It)



Maybe my favorite in this four-part “split” series, Marlo Eggplant and Arvo Zylo offer juxtaposing studies- re: minimalism vs maximalism- and t’is one hell of a treatise!

While both sides demand concentration and good headphones, ME’s collection of six contrasting psycho-electro-acoustic vignettes explores clinical nuance and forces acting upon forces acting upon forces. Sound poses are shaped by ME’s intentional tides, which, in turn, re-transform into yet further magnetic fields to act and be acted upon ever-so-subtly.

AZ’s side, on the other hand, is gallstones-to-the-wallstones harsh brutality, an explosive string of blown-out 90s-modem-connection samples looped into a dub-dance-tastic frenzy. Imagine robots high from snorting battery acid, jerkily swaying to the new step “doing the human”. Shit is grooving, jarring, & nasty.

http://nopartofit.blogspot.com/
https://nopartofit.bandcamp.com/
http://corpuscallosumdistro.com/marlo-eggplant/
and/or
https://marlodelara.tumblr.com/


--Jacob An Kittenplan

BBJR/ARVO ZYLO “Split” C40 (No Part Of It)




Veterans Bob Bucko Jr and Arvo Zylo each churn out a mantric slowburner of epic proportions on this “Split” series release (one of four) via No Part of It.

BBJR, himself having kicked out some 53 bandcamp releases to date, has made it a point to leave no subgenre unexplored & his part of this tape wades through varying states of looped jam band territory by overlapping beginner 4/4 drum-kit practice-tracks overtop one another in various phase-phrasings, along with a smattering of other stock percussion samples.

AZ’s side couldn’t be further from the prior, eschewing any semblance of whimsy for a stilted, panic-inducing stack-upon-stack-upon-stack of Steve-Reich-meets-hyperspeed-cloned-Conlon Nancarrow sequences that amplify, obfuscate, & further bastardize each and every one of themselves with every passing layer added. Though the trajectory is plainly mapped, the psychoacoustic effects are not. This is a pretty wild ride for anyone willing to exercise their patience, and sanity, to be sure!

http://nopartofit.blogspot.com/
https://nopartofit.bandcamp.com/
and/or
https://bobbuckojr.bandcamp.com/

--Jacob An Kittenplan



ANDREW QUITTER/ARVO ZYLO
“Split” C40 (No Part Of It)





Dumpsterscore Home Recordings and No Part Of It label heads team up here for a disorienting release on NPOI’s “split” series.

AQ delivers two ten minute sonic slabs of dark mysticism titled “Casper 1” and “Casper 2”; these tracks that may share the same name, but the moods are starkly contrasting…as far as hauntings go. C1 centers around a static, tribal drum loop and synthesizer/tractor-beam exhalation, where, around these, demons, aliens, and mouth-frothing cult members flail about, in unchained ecstacy. C2 could conceivably be a recording of that event, but far, far away, allowing industrious, machinelike woodpeckers and bump-in-the-nighters to take center stage, their amblings and toil echoing across a petrified forestscape.

AZ’s side is yet another re-working of his UPHEAVAL studies; here, he’s ever closer to finding the construct/membrane between ghost & machine, cog & aura. The unrelenting sound of warm destruction through stoic friction is all.

http://nopartofit.blogspot.com/
https://nopartofit.bandcamp.com/
and/or
https://andrewquitter.bandcamp.com/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

PBK/ARVO ZYLO “Split” C40 (No Part Of It)





Prolific mellow-harshers Phillip B. Klingler & Arvo Zylo take 20 minute turns on this split tête-a-tête-to-le-death, each massaging deliciously heinous, ominous horrorscapes into bleak, long form industrial decay, in their own personalized ways. I’m moved to a mild breakdown choosing which soundtrack’d best suit the decomposition of my own body in 40 years time. Perhaps BOTH, please?

AZ’s ability to allude to an industrial pulse, all the while gracefully flitting over its clinically-chalked outline is one of his many consistent, enigmatically engaging skills to bear witness. Visions of dance clubs where participants willingly consent to being low-level-‘lectrocuted at random on a non-grounded, copper floor come to mind, often.

