Friday, July 10, 2015

Hex Horizontal—Influx II: The Isthmus cs

Hex Horizontal
Influx II: The Isthmus
Geweih Ritual Documents





This is why people buy tapes. To hold something this awesome. I almost don’t want to review this so much as I want to rant about the value of physical objects but I’m not really in the zone so instead let me just say that you should look at this. Take a minute. 




The printing ideas here are fantastic. The designer, who is clearly very skilled, has a really strong knowledge of spatial relationships and understood how to make this tape, the tape itself, look like a three dimensional image using two separate planes. The J card is transparent and all the information is fit perfectly as to not get in the way of the cassette. Well done. The art is beautiful and the design is just top notch. Bravo.  The audio on the tape is by no means taking a back seat to the artwork though. It adds its own weight to the artwork by being totally fucking bonkers. Guitar, drums and oscillators make a cacophony that you will hopefully find as disturbing and relaxing as I did. It’s great. Nice work people!


Trepaneringsritualen—Konung Dómaldr Vid Upsala Hängd lp

Trepaneringsritualen
Konung Dómaldr Vid Upsala Hängd
In Solace Publishing



So now you have another label to start buying everything from, In Solace Publishing. This is Kevin from Sutkeh Hexen’s label and with his taste level and design skills this is going to be an excellent venture. The first release is a reissue of an amazing cassette that was on Merz Tapes a couple years back. This release, which I think i reviewed originally, is haunting, unrelenting and brutal. It has been a huge inspiration to me musically and I hope it will be to you as well. Trepaneringsritualen may be a name that no one has ever successfully pronounced but their/his whole catalog is just amazing. Find it and grow. 


Visually it is great. Solid typography and a killer illustration. No real frills and that’s good. This is just solid music for people who dig quality. 

Mytrip—Empty 7"

Mytrip
Empty
Amek




Wow, this is great. Really beautiful and sophisticated drone contained on a tiny 7”. I think my only wish this this release at all was that it was about two hours longer. I’m really glad to have heard this. Drone seems to be slowly falling out of favor with some people but this really raises the bar. I hope you can all find this and realize that any of that other shit we are into is fine but drone is still the closest music to describe human emotion and experience. The design is simple and clean. Very minimal type and that works perfect for this type of thing. They don’t even list the label information. Kinda ballsy. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Labels!

Hey, I am not good at updating the labels section to the right there. If you want to be included please send me an email with the label name and the website.

Thanks!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Pleasure Curses—Pure Lust cs

Pleasure Curses
Pure Lust
PGR

just noticed the crack in the case... crap. 



This is pretty cool electro-pop from a group I have never heard of. It sounds like something that a girl who would never have anything to do with me would really be into. It is definitely made to fuck to. For that I am pretty into it. 

This looks great. The colors are perfect and the design is really solid. My only tiny issue is the tiny type. I think this was designed to be a cd or something larger because I have a hard time thinking anyone would intentionally have 2pt type in their layout. Still it’s one of the best and simplest designed tapes I have reviewed. It makes me think of Jessica Walsh and I really like Jessica Walsh. Her design of course, not just her epic beauty.

Amalgamated—Solvé et Coagula cs

Amalgamated
Solvé et Coagula
Aubjects



Amalgamated is great! I had a cd of theirs to review as well but before I could write about it I lost it. Dammit. It may show up somewhere in the rat’s nest (I actually have a ridiculously clean apartment but my daughter does like to hide things) but until then let me first say that you probably can’t go wrong with any Amalgamated release. This one titled Solvé et Coagula, which may be the hundredth album titled that, is a serious journey. Remember how rad Snowpiercer was? Going through all those great train cars that all have a unique sound and theme. That is very much like this record. It feels like you are moving through something. This is what I love about tapes. Tapes sort of demand that you sit and listen all the way through. You can’t just easily skip tracks so it’s best just to enjoy the ride. You will with this.

The concept behind this one is great. I like the oversized case a lot and there are a bunch of little details that rule. It’s very “crafty” so it’s not very professional and the execution of some of the elements can be a little sloppy but it’s still pretty cool. There is a massive booklet of artwork inside that goes very well with the audio and a strange collage/decoupage of stickers that make up the label. It’s cool. I wouldn’t mind seeing this exact thing with some nicer printing as the dark text is very hard to read but that’s really just nitpicking. 

