CHERRIEP VS. GHOSTWHIP “Nas.rar” C19 (Philthtrax)

Do you like pretending you’re cruising in Outrun, all SEGA Genesis’d with booty bass blasting out the rolled-down windows of your Countach? Do you always feel like you just have to “take it 2 the limit”? Do you just wanna scream “Go!” at the top of your lungs before you stomp the gas and the G-force slams you into your seat? That’s what Ghostwhip wants. Cherriep? Wants that too. Because, duh, the car, the road, the freedom. Downshift, fly.

Nas.rar is four-track electro banger, hungry for speed – sweet, sexxxy speed. Cherriep and Ghostwhip share the space, share the love, share the magic of shredding tarmac to the horizon. Is Nas.rar dumb? Hell yes. Is it as exhilarating as traveling 120 mph down straight Midwestern highway, white-knuckling for your life while the music injects intoxicants directly into your nervous system? That’s right, Nas.rar is like a stimulant straight to the dome, a blast of nasty energy that’ll keep you flying as far and as fast as you can get before you run out of gas.

Don’t run out of gas.


VOID BRINGER "Demo" C10 (625 Thrashcore/Get Stoked)

Behold, the apocalypse! I present to you, for your extreme listening pleasure, this brutal demonstration from deep in the woods of Bolton, Vermont. VOID BRINGER. Sometimes a band is just perfectly named and this is one of those instances. On this quick ten minute blast of a release Void Bringer hammers through 9 pulverizing tracks of hardcore harnessing that lovable powerviolence vibe of the 90s west coast scene.  Often bands that play in this style fall flat for me and seem like clones of one of the greats, ie: Crossed Out, No Comment, Manpig, Capitalist Casualties, Man Is The Bastard... and often offer little of their own. This thankfully is not the case here.

Lyrically this thing is totally in your face, nothing hidden behind poetic verse or weak metaphors. The open track literally declares "I don't like it, I don't like it, I don't like it. Fuck you. We hate you." And beautifully sets the tone for the next 8 tracks. Musically this is heavy, fast and ugly with too many tempo changes per song to keep count. Void Bringer are masters of the fast/slow/fast approach to this particular style of extreme music. No frills, no solos just hammering riff, battered drums and angry howls.

The song "Retaliate" features a Richard Spencer sample that highlights one of his disgusting talking points before going into a song that is not an endorsement of his bullshit but an outright condemnation and call to action with a final cry of "Fuck the Proud Boys. Fuck the Alt-Right."

This is a great tape to just let your player auto flip and play on repeat. Each listen reveals more and more subtle nuances buried in the thick mess of distortion. Truly a standout from Vermont, which in recent years has become quite the fertile grounds for hardcore and extreme music in general.

Perhaps write to the band to obtain a physical copy or to 625 Thrashcore, or check it out via bandcamp at the link below.

- Righteous James

MATTHEW ATKINS “Spectral Terrace” C23 (Hemisphäreの空虚)

“Spectral Terrace” and “Lost Time in a Lost Place” are suggestive track titles, aren’t they? Makes me think that old Matthew Atkins is somehow digging up old memories here, mining his subconscious for things forgotten, or at least misfiled or mislabeled somewhere in his memory bank. Throughout his Spectral Terrace tape, he rummages and uncovers, sitting in the middle of a pile of stuff he pulled out of drawers in order to organize them better. Maybe get rid of some stuff he doesn’t need anymore.

Maybe I’m just reading into it the fact that I’m about to clean out my garage, and it’s a daunting prospect.

Let’s not get too hung up on my fears or phobias (although I did find a black widow in there once) and circle back around to the work Atkins is doing here. Not shy about his process, he lists “cymbals, singing bowl, snare drum, brushes, contact mics, motors, monotron delay and computer software” as his sound sources. Each one takes on a timbral focus at times, and all of them flurry around each other as Atkins progresses. Knowing this, it’s not hard to figure out what this is like: a studious interpretation of trying to understand what’s gone before you and how to illuminate that for present and future use and understanding. Time to rummage through the old brain files a little more.


