In this eight installment of Who Has Tapes Anymore?, Mike Haley and Ian Franklin of Tabs Out brings you some of their favorite cassette releases of the last month.
Dane Patterson: Ghosting (Fabrica)
Sound and visual artist Dane Patterson spends 27 strange minutes on Ghosting pinching and warping auditory surroundings, devising weaves of damp whispers and leathery static crashes. Try this simple exercise: Take a few sheets of vellum paper and write out some thoughts with a thick Sharpie. Now, rip those sheets of paper in half and crumble them into balls. Okay, now uncrumble them and tape them back together at random and read what you got. Did you do it? (I know you didn’t but let’s pretend you did). Think about what the audio version of that might sound like. Ideas sloshed and dissolved into each other. That is ghosting. A smarter person than I could probably make an analogy to this tape and Patterson’s visual work. While you search for that person on Craig’s List or Reddit or whatever I’m going to pack another bowl and get lost in Ghosting a few more times.
Wrong Signals: However, The Joke Became Serious (Third Kind)
First off I want to say that I am both surprised and pleased that you don’t see this kind of Jcard for a cassette often. That is one that mimics old blank cassette packaging. Surprised because it seems like the obvious thing to do. Pleased because I’m willing to bet most people wouldn’t do it well. Wrong Signals nailed it. I also dig the illuminated display of playful and high-spirited synth work on this C40. There is a vivid energy that hams it up with ambiance. Chirps and arpeggiated liveliness that perform in a mist. It’s a ripper and I can’t wait to hear more.
Various Artists: The Two Benji’s Remix (Refulgent Sepulchre)
The power trio Form A Log recently released a full length on Decoherence called The Two Benji’s where they mauled and maimed magnetic tape in true zoner fashion. So what is the next level in the sarlacc pit of eccentricity? Well, gather some more zoners and have them remix the remixers of course. And what you get is this cassette on Philadelphia’s Refulgent Sepulchre. 14 takes on original logs from Quicksails (Ben of Tiger Hatchery fame), Khaki Blazer (50% of Moth Cock), Ironing (Florida sound contorter), Indignant Senility (aka: Expressway Yo-Yo Dieting), Puff Mutt (street name: Unicorn Hardon), Newton (miserable middle aged suburban Jewish government employee), and others. Head scratchers and techno workouts with dope silk screened covers.
White Resin: Dektol (Vaald)
One of two brand new, but already sold out, tapes from Vaald (daughter label of Hooker Vision) is White Resin’s “Dektol”. With black tar drones and minimal oscillator scourge this tape is a special type of subterranean bleak. Rhythms build and are spread thin above cavernous bass tremors. Melodies emerge under the rubble only to be trapped under the weight of the viscous concrete. Excellent release.
Jeremy Bible: Collisions (False)
The pinged synth transmissions Jeremy Bible lays out on this cassette are dizzying. There are patterns, but those patterns are constantly in flux, creating a whirlwind of weirdness that blends with, or gives way to, field recordings. Mostly of the avian variety. Moments of serenity have a way of quickly snapping into befuddled bloop mode on Collisions. Makes for a beautiful knee jerk zone. Maybe each side has a single track, maybe 15 different tracks. There is a CD version for interested parties. If you still aren’t sold on this thing it comes in a gorgeous custom foil stamped box.
Yom San: Playa Piano (Crash Symbols)
I bought a box of wine about a month ago. I never drink it because it’s sort of out-of-sight/out-of-mind, all the way in the corner of the kitchen. Which isn’t exactly “out of site” but if you ever hang at my house you’ll know what I mean. Anyway, Yom San jams some pretty tough sample-based jams. I know, I know. Everyone is jamming some pretty tough sample-based jams right now. Well delete those fools from your hard drive because Yom San is the one doing it legit tough. Legit tough enough to make me eyeball that box of wine for 30 seconds and then tap the red Rockies on the front porch with no shoes on. Gonne be asleep/passed out on box wine before the track Fuck You comes on. There’s a party on my porch.
Bromp Treb: Abuse Abandon Abort (Yeay! Plastics)
A tumble clutter of alien zoink sound nuggets, all thrown in the Vitamix. That’s a high performance blender for high performance sounds, man. Bromp Treb tosses about scootches and zaps, blobs of voice samples, and hyper active plucks. It’s not a frenzy though, some spasm of discordant twitches. There is a method to the madness. A road map made out of Twizzlers.
Social Junk: Give Up (Ascetic House)
On the 21st of January Ascetic House released Social Junk’s latest cassette “Give Up” as part of the label’s January Program: a month long release schedule with a different artist/group available each day but for only that day. Tasked with dubbing and shipping 31 different releases all in different amounts was no easy task but the House pulled through and living up to the old saying, the House always wins. Pulsing drums and deathful ambiance are served up with cold drones and heavy synth dirge with a side steelwool bouquet. Though recorded from 2007-2011 these sounds don’t suffer from a lack of coherence. The momentum is always grinding forward, tumbling and crashing over itself in blissful obliteration. January is long gone but be on the lookout for this and other releases from the program at select distros.
German Army: Tassili Plateau (Field Hymns)
The menacing synths and poignant drum machines on German Army’s latest “Tassili Plateau” make for an ominous listen. Reverberated rhythms along with some distant/depressed/detached vocals that are like a warm, throbbing, gristly breath on the back of your neck. But it’s not all skulls and bones. For example, the 2nd cut Mumbai is like being inside a beer bottle, floating in the ocean, drinking out of ANOTHER beer bottle. So either you’ve shrunk or the 1st beer bottle is huge. Use the dolphins for scale. This is a good ass tape. That is what I’m getting at.