“From Below” C32
(Already Dead Tapes)

“Oh, because I already reviewed Dead Man’s Lifestyle, is that why?”

Nick looked at his fingernails, trying not to make eye contact. “You know the tapes go out randomly. I don’t know. Besides, that review didn’t appear on Cassette Gods, so it hardly counts. It wasn’t even a cassette! Hinterland was a CD. So, there’s that.”

Ryan, standing in front of Nick’s desk with his hands firmly planted to its top, suddenly stood up and began to pace the spacious office. “You know how I feel about this, man. You know how I feel about the double dip.”

Nick looked up incredulously. “What double dip? You reviewed a completely different album. You’ve reviewed multiple releases by multiple artists. You’ve never been this upset before. What is this, like your two hundredth review or something for me? Get off your soapbox! I’m tired of it!”

“Two hundred and eighty-sixth.”


Nick rubbed his eyes, Ryan stopped pacing, pausing with his hand on his chin, and mulled carefully the next words he would say.

“OK, Nick, I’ll do it. I’ll review From Below. But you have to promise me one thing – no more double dips.”

Nick: “This is not a double dip! Get it through your head! I mean, isn’t it in your wheelhouse? Don’t you like that spacey ambient stuff, with the guitars and the effects pedals? Synthesizers? You write about that stuff all the time! What about the ‘shimmery guitars’ and ‘celestial atmospheres’? Just dig through your mental dictionary or something – I’m sure something will come up. I’m not the reviewer.”

“Alright, I’ll mention the ‘shimmery guitars’ and the ‘celestial atmospheres.’ I’ll just dig right into my vocabulary of overused language and pull out a few choice nuggets. How does ‘Frippy’ work for you? Eno-y? The press mentions Evening Star. That’s a great starting point. I love Evening Star. And Hinterland was enjoyable. Should I pull something from that review? Maybe plagiarize myself, apply it here? How about ‘From Below is a song cycle of great physical space and emotional depth.’ That’s at least somewhat of a paraphrase.”

Nick rolled his eyes and started tapping a number into his phone. “Whatever, I don’t care. I have a meeting with this dude about a Bob Weir hologram for a Deep Thoughts shindig. I’m gonna be late if I stay here listening to you yammer and complain about a tape review.”

Ryan, a little taken aback at the news, opened his eyes a little wider. “Bob Weir’s not dead, Nick. Why a hologram?”

“Because wouldn’t it be cool?”

“Yeah, I guess it would.”

--Ryan Masteller