HAVADINE STONE “Fever Demorian Aphasia International” (Anathema Archive)

How do you communicate without speech? That’s a great question, and one that’s fairly important at this moment in time. Actions cause movement, change, reform. Words seem to inflame, don’t they? They take on such great meaning…

Field recordings take us through activity. We can overlay those sounds on our imaginations, pretend we’re in the middle of them. Song breaks the cycle, words inserted like ghosts or memories, yet that’s all they are. Spoken passages float like breath and drift away, like ghosts or memories. All is breath, all is movement, words lose cohesion and dissipate.

Words meet action, taking on such great meaning. Words and action heal. I was so wrong about all of it!


“Nowhere" C30

Marilu Donovan & Tristan Kasten-Krause are two electro-acoustic nuance worshippers that play harp and double bass, respectively, each deeply sawing away at their string-guts to carve up thick, binaurally juicy drones and their ensuing overtones & feedback loops evoking ritualistic, if somewhat spooky, minimalist atmospheres that’re only further darkened by perfectly placed vocal intonations of the semi-damned...and a masterful employment of natural feedback and seemless looping techniques.

With their less-is-more aesthetic allowing for more-or-less bumps-in-the-night to be picked up on, this is Not to be listened to alone around the witching hour, lest you want to get your heart rate a-pumpin'!


—Jacob An Kittenplan

“Centiweek” C100.8
(Default Label Wroclaw)

Wroclaw, Poland’s “Default" label has stunningly curated one hundred minutes and forty-eight sprawling seconds worth of mind-bendingly adventurous, unpinnable, forward-thinking ambient/experimental soundscapes and (a)rhythmic theses, with nary a metronomic/predictable beat to be heard between eighteen separate European artists. Think ELEH's vast catalogue, but 1.5 dozen parallel versions of them! Siiiiiiick!

So, of course, the tapes are already sold out, but there’s plenty of bandcamp love to go around, so click on that link below and get lost in a cold sea of sci-fi sine waves & icy caps!

—Jacob An Kittenplan

“Unmoved, Unspoken” C32
(SDM Records)

On “Unmoved, Unspoken”, Dean Leininger waxes solemnly cinematic back and forth between epic drones/drums and a shadowy new age aesthetic that isn’t afraid to pull a few noisy punches here & there, for maximum effect. Without spoiling the surprise, it’s worth noting that there’s an entire world’s worth of narrative jungle-gym buried within this intense warehouse, and one could hallucinate many a strife-riddled journey based on the contained classical movements, and a few of those battle-calls*, that make poignant appearances throughout this fast-paced half-hour saga. 

Uber-versatile, crank this puppy up for excitement, or bury it down low to drift off to, but be prepared to be thrown off a few times while getting accustomed to the flow!


—Jacob An Kittenplan

*one of my own interpretations

“Ik’ Svigt Mig Mer'” C25

Quoting directly from their Bandcamp bio, cz it’s all pretty imperative to GET just what the hell is going on here: 

"This tape was composed in Copenhagen and Oslo between late 2018 - early 2020. It was composed with my electronic beat machine - a wooden square box with small hammers controlled by my laptop - hitting on all the objects that resonated with my inner feelings during that time. Those objects were glass, light bulb, tea cup, china, metal spoon and other metals. Other sounds in this records are tinfoil, clocks, tape, knives etc.

For this release each track has illustrations by artist Michael Schiøler Tingsgård. Michael received each finished track with a title and a sentence for his own imagination and interpretations. That was the only communication between composer and illustrator during creation of this cassette. Each sentence can be read on each individual track or in the associated folder when purchased."

So, just what does that all sound like? Pretty fuckin’ rad is how! This is an electro-acoustic lover’s dream, with constant momentum carried by impressionistic-industrial rhythmic movements that never stale, and a barrage* purely organic vs. heavily treated percussive tones & mysteriously wrought textures. It’s hard to believe no synthesizers were used to get those deep moaning drones off in the distance, but, to have consistently manufactured such sonic space throughout a half-hour narrative and never fall into a rut takes a mixing wizardry that Sihtx sure as shit has, in droves.

Listen to loud with headphones and get lost in well-lit abandoned warehouse of sound!

—Jacob An Kittenplan

*generally a half-dozen distinct sound-items barbed-wired around a given second in time

“Trace Amounts" C20

It’s fairly oxymoronic* to refer to something as “mini-epic”, but then again, "Gray Worry” is this newly minted Nashville new age artist’s nom de plume, and their red-herring album title is, in fact “Trace Amounts”, so…all bets are off here.