PBK’s side reminds us the tension felt when our sleepless defeatism weighs in with a whispered “So, maybe there really IS a prowler in the house. Fine. So what?” while our peppier fraction offers, “What would a “peaceful” death ACTUALLY look like, anyway, ANYWAY?”

The narrative, Thomas Carnacki-esque vibe throughout both sides is undeniably hypnotic, especially when getting lost in the vintage wallpaper cutting & found photograph that is included with each otherwise austere cassette in this “split” series of 4.

http://nopartofit.blogspot.com/
https://nopartofit.bandcamp.com/
and/or
https://pbksound.bandcamp.com/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

WYATT PROSPER/ZEBULON
“Split” C22 (Permanent Nostalgia)




Ontario’s Wyatt Prosper & Floridian, Zebulon, each honor R. Murray Schaefer’s request that we let our ears take in a rich soundscape every bit as hungrily as our eyes take in a beautiful landscape.

WP’s half documents a meditative, rural traversing and its yielding nuanced blends of distant highway din, immediate path-frictions, and a slew of wind-battered artifacts. Z’s side juxtaposes with a focusing on a small-to-mid-sized port town’s weekend’s farmers’ market’s eclectic, eccentric mix of diverse musics, languages, and social rhythms.

Pretty amazing stuff! Keep ‘em coming, Permanent Nostalgia!

https://permanentnostalgia.bandcamp.com/album/wyatt-prosper-zebulon-permanent-nostalgia-no-39

--Jacob An Kittenplan

COOL PERSON “Good Person” C47
(Permanent Nostalgia)




Gainesville’s Permanent Nostalgia label has been kicking out some seriously visionary tapes these days & this newest release has pretty much everything one could ask from experimentally progressive New Age music. Acoustic timbres of kalimba, pan flute, xylophone & chimes (seemingly) independently stumbling gracefully about underneath soaring sci-fi synthscapes, disembodied samples & cheesy preset tones, all of these elements themselves operating as one cohesive unit while individually flailing and fluttering about at random. Like watching a headless-tailless funnel of Vaux’s Swifts preparing to roost; No leaders, no riffs, or any apparent mission, yet, somehow, everything just…fits, right as rain. More, please!

https://permanentnostalgia.bandcamp.com/album/good-person-permanent-nostalgia-no-38

--Jacob An Kittenplan

RAVEN “Downfall of a Modern Man” C38 (Nailbat Tapes)




Not even remotely a surprise coming from Raven or Nailbat Tapes, “Downfall of a Modern Man” “is the soundtrack for oblivion, an unflinching assault that offers no breathing room, no compromise.” I mean, that’s so Raven, right? So Raven! So… unbelievably… Raven…

The Serbian noise machine stares into the abyss, and the abyss stares back. “Downfall of a Modern Man” and “Pathetic Example of Earth’s Organic Heritage” are two sides of the same coin, or more accurately two sides of the same tape, each a 19-minute barrage of gutted static periodically shredded with shrapnel. It’s precisely the psychological warfare Raven’s waging in the face of the status quo. The status quo won’t know what hit it! The… status… quo…

Nailbat Tapes


--Ryan


FIN “Ice Pix” C45 (Hausu Mountain)




When 2017 wasn’t even three months old, Rebecca Fin Simonetti dropped “Ice Pix” on Hausu Mountain as simply “Fin,” like she had something to prove or something. I mean, at that point we all did – we had a brand-spanking-new president in the White House, and we all pretty much had to kick ourselves into overdrive as people in order to remain above the essentially constant scrum that played itself out in the media on a daily basis. We had to do this essentially to avoid getting the living stink of human behavior all over our pristine selves.

Or was that just me? Am I the only one who considers themselves morally pristine?

Regardless of how impeccably I approach the rest of the human race, Simonetti decided to take a somewhat more aggressive tack, if the anime drawings of two women battling on the cover of “Ice Pix” are any indication. And while the music isn’t necessarily antagonistic or anything (quite the opposite, actually), there’s an emotional aggression in the music that mirrors Simonetti’s physical art as well (ah, the dangling sheep). “Ice Pix” is the energy and violence brewing beneath the surface that we all should be hiding and keeping in regression, not allowing it to manifest itself in any form. Frustrating its release is what keeps the façade of morality intact.