Strngl V/Pelktopia—Noosphertilizer III cs


Strngl V/Pelktopia
Noosphertilizer III
Aubjects



Okay. This took me a minute to realize this was a split but it’s pretty killer. Strngl V has this odd quiet/noisy thing. It sounds like there is a small, exploding gathering in a village beyond the mountain you are climbing over. It’s actually quite beautiful in it’s crashing and swelling. Pelktopia is really similar which is cool but I was wondering if it was just the same artist. It’s also great though. Lots of subtle rhythms driving through wash of sound. This has an almost avian vibe. Like this could deb how birds dream. It’s weird but good. 
The layout is cool. The font isn’t the most readable but it makes a nice display type. They could have probably used something like Helvetica or Akzidenz Grotesk for the smaller type but it’s cool. Like the other Aubjects release this also has a booklet filled with excellent artwork. These are the kind of things that make people actually want to own your releases so I salute them for that. This is a nice package with quality throughout. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Peter Kris—Sprawl and Sky cs

Peter Kris
Sprawl and Sky
A Giant Fern



Well, goddamn.  

This is exceptional, which I expected from half of German Army, but I am pretty floored by something I never realized up until this point. Peter Kris is a really good guitar player. I want to dip that last sentence in some fitting hyperbole but I think the matter-of-fact nature of it needs to come across first. Peter Kris is a really good guitar player. There. I typed it again. I am actually feeling like something in the world has shifted now that I have heard this. I don’t know if I can just walk to my print shop after typing this and not have my whole day be sort of colored by this cassette. I mean this in a good way but I actually feel like there may be some minor shock setting in. I want to type and type and type until I can get through this. I actually have another Peter Kris cassette to review but I think I need to hold off for a couple days. I need to sit down. Right here. For a few minutes while I collect my thoughts…


Sisiutl/noisepoetnobody—Darkness and Mountains cs

Sisiutl/noisepoetnobody
Darkness and Mountains
chittenden jones industries



This is what a marriage between a modular synth and a hurdy gurdy can sound like. It’s beautiful. It sounds like the music we might hear if we intercepted a Voyager spacecraft from another world. It’s strange and alien but it is also familiar. We may be a little wary though because this music might imply something very strange about this new civilization and we may find this a little frightening. 

The layout is great. Noisepoetnobody always does a great job of bending the constraints of a traditional layout. It’s pretty great. 

Filth—Psychic Voyeur cs

Filth 
Psychic Voyeur
Worthless Recordings





I love Worthless Recordings. Another great label in a string of good labels. This release from FIlth isn’t my favorite but it has something really great going for it. The whole thing is made up of noise and beats fighting. To the death and the whole thing was apparently done live with no overdubs so even though what I am hearing isn’t really my thing it’s pretty damn impressive. This is almost like listening to some sort of sound gymnastics at the tenth annual Apex Twin olympics. It’s a feat for sure. I think it’s just a little long for me. Tracks of this type feel like they should be no more than a couple minutes. In and out. Leave them scratching their heads and not covering their ears. Either way I would recommend you pick this up if it’s still available and check it out for it’s technical ability alone. 

New Mother Nature—2 cs

New Mother Nature
2
Sophomore Lounge



Yeah, okay. I can get with this. It took a few songs for me to get into it but it’s pretty damn good. I’d say that if you just love Bonnie Prince Billy you will find a lot to like on this release. Not to say it sounds really like BPB… just… sorta… at times. It’s really a mix of a lot of different things. I hear some Dinosaur Jr., a little Murder City Devils, some Neutral Milk Hotel, a touch of Husker Dü and maybe something like old Built to Spill. It’s actually pretty hard to nail down but it’s not bad at all. The tape is a little long but I think making it through will make you pretty happy if anything I listed above sounds like you would dig it. 

