Thursday, December 19, 2013

Josh Lay and Dread collabortive cs

Josh Lay and Dread
Husk Records

Josh Lay is basically the ambassador of bedroom black metal, at least for me. This collaboration is a revelation of dark ambient/electronics and black metal. There is a unnerving sense of pain throughout this recording. If you told me that the guys recording this tape were cutting themselves when they scream to get real anguish on tape I would totally believe it and then tell other people. That's how religions are made. It's dark and you should try to pick one up. Unfortunately there are only 50 and at press time there may not be many left. Good luck.

RJ Myato & Paregorik split cs

RJ Myato & Paregorik
NNN Coalition

RJ Myato does noise in a way that reminds me of how it all started for me. In my bedroom, 1994, making tapes for the one other guy that I knew dug noise. It has this harsh intensity that drove me to this weird genre years ago and hearing his work hits my brain like a forgotten scent. It's almost nourishing. Not quite HNW, not really that glitchy just good noise with a warm embrace of analog. I love his work and this collaboration is a great example of his work. I was not familiar with Paregorik before this, which seems weird, but it's also good work. The first side is the collaboration and the other side is a track from each. Well worth checking out.

The layout is very light on content but I have nothing really to say. It's fine. I would have loved to see a little more work here but I have, recently, seen much less effort so this is doing pretty well. 

Terminal Fuzz Terror cs

Terminal Fuzz Terror
Self Released

I haven't talked about these guys in about a year but they are still going strong. They recorded a full length that was released to both cdr and a super limited lathe-cut. It's pretty awesome fall-apart psychedelic rock but let's go to this tape first. I actually love the recording quality on this. It's maybe recorded on a 4 track but I wouldn't be surprised if this was just a boom box in a corner of a basement. It's super raw and dirty and says "recorded by Satan" inside. The Satan they are referring to is probably just a real guy wit that name. These dudes are pretty out there.

It looks how it's recorded. Spray paint and sharpie make up most of this "layout". Super low-tech but somehow it works.

Sutekh Hexen • Monuments of Decay 2xcs

Sutekh Hexen
Monuments of Decay 

I barely need to talk about Sutekh Hexen anymore. They are probably one of my favorite acts continuing to work to this day. They have excellent taste and a really good track record. This 2xcs is a great return to an earlier form for them. This reminds me a lot of the earliest cassettes. In it's sounds and length. Each side to this release is about 5 minutes. That does lead to the question as to if this needed to be two cassettes but I will never be bummed about short cassettes. 

It has that beautiful Belaten look that I am always impressed with. It takes a lot of focus to keep every release looking this cohesive. If you have seen these you know what to expect and you will be stoked. 



Before I talk about the packaging I will dive real quick into the music. It's fucking insanely good. Totally dark electronics that are good enough to define the genre. It's so haunting, dark, creepy and subtly aggressive that I could listen to this everyday in hopes that it kills me. It's really, really, really good. 

So I got the tape and it has no j card. The tape was pro-printed and imprinted but there is nothing else in this case. That may have been a mistake but I don't know. If it is intentional then why? I don't get why you would think this looks worth anyone's time. Maybe that's the point but I still don't get it. I would rather have seen a 3 panel j card made out of transparency in a way to say, "yup, no info here jerks." I could get behind that. I leave the possibility that I received a copy without a j card open but I just not sure...

Monday, December 9, 2013

Slave cs

Tapes of a Neon God

Eric Wood invented the term Power Violence. Rumor has it was to describe Rorschach. At least that is how I have heard it and I have since decided to believe it. If you know Eric Wood he gets pretty excited and a bit hyperbolic when describing music he digs. In fact he picked up Andrew Gormley from Rorschach onceapparently the same day he coined Power Violence—and yelled into his face that he was "total lee majors ankle!" So there you so. Eric is awesome. Anyhow, I loved what came out of the 90's power violence scene. Despise You ruled me life and I basically stalked any band on any of the Cry Now, Cry Later comps. I think I still have everything that Pessimiser/Theologian and Bovine put out and I still listen to it all. When I first put Slave in I was so stoked. This could have destroyed in 1995 but it still destroys today. Heavy, fast, pissed and nothing particularly metal about it. It's fucking great! If you love Despise You, Crom, Iron Lung or anything in that vein you will not be sorry. Buy this. 

