Monday, September 12, 2016

Endurance—City of Signals cs

City of Signals
Self Released

Wow. This is really great. Endurance is Joshua Stefane (Witting?) from Japan and he creates some really beautiful and thoughtful drone. This album has a sort of narrative that is as tragic and melancholy as it’s audio sounds. You know how sometimes you spent a little longer than one might staring at some picture from the Hubble telescope that shows a supernova, exploding with the brilliance of 10 billion suns? You just let your gaze fixate on that before thinking about the other starts and systems nearby that have a front row seat at the destruction and beauty and how none of it matters while it all really matters? Well, this is what that sounds like. 

The art is great and the type is handled well. I think the word I used above, thoughtful, is a good way to sum up the whole release… Find this if you can. 

Lace—Supine cs

Prime Ruin

Dark as fuck. I love this minimalist audio electronic horror stuff. It’s m\just drenched in reverb and tickles that part of my brain that is truly insane. I love it. This whole thing, while moving around sonically quite a bit, is still pretty fucking creepy. The awesome xeroxed layout and packaging is kvlt as fuck as well. Into this terrifying tape. 

Arrows—Voyage cs

Crash Symbols

First of all I want to give it up for the super restrained and minimal layout. Very cool. I appreciate that much control. It’s great. The audio is also pretty restrained. Lot of disturbing audio loops that have an almost subtle dance quality in their rhythms but only if you are one of those super fucked-up serial killers that poses their victims’ corpses as if it’s at that prom, your prom, that started everything and you can dance with everyone this time. No one can say no this time. They can all love you. Forever. 


Anyway. It’s not all like that but it’s pretty rad. I recommend this for sure. 

Knoll—The Social Flirt: A Harsh Soundscape in Two Parts cs

The Social Flirt: A Harsh Soundscape in Two Parts
Step Pepper Records

Well, we all know how I feel about samples. I am not usually too into them but this is pretty good. It has a sort of laid back late 90s sort of noise vibe. Closer to when people had started doing noise after they first discovered Throbbing Gristle. Not that this totally sounds like that but there is some serious pedal manipulation going on here. I hear flanger, delay and reverb sort of crashing in together. It’s a little refreshing. Reminds me of why I started this journey. The layout and artwork is pretty killer. I like the handling of the type and the art itself is cool… Reminds me of Muslimgauze for some reason. Not aurally but in it’s simple aesthetics.

Dark Tourist—Arc of Visibility cs

Dark Tourist
Arc of Visibility
Cinderblock People

I was not expecting this. This is some super dark techno. Like full on dance but made out some super strange sounds. It’s also, for what is essentially dance music, incredibly aggressive. It is just barreling at you and it’s not giving a fuck how broken you might be after it’s done with you. Pretty cool. Not really my thing but this was a lot of fun to work to while I was printing. The layout is great. Simple, clean, with a little random color that worked for me. 

Shalwar Kameez—The End of the Life cs

Shalwar Kameez
The End of the Life
Cinderblock People

More dark and fucked up techno from Cinderblock People. This time it’s a bit more minimal but this has a real interesting narrative to it. There is a strange conspiratorial slant to the art and some of the samples that are in to music. It’s real weird but I bet if off-putting techno with enough fear to make this HNW guy stay interested this might be right up your alley. 

I really appreciated the artwork. It’s very focused and tell a great story. Well done guys.

Trevor Ransom—Glimpses ep cs

Trevor Ransom
Glimpses ep
Outset Recordings

i stole this photo

Nice. I didn’t know what to expect when I put this in. I honestly thought it might be some singer/songwriter stuff but nope. This is really interesting and emotional electronic soundscape/modern composer stuff. Really emphasizing the emotional part there. This is great and super melancholy, which is my very favorite way to feel. This captures that wonderful combination of beauty and anxiety very well. Really excellent piano and organ work throughout with just enough percussion to give it an immediacy. If you told me this was part of the film score to some new movie I have to see I would probably believe you. Highly recommend. The artwork is beautiful and I am pleased with that.