Anyone not color-blind will attest that anxiety hardly holds a neutral hue. Anyone familiar with cosmic new age knows the songs are ambling and generally pretty fuckin’ long. GW takes it upon themself thusly to distill such far-reaching subject matter into a minimalized, distilled form, takes but three separate synthesizer layers (or less!) and plays with emotional timing and grandiosity in such a way…

Were budget not an issue, this tape really oughta've come with a mini-projector to watch washed-out projections of births & deaths of nebulae so we could try to connect the contrasting thoughts between cold, impossibly distant phenomena in the span of a sonically curated hot minute** as opposed to what might take a further few billion years in real time/life. Who the hell knows? This tape is disorienting and engaging if you want it to be, but not quite*** bedtime material, like Stars of the Lid. Maybe think of Gray Worry as their astral, semi-wayward nephew?


—Jacob An Kittenplan

*and downright fucking heresy to the pedantic purists, myself sometimes inclusive
**these songs are almost pop-punkish in length, relative to NA aesthetics
***second to last track’ll derail anyone’s dropping out who was not down for the count by this time

“Sanctuary" C36
“Interplay” C38
(Crash Symbols)

These two Montreal artists differ greatly in their styles but share much passion in the way of concertedly dialing into the m-o-o-d they’re cooking up. 

Spliff Jacksun is first & foremost a beatsmith, floating dependable, jazzy keys & horns overtop stock bass drum & snare. His formulas are tried, true, & so finely tuned you almost can’t NOT hear the rhythmic ghost of someone rapping overtop it all, like each track were an instrumental versions of unreleased Common songs (off the album “Be”), which makes for an excellent office/lobby soundtrack to soothe the soul.

YlangYlang’s is very much the opposite, her minimalist avant-pop incantations flowing cosmically outward, airily, foggily tracing along no dedicated scaffold, her synth and noise accompaniments both gripping & surprising in their novel placements and effectiveness throughout the flowing compositions. Part mesmerizing orchestral ambiance, part syrupy pop spell-casting, “Interplay" reveals itself more and more with each passing run of the tape, never once getting old or wearing out its hypnotic welcome. Pretty ground-breaking stuff!


—Jacob An Kittenplan

“NumbERS" C11

Steve Reich’s bastard child, Chaltandr (SF Bay Area), comes at us with a short but sweaty barrage of cascading loops that wax & wane expertly to reveal touch & go focii & textures that never settle but lead us onto the next movement that’s overwhelming and maybe tonal but definitely textural percussive and what’s the difference between the two when there isn’t a chance to take a breath is that a fucking fog horn yes and a blow-out oh most definitely so we’re at Kirby Cove with fleeting vistas of the hazy bridge but I guess worried about ghost ships & barges in fleets like fleeting attention spans and this distorted onslaught is impending and catastrophic and sure as shit not worth a fuck for anything other than tripping out or re-setting to right like how can I collect myself, well, it’s only an 11 minute race from Side A to Side A, again, so, well, I guess,
I’ll listen to it again
For the fourth time
In a row.

Chaltandr has a serious penchant for mystique & aesthetics, btw; behold the good lookin’ ephemera documented in pix below. The mini-malist chapbook sweetens the pot ten-fold!


—Jacob An Kittenplan

“Noon” C43
(Hyster Tapes)

Don’t adjust that dial; your tape playER isn’t giving up the ghost quite yet. It’s just that Finland’s RE-CLIP have REnegotiated how time and rhythm of fairly mundane souRcE matERial will now REveal itself to each and evERyone of your individual EaRs in a disoRiEnting mannER via loop manipulation/vicious-bastardization.

Bird chirps, wind, bells, bass, tape hiss, recordERs of various stRipEs; they’ve all been thrown undER the bus to be destRoyEd, disfiguREd, and RestitchEd, for maximum dEliRium inducement.

HystER Tapes, as per their MO, has dubbed this half-noxious, half-hypnagogic* audio-stumble onto a single side of RecyclEd tape, & if you’RE lucky, you get an esotERic sticker, to boot!

—Jacob An Kittenplan

* Sleep on your side if you wanna try & take a nap to this.

