IAN M FRASER “The Realness” C20 (self-released)

I’m tempted to simply quote the description on Fraser’s bandcamp page over and over, because it’s going to say everything so much better than I’m going to ever say it. Seriously – I was going to describe this tape as pretty much straight-up noise; Fraser says, “No conceptual garbage, no MIDI bullshit! Just hard hitting, non-linear equation synthesis heavy algorithmic noise!” Right? How do you improve on that? You don’t, so I’m going to let Ian do my work for me.

I was sort of surprised at what came out of my speakers, because the cover looks like some vaporwave nonsense. This ain’t no vaporwave nonsense! It’s “hard hitting, non-linear equation…” – you get the point. I was totally faced by the freakout, in fact, and I’m in the midst of healing the resulting tinnitus as I type this. “Parallels” is ten straight minutes of assault, heavy on the static. I think there may be transmissions from beyond the grave peeking through, but not good ones – more like the ones in Event Horizon where everybody’s covered in blood or doing something horrible to each other. And those intermittent high-frequency tones – if I had a dog, he’d be howling.

“Worf Gets Denied (Again and Again…)” would be more appropriately titled “Worf Gets Flayed with a Cheese Grater (Again and Again…).” It’s more of the same, but there’s about two minutes of silence around the 7:30 mark. Why? Got me. But if you want to experience the mood swings of an unsatisfied Klingon for ten minutes, this here’s your jam.

I’m going to step out on a limb and say that I’d probably get along with Ian M Fraser if he showed up at my book club. I like the sound of “extreme computer music, multiverse theories, gingerbreadman map and Klingon social justice” (again from the description – he’s on it!). We can read books that cover these subjects and more, drink wine, and discuss how the implications of potential realities of theoretical physics relate to the global abuses of power, and the intersection of these things on the ground, and what we as mere people can do about it. All while operating belt sanders in a scrap yard. Best book club ever!

And I love Star Trek, so thanks, IMF, for the Worf reference. I’ll leave you with this ridiculous video in which some geniuses dubbed over Trek scenes, resulting in Picard and crew saying very silly things. Because why not? Apple juice, at half price.

--Ryan Masteller

FPRF “Odd Days” C39 (Hair Del. Records)

Tasteful live drum kit and electric bass thrums along while an electric guitar does its psych/wanky thing, with medium reverb and a touch of echo for spacey effect. Lots of head nodding and maybe a shoulder/neck wag or twenty. Trance-like. Good music to play video games along with, if you’re into that sort of thing.

If I were pretty sick, and my upstairs pot-head neighbor had his 3 piece jam band over for practice, I wouldn’t be too pissed about hearing them rehearse for a few hours. After a while, I’d hardly even notice, aside from an unconscious ankle joggling. Check it out for yourself in the link below.


- - Jacob An Kittenplan

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR "Perpetual Gutter"

It sounds like the Police, now it sounds like Nirvana, it’s ringing feedback tones at me. It’s copping Slash licks, which is hard to do without a guitar. I dig the layers man, its an Onion (subscription).


-  Daniel Seward

SIDS "M Ladies" C62 (Bacteria Field)

6 tracks. Repeats itself on second side.

Murky is good. Adjust your ears to the Rorschach test & hear the alien sounds that your brain wants to hear.

This is minimal death-industrial noise meets total fucking lo-fi occult murk-vibe horror nightmare jams.

This is my fave thing I've received for review thus far. Lisa Frank folder gems for that murky static-fog stroll with your favorite missus or hunk.

Recommended if you like: buzzing, muffled VHS/cassette deck nightmares, textural fuzz, old mad scientist machinery going haywire played through an old short wave radio, cave slime, chants & gurgling, AM radio static on the fritz, TRS-80 computer feedback, bleak sounds.

Rad shet. Everything about this is muffled and mysterious in the right way. Feels like you are in the ocean and almost dead.

limited to 25. Die with the most toys and win.


- - Garrison Heck

HATCHERS “Hatchers”
(Send Help Records / Heat Retention Records)

Hatchers are a highly experimental electronic pair by the names of Michael Barker and Brian Osborne They use a variety of instruments; including cool sounding homemade ones as well as a modified drum set. They are able to get all sorts of interesting sounds out of their instruments and deploy an assortment of electronic effects to boot in order to carry out their noise making. There are also moaning sounds turn to fully distorted vocals, although they are not very prevalent. When you put all that stuff together the final product is type of raw noise that a listener cannot feel comfortable with. I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. However I don’t think they care for compliments if they are even a fraction as abrasive as their music is. It is harsh, it is chaotic, and it rarely lets up for the duration of side a. The rumbling distortions die down only briefly enough for quick breathers before returning with increased ferocity. Side b starts slightly slower but eventually progresses to reach the same intensity as side a.

