“Moonday Tides” (Data Airlines)
“Boneblack” (Tymbal Tapes)

Strap on that tank helmet, redshirt, and get ready to enter the fray, because Yves Malone is back, big time, with two new tapes, one on Marseille-based Data Airlines and the other on Tymbal Tapes out of Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s almost a guarantee that the result of your listening experience will be your reconstitution as a puddle of goo on the floor of your apartment, nothing left for the CSI team to comb through except the pool of viscous fluid and the empty tank helmet in the middle of it. That’s seriously what you get for wearing that shirt to a Star Trek theme party – one that you even threw! That was bad planning.

Anyway, I haven’t even listened to the new tapes yet, and I’m already 100% sure I’m into ’em. Yves Malone has a pretty vast catalog, and it just continues to grow. What’s weird is that, once these bad boys hit my inbox, I was like, “Huh, we haven’t heard from Yves in a while – glad he’s back.” Then, to fact check (or in this case totally debunk) that thought, I did some research, and it turns out that Death House 4 came out back in December – five months ago! I even wrote about it! After realizing my internal gaffe, I took a long look at myself in the mirror and considered once and for all that stumbling into middle age isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Is there some sort of memory-enhancement medication I can take as I age? I mean, I’m totally going to counteract it with my enthusiasm for craft beer, but still, I could use some assistance, apparently.

So maybe I should listen to these things, and as I’m typing this, I’m already neck deep, so my responses and reactions here are valid and true. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Malone’s a synth maestro, that’s Italian for “master,” and whether you say it in English or Italian (and we’ve adopted maestro into English anyway, so it’s almost redundant to say it both ways [and would you even begrudge me some redundancy?]) it still applies to Yves. There’s a spectrum covered throughout Moonday Tides that would leave many other electronic purveyors insanely jealous of the skill on display here – Malone’s able to craft vast and fantastical narratives from wordless synthy-tronica, often packing in multiple parts into amazing and vibrant suites, such as “Dromedary Wet Nap” and “The Court of the Whore Queen.” And “The Mark of Saint Gildud” ends the tape with ten of the most ecstatic minutes you’ll ever hear on a cassette. Did I say “ever”? I meant “ever.” In italics.

Boneblack is one of the first releases by Tymbal Tapes in about a year, so there’s a welcome return. But scoring an Yves Malone release is the equivalent of winning the lottery – actually, I think my math is off on that one. But still, it’s a cool match, artist and label, and we’re better for it. Foraging through the more remote thickets of the synthesizer’s capabilities, à la the more downtempo The Unfortunate Occurrence of Memories Not Our Own and the Hole That Fills Them (2015), Malone crafts ambient and kosmische soundscapes, taking cues, perhaps, from one-time split buddy Adderall Canyonly. (That 905 Tapes split is, like, one of my favorite cassettes of recent memory.) Over four tracks, the shortest of which misses the ten-minute mark by fifteen seconds, Malone takes us to outer space and back, an astral trip of great intensity, whose magnitude can only be measured by instruments that haven’t been invented yet. … But will be.

Haha, “Kill Kirk” is one of the song titles. Probably why I started this on a Star Trek kick. At least I didn’t say “Set your phasers to fun!” Oh wait, I just did. I meant it too.

--Ryan Masteller