Shoji Yamamoto • Shiiin cs

Shoji Yamamoto

For me Worthless has mainly been know for two things: excellent HNW and the entire audio track of killer movies on cassettes. They do those super well and I always love what they decide to put out. This  particular release is a little unusual for them because it is soft and beautiful drone but it is fitting because it's super fucking good. This has played on repeat all day today and I am in a much better place for having heard it. It's hard to describe but impossible not to love. Check it out.

The art is simple and sprawling, just like the music. The only issue with the whole thing is a typographical problem. Not a huge deal but I have to say something. When using all caps you must letter-space them. In other words you have to have some air between all caps. Capital letters in no font are designed to be next to other capital letters. They are meant to be next to lowercase so when they are crammed up together you get all these awkward spaces and uneven gaps. This is where kerning comes in. I could go on and on about this but I recommend everyone do a couple things. First, go to your local bookstore (not amazon) and buy The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst. This is the bible of type and although you won't retain it all—I've read it three times and still screw up constantly—you should have it as a reference. Second, whatever program you use for layouts start experimenting with kerning and tracking. I think everyone has been doing beautiful stuff in the last year and it's a joy to see but we can always do better… That rant wasn't really directed entirely at this release. This release has a total of 4 words on it and only two of those need to be addressed but I have been wanting to mention this for awhile. 

Lionel O • Mama Said Knock Me Out cs

Lionel O
Mama Said Knock Me Out
Golden Beast

I think the only thing I would have changed in this is the title. The title, while silly, is fitting because I have learned that Lionel O made this cassette for his mother to help her sleep. I love that. In fact I love the fact that this is full of love but that title is so goofy compared to the beautiful minimalism of the music, hand drawn text and the photo that it just stands out as a mistake to me. It's like at the end of a great film about a building romance that seemed like it was never going to be, where the lovers are finally able to be together forever and the man leans in and says "Your boobies rock". Or something. That said, this is wonderful. The music is fantastic and I imagine totally effective. Lionel O has a talent for sculpting his music and I am very glad that he has decided to share that with the rest of us. The cover art is a photograph of his mother as a child and in this context it is completely adorable and heartbreaking. The type is all drawn by hand which was absolutely the correct choice. I do wish that the text was a bit more legible but I think that it doesn't matter so much. All in all this is absolutely something you would be healthier for having heard. 

ReDeMeR • Recombinant Choascillation cs

Recombinant Choascillation
Not sure…

So yeah. This is super silly. I am not sure what I was expecting but everything about this is silly. So much so that I believe it has to be a joke but apparently it is an inside joke because I cannot figure out what is exactly going on. The music is that kind of music that college comedians usually make in their freshmen year. The type of song that you might sing in the shower when you're happy or to your cat when it wants to be fed. It's weird. The logo is super ugly but it looks like they put a lot of work into it. Each R is drawn in a 80's sort of thrash style and the every E is a backwards 6. 666. Get it? *sigh* The D and M are treated normally but with the box that wraps around the whole thing all I can think is that most of the typographical inspiration for this probably came from a Pep Boys. I unfortunately cannot find the cassette to take a picture. I honestly think it may have vanished back into the ether. 

Fear Konstruktor • Ball Metall cs

Fear Konstruktor
Ball Metall
Black Horizons

Yay! I love Fear Konstruktor. I gotta look that guy up again. His output is always amazing. This big emotional drones that threaten to envelope you completely. Really excellent stuff and this is also fantastic. You really can't go wrong wit any of FK's catalog. Find this.

The layout is great. Black Horizons is known for it's inventive packagings and this is an exceptional undertaking. It appears to be a normal cassette from the outside but inside the J card is a booklet of artwork and there are a few tiny, loose prints inside as well. Really well done. The printing method doesn't really lend itself well to the light weight san serif font but it still looks good, just hard to read. That would maybe be my only change in a basically flawless release.  

Noise Killer Meets Tree cs

Noise Killer Meets Tree
Lava Church Records

It's not bad. You probably know I'm not a huge fan of samples but this is one of those cases where it works pretty well. I wouldn't say this is as good as Mixed Band Philanthropist or Broken Penis Orchestra but it's okay. Some of the samples come off pretty slight and it doesn't fully work for me. I think if you love this type of cut-up noise you will probably dig this but it's not totally my bag. 

It looks okay. Not much to say there. There is kind of a lot of type and it's not handled super well… It's fine I guess… I guess I generally give this an enthusiastic shrug. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Blue Sabbath Black Cheer/Pig Heart Transplant cs

Blue Sabbath Black Cheer/Pig Heart Transplant
Meaning Corrupted


This is darkness. 

Both amazing acts constantly putting out brutal shit. When they collaborate like this it gets even more fucked up.  

