Saturday, June 30, 2012

Vague Fears Permanent Record & Architectures I-IV cassettes

Vague Fears
Permanent Record & Architectures I-IV
VF (self released)

I was quite excited to check out Vague Fears based on the name alone. Something about that name along with the artwork just struck a chord with me. The two cassettes that I received to review are both a bit different in sound but both equally interesting. The first tape, Permanent Record, is mainly in the noise/drone genre of things. Subtle and minimal soundscapes that sound completely bleak and a little sad. The use of textures to move the audio is well executed and the bit of melody that may appear sounds almost like a ghost. The second cassette, Architectures I-IV, is much more of a dark wave, electronic, lo fi no wave type of thing. Simple drum machines, strained guitars and synths, creepy sung vocals all buried beneath a wall of fuzz. It's pretty awesome. It reminds me of a what Cold Cave was doing on their early cassette releases before they got all polished and accessible. It's pretty killer. 
     The artwork and design for both cassettes are excellent. Simple and effective typography along with some iconic artwork. The poly cases aren't my favorite packaging but it is done well. My only real issue is that the tapes are much longer than the music so you get a ton of blank space after the music has come and gone. Otherwise it's solid.

     Would I buy these? Yeah. (DJ)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Folter "Tactical Dispute" cd

Tactical Dispute
Baby Smasher Records

From the cover art, which appears to be a low resolution picture of Nazis, to the distinctly military stencil fonts, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect from this. back panel promised “Fried to the core and over exposed textures resulting in relentless minutes of insight and meditation from the war tragedies taken on by the U.S. soldiers. Sound pretty brutal right? There is definitely a theme here, and it’s unfortunately not horsies. 
     “From the Depths of of endless torture comes the beating, unbearing walls of sound from the depths of hell”. That was the rest of the back panel, sorry I didn’t mention it earlier. This record is apparently really deep, and  a “wall” is exactly what I got. This is record is harsh. harsh enough to make my teeth rattle, and give my testicles crib death. It’s also kind of boring.  Aside from some all together too on the nose samples (hint: army guy stuff) I found myself surprisingly bored, especially on subsequent listens.
      Unless you’re trying to convince your neighbor to call an exorcist, I can’t really recommend buying this record. The art is really starting to piss me off, it’s both black and white, and blurry.I appreciate that this is the cheapest way to go, but the blurry Nazis are starting to offend my palette. You could put a swastika masturbating on a red cross nurse with an eye wound on the cover and I would be less offended by the art than I am currently. If this were one of the cd’s you find laying on the urinal at shows and it wasn’t too damp, or if I were really mad about jews, I would probably snag it.

Introducing Riley Scott.

So I have added another writer to the fray here at Dead Formats. His name is Riley Scott and he has been writing on the interwebs for awhile now. You can check out some of his past and current work at Seattle Pulp. He will be posting reviews as often as possible.

Lasse Marhaug "The Great Silence" cd

Lasse Marhaug
The Great Silence

This may be one of the most ironic titles in awhile. Lasse Marhaug, both recorded and live, is not about the great silence so much as he is about building a great wall.  Although in that there is a great silence, an unspoken and often yearned for silence. For his noise to be so brutal, loud and destructive your mind almost needs to contrast it with the moments you have truly noticed silence. On a boat in the middle of the ocean at night, camping on a mountain top, hiding in a bombshelter, orbiting the planet… anywhere that you noticed the absence of sound would suddenly feel like a refuge, an oasis in a sea of overwhelming distortion. So maybe that is the Great Silence. Either way, this is intensity and is made to effect you. 
      Visually it's pretty simple. Simple body text with a big chunky distressed display type that was hand distressed instead of just being a font. Nicely detail that you always notice even if you don't notice. The cover is a man, I think Lasse, having lunch on a log next to a lake with an empty rowboat waiting on the shore. Maybe I was right about the Great Silence.