The packaging is the lovely arigato pack from stump town printers. The design is pretty solid but the printing job seems a little slap dash and not in an intentional way. I’d see to that…

Black Love—Soundtrack for Black Power (81/08) cs

Black Love
Soundtrack for Black Power (81/08)
Self Released




I’m not totally sure what this is. It appears to be an old video game on cassette like I played when I was little but with a sticker over it and repackaged as the source material for a noise show that happened a few years back. It sounds like it would have been a killer experience and I wish I could have seen it. This tape itself is fine but knowing that it was part of something much more spectacular makes me feel like I am missing out. I feel like I should just post photos of the whole thing so you can get a grip on it. It looks cool. I love Cooper Black. Here you go! Black Love:






Ryan Huber—Astor cdr

Ryan Huber
Astor
Inam Records



Someone, someday is going to have to reissue the entire Inam Records catalog in a massive LP boxset. It’s all so good and every release is an edition of 25 copies it seems like. The most recent thing I have received is this Ryan Huber cdr. It’s a homage to texture that combines drones with sounds that seem both comforting and anxious. No track ever gets too long—which is usually something experimental artists have a hard time with—and every track is totally unique in it’s own way. Seriously the only real shame is that not everyone who’s ever paid too much for a Wolf Eyes lp on eBay is snatching these up the second they come out. 

Looks great. Inam Records has always done a great job taking minimal, inexpensive packaging and making it look like a million bucks. There is a small typographical issue with the numbers and song titles on here and maybe an issue with type size but these aren’t such huge flaws that they bring down the overall aesthetic of this. They just need to get The Elements of Typographic Design and memorize that book and all that will be sorted out.

Ryan Huber—Abiff’s Gaze cdr

Ryan Huber
Abiff’s Gaze
Inam Records



Inam records has never steered me wrong. I should say that I have had this one for awhile and I apologize about the delay but I am glad I got to this. Apparently this is a commissioned work to go along with an exhibit at the University of North Carolina that was shown in the Rowe Arts Gallery. I really wish I could have seen the exhibit itself with the audio because I can guarantee that I would dig it. This audio sounds like loneliness building of a wall in a cave…and it’s great. It goes for sounding depressing to having an almost mania behind it. It’s quite well done.

Looks great as always but I bet it makes a lot more sense in context to the piece. I guess I would have loved a few photos of the exhibit. Sorta like that Stephen O’Malley/Atilla Csihar 6°Fskyquake cdr they did for the Banks Violette pieces. Just a little more context would have been nice. 

Meridian Arc—Out of Stasis cdr

Meridian Arc
Out of Stasis
Broken Press



Another excellent synth exploration from Seattle’s Meridian Arc. This is very similar and maybe a companion to his last release but this seems to be a little more immediate. It’s seven tracks and it’s very much a full record that I am sure will find it’s way, along with it’s brother, onto vinyl in the near future. The tones on this are just dying to be etched into a beautiful black record. This is the stuff of John Carpenter’s dreams and it will probably be of yours as well. Excellent work.

All Broken Press releases now have this really cohesive look and are expertly screen printed by Andrew Crawshaw, the mind behind Meridian Arc. You almost have to own them all. 

Hadals/Japanese Women/Pleasuredome/Pornagraphy/Settlement—Split cs

Hadals/Japanese Women/Pleasuredome/Pornagraphy/Settlement
Split
Tapes of a Neon God




Finally TOANG #1 comes out! I know how that feels. I still have a bunch of holes in my Dead Accents’ catalog numbers. Anyhow, this is an excellent split by all these bands that are of the TOANG stable. Except maybe Settlement might be making a first appearance. I think this is my first time hearing them. I think my readers know how I feel about all these bands. They are all great and especially on here. Many people through their bunk songs onto compilations and splits (see. Great Falls) but everything on here is one of the strongest examples I have heard. The Hadals tracks is a huge, sad adventure, the Japanese Women song is one of my new favorites with an ending I am totally ripping off, Pleasuredome might be debuting here as well but I have heard them before and this is just as epic and lush as anything else, Pornography is seriously heavy in the way that Toadliquor is heavy and also has a part I am going to steal and Settlement didn’t really have me until near the end when you there is a departure from a long, winding guitar peace to the sound of someone’s dog going crazy before someone or maybe that dog, starts going bananas on a floor tom. It’s super crazy and it’s great. The layout is nicely done but the type should probably have been a pt or two larger. I can barely read anything and the yellow on white with line through it is basically impossible to see. Still, it’s awesome… of course. 