You need to be a freak about both of these projects like I am. 

Good luck finding this...

Night Worship "Volume II: Asterism" cs

Night Worship
Volume II: Asterism
Vestige Recordings

This is one of those situation where i bet this is totally amazing live but something is getting lost in the recording process. I like what I'm hearing. Intricate, yet subtle guitar playing that conjures some really dark and brooding moods but it is so quietly recorded that I can't really hear it without turning it up and then it's losing something. Maybe just mastering would help out a lot. I really mention this because I run into this a lot with my own recordings. I have put out some poorly mastered things into the world and this is much better than more of what I have done so I feel I should qualify my criticism with that.  Either way there is some excellent playing on this. 

The layout is pretty cool. They have this black metal-esque logo that is nice but seems superfluous to the layout. The blacklister text conveys the correct feel but the black xerox on black paper is basically impossible to see. I kinda like it but you are going to have to squint quite a bit. 



I don't know too much about this release or how I acquired it but i'm pretty stoked I have it. Dark drones buried beneath broken piano lines create a unnerving experience for the listener. I don't have much to say other than I really enjoyed this piece. I would look for this one. 

The layout is simple, dark and really well done. It's done by Kevin Gan Yuen (Sutekh Hexen) so I know it was in good hands. The text is illegible or Cvlt if you will. Seriously though, excellent work all around. 

Paintings for Animals "Body ov Worship" cs

Paintings for Animals
Body ov Worship
House of Alchemy

Pretty much straight up drone from Seattle's Paintings for Animals. I've had the pleasure of playing with them a few times and the work has always been really excellent. This cassette captures them quite well. There brand of drone has a much more organic and reserved feel. I am glad to have had a chance to hear them recorded.

The layout is nice but the printing is pretty bad. I can barely read any of the text and that bugs me a little. The photos are great though and the overall design is well executed so I'm not really complaining.

Black CrUMbs/Tumult Lickers 2xcs

Black CrUMbs/Tumult Lickers
2xCS split
self released?

So this is odd. Black Cum has always had this weirdo/intentionally awful sort of vibe. This is basically electro-acoustical noise from Black CrUMbs, which I assume is Black Cum changing their name and doing something more abstract. It's not very good and maybe it's because I'm in a weird mood today but I am just not feeling it. I was sorta hoping for songs about eating babies and nazi dance parties but I didn't get it. I guess that's kinda shitty of me. You people aren't my monkeys and I guess i do appreciate that Black Cum is doing something new, in fact, the world is probably a better place with fewer songs about eating babies and nazis so I guess this is actually a victory. I should listen again. Tumult Lickers starts out with basically mellow guitar stuff. Acoustic guitar playing these spacey 90's sort of sounding Alice in Chains parts with a electric guitar beneath it adding little wah-infused licks and drones. There is also some field recordings that come in and offer some texture. Later you get these strange almost King Missile kinda of jams. I kinda like it. It's very different from what I was expecting. I admit I didn't listen to the entire tape but what I heard was pretty cool. 

The packaging and layout are awful. I can't tell if there is a label that put this out the bands each get a side but on the Black Cum—or Black CrUMbs—side all of the songs are listed. It's just makes no real sense and is bad design. There is a rubber cockroach inside though and that was fun. 

Fissures "On Frozen Wastes" cs

On Frozen Wastes
Worthless Recordings

This is a very inconsistent release for me. It's at times brooding and full of that beautiful anxiety I look for and at other times, it's just unfocused and kinda boring. I think the lack of focus really shines unfortunately. There's samples and drums and feedback and guitar playing and textures…  they are all fighting all the time. There isn't that sense of purpose that I find even in the most abstract HNW. When the acoustic guitar came in on the second side I was out. I would like to see a little more from this group. I get that sense that this is probably two guys that haven't been doing this very long. I bet it gets much better. 

The layout is fine. Nothing to exciting. I would have loved to have seen it without the fold lines printed on the spine. That was either a mistake or just a bad choice. 

La Mancha del Pecado & Culver "Collaboration 1" cs

La Mancha del Pecado & Culver
Collaboration 1
Matching Head

Fucking awesome. La Mancha del Pecado always has good output but this collaboration with Culver is brutal. A single sided cassette full of blistering drone that gets in and gets out. I'm not a fan of single sided cassettes. That kinda bums me out a little. I would honestly rather the program just repeat on the second side but every time I get one it's always real good. Thanks guys. I love rewinding constantly. 

