In this tenth installment of Who Has Tapes Anymore?, Mike Haley, Ian Franklin, and John Pyle of Tabs Out brings you some of his favorite cassette releases of the last month.
Mugen Series: Volumes 5, 6, 7, & 8 (Hausu Mountain)
Huzzah! The most recent round of splits on Hausu Mountain’s Mugan Series are here. For the uninitiated, these four cassettes are the second round of a series where HM matches up jammers and gives them the duty of recording raw, unedited material. Since they are all bonkers I’m not going to try to pick my fav, just advise you to grip the lot while you still can. The squads this time around are paired up nicely by utilized instruments. Let’s slalom through this shit, shall we? Spectrum Control & CarRl grab axes for some psychedelic soul searching, both shacking up scorched earth guitar riffage, blistering fits of drones, and shifting melodies. Quicksails & Headboggle partner up for a second time (they shared a split on the resting Discriminate Music bonus series) for some synth drifts. Quicksails brewing up some tense sci-fi tunes, providing mechanical blops and uplifting, glittery dreamsounds while The Boggle goes steady and sparse with Serge surges that flutter and crack. There’s a percussive situation on the Fluxbikes/Quidditas split. Flux starting things off with a slow boil droner, working in the patchouli zone drumming. Quid brings the pounding in from the start getting a distorted, gnarly riffer going on. Fire alarm electronics and an abrasive discharged rumble belt out like churning gears begging for oil until the motor blows. The Telecult Powers boys, Witchbeam and Mister Matthews, round things out. The Witchbeam track is a rough take on his recent blasters: cryptic sputters being crushed by damaged oscillators. Overwhelming buildups of managed feedback and looped vocal sampling crashing and decay in haunting displays. Mr. M straight blazes three prodigious tracks on his side. The first, a parade static rythms and beats held together with silly putty, playing like a NIN bootleg tape left on the dashboard over the summer. The second a treat of wet-ponytail leads and solar drips floating in and out of melody. He concludes with some batshit patterns for little green men to pop and lock to. You’ll need electrolytes and/or a cat nap after this sesh, so go into it boy scout style.
Yves Malone: Three Movies (Field Hymns)
Just a heads up: there is more than plenty to digest here. 26 tracks in all, spread out over three cassettes, and each one a delectable dose of medical-grade synthesizer relief. Packaged in a tall vinyl box, Three Movies is apparently a tangible-format release of a digital-only effort from 2012 where Yves Malone decided to create soundtracks to (wait for it) three movies. Abysscoteque, The Echo People, and Zenith City to be exact. Each note, pitch slide, and tense loop is lustrous and deliberate. Whether diving into lonely tunnels of sound or plucking glitz and glow, Yves Malone is equally calculative and creative. The splashes of analog rhythms weaving through peaks and valleys of lacquered vibrations draw easy comparisons to Carpenter/Howarth zones, but are far from carbon copies.
Lussuria: Immemorial (Hospital Productions)
Lussuria’s newest release for Hospital Productions, Immemorial, is a 2CS available only on the label’s most recent tour with fellow label mates Dual Action and Clay Rendering. Inside this oversized envelope are two tapes overflowing with dark drone and synth textural layering. Mood is the overwhelming theme here and Lussuria brings forth a sustained feeling of vacant wonderment. Whispered vocals drag across trembling drones like the faint scrape of glasses rubbing against each other. The swaying melodic current degrades into a slow pulsing riptide, sucking you down into the blissful void. Expertly crafted work, hopefully it receives a wider distribution in the future.
Avellan Cross: Technoise (Nostilevo)
Monster C47 from Elden M. of blackmetal.com and the legendary Allegory Chapel LTD. Pulsing minimal synth-wave with nods both classic EBM and industrial, wrapped in Nostilevo’s nightmarish xeroxed aesthetic.
Karl Fousek: Relative Position Of Figures (Phinery)
I believe it was Burger King who coined the phrase “Less Is More”. Feel free to fact check me on that, but I’m 99.9% positive that I’m right here. Karl Fousek knows what I’m talking about. On Relative Positions Of Figures, Fousek’s recent release on the brand spanking new label Phinery, he opts for a slow drip. Using a modular rig and tape delay he pings nervous spurts like a leaky faucet spitting frail glops of sound onto the porcelain. The tracks are brief and nervous, all just a few minutes at most, but deliver pleasurable vintage music box vibes. Wait, no. Burger King's was “Have It Your Way”. Duh.
Black Thread: Leaves Falling (Turmeric Magnitudes)
Leaves Falling is the newest tape from Black Thread, the most melodic and ambient of the projects associated with the Turmeric Magnitudes label ran by noiser and all around tape wizard, Greg Gorlen. With already over a dozen solo releases and a handful of splits, Black Thread has really developed into an ambitious meditation on melancholy, decay, and entropic systems. Leaves Falling is arguably the projects finest output so far. Favoring cyclic piano loops and synth sound sources, most of the compositional aspects of the release center on tape decay and the micro-revelations of an audio being drifting into nothingness. Side A features one track with a repeating but ever so slightly varying delicate piano loop that lingers effortlessly. Side B is comprised of three shorter tracks highlighted by different flavors of tape distortion and flutter. These three tracks flow with a certain understated grace and composure, another key element to Black Thread’s sound. This is some of the best tape loop experimentation out there right now and one of the best tapes so far this year.
Men Of Bissau: To Heal In Paradiso (Nostilevo)
At times this is beautiful and at others, chillingly grotesque. Sounds both shimmering and grating are filtered through thick tape saturation and a haze of psychotropic plant extract. To Heal in Paradiso sounds like a beautiful, exotic flower that you are just noticing has wrapped itself around your leg and is pulling you down.
Japanese Treats: *E 468 (Adhesive Sounds)
There are objects in this world that were meant to bring joy, but somehow missed the mark by a million miles. Like clown dolls. You ever see a clown doll? They are, without exception, invariably grim. Especially when time has not been well to them and now they are down one eyeball or discoloration has turned them into into a coffee stain with big shoes. I’m thinking that Japanese Treats wanted to make a clown doll. *E468 is that clown doll. It’s curious circus music blaring after hours. The tunes from an ice cream truck that is actually an unmarked white van with no windows. Keyboard presets warble with delight over simple beats. I can’t get away from it’s fun time heebie-jeebies. I’m stuck in its house of mirrors.
Andy Loebs: The Shell & Spectacle’d (RTA Art Collective)
I know what you’re thinking. "What, did Andy Richter and Lisa Loeb have a baby, and someone fucked up the birth certificate and put a 'S' at the end of it’s name, then it grew up and recorded a great tape of galactic, sometimes hyperactive, synth lines with chill-as-heck guitar/bass fluttering in the background?" Well just stop it, because only about 33% of that is true. Grip this sucker and figure out what is fact and what is fiction. Couldn’t find any samples on the net, but we played a chunk on Episode 47...