TED APEL & ANTHONY BURR “False Iguana” C35 (Muzan Editions)

You COULD read all about the process and the gear and junk in the liner notes, but that’s BORING. Just get to the tuneskies already.

You know I’m kidding, right? Hey, I’m gonna nerd out on process and gear just as much as you are, although I’ll spare you Anthony Burr’s lovely details here – you can read them on your own. What you need to know is that Anthony Burr played organ and Ted Apel worked his magic around a modular rig, and the result is two sidelong slabs of psychedelic drone that you can get lost in for days.

That’s not unusual for a Muzan Editions release, and “False Iguana” fits right in to the catalog. Thick smears of organ characterize “Hollow Phobos,” resulting in the building and blooming of tactile environments. “24-Track Set” twinkles and shimmers with a seamless melding of the players, where it is impossible to tell where one sound source ends and the other begins. Come to think of it, that may describe “Hollow Phobos” too…

Not many of these left at the source, so I suggest you start clicking that URL. If it is sold out by the time you read this, then I’ve tried my best. I’m sorry.

Anthony Burr (Hey, Anthony Burr teaches at UCSD! My cousin went there!)


“False Iguana” C35
(Muzan Editions)

For all you "senior/vintage" cassette player owners out there (the machine, not the human), this tape is going to exercise your kegels to the ever most extreme! TA & AB each employ DIY synths and an old Univox combo-organ, respectively; and the deliberate mixing/time-warping of their recorded apparatii will forever keep you on edge as to whether or not your belt-drive has finally given up the ghost…or was that dissociative fluctuation perhaps just a well orchestrated premeditation?!

With VERY strong “Four Organs*” flavor, “False Iguana” vacillates between natural, binaural waverings and sincerely architected tremolo, all the while inserting a subtle, nearly-dismissible field recording that might never otherwise beckon the highlight of day, were the mix/mastering not so superb!

Towards the end, there’s a pretty sweet (yet nearly innocuous) punch pulled…but you’ll have to listen for yourself. This release might be a lulling homage, but it’s 100% engaging and, as per Muzan Editions’ MO, a truly noteworthy piece.


— Jacob An Kittenplan

*As this IS absolute Reichian tonal glory, sans stilted repetition!

SINDRE BJERGA “Hesitation Marks” (Eh?)

“Cassette player drones and kitchen sink psychedelia, sound ghosts hidden deep in the molten magnetic tapes… always aiming for that mind-altering head trip…”

Mission statement. Boom. Modus operandi. Boom. Sindre Bjerga follows his muse down a rabbit hole of cassette samples and warped noises, clacking and chipping away at source material and objects until they resemble something completely other than their intended form. “Hesitation Marks” collects two Bjerga live recordings – Any Record, Den Haag, Netherlands, August 12, 2017; XB Liebig, Berlin, Germany, July 8, 2017 – and the sounds echo about the rooms.

Alien sonics give way to song fragments, which are chopped and stretched and basically destroyed, as if they were an unfortunate side effect of an extraterrestrial transmission. The mood is “life on other planets,” the kinetic motion unstoppable and weird. “Hesitation Marks” never stops moving, never stops shifting, never stops changing. It’s a slippery beast, best wrangled through headphones.


“Namisen” C34
(Muzan Editions)

In the kinda maybe sorta same-ish way that Pauline Oliveros electronically re-imagined the repetitive fierceness of traditional Balinese Gamelan with her “Tiger's Eye/Lion’s Tale”,  Chie Otomi* does so, too, here, but at his predecessor's antipoles, with these very most languid, glacial, Jasmine Isle-esque allusions of aural-pointilisms; thus “Namisen” is named/birthed.

The very same it-takes-a-village-to-raise-a-ruckus discipline is present, here, but the tones are sporadically rendered in further isolated clusters, each fading pod distantly overlapping, only, in a magically concise way, which, over the course of this all-too-short release, proves to be an unpinnable-yet-lethargic groove-mood. I don’t mean to say that this is an M. Feldman-esque venture so much as a gorgeous call & response style-set of sympathetic synth-poses that both don’t head towards any specific place, yet Still energize the recipient (that’d be us), with their intuitively concerted communiqué. 

Half minimalist homage, half C3PO beatbox Sesh (but, like, via a DJ Screw séance at 1/16 rpm), Chie Otomi keeps delivering the engaging vibes that Muzan Editions has been a stalwart purveyor of. Can’t wait to hear what this tape sounds like when WORN OUT**!!!


— Jacob An Kittenplan

*possibly unintentionally. I’ll admit I’m maybe reading/listening into it, here. Am I full of shit? You be the judge!
**which’d be imminent

MMNNSSD “Exiting the Infirmary” (self-released)

Philly eats its own tail, the snake chomping down, feasting on shit and entrails. But that’s Philly. You can’t explain Philly to someone who hasn’t spent an inordinate amount of time there (like I have). Basically, you have to hope the person who needs an explanation can hack it long enough to decide whether they love it or hate it. Some just run screaming within minutes of getting caught in traffic along the Schuylkill Expressway. Others decide it’s just better to not get off 95 after all.