U-731—By All Means cd

U-731
By All Means
Black Plagve



Very dark, very bleak and a little disturbing. This project gets into a deep slow moving darkness right off the bat and stays with you for the whole record. Dark Industrial releases like this have to hit me in the right mood but today it’s doing it. The vocals are heavily effected but the performance behind them feels very real. This doesn’t feel acted. Most of tracks seem to have a fade in which does make me feel like this is less of a focused album and more of a collection of songs but the songs themselves are cohesive yet still unique from one another. It’s a solid release for when you just want to feel horrible. Well done. 

The cd is solid. The design is something you’ve seen a million times before but I have no real complaints or suggestions other than I’d love to see these designers have more fun with the limitations of cd packaging. I am a bit surprised that people are using holocaust imagery on their records still. It basically has no effect on me whatsoever. It’s become pretty passé. Maybe if the imagery wasn’t altered or maybe if they had redrawn or painted the imagery to give it a more personal feel I could relate a bit more but photoshopping your logo onto the prison uniforms of war prisoners is kinda dumb. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Death Engine
Mud
Tapes of a Neon God


Death Engine
Amen
Tapes of a Neon God




You probably don’t know, care or remember but there was a singular moment when Botch got good. Or at least started on their path to getting good. One day they were covering Earth Crisis songs and then the next show they had a new set full of brutal songs that would end up being the framework for American Nervoso. While that wasn’t a record for the ages it certainly set the stage for a bright career and you know what the thing was that changed it all? The Acme 7”. That thing came into Seattle and all of us were completely blown away. I had been thinking that End to End was the heaviest, craziest thing ever (I mean, we all listened to Rorschach, Neanderthal, Craw and Today is the Day too…) but then that fucking record came out and we all shit our pants. It was new, it was good and it was made by guys like us. Normal hardcore kids that had weren’t scary or mythical to us. The fact it was European too was also a mind fuck. In the early–mid 90’s there was barely anything decent coming from Europe. Refused wasn’t good yet and about the only bands that were any good were Godflesh, Raw Power and Manliftingbanner (I know there were others but we didn’t have the internet and I was/am pretty ignorant about some things.) So, anyhow, how does this relate to Death Engine? Death Engine is as powerful and brutal to me as that Acme 7” was when it came out. The music sounds like it’s just about to completely fall apart while still being played flawlessly. Though it has elements of Botch, Anodyne, Converge and whatever you want to drop in there it has it’s own approach that is completely unique. I’m trying to think of all the problems I have with the bands I just mentioned and while all of those bands have huge issues in certain departments (Botch was a little too up it’s own bottom, Anodyne was too singular, Converge plays too much for the audience and not the listener), Death Engine really has none of those. It’s epic and heavy and really fucking good… The full length MUD is my favorite record from a “traditional” rock band this year. It takes off from the EP and introduces us to some really bonkers ideas. It’s huge and it doesn’t give you an inch. Songs never get too long in the tooth and they never show off their amazing ideas they just play them and then they are done. Nothing seems self-indulgent. It sounds great and they even get into some pretty out there songs near the end. Especially the title track which stands out on it’s own but fits the album as a whole very well. I am going to beg them to take Great Falls on tour of Europe. I need to see this every night. The layouts are great. As conventional as the song writing there are elements to the artwork that seem wrong-headed but ultimately work out amazingly. Also, the actual cassette shell for Amen is one of the coolest shells I have ever seen. 

Lazlow Pigeon/Jim Gizzard—split cdr

Lazlow Pigeon/Jim Gizzard
split cdr
Meat hearth Enterprises




So I was a little surprised by how good this sounds. The layout, which is pretty bad, really made me this this was going to be very low-rent. Lazlow Pigeon is kinda in the Death Industrial tip. It’s very dark, creepy and textured. It’s not bad at all. The first track is really excellent and it stays up in quality through the end. At the end of the cd is with Jim Gizzard. JG plays a wacky glitchy type of noise that in some circles is mother’s milk. To me it can be kind of annoying. It has this sort of Frank Zappa vibe to me and I’m more of a Captain Beefheart guy. Still though, it held me through the whole thing. I would love to hear more of what these people have to offer. The layout though. It’s not good. Sorry but first of all closing your cd with a “thinly sliced” sticker from the meat department is almost adorable in how "old-timey noise release" it is. Oh, you mean like people being thinly sliced?! Whoa, that’s bending the corners of my typical middle american mind. It’s just tired. The picture on the cover is some grainy black and white that I guess is supposed to be something spooky but the inside is a picture of a sad bit of nostalgia from Chuck ‘E’ Cheese and a picture of Col. Sanders in a coffin. It’s exhausting actually. Oh, and the word “Shred” is stamped over and over again on the cd. I think all the inserts are also printed on regular printer paper and had to be taped into place by whoever assembled them. It just screams "I don't care about this part at all" and that's okay. Just do a digital only release. you don't have to make a physical object. I love them and that's a big part of the creation process but if you don't are then just don't do it. It's cool.

