Friday, December 30, 2011

AMK "Imbricate" cs


Nostilevo is a brand new label for me to check out and I am very excited to get into this little stack I have here on my desk. AMK stands for Anthony Michael King and this tape is made up of his field recordings. Originally two hours of field recordings that label then went ahead and mixed them. It's pretty excellent use of fucked up loops and pummeling noise. Real good stuff. The packaging is very simple and a little extra DIY. It's been awhile since I have come across spray painted cassettes and simple xeroxed j cards. In the past I may have hoped for more effort but with the audio and the style of the artwork and layout I think it's just perfect. I am definitely excited to dig into this stack if this is the level of work that Nostilevo is putting out. 

Widow's Bath "a Love in the Shadow of that Which Constitutes Love" cs

Widow's Bath
A Love in the Shadow of that Which Constitutes Love
Rainbow Bridge Recordings

This has the intensity and immediacy of a piece performed live. It's a interesting interplay on HNW vs. pure feedback annihilation. Like a balancing act of sorts. It's quite a ride, it takes many turns along the way and you are not sure of where it lets you off but it's totally worth it. Audio destruction in it's purest sense. You would almost swear that a Transformer was being tortured to death on the second side. It's a little on the long side but you won't notice. Limited to 40 copies.

Robert Ridley-Shackleton "Shut Up Egg" cs

Robert Ridley-Shackleton
Shut Up Egg
Eggy Records

Weird. Super fucking weird. This is a little different from the last release by Robert that I reviewed as this has Robert a little more in the front of the music. It's almost like he turned up the insanity and down the musicality. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it sounds like if you explained Ariel Pink's first album to an Alien in the 1970s and asked him to do an interpretation of that explaination. Robert is a massive personality and I think the idea of trying to keep him contained on cassette is almost impossible. There are some weird toy pianos and some probably not entirely improvised vocals on the opening and title track. Then you get some interesting noise that sounds as if it comes from circuit bent toys or speak-n-spells. Vocally Robert is still furious at the Egg and how it is speaking to him. The whole thing just goes off it's rocker constantly and it's a joy to hear. I am not as into the artwork this time around. I think some of his other cassettes are just beautiful but this one just hits me a little flat. It's fine though, like everything Robert does I think it's worth checking out. 

Raven "the Earth Dies Screaming" cs

the Earth Dies Screaming
Worthless Recordings

I wasn't sure what I was going to think about this one but I pleasantly surprised by what I encountered. Haunting drone with subtly mixed tape manipulations and synths create some eerie atmospheres in a similar vein as Oakeater and maybe a little Hair Police. This is right up my alley as it is lo fi enough to sound faded and sad but sophisticated enough in it's composition to sound interesting. I recommend this little gem from Worthless Recordings. The packaging is very much trying to get you to do something to stop vivisection and go vegetarian. I sympathize but it seems almost pointless to advertise these ideals to the noise/drone scene in an edition of 50 copies. It sorta takes away from the excellent music and you could make a much bigger impact with 50 flyers in a high trafficked downtown area of your local city. I don't mind the effort though. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Body Collector "New Eden" cs

Body Collector
New Eden
Brave Mysteries

I was ready to not be that into this based purely on the cover artwork and design. I hate doing that but I admit that I totally judge things at first on their appearances. It of course cuts both ways though; I have bought a few releases thinking they were going to be scary, blackened, awesome doom/noise whatever and I was let down by some seriously uninspired SUNN0))) worship. I guess Body Collector is someone I have missed out on. This was supposed to be his final release. It's a fucking doozy. So much grime and texture is crammed onto this cassette that you may feel bad for your speakers after having heard this. It starts with just a few sounds, maybe old tools scraping the insides of a steel drum, maybe gravel rolling down a broken playground slide. Whatever it is Khristoper Reinshagen (awesome name) is using it seems pretty grim. You almost get the feeling that this is what it must sound like to be transported somewhere horrible. It crescendos into a avalanche of horrendous sounds before a grim, droning denouement. Crucial. Limited to 100 copies and probably almost gone. 

The Loathsome Couple cs

The Loathsome Couple
Orobas Records


So I received the first Loathsome Couple cassette about a year ago and I was very excited to hear it. I had been a huge fan of Tobias Burch's one man project Amort for awhile and I was dying to hear what else he had been working on. I ended up being a little underwhelmed honestly. It wasn't the doom/noise/drone I was used to. It was more straight forward punk/metal type stuff. Fortunately it was still a little disjointed and not bad at all but it didn't really leave an impression. Then this release came along. I am now very impressed. This is heavy, blackened, hardcore, metal, etc…  and it's good. The Loathsome Couple are a three piece (and an Edward Gorey reference, which is awesome for me. Edward Gorey is the only artist I have ever flown to see one of their art shows when he was alive. So I am a bit of a fan). Tobias sings and there is a very talented drummer and guitar player. The songs are varied and interesting but still have a singular focus that is often important in the cohesion of metal. I also got a chance to see them live. Also worth checking out but I would recommend that they add a bass to the mix. The cassette has bass playing on it and it really adds a lot to the maelstrom. I think live it would lend a heaviness that the riffs demand. 

