Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Champagne Mirrors—Extended Communication Technique cs

Champagne Mirrors
Extended Communication Technique

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

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.


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 


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Deal & What One Becomes

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 didn’t know how I was going to feel about this band at first but I should have guessed that I would dig it. 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
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. 

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

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"


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


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.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Pleasure Curses—Pure Lust cs

Pleasure Curses
Pure Lust

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

Solvé et Coagula

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

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

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

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
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
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
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.