LÉONORE BOULANGER “Practice Chanter” (Ana Ott)

I hope you were expecting to wake up to a brand new, fully immersive psychedelic experience based around the human voice this morning, as I clearly was, an experience whose execution filled the child’s-puzzle-board-slot-type vacancy in my daily repertoire like liquid sculpting material filling in an empty spot in a child’s puzzle board, slowly, liquidly, sort of incongruously, but filling it perfectly nonetheless. Thus Practice Chanter, whose title does not describe me at all, buppled and pobbed at me from behind its harmonium-shaped horn-rims, its toy piano facial features, its Casio-cheeked smile, all impish and quixotically arranged. Indeed, Practice Chanter shuffled to its feet like pawn shop come to life, crackles and flourishes of melody and countermelody humming off it like conversation, an abstract concept gaining mass and shape and shambling toward us all.

Is that what Léonore Boulanger had in mind for us?

What was certainly in mind for the French composer was a sense of playfulness and exploration, which shines through in every single moment of Practice Chanter, a wonderland of weird impulses and accidental innovations and whiplash diversions. I’m willing to bet it’s like nothing you’ve heard before, and its vocal intonations (none in English, thank goodness!) carry this thing to its conclusion – and notice I didn’t add “logical” in there! Illogic is what makes this thing hum in the appealingly alien ways it does. Like a mass of ideas carefully sifted into categories and then mixed up again, Practice Chanter will reveal quirky new discoveries on each subsequent listen. Take it from me, I apparently have this stuff for breakfast!


ATTIC TED “Kafka Dreaming” (Pecan Crazy)

Like the punny name Grady Roper’s adopted for his nerdwave output, Attic Ted’s music winks really, really hard to try to get you on its page while it’s disturbing the molecules of your stereo speakers with its wobbly soundwaves from another planet. But those winks are for the truly stupid, the baffled, the squares who can’t understand that a man standing there, violently batting a single eyelid in their direction, is trying to let them in on a secret, on a joke. They just wrinkle their noses in disgust and go back to watching the CMAs on cable television.

But that presumes that Attic Ted is trying to reach that kind of audience anyway. Not on your life.

I mean, who else clearly has stacks of worn-out Gary Numan and Devo and Cars records lying around their living room and expects to interact with society in general in a standard way, not some inverted or cockeyed approach that’s clearly meant to hook only the most specific of outsider? I’m pretty sure Attic Ted is a rare breed, and that makes Kafka Dreaming, his latest in a great run for Pecan Crazy, another gem worth searching out. It’s not for nothing that you feel like you’re transforming into a cockroach as you listen to it, tides of surreality hitting you in disbelief as track after track of angled and warped some-kind-of-pop-with-some-kind-of-“wave”-appended vibrates through your core. Then you wake up the next day and you ARE that cockroach. Spooky.

Applying a one-man-band approach, heavy on the synthesizers and drum machines and chintzy guitar (think the tone perfected by Ryan Howe’s Punks on Mars project), Attic Ted sounds like Larry Wish if Ric Ocasek was doing the vocals instead of Eeyore. (And I love me some Larry Wish.) It all comes together superbly, with Millar weaving his through eight warped-VHS concoctions, each one in need of a little tracking but pretty close to how its supposed to feed over the heads. Perhaps that cockroach made a nest in the pile of VHS tapes in the garage. Perhaps Attic Ted is just field recording those tapes for our benefit. Oh wait – the cockroach is you, your nest is in your own bed. My bad!


“Kafka Dreaming" C33
(Pecan Crazy)

You know what they say about circus coitus, right? It’s fucking intense*, and fairly unhygienic.

The name "Attic Ted” is loaded with enough macabre, sensational ambiguity to stun a mule, lending the wandering mind to favor paths down dusty, blood splattered, yellow-and-red-striped wallpaper'd corridors…and this newest offering of theirs, laid upon the altar, “Kafka Dreaming”, continues to do their nom de guerre a serious solid (gut-punch, that is) in naming the kind of specialized mood one needs to be in, in order to fall rapt (cult-ified?) with LOVE over such capital “P” performance artists. 

