TINY MUSIC: s/t c37 (Nihilist Records) & “F.W.S.S.” c76 (self-released)

This clanking collective of Chicagoans really know how to make an interesting din out of household objects. Using explicitly acoustic instruments, they can really clock out a cassette and give dudes with tables full of effects pedals a serious run for their money. Any electricity they do use is only to power their homemade gadgets, spinning chimes and slatted metal to scrape against. The actual list of items they use (included in the liner notes) is staggering, everything from drinking straws to window weights.

The music is always instrumental and generally dissonant, but the contraptions aren’t the whole of the music, there’s also a heavy use of various flutes and bowed instruments that, when the music does come together and become rhythmic, invoke an elven maypole dance, the family minstrel band doing some real medieval truckin’. I was a little disappointed that “F.W.S.S.” (which stands for "Fall, Winter, Sping, Summer”) didn’t really apply it’s seasonal motif more comprehensively; it seemed like each song, though possessing individual idiosyncracies, sounded largely the same structurally, with no difference in mood. Still, I think the potential of this group, both auditorily and in formation, is limitless, and look forward to future releases.

Both tapes come with xerox inserts, but “F.W.S.S.” has varied pieces of flora glued to the front and watercolored labels.