It's not much to look at but it does it's job well. Packed in a resealable bag it has a line drawing of a beautiful girl in casual bondage with simple typewriter  text on the back. It works. 

Vomir cs

Forever Escaping Boredom

This is what I needed. Brutal HNW. This has that sort of blown speakers/hollow tree sort of HNW sound. I assume you have heard Vomir before and you understand how brutal this shit is. It's like a palette cleanser for a shit day. 

Simple layout with minimal text and information. I really dig the logo on the cover but aside from that there isn't much to talk about. 

L'Eclipse Nue "Because I Hate You" cd

L'Eclipse Nue
Because I Hate You
Dorei Recordings

I don't usually do negative reviews. I don't really have the muscles for it. I can be critical of elements of something but it's rare that I decide to write about something that I really, really don't like. In this case I decided to go ahead. That said, I really, really don't like this. In fact I don't think I have ever disliked something sent to me this much. It has some good parts; the logo is cool and the music by itself isn't horrendous. It's the vocals, the vocals ruin it. It teeters on rap most of the time. Sort of like MC 900' Jesus but way worse. There is constant singing. Whether it's being spoken or terribly screamed the vocals never seem to stop. I have to be in awe a little at how many words this person decided to write down and then sing. It's amazing in a way. The delivery of the lyrics are bad but the lyrics themselves are just horrible:

I'm dressed in my new uniform,
Neatly pressed,
Got the crest
of an eagle on my breast.
I don't care less
if you detest me,
Because it's my duty to serve and arrest.

He says this part, this chorus, about five hundred times. The parts that you think might rhyme do and it's worse than it sounds. I played this for a friend and he didn't believe this wasn't me fucking with him. That's how bad that particular song is: my friend thought I wrote and recorded an intentionally bad song for him. This song sounds like a punchline for one. It's also an awful ear worm that lays eggs and never lets go. I was singing it in the shower this morning and I got even angrier at the person who decided to perform this. I guess that's a victory for the artist. He did call the album Because I Hate You. Obviously he really does. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

New Mamiffer and House of Low Culture releases

Mammifer/House of Low Culture split cassette & Mammiffer "LIVE"/by way of daniel Menche cassette
Sige Records

Two really wonderful new releases from the minds of Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner. The first cassette is a split release from these two with two different faces, House of Low Culture and Mamiffer. Both projects are essentially these two but Mamiffer is definitely Faith's and HOLC is definitely Aaron. They are both so talented and lend so much good work to each other. I am rule inspired by these two. They live on Vashon Island just outside of Seattle. It's a short ferry ride and quick drive from downtown Seattle but it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere Washington. Like a small concentrated drop of Pacific Northwest. They seem to have channeled the intensity and beauty that is the PNW into their music and art—I have first hand knowledge of both—and it's almost nourishing for me. The first release is a split and the sounds move from distant chilling guitar accompanied by an all too present assault of texture to more abstract noise but with a real sense of shape and size. It's gorgeous. The second release is live Mamiffer tracks that have then been reinterpreted by Daniel Menche. I gave a past release of his a pretty poor review but make no mistake, this man is a source of so much inspiration for me. I saw him open for Massonna and Merzbow years and years ago and was totally blown away. he played tapes and a bucket full of rocks and it created sound that completely overtook me. I think he was the first to really capture what the PNW sounds like in the framework of experimental and noise. I highly recommend both of these releases. The packaging is perfect and beautiful. I am never a fan of having to destroy packaging to get to your media but this process—carefully removing stitches—was well worth it. I am constantly inspired by the time and care these two musicians and designers take with their work. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

So here's the scoop.

Things have been crazy for me lately. I have been working constantly, trying to raise my kids, teaching/assisting with letter press at the School of Visual Concepts, writing music in both Blsphm and Great Falls and trying to get things out through Dead Accents. I have also been trying to start a new career in graphic design. I've been a bit swamped. I'm also poor as shit, so the stress levels are through the roof. It's a crazy life but I'm trying to get through. All of this nonsense and not-really-nonsense-at-all is the reason that I have been unable to get many reviews done for Dead Formats. I am starting to get some more going though. This month I will do my best to get everything that I need to review up and ready to read. It's a lot of stuff but if you have taken the time to send me something I will take the time to listen and write about it. After this month though things are going to be slow. I don't want to say that I'm going to stop doing Dead Formats but I will definitely have to keep it way on the back burner. I will do my best to keep things going but it will be slow going. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

156 "A Life Lived as if in Hell" cs

A Life Lived as if in Hell
Out-of-Body Records

This title is apt. This immediately sounds like the anxiety attack of a man waking up to realize that he has died, hell is real and he needs to now spend the rest of eternity avoid torment. It's sounds of voices, drones and noise that are collaged together like a twisted radio play. I really like this. You should too.