This ain’t everyone’s cup o’ tea is what I’m saying, here. The vocals are polemic (exquisite) AF, and the carnie vibe slips seamlessly into Middle Eastern territory again and again, which may turn off some purist cow-punkers out there, but, hey, like, daaaaaang… what a meld, for those looking to get out of pop/western-caged tropes! What a glorious ride, not even considering the synth-culled noise accompaniments that pop in and out of the mix like concerned alien-host families hovering over a true barn-burner of a party!

This is fucking great. There. I said it. If the offspring of the B-52s all went on a consensual psychotic break and dubbed themselves “The Beef-Hefty Whose?”, a few of these “Kafka Dreaming” songs’d likely spring up. Fuck yes!


—Jacob An Kittenplan

*(say it out loud)

GOLDBLUM "Goldblum" C18 (Het Generiek)

Marjin Verbiesen and Michiel Klein are both well-versed musicians in the Dutch underground scene, with experiences ranging from opening for Health and !!! to being covered in The Wire to being active in no less than seven different bands that I could immediately find in my cursory research. The latest is Goldblum, where they make lightly noisy tape loops from all sorts of samples. There's stuff on here that sounds like it's on your grandfather's broken record player, and tracks that sound like strings collapsing mid-course. The highlight is "Jazz of Thin Air," the longest and most quietly torturous song. You only have to listen to this brief release to hear how all that work has paid off for Goldblum.

“THTG” C30

You’ve seen the disclaimer, “No X was harmed in the making of this Y”, right? Said sentiment does not apply here. 

Puberty (the looping/musique concrète/further-looping/wall-of-sound-collage project; not the hormonal affliction) seeks to harm the very sanctity of pure tones henceforth by overshadowing any and all proffered tonal strains, by pluck or by swell, with a double-dose of ever-permutating rhythmic inflection, be those textures wrought via hyper-warble/glitch/tremolo/decay, or static-possession.

Via eyes-closed deep-listening, “THTG" is truly mesmerizing and otherwordly; peripherally, it almost plays like a disoriented, rebellious beat-tape that can’t find it’s own keys. Win-win here.

Not uplifting, but certainly high-minded, Flophouse puts out another great art-making/meditative tape to help one Get in the Flow of focus and/or escape.

—Jacob An Kittenplan

“Syncretic Offering” C30

Merriam-Webster defines “Syncretism" as "1 : the combination of different forms of belief or practice” and "2: the fusion of two or more originally different inflectional forms”. 

NNN Cook’s “Syncretic Offering” meta-re(de)fines itself as a blend of the two, a sprawling cinematic journey across, to name but a few elements: synthetic and organic tones (and overtones), a fleeting, danceable beat, a handful of disembodied soundbites, persistent lush and haunting swells, and a chaotic avian/amphibian field collage toward the end, all these (and more) working in concert to enchant and entrance the listener into a heightened meditative state. 

These are gloriously bewitching sounds to make art under, while getting lost in the mix, with tons and tons of layers and nuance. Good headphones are a must, for maximum effect, but it’s also surprisingly pleasant as a background soundtrack, too!


—Jacob An Kittenplan

“Annihilate This Memory” C30
(Zazen Tapes)

Per Bandcamp bio:

"Ashiki - Butoh, gong, spoken word
rampaNt - experimental instruments, electro-acoustics, bowed cymbals
Vic Void - Sound sculptures, Dungeon box, prepared piano, found sound
Victim of the String Infestation - prepared guitar, production”

In short, Butoh Sonics are a buncha total fucking weirdos that manage to keep it expansively spacey, mellow, & (yet somehow) fairly tight in their outward-reaching sound-painting of narrative-free, dystopian, atmospheric improv.  I’d suggest a supine session of cloud and/or leaf-watching while taking this in, for a clutter-free-est mind.

—Jacob An Kittenplan

“Do More Than Destruct-o” C24
(Zazen Tapes)

The Rhode Island Trio, Zurich Cloud Motors, plays a fast & loose strain of punk AF noise-improv (…or is that vice-versa? Depends on the song) and, at times, "DMTD" almost sounds like early Sonic Youth on hyperdrive. Save the Moore-ish delivery (not a knock-off, but definitely feels like a nod-to), the two lutes* and drummer each take turns losing their steps and sanity while the other two hold down the fort. 

High-octane party and or gear-up music for the masses that aren’t afraid to get a li’l distorted & messy! Comes with tiny lyric sheet.