Arvo Zylo—Sequencer Works Vol. 1 cs

Arvo Zylo
Sequencer Works Vol. 1
Out of Body Records

This makes me feel like I am going insane. I don’t think I enjoyed it but I have a feeling that was the idea. Have you ever heard André Popp’s Delirium in Hi-Fi? It’s like but a million times crazier and louder. It’s good for clearing out your brain of whatever is bothering you though. The layout is not terrible but the dark blue on black is almost illegible. Then the for used on the inside is awful and hard to read. The art itself is cool and I love the transparent overlay but all in all it’s kind of a failure to me. Still the insanity of the audio demands enough attention that you will soon forget all about the layout. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Hillboggle—Live in Columbus cs

Live in Columbus
Crash Symbols

This is described as noise-grass and it’s exactly as fantastic as you might think it is. Well, assuming you think that sounds cool. I think it’s great. Noise and banjo. Together again. For the first time. For me. This is a live collab between a father and son and it’s fucking adorable while still being legitimately awesome. I don’t think I can really describe this so I am just going to type NOISE-GRASS one more time.

The layout didn’t do it for me but I did like the cover art. Once I knew the type of music the layout made a little more sense but the inside has this script font that i find especially hard to read at the size of a cassette j-card. It’s not horrible or anything just not really working for me. 

Leaver—Head Home cs

Head Home
Amek Collective/Serpent Ever Records

Very eclectic. It starts with this beautiful sad piano thing that will break your heart then moves into these almost John Carpenter-esque synth swells with these little guitar licks over it. It’s almost like a soundtrack score or maybe a collection of short musical vignettes. It will then move into some neo folk that has a cool Current 93 sort of feel. I like this. Haunting is a good descriptor. I almost said creepy but it’s much more sad than that. I’m going to have to sit with this for a bit… Good work. It have a nice simple layout. Nothing too mind-blowing but nice and dark. It really fits with the sad music and the type is handled well… 

Nadir—Deffektegg cs

Amek Collective

Gorgeous. Beautiful modern minimal drone that holds onto your attention in a surprisingly thoughtful way. The pieces aren’t particularly long which makes them more fascinating to me but also they seem much more focused. It’s just beautiful. I know I use that word a lot to describe stuff like this but I see so much beauty in this work. 

The layout is amazing. The type treatments on the Jcard and the cassette itself are stunning and the layout itself is perfect for the audio. Well done. 

Brothers—s/t cs

Tapes of a Neon God

As I write this I am thinking about how Tapes of a Neon God is most likely shuttering their business. It’s a bummer. I will probably write about what a loss this is to the world of cassette releases. Every single thing that has been released on TOANG has been excellent. Thankfully this release by Brothers is no exception. This is phenomenal. Imagine if Bitch Magnet had kept with the direction they were going with Star Booty but just got better and better. That is what I am hearing here. The vocals are amazing and work so well for me. It’s a really solid release. Sad post punk that is somehow fitting that it’s one of TOANG’s final releases… 

Les Hommes-Chiens/Actuary—Le Vide Méditatif cs

Les Hommes-Chiens/Actuary
Le Vide Méditatif
GBS Records

Soundtracks are all the rage right now. I love that. There have been so many killer scores put to vinyl that were never initially intended to be heard lately. This tape isn’t exactly a soundtrack but it has all the hallmarks of a great score. It’s narrative, it tells a story without words (maybe a quiet sample here or there) and like the best scores, it is haunting. Both acts on here give us some much to pour through that I think it’s going to take a few listens to really understand this dark, broken beauty. It’s truly epic. 

It’s looks fantastic. The design is so strong and it also sort of brings to mind a great 1960’s Italian horror movie poster. The type is handled expertly. Its great. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Dried Up Corpse/Distant Relative—split cs

Dried Up Corpse/Distant Relative
Enemata Productions

Thank fuckingchrist this showed up. I love most of the stuff I get but this is life-sustaining for me. Two sides of just fucking noise. I love this so hard. Dried Up Corpse are always amazing and this is no exception. This is a bit different from the usual HNW though. This is most of wave after wave of sliding, grinding waves of noise. The first track is called Black Sand and I think that is a pretty good descriptor. The Distant Relative side is more of a sputtering, exploding HNW and it’s great. Distant Relative is Dustin Johnston (no relation to me, Demian Johnston, but some people thought it was me) from Actuary so you know it’s fucking killer. This whole thing rules. Find this.