Saturday, January 19, 2008

various artists "NEON COMMUNE" (Not Not Fun)

Available only at Not Not Fun's Neon Commune Fest at the Echo Curio in LA, this set of four c-20s and three 3" cdrs (gasp, mentioned in Cassette Gods!) are the essence of the rare gem release. So, while ebay and human greed will eventual turn these into something else, for this very moment (because as I write, the fest still continues) they are a true treasure from the vaults of passion. Each of the items shows Not Not Fun at their most daring in the sculptural packaging realm that has been such a pivotal characteristic for them. The most successful of these risky bets is the Uneven Universe cassette that presents the tape in a mock impulse-buying bag, the same style that peanuts near the cash register of a gas station are packaged in. Two little plastic doggies, both on a lease tied to the cassette, and more than just "thrown in," but presented with a perfect balance that flatters the feng shui gods. On the other hand, when one takes a lot of risks, one must also expect to fall short. Hence the Metal Rougue 3" that is sort of just slapped onto a piece of wood. An artisticly loved piece of wood, but still raising that WTF factor with its loose ends. As a set though, everything is elevated and having a range of successes and failures just adds to both the immediate charm and to the fact that these are basically party favors for a fest not just of NNF bands, but commemorating a landmark in the NNF time line. Since these party favors can only be purchased while standing in room full of every release that the crafty duo has put out, the love that Britt and Manda put into everything they do is personally injected into these items in a way that transcends the normal music collecting experience. Enabling Britt and Manda to create this experience is the cassettes (and yes, cdrs) themselves. While the immediacy and tenderness of home-dubbing is always a part of any cassette release, in the Neon Commune setting it is put on a pedestal. Or is it NNF on a pedestal made of home-dubbing tenderness? In any case, it wouldn't have worked with a pro-pressed format. Also, don't worry yourself so much about if you can get these tapes for yourself, because honestly, they are worthless if you buy them on ebay. The lesson to learn is that there is a power and love to be harnessed in cassettes that Not Not Fun has shown only gets stronger, more meaningful, and groundbreaking the longer you nurture it.