Wormsblood "Black & White Art for Man and Beast" cs

Black & White Art for Man and Beast
Brave Mysteries

Wow. Holy shit. Wow. This is a full on album. I guess this is also a few years in the making and it shows. Drums, bass, guitar, keyboards and the most twisted vocals I have heard all day. I want to say it's prog/black metal but there are just as many genre changes as there are tempo changes on this one. It's really, really out there and I guess that is why I am giving it as high a rating as I am. I was gearing up to give this a 3. Solid and good but not mind blowing but as the record goes on it really opens up into brand new worlds of pure fucked. I also have to say that whomever is playing bass on this is a fucking master. Remember back in 1990 when you first heard Neurosis' World as Law? Remember how killer Dave Ed's bass playing was? Well, this is right up there. Crazy. The vocals need another mention here. They are awesome. Gargled craziness that moves up and down the dog/cat scale pretty often. The vocalist also can really sing as well which is used in just the right amounts. I don't really know what else to say except there is an orchestra at the end. Seriously. I think you should pick this up if prog laced black metal is your jam. Fans of mid-era Deathspell Omega, War & Pain/Nothingface Voivod and a little Pink Floyd's the Wall may want to take note although even those don't examples don't quite give you the right idea about what you are about to hear. Simple black and white J cards. Limited to 100 copies, which seems crazy. 

Rose Croix cs

Rose Croix
Brave Mysteries

I had seen this compared to Dead Can Dance but from a more experimental perspective and I was intrigued. It's not bad. It definitely sounds a lot like Dead Can Dance but a lot darker and heavier in it's compositions. The vocals are excellent and the drums will make you think of Death in June or Laibach a bit as well. All in all this is a fine release. If that sounds like something you would be into I recommend it. Brave Mysteries has been pretty solid with it's releases and I think you can trust their taste level. Limited to 100 copies. 

V/A "Days Without End" compilation cs

Days Without End

Let me start by saying that there is a lot to like about this cassette. The music is varied. There are some tracks that sound very psychedelic, some folk, some have a nice slowcore/shoegaze feel. There is a band that sounds like the Pixies. Musically the label has done a nice job of compiling some really interesting artists. I usually don't get to hear many bands like this so I was very satisfied with the music. In fact, if I were judging this cassette on the music alone I would probably give this tape a 4. It's well done in the facet and before I go on I should say that you should seek this out for the music alone (It includes a digital download of everything too). Unfortunately the cassette itself has some issues. First of all the dubbing job. It just doesn't sound as good as it could. I think it was dubbed at home on a not very good machine. Besides that all the tracks could use some mastering overall. That all aside though, the layout is just sad. It's handmade but not in a way that looks as if any time or real effort was taken. I love hand lettered/drawn text with photocopied images but this just misses the mark. I think with a little more care in the actual product this could be a stellar release. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Deprivation cs


Deprivation create a haunting and brutal soundtrack across the five tracks on this cassette. Lots of rhythmic noise in the style of early Wolf Eyes or maybe Brighter Death Now but mixed with some more lo fi drone moments. The second side adds a little more fear with their filth in the form of what sounds like manipulated screams punctuated with loops of harsh noise that hits you in waves. Good work. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sky Thing "Cooler Heads Prevail" cs+ a zine by John Collins McCormick

Sky Thing
Cooler Heads Prevail
Eggy Records

This is phenomenal. Electric Acoustical layers of percussion and tape manipulations that make up a beautiful and perfectly constructed tape. I don't want to compare it to anything as I really think you should just pick this up right away. Small drums married with warped and broken vocals, maybe? Slowed down cymbals and fire? It's hard to say what I am exactly listening to but almost all of it sounds familiar. This tape sounds almost like it could be the start of something new. I can't really say much more. I wish I could just buy every copy and give them to all of you. I am really pleased to have received this. The art, by Josh Kermiet, is gorgeous. the layout is beautiful. I have to ask Eggy where they get their covers made. It's a nice full color newsprint type paper that reminds me of what comics are supposed to feel like. 

I also received a zine along with this tape by the artist behind Sky Thing, John Collins McCormick. It's a beautiful printed/hand lettered sine of asymmetrical drawings. Mostly in black and white but with a couple hand colored pages to set it off. It's a nice accompaniment to go with the cassette. His lines have the character of some of Jim Woodring's lines but totally abstract. This is something I would like to see more of. If you are interested you can email John here.

