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.