I mean, no façade for me, of course. Pristine, remember.

Not unlike Alexandra Drewchin’s work as Eartheater (with whom Simonetti is both a kindred spirit and an actual acquaintance), “Ice Pix” fizzes and clicks its way through a variety of electronic melodies, resulting in a smeared approximation of trip hop with imaginative flourishes. And whether or not Fin intends her music to be confrontational or simply a reflection of the aggravation and discouragement that surely we all feel these days, “Ice Pix” serves as a multidirectional outlet for us listeners, ready to be “press played” regardless of our emotional state. And again, to really put a fine point on it, “Ice Pix” has helped to calcify my own self-awareness and self-actualization within the framework of the greater population.

And for those still wondering, self-seriousness is not remotely a facet of my character.

Fin

Hausu Mountain


--Ryan 


ANDY LOEBS “About Me” C28 (Terry Tapes)




Me. I made this. “Me” being Andy Loebs, and all things here were written and performed by “me.” “About Me” is a definition of identity, an autobiographical account of “doing this,” of barreling through expression without regard for reception. Of making “my” own kind of music, just like Mama Cass Elliott told “me” to do. Sometimes you gotta just listen to what Mama Cass has to say.

Andy Loebs LOVES music, loves making it, and it’s not a particularly veiled sentiment. This one-person prog wrecking crew lights our fusion fires with otherworldly synths, psychedelic excursions, time changes in multipart suites. Normally I’d be like, “one person = micro prog!” or some such nonsense, but Loebs is the full effect, somehow a “full band” contained within the body of a single human being – if that is indeed what Loebs is. We can’t be too sure he hasn’t simply piped himself in from across the cosmos and slung universal truths in our direction that we probably should’ve figured out already.

Maybe he’s a host for, like, a multitude of aliens inside his own body. Aliens that jam eternally to Yes and Herbie Hancock.

No, that’s not it at all. That’s madness. “About Me” is the real Andy Loebs, sprawled out for 28 indulgent minutes and infused with every sort of fluorescent accoutrement progressive psych has to offer. It’s experimental in its creativity but familiar in its execution. It’s an autobiography that feels like your autobiography too – with a couple of random space adventures thrown in for good measure, of course. You don’t do prog without a good space adventure.

Terry Tapes


--Ryan


GABOR BONZO “Wad” C18 (Terry Tapes)





Gabor Bonzo coat their kaleidoscopic dork-prog with enough sugary cartoonish fun it’s like they’ve shaken a can of grape soda to perfection and exploded it all over the damn place, allowing it to get in the cracks and circuits and reeds and of their instruments, all over their strings and drumheads. Welcome to “Wad,” the musical equivalent of a novelty can of spring snakes but filled with actual snakes, or a card trick gone horribly wrong or right depending on whose nicked artery is spritzing blood at a pace that probably requires a swift 911 call. That’s right, these chaps somehow managed to slap a sinister-looking twirly mustache onto the childlike whimsy their quick and demonstrative and jazzy meltdowns seem to constantly exude. A mustache like Waluigi’s.

Cartoonish fun is the name of the game on this gonzo debut (see what I did there?), and while many a Dr. Seuss-on-shrooms creature adorns the tape’s j-card, the more you look at them, the more you realize they’re crammed-together amalgamations of disparate entities dressed up to look maybe a bit more sinister than they really are – a “wad” of illustrator hyperactivity if you will. And the tape sounds an awful lot like a “wad” of hyperactivity as well, mainly a Herbie Hancock-meets-Dr. Seuss-on-shrooms kind of zany Technicolor stickiness that moves from one idea to the next with a rapidity that would make your straight brain spin. Good thing these lads are up to the challenge – they provide you with a ton of taffy to unravel as these twisty passages careen down unknown corridors. Sweet, sugary mind taffy.

