In this eighteenth 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.
HD Sunrise: self-titled (Player Press)
In the future (let's say 24 years from the time you're reading this) everyone will be sent off to space on their 33rd birthday. You'll gather in a large, open screening area, put on one of those hazmat suits they wear on Hoarders when shit is REALLY bad, and be suspended in a jelly-like liquid. You wont be asleep or in some sort of hibernation mode. You'll be awake the entire time, receiving all of your nutrients from the jelly liquid which your body will use every ounce of, producing no waste. Your capsule (did I mention you're in a capsule) will take years to trek to your new home planet, in which you'll spend every second awake looking at the vast emptiness of space through your capsule's bubbled window. You wont spend that time thinking about your loved ones or what you'll do when you arrive on whatever planet you're heading to. You'll only hear HD Sunrise. The luxuriant vapor trail of shimmering vibes bursting and pulsating. A hyper color trail smeared across your brain by it's alluring mesh of fragile arpeggios and tender synth riffs as you glide and glide and glide. You might also die on the way. Most people die on the way.
LXV: Witness/Recall (Monorail Trespassing)
On his latest release for LA noise institution Monorail Trespassing, digital sound wizard LXV offers up 28 minutes of mind-smearing microsample compositions. “Witness” is the Windows 95 “Starfield” screensaver updated to 4K resolution: lush snippets of voices, crunches, and drones fly by at light speed, gone before you can identify them but leaving you with an impression of weightlessness regardless. On the flip, “Recall” soundtracks the events preceding the big bang-- increasingly dark and dense drones collapse into a sonic black hole that finally reaches capacity, buckles under its own weight and flips inside out into a blinding white alien space sauna. No analog worship here-- in the future computers rule all and LXV is their Grand Poobah.
In this 12th installment of Who Has Tapes Anymore? Mike Haley, John Pyle, and Ian Franklin of Tabs Out bring you some of their favorite cassette releases of the past month.
Czern: Mind In Transit (Castle Bravo)
Your full attention will be required during Mind In Transit, as it's silky synth campaigns and creep-level opaqueness cycle through their myriad of textures and balance. Czern is a name that has never entered my ear holes before. The same goes for Castle Bravo, the label that released this four track diamond, but I think it's safe to say that they are both now on my radar. Heavy concentration is put into play as you are gradually dipped into a buttery ocean of slothy industrial rhythms and cascading oscillations sprees. Darkness is obvious, but not overwhelming, compounded by buoyant and playful layers of analog and digital synth prodding. This one will leave stretch marks on your memory. Super small edition of 25 copies.
Brotman & Short: Distance Unknown (Chondritic Sound)
Analog minimal cold wave synthesis at its finest. Everything here is restrained, focused, and purposeful. Truly subtractive. Even if you have (as I have) felt totally overwhelmed by the number of synth and beat-oriented projects coming out of the experimental music scene, this is worth your time.
Grandma Lo-Fi: The Basement Tapes Of Sigríður Níelsdóttir (Hornbuckle)
In the 90's there was a West Philadelphia neighborhood staple who went by the name Grandma Dynamite who would hang outside punk shows and grip change from people in Dropdead shirts. I think she once got naked during a Piebald set. Anyway, I always thought Grandma Dynamite was the most intense member the eldery community had to offer. Grandma Lo-Fi provides some fierce competition. It took seventy-some years to get going, but in that advanced age Grandma Lo-Fi began writing and recording intimiate and peculiar outsider melodies. Tiny songs of colossal whimsy with Casio keyboard presets, toy xylophones, and samples of pets getting the job done. This cassette is a modest collection from her enormous catalog of hundres of songs. If interested, and you should be, I wrote a bit more about The Basement Tapes Of Sigríður Níelsdóttir here.
In this eleventh 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.
Ben Varian: Real Domestic Scene (Patient Sounds)
When "normal" people try to make "weird" music it's always a disaster. It sounds bogus at a 99.9% rate. But when "weird" people pursue "normal" music... Shit, kid, somehow it's consistently amazing. Ben Varian's take on pop music leaves my brain throbbing. His ridiculous transitions from funky prom-riffs into zoink behavior, all with tender loving vocals holding your hand and massaging your thighs, possesses an evil brilliance. He brings you into states of unusual comfortableness with some Jerry Paperish tunes as he croons over electronic lounge numbers. Excreting a kooky normalcy-- like listening to Billy Joel in a house that is being fumigated-- as wayward key runs jitter and jive. You would feel at ease letting this music pet-sit your pug for the week even though you saw it fly off in a spaceship just last night.
