Oh, have we got some goodies for you today, kids. Just in time for your pre-Harvest stockup comes an Autumn cornucopia of sonic wonderment from our friends over at Tymbal Tapes. Label honcho Scott Scholtz has three of his thumbs in as many delicious pies, and he’s served them up hot and delicious for your autumn enjoyment. Come for the promise of wonderful music, stay for the swell artwork by Tiny Little Hammers and a bunch of unrelated metaphors.


Drone at me, little synthesizer, and I will be enthralled until your sound ends. Valle De Galgos do more than that of course – harmonium is a key ingredient, as are field recordings and … voice? – but the building blocks are irrelevant once you’re in the middle of it all. The project, a newly formed duo consisting of Argentine sound artists Atilio Sanchez and Pablo Picco, hit all the philosophical touchpoints you’d ever want in an ambient release. Buildings? Check. The sea? Check. Geometrical shapes? Check. Outer space transmissions? Check. Inner voices? Check. Ghost dimensions? Check. Anything else? Check, but you have to let your imagination run with it. Mine went to what I know about Patagonia (which is very little, sadly) and conjured rocky shores at the southernmost tip, where you’re just a hop, skip, and a journey stowed away on an icebreaker from Antarctica. Fitting that seabirds make an appearance on “En camino a Calera”? Probably. It helped with my visualizations anyway. Regardless, once the initial chord of “Florence Westfalia / Tierra de Nilivilves” began to stretch and the harmonies began to augment it, I was hooked, even when it decayed into static. Guide me, little synthesizer (and other stuff). Guide me.


I had the idea to just make the review of this tape a laughy emoji, but then I asked myself, what am I, some Pitchfork staff jagoff from 2002? I most certainly am not. I do, however, get a chuckle whenever I see Terry Crews’s face – that dude is so self-aware, it’s amazing. And when I read the description of “Wow This Beard,” I nearly doubled over in an intense guffaw. “Wow This Beard” is a plunderphonic exercise whereby normally reliably ambient maestro Nate Wagner sliced apart a bunch of Old Spice commercials featuring Crews and recombined them into a fairly coherent vaporwave approximation. And as you might imagine, the tape smells really dang good! I always found the Crews commercials pretty entertaining, and that’s coming from someone who barely has a second to become immersed in television anymore (a very good thing, I think). So maybe it’s no surprise then that Wagner succeeds in applying his keen critical ear to commercialized product and dissecting it before us to reveal the deep, dark underbelly of the marketplace. Is it weird, then, that I’m also constantly reminded of Crews’s role as the president in Idiocracy? Does “Wow This Beard” provide commentary on the realization that I’d prefer Crews’s fictional president to our current one? Let’s answer that question together as we listen, shall we?


Romanian artist Somnoroase Păsărele is no stranger to the Tymbal world, having released “GAMA” on the label waaaay back at the tail end of 2015. He returns triumphant with “ESSEN,” an electronic masterpiece that is at once difficult to scrutinize and easy on the ear – that is, if you like your synthesizer properly kosmische’d and dissonant. Hey, turns out I do, so as this thing plays out, I’m falling more deeply in love with it as each minute passes. Păsărele does not let up on the tension one iota, and so “ESSEN” is an edge-of-your-seat nailbiter that reflects his home country’s rocky history and the divide between East and West. “ESSEN” sounds like it could have emerged from the Berlin electronic underground, and I wouldn’t blame you if that was your initial impression, but the communist stormclouds that once gathered to the east, at least until 1989 and the fall of Ceauşescu, are still deeply felt. Maybe that’s me reading into it, or maybe it’s because I just literally read a book on gender in Romania. Either way, “ESSEN” is fascinating, and your attention to it must be undivided.

--Ryan Masteller