“Evidence” C18 (Heavy Mess)

My wife used to play clarinet in marching band back in high school. Her school marched in the Rose Bowl Parade! I thought that was pretty cool – that’s a big deal for marching bands.

She has not, to my knowledge, done mescaline.

Christian Michael Filardo, he of experimentalist and electronic tendencies, eschews electronics fully and embraces experimentation through endurance on Evidence, his first release for Heavy Mess. Indeed, over two untitled tracks that stretch eighteen minutes in total, Filardo plays nothing but clarinet and records under the influence of a “mescaline compound.” There are no overdubs, no electronic embellishments, and the set is fully improvised. Insert shocked emoji face from my iPhone library here.

Sure, you could say that you know exactly what something like that sounds like, and I’d have to force my opinion upon you because you’re dead wrong. To say that these two pieces are not fully batshit (or complete horseshit) is a testament to the level of control Filardo exhibits here, regardless of his state of mind. At times stretching notes like night on the French countryside, at others filleting the keys like Benny Goodman, Filardo is never less than mesmerizing, and if I weren’t a narcotics teetotaler, I’d join him in one of his mescaline cocktails to see if it’s any different on the other side. It doesn’t matter, in the end, because I’m dead straight (save for a bit of white wine), and I’m enjoying the heck out of one man playing clarinet on hallucinogens. Go figure.

--Ryan Masteller

"Crybabe" C37
(Haord Records)

Just like there are “anti-heroes” and “anti-folk”, Tender Cruncher (did Pauly Shore coin this term?) could easily fall into/create the loosey-goosey term “anti-electronica” with her playful, lo-fi, intimate angle on synth/drum-machine-based songwriting.

Half-melodies and decidedly just-short-of-catchy beats compete with a hybrid spoken word/speak-sing…but, like, y’know, heavily processed, fucked with, slowed down and/or chanty. Sound weird? Well, it sure as shit is. You’re just as unlikely to grow bored of anything here as you are of getting it stuck in your head, so, if you’re feeling adventurous, grab a cup of coffee & some headphones and let it all jangle about.


-- Jacob An Kittenplan

(White Reeves Productions)

Get me of this plane, I’m not kidding. Man is not meant to fly – we place our trust in a machine made by humans, a species prone enough to mistakes that there is an actual term, “human error,” to account for it. Add that human error to a distance of, like, fifteen hundred miles (or thereabouts) straight up in the air, and you’ve got a very very fast date with a solid surface of a planet you should never have left in the first place.

I hate flying.

But I’m not that crazy. I will if I have to. Which means I need an aural sedative, a valium and white wine ear cocktail. Enter Forest Management, aka John Daniel, whom I’ve written about before. Naturalism and wonder are his forte, served up in meditative slabs of synthy drone. This is perfect for my headphones any time I find myself in one of those ungodly flying machines. All I have to do is shut my eyes, and I’m drifting off on a transcendent journey no one can disturb me from. The three tracks on Shifting form cloud banks of psychological solidity, soft, ambient formations that envelope and support. In fact, if I allow enough time to pass, I’ll probably forget I’m on a plane to begin with. Even if I crack an eyelid, I’ll only bear witness to the cloud formations beneath me, the curvature of the earth, and the sun in the sky. Great – looking just fine. I’ll just have to make sure this C24’s on repeat, otherwise it’ll run out too quickly.

--Ryan Masteller

"It Is Dangerous To Lean Out" C40
(Astral Spirits)

One live set per side.
Alto & baritone saxophone
v. synthesizer
v. drums.

Pass the baton.
Slight of hand.

One could say they take turns,
But I’d assume one
is just taking a break
while the other two wear themselves

Speed metal has nothing on this

More beats per cubic centi-ent than a noggin
Naturally p(r)ocesses.

Slight of baton.
Pass the hand.

Wear headphones
Try dying.


-- Jacob An Kittenplan

INK JET "Cold Shoulder" C27 (Gohan Tapes)

Blake Schwarzenbach did earnestly claim, in his trademark anti-croon, “all I want is a life without parties…” and I did swoon.

Despite this, I am enjoying Ink Jet’s Could Shoulder. This, despite the misnomer. There is nary an ounce of under-heated mutton within 1983730983 miles of this album. The grooves upon grooves upon grooves of funk & cultish call-and-response themes do nothing but pull even the most advanced anti-IDM soul into its most blackest hole, where all bad moods/’tudes go to a death-by-trampling.

Maybe it’s the perfect bass tone. Maybe it’s the shimmering synth washes weaving in and out of other idiosyncratic flutish melodies. Maybe it’s the fact that the metronomic 4/4 beat isn’t blaring, but at a respectable mid-level (though, begrudgingly, I still wish it were so, so, so, so, so much lower) throughout. Maybe I’m making my peace with Saturday night. Who the hell knows.

One thing’s for sure; if you don’t think techno is a dirty word, give this thoughtful neck-wiggler a concerted listen, with and without headphones.


-- Jacob An Kittenplan