Hot and Ugly—Somewhere Better than This cdr

Hot and Ugly
Somewhere Better than This
Self Released



This band sounds like a combination of Soilent Green and Sweaty Nipples.

Cool drawing. 


Teeth Engraved—Starving the Fires (pt. 1) cd

Teeth Engraved
Starving the Fires (pt. 1)
Malignant Records



Death Industrial usually goes really right or really wrong for me but this is a little different. It kinda lives in the middle somewhere. This album in general is quite good. Dark, moody, scary and it paints a really beautiful picture in your mind. Something lost and forgotten finally stirring from its ancient slumber. That type of thing. There are a few moments when it gets a little… well, it’s never really bad but it seems to lose focus a little. Some of the tracks are over long and some of the vocals kinda miss for me but I think the overall strengths of this album definitely make up for any shortcomings. My general complaint is the length. It’s not crazy long for an album of this genre but it just feels like if you are going to call it pt. 1 of something you should make us want pt. 2, not make us feel good that we made it through pt. 1. That is all. 

Packaging is cool, simple and clean. They could have done more with something as large as a DVD case but there are no real type crimes or bad art. It’s all very fitting. 

Dave Webb—Dalet cs


Dave Webb
Dalet
Ha Recordings





Dave Webb is known in Seattle mainly for the heavier acts he has been involved with. Girth, Wah-Wah Exit Wound and most recently Spacebag have all been blessed with his amazing abilities. He can play guitar like a mother fucker. By that I mean he can play very well. This tape shows just how far that can go. Dave is a very accomplished at playing blues and jazz as well which is very apparent on these guitar tracks. Calling them guitar solos would be appropriate as everything you hear, except a meow, is played form his guitar but they are actually more songs. There is layering and interesting effects that take the guitar into really interesting places. Dave’s ability is pretty much unmatched short of anyone in the city not currently playing in Master Musicians of Bukkake and I implore you to see him play live, especially with Spacebag—which by the way, contains the best drummer, Andrew Gormley, and the best keyboardist you will ever see play in your life, Luke Laplante. The three of them are unstoppable. I don’t have much to say about the cassette layout. It’s fine. It looks super 90s and I think I find that really charming. The type isn’t very legible but it really adds to the 90s vibe so that’s fine. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

German Army—Taushiro 2x flexi disc + a few more

German Army
Taushiro 2x flexi disc + a few more
Weird Ear







This is the best thing I have ever received to review. This is why I need to post these reviews. German Army is definitely the best band I have discovered in the last couple years and this release is my #1 of this year. Everything else I come across this year is going have a hard time even making it to #2. Anyhow, the music is wonderful as always. Super short tracks that know exactly when to stop. German Army has been called the new Coil and I can certainly hear it but they have something totally their own. These tracks are all like familiar dreams you have forgotten until you hear this. Good music, art, books, poetry can all take you close to infinity. These songs are that type of transcendence. They allow you to place your hand into the stream of time and be okay with all inevitabilities. Some are scary, some are comforting and some are mundane but all are yours and in that way they are all beautiful. That is pretty hyperbolic, I know, but I honestly think German Army will make you feel more at ease with your own death. 
Then there is the layout. Holy fuck-balls this is amazing. So much thought has gone into this flexi-disc release that it almost eclipses the music quality but in reality it actually lives up to it. Two flexis that live together in their sleeve that share letters so they have to be put together to read the names. Aside from that there are some random seeming letters but if you rotate the discs together you get another message out to the letters there. The sleeve cover is basically directions to do that and it could have looked kinda hokey but Sightlab, the designers of this sleeve, pulled it off in a beautiful way. I’m probably wrong but it looks like they used Knockout (bold and light) and Gotham as the fonts for this one which always look amazing together (just ask the USPS.) I wish I could work for Sightlab and I wish I could be German Army’s next store neighbor. I seriously can’t get enough…