Pigtail Perverts "After School Special" cs

Pigtail Perverts
After School Special
Self Released

This is the kind of thing you would think I would be sick of by now; the whole sex and violence and perversion imagery mixed with HNW. Strangely enough, I am not. I still get a kick out of this stuff. I think having a daughter is taking the joy out of this a bit for me as now and I constantly think about how in a more than a few years I am going to beat the shit out of half the planet but I bought a juicer so pummeling all of you shouldn't be too much of an issue. Anyhow, this is pretty good. Just straight up HNW that sits in the mid range area. Not super piercing with its high end, not totally pummeling with its bass.  Its just direct and unrelenting. Imagine running through the stations on a car radio after dark and pausing on the static between two stations and just letting it sit there as you drive into the night. It's like that. I suppose you are also suppose to think about rape and black eyes too but that's really just silly packaging on what is a fine piece of HNW. Limited to 13 copies and impossible to find…  good luck. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fear Konstruktor "Nonexistence" 7"

Fear Konstruktor
Peripheral Records

This is a gorgeous piece of drone. Two tracks on a 7" from Russia's Fear Konstruktor that combine the right amount of beauty and anxiety to keep the listener completely enveloped. This is apparently Fear Konstruktor's first vinyl release but surely not their last. I have reviewed some other tapes of FK before and I was always impressed with the attention to detail in not just the music but the artwork. No exception on this record. There is more of the Mucha-esque artwork by Artaksiniya on both the sleeve and the insert. Limited to 300 copies.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Black Cum "the Second Cumming" cs

Black Cum
the Second Cumming

I am so glad I am on Black Cum's list now. This is another total gem of fucked craziness. You know how when it's just you and the cat in the house and you get excited about something, like the mail showed up or your inlaws canceled, so you start singing a weird song to the cat about how she belongs in a zoo and you hope the zoo catches on fire and the fire burns up all the bad kitties? Or something like that? Well, that weird enthusiasm is what makes up most of Black Cum's song writing. This cassette, unlike the previous one, is mostly all electric guitars, drums and vocals. There is plenty of crazy things yelled into the boombox or two track or whatever they record on. It's actually pretty well done, in a crazy person sort of way. There are 24 tracks on this cassette that have some killer titles. Bomb America!, Kill All Americans, Tellin' Everyone I Know to Burn Down America, Skull-Fuck the Military, Curb Stomp Cops, I Want to Hang Myself and Fucking Die, and of course, Untitled. Everything about the art is hand done (although, I think they got the illustration of the partial birth abortion from somewhere else) but I have to say that the song title list is really well written out. Clear, straight and easy to read. Like they give a shit. It's awesome. Email here to get a copy of this cassette and maybe the last one as well.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Marax "Lazy" 3" cdr

Muchausen Sound

Similar to the previous Marax I reviewed but definitely has a different vibe. This one has a lot more glitchy, high pitched sounds that start it off right away. It also has more tracks that go beyond the :05 mark but they are still relatively short. The thing that really stands out to me on this one is this right near the end there is a track that sounds exactly like how my alarm clock sounds in my dreams when I am trying to wake up. It's got the constant harsh beep but it is constantly changed in a subtle way that gives it this surreal and disorienting vibe that is wonderful. The layout on this one is a little heavy on the photoshop filters but this is definitely worth checking out. 

Marax "Still at War with Emo" 3"cdr

Still at War with Emo
Muchausen Sound

Right off the bat my favorite part of this 3" is that the songs are short.  Like seconds long. They actually range from :05 to about 4:30 but it's all varied. It's awesome and the exact opposite of what you usually get from a noise record. This is short blasts of harsh fury mixed with short focused drone pieces over 11 tracks.  Really wonderful work. The layout looks a little 90's but still professional and tight. There is actually a lot of text to fit on such a small surface. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Shiver "They Will Feed on Us" cs

They Will Feed on Us

Pretty creepy stuff. Starts out very minimal with a sparse, lo fi loop. It then builds up with the sounds of crashing and possibly human wails. It has this vintage sound i have been loving that is similar to Pregnant Spore. Where the sound almost feels like it was created in the 1960s but this was recorded this year. The tape continues with grinding concrete, tuned down guitars and short burst of feedback. It's pretty awesome and very hypnotic. I am already impressed with this Italian label, Diazepam. I believe they are related to the great Ur from Italy. They have just started releasing tapes so I would recommend picking these up right away. This cassette comes in a burlap pouch with some actual bones inside. Eerie. 

Wailing of the Winds cs

Wailing of the Winds

This starts out beautifully. Almost has that Iranian classical music meets Tibetian sound that Master Musicians of Bukkake and Phurpa do so well. Musical saws, tubular bells, strange sounding horns all create a swirling maelstrom of sound that is both abstract and focused at the same time. When the second track comes it becomes much more structured. Still has the qualities of of the first track but you get an acoustic guitar playing a repetitive structure with a simple accompaniment from a violin and some small drums. It's a little too loose for me at times as if the people playing were in a such a trance that they forgot they were playing but it still sounds pretty good. Reminds me a bit of Tony Wakeford's solo work or maybe a bit of Death in June. After that they get down to more of the drone type stuff that is just brilliant. I should mention that the tape ends with a Thergothon cover that is one of the most beautiful pieces of neo-folk I have heard in a long time. Its a bit of a mix of style throughout but it's well worth checking out. Simple J cards and blank cassettes.