“Cabin Fever”
(Deathbed Tapes)

I’ll side step the generic platitudes one usually sees affixed to a harsh noise release to simply inform you what this tape offers up: a solid wall of old-school, delay drenched tape, pedal and synth noise. Cabin Fever is a wonderfully horrifying psychedelic whorl. Play this tape loud. Preferably on some big old thrift store speakers. Something that really brings out that “wet sandpaper on concrete” feel of the recording. Something that will leave your ears ringing and your extremities tingling. If you have a guitar amp handy, try that. On a tape like this, stereo separation is not as important as the visceral weight of the sound. 

In case you weren’t around in the late 90’s, Autoerotichrst did a handful of split 7”s with the likes of Richard Ramirez and Japanese Torture Comedy Hour, then took a 20 year break. Except not really. Founding member R. Mason did a few releases throughout the aughts and teens as Exploding Meth Lab and Lysergic Rites of Sadopriest. Back in the day, Mason also played bass for the east coast grind band Enemy Soil. 

Now as a duo, Cabin Fever is Autoerotichrist’s first proper full-length release. It took about 20 years to happen, but it was worth it.  Mason may not be one to oversaturate the market, but still has a solid repertoire under his belt. Clearly, this band takes their time and carefully selects what they put out. Like early Whitehouse and Ramleh, there is the feeling of abstracted song craft and composition here. The material is organized. It leads the listener by the nose, to nowhere nice, no doubt. 

-- Mike Barrett

HEIKKI LINDGREN & ESA RUOHO “HLER” C60 (self-released)

Helsiniki-based sound artists Heikki Lindgren and Esa Ruoho perform as HLER, and this sort-of self-titled tape captures a live performance at E:MF 2018 (January), and also at Ampeeriklubi VI, lots of other Finnish text, etc., a month later. Now, I want you to close your eyes, press play, and pretend you’re in a planetarium or a Hadron Collider of some particular size.

Got it? OK.

Lindgren and Ruoho are expert knob-twiddlers, conjuring celestial elements with their bare hands and their synthesizer rigs. Each half-hour track (one on each side) is perfect for the spaceman facing existential danger in all of us. It’s like “HLER” was birthed in a science lab and set free to infiltrate the insecurities in every human, triggering unease wherever it alights. It’s a sinister missive from elsewhere pointed directly at us. Why? From where? Huh?

I don’t know! Stop asking questions. Just … stick your head into “HLER” and listen to it, alright?


PSJ SUSHI “psj BABY EP” C9 (Illuminated Paths)

Illest rapper in Florida? Maybe. Cold-ass beats (think Ferraro ohmygawd), hyperactive flow, lots of yelling of “Bitch!” Seems like psj SUSHI can keep the energy level waaaay up there. But this here’s a five-song EP. Can he do it for longer? Let’s find out on subsequent releases.

There’s no way “psj BABY” isn’t going to fully immerse you. To paraphrase the illustrious Busta Rhymes, psj SUSHI’s got that head-not shit that’ll break your neck. Keep it up.


P.E.E. “i win me over” (Deathbomb Arc)

Oh! Pop punk? No … no thank you. I don’t really like pop punk … like, at all. I’m just not a fan. There’s no real reason – I’m too old maybe? No, that can’t be it. Brian at Deathbomb and me are pretty much the same age, so that wouldn’t have anything to do with it. I missed out on the original wave maybe. Eff it, who cares.

I guess P.E.E. isn’t strictly pop punk – there’s strains of Superchunk and Get-Up Kids and Rainer Maria and others of the indie-emo set that I hovered at the periphery of once upon a time. (And I’m still a Superchunk fan – they’re so easy to love!) And these songs are super short and totally lo-fi, which is the best way to listen to a band like this. The lyrics veer into Cap’n Jazz territory at times, and that’s always fun. These tunes exist pretty much as demos for the album these were re-recorded for.

The more I listen to “i win me over,” the more i myself am won over. Maybe there’s a pop punker in me after all still/initially.

No, probably not, though. Still, this one’s fun.


“Folksonomies” C43
(Cudighi Records)

Well, this is some kind of a serious noggin’-scratcher, here, in the very most pleasantly disorienting way possible! 