      Would I buy this? Lasse did it, so yeah, I  wouldn't be able to help myself. (DJ)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Owwl "Dark Places" cd

Dark Places
Utech Records

This is drone. When people say they love drone they mean this. This is five tracks that sprawl well over an hour and create a massive, gorgeous piece of modern drone. This sounds like organs and accordions somehow never losing their notes, slowly weaving in and out to create texture and tone out of the air. This is the music of forever and you really bathe in it more than you listen to it. Some people cannot understand the appeal of this type of music. They feel it's monotonous and boring but this music is like an ocean, it can look monotonous on the surface but if you are willing to dive in you will experience something fantastic and alive.
     Visually, like all Utech releases, this is amazing. Keith Utech knows typography and restraint. He also has excellent knowledge of the grid and for this I am inspired and thankful

     Would I buy this? Of course.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rainbow Lorikeet "Fractures" cd

Rainbow Lorikeet
Debacle Records

I have mentioned my love for Debacle Records and all they release before so I won't go into it although you should check out their first 12" that just came out. Crucial…  Anyhow, Debacle Records is quite eclectic in its releases; you get noise, drone, black metal or electronic depending on the release and it's all held together by Debacle's strong sense of musical taste. This record falls more into the electronic/beat driven area of their interests. It has a vibe of some of DJ Shadows more laid back tracks but with some more bent synth sounds that come off as almost noise. Maybe comparing this to Boards of Canada meets Autechre would be more appropriate. It's hard to say as this is a genre that I really don't know that much about. I am sure there are more accurate comparisons but of what I do know I think this deserves to be right up there. All I know is that is is good. 
     Visually it's kinda weird. Hot pink and kelly green are always a stomach turning combination and with the reverse of that on the inside you get a double punch of that. It actually works pretty well but it still makes me feel a little ill. The typography is pretty good but the font chosen with those colors hurts legibility a bit. It has the look of something that was designed in photoshop instead of indesign or illustrator and that can cause some issues are the images that seem to pop up. Although sometimes in the printing those things can occur. 

     Would I buy this? On looks, maybe, but the sounds are good enough that I would definitely look for this had I heard it on the radio first.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fear Konstruktor "Gitche Manito" LP

Fear Konstruktor
Gitche Manito

I have put off posting this for a long time. I am not sure why, I think I was a little intimidated by it. It's beautiful, both inside and out. Fear Konstruktor has been doing amazing pieces of noise/drone/experimental for awhile and this is a nice addition to that quickly building discography. This is the first record in FK that I have heard that makes use of field recordings in a starring role. Every track is made up of field recordings of birds with some real minimal synth accompaniment and some effects. It's awesome to listen to. I love when people make use of field recordings in this way. You get a lot of sounds that you would have never found on your own by just twiddling knobs on your analog synth. It's really the handling of those sounds where FK shines though. It's an excellent record that is only slightly eclipsed by how awesome it looks.
     And that is pretty awesome. Sealt makes a habit of making very cool packaged records in very low numbers. This record is from an edition of only 90 copies but it is packaged in a burlap sleeve with a craved wood FK logo adhered to the front. The craftsmanship is extraordinary and very inspirational. 
     Would I buy this? Yes. 

Harmoos "Future Punks Chain" cdr

Future Punks Chain
Lava Church

Fairly interesting freak folk psychedelic from Lava Church this time around. I dig this quite a bit. Lo-fi and oddly recorded it has just enough precious emotional but also this cold detached feel to make the songs seem very real to me. I guess there is some sort of Ariel Pink meets Death in June by way of a Sunday swap meet record find in there if you need a description but I think this is well worth hearing if you care about that stuff. Maybe a bit Devendra Banhart if he didn't have that weird voice that you can't tell if it's awesome or a total put on. Like you wonder if that is how he orders fries… I wish you could hear my impression of that right now… anyhow, Harmoo is pretty damn good. 
      Visually it's pretty rough. Not horrible but rough none the less. It seems like a big arts and crafts project that got out of hand. Someone with a minimum sense of graphic design did a pretty good job organizing a million bit of type on the back but it screams 1994. Hmm. They may actually have a pretty good sense of graphic design but they just love that 90's look. If that is the case, bravo, but I would like to see a little space on the back of that. Not everything jammed into all four corners. I guess I have talked myself into thinking this is not that bad actually…  Maybe it's rough but in a pretty good way.
     Would I buy this? Surprisingly, yeah. I think I would. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shattered Hymen/Hate Basement/Hadals/Fantasy Island 4 way split cs

