Friday, June 3, 2016

Hoops—A Whiff of Spirits cs

Hoops
A Whiff of Spirits
self released



This is very intimate. This is like a small delicate noise diary. Little found moments, signal noise, tape manipulatios… they are seem so sweet and delicate. Yeah, delicate. That is what i would use to describe most of this. I like it. It feels like seeing a show in someone’s bedroom with just you and two other people you’ve never met. I’m into it. 

It looks pretty good. It has this faraway memory vibe that goes with the audio. The type is fine. Nothing to complain about here…


Alexandra Atnif/Constable Flavour—remix cassette

Alexandra Atnif/Constable Flavour
remix cassette
self released?




So here is another one from that Alexandra Atnif. This time it is a collaboration with Constable Flavor in which they remix each other’s tracks. Hmm. SO now we have two mysterious LA based artist making some pretty killer industrial, noise with some pretty heavy beats. It’s great. Definitely something you are going to dig if you can ever find it. The layout is rather simpler but it’s thoughtfully down with a good handling of the type. I appreciate that. 

Komissar Hjuler und Mama Baer—Leben Gesteingt Selektion cs

Komissar Hjuler und Mama Baer
Leben Gesteingt Selektion
Black Horizons



This is really, really, really, really, interesting. I don’t even know exactly how to classify this. It sounds like something that is built out of field recordings and very up close and personal noise and folk performances. I could imagine hearing this at a MOMA somewhere in conjunction with a beautiful art installation. Thankfully, Black Horizons did a wonderful job packaging this so you sort of get that. I still have a hard time describing this. I know it’s still available from the label so maybe just go get it. It’s really good. 


(i’m going to use the images from BH’s website. They look way best than my crappy pictures)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Lord Time—A Destiny of Death cs

Lord Time
A Destiny of Death
Universal Consciousness




I think this might be the final Lord Time release. Everything about it, the cover, the title, the tone… It all says, this is it. I feel bad I couldn’t get to this right after it showed up in the mail a handful of months ago because you may have missed this. I love Lord Time. In the world of bedroom black metal this is one of my favorites. I have paid plenty of my own money of Lord Time stuff and so should you. This cassette is probably the most beautiful thing Lord Time has ever done. There is plenty of brutal and blazing on here but there is a lot of pensive, sad and deliberate parts that really hold my interest. Parts that remind me of Klaus Schultz and parts that sound almost like a forgotten, tragic symphony playing to no one. The whole thing is beautiful. I hope you find it. I mean, I hope it finds you.

Sterile Garden—Miasma cs

Sterile Garden
Miasma
Obfuscated Records




Sweet. Sounds like player pianos falling into a quarry. I dig this. There are some moments of harsh noise and some more analog tape fuckery type moments. It’s cool. It has that vintage, canned sort of sound that I have loved forever. Nice minimal layout, fine type treatment. I am into it. Nice.

Harassor—Archives Vol. 1 cs

Harassor
Archives Vol. 1
Universal Consciousness




So this is pretty fucking raw. It’s boombox recordings of Harassor rehearsal which is mostly improvised. This isn’t a tape of them working on a part for any hour or anything like that but it’s still very much a rehearsal recording. There are some edits and it actually comes together as almost a study of the band. This is sort of the musical version of an artist’s sketchbook. Growing up I always loved when publishers would publish sketchbooks from Bill Sienkiewicz, Kent Williams or whoever’s comics I was really into at that time. This is like that. It’s pretty satisfying if you are a Harassor fan. Which I am. The tape looks great. Mine is the second edition and I don’t know if anything has changed but even though these are DIY they are still very much made with care to quality. Nice. 

Germ Class—s/t cs

Germ Class
s/t
Night People




I don’t know where the German Army people find the time. This is a new group with members of both Dunes and German Army. It’s been the best thing to listen to today while I trudge away at the computer, separating layers for letterpress plates. It is slow building, laid back productivity and I appreciate it. The layout is really simple but the type and art are fantastic. I think they are printed on a risograph. It reminds me that I need one of those asap. Nice work people.

Andorkappen—Columbarium cs

Andorkappen
Columbarium
Universal Consciousness




Fuck. This actually broke my tape deck. Well, the tape deck maybe broke on it’s own coincidentally but if I want to commit a logical fallacy here I can say that I can find no better reason than it breaking than this epic drone cassette. It’s awesome. Apparently made with organ and vocals on one side and then no vocals on the other. It’s cool. I think the vocal side is a bit stronger but I like that option. Very much for fans of drone or dark ambient. Maybe a touch of fucked industrial in there. As per usual for UC releases it looks great and is well worth finding. Good luck. 