And to prove that here are a few more German Army releases I have received lately:

German Army
In Transit cd
Dub Ditch Picnic



This cd collect a ton of previous German Army cassettes that are long OOP. Some of them are cassettes I missed out on so I am glad to have the tracks here. All excellent work, some of it stronger that others, but it shows a real strong progression although I don’t think the tracks are on here chronologically. Definitely one for your library. The layout is fine, nothing to get excited about. Some cool photos and some minimal type. I really do not like how the disc itself was handled. It’s weird and off-putting. It looks like the graphic you’d see before a 90’s stand up special. Still, overall, it’s acceptable. 


German Army 
Tassili Plateau
Field Hymns



Again, it’s fucking great. With a lot of experimental music you aren’t really able to judge the ability of the musician but you are really able to judge the taste level. German Army has a very high taste level. They know exactly how long a track should be and they always give you exactly what you need. It might not be what you want but it is perfect. I would like to go back and read my earliest review of German Army and see what I said. I am now a die-hard fan (and I am not a die-hard fan of almost any band, maybe Craw) but I wonder how I felt before this mania had take me. Anyway, the tracks on here are great. Some more synth type stuff mixed with some pretty rad found stuff. It’s like a soundtrack to the best movie only you have ever seen. The layout is killer. Yellow and red playing off each other and creating transparencies of orange here and there. It accompanies the music really well. 

German Army
Millerite Masai
Yerevan Tapes



More great stuff. I don’t even know what to say about this one but I should figure it out because I have one more to write about today… This is a little older. It sat in my stack for awhile before I was able to get to it. The opening track has this rad, sleezy future vibe that I am digging. This whole tape could easily be the soundtrack to the next Blade Runner movie and I wouldn’t be surprise. Somewhere in the near future German Army are becoming the next Daft Punk but without all the sex with underage girls. I hope when I get the Dead Formats podcast going German Army will be okay with me using their tracks as my intro and outro.
The layout is great. The limitations of the label’s budget were not evident in the execution of the artwork. It’s beautiful work and has the nice detail of all the songs on the cover instead of a more traditional layout. I love when people flip the script like that. Keep it up.

German Army
Clan Chieftains
Handmade Birds



Out of all the recent cassette releases from German Army this is the first one you must seek out. Handmade Birds do excellent work—they put out my cassette so there’s your proof—but this release is something special. The music on this one is a bit more complicated that usual. It really pulls from all these different parts of your own mind and brings you something completely unique and also familiar. It really is the soundtrack to all of our minds’ constructions. I feel with German Army that there is something pure happening. Something that connects us to forever. I am not a religious person but this could maybe qualify as religious devotion. I think I need to own everything by German Army. Now to just go back in time…

The layout is simple and relatively traditional but there is some really interesting contrasting complimentary color-play going on here. Yellow and purple aren’t exactly what you first think of when you decide to put together a layout and that is a really nice surprise. Joe Beres from Small Doses put this together—who was going to do a 3” for me, I will have to bug him again—and with that you know it is going to handled very tastefully. The type is excellent and the contrasting inside and outside are a nice touch. 

Japanese Women—A Solitary Vision 7"

Japanese Women
A Solitary Vision
Self Released




I really love this band. I think they make amazing choices when it comes to writing music. It’s heavy, it’s interesting and it brings me back to one of the best times in music. The Mid-late 90’s when you had Craw, Laughing Hyenas, Chokebore, Jesus Lizard, Archers of Loaf, Guzzard, Slint, Melvins and Today is the Day putting out the best records ever made.  Japanese Women would have ruled over those aforementioned bands like a benevolent dictator but the only problem is the less than amazing choices they make when they decide not to tour. I can’t really talk because I don’t really tour anymore but I’ve been around this and other countries many times and I am an old man now so I have my excuse. These guys need to be out there, dying slowly on the inside, and sharing this stuff with everyone. Anyhow, this 7” is fucking great. Find it from them and listen to it a whole bunch. It looks like the blueprints to a spaceship. It’s weird. 

