ANGEL EYES - "Dire Dish" c36 (Not Not Fun)

Another mysterious and wonderful fruit drops from the colourful and winding tree that is Not Not Fun.Angel Eyes is a one man show, although going by what this tape has to offer audibly, you'd think there were at least 10 musicians playing these songs.This is ultra-layered and carefully pieced together drone magic.The synthesizers seem to go on for an eternity, swirling and swelling up like giant bubbles along the way.Dire Dish starts of slow, with a grainy, slow-as-molasses percussive swagger that could pass for a tattered Sun Araw 45 on 33rpm.Soft synthesizer tones begin to pile high, as he demonstrates some rather clever stereo panning, giving it a rich full sound.Dreamy dub-guitar wails come into play, and slowly get lost in the textured synth arrangements.A bit of calm, slightly delayed chanting rises up from the haze, like a dense smoke floats up from a campfire.The lyrics are pretty incoherent, but it seems that he is utilizing the tone of his subtle voice, and adding it to the vast, slow-burning swells around him.

As Dire Dish echoes on, things actually begin to slow up a bit more with each track, providing a perfect canvas for his distant voice to spill it's lengthy, mumbled words over.It's almost as if you are listening to a single 36 minute movement, with just a few breaks every so often.Usually this means there's a lack of progression and intrigue in a recording, and generally bores me to death, but Angel Eyes knows how to hold your attention, and provides more than enough catchy analog drones and climbing string arrangements.Even his silent lulls are pleasant breaks, somewhat necessary to what he is trying to achieve.Imagine Growing or Belong's ethereal swirling, with Sun Araw's guitar and vocal echoes laid over top, and you're getting the idea.I hear a bit of dub influence at times, with a low, crawling bass lines and dense, percussive clicks and thuds that rest below them.A perfect concoction to back his vocal style, in my opinion.If you have the attention span for things of this nature, you will want to pick this up immediately over @ Not Not Fun.

YORK FACTORY COMPLAINT "Will & Testament" c60 (Robert & Leopold)

Two sides of dense, shrill, mind entombing noise orchestration. This tape, which comes in a nicely designed (simple) j card, presents two sides "will" and "testament" from which they cleverly draw the title.

The first side, "will" is the more 'active' of the sides, with intense mechanical burrowing and swirling metallics forcing their way to the front. Parts were reminiscent of some of my favorite MACRONYMPHA recordings, where it sounds like a street fight with only sheet metal as weapons. Aggressive, dangerous and somewhat restless.

The second side, "testament" had a much slower feel, at least for the first half, suggesting an emptiness or abandon that worked well after the frenetic first side. The space doesn't last for too long, being filled slowly with looping sounds becoming more and more dense and unmovable while not succumbing to the too frequent impulse of creating a blown out wall of noise. They do a good job of letting all the pieces make something larger and grosser than what we've all heard too many times in a blown out over distorted mess.

check their tumblr page for more sound clips and info:

EARTHEN SEA "WAVES" c40 (Imminent Frequencies)

Two sides of drone.

First side is primarily organ work and develops
and layers and folds and unfolds without creating
too much disruption to the surface of the drone
but enough to keep you rolling with the piece and
not feeling like you're listening to one tone for
20 minutes.

The second side is way more euphoric and the side
I'm partial to, being much warmer and analog feeling
with a distinct refrain/break in the middle.


Released by the Imminent Frequencies label and available,
with sound clips!, at the source:

JUNG BULLS "S/T" c20 (New Visions)

This self titled tape, which feels more like an EP because of the songs and variation, is a compelling piece of magnetic tape and plastic. JUNG BULLS is Jeff Somers who, with small exception, is responsible for everything on the tape.

When the tape opened, I almost immediately shut it off and put back my Chantels LP. More 'hypnagogic' influenced pink-mud pop stuff. Thinking "hasn't this passed already?" Are people still apeing this? But I let it ride, trying to look passed the now cliche phasered/over-revered semi-nasal vague pop sensibility to see what happened. Unfortunately, not a whole lot of the first song. Instead of all of the elements combining into a taped over, sonic dreamscapade, it felt like all of the parts were running into each other, getting in the way of the larger picture, all parts overly effected/affected and consequently ineffective.