Personal Best—Loaf of Bread Rising cs

Personal Best
Loaf of Bread Rising
Squid Records




Super weird. This is a more traditional band in that it sounds like guitars, bass, vocals and drums. The music is kinda in the art rock/noise rock vein. It’s a little devo, a little wire, maybe a touch of ween. It’s just strange and kinda fun. Not really my thing but i dig elements for sure. It kinda sounds like the weird songs I make up for my cat but played by people with a better grasp on what songs about a bad cat should probably sound like. The layout has a picture of bread on it. It’s so on the nose that I sort of have to respect it.

Behavior/Maxwell Genders—split cassette cs

Behavior/Maxwell Genders
split cassette
Squid Records




Yeah! This rules. Super noisy punk weirdness from Behavior is a total blast. Short songs that get in and get weird. Maxwell Genders is very different. More spacey synths and drones. Kind of has an evil Tangerine Dream feel to me. It’s totally good. My favorite thing about this is how it looks though. I can’t really place what it is about it but I love the art, type and the printing. Simple and solid. 

Ross W. Chait/Ian G. McColm—solo/solo cs

Ross W. Chait/Ian G. McColm
solo/solo
Pidgin Records




Minimal through and through. Loops and drones create soundscapes that are almost americana in it’s tone on the first side. The second is a bit more Eastern sounding and they are both really solid. The minimalism of the layout is pretty underwhelming though. I get what they were going for but it just feels kinda lazy. 

Amalgamated—trudge/slap cs

Amalgamated 
trudge/slap
Cave Recordings 



Great electronic experimental from this crazy group. I have dug everything I have heard of theirs so far and this is no exception. Really layered and full of good judgement. The songs on this are pretty long but they really pay off the longer you are in. It’s like a James Elroy novel. You are rewarded for your attention. The art is awesome. Great collage work paired with simple and smart design. Excellent. 


Alexandra Atnif—Mix.1. (c-90) cs

Alexandra Atnif
Mix.1. (c-90)
Self-released?






Not sure where this came from. Sometimes I get tapes in the mail with nothing on them at all. This demo came with a very small handwritten bio in broken english. Apparently this is a Romanian girl living in LA who is working on some crazy minimalist industrial techno stuff. It’s dark and horrifying and I sort of love this person. Of course I am though. I am a pathetic beta male who gravitates towards any woman with this much moxy. Anyhow, I don’t know how you will find this. The case and tape were completely covered in gray spray paint with some stenciled text on the J card and some random art inside. It’s pretty great and I hope you can find it. The bio said something about brutalist architecture and I get it from the layout. I guess go on a google hunt…

Peter Kris—Marshal South cs

Peter Kris
Marshal South
Geology




Another amazing guitar centered album by German Army’s Peter Kris. It’s so fucking inspiring. Every time I get something from these guys, whether it’s solo work or German Army stuff, I always immediately create music of my own. This time I recorded for a 4” lathe I’m putting out all because this tape is so killer. It actually creates it’s own music outside of itself. The tape is transcendent.  It’s what apologists always claim God is. That is what this is. It looks great. Simple, clean photograph and type layout. The type is killer and the whole thing is just fucking tasteful as fuck. 

Ural Umbo—II cs

Ural Umbo
II
Merzbild Tapes



Immediately you are hit with glacial wave after wave of concentrated beauty. Fuck I love this. This is why drugs are so wonderful. They take you to places that you can’t get on your own. Or are at least very hard to find on your own. This cassette has a whole world inside it and it’s such a beautiful, tragic and sometimes terrifying world. Go find it. 


It looks pretty great, of course, as all of their releases do. This I think is layer after layer of color xerox on transparent vellum. It’s pretty weird. The only think I would have done differently, but maybe it’s because I have access to this, is that I would have professionally scored the inserts. It makes a huge difference and allows the paper to bend properly. Maybe it would be hard though… I will try…

Telluris—S/T cs

Telluris
S/T
Suram Fortress




This is cool. Most of my long time readers will know how into anything from Hanson Tapes I am. They just have this beautiful boxed sound that I find haunting. This is right on the same level. This made me think of science fiction and human sacrifice. I like this a lot. Very simple handmade look to the whole thing that works very well. Good stuff.