Terry Tapes


--Ryan


STUNTED “Fault” (Bad Binoculars)




When your neighbors are banging on the door and calling the cops because you’re making a sleazy, punk-indebted noise rock song cycle reflecting in some way the seven deadly sins because your Catholic upbringing is has your nuts all twisted, well, then you’re Stunted. And you’re legit. Alex Petralia, of the Nopes, punkers from the Bay Area, got his creative juices flowing on the solo(ish) tip, inviting friends to participate in this side quest apart from the main gig. At times clangy, at times heaving with bile, “Fault” swaggers bitterly down the rutted path gouged from the earth by the likes of the Germs, the Birthday Party, Suicide, and Black Flag. Got a bone to pick with the church? Pick it and have fun at the same time with Stunted!

Discogs


--Ryan

ONO “Your Future Is Metal” (American Damage)



In this live recording (at the Hideout in Chicago), ONO – here composed of P. Michael Grego, Travis, Connor Tomaka, Dawei Wang, Ben Billington, and American Damage head Jordan Reyes – stirs a simmering broth of molten computer components at room temperature, the mixture neither melting nor working properly as time progresses and the stew becomes more and more inedible (as if it was at all in the first place).

“In dreams, my pores…”

Like robots, cyborgs – no, the Borg, that’s it – ONO creates friction among its components while simultaneously trying to recruit an audience full of non-Borg to assimilate with them. We all know how resistance to the Borg works – it’s futile – and so the audience succumbs to commotion with relative ease, their pores “plugged with wires” as the metallic elements in their bodies struggle to the surface and extend outward.

“Vomit endless cables.” 

That one just explains itself.

Slow burns, slow damage, varied approaches, complete control. ONO holds your consciousness in stasis via electrical pulse, pumping its message through your synapses while you’re immobilized. Upon coming to, you will not be “able to stop scratching,” even though “the wires have gone.” Don’t worry – you’ll be called upon when needed.

American Damage


--Ryan

S.U.V. “Sterben/Shifting” (Otomatik Muziek)




Poorly mic’d, poorly recorded, poorly mixed, poorly executed? No problem! S.U.V., aka Sex Und Violence, aka Franz Joseph Kaputt, doesn’t worry about such things. He is immune to any sort of criticism that would originate from those conscious attributes of his music. And speaking of criticism, I’m not here to attack him for these choices – I’m here to praise him for them. 

Some would agree that the best kind of music is that originating from the happy accidents, and if your whole setup is premised upon capturing the singular magical moments of performance, then maybe you just happen to be making the BEST KIND OF MUSIC. Well, in a way. “Sterben/Shifting” captures the performative intimacy of S.U.V.’s techniques, allowing us to accompany Mr. Kaputt as he steers us through a wide swath of ambient, folk, and noise, each crackle, each pop and hiss a further element that places us in the room with him, witnessing his playing.

So yeah, it’s like he’s playing his own little concert to us in a small room. Intimate, human, real. A celebration of life, and of death, and of those who have “shifted” from one state to the next. “Death is just a process, a shift from one state to another.” Imagine that sentiment while you’re listening to “Sterben/Shifting,” and you’ll totally get it.

S.U.V.

Otomatik Muziek


--Ryan

SEA MOSS & THE SOCIAL STOMACH
“Ugh” (Crash Symbols)




What’s the rational approach when you think you’ve shoved everything you possibly can into the mix for a recording of the musical variety? Shove in some more! That’s how Sea Moss and The Social Stomach, the two PDX-based dork bands of slabsound electronics, operate, collaborating on “Ugh” as though no sound was too outlandish or intrusive to include. We – the audience – are all the better for this approach. We are overcome.

With each band making like a wild hybrid of Bis and the Octopus Project, “Ugh” splits right down the middle, with Sea Moss on one side and The Social Stomach on the other. (Fun fact: this is where the term “split” comes from.) Electronics and effects are splattered at us from side A, minute one, then more rhythmic madness fizzes out of B (now a soda bottle metaphor), except this time with vocals, courtesy The Social Stomach’s Diana Oropeza. OMG, I’m having such a good time.

You have absolutely waited too long to buy this cassette. Good luck on Discogs!

