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


RODE GREY “Three” C20 (Nostorca)




I think they make snuff films with soundtracks like this. Do snuff films have soundtracks? I’ve never seen a snuff film, but I don’t have access to the Dark Web on this work computer, so I’ll just have to remain ignorant.

Rode Grey makes some greasy dockside gangster murder music, and I’ve seen really tense suspense movies, violent thrillers where almost everything goes awry at night and out of sight of anyone who can swoop in and avert disaster. These dank beats are perfect for underscoring the action of illicit cargo being loaded onto a ship in the moments before a shootout ensues.

These tunes also strike the exact right tone for murder on the high seas, events that kick off highly stylized procedural crime dramas. It’s like if the opposite of everything that happened in “The Life Aquatic” was happening here and Rode Grey was soundtracking it instead of Mark Mothersbaugh. Still quirky, but way bleaker.

Man, you know, if I never see a snuff film in my life, I’ll be in good shape. *SHIVER* There’s enough murder and mayhem to go around as it is!

Nostorca


--Ryan

EVAN MILLER “Two Places”
C34 (Personal Archives)




Evan Miller’s debut cassette on Personal Archives is all about its sense of place. And, like, duh, it’s even called “Two Places,” so you’re left with the sound of those places. Built on field recordings and processed with ambient sound structures, “Two Places” marks a firm grid point on the map, one whose latitude and longitude will never change, will always remain at that specific point. And the sounds there evoke the past, which is also the present. Miller’s aunt even remarked after hearing some of this project that “the field sounds took her back years ago when she sat on that same porch and listened to the bugs and the trains and interstate off in the distance.” Those sounds are still there.

Those sounds have been there for a long time. They mark a period of expansion and innovation, an American way of life that seemed so hopeful at some point. And even though they’re just a blip on the timeline of universal history, they still strike a deep chord in certain listeners. The sound recalls the memory from deep within the brain. The brain reacts with emotional stimulus. “Two Places” makes its mark.

These two pieces sneak up on you – you feel like you’ve lived within it for an age before something tangible emerges and reminds you of where you are. Evan Miller is still where he is, was, and will be. Go ahead and visit him when you’re in town.

Evan Miller

Personal Archives


--Ryan