--Roy Blumenfeld

ANDY MATTER “Pacific Midwest” C-46 (Gubbey Records)

Lou Barlow has only been dead for 6 months and people like Andy Matter are just kicking his corpse around the schoolyard already. Piling sheet cake mattresses of loud guitars onto his reedy pipes. Matter doesn't disappoint (himself).


-- Daniel Seward

"haha" -editor

POLYGLOVE “Dialler EP” C40 (Trout Records)

That settles it; I’m officially abstaining from researching a band’s profile until I’ve listened to the album in its entirety. I’m pretty sure I’d have known these lads were from Ireland, but now that I’ve googled it, I can’t really be sure. No turning back the clock! I do, however, quite right know that I don’t like techno, muchatall… but that I’m sure that anyone who enjoys a wateraverdancing good time might find something worthwhile in this. The artwork unapologetically advertises that signature deep bass/snare I generally avoid like the plague, but, hey, itsa review, and I promised to listen earnestly and give feedback, so please just know that it’s (what I’d deem) “techno” and that, really, you should click on the link below and sample it for yourself!

So…I can comment on the mixing. Very mindful mixing. Very distinct pitches/patterns coming and going. In fact, there’s enough variation for me to not become viscerally upset (a common side-effect of techno listening for me) so maybe this is a really great techno album! Maybe these chaps have what it takes to convert the anti-raver into a ravist-sympathizer. Maybe this is the most revolutionary thing I’ve ever heard! All I know is that I’m almost curious enough as to research Aphex Twin or Autechre or Slayer or whoever so I can truly understand techno. And, again, please, if you like that dancy-techno shtuffs, please click on the link below and witness for yourself.  I’m dogshit at reviewing techno. Sorry.

- - Jacob An Kittenplan

Keith Fullerton Whitman & Eli Keszler
"Split LP" (NNA Tapes)

This is a review of an LP (and one that came out a little while ago), but I figured it would be cool to post it. Let it be known that NNA has some great new releases (Guerilla Toss & Sediment Club cassettes and a forthcoming Chris Weisman LP) --editor

Keith Fullerton Whitman's single-track side of this release, "Occlusion," a fluttering bit-dense speed through of some haunted future techno-city --tiny ghostly machine-creatures peering and chittering up at you through twisted wreckage (or cryptic mechanisms) as you pass. An introspective, groove-less sound-assemblage but with many elusively irresistable rhythmic qualities, a hallmark of great abstract composition. Yip Yip Yip!

Eli Keszler's side, take a similar approach to a wholly different place, employs a loose but impeccably tactful touch with an array of acoustic instrumentation, bringing you, the listener, on an journey through landscapes that bespeak wonder, holiness, danger. Eli's dense and skillful percussion may bring to mind other New England drum dudes, fine! Here is not just a worthy application of that aesthetic, but one that gracefully uses it to weave a hypnotic and compelling vision. The simplicity of Eli's approach, clearly conveyed via the titles of his tracks, ("Cymbal, Bass Drum, Clarinet" for instance) only makes the depth of these visions more impressive and compelling.

-- Devin Brown

HUSHER “Madonna of Bellevue” C60 (Elm Recordings)

Jesus. Look gang, I’m a fan of all the crazy musics, just like the rest of you lot. I go in for a bit of noise here, a bit of industrial there, and a whole ton of ambient synth wash whenever I can get my hands on it. There’s a little of all of that in Husher’s Madonna of Bellevue, which stretches for 60 minutes in all directions. It’s a little daunting, I’m gonna be honest. Because there’s very little to grab onto.

Hey, what? So I’m not INTO IT, OK? Big FREAKIN deal. But I’m calling it like I sees it, and I sees a big old heap of static out of which tones and other things periodically poke. There’s rhythmic pulses here and there, but little rising above the level of electrical lines being tapped with a metronome. The label, Elm Recordings (which has released some nice things, IMO) has this to say about it: “New industrial-influenced synth project from prolific New Haven-based musician Donovan Fazzino (Arabian Blade, Hate Your Guts). Ever-changing textures and dynamics build tension while dark, rhythmic melodies draw in the listener.”

Can I just say I love the name Arabian Blade? Let’s get that out of the way.

Anyhoo, it’s hard for me to latch on to the “tension” Fazzino’s going for here, mainly because early on we’re treated to tones that sound like the alien craft looking for sperm whales in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. I get stuck on that, and then I start laughing because I love that movie. “Double dumbass on you!” Priceless. Also, some of this sounds like incidental music from Tron, a less funny movie, but another one that takes me right out of the moment. It … derezes my attention. (I had to look up the spelling for that. Did you know there’s a Tron wiki?)

If you think you’d like this, shoot, check it out, because someone out there is going to dig it. I’m just not that guy.

--Ryan Masteller