Sea Moss

The Social Stomach

Crash Symbols


--Ryan


SATAN’S GOD “Live” (Self-Released)




Illegitimate offspring of GG Allin? Possibly. Interesting to watch live? Depends on your appreciation for Dadaist antics cranked up to 11. Below is a youtube clip of dude performing in someone’s back yard and a cop rolling up. Being loud is fun for the youth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1E6ApDTTro

--Jacob An Kittenplan

ENDURANCE “Endurance” C46 (Self-Released)




Endurance’s eponymous release is the actual soundtrack to his own unfinished Bradburian sci-fi writings*, and it is, indeed, what the kids these days call “epic”. Glacial, brooding, hypnotizing, Joshua Stefane creates and captures perfectly what his story sets out to accomplish, an emotionally solar-windswept space-scape of swelling solitude, droning numbness, and time reflecting upon itself infinitely, as both noun and verb, in tandem. Oxygen-bereft, the ambiance is a distillation of transitions between in-&-ex-halations. Dizzying.

*It’s well worth taking the time to check out JS’s blurb on bandcamp (link below) about his creative process and the sci-fi themes he has sonically articulated here.

https://endurance010010.bandcamp.com/album/endurance

--Jacob An Kittenplan

ENDURANCE
“Cloud, Castle, Lake” C43
(Cosmic Winnetou)




Within a month of its release, “Cloud, Castle, Lake” has sold out, at the source; and with only 70 copies available, no wonder why!

Adrianna Snochowsk’s J-Card art alone ought help sell out any further small run LP batches in no time! As of early August, you can still get an original oil painting of hers for 300 Euros, but, by the time of this review’s posting, that’s unlikely, as well…

Inaccessibility aside, Joshua Stefane must have absorbed some serious guitar-drone-DNA after sharing a roster with stalwart CT* alumni Chihei Hatakeyama, Hakobune, & Celer; this recent release contrasts significantly with his previous works’ employment of various/continuous field-recordings and synthetiques, now eschewing that higher hertz texture for a lower, minimally dirtier wave-disturbance-as-focal-point, letting languid drones drowsily creep and seep into one another, pretty much forever on out.

All in all, this release is yet another testament as to how versatile Endurance can be; consistently providing ubiquitous meditations for all those ready to make a better, more peaceable life together, all the while alluding to how some infinite caches of chaotic tangential textures might better inform exponentially more available expurgations of stressors!

Did I mention how much of a feel good tape this is? Do listen for yourself, with headphones (& a quiet home-life), via the link below!

https://endurance010010.bandcamp.com/album/cloud-castle-lake
and/or
http://cosmicwinnetou.blogspot.com/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

* Constellation Tatsu

SKELETONIZED “Defleshed”(Self-Released)





"Defleshed" by Skeletonized is the documentation of a jazz attack that occurred early one spring evening. The air was full of peacefulness and good will, and the chirping of crickets, and the birding of birds – when suddenly, a roving mob of jazz makers leaped from some nearby shrubberies.

The horn player drew a horn from a case, as he would have drawn a tommy gun and began to fire notes out of the tarnished sax, his wild skeleton mask glinting in the twilight. The bass player began to belt out throbbing buzzes of bass, furious and rhythmic. The drummer threw a collection of drum parts on the ground in a pile and began angrily pounding on them like a deranged gorilla.

The deafening sound they made echoed across the hills and off each craggy mountain. Woodland creatures fled from their burrowed homes, as disintegrating waves of skronk reverberated throughout the clearing. Just when the intensity of the jazz had reached its peak, a hooded necromancer slithered in form the treeline and added modular synth to the already overwhelming cacophony. They humped and bumped and jumped, shaking the ground with mischievous glee, as they jazzed and jived.

Then the necromancer made a signal, and with one last final explosion, the merry band of miscreants finished their jazz freak out and disappeared from sight. The clearing was once again peaceful as night fell.

"Defleshed" is available in two sidelong tracks on a high quality blue-tinted cassette with full color artwork depicting the peaceful scene that was disrupted by the freaky jazz.

