In this fifth installment of Who Has Tapes Anymore?, Mike Haley of Tabs Out brings you some of his favorite cassette releases of the last month.
D/A/D: The Construct (Hausu Mountain)
A very wise man [Ed. note: this is up for debate] once tweeted, “let’s be real. if you don’t enjoy the @80sDAD tape that @HausuMountain put out, you probably bought your heart at the dollar store.” Truer twords have twever been tweeted. Either this cassette is a time machine or the liner notes that say it was recorded between 2010 and 2012 are 25 years off. D/A/D brings you on his 99 MPH joyride soundtracked by 1980s-inspired synth/dance/rock wonderment. This is our final Tape Of The Month of 2013 and a perfect way to end the year.
Bastian Void: Phonics (Chemical Tapes)
A heavy focus, deep thought science lab session from Joe Bastardo. Wow. This is a burner in the truest sense. You can listen from end to end and be captivated by each and every mood and theme created. Some synth notes drip off your ear like honey; others are chewy and gummy, sloshing by like a damp mop, leaving a trail of colors behind. Scrambled sound serenades are juxtaposed with smooth sailing meditative vibes. So much goes on. It’s truly an amazing release and one of the best “synth albums” I’ve heard in a bit. It's definitely better than most of the names you hear when discussion of this sort of stuff comes up.
Various Artists: 25 Minutes Of Trance Classics (Passive Aggressive)
Hey, these aren’t classics. This isn’t even trance. I’m starting to doubt if this cassette is even 25 minutes long! Man, you can’t believe anything you read anymore. I could type “hey, did you hear that Scottie Pippen got shot at the mall?” but that doesn’t mean Scottie Pippen really got shot at the mall. Maybe one day Scottie Pippen will get shot at the mall and it will be true. So who’s to say that this compilation on Passive Aggressive won't one day be considered 25 minutes of trance classics? It’s currently a rad mix of techno-infused choppines, reverb-drenched chillers, and all around weird sounds. Really dig the artwork, too. RIP Scottie Pippen. My prayers are with your family.
Stag Hare: Angel Tech (Space Slave)
Some super ambitious electronic pop tunes from Garrick Biggs over the course of 46 minutes. Effervescent rhythms project themselves on the walls of a room built for polished, gliding shoegazing sessions. Fragile vocals and an upbeat quirkiness lends an interesting Magnetic Fields/Her Space Holiday vibe to the already striking experimentation. Killer artwork from Stunned Records’ Phil French.
Uton: Kun Korallit Puhuvat Pilville (DNT)
Finnish sound chef Jani Hirvonen puts some gauzy, ceremonial drone on high heat, bringing it to a boil, then reducing it to a slow simmer. The oven is preheated to a smoldering 500 degrees before throwing in the stellular sound zaps. Delicate plucking of strings are used as a timer to make sure everything is cooked just right. Cardamom, aniseed, and tumeric are added to maintain a slight Middle Eastern, spicy vibe. Eat this tape, it’s delicious.
Ø+yn & Uton: Solid Geometry and the New Mental Order (Eiderdown)
Some serious esoteric musings from this Argentinian and Finnish duo. Ø+yn & Uton go to the well of psychedelic folk noise on this seven track beast, filling bucket after bucket with rich, elaborate, and lacquered vibes. Smokey drones and campfire clatter will float you out of your chair, but squirms of sticky-icky fluttering will bring you back to Earth and pour you a drink.
William Clay Martin: Sadler (self released)
I should be up front with some possible bias here, as William Clay Martin is a resident of my beloved home state of Delaware. We Delawarians are a tight crew. Every month, Joe Biden, Judge Reinhold, and the whole gang get together for a potluck and a game of Apples To Apples. It’s a good time. But hometown pride didn’t factor into this pick at all. Sadler is straight up a dope tape. Atmospheric guitars confidently layer and leak, mingling with mega-chill drone and playful looping. William Clay Martin draws influences from the rocks of space/kraut/indie for this lush lounger. I’d suspect you’d find some Guided By Voices, Eno, Schnitzler, and 90′s post rock while scoping this guy’s record collection. I don’t know for sure though, because I’ve never met him. Does he even exist???
Tanner Garza: Lucid (Static Reason)
Settle in. Make some tea, and get comfortable. Lucid is a relax session, and an extended one at that. Tanner Garza flows through 100 minutes of lucid tape loops creating cotton-soft, ambient waves. Elements ebb and flow, never becoming overwhelming or competing with one another. A constant, smokey repose changes so slowly that you sometimes don’t even notice. This tape is made up of nine tracks, but should be digested as a whole.
Hakobune/M.Sage Split (Patient Sounds)
Purveyors of subtle sounds, Patient Sounds pairs up its CEO with its employee of the month for this organic drone soother. It could be a soundtrack for some depressing bedroom isolation or for a soak in the tub with a J. I can’t tell, that’s how chill it is. This is a good thing because I don’t need a tape telling me how to feel. Oh yeah, I think there’s banjo on this.
Vast Glory: Scorpio (La Cohu)
Heavy doses of distorted, crackling shards of clockwork rhythms churn, as if they’re being produced by a bleak factory of robots or children or robot children. Choose whichever affectionately bums and/or creeps you out the most. Some sounds are made to be convenient. Smooth edges, bendable parts, plastic-- Scorpio is not that. Scorpio is notched stone, splintered wood. It's that sore in your mouth that you can’t stop licking. All sounds pile atop each other until there's patchwork of harsh muck. So tight.
Vibrating Garbage: Corrode (Turmeric Magnitudes)
Hot damn. There's a fucking barbarous onslaught of vulgar pedal feedback and perverse harshness going on here. When the garbage got super stank, my parents used to say it was humming. I thought that was offensive to the senses, but apparently it’s nothing compared to garbage that’s vibrating. Corrode is a helter-skeltering of choppy, aggressive, and interesting noise. A rare mixture done awesomely on this one. Love it.