“Noosphertilizer III” C62 (Aubjects)

“[Holland] Tunnel construction required workers to spend large amounts of time in the caisson under high pressure of up to 47.5 pounds per square inch (328 kPa), which was thought to be necessary to prevent river water from entering prior to completion of the tubes. "Sandhogs", as they were termed, entered the tunnel through a series of airlocks, and could only remain inside of the tunnel for a designated time period. On exiting the tunnel, the workers had to undergo controlled decompression to avoid the bends, a condition in which nitrogen bubbles form in the blood from rapid decompression.[27] Fortunately, no workers died as a result of decompression sickness: the work involved "756,000 decompressions of men coming out of the compressed air workings," which resulted in 528 cases of the bends, none fatal.[28][29] Completion of the tunnel took nearly seven years and claimed the lives of 14 workers.” ~Wikipedia J

I’m pretty sure that STRNGLV’s side of this split, a half hour’s worth of layered, ever fluctuating textural synth loops, a la Alessandro Cortini, could give anyone who worked on this project an immediate flashback. Whenever I listened to this tape (a good full ten times before writing this review), I kept imagining myself several stories below a major metropolitan cityscape, exploring tunnel after tunnel of hissing, gurgling pipes, scurrying fauna and the faint tribal echoes of vehicles passing over distant, loose storm drains. Somehow, the passages were all well lit, never feeling overtly ominious, nor commercially polished. This is an excellent soundtrack for dreaming big time weird shit.

A great pairing for this split, the Pelktopia side feels somehow not quite fully out in the open, but definitely in open air, communing with the great elements. Imagine taking a long stroll along a busy pier, but, defying gravity, you get the whole underside to yourself, gentle waves lapping just inches above your head. Pelktopia trades synths for heavily processed electric guitar effects that stretch patiently plucked single notes into infinity.

The mental space provided by each sound artist alone is its own worthwhile journey, but doing so while looking through the beautifully curated 16-page color art booklet provided by Aubjects, the fostering DIY label, is thrilling. Busily squirming pictures of organic chaos are juxtaposed with the spirit of cold-hearted order, unrealized blueprints of ambition. I’m pretty excited to look more into this progressive label.


- - Jacob An Kittenplan

MILK PEOPLE “Vintsvon” (Electric Kite Records)

Alternate pop-music universe superstars Milk People dropped a two-fer of high production tunes. Sure, the “Sultans of Swing” and No Doubt comparisons are legit, but there’s something more for the attuned listener, as the Milk People lived through the 80s and 90s and aren’t planning on making the same mistakes. I have no idea if this is true.

Electric Kite Studios in Nashville looks like a fine place. I especially like the wood paneled sauna/drum room. Vince Vaughn really needs to check this out.
--Adam Padavano

V/A “Red Bolatiero” C62 (Teen Action Records)

There’s a whole lot of really great stuff going on with this here experimental/noise/drone/soundtrack compilation of sound sculptors from all over the western map.  Some tracks are chaotic, a mantra of repeating synth ditties and out of sync, repeating field recordings looping in and out of time with each other, sometimes creating warm, serene poses, and others, outright I-lost-my-four-year-old-by-the-dunk-tank nightmares. Between these vignettes lay hefty swaths of electro-acoustic feedback manipulation (most notably Wound from Italy, Hollowfonts from Tampa, FL USA and Qrux from ???) that I’m damn glad I got to hear and will be looking out for future releases by, redirecting my attention to the fine sound-art that Phinery Records in Denmark and Sacred Phrases in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, USA are steadily churning out! It’s a pretty wild ride to have so many stylistically different artists, all tied together through abstraction and the ability to create moods out of thin, vibrating air molecules, and I think this release is wellllll worth repeated, eyes-closed-with-headphones listening.

See: Not quite a snuggle soundtrack, praying with dying machines, meditative swaying, blank stares

- - Jacob An Kittenplan

(Prince George Records)

Pleasure Curses are a synthpop/new wave duo comprising of two guys with three names each: Jahn Alexander Teetsov and Evan Maxwell Grice. They hail from Washington DC but make music that sounds like it’d fit best in a Miami nightclub sometime during the 80s. This casingle is part of a larger project they made outside in a studio outside of Chicago that includes two corresponding videos and a third song that isn’t on the tape.  

“Pure” centers on themes of feeling pure and togetherness with others. “Lust” is a much more sexual song that has some edge to it. Teetsov’s vocals are a perfect fit over the on point instrumentation. The two sides flow cohesively together. Fans of acts like Hot Chip and The Human League who haven’t already given these guys a chance should do themselves a favor and pick up a copy of the tape. Even those among us who don’t like those bands should still give it a try.  

Stream all 3 songs from the project including “Concrete” (not on tape):

-- Roy Blumenfeld

"Wallowing in Excrement & Lost Horses"

Some sadomasochistic reverberated pulsating depth charges hit the depths of the ocean, like real Canto 48 level inferno, you're surrounded by these pieces of shit level anxiety. They're occasionally accompanied by motorcycle Doppler effect diminuendo being interpreted by some type of demonic strobe light whoopie cushion.

Intermediately through the ominous haze and bottom feeder sand clouds of mink carcass pollution and unknown yet to be discovered additions to the periodic table colliding with toxic waste gets all these luminescent monsters of the deep sea PCP level high, real uppers, which is nothing to say of whatever God knows what which was just flushed down the toilet at the Chinese spice synthetic pot factory. Stoplight Loosejaws with jagged fangs, oversized dislocatable jaws and teeth in their throats, a Humpback Anglerfish lingering between the Abyssopelagic and Hadopelagic zones ... ready to pick a fight with whatever lies at 12 'o' clock.