Shattered Hymen/Hate Basement/Hadals/Fantasy Island
4 way split cassette
Tapes of a Neon God

Tapes of a Neon God is pretty much like that label Handmade Birds in that way that way need to buy every single thing that they put out because even if you haven't ever heard of it, it's amazing. This four way cassette has been played about 27 times in my house since I received it. I had never heard of the first two acts on this cassette and to be honest, with names like those I wasn't expecting much. Serves me right that these are fucking brutal and intimidating. Let's start with Shattered Hymen, possibly the worst name but the most surprisingly amazing bit of work. Harsh noise and smashing glass make up most of what you hear. There seems to be some really fucked up vocals buried, possibly literally, beneath what sounds like a constant waterfall of glass and static. It's awesome. Hate Basement deliver a huge hit of HNW that starts with some almost minimal hits of guitars being destroyed or maybe bed frames being dropped off a roof. Hard to tell but it's killer. Fantasy Islane and Hadals I knew were already going to be great from the last tape of theirs that I reviewed. These tracks are no exception. Hadals starts off the most restrained of all four. Some quiet building drones with subtle accompaniment from a quiet chorus of voices. This quiet is then disturbed by high pitched noise and some of the saddest and scariest distant vocals I have heard in a long time. It's heartbreaking. Finally Fantasy Island gives a horrendous dose of harsh noise. With a name like Chris Brown you know this track it will be unnecessarily brutal and not give a shit about your well being. It's insane and glorious.
Visually this is wonderful again. Tapes of a Neon God always understand how to design and use type in ways that are both beautiful and legible while still being fucked up and dark. Disturbing cover photo of some self mutilation and clean san serif fonts. Gorgeous. 
Would I buy this? I would. You should. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Anro "Dark Path" cd

Dark Path
Utech Records

Utech Records has yet to release anything that is not both aesthetically pleasing and a total gift to the listener. Anro is absolutely no exception. This sounds a bit like classical Japanese and Chinese music with a touch of modern tensions and form. The music is so spiritual in nature that I can't help but feel slightly cleaner from having listened to this. Droning strings, slightly drunken flutes, Noh type chants along with a chorus of slight howls and raised voices paints a landscape across your forehead. Like a procession of ghosts traveling to an afterlife that no longer exists. It's sad and beautiful. 
Visually it is simple and stunning. I would never even have the audacity to criticize something that Keith Utech designed. His handling of type is impeccable and the production of his cds is tops. 
Would I buy this? Yes. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Breakdancing Ronald Reagan "The Anti-Thurston: Complete" cdr

Breakdancing Ronald Reagan
The Anti-Thurston: Complete
Baby Smasher 

So I did not have high hopes for this one. It looks horrendous and contains a song that is as long as a cdr will allow. Just over 77 minutes. I put this off for awhile too just because I couldn't imagine listening to this in one sitting. Right now I am making tapes though and I decided to give it a try. I am a little shocked at how much I enjoy this actually. This is so varied and strange that I can only compare it to walking through a shopping mall built entirely out of fucked up music, tripping balls.  It starts with a sample of a 911 call about a woman stabbing her child and that kinda bugs me but it immediately falls into this nice rhythmic noise that drives you forward. Then it builds into more straight up noise and sits there for awhile, fucking with you. As the cd goes on it jumps around. Sound collage, krautrock, drone, psychotic Andre' Popp style music that sorta sounds like "christmas cats" , some sort of weird sampled 80's music as heard from the trunk of a parked car…  it's totally fucking strange. You end up with some more samples but it's not too bad. Overall the audio is real strong and I wouldn't have guessed it because…
     It looks fucking horrible. Lame art, terrible design and really slapped together packaging. That in itself is an aesthetic and I know some people really go for that but it's not something I would ever grab off a merch table. Limited to 30 copies.
     Would I buy this? It sounds so interesting but looks so crappy it's hard to say but I think the music is winning me over. Yeah, fuck it. I would have to be pretty drunk and the girl selling the merch would have to be very beautiful but in the end, I would recommend this.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Apophallation "Popular Music for No Purpose" cdr