German Army—Remain in Exile cs

German Army
Remain in Exile
Golden Cloud Tapes



At this point I feel like I am just bragging that I have all these killer German Army tapes. This one is also great. It still has those samples and layers that feel like on their own they would have some real interesting back story back played together they swirl into a new picture of an old place. I am struggling to find anything to really criticize. The layout is good. Maybe a little underwhelming I guess but not really. It’s good too. I guess I want to see more and more and more from them. Nah, this is all great.


Wound—Be a Sign in the Flow cs

Wound
Be a Sign in the Flow
Dokuro Records



I wanted to review this forever ago and wrote a bunch of notes on post-its on the tape. This was right around the time I was going to move to a podcast. While that is still happening I am still a ways away from being ready so I want to get this out as soon as I am able. This was pretty killer. My favorite post-it note though said “weird, glitchy noise. Bumblebee’s fever dream.” So I am going to go with that.


The layout looks a little like a rave flyer but it’s very competently done. There is a cool attention paid to bitmapping on the type that I find pretty interesting. Nice.

Sunken Cheek & Pearl Danger—Collaboration cs

Sunken Cheek & Pearl Danger
Collaboration
Unseen Force




Fuck, I love short tapes like this. Super focused collaboration that gets in and gets out. It’s so rare to have a collab go so smooth. Usually it takes everyone about 5 mins just to find the groove and another 30 before they get bored. This is great. The layout is killer xerox cut n paste that looks killer. The whole thing rules. Only 50 but hopefully you can find this. 

Corey Brewer—Pale Pink Prison cs

Corey Brewer
Pale Pink Prison
Broken Press




Corey is a wonderful human. He is also a wonderful musician. You may have seen him playing live with Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death which is one of my favorite band names ever but this here is Corey on his own. What does this sound like? Hmmm. Synth music with some low deep vocals that have pop meets Coil sort of vibe for me. It’s quite good. It’s put out by Broken Press. I don’t know if you’ve seen his tapes before but they all have a similar layout and all look great. I highly recommend getting a bunch of these and putting them together. It’s deeply satisfying. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Champagne Mirrors—Extended Communication Technique cs

Champagne Mirrors
Extended Communication Technique
SCRAPES




So this is the newer solo project of Alex from Oakeater. It’s really nothing like Oakeater but it’s damn good. Feverish electronic tracks that are unique and complete stand alone pieces all on their own. Often times with this type of music I find it to be a little… samey? If that is a word. It’s like someone comes up with a sound they like and they just ride that one thing until everyone is bored. Each of these songs are totally able to stick in your mind for different reasons. They are still completely cohesive and flow like a album should but each one is a treasure all it’s own. This is rare. I really hope Alex does more from this project. The packaging quality is really high as well. A nice black box with a small folded insert. The artwork is great as well. The whole thing is just well thought out. 

Charnel House—Voiceless Hymns cs

Charnel House
Voiceless Hymns
Auris Apothecary 




This cassette is a repress of two previous out-of-print releases, the self titled cs & Charnel House/Agakus split. I can see why they went out of print. This is thick, dark, wicked blackened bedroom drone that is dying to suffocate you. First off, it came in a screen printed cloth bag with a small jar full of bone fragments. This is great. Right away you know what you are getting into… or at least you think you do. Then it just buzzes, grinds and fucks with you. I figured this would be killer by the label (whom always has good taste) and the presentation and I was not wrong. This is great. This is evil. This is to be heard. 


SBTDOH—Butchers cs

SBTDOH
Butchers
Shrouded Recordings




Severe noise/drone from a band who’s name I believe is an acronymn for something. I could spend the review guessing. I guess I could probably check on google but we all know I am not going to do any of that. This is pretty goddamn wonderful, sloppy, dripping noise. The packaging is kinda crappy but in a way I totally dig. The insert and j card are basically cheap photocopier paper folded in a weird way to fit in a case. It seems slapdash but at the same time it has this kvlt feel that makes me think of guys making noise tapes while trapped in an office building. I like it. 

Two of the coolest things I have receiving in a long time.

TSPNTH
maybe?







So this showed up awhile ago and I can’t remember who sent it. It has a brother as well that I am reviewing here as well. First of all, this is what I am talking about. The packaging, the music… It’s all fantastic. I am really happy about this. Weird, handmade stuff like this is why I got into tapes so many years ago. The music is this meditative synth wonder and the package is bananas. It’s a tape (spray painted) in a cloth bag with a bead made from coyote bone and ocotillo. There are pieces of plants and a large fold-out drawing with handwritten infomation. Here is some of what is one there. First the info: “some of the paint I used was made with plant & other organic material. Matter collected in the desert.” On the poster I have some kanji and then it says A John. Rec 4/23–24/15. •Roland Piano 2k f 50–35 •Small & large wooden temple blocks •Amplified Bowl then it says TSPNTH.bandcamp.com but that url doesn’t exist. It’s a very cool package and kinda nuts. If anyone knows anything about this, please let me know. 

