“Blue Three and Blue Two”
C120 (Blue Tapes)

Imagine for a second if Sub Pop records decided to bundle Green River’s Dry as a Bone EP with Soundgarden’s Screaming Life in one handy physical release, a “celebration,” if you will, of those heady early days before all the coke and hookers. That would be a pretty savvy album, two grunge classics in one package. Maybe on cassette – sure, this is Cassette Gods, let’s put it on cassette. Or consider those excellent grocery-store-DVD-bin double features – Bad Boys and Bad Boys II on one disc! – were those even legal? Anyway, the point is, Blue Tapes pulls off one of these double dips, and it barely reeks of any sort of cash grab or marketing ploy. Why, you ask, can a label from Surbiton, south of London but within the cozy confines of the M25, get away with such brazen tactics? A few reasons: 1) Blue Three and Blue Two, the original releases, ain’t so easy to come by; 2) Blue Three and Blue Two, the combined new catalog entry, exists only in an edition of 100 – I’m pretty sure the fatcats on Madison Avenue aren’t exactly rubbing their paws together with glee at the prospect of investing in a product that will likely see its royalties paid out in small change; 3) Cherry and Leedian aren’t household names (at least outside of their native Japan), so of course it makes sense to push them back out to the public if you really believe in them.  And Blue Tapes clearly does, still, even though three years passed between the label’s launch and this collection’s re-release in the summer of 2015. And you music listeners out there, you lovers of experimental electronics, should get in on the (admittedly reset) ground floor on this one. These two digital (well, Cherry plays some guitar I guess) improvisers have recorded onto tape some incredibly exciting work here, Cherry with his long-form post-ambient/darkwave mood music and Leedian with a more glitched-out, chaotic set comprised of much shorter pieces. (Cherry opens the tape with the twenty-six-minute “1969,” while Leedian’s longest track clocks in at 3:30.) Blue Three and Blue Two is a marriage of likeminded weirdos who make total sense together, even though their output is decidedly different. It’s totally, 100 percent like if Nirvana’s Bleach and Beat Happening’s Dreamy got released together on the same catalog item, side A’s Bleach to B’s Dreamy. Or nothing like that at all.  

--Ryan Masteller