Sunday, November 20, 2011

LENHART TAPES "Tape Music #2"
REMÖRK "Symphonie Monotrone"
(No Basement Is Deep Enough)

I've got four more tapes to review from the one year old Serbo-Belgian label No Basement Is Deep Enough. Besides having a really great discography, the label is taking package design to heights not seen since the last great renaissance of cassette culture in the 1980s. The label's choice of musical material is as creative as it's choice of packaging material. Being a European label, I would say it's tastes veer heavily to the aesthetics of that continent's avant-garde (weird spoken word, free improv and tape collage) but the label has also featured a number of artists from the US. NBIDE is curated by Ignace De Bruyn and the art design is by Milja R. (balkanbridesdotcom) These next two tapes are the pinnacle of the label's artistic design:

The Lenhart Tapes release comes in what is perhaps the coolest packaging I've ever seen: a makeshift crucifix housing a coil and some fake pearls in a wooden frame. The music was recorded live on Serbian radio by one Vladimir Lenhart and his four fabulous walkman tape decks. I'm not one who always takes so readily to tape collage, but this piece really astounded me. Throughout the half hour of "Tape Music #2," we are taken on a journey through middle eastern music passages (reminiscent of a Sublime Frequeincies "Radio..." release), intoning voices in various languages, goats blurting, weird electronic sounds, even a how-to instruction on the use of the E-Bow! The fact that this recording was made live in one take makes it all the more appealing. I feel that these sorts of collages can become really bogged down when they are too fussed over, and Mr. Lenhart's piece flows with the natural ease of the best music.

The tape by Remörk also has a very clever design. Housed between to slaps of wood and held together by a metal pin that goes through two wooden pegs holding the tapes reels in place. The full title of the album is "Symphonie Monotrone (Interuptions Pour Guitare Et Korg Monotrone), so If I can translate the French correctly, it's some music made by a guitar and Korg keyboard. I don't hear the guitar at all, but what I do hear sounds like the cries of a dying robot with a wrench stuck in it's head. Very simple tones that gradually become more distorted as the overtones stack up. This tape is one-sided.

Check out audio samples or contact Ignace here:
http://soundcloud.com/nobasementisdeepenough
You can usually find tapes here:
http://www.discogs.com/label/No+Basement+Is+Deep+Enough

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