Out-of-Body Records has a consistent look that I really appreciate. This is simple and nicely done. I could maybe knit pick a little at 156's logo or the choice of photo but I think overall it looks pretty awesome. 

Damn good release. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sunken Cheek 7"

Sunken Cheek
Prince of Mind b/w Husk
Torn Light

I have loved Sunken Cheek since listen one–as my past reviews will show–and this 7" is another excellent moment in this project's timeline. This happens to be the first piece of vinyl and SC has taken full advantage by pushing the grooves to their limit. This is, instead of deep, dark drones, some super harsh grinding feedback layered noise. It's still has the darkness but it's way more in your face. 

The packaging is awesome. Dark screenprinted covers with decent type treatments. There is also a giant xeroxed poster inside. It's a great package. Available here

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

303 Committee "s/t" & "Nine Angels" cdrs

Photos stolen from "a closer listen" because I can't get a good photo of these to save my life.
You should check out their review. It's way more researched than mine. 

303 Committee
S/t & Nine Angels
Inam Records

So obviously I haven't been able to keep up with Dead Formats that way I had been able to do over the last couple years. It's a shame really. I really enjoy doing this and I feel completely honored that anyone would think to send me anything in order to have me share my dumb opinion on it. I obviously feel so honored that I am  sent these pieces of people's blood, sweat and pedal chains that I often am pretty easy on most people. Or maybe it just seems like it because most stuff people put effort into is pretty good. Although I am probably pretty easy on people. I think I was born with an enlarged empathy gland. Oh well, I certainly don't mind likin' stud but I certainly don't think it makes me a very good critic. I wonder if I doing any good. The long and short of what I am getting at is that I am going to still continue Dead Formats but on this new inconsistent schedule. 
     Now to the music. 303 Committee is really super good. Seriously. I have been listening to these two cdrs non stop for months in my car now and I am actually pretty jealous. A lot of what i am trying to do in Blsphm is basically perfected by this secret duo. Dark, droning, grinding ambience with really disciplined field recordings. Both cdrs are way limited and way fucking good. The only thing I don't like about this project is the name. I just don't dig it (although I do like where it came from, it just sits weird with me) but the music is miles away from here and it's crushing. 

The packaging for both cdrs is great. Unusual cuts and well set type printed into vellum or card stock.  It's simple but really well handled. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Holiness Church of the Valley/Pornography split cs

Holiness Church of the Valley/Pornography
Spring Street Records

Did you grow up on a healthy diet of Ebullition and Pessimiser/Theologian records? You should have. You should have got to see John Henry West, Still Life, Grief and Despise You in an afternoon before going to a show that evening with The Locust (when there were 9 people in the band), Downcast and Crom. That should have happened for you because you would be just as miserable as me with the state of heavy music today, but that's another discussion… besides, those shows above never exactly happened that way, exactly…  Holiness Church of the Valley could totally be one of those bands. Like maybe made of of members of Orchid before they decided that they need to be as fast as they were ironic. It's mid-tempo to slow and heavy but in a very noisy way. Not really metal at all and I dig that. It also has this epic quality that Still Life had. Maybe let's say it sounds like End of the Line meets Still Life. Pornography is equally heavy but more in the Melvins/Toadliquor world. Sludge before everyone heard Khanate. It's not tuned so low that it doesn't matter what notes anyone is playing. It's low but not too low. It's slow but not too slow. There needs to be a full length of their stuff that I can listen to today. Simple packaging brings me back to a simpler time. Excellent. Find this. 

Zone Tripper cs

Zone Tripper
Forever Escaping Boredom Records

I was 15 in 1990. I went to the Alderwood Mall one saturday afternoon and wondered to the movie theater in search of something appropriate for a 15 year old. I saw the poster for Hardware and bought my ticket. I haven't seen Hardware since that day in 1990 but I remember a few things about it—there was Iggy Pop, fighting the extermination robot and something about a poison that smells like apple pie. The most important thing for me was that after the movie I ran to the record store and decided that I needed something that sounded like how that movie made me feel. I wasn't sure what to pick up but I settled on Arise by Sepultura. I was not disappointed. Zone Tripper, the noise trio, seems to have wanted the same thing but they decided to make their own Arise. It's a brutal, brutal assault of noise and samples. Samples used in a way that I can get behind, sparingly. The layout itself looks like it was done in 1990. In that I would say that it's not very attractive but it's very fitting. Definitely worth it for the time travel. 

