Kill Alters slithers. On "Ego Swim," a cut from their upcoming record No Self Helps via Hausu Mountain, the Brooklyn three-piece shapeshifts across sounds and signifiers, swimming atop squealing synths and slippery drums. As Bonnie Baxter's voice curdles over drummer Hisham Bharoocha's contorting rhythms, Kill Alters tickles the ossified limitations of genre: the hyphenation undergirding the category of noise-rock denatures into tildenation as the tilde (~) seems to wriggle out of the stability of the hyphen (-). Noise-rock, on "Ego Swim," becomes noise~rock—and the relationships between genres get a little trickier, a little more devious. The video that accompanies the bleating track captures the shameless instability at play on "Ego Swim." Fragments of images overlap, converse, and dissolve, depicting decontextualized neon signs, abandoned buildings, and big masks—sometimes all at once. Perhaps the most disturbing splices are the most resonant with the sonics of the track: footage of what appears to be Bonnie Baxter faceswapped with different people and things haunts the video and casts and eerie unrecognizability on the face of the song itself. Disfigured by these ill-fitting faces—from that of a pig to one smeared with makeup—Bonnie Baxter becomes an emblem of the song itself, less uncharacterizable as it is liminal, polymorphous. In its tortorous fluidity, "Ego Swim" isn't a dip into a kiddie pool but a nosedive into a whirlpool.
In this nineteenth installment of Who Has Tapes Anymore?, Mike Haley, Ian Franklin, Jamie Orlando, and Mike Nigro of Tabs Out brings you some of their favorite cassette releases of the last few months.
Virusse / Zerfallt: Galaxy Choker (self-released)
Short, but sweet as a saccharin eye drop. I normally despise tapes this lacking in length, and by that I mean under 10 minutes, which is exactly what the Galaxy Choker split between Providence, RI's Virusse and Zerfallt is. But that's all it needs. The sonic clarity is serious as a heart attack. Virusse lands her plane in the fog on SALT, a track just shy of five minutes that seems to stretch into a dense infinity. Sounds roam down damp and desolate paths that wind deeper and darker. An oxidation of rusty noise agitation filters through a cold torrent of shivering beats and lo-fi vocal commendations. Zerfallt rips through severe electronics like a glutton. It's a mashing of high-level harshness and astringent drone power for 4 minutes and 40 seconds. Like a dog left out all night in the pouring rain. Fucking killer material. Fucking killer artwork. Such a fucking killer tape.
Braeyden Jae: Turnings (Inner Islands)
On first glance at Braeyden Jae’s Turnings released on Inner Islands recent batch, the pink shell and floating flowers on the cover suggest a warm and inviting exploration of hazy melodics and that’s exactly what Jae delivers. Using washes of strummed and looped electric guitar with “generous reverb” and touches of vinyl crackle and distortion, these 10 tracks shimmer and glisten with the refreshing drench of morning dew. “Watched Rust” meanders slowly through canopies of reverberated echos, a landscape of blending watercolors. Deeper bass notes float under waves of soft fuzz on “Forced Choices” while a guitar melody repeats over top, slowly building layers until it quietly expands and wanders off through the forest. Throughout the album Jae fashions simple strumming patterns into meditations, expounding the simple elements to create a patchwork of extravagance. This is the perfect companion to the awakening spring.