—Jacob An Kittenplan

*one’s laying down steadfast punk riffs but the other, maybe a baritone guitar(?), is pretty much playing the feedback/pedal-pedal/chaos the entire time, and it’s fuckin’ great!

“Ventilation” C19
(Glowing Dagger)

Not so much glitchy ambient-electronica as it is a most sonorous of impressionistic industrial-meets-droning fog-scapes, Spandex Model’s “Ventilation" plays like a sun-baked power-nap whilst golden hills to the north catch fire; pleasant, remotely, but creeping and insidious beneath the consciousness. No dancing will be had here, the fleeting itch to will be felt sporadically, near-randomly. 

SF’s Glowing Dagger imprint has specialized in what could be ball-parked as a “Noisy Ambient Electronica” for the last half-decade, and they’ve been consistently noteworthy throughout their entire catalogue, so give ‘em a listen via the links below!


—Jacob An Kittenplan

“Ultrawarm Indices” C40
(Glowing Dagger)

On side A of W.O.E.’s “Ultrawarm Indices”, impressionist/glitchy industrial skitterings scurry to & fro to keep a loose pace below trebly atonal drone-swells, dial-up/faux fax-y bloops & digital banshee screechings, extraterrestrial transmissions & Sci-Fi flavored lasers. This sounds like a rooftop evening cozied up amongst a neglected network of over-taxed central cooling/heating systems, all textured hum and thrum, somehow peaceful in its relentless quaking…until UFO shenanigans ensue…

Side B swaps out the high pitch percussive element for an intentionally lurching, lumbering bass arpeggiator and a heroic delay pedal, yet still somehow manages to yield the same quality of herky-jerky meditative atmospherics. Pretty slick!

Half possessed-Kinkos-shop, half War of the Worlds, “Ultrawarm Indices” proves a spooky soundtrack for nervous meditations and agitated crafternooning flow. Damn good stuff!


—Jacob An Kittenplan

GINSU WIVES “Secret Bodies of Work” (Tape Dad)

Ginsu Wives, more or less Elastica meets Thrill Kill Kult, meet in the parking lot to go fuck-hunting, but not before punching me right in the nuts.

Ow … fffffFFFFFF … ahh … fffffFFFFF …

I wish that didn’t happen. But it did, and I’m down for the count for a while. I watch Ginsu Wives walk away from my fetal position on the pavement, their combat boots and heels pacing confidently into the night. Tears stream down my face as I struggle into a sitting position, then I half-crawl to my car, scrabbling for the door handle. I reach it.

It opens.

Breathing heavily with exertion, the cramp in my stomach blossoming into painful new experiences throughout my abdomen, I make my way into the driver seat, eyes and mind bleary as I contemplate the sex/drugs/violence of my encounter with Secret Bodies of Work, an audio diary of destruction stretching from 2006 to 2019. I turn the key in the ignition and am overwhelmed by techno rock.

My Captain Ahab tape must be stuck in here, I half-think.

Wrong. It’s Ginsu Wives. My pain doubles.


CHARDONNAY “Do You Have Maximum Intuition?” (Tape Dad)

Did you ever wonder what would’ve happened if John Reis fronted Drive Like Jehu instead of Rick Froberg? Well wonder no more! New Orleans musician Caspian (like the prince!) steers his Jehu-loving laser punk band through eleven airtight rockers till the stage they’re on is strewn with the detritus of all the equipment they’ve probably destroyed in the process. Sure, there are shades of Parquet Courts and any Bob Mould–related project, but doesn’t that just enhance the entire prospect? RIYL: Drive Like Jehu, Parquet Courts, Bob Mould … when’s the Rock Hall gonna call? Book a trip to Cleveland in the next fifteen years, Caspian!

Sure, that’s hyperbole, but there’s no reason to have a bad time when Do You Have Maximum Intuition? is within arm’s reach. Pogo, mosh, slam-dance, crowd-surf, other 1990s things – you will be participating in these activities and more when Chardonnay is on tour. Even now, in our self-isolated COVID reality, Chardonnay is only a Bandcamp purchase away – Caspian and Tape Dad will surely be happy to oblige you and ensure you’re properly entertained while the world slams to a halt around you. Enjoy!