Popular Music for No Purpose
Lips Infection

So the packaging on this kinda overwhelms my opinion of this right off the bat but more on that later. 
The audio on this thing is almost entirely fantastic harsh noise. There are a few samples here and there but overall it's huge thick waves of harsh noise. The times samples are used it totally works as a jumbled decaying sound collage. None of that Exorcist III creepy old lady talking before a wall of static tries to scare me. There is something similar in the way of a sample on the third track. A woman's voice is heard saying "…it's kinda too late for that…" but it's more odd than anything and works as a period at the end of a noise sentence. This is weird and awesome…
     Speaking of weird. The packaging is nuts. Hot pink and green dominate the layout. The artwork looks like its right out of Reddits' /r/fifthworldpics. The color choices of the amray cases and inserts are fantastic and I am jealous. Well done. 
     Would I buy this? Yes. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Story of Rats/Hellvete split cs

A Story of Rats/Hellvete split cs
Eiderdown Records

No surprise here but this is amazing. First of all this is an excellent follow-up to last years' A Story of Rats 12" on Eiderdown. Amazing, haunting, psychedelic drone work from Garek Von Druss but this time he is joined by James Woodhead (At the Head of the Woods) to create something brilliant. I am very pleased to have heard this one and I am a bit envious. Something really special happens when Garek decides to record. Hellvete is also in a similar world of drone but this is a bit more constant. It's direct, unrelenting and bores right through you. I would put this up there with Birchville Cat Motel. I really enjoy this.
     As far as looks go this is wonderful. Cartoonist Max Clotfelter illustrated the covers and hand lettered the credits and it looks awesome. I can't be happier with this one. Nicely screened by Broken Press as well. A lot of love here.
      Would I buy this? yeah. Right away. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lightning Path "ashre-{2}-Yuggoth" cs

Lightning Path
Brave Mysteries

This is a trip. A long, long trip but completely worth it. Brave Mysteries has been putting out very quality cassettes for quite awhile; Horseback, Rose Croix, The Mumber Toes, Etc. Lightning Path is no different. This is a full length album on cassette that moves in so many different directions and moods that you almost feel as if you are spending a week in a teepee sweating a vision out instead of sitting at your desk sweating out your lunch. It's a bit psychedelic but not in the way you might think… It's actually quite hard for me to explain. The name has a Lovecraftian vibe that I think is appropriate as well. Maybe this is the lullaby that is keeping a great beast below the waves. I don't know. The noise, the guitars, the half shouted obscure vocals, the quiet buzzing drones and harsh shakes of noise. It's confounding and beautiful. I don't know what else to say other than buy this. 
     It looks weird. Weird in both a good way and a ugly way. The cover is one of those slightly naive yet spiritual paintings you see homeless people on Haight st. trying to sell. It totally works with the strange outsider music you hear but the computer work on this is hampered by some awful purple textures. It's unnecessary and I sort of want to redesign it. Oh well. It's a killer record.
     Would I buy this? I would totally buy this. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Food World/Clang Quartet "Aeon" cs

Food World/Clang Quartet
Bicephalic Records

Holy fuck this is awesome. I have been missing noise like this. Intense and blistering right from the get go. I am not sure where these acts are but they both have this awesome midwest, Hanson Records vibe. Food World starts this off with a live track (which I love live noise tapes. They seem like a real artifact. A document of that precise moment that cannot be duplicated. I guess Deadheads would say that about live Dead bootlegs as well… hmm). Anyhow, It's good and noisy as shit with this excellent and unexpected subtle part that is kind of blowing me away right now. The last thing you hear is "set them on fire!" shouted from the crowd. I want to know what was going on. Clang Quartet just got done touring with Acid Mother's Temple and is piloted by Scotty Irving. It's a one man, harsh noise, percussion, performance art thing that I  think you should really hear very soon. It's very strange. Lot's of drums and noise that play off each other and ton of space. I really like that part. It's great.
     The tape is bright green with a colorful abstract painting across three panels. It's nice, clean and simple. Good work.
     Would I buy this? Yes. Do it. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

