H. HOLLIS MICKEY “How to Fold a Fitted Sheet” (Flag Day Recordings)

I just don’t. You kidding me with this? Fitted sheets are the worst. I either put it directly on the bed or roll it up into a ball, because there’s no middle ground. I’m sure H. Hollis Mickey disagrees with me on this, but I’m unteachable in this regard. I’ve been lost to this laundrified mystery ever since I stopped sleeping in the race car bed and started sleeping in the adult big bed. Old dogs and tricks, etc.

This is a red herring, a deflection to the surface, discussing my weird aversion to fitted sheets. It just so happens that “How to Fold a Fitted Sheet” sort of promises some relief in that regard, and instead it just adds to the conundrum. “How to Fold” was originally a performance at Bivy Gallery in Anchorage, Alaska, in 2018, and it’s a beautiful work. It should not have sent me on this tangent. That it did is my fault, not its.

Mickey does actually explain it, but not before “Partington Ridge,” about rabbits, of which one hangs on the cover. We are given a glimpse into Mickey’s childhood here, as the work itself “was inspired by a print which hung in Hollis’ childhood bedroom.” “Rabbits do not know what they are.” That’s “Partington Ridge” (poem by Jack Spicer). Rabbits and the minutiae of folding fitted sheets. Flitting about with the ghosts of one’s past. Wisps of memory reflected in pools of slumber.

Then “How to Fold a Fitted Sheet” becomes magic. H. Hollis Mickey’s voice recites her words and puts us under a spell. The gentle ambience of the harmonium opens up vast expanses between what’s in your mind and what’s actually happening outside of you. Identity and reality bend and intertwine. We are the rabbits, unaware of what we truly are, and we struggle into our identity and our purpose. And H. Hollis Mickey’s voice continues until our minds scamper at the slightest disturbance.

Oh, look at that: a perfectly folded fitted sheet, right in front of me. How did that happen?


ZACHARY CARROLL “Medicine Mouth” (self-released)

Zachary Carroll’s “Medicine Mouth” has that ramshackle, homespun charm of the basement recording artist. Lovingly laid to tape in Sonoma, California. Easy on the ears, easy on the heart.

--Lenster Blangs

“Musik für Spülmaschine und Synthesizer” C27
(Strategic Tape Reserve)

This post-futurist opus is for all those who have ever blissfully harmonized along with their refrigerator’s hum’s rich timbres and/or offered finger-tapping accents overtop the rhythmic trance of an extensive xeroxing job. With “Musik für Spülmaschine und Synthesizer”, Severino Pfifferling offers two tales in tandem, one of the laboring automated dishwasher’s inner struggles as a literal, physical event, and the other one, an emotional/programmed quest for tabula rasa.

Hear for yourself the Promethean cycles’ weight upon the very center of our heroic machine, centrifugal forces of compulsive cleanliness and efficiency chasing their own tails into scorched-earthenware oblivion. Marvel at SP’s intuitive command of the accompanying synthesizer-as-soul-et-nervous-system. Combat the impending urge to buy your own Hobart another one just for company!

Witness these compositional psychoacoustic feats and you yourself shall testify thusly, that “FfSuS” is further proof of Strategic Tape Reserve’s “concept album” propagational-prowess. 

And, as Always, Do read STR’s own stellar copywriter’s sentiments on the subject matter for further strobing enlightenment. You’ll walk away wiser, if not all the more overwhelmed.

—Jacob An Kittenplan

MARK RITCHIE “Kidology” C38 (Gertrude Tapes)

Mark Ritchie speaks into a microphone on a tape recorder in his home in Glasgow. He reads what he’s written. He plays it back. Satisfied, he sends the results to Gertrude Tapes. Gertrude Tapes releases the results.

Know this: “Kidology” is entirely just what I’ve described.

--Lenster Blangs

“Live in Oakland” C44
(Ratskin Records)

Dax Pierson’s “Live in Oakland” CS out on Ratskin is not one but two distinct journeys trekked along the mesmerizing outcrop of EDM that rises and falls in a meadow of patiently recycled soundbites, dissociated textural cracks, industrial pulse, minor-key drones and faded pastel synth posits. And, as per RR’s MO, there’s plenty of harsh noise accents to go around the block & back.