HRRR: ADWA (self released)
This self-released jammer is limited to 30 copies and still available because the world is crammed with fools and dweebs. HRRR delivers three tracks on ADWA (i don't think either of those are words?). The A-side is a side-long jaunt of mean rythmns encapsulated in menacing flutters and siren sweeps. Two tracks on the B-side; a dirty techno rager with mind drilling beats and a 3 minute ambient drift away sesh. This is a fucking boss ass tape and you should grip it at once!
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.
In this ninth installment of Who Has Tapes Anymore?, Mike Haley, Ian Franklin, and John Pyle of Tabs Out brings you some of their favorite cassette releases of the last month.
Tredici Bacci: The Thirteen Kisses Cassetta (NNA)
Ad Hoc readers, I don’t know what stargate I walked through to end up in a world where this is being released on a DIY cassette label, I’m just so happy that I made it here. You’d expect to find The Thirteen Kisses Cassetta on an old, dusty import LP, perhaps a soundtrack for a forgotten 1970s Italian film, but nah. It’s a tape on NNA, which makes it even better than it already is. Which is saying something. Tredici Bacci is a squad of 14 musicians under the guidance of Guerilla Toss’ Simon Hanes. They make elegant, exhilarating, and beautifully composed/performed/recorded soundtrack-inspired music. Trumpets and percussion gush luxurious sounds. Gorgeous voices, spirited strings, and an ability to spring through emotions mark each track. Seriously, I am in awe. This one is a must!
L.A. County Morgue/Pleasure Bros: Split (Mazurka Editions)
“Rotten, swollen fruit fallen from obscene, petulant trees.” Unclassifiable and saturated in dank basement ambiance. Sold out from the label but still available stateside from Analog Worship and Skeleton Dust.
You may know cassette tapes as those colorful plastic boxes with mellow highs and good bass response, but some in the information sector know cassette tapes as a reliable way to store a butt ton of information. Gizmodo reports that Sony just innovated a cassette tape that can store 377 blu rays worth of information, fitting 148 GB worth of data in a square inch of magnetic tape. This doesn't really seem to be intended for consumer use, since you, consumer, probably do not need to back up 185 TB of anything. As is the case with powerful lasers and computers that calculate really high prime numbers, this one seems reserved for the private sector. One day, AdHoc will own that prime number generator. Mark my word.
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.
In this seventh installment of Who Has Tapes Anymore?, Mike Haley, Ian Franklin, and John Pyle of Tabs Out brings you some of their favorite cassette releases of the last month. Tabs Out celebrated its second birthday this past weekend.
Jeremiah Fisher: Martyrboys (Tonal Shit Research)
What you are diving into here is laser synthesis crawling deep inside the rain forest. Ya got one foot in a puddle, the other planted firmly on a hover board. This rich Silurian session from Jeremiah Fisher is our most recent Tape Of The Month over at Tabs Out. Fisher licks the toads, his synthesizers become them, and the following 30 minutes is an essential nudging of the brain. Pokes, prods, and splashes of absorbing sounds.
Surplus Killing: Loss Of Face (Unseen Force)
Full-on, kick-you-in-the-teeth assault is what this tape from duo Surplus Killing is about. With 32 songs in under 10 minutes, this release is staggering in its execution. No time is wasted and everything matters. Grind and noise combine with hairpin turns, stop-on-a-dime rhythm changes, and sonic howls of torment. Unrelenting and unforgiving, this is the closest thing to controlled chaos. Best played from start to finish for the full, blistering mind shakedown.
In this sixth installment of Who Has Tapes Anymore?, Mike Haley of Tabs Out brings you some of his favorite cassette releases of the last month.
((Husband Material)): Go Ahead And Start The Family Without Me (Patient Sounds)
Go Ahead And Start The Family Without Me is a belly flop into syrup falls. You go in dry and come out tacky to the touch, drenched in viscous beats, samples, and drones. This was our January Tape Of The Month over at Tabs Out because of its Flying Lotus meets Michael Keaton in-his-hay-day stylings. Callous pulses are arranged in ways to make you nod your head and scratch your temples. I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. Or perhaps you are not husband/wife material and will live out your days alone with a house full of cats.
Bit Shifter: Life’s A Bit Shifter (Hornbuckle)
I am not well versed in the world of chiptune, and at 33-- raising two youngin’s-- the task of navigating the labyrinth of a new genre frightens me to my poorly maintained core. So while I admit I won't be actively engulfing all there is to offer in the universe of sound, I do like to poke my head in and do some sampling. After a brief scouting I’ve decided that Bit Shifter will be my 8-bit ambassador. Life’s A Bit Shifter is a remastered cassette version of a 2003 CD release with a few bonus tracks, bringing the tally up to 17 in all. All sounds were created and performed on a Game Boy, something you can tell and not tell, if that makes sense. It’s obvious because of the NES style sound bits, but totally not obvious because it’s done so fucking well. Such an amazing release. Thanks for holding my hand through this Castlevania experience, Bitsy.
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.