K. Stoukalin "Органы и механизм" cdr

K. Stoukalin
Органы и механизм
Self Released

Right off the bat there are a lot of samples. In Russian, so in a way that makes its a bit more palatable, but still this is sample heavy in the beginning. Each track on this sounds as if it is a new version of the same song. The noise is very piercing but it feels kind of lazy. Not in a bad way but you have these brutal high pitch tones just sort of sauntering on by. This doesn't really have a lot of intensity to it for me. None of this makes it bad, just off putting and maybe that means it's a success. I think there could honestly be a little more restraint on the filter knobs of whatever synth is being played though. You kind of get that new-guy-making-noise-thing happening where the knob is being twisted a lot back and forth and just kinda sounds like he is testing his equipment and not performing or creating with it. There are some sublet uses of percussion throughout that sound pretty cool and break up the crazy piercing tones but it doesn't really do enough to make me ignore the too often samples. If it wasn't' for the samples I would still have some issues but I would be more engaged for sure. Although Russian is a gorgeous language.
     It looks pretty DIY and punk. Strange bit mapped art on the cover and some wacky type treatment of the cyrillic text. It's not horrible but I am not that into it. 
     Would I buy this? No.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Wolf Fluorescence "Bath House" cs

Wolf Fluorescence 
Bath House
Tycho Magnetic Anomalies

This is one of those cases where you really shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. When I get to the "cover" I will explain more but let me just say that the audio on here is really good. Super dense drone soundscapes that are nowhere near the creepy metal side of drone but more on the gorgeous waves of melodic static. It is a quite wonderful selection of audio. Absolutely gorgeous.
     One the other hand it looks horrible. The tape itself is in a handmade slipcase that is poorly cut and glued, the text on the front is done by hand and it actually looks like it would have been pretty cool but the artwork, the handmade text and the text on the back looks like they were emailed over in a jpeg that was at 72 dpi, maybe, and then enlarged and printed. It's terrible. The cover of the j card is actually fine, it is a simple vintage looking photograph of roses. The inside is unfortunately pretty tragic. Bad type used poorly. I know how hard typography is, I can't look back at everything I have done in even the past few months and be proud of it all, but it's absolutely something you really need to learn if you are going to design. It's not pretentious in the least to adhere to good typography. It's actually there for other people to not notice. It's there for legibility. That is not to say that this is the worst type I have ever seen on a tape. I have seen worse today in fact, but this reminds me of one thing about packaging. It can either look like something you worked hard on or something you made when you stayed up too late one night. 

     Would I buy this? Probably not, and it's a shame because I would be missing out on some excellent music. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Some upcoming issues

I would like to take a minute and say that although I have missed a few days in the past week I plan on keeping the one post a day going for as long as I have things to review. Based on the pile of stuff I still have yet to review, that will be awhile. Unfortunately, I am having an issue with my heart that is at the moment unexplained but will probably be fixed sooner than later. I hope. It's causing me some pretty crippling chest pains and making getting through the day a little difficult so occasionally I may miss a post or two. I will do my best though. Second thing to mention, the reason I have been a little more critical than some of you would care for about the aesthetics of these releases (cassettes specifically) is that I am in the process of putting together an art book of cassettes. I have the title and some sample pages ready and I am right getting some pretty high profile people to contribute their releases and forwards to the book. As things get closer to confirmed I will let you know but some of the beautiful things I have received over the last couple years will definitely make it into the book and I may have some questions down the line for some of you. If you have any questions please let me know but I think this is going to be pretty amazing and really highlight the effort that many of you put into making your releases something to behold. Thanks.

