PETER C. BRUNO “Be Linear” C57 (Strategic Tape Reserve)


This is decoy from the start. A relic of the golden age of espionage. I mean, this isn’t even by “Peter C. Bruno” – if the Bandcamp page is to be believed, it’s by the Strategic Tape Reserve Staff, meaning Peter C. Bruno could be anybody. (Or he could actually be Peter C. Bruno! The mind boggles.) True to form, “False Floor” opens the tape with Cold War synthpop, suggesting layers that you shouldn’t see but could if you looked hard enough, or precisely. Spy games aren’t out of the reach of STR’s strengths, and the collective tries its hand at subtle messaging on Be Linear, which, after the “false floor” of “False Floor,” descends into deliberate code. “False Floor” is intended to shake us off the scent – well, at least to mislead anyone who has obtained the contents of this tape in a manner not befitting the intentions of the label. They even suggest you keep the tape rewound to the beginning of side A when it’s not in use to seem innocuous if the authorities ever get a hold of it.


But what’s actually recorded onto this tape is meant for certain ears only. Each track is a list of secret code words expressed over secret synthesizer tones, all of which form an elaborate codebook. When words and tones are transmitted to those in possession of Be Linear, they can use the tape as a cypher to interpret messages. These messages are likely of the life-and-death variety, alerting agents to enemy movements and actions. I can confirm this – since this tape has arrived in the mail, I’ve already received a voice message of synth pulses and carefully intoned nouns that, when compared to Be Linear, alerted me to the fact that I’d left the stove on after heating up some leftover pizza at lunch. This tape has already saved my life!


Or maybe I’ve said too much.


So whether you think this just a complex piece of performance art or an indispensable tool for the freedom fighters still at it behind enemy lines will likely determine whether or not you should even be in possession of this thing. If you fall into the former category, your instructions are to burn this tape as soon as you finish reading this “review” (bleep bloop).