A gurgle accidentally squeaks through this sonic forcefield of a radiating death wall, exposing a victim for a half second. But the sound quickly drones away back into UFO abduction sonic abstract noise.

Tribal drum patterns can be heard in the distance played simply and stoically. They are gathering volume to sonically illustrate and exemplify their approach.

Airplane engines, lawnmower motors, contact microphones and plexiglass, God's moan - old testament wrath invoking, snare drum & sheet metal, automation accompanying the immortal angst of the slave to the grid and the grind. Contemporary urban electronic anxiety. Post-industrial.

Ah fuck, what is that? A dissonant chord from a Cello? It's some type of creaky pirate ship oak on steel being gently rocked by a windless current somewhere in the baltic.

The cassette tape skips and the side turns. This brief end from this impressive harsh noise tape snaps you back to reality and out of the deep ocean hell.

Before you know it, you're tripping acid at 6:45AM while on your garbageman run. The Moby Dick nightmare was a disillusion, a daydream. Those Humpback Anglerfish were the maggots that just spilled on your work gloves and stained wifebeater as you craptastically thrusted a half broken trash bag into the compressor with your bad sprained wrist hand.

Luckily, at least you got Twin Whips 2 song cassette in your walkman. At least you're a CASSETTE GOD! At least you're still alive and stoned inside, feeling the wind and maggots in your garbage hair.

Any Cassette God noise boy or girl would love to add TWIN WHIPS to their audio collection.

-- Jack Turnbull

JASON MILLARD “Second Based” C32
(Lighten Up Sounds)

So, hypothetically speaking, if you were to tell me that the picture on the front of the above J-Card was, in fact, aside from the transplanted face, lifted from an old baseball card that fetches a pretty penny nowadays, known in many circles as the ‘Bill Ripken- Rick Face’ card, the words ‘RICK’ and ‘FUCK’ looking a helluva lot alike when sharpee’d on the bottom of a baseball bat, I’d probably tell you that I may or may not have it somewhere in my parents’ attic just outside of Dayton, Ohio.

Also, if you were to tell me about how quite a high percentage of blackmetal bands actually take pride in their recordings sounding like shit, and that one renowned drummer went on record as to explicitly request of his sound engineer that their (the blackmetal band’s) album should sound like they were being recorded in a trashcan, well, I’d ask you if that drummer’s Christian name was, in fact, Oscar D. Grouch.

Moreover, if you were to tell me, in earnest, that Jason Millard, notably a pretty all around bad-ass, jack-of-all-trades musician from Minneapolis, Minnesota was somehow inspired to record a concept album, whereby all recorded sounds were painstakingly labored over to simulate a fight-to-the-death sequence (in song form, spanning a half hour plus) between the remaining Sun City Girls gents and all them rascally members ever involved with Harvey Milk (the band, silly)- and that this fight would not be hand-to-hand, but rather sonically, with rhythmic and lead acoustic guitars traded off randomly between these axe-men- and that these fight-sounds would only be recorded (or, really, simulated to be recorded) through chintzy, piezo pick-ups that were, in turn, shoddily soldered onto the four walls and rusted underbelly of an industrial sized dumpster, acting as container/fighting ring for these aforementioned participants, this dumpster, itself, situated in an abandoned, spacious, concrete bunker that has, over the past twelve seasons or so received its own fair share of flooding, rusting, and subsequent mildewing/dead-vermin-soup-gone-dehydrated-relief-sculptures- and that this, get this, that beside this industrial, hypothetical dumpster, situated in this abandoned bunker, there has also perished an ancient reel-to-reel recording mechanism, stitched together by time’s deposition of excrement and detritus, this recording mechanism’s sound output being a hard-won watermark of ingenious novelty, whose ‘property of…’ sticker has scrawled into the blank cream/mold-colored field, in all lower case English print, but with an Aramaic lilt to the descenders, “MOSES”, this built-to-electrocute mechanism was responsible for recording aforementioned sound-event’s faulty EQ fidelity, warble, decibel drop-out, and all around general feeling of “Boy, it’d be impossible for someone in their bedroom to accidentally consistently record so many tracks with such dedication to sounding like baby Jebus hisself were just shitting on the microphone like half the time, well, I’d probably humour you and ask for a hand-written lyric sheet so that I could play this brilliant concept album at peak volume on my shitty stereo speakers and sing along in my most proud falsetto, to display that I, finally, have something more obvious than the Nick Drake discography to play when less heavy handed clues have fallen short in inspiring my dallying guests that, as dawn has far since vanished, it is, indeed, time for them to leave.

- - Jacob An Kittenplan

I CUM DRUMS “The Girdle” C30
(Sick Sick Sick Distro)

A solid half-hour of industrial noise, Midwestern 90’s hardcore punk chugga-chugga breakdowns and…deep jungle music? This one man sweat-fest manages to make enough racket for a full five piece, simultaneously “pounding them skins” as they say, whilst also hollering through a mélange of effects pedals. The toms and cymbals (?) are also triggering a buncha noisy/texturally amplified gizmos, thus confusing the shit out of anyone who might want to pigeon-hole this genre-bending chap. I imagine ravers and, for lack of a better term “those prone to mosh” all scratching the backs of their bobbing, perspiring noggins  to these unforgiving beats.

If you get the tape, there’s a bonus track of some of the deepest, ugliest, bowel-churning, near-brown-notes I’ve ever heard strung together…for a solid 10+ minutes. My tummy hurts.


- - Jacob An Kittenplan