Jackie-o Motherfucker "Hello" cs

Jackie-o Motherfucker
Handmade Birds

I have been listening to this cassette on repeat for about an hour now and I gotta tell you. I have yet to get sick of earring this. Jackie-o Motherfucker has improvised into many different genres over their long list of  releases. I'm sure you are familiar with them so I will not bother going into it all, but it's dense. This cassette follows them into a more free jazz type of world. Like Coltrane at his strangest or Sun Ra at his most destructive.  I would recommend picking this up right away and doing what I did—listen to it over and over and over. 

The packaging brings to mind the early 2000's—blank cassette wrapped in paper and sealed with a sticker you have to basically rip apart to get to it. It's worth it. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ogham cs


I will never get sick of this type of thing. Big epic darkened drone that is so minimal and full of depth that it feels like shit really gets intense when the sounds of chimes and metal pieces hitting on rocks comes in. It's huge. You felt like you could measure the sound with a tape measure as it fills your room. Fans of KTL, Blue Sabbath Black Cheer, or any dark droney noise the stuff will be mesmerized by this. 

Lovely type—what little there is—and beautiful textured artwork has all been screen printed well on the J card. It feel so nice to see good work like this consistently coming out around the planet. 

Birds You Once Knew "Synth Miniatures" cs

Birds You Once Knew
Synth Miniatures
Self Released

This is a sweet little cassette where the title of it actually describes the music. I think fans of Emeralds would find a lot to love on this album. That's at least where I am coming from. It kinda makes you want to dance a little and read something french. I would recommend putting this in the tip jar of a cute barista and then watch the babies just appear in the world.

The little slipcase that makes it look like a cassingle is pretty adorable as well. I would have gone a different way but it's downright adorable. 

Do the barista thing. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Jon Collin "The Great Stink" cs

Jon Collin
The Great Stink
Eiderdown Records

Jon Collin is a UK based guitarist who is know for his experimental, minimal guitar pieces, His work in Serfs and his excellent looking releases from Winebox Press. This tape is a recent release from Seattle's excellent label Eiderdown Records, which I believe I have put on that list of labels that you should just buy everything from. The work on this cassette is that type of minimal work I love. Where the music is almost a duet between the guitar notes and the room it's being played in. Really good stuff. Think Jack Rose, James Blackshaw and John Fahey but then ignore all that and just listen to this. It's in it's own little bubble universe and it's great.

All Eiderdown cassettes so far have had awesome textured drawings screenprinted by Andrew Crawshaw and this is another to add to the ever-growing gorgeous pile of magnetic tape filled artwork. 

Do not miss. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cadaver in Drag "Breaking and Entering" cs

Cadaver in Drag
Breaking and Entering
Husk Records

Cadaver in Drag is awesome. A really triply psychedelic noise rock free for all. The first track in this solid little groove that never ever ends and it's great. Later things get a little more minimal and bit more noisy at times. The last track is totally out of left field and I love it. It's actually a little varied and for that I also love it. This is a full length cassette so you are getting a serious chunk of sounds from CiD. This is highly recommended. 

The layout itself is okay. No huge complaint except I would like to see the text aligned on a grid with a clear hierarchy a bit more. It's almost there but not quite. 

Still get this right away. 

Muennich/Esposito/Jupitter-Larsen "The Wraiths of Flying A" cd

The Wraiths of Flying A
Firework Edition

So on that list of amazing releases that I shouldn't have missed until now, is this one. In fact, this is at the top of said list. This cd may actually be a fucking masterpiece and I feel shitty I sat in it for as long as I did. I'm pretty blown away. The sounds I this collaborative release are the definition of restraint. I think I have said that before but this raises the bar. Usually when you get noise acts together for a 3+ person collaboration all of the people jam a bunch of stuff together just to see what comes out. This is the opposite. The tracks on here are quiet distorted drones and loops accompanied by all sorts of sounds. Things like static bursts, destroyed tape manipulations, bells, and maybe the sounds of the sad, forgotten dead trying to sleep in a dark room. The record is haunting to say the least. It's my favorite thing right now. I imagine that if there is an afterlife mine will sound like this, sadly. Imagine David Lynch and Throbbing Gristle decided to illustrate the end. This is what it might sound like. 

The design and typography is impeccable. No complaints other than I wish it was in a different type of case other than a jewel case but whatever... This is essentially flawless. 