Sissy Spacek—Horned Beast 2x7"

Sissy Spacek
Horned Beast
Husk Records




You have this right? I don’t even feel like anyone reading Dead Formats would have not bought this from Husk Records already. You know Sissy Spacek and you know it is always fucking fucked right? Seriously, this is crucial. This is the definition of blistering music. Insane noisy, grindcore, that doesn’t give even the slightest poo about your hearing. Even at the quietest volumes this will destroy you. Buy this today. Seriously. It’s too fucking great. 

Heavy Medical—Frustrations cs

Heavy Medical
Frustrations
Tapes of a Neon God



Heavy Fucking Medical. 

That’s what the name should be. It’s completely fucked and I really, really, really like it. Noise, vocals, bass, drums? I’m not totally sure what is happening but I know it wants to kill me. Never stop listening to this tape.

Anderson did the layout so it’s good. Don’t tell him I said that. 


Tim Cosner—Deadtech/Modernhomes cs

Tim Cosner
Deadtech/Modernhomes
Bonding Tapes



I just recently discovered Flying Lotus. I had heard a bit of his stuff on Adult Swim but I never picked up an album. So, for me, the genre is pretty new to me. I’m pretty into it though. This Tim Cosner is right tup there as far as I am concerned. Beats that border on abstraction. Landscapes of sound that are built on pulling things away instead of adding them. There is a lot of good taste on this album. Definitely one for the library. 

The design is pretty solid too. Nothing to really complain about there. The cover is well done and they mix a sans serif that looks like Eurostile or maybe an extended helvetica with some hand-drawn type. It’s simple and fitting. 

Nate Scheible—Rhetoric cs

Nate Scheible
Rhetoric
self released?




I feel like with a little research—which I am loathed to do—I could find out what other projects  Nate Scheible has done. I feel like he has to have some experience because this is really accomplished sounding. It is sophisticated and the sounds contrast in such a beautiful way. There are grumbling roars like wind in a mic contrasted with piercing feedback that fades into beautiful human voices. It has a sublet icelandic quality, whatever that might mean. Between the noise and really expert guitar playing—assuming he is playing it because it may be a found sound—there is a atmosphere you can almost feel when listening. The air gets a little colder and smells a little more fresh when this tape is being played. The spell is only broken when certain tracks almost seem to “change the channel” into a moment where you feel like a TV from the 1970s is crashing into your brain. In reality it is basically a masterstroke of experimental music and you really need to buy this. The art is fine. Not amazing but totally acceptable. Maybe it’s good to have such understated artwork as to not give away how good the music inside is going to be. The type is pretty good. Gotham? Maybe? I’m not a big fan of letterspacing the lowercase letters though. Jonsi gets away with it but that is in a logo and even then…

Rusty Pacemaker—Ruins cd

Rusty Pacemaker
Ruins
Solanum Records




Nope. I really don’t like this. I have listened to it a few times to try to pull something positive out of this. I just can’t find enough good to outweigh how much I dislike this. It’s performed really well and at times it can sound a little like Voivod if they went for a more melodramatic, anthemic type of metal but it’s really just not for me. First of all it’s full of guitar solos that are so self-indulgent they only distract from the songs themselves which could at least be okay but would probably still be a little boring. The singing. The singing just doesn’t work for me at all. There are some pretty rad death growls here and there which fit the music okay but mostly it's just these over-enunciated sung vocals. The vocals sing along with the music in the same way you might freestyle lines to your cat over a Joe Satriani song you’ve never heard before about how she is going to get food or how her poo is stinky. Then there is whistling. Oh, and some humming… Jesus Christ, I feel like this guy is fucking with me. This is all just the first song by the way. It gets a little better at times but really it just gets worse. Looking at the layout and reading the letter to the listener he writes makes me think that this guy might be really cool and knows a lot of amazing musicians and that's great but really the layout makes this seem more like he hired the crew from his local Guitar Center and had them all make a dark, gothic-inspired, metal record with him. There are so many logos on the inside of cd layout that I assume that might actually be correct. The layout itself is as much of an afterthought as the band’s name. I’ll stop here. 