-- Gray Lee


PETER KRIS “Dutch Flat” (Patient Sounds)




A solo outing for the German Army player, DUTCH FLAT flaps its haggard wings way atop the penthouse suites overlooking man-made ponds and estuaries. Opener, “Four-walled mural” stretches out coily guitar strings like laffy taffy over the face imitating a dumb mustache. Electron microscopes have been used on these textures and have found traces of paramecium playing connect the dots. In the opaque blend there is movement, a catfish-leprechaun dancing 12 frames per second.

The title track glides in on a syrupy paper plate betwixt the ionosphere and the mesosphere and spirals precariously through cloudy storms. “Hinterlands” has a layer with a slow grind of ice and iron. “Miwok” says something like, well I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk, in native Miwok.

My reference point listening to Peter Kris’s record is Neil Young’s live-recorded soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch’s film, DEAD MAN. It leads me to consider the environments and activities surrounding the making of DUTCH FLAT. His guitar measures the space and renders a panoramic sound document.

PS093

Dutch Flat Cassette


--Adam Padavano

LA FORÊT ROUGE
“Le Maquillage de Tout le Monde Coule”
C40 (Cuchabata Records)




Did you ever think about how the alto saxophone and sturdy styrofoam box both share a remarkably similar, squeaky sonic lexicon? La Forêt Rouge sure as shit did! Checking their liner notes (with a French >> English App handy) shows that, along with their arsenal of over half a dozen stringed instruments, a non-environmentally-friendly perishable-chiller can be repurposed to make even cooler sounds, especially when anchored to (or pitted against) a mélange of agitated/suicidal sinusoidal waves.

As with any genre of music, Free Jazz has its fair share of soulless, attention-seekers; the difference being that, with punk/blues/jazz/calypso/rock/gamelan(etc) players, it’s easier to tell when one doesn’t know their own shit from shine-o-la. La Forêt Rouge can map out the organic-to-synthetic ratios in their sleep, musically speaking.

“Le Maquillage de Tout le Monde Coule” is a collection of brilliantly sculpted balances between acoustic phenomena and electronically synthesized intentions; between long-form resonations and spastic, stoccato phrasings; between instrumental pattern permutations, contact-mic’d-accents, and multi-lingual-tongues a-flailing; between chordal considerations and atonal fuck-alls. With this release, La Forêt Rouge manages to fill in the-gaps-between-the-gaps with electrifying texture AND its magnetic absence, in expertly unpredictable shifts.

https://laforetrouge.bandcamp.com/track/le-maquillage-de-tout-le-monde-coule
and/or
https://cuchabatarecords.bandcamp.com/

--Jacob An Kittenplan

NUM “Memory Machine” C33 (Dinzu Artefacts)




As with all things Dinzu, with “Memory Machine” you’re here for the ride. For the journey. For all the surprises you’re certain to get as you travel along the path. It’s not the ending, the resolution – it’s the process. Here husband-and-wife duo Num – Maryan Sirvan on electronics, flute, and voice, and Milad Bagheri with some more electronics and sound engineering – work through the idea of the mind as machine, the electronic processes and industrial (like Industrial Revolution, not industrial music) mechanics operating in tandem to achieve functionality.

Over two lengthy sides, Sirvan and Bagheri do nothing but tantalize with their interplay, their obvious familiarity with one another a distinct strength as the machinery of their creativity executes its purpose with precision. Through their explorations we get a glimpse of the human mind at work, creating memory, recalling memory, reorganizing memory, recycling memory. It’s as if Num studied a human brain for a while and improvised over its activities.

Dinzu Artefacts


--Ryan

MORE EAZE “Unnatural Light”
C26 (Rat Tail Tapes)




Voted most likely to successfully bridge 3rd wave ska and 2nd wave black metal, More Eaze has made a name for himself by fusing disparate musical disciplines together into surprisingly cohesive sound sculptures, releasing novel and thrilling cuts on e-weirdo visionary labels such as Orange Milk, Never Anything, Personal Archives, Astral Spirits, and Already Dead Tapes, to name but a few.

