“Nippon CS”
C47 (Moss Archive)

I mean, look. Moss Archive is Bastian Void, and vice versa, each informing the other and spiraling out of control, until quality and objectivity have no meaning and the sounds generated take their place in the cosmos, hanging there as if they always have been, always will be. Joseph Bastardo runs both – well, he’s the MA label head and the BV pulse cannon, so he’s got the stick and he’s got the star chart and he’s planned the coordinates, so let’s pay attention to him for a minute, shall we? Fresh off his instense workout deCordova on Phinery, Bastardo moves even further away from the traditional Bastian Void sound on Nippon CS (previously Nippon LP, but you’ve clicked on “Cassette Gods,” not “LP Gods”), leaving behind the far-out synth work of No Dreams and (a personal favorite) Fluorescent Bells for a bit of – goddamn everybody for making me say this – synthwave workout. Hanging out with H. Takahashi will do that to you. (I love H. Takahashi.) Sorry for peddling that played-out descriptor, but man, this new Bastian Void cassette – it digs in to all the right places, and because it moves a little faster than earlier and more spaced-out BV releases, we’ve got no other choice to append a “-wave” suffix here. You really can’t fight the legal system on this one.

Nippon was finished during a tour of Japan, mixed on buses and trains, and features field recordings from Bastardo’s trip. The collection began life as a bunch of unfinished projects sitting around in a laptop folder, and then came epiphany: “Oh, this is some stuff I’ve been working on for, like, however long. Maybe I have an EP, I can release it on the tour. … No, wait, there’s a whole LP in here!” C’mon Joseph, you’re not fooling us. You’re a mastermind. You whipped it together because you could, because you have the power. I don’t have any unused material on my laptop that I want to “remix” and send out to the world. [*Checks “Documents” folder, cries at the sight of an unfinished Chinese Democracy review from 2009*]

Nippon’s not a full hard left from Bastian Void – tracks like “SHAPESHIFTER [本州の地図 MIX]” and “ノーム空港ーアンディリ空港 [KODIAK 海山 MIX]” (sorry, the liners were translated into Japanese – English readers, just listen to the thing) drift through outer space like molecules on a solar wind. But the absolute stars on this thing come out of nowhere, and nowhere starts at the top of side A with “紙の道 [BASKETBALL MIX],” which sounds like a lost Underworld track circa Beaucoup Fish (those heady days!), a rallying cry for the AMP set that is begging to be given a tripped-out MS Paint video of pulsing geometric shapes. “DINsync [DARIUS ループ]” dares to be vaporwave-y (gah, that suffix again!), recalling James Ferraro’s best moments on the Far Side Virtual. And then there are the skttrbrn IDM jobs like “Vendiagram [円錐 MIX]” and “土星ゾーンへようこそ [LAST COAST MIX],” sandwiched in between (or at the end of) everything and showcasing the stylistic breadth Bastardo is stretching for within the Bastian Void canon. Seriously, I’m applauding while standing on my office chair, and I better get off it before I hurt myself because it has wheels. If Cassette Gods had a year-end best-of list, I’d make sure Nippon was freaking on it.

In reading over this review, I find that I’m culpable in repeating myself. I actually told Joseph Bastardo himself, to his (virtual) face, that I’d try not to overuse my “space words.” Oh well. Bastian Void just brings out the best in all of us, and I’ve been playing around in what just happens to be some of the favorite corners of my vocabulary. I expect to be transported by Bastian Void, shot in a rocket to who knows what part of the universe, light speed travel chemtrailing the objects outside the windows into blurs. How very, very righteous.

--Ryan Masteller