______________________________

The red tape?
not sure?










So this one is another amazing work of art. This one has another spray painted tape but his time there are jewels to let me know which is side a and which is side b. It is housed in a sewn fabric pouch with a glittery band holding it together. Inside is a small book that is made of many hastily cut pages. Most have writing or drawings on them. Here are some things that are written inside, the first are song titles I believe: 

1. The Further You Skirt Around the Edge of the Chasm the Wider it Becomes

2. Pure Land. Etheric Doubles 1. Goblins. Letitia. Etheric Doubles 2. Quail Cools it’s Wings.

Motas Vaeta Daries

Head of Golden Fire Neck of Air Ast Sa Neb Ent Kher Maten Matet Mountain with a Single Staff Atop 

Inspir

Sea Ensemble

 and some names.

It’s different and I love it. I am not sure exactly what I am looking at or listening to though. The music is varied. Some rythms made from sticks and bones. Some guitar work. Some synths… It’s pretty lovely. I’m lucky to have it. 

Astrokade—Memory Foam cs

Astrokade
Memory Foam
Kitchen Dweller



Did you ever hear FCS North from Seattle? They were great! This reminds me a little of this. It feels like a sort of electronic based collection of tunes but I think they have real drums. It’s pretty good. If you can’t tell I am not a giant fan of this stuff. I recognize it as being good and interesting but I’m not really the best person to review it. I had some other reviewers awhile back that were very well versed in this stuff but they were a little hard to nail down so all of you brilliant talents are stuck with a fat bald idiot saying, “This isn’t HNW. What is this?!?!?”

Looks awesome though. Nice layout and cool type. It reminds me a lot of that early 3D tank games where you had to look through the viewfinder when playing. Awesome. 

Ghost Miner—Shadows Factory cs

Ghost Miner
Shadows Factory
Out of Body Records




My coworker just said that this sounds less like a Ghost Miner and instead that someone is mining for ghosts. I tend to agree.

Tapers—Text cs

Tapers
Text
Already Dead Tapes



Well, electronic pop noise stuff isn’t normally my thing. This isn’t really an exception. I am sure I am not describing the genre correctly at all. Sometimes at work I here Neon Indian or Washed Out and this kinda makes me think of that. It has a harmonica on the first track though. That rules.


It looks pretty killer. Good design, nice type treatments… I dig how Already Dead makes all their tapes look alike. 

Hex Horizontal—Act Natural cs

Hex Horizontal
Act Natural
Geweith Ritual




Hex Horizontal is headed for huge things. These guys fucking kill it. This was recorded by Bob Weston and they couldn’t have picked a better guy to capture what they can do with a decent room. It’s so twisted and interesting. Bass/synthesizers and drums are all this is a guess but it sounds like a whole movement. Fucking killer.


This tape looks incredible. The tape itself is laser etched on what appears to be a mirrored cassette. The case is this killer little box I have never seen before with die cut foil labels on the outside. The whole thing seems important. This belongs on your shelf. Only 50. Grab one. 

Monol!th—Andromeda cs

Monol!th
Andromeda
self released



Holy shit. This is beautiful. A whole electronic album about stars that totally works. One of my favorite elements to this album is that it sounds a little canned. Like maybe this was recorded in the 70s. It’s really lovely. Like a dream you are trying to remember that was so influential on your life but you can’t quite make out the details anymore. Something forgotten that you still carry with you.


Great all the way around. 

Josh Lay—Dead cs

Josh Lay
Dead
5nakefork



Josh Lay deals in wholesale death music. This is just another example of amazing horror on magnetic tape. I really love this guy and about everything he touches. I hope you do too. If so he may spare you. 

The layout is great. The art is fucked and the type is so wrong that it works. Screen printed art work, which rules, on strangely sized J cards. Limited to 60. See if you can find this. It probably came out a hundred years ago.




Hot Fighter #1—untitled cs

Hot Fighter #1
Bob Heavens Records




Hmmm. I like Syd Barrett. You like Syd Barett. Hot Fighter #1 likes Syd Barrett and you know what? That’s just fine. This is a blast to listen to. It’s like being stuck in Nampa, Idaho and being invited to a party by a weird guy you met at Barb’s Tavern and ending up in a magical shouting music dream. I really enjoyed listening to this. I would not have guessed it from the tape layout itself. 