This release via Rat Tail Tapes keeps in step with ME’s penchant for pulling unexpected punches, and it’d be a disservice to give anything away, so let it be noted that, upon the first listen to side A, one might have no idea at all about just what in the hell is going on, in relationship to More Eaze’s previous output, but it’ll all make sense by the end of side B. I have some theories about the parallels between the two antipodes, but I couldn’t fully explain without a post-it-covered globe and a ball of yarn. Suffice it to say, ME’s exploration of tonal themes knows no bounds. 

Don’t bother listening to the first three tracks if you don’t plan on taking in the entirety of the fourth, and I’d strongly suggest digesting the whole aural puzzle twice in one sitting.

and/or

--Jacob An Kittenplan

LIAI "Lili” C28 (Constellation Tatsu)




Batches of tapes put out by notoriously solid labels can inspire one to consider pairing two otherwise unlinked artists together -given the availability of a decent dual-cassette deck- & given CT’s stalwart output of four tapes per season, I posit that the OCA and Liai releases are, in fact, brilliantly juxtaposing poles.

Where OCA entrances, Liai pulls punches. Where OCA saturates, Liai stretches minimal posits to bewildering conclusions. Where OCA speaks in tongues-in-cheeks, Liai annunciates in humble self-inquiry. In short, taking each album in back to back scratches a whole fuck of a lot of itches.

While composed, recorded, and mixed within the last two years, “Lili” feels like an adventurous throwback to the organic magicians of musique concréte, but with a visionary mashing up of those meditations/repurposings, with ’80s-style beatific New Age aesthetics.

Roll call!
Disembodied samples, modular textures, and dark ambient drone-swells that paint a discordant-yet-peaceable mood?
Present.

Sporadic bursts of blinding tonality and mesmerizing synth sequences that strobe an imposingly energetic light upon an otherwise hopelessly labyrinthine set of contrapuntal movements? Right here.

This tape is both absolutely bonkers and reasonably paced, making it pretty much par for the course, as far as CT’s output is concerned. I’m daaamn curious as to what the incoming centennial batch will take on!

http://www.ctatsu.com/portfolio/lili/
and/or
https://liai.bandcamp.com/releases

--Jacob An Kittenplan

OCA "Preset Music” C45 (Constellation Tatsu)




Off in the distance, OCA’s “Preset Music” might appear banal, like it could be piped in through strip-mall-sidewalk speakers, upon the unoffended heads of tweeners and the elderly alike; given one deeper listen, however, it is revealed that nothing could be further from the truth.

The album’s very title is a glib reference to so many mundane structures that this duo commandeers, dissects, resolders, and otherwise elegantly bastardizes, with an expert, stony grace; their compositions proving a subtly teetering balance between tension and release, ring and warble, gentle breeze and noxious fume.

The masterful mixing of these elements alone must have taken months, and the payoff is otherworldly (or rather innerworldly) when taken in through good headphones. Part hallucinogenic meditation, part controlled panic attack, this vaporwavish Newer Age beast is one Hell of a trip!

http://www.ctatsu.com/portfolio/preset-music/
and/or
https://soundcloud.com/yovanlenz
https://floriantmzeisig.bandcamp.com/releases

--Jacob An Kittenplan

REVERENT
“Live Exorcism 2017”
C20 (American Damage)




One man, Jordan Reyes, performed a set at the Kitty Cat Klub on September 27, 2017, using nothing but live loops of his own voice. The results are as weird and chanty as you might expect, and in keeping with the title of the cassette, it seems as if Reyes is in fact expelling a host of personalities from his body at one time, right into the waiting and expectant idiot minds of the audience. Not that the audience is composed of idiots – it’s just that their minds are not conditioned to resist.

Anyway, to the likely bafflement of this cat and this dog, I listened to the whole thing, and came away feeling … not exactly myself. Like some other personality besides my own was now inhabiting my mind. It was as if I was having thoughts that were not my own and moving in patterns that were unfamiliar to me. This is what Reverent’s “Live Excorcism 2017” will do to you folks. Like Jesus casting out the legion from the demon-possessed man into the herd of waiting pigs, Jordan Reyes casts out his demons upon and into us all. We will jump off cliffs.

Wait, that’s like the opposite of Jesus.


American Damage



--Ryan