The second track was a step back or to the side. A bit more straight pop like 'indie rock' for lack of a better phrase and Jeff is clearly more comfortable and able to float some strong melody to the front while everything else sort of chugs along, playing their supporting role. Nothing outstanding or stuff that is going to get stuck in your head but it's clear there's some agency in this writing, whereas the first track (Growin Split) felt like auto-pilot, this song (Natural Sounds) gives the impression there is a musician in the room.

I see the strengths of slowgaze/hypnagargle, etc in a strong sense of self and the fusing of that identity with decayed, washed out, fused/melted tones creating something singular and expressive. It seems too often people think "phaser" and "plodding drums" with a "VHS aesthetic" will convince people there's some strength to the actual music when there is not much but smoked out mirrors.

JUNG BULLS, especially on the second side shows a lot of promise in bringing an ability to toy around with a lot of styles, the clean guitar and whispy vocals on the first track, the fuzzed out bass and revealing arrangements on the second song and then back to a much lighter version of the phaser/keyboard/muddiness on the last.

Again, though none of them are running through my head, making me replay the tape, I think with some time all of the pieces that make up these songs can begin to interact and stand on their own, separate from the overbearing influence of right now, turning into something very singular and very much a byproduct of the obviously talented mr somers. When that happens, homeboy is gonna drop a real memorable slab of wax.


The Deeep - "Life Light" c40 (Not Not Fun)

NNF is pretty consistent with their artistic output, especially in the last two years or so.Everything they release is sure to be quite inventive, unique, and visually stimulating.When I received this little gold tape a few weeks ago, I wasn't really sure what to expect.The album begins with a song called 'Meadow Dusk', a slow moving, synthesizer-powered escalator up into the black void.Isla Craig's deeply soothing, lush vocal passages soar above the twirling electro pulses, with a range that seems to be kind of never ending.She holds her notes out for a lengthy stretch at times, and uses a bit of a nice, controlled flutter when she want to.Some of these melodies are absolutely stunning.Things tend to drift into more various new and old waves from the last two decades or so, and subtly thump and beep away, just below her beautiful voice patterns.The duo also like to dip into more soft synths and acoustic bouts, if only for a few seconds.Wolfgang Nessel's seemingly unlimited source of electronic warble and keyboard interplay runs rampant throughout these songs, not necessarily keeping time, nor a steady pace, leaving the vocals to glue everything together.

I'd be lying if is said there aren't parts of this that are reminiscent of Lover's Rock era Sade swooning, a bit of Mum's trickling miniature melodies, or Broadcast's more ethereal moments on the recent Focus Group collaboration.But, The Deeep are indeed on their own wave, pulling from plenty of unique influences, but none of them are painfully clear, and it makes for an interesting and mysterious listen, to say the least.Compelling stuff.A fantastic debut.Watch for them in 2011.

DAN GREENWOOD "GUTS:RENDER" (Greenwood Electronics)

guts:render is a triple cassette audio collage. composed by
Dan Greenwood of diagram a. using material that he collected from Chris Cooper of fat worm of error, Patrick O'neil of skin crime, and Dominick Fernow of prurient, Dan concocts a seamless soup of raw sounds. for good measure he adds material from eight years of home audio experiments of his own. you can't tell what is what with this recording. even if you are a seasoned veteran of the sounds that some of these people have produced. Dan does an adequate job, muffling and chopping the sources at his disposal. that being said, the cherry on top of this release is the addition of some old raw sounds provided by his former accomplice, John Brown. together as proof of the shooting, John and Dan carved a little corner of their own out of the late 1990's harsh noise scene. this release seems to put in motion an epilogue of sorts to the legacy of their body of work together. as vastly underrated and unknown as they were.
i don't see any reason to explain to you here the impact that the work of Chris Cooper, Patrick O'neil, or Dominick Fernow has had on the sub culture of noise and sound art. Dan chooses to include his friends (and influences) here to broaden the spectrum of your listening pleasure. Alicia Renadette does a great job on the art work for this too. a smoky spray paint color collage to trip on while you listen to all three tapes at once.
if you savor the sweet sound of harsh cut up home brew lo-fi audio sweat. then i suggest you get in touch with Dan at :