Fukosei—3”cdr

Fukosei
3”cdr




I’m not exactly sure where this came from or who put if out but it’s pretty rad. If you woke up living on the Grid from Tron and had to work as a security guard at some sort of asylum for corrupted programs this is probably what you would hear pouring from the rooms. It’s insanity as represented by ones and zeros. The packaging for this is pretty meh. Dvd case with a 3” cdr is an interesting combo but there is nothing done to it at all. The cover is a simple black and white xerox, which can be fine, but it has almost nothing to it. It feels like something you’d find in a free bin. The music is great but you would probably never pick this off a shelf. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Meridian Arc—Phase I–V cs

Meridian Arc
Phase I–V
Broken Press

ignore my paint covered table


This is Andrew Crawshaw’s first foray into solo synth music and it’s pretty god damn good. It took me awhile to find the time to sit with this and listen and I have to say that I am pretty impressed. Andrew definitely has, over the last handful of years, really become quite fluent in synth music. He has an impressive collection of music that pretty much all of us should be envious of. This has been more than just diversion or entertainment for Andrew though, this has been an education. His work on this cassette is very sophisticated for a first release and I’m very excited to hear where he takes this project. Definitely think Klaus Shulze or John Carpenter. I should say that the second phase is when this release really starts to completely rule. You should check out this article in Seattle’s The Stranger for more insight. 


Visually it’s simple but very strong. The cassettes that Andrew is putting out now all have a uniform look and it’s awesome. The kind that makes you want to own all of them so you can see them all lined up when you have bought 100 of them. Anyhow, find this.

Faint Glow—Beneath the Ice Sky

Faint Glow
Beneath the Ice Sky




Now we are talking. I think I remember Faint Glow having excellent music but pretty lackluster packaging. This time around the packaging is not flashy or really expensive looking but it's truly beautiful. I really see and feel the care that was put into this. It has a painted cdr, and this heavy piece of watercolor paper that holds the cdr and wrapped in this painted vellum sleeve that has a lovely texture. It's very personal and I really appreciate this. The music is a form of feedback nurturing and it pairs really well with the packaging.


Troy Schafer—Rigid Oppression biz card cdr

Troy Schafer
Rigid Oppression 
Aetheric Records



Wow, I really dig Troy Schafer. This is the second thing I have heard from him lately and it’s also excellent. More explorations of objects and the noise they make. This sounds like it might be more of his violin work an dI need to hear more. Piercing is one of my favorite descriptors and it pertains to this quite well but there is something else. A sort of breaking-down sound that sounds like micro-erosion on an audio level. Does that make sense? Maybe you should just hear it.

The packaging is very simple but works well. The type is nice—although center justified text is really only for wedding invites—and the art on front is pretty cool. The only issue is that the insert is about 1/4” too small for the sleeve and that looks a little sloppy. 

Tanner Garza—Frank Goodish 3" cdr

Tanner Garza
Frank Goodish ep
Petite Soles



Musically this is pretty lovely. Even with the limited space on a 3” cdr Tanner Garza was able to slowly build drones and noise into something that sounds like it takes place over large expanses of time. It’s pretty sophisticated. There is this big sample type thing in the middle but it’s such a cinematic addition that I think it really adds to the experience.

The design on the other hand is a mess there is two separate covers basically that have nothing to do with each other. The both look cool but they absolutely do no belong together. The type treatment is really nothing but the logo is pretty interesting. It’s crazy enough that I had to look up “Frank Goodish ep” online to figure out what the project name was though. Not a big deal for someone who deals with black metal all the time but it’s worth noting. I’m posting both covers on this so you can see. I think a little visual cohesion would have gone a long way with this. 

This is the cover for the small sleeve that holds the cdr

Nundata+Visdomstann—Mitochondrial DNA 3" cdr

Nundata+Visdomstann
Mitochondrial DNA
Petite Soles



I’m a huge fan of 3” cdrs as a format. There are a lot of cool packaging ideas with such a small disc.  I’m a little disappointed that with this release they didn’t seem to take advantage of that. There is something to be said for down and dirty packaging. I don’t even mind that they didn’t even stamp the cdr itself but it has this “good enough” feeling to it. The art is fine and there is so little type that I can’t really critique the typography so there’s that. 

Musically it’s pretty straightforward brittle noise but it does have this relentless piercing sound that I find pretty pleasurable. There was definitely some good thought put into the audio. This was perfect for listening to first thing in the morning.