John Butcher, Jerome Bryerton & Mike Khoury/Bacakzkowski & Sack Duo split cs

John Butcher, Jerome Bryerton & Mike Khoury/Bacakzkowski & Sack Duo
Split cs
House of Alchemy

Two sides of completely destroyed free jazz. First side is from a live recording on the radio with an audience and the second was recorded in a studio of sorts. Both projects definitely fit in the same genre and approach the same ideas musically. Sort of in the same way they would if they were both doing HNW. The best description I can give for both of these acts would be to say that it sounds like taking jazz apart the way it came together. Primal, broken and haunted. It's pretty beautiful and completely noisy. It doesn't care about time signatures or keys it just cares about stirring the pot until tiny bubbles of pure jazz spatter across your ears. Some may find this too bizarre and maybe even a bit annoying but i think it's quite impressive.
     Visually I don't really get anything from it that implies what I may be about to listen to. In context it just seems a little throw away. It's fine but it's not blowing anyone's mind the way the music might. This is one of those cases where I think someone could have tried a little harder.
     Would I buy this? It's hard to say on this one. I guess if I really had to answer that I would say no but maybe. Very torn. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Gnaw Their Tongues/Corephallism split 10"

Gnaw Their Tongues/Corephallism
Split 10"
Lascivious Aesthetics

I have mentioned this before but this record really falls under the sub category of records I feel horrible about listening to around my two year old daughter. I know if one day, when she is grown up, she becomes some sort of psycho killer or black widow I will probably tell an aging Anderson Cooper that I have no idea why my daughter is on a kill crazy rampage but in the back of my mind I will probably think it's all because of Gnaw Their Tongues, Blue Sabbath Black Cheer and Actuary. The Gnaw Their Tongues side of this record is probably what you are expecting but that is only if you are expecting scary, dark and twisted industrial sounding noise, doom, filth. It's terrifying as always and well worth listening to over and over. This is my first exposure to Corephallism and I was wondering who would compliment/juxtapose Gnaw Their Tongues' insanity. What I found was something that actually does both. The two tracks from Corephallism have an underlining drone of beautiful swelling strings and synths. On their own these could both be solid tracks but then there is a constant destruction of these tracks that completely elevates them to a new level of anxiety and tension. I am very happy to have found this one. 
      Visually it's simple but really perfect. Nice simple design with some creepy photos of bound breast and dead looking legs. It's slightly disturbing enough to realize that after I die and my daughter has inherited all my records she is going to find this and think, "yup, Pop was a creep". The typography is pretty cool. The upside down cross on the cover is maybe a little obvious but it still looks cool with the san serif font (maybe Cassius Sans). It's solid.
     Would I buy this? Yes

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sleep Sessions/Areyfu/agit8 "Restrict, Suppress, Censor " cd

Sleep Sessions/Areyfu/agit8
Restrict, Suppress, Censor
Now This

This three way split from Sleep Sessions, Areyfu & agate is 11 tracks that makes about 50 minutes of totally fucked noise. Right off the bat I am trying to figure out if this is a split or a collaboration. I think it's a collaboration. The cd does seem to be divided into three parts but I think those parts are more narrative (Restrict, Suppress and Censor). It's a little hard to tell but what I can tell is that this is a really well done piece of experimental anti music. The noise is intense and dense but there is a lot of silence to add just the right amount of context and contrast. These artists, David A Kowalski, Michael J Ellingford and M.D. Bailey respectively, really seem to know what they are doing around a pedal board. This is recommended.
      The looks of this is pretty cool. The artwork and design are nice and messy. A creepy heart painting with a fence/frame thing behind it. The typography is wrong in a way I totally enjoy. Crazy kerning and a strange grid make for some interesting design. The actually sleeve itself is a little strange. it's obviously punched out of a bigger sheet and has these little burrs on the edges that seem a little weird but put it in a plastic bag and all will be well.
     Would I buy this? Yeah. It's good. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Stuart Chalmers (Tusk) "Myths and Beasts" cs