Then, there are those who love it. Those who can tap into its idiosyncrasies and curiosities. Those who draw inspiration from its decrepitude hidden just beneath the surface of a thin veil of respectability. (And, truly, the veil is thin.) MMNNSSD, the duo of Mark Dilks and Marc Zajack, sticks a needle deep into the city’s vein and extracts some kind of blood-substance that they subsequently sprinkle on their recordings. “Exiting the Infirmary,” a painfully accurate summation of what it’s like to wake up every morning there, is an off-kilter barrage of electoacoustic/found-sound/folk/noise/tribal  sound art, a surprisingly penetrable series of pieces that continually warps itself in surprising ways the further it goes.

Perhaps nothing gets to the heart of the MMNNSSD vibe than “Longest 3 minuetes [sic] of my life,” a squirrely mashup of source material that sounds like the cassette deck it’s playing through is situated underneath an industrial magnet. It’s gripping stuff, certainly not drawn out, nor does it overstay its welcome. By the time a hip hop track breaks through the static and the noise, all bets are off. It’s Philly in all its trash-heaped mayhem and glory, catalogued in three minutes, a microcosm of a cassette tape and a lifestyle. I wouldn’t even begin to change anything about it.


“Parks” C38
(Muzan Editions)

ODD NARRATIVE is pretty much the perfect name for this collaboration between Wouter Jaspers and Hainbach, their cultivated sonic contents unraveling like a summer-crammed amusement PARK full of the gregarious estranged and out-turn'd hermit; it sounds like you wouldn’t expect. That being because you couldn’t. Well. Maybe. 

Muzan Editions makes it a Real Point to promote artists that scratch that Novelty-Itch; sound-sculptors that really make it their Modus Operandi to give our ears something we couldn’t possibly predict (even after the second and third time listening, sometimes!), but that, once we’re familiar with said alien sonic terrain, we’re not only comfortable exploring, but adding our own (theoretical) internal permutations alongside. Not exactly “hummable” with, but more…”emotionally ambled to”? Does that make sense?

As usual, ME has released a great album to engage in Walking Meditation with, and your own inner cinematography will find unending scaffolding with which to engage!


— Jacob An Kittenplanj

MIRROR OF NATURE “What the Photograph Reproduces to Infinity Has Occurred Only Once C67 (Muzan Editions)

This collab by ambient guitarist Cinchel and percussionist Mike Weis (joined by Neil Jendon, who recorded the album, on synthesizer for a track) feels ancient. Like it’s a prophecy, a scroll set to music. Or, if not a prophecy, then a document of divine wisdom. At least that. There’s something here that defies logic yet feels 100 percent rational. Spirituality meets tactile engagement. The esoteric hits the ground.

But then you get lost in the philosophical suggestions of the titular photograph, its infinite representation a false legitimacy disproved by actual events. Cinchel and Weis are your guides across maps and atlases, over windswept mirrors and frozen canvases. Their interplay is the compass and the magnetic fluctuations that throw off your direction. The holy divination becomes an ever-shifting endpoint among a deepening complexity.

And it’s incredibly difficult to get back on your original track. Good thing the diversions are equally fascinating.


“What the Photograph Reproduces to Infinite Has Occured Only Once” C67
(Muzan Editions)

Been a big fan of Cinchel for a loooong time coming, and this collaboration with percussionist (Mike Weis) and Synthesizerer (Neil Jendon) finds me ever more enamored of his ability to wring cosmic, lulling waves from an electric guitar (and oodles and oodles of pedals, mind you) in thee most captivating, yet non-commanding ways, possible. No easy task! 

It’s as if (in the case of this particular release) C’s tones know juuuust how to accent his bandmates' surrounding tribal, ceremonial pulsations and mountain-cried modular drones. Again, No Easy Task! Completely melodically-evasive, “What the Photograph Reproduces…” is nevertheless infectious; it calls for no narrative, yet is transportive &, in itself, an unquestionable mental scaffold for communing with post-midnight desert breezes and shooting stars for-like-ever-on-outward, the soundscape’s movements eddying and dissipating into roving constellations’ absentiae, rebelling against connect-le-dot paradigms, period, or en ellipsis… 

Be apprised that this is brilliant cosmic-jamz chemistry at it’s most unmappable core, & I hope it isn’t sold out by the time this review reaches you. I played the damn thing until it petered out before wrangling the words to attempt to describe it. It’s now warbly beyond recognition…which is kinda just as cool, right?


— Jacob An Kittenplan