Sujo + Sun Hammer "Fistula" cs or cd

Sujo + Sun Hammer
Inam Records

The best way I can explain this album is with a short yet insane description: Imagine every morning you wake up from an unsettling dream only to witness the most beautiful sunrise you have ever seen. It is so uniquely beautiful because on this morning your planet Earth was fatally struck by a large asteroid. The colors and sky is nothing like you have ever seen or will see again. It's almost indescribable. The canopy of colors above is electric with it's blues, greens, pinks and reds. The clouds are scattering like soap twisting around a bathtub drain. Mountains crumble and start to slowly fall upwards. The world around you is uniting with the heavens and all of a sudden you see the stars. Millions of stars as your atmosphere dissolves and you find yourself slowly, and wonderfully drifting up into what was once a sky but now is just your new home. The loving eternity. Then all of a sudden it's morning and you have just woken up from an unsettling dream. You find yourself eye to eye with the most beautiful sunrise you have ever seen…  and it goes like this for 7 tracks. 

Robert Ridley-Shackleton "Splat is Back/Demi-God & Sex U Up" cassettes

Robert Ridley-Shackleton
Splat is Back/Demi-God & Sex U Up
Self Released

RRS is a strange duck. Strange in the way that I always sort of wonder what he might be doing on any given day and I imagine it's similar to an early scene from the Fisher King. This music is crazy. Good crazy but crazy none the less. The sounds range from lo fi noise pop to noisy loops of static and vocals to straight up free noise. The looks of these tapes are equally crazy: a spastic smear of ink or paint with elements of collage and photography. It's a really bizarre and very fun trip into the mind of a unique individual. I wonder what he is up to right now.

Sunken Cheek "unfit" cs

Sunken Cheek
Worthless Tapes

This isn't my first rodeo with Sunken Cheek. This cassette is a bit different than the last I heard though. Super subtle and quiet noise starts this little journey and ends with some piercing feedback waves. Sunken Cheek has some very interesting analog tones going on. I'm guess some synths and tape manipulations. It's solid.

The layout is supped slim but pretty appropriate. Dark textures with cut and paste text. I dig it. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Datashock "Live Love Data $" cs

Live Love Data $
Eiderdown Records

Lovely. Deep, lush swells with minimal percussion and vocals become a  psychedelic symphony. Listening to this is like watching Holy Mountain for the first time. Super wild. Reminds me of Circle quiet a bit and probably for a good reason. Eiderdown is one of those labels where you pretty much need to buy everything they do as you will not be disappointed. 
     Beautiful cover and handwritten text by Max Clotfelter which is worth purchasing this cassette alone. Hand screened by Andrew Crawshaw at Broken Press (the only printer you need to know) and professionally duplicated. It's pretty great. 

Marcus Rubio "h_h" cs

Marcus Rubio
Already Dead Tapes

This is a real pleasure to hear. I mean it. This makes me feel great and totally happy. This is beautiful looping music in the style of maybe Megabats, Fuck Buttons or Emeralds. I would actually say a super minimal Emeralds with tons of patience. Yeah. Whatever it is it's like falling asleep in a perfect stream on a perfect day wrapped up in a perfect life. 
     The overall design is nice. I am not a huge fan of these mini cereal boxes that tapes fit in (I know that's not what they are) but it doesn't really bother me too much. 
     I highly recommend hearing this. I should also mention that when I stopped this tape my three year old daughter protested until I played it again. I think I am going to be as familiar with this album as I am with the Wiggles "Bow Wow".

Spettro Family "Rio Lapis" cs

Spettro Family
Rio Lapis
Black Horizons

We are all very lucky that labels like Black Horizons continue to release excellent work like this. Labels become an extension of the label owner's taste. In this case James Livingston and specifically in this case you are in good hands. This is some very out there music. It feels a little 70's–80's in it's experimental vibe and that is awesome. A little Coil, a little Tangerine Dream, a little Brian Eno and a touch of Faust. Maybe… It's hard for me to say but it's pretty amazing all around. 
     The look is dark. Dark, dark, dark, dark, dark. Literally. There is almost no light reflected from this. It's super low contrast blacks and grays printed on vellum that when layered becomes almost entirely black. The case is dark red so that basically means you get this evil looking red case full of wonder. Dark, dark wonder. 