Stuart Chalmers (Tusk)
Myths and Beasts
The Lows and Highs

This is pretty damn cool. Stuart Chalmers certainly loves his tape loops and what better way to celebrate it than with a cassette that uses the format all the way up the the listening. Side A is tons of noisy, droning sounds mixed with fragmented tape manipulations. Stuart Chalmers' music has a madness to it that I love. The B side to this tape is side A backwards. I know he is not the first to do this but it seems very relevant to this exploration of magnetic signals. Good work. 
     The visual side of this is weird. A strange still for a movie I think of a child with his hand on the shoulder of some sort of monster thing. It's pretty cool looking. The type is fine, nothing amazing but it works well enough. Any points they may have lost in a sorta of boring yet acceptable layout are pickup back up when they decided to screen print the labels that go on the cassette and then stamp them. That is a nice detail that was totally unnecessary. 
      Would I buy this? Yeah, I guess I would. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Rainbow Body "Metatron's Cube" cs

The Rainbow Body
Metatron's Cube
Self Released

Gorgeous. I use that word a lot, and it's usually appropriate but never so much as now. Matt Kattman uses guitar and effects to create massive pieces of drone, noise and soundscape in a way that almost melts my heart. Fans of Eluvium would be encouraged to take note here but it doesn't sound exactly like that. A little more raw, repetitive and harsh. Noise breaks up swelling waves of orchestral sound, tiny glitches in the fabric of a drone peak through here and there…  it's excellent. 
     Visually it's very simple yet it works nicely. Full color cover made up of a collage of sky shots and simple typography on the inside. Note: The case did arrive to broken and I decided to leave it. Not sure why...
     Would I buy this? Yes. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Planning For Burial "Quietly" cs

Planning For Burial
Tycho Magnetic Anomalies

I wasn't really expecting this. Psychedelic guitar and vocal driven music with a lot of fuzz all over it. Minimal drum machine, organs and music that is a just little loose around the edges give this a bit of a Earth feel but with some buried vocals. One track is just straight up guitar with some quiet singing. It's not bad. The tape has a slightly warped feel that adds a nice warmth. Overall I would say that music is pretty good. I would like to hear more and I think it could be tightened up a little but it's pretty solid.
     The look of the tape is great. I really like the scribbly, abstract cover art and the type is pretty tasteful. This label puts these little obi style strips around the cassette itself that has all the pressing info which is cool but I think a stamp would look a little tighter and be more effective, but it's still pretty cool and at least you don't' see it very often. Limited to 55 copies. 
     Would I buy this? Yeah, I think so. 

Note: I will have new photos soon. Sorry for the mix up. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

nxfxtxex "Tcm-359000v." cdr

Shit Music for Shit People

This cdr is broken up into four tracks. The first is a twenty plus minute track of cut up tape loops and manipulated field recordings. It's close in style to Mixed Band Philanthropist but it's really kind of a mess instead a dense sound collage. Lot's of stopping and starting, no real context to anything. It doesn't feel intentional. Almost like someone kept leaving the room as they made it. The following tracks are more straight up noise and it's pretty awesome followed by the final track that also sounds similar to the first track but a lot stronger. I would say 75% of the tracks are very solid but that first track is just really not doing it for me. 
     The art and packaging are so crappy looking that I actually like it. The text  is heavily pixelated but it goes along perfectly with the MSPaint style artwork. The text is too big but in that way that old video games looked sort of horrible with monster text in center placement. It's not something I would pick up if I saw this at the record shop but now that I am holding it I think it's kind of charming.
     Would I buy this? Probably not. 

Note: I used someone else's photo because after I reviewed this I put it somewhere around here and I can't seem to find it. I need to be more organized. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Luca Sigurta "Sanair" cs

Luca Sigurta

This is another gorgeous drone cassette that I have the pleasure of reviewing. This is very traditional in it's approach to drone. Subtle shifting waves of tone that move and swirl around each other. It's very beautiful and ethereal. Clean, clear and immersive. Not much else to say. It would be better if you could here it. 
     It looks pretty much how it sounds, simple and beautiful. Lovely pictures and a nice bit of type. The modern/transitional style typeface (Bembo?) may be a little high contrast for how small it is printed. In other words, the thin parts of the letters are a bit too small but it still works. The only real issue, and it seems way out of character for the rest of the look is that there is an "a" and "b" on the tape that denotes which side is which but it is handwritten on a tiny piece of paper and then scotch taped to the tape. It's terrible. A blank tape can be better and once i removed these little eye sores, it was.
     Would I buy this? Yes.