Sunken Cheek—Each Actual Other cs

Sunken Cheek
Each Actual Other
Prime Ruin



This is the soundtrack to my anxiety. The little horrors that I get all day every day that almost send me to the emergency room. This is what those sound like. I never know if this will be the time that it happens. Will this be a time I should try to get into a public place so people can find me in case everything goes dark? That is what this sounds like. For fans of Blue Sabbath Black Cheer, Hair Police, Wolf Eyes, Emaciator, and anything on Hanson Cassettes. I love this. 


The layout is all xerox fuckery and love. Perfect.

Ruby Block—Pleasureless cs

Ruby Block
Pleasureless
?



Super dark electronic. I kinda dig this. It sorta has that Vampire dance club on a quiet Tuesday vibe and I think that is great. If it sounds like I am poking fun it’s only because I don’t really know a lot about this genre to give it a more in depth review but I think Ruby Block is well worth checking out. I dig this. From it’s simple and super minimal layout (not even a label is listed) to is minimal beat driven darkness I am finding this very satisfying.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Okay... Fuck it.

So the plan was to turn this into a podcast. That is still the actual plan but I need to keep posting until I can actually get it together. So below you will find reviews for 4 recent things that I have reviewed. I will give you a few details about the format and shape of the podcast. I am hoping to do 2 episodes a month. I have a lot of ideas on the structure but I am hoping to keep it at or under an hour. I don't want it any longer than that. Each show will consist of a quick introduction/spiel. No longer than a few minutes. I will then get into reviews. I hope to do 3 per episode. There will be a little audio and then I will get into it. Some I will praise. Some I will pan. Some other may just cause me to ramble and I will try to edit those to the most interesting bits. I am hoping this will put us at about the halfway mark. I will then have a short interview with someone. Probably around 15–20 mins of chatting and then have them play about 5 mins of something unique for us. I have lined up some rad people so far. The show will end with something from the "vault" which is this giant box of cassettes that I was sent sometime in the last year that I haven't been able to review. It will be less of a review and more of a minute or so of sounds from 1–3 releases. After that I will do a quick outro and we will be done. Should be pretty tight.

In the meantime if any of you are interested I am currently a host on The Comic Roast which is a podcast dealing with comic books and the culture that surrounds them. I mainly talk about killing the rich.

Check it out.

Sumac—The Deal & What One Becomes cs

Sumac
The Deal & What One Becomes
Sige



By now you’ve probably heard of Sumac. A new 3 piece made up of the bass player from Botch/Russian Circles/These Arms Are Snakes, the drummer of Baptists and the guitarist and singer of ISIS, Mamiffer, Split Cranium, Old Man Gloom, House of Low Culture… Anyway, it’s really fucking good. As a guitarist myself I have to say that this music is somehow accessible and also incredibly complex. Almost deceptively so. The riffs are all amazing but sometimes they take these subtle turns and twists that just throw off the listener enough to reward one for being perceptive. I kept an open mind about how I was going to feel about these records but I pretty much knew that I would dig them. With players this good and taste levels so high I feel like things are just going to get better and better. Stick with this…

The layouts are gorgeous as well. Full disclosure: I printed the J cards to ‘The Deal’ on my 100+ year old letterpress. It came out awesome. 


German Army—Yanomami cs


German Army
Yanomami 
Sacred Phrases



German Army are always pretty great. It’s the best music to have on while you are drawing. This is no exception. Get everything and make your life better.

Animal Holograms—Phantasmagoric Menagerie cs


Animal Holograms
Phantasmagoric Menagerie
Custom Made Music



I’m never a big fan of when I have to look online to figure out what is the band name and what is the name of the album. When your hierarchy on your layout is off that happens. I guess the artwork for this release is pretty limited. Only 50 copies on what seems like it’s a pretty big deal so I can see why they probably didn’t care too much. Also, when you know what the band name is you kinda see a layout through a filter that I, as someone who had never heard of the band before, does not possess. That said, this is kinda rad. It’s not really my thing and it’s a little peppered with samples that are distracting and seem a bit dated but all of that aside it’s pretty good. They list some inspirations on their bandcamp and they make sense: Big Star, Deerhunter, Radiohead, Of Montreal… I could maybe add Dinosaur Jr, Mudhoney and Rose Windows to that list as well but maybe that’s just me. It’s pretty good if you are into that type of thing. I can find myself in the mood to relive my early 20s in 90s Seattle sometimes so I may come back to this.