"Even Keel" C49
(Illuminated Paths)

Per Bandcamp, it looks like, if you were interested in getting all 251 digital albums released by the Illuminated Paths label, you’d get 50% off. That’s right. IP has released over a quarter of a thousand tapes (many in home dubbed batches of 25), each filled with stationery bric-a-brac, as documented via the photo above. Apparently Josh Rogers releases three a week, some times…

Now, a couple questions go through my head when I think about such a high output. One is, how does one assume some semblance of quality control? How does one assure one does not simply burn out or become lax in attempting to put out artists who will represent their label’s reputation? Is ‘bad publicity is still good publicity’ applicable here?

So, onto this particular release.

Paux, from LA, have released, as admitted by the title, an “Even Keel” ‘d album, marrying myriad ‘80s synth pop/new wave influences with (‘90s chart-toppers) EMF’s aloofly sexy singing (&occasional “rapping”), over top of luke-warm electronic beats. There are a few gems on the tape, the first song starting us off with a fairly sick shredding guitar solo…and the last song before the Nirvana cover (with banjo) has a nice, clean, Middle-Eastern themed fingering going on, too…but most of the tape is just forgettable, tepid new wave songs going through the motions for far too long. There’s just something missing here.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to give IP a bad review, so I feel compelled to say that that OLIWA tape, as well as the X.Y.R. were top-notch and I hope everyone checks those out.

-- Jacob An Kittenplan