Coppertone - "Best of the first six months" c23 (Night People)

Sasha Weisman is the brains behind Coppertone.She's spent some time in the downer death-pop act Russian Tsarlag, and has recently left her hometown of Providence, RI., to relocate to sunny Los Angeles, CA.Her work under the Coppertone moniker is tuff to tag with any particular genre, and this tape is more of an audible collage of sorts, rather than a proper album.The songs are well written dirges and swells, relying on heavy synths that seem to gyrate in place, then build and break around her subtle-yet-scathing vocal hymns.Hints of dreamy folk harmonies and cold wave synth-arpeggios crash into each other at times, to create something wholly psychedelic and familiar, yet it's still a fresh and inventive listen, that reminds me of Emeralds or PC Worship somewhat.

"Best.." also has it's fair share of wandering drones and colorful washes of distant guitar tones.At times they are barely audible, and leave plenty of room for her dazzling voice to flourish.Most everything is right where it should be, but can fall completely out of place at the same time.This album is also extremely layered, and some things will go unnoticed until your third listen or so.A charm not found in most other things similar to this.Uniquely familiar, and that is definitely a compliment.Give us more.

YVES/SON/ACE - "Unsung" Casette c52 (Night People)

Finally, a new batch of blankness from these guys.YSA have been pretty bust over the last year or so, with more than a few full lengths and ep's under their belt.If you missed the Cold Showers album, it's worth the hunt, indeed.Sparse electronic washes, coupled with tattered minimalist beats and woozy vocals that lie beneath it all.They aren't an easy act to describe, and they are constantly evolving and changing shape.2009's Parade of Thoughts/Can't Sleep LP was a bit of a leap into more accessible, and almost pop-driven terrain for them, with the addition of more subtle melodies and more structured minimal beats, with some catchy runs that carried along a clear and more tuneful vocal delivery.
They continue their hazy voyage into the myst with Unsung, their first release for the Shawn Reed's Night People label.The songs on this cassette are more "listenable" than ever.They are leaning heavy on the pop vibe, with some ridiculously catchy synth and organ lines rubbing up against one another.The still dish out some super minimal percussion that is similar to that "samba" setting on your old Casio keyboard, but with a bit of delays to keep things interesting and more fleshed out.The vocals are a bit more crisp and clear, with more obvious lyrics than before, and there's even a bit of treated acoustic guitar strumming scattered throughout the songs.A nice touch.
Some of this is similar to more recent Factums, especially their new one for Night People.It's those dub-tinged, delay soaked beats that pull this thing along, and keep it moving.Barely any low end rumbling at all, everything is right in the middle, and they do it almost too well.If you like your waves cold, and outsider bedroom pop, this is made for you.Excellent stuff, as always.

PET MILK "Demo" c20 [Peasant Magik]

It may be 2011 today, but Philly band Pet Milk is still living in 1994. This tape hearkens back to a time when a lot more people were putting out tapes. There are big crunchy guitars, a peppy but still midtempo rhythm section, male/female vocals and the tape was written by a dude named Herbie (save for a MBV cover, who coulda predicted that?)
It's pretty good stuff, not totally my area but I'm sure anyone wishing to relive his/her early 90s college days (or someone wishing he/she had college days in the 90s in the first place) would enjoy this. The final track "Always Knew It Couldn't Stay" is by far the best thing on the cassette; it's an uptempo, minor chord jangler with the best hooks Pet Milk have on display. It's the catchiest cut here and I'm a big, big fan of catchiness.
Very nice looking, pro-dubbed tape as usual from Sal Giorgio's Peasant Magik label, this time breaking out of the psych/drone mold. I dig that cover image a lot too, a hearty handshake goes to whoever can fill me in on which film it's taken from.