On the one hand, this album is swarming with gorgeous, hummable loops of synth, harp, and cello tones*; yet on the other, each of these deliciously minimal earworms is eternally meta-pitted against the others in a merciless succession of competing, ever self-respinning consonant webs, all glistening, and vying for focus. &just when you think you’ve found some semblance of rhythmic anchor, it dissolves into syrup in the murky sepia-bliss. The effect is a timeless headiness, an unending inner search for the sound of one’s first and last breath.

With “Folksonomies”, Laura Luna Castillo has cobbled together a universally accessible yet mystically captivating quilt of perpetual intrigue and self-less narration to get lost** inside of, again & again.

Listen to this, juuust less than too loud, with good headphones, & you won’t regret it!


— Jacob An Kittenplan

*and plenty of modular texture, some field recordings, and a banjo, to boot!
**&also get lost in perusing her .net website, full of sculpture, instillations, & trippy VR. LLC is a trve renaissance woman!

GIUSEPPE FALIVENE “Air Chronicles” C44 (Amek Collective)

I do believe “atmosphere” is the operative word for Giuseppe Falivene’s “Air Chronicles” – the idea of it is emblazoned all over the j-card after all, what with the billowing clouds surrounding peaks and whatnot. The red filter’s a nice touch on the triangle that receives it. Kinda makes that atmosphere look dangerous.

That atmosphere manifests itself in heaving disruptions throughout the tape, punctuated by passages of lush drift. Or is that the other way around? Either way, conditions are ripe to burst at any time, and the energy simmering in the air is constantly palpable. All we need is a little friction, a little spark to set it off, and then potential becomes kinetic with a finger snap. (Oh, maybe that’s the catalyst!)

Drone meets noise at the foot of an upside-down mountain in a thunderstorm. There is so much movement, so much going on, that it’s impossible to restrict this tape to those two stylistic descriptors. Might as well throw them out and start fresh, but make sure you bring the atmosphere into it. Always mention the atmosphere.


“Live, Laugh…Die” C21
(Permanent Nostalgia)

Taking Musique Concrète to an overwhelmingly schizophrenic level, T. S. Rockafeller gives us “Live, Laugh…Die”, a self-smothering quilt of disembodied soliloquies, de-contextualized pop snippets, bizarr-o soundbite-crumbs, synth-jamz accompaniments, cascading vocal utterance-overlaps, hi-lightred one-line zingers, commercial cadences, wilderness field recordings, distant ceremonial documentations, a good part of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator" speech, legless tap-dancing percussives, botched karaoke participations, and a whole slew of other titillating, if not emotionally taxing, aural ephemera to (attempt to) digest. You won’t get any particular passage stuck in your head so much as a nagging feeling that you’re now a li’l more plugged into the greater collective consciousness…for better or worse is contingent upon your own stress capacity at the time. Much like camping hanky-panky, this release is FUCKING INTENSE! You have been warned.

— Jacob An Kittenplan

JAKE ANDERSON “Memory Excellence: Selections 1989-2018” (Deathbomb Arc)

Hi! This is a review about a tape by Jake Anderson, who makes music in both Gang Wizard and Yuma Nora, both of which should be familiar to you if you’ve paid attention to Deathbomb Arc ever. And yes, the label has put out this collection of tunes that Jake has recorded over the years covered in the title of the tape. What’s fun is that Jake recorded these tracks under a variety of pseudonyms, and they’re good ones. Here is a list:

--Cruise Missiles Named Bob
--Yak &
--Yak Brigade
--Spirit Duplicator

Like his work in Gang Wizard, Jake rips through quick and dirty guitar workouts, but it sounds like he plays his guitar with his teeth, as in it sounds like he bites down on the strings like he’s a dog and shakes the instrument until he’s gotten bored with it. There are other odd concoctions: the greasy synth weirdness of “The Tower (Afternoon Delight),” the torch song spilled on its side and leaking all over the place of “Waverly,” the rotted fruit ballad “Midnight Harvest,” the blown speaker pop punk of “Let’s Climb a Mossy Hill,” the seventies flute psychedelia of “Listening to Aphrodite’s Child’s ‘666’ in the Parking Lot of the Tigard Babies ‘R’ Us at Night”… Come to think of it, there’s a lot going on here. Jake’s got a wonderful imagination. Thank god he recorded a bunch of what came out of it.