The movement is constant, Reichian at times in its paced revelation, yet still managing a chaotic feel amongst the synced up, disparate layers. Peaks & valleys between formations are at constant transition in a race to become the other. It is a journey, yet comes full circle back to the love of movement*, and repeated listens will continue to inspire visual fireworks to the backs of anyone’s eyelids who take the time to listen.


—Jacob An Kittenplan

*read up on DP’s current relationship with gross motor movement and how his medical devices inspired a great bit of how he now makes music/sculpts sound.

HARSH NOISE MOVEMENT / LÄRMSCHUTZ “Faux Amis Vol. 5” C40 (Faux Amis)

Not an easy one here. Or, maybe it’s so easy it’s insane. Either way, Ade Rowe, aka Harsh Noise Movement, joins the Lärmschutz gang (like they’re a Scooby-Doo-esque mystery-solving team!) for vol. 5 of the 2019 Faux Amis split series. Rowe is accompanied by Akano Shibahito on saxophone, and the result is a pretty intense collaboration. On one hand, you have an artist that goes by “Harsh Noise Movement,” so you pretty much have an inkling as to what that sounds like. On the other hand, that static HNW cut with the sax is a pretty vibrant and unusual addition to the noise canon, so there’s a lot to be invigorated by. There’s not a wasted second on Harsh Noise Movement’s side of the tape.

Also, the HNM track is called “Thug Life.”

So of course Lärmschutz’s side is called “Junior M.A.F.I.A.,” because why not? Taking a cue from their splitmates (as they tend to do throughout the series), the Dutch experimentalists get wickedly noisy, spewing forth bile from the their lovely instruments like they’d never met feedback they couldn’t double, triple, or quadruple with a few tweaks of a knob. Over the course of their 20-minute side, they lurch and shiver, creating such a racket that you might mistake THEM for a harsh noise act! You’d be so wrong. But sometimes so right.

Hee hee. Lärmschutz is cool.

Bring on more of this series! I can’t get enough!


BRIAN TESTER “Spectral Capital 2 & 3” C55 (Freaks)

Brian Tester’s newest work, “Spectral Capital 2 & 3”, starts out by building up a tipsy base of amelodic, busy-body techno beats…only to let devil-may-care loose with swirls of gaudy swells, shrill drones, & dirty-neon phasings to whoosh on by like fog that’s late for a date and bury those beats under an avalanche of distress. The mess is where the jam is at and BT keeps it unpredictable and chaotic amidst the faux-metronomic aesthetic. When not subverting the technosphere, BT wades arms first into a sea of dying machine moans, electric hum, organic pulse, and power-vac static. This is all just side 1. Side 2 plays much the same game, but with a different, jammier palette, favoring greater emphasis on space, hypnotism, groove, & release. Throughout the hour-long journey, entropy and stagger are the major driving, cohesive forces, but there are certainly some parts to tap the toes along with and other parts to nod-off to. Just don’t plan on getting comfortable. Don’t plan on anything other than ceaseless stimulation and bewilderment and you’ll be fine. Probably.


—Jacob An Kittenplan

LÄRMSCHUTZ / TERBESCHIKKINGSTELLING “Faux Amis Vol. 0: Terbeschikkingstelling” C60 (Faux Amis)

This is ground zero. The very first experiment. Where it all went horribly right (or wrong, depending on your perspective). Dutch sound terrorists Lärmschutz initiated this split series on their label Faux Amis, where they were like, let’s make our online friends our real friends. Let’s sign a bunch of them up, then do a split a month with them throughout 2019.

Great idea!

It has worked out incredibly well so far, as I’ve had the opportunity to dig into a couple of them over at Tabs Out. But here’s the flagship. Here’s the genesis. And who better to do it with first than fellow countrymen, am I right? The Lärmschutz gang roped in fellow Dutch sonic terrorists Terbeschikkingstelling, and the match is one made in heaven, also the Netherlands. Over the course of two lengthy tracks each, the new best pals run through all manner of desperate no wave dynamite tinged with electronics – well, that’s the Lärmschutz MO anyway, the trio plunging away through a half hour with reckless abandon. Terbeschikkingstelling takes a more deliberate electronic approach, wrenching noise and static from whatever it is they get their hands on. I’m sure it’s pretty solid gear, with lots of electrical components they can wring static from.

This split is a phenomenal start, and, take it from me, the series maintains its momentum!