MARK TESTER “Circle City Cassette Works” (Medium Sound)

Sometimes you just need some isolation. You need to shut yourself off from the world and let your mind run free within its own twisty and labyrinthine corridors, let it discover things about itself – about yourself – that it may not have been aware of before. You need to close the door to your bedroom or study or basement and allow the mood to overtake you. What does it lead you to create?

Mark Tester created what became the “Circle City Cassette Works,” a batch of 22 home-recorded lo-fi musings that expose the inner workings of Tester’s imagination. Mostly using (and I’m guessing here) synthesizers, keyboards of varying acousticity (my word, not Webster’s), and perhaps a stringed instrument or two here and there, Tester ruminates on whatever strikes his fancy at the moment: breakfast, curtains, skeletons, raindrops, windows, house plants, funnel clouds. These all seem minute, hyper-focused subjects, and they’re treated with the requisite care and deference that they may not receive in everyday life. Who notices houseplants, breakfast, in any way other than a cursory acknowledgment? Don’t we just take that stuff for granted? Mark Tester does not.

(I guess I wouldn’t take skeletons or funnel clouds for granted, but still, let’s not allow facts to derail my point.)

And my point is this. “Circle City Cassette Works” is a lovely and introspective reverie to get lost in regardless of the hecticity (me again) of your day. In fact, it may help dial that hecticity down a few hundred notches if you let it.