Raven "Atomic Garden" cs

Atomic Garden
Centipede Farm

The first thing my daughter said when I put this on is "Daddy, you're hurting my ears." So I feel like a bad parent but that also means this is a pretty killer bit of noise. I have heard a bit of Raven's work and it's always pretty sweet. Fans of Birchville Cat Motel with his piercing highs and grinding mid range noises will be very pleased.
     It's not a bad cover. Looks like a 12" from the 1970's converted to fit on a cassette. I can dig it. The inside doesn't really have anything to do with the outside though. THe font choices are pretty poor in that regard. Not horrible but not without it's flaws. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Nyodene D "Edenfall" 2xcd

Nyodene D 
Malignant Records

So this looks nice. It's actually 2 cds in digipacks in a foil stamped box. Inside the box are some stickers as well. It's a pretty sweet package. I know I usually don't talk about the packaging first but it's really the first thing that struck me. The artwork and layouts themselves are fine. They look a little 1994 in general to me—big Roman type that is all center justified mixed with photoshop flavored photographs of statues—but it's done well and looks very professional. It also super cohesive, which is good but a tad bit boring for how much you have to look at. Maybe I have been looking at too much Neville Brody and David Carson stuff lately but you can make this slightly 90's design still have some dynamics.
     The music is the same way. Pretty good. It's got a little Deutsch Nepal mixed with Throbbing Gristle by way of Godflesh. It's heavy, repetitive and driven by some seriously brutal vocals. Sometimes the vocals sound a little too effected for me but overall it's a good piece of work. Although, like the layout, this album gets a little same-note for me. I feel like the first couple tracks are brutal and destroy everything and then after that I can't really tell you what happened, it all sorta ran together. I think this would have been stronger if it had been shorter. This could have been two albums easily and I'm not even talking about the second disc in this box—which is a remix disc and it's pretty good as well. Not really my thing usually but it's pretty interesting. Anyway, Nyodene D is clearly a good project and I think I will hear good things in the future from this but I am not entirely sold on this one. 

irr. app. (ext.) + Blue Sabbath Black Cheer "Discordant Convergence" cd

irr. app. (ext.) + Blue Sabbath Black Cheer
Discordant Convergence
Phage Tapes

So here's the thing… This combination released the best album of the year awhile back—Skeletal Copula Remains on Gnarled Forest/Errata in Excelsisand they haven't really ever put out anything that didn't blow me away. I pay a lot of lip service to both acts—especially BSBC—and for good reason. They have some of the best aural judgment in music/anti-music today. Both BSBC and irr. app. (ext.) belong on the short list of Throbbing Gristle, Faust, Man is the Bastard, Nurse with Wound, Coil, NON, Merzbow, Wolf Eyes and SUNN0))), plus the others I have forgotten at the moment. Groups that have pushed this strange anti-genre forward. All that aside I must confess that this cd is not my favorite outing by either BSBC or ire. app. (ext.) and that is strange to me. It's still better than most things I have heard lately. Don't get me wrong, but it feels a little thrown together. The movements sort of meander a bit. There are these big spoken word moments that sort of take me out of the experience and the levels of the sounds seem a little off. I don't know. I have listened to it twice now and I will probably listen to it a few more times. I may change my opinion but I think this is missing a little of the brutality and anxiety that earlier endeavors have born. 
     I'm not really into the layout either, which probably doesn't help. The artwork is pretty good but it kinda feels like after this no one is ever allowed to use skulls again in a layout. They have all been used up. The type is all just center justified and just sorta of sits on the page in a way that isn't so much utilitarian but kinda boring. There are photos of all the people involved inside, and I like that, but again, they are just sorta laid on the page in a way that seems like an afterthought. Also you can tell that they took pictures in different places with different light and sometimes with different backgrounds. I think if you are going to use photographs of the participants in a mug-shot type way all the pictures should look the same. As if they were all taken at the same time in the same place. The lack of cohesion I think makes this not work very well. I don't know. I'm being a little extra critical because both BSBC and irr. app. (ext.) are so fucking good. This is good but it fails to get a "fucking good" this time. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Austin Noise 2013 2xcd comp

Austin Noise 2013
Instincto Records

Goddamn I love Austin, Texas. It's an island of perfection in a state that is almost totally insane and evil. The people, the food, the alcohol and the music give the kind of life saving nectar to your should that you would expect from an oasis. This compilation of 46 noise acts is an amazing sampling of what you could experience in the unions best/worst state. Some of it is the best thing you have heard all day, some of it is not the best thing you have heard all day. This is a damn good double disk and well worth listening to. Listen to this. Then book your trip.

     The layout is super simple and is basically informative more than artistic but they actually do something pretty brilliant with the type on the back. You'll see.