COMPS “self-titled” (self-released)




Breezy like Archer Prewitt or Real Estate or maybe Car Seat Headrest, COMPs, formerly Compliment City (aw, I like that one), is Geoffrey C. Webb of somewhere in Michigan, a bedroom pop auteur with an ear for candy-coated melody. And while my cousin Jeff would be mocking Webb for spelling his name wrong, I will not stoop to such ridiculous lows. Here on his self-titled debut cassette, Webb collects two EPs, “I Love My Fucking Pets” (side A) and “pip pap pop” (side B, and from which the cover art is taken). Pleasant, unchallenging indie never sounded so sweet, so much like a “Final Fantasy” character lovingly holding a cartoon sheep. Try to get the unrelenting jangle out of your head, the pure misty-eyed wistfulness of youth out of your heart, and you’ll just be thwarted, frustrated by Webb’s songcraft, written and recorded in a stumbling frenzy, quick and unvarnished, reminiscent of teenage melodrama. Fall in love or break up, I don’t care. This is Webb’s version of everything.

COMPs

--Ryan

OHM “G5” C50
(Dinzu Artefacts)




I’ve been sitting on this chair in this museum for what seems like hours, and I think everyone has gone home except for Ohm, the Dutch trio tinkering away on … instruments? … in the corner over there. I dare not move, unless I break the spell. That I have an important appointment I simply must get to is inconsequential – I should’ve thought of that before I wandered into this museum and sat down on this chair and become mesmerized by this Ohm group. Oh well – the vice chancellor can wait fifty minutes!

For I am a paragon of patience myself, at one with the slow unfolding of “G5,” unfazed by heaps of objects designated “sound sources”: “sound guns”; “spinning top”; “shredder”; “pencil drums”; “mechanics.” These are the things you hear on “G5,” among others, played live and recorded at two different sessions in 2017: Sonic Acts at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and Gaudeamus Muziekweek, TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht. That I’ve spelled these things correctly is a minor miracle unto itself.

It is impossible to know what is being played while listening to the recordings on cassette tape, but being there, sitting on this chair in this museum, is like being a witness to a slow-motion tornado of minimal rhythmic activity. Ohm’s sounds are like breathing, air flowing into and out of lungs, punctuated by dust motes and germs and coughs – so, smooth, yes, but also tactile and a little disconcerting.

As “G5” passes the fifty-minute mark I unglue myself from my position and wander off toward the entrance, forgetting everything that I was supposed to do in the past hour and not worrying about it anymore anyway, I am inspired to maybe wander through a gallery or two before poking my umbrella-covered head back out into the overcast city. Although if they don’t have any Picassos in here, I’m gonna be pissed.

[Disclaimer: I wasn’t actually there.]

Dinzu Artefacts

--Ryan

UNITED POWER SOUL
“Moving Fast 4 U”
(Zaftig Records)




Hey, they have soul and funk music in Toronto? Who knew! I always assumed everything coming out of Canada was in some way connected to the New Pornographers or Tragically Hip (oh, Gord…) family trees, but hey, I’m always happy to be proven wrong. And I should’ve seen it coming – the title of this tape, “Moving Fast 4 U,” is a Prince homage if I ever saw one, and I’ve seen like a million of them. RIP, purple fella…

Wow, it seems all I’ve done here is paid my respects to two musicians who’ve left indelible marks on the industry. Sorry for being a downer.

United Power Soul is not a downer. They will have you jumping and boogieing and dancing and getting jiggy and whatever else you kids using lingo from 1978 to 1996 are doing! “But Ryan,” you ask, “like most other people, I don’t live in Canada. How can I possibly experience the unbridled highs of a United Power Soul set?” Foolish reader, you’ve come to the right place. You can buy a United Power Soul tape, duh! This is Cassette Gods, after all. Plus, there’s a link right here.

United Power Soul
Zaftig Records

--Ryan

GERMAN ARMY
“Blue Green Depth”
(III Arms)




You can’t read this -- it's a redacted document. Let’s pretend you didn’t even see it on my desk. I have to get it down to Archives before the end of the day, and I haven’t even blacked out all the sensitive information yet.

Are you just going to stand there while I do it? OK, but don’t read anything as I’m working. Like I said: SENSITIVE INFORMATION.

OK, I’ll give you the lowdown, as long as you PROMISE not to tell anyone. Seriously, this conversation is not happening right now. I could go to jail. Gitmo, maybe.

So what do you want to know about Operation: “Blue Green Depth”?

You’ve heard of the “German Army,” right? You should have -- this office is littered with evidence documenting their existence. This “German Army” uses a form of sonic warfare to infiltrate the population, then they pump their scandalous message into unsuspecting minds by subliminal means.

Yeah -- "Blue Green Death” is nefarious. Nefarious and catchy.

Turns out that most of the “scandalous message” is true -- and you know we can’t let the truth get out, right? That’s why we REDACT all this stuff and send it to Archives where no one will ever see it again.

If we allow the general public access to this information, there’s no telling what could happen. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

German Army

III Arms

--Ryan

NEON LIES “II” (Black Verb Records)




Just in time for the new cold war (is that what it is?) comes Neon Lies on Berlin-based Black Verb Records. Chilly synthpunk meets … well, it’s chilly synthpunk, you probably aren’t going to get a better descriptor out of me than that. And that’s OK – Neon Lies, from Zagreb, Croatia, is under a distinct historical curtain from which this type of music is a perfect escape, a dancepolitik of dissatisfaction with a sharpened steel Eastern European edge. Trebly crashes punctuate minimalist black-clad songcraft, nocturnal nightclub culture abuts deeply rooted urban ennui.

Neon Lies can’t tell us anything we don’t know, but it’s nothing we don’t already believe. Or, uh, what we refuse to believe. I keep mixing those up. It’s all in the context.

This is the sound of digging in to a long occupation. The sound of small rebellion. The chipping away at the status quo. Neon Lies has tapped the pulse of frustration and used its blood on its sonic canvas. Still, wear sunglasses always, so no one can determine your loyalties. The truth is in the eyes.

Neon Lies

Black Verb Records

--Ryan

DIRECTIVES
“Usphutorontus Deius Nissesubla”
C60 (Aubjects)




Oh my god, Aubjects does it again. Aubjects is always doing it, apparently, and “Usphutorontus Deius Nissesubla” (“I know not what it means, but I'm certain it's absolutely true” – not sure if that’s a translation or a comment, actually) by Directives is a winner before you even press play on it. Hold one of the edition of 20 with handmade and -stamped covers in your paws, with “hand-painted sand paper applied to hand-cut blue paperboard. … Hand-stamped covers. Photocopied insert w/ hand-inked symbols.” You’ll get it, then. You’ll understand. Look at that image up there – mine’s second from the right on the top row. This thing is so tactile it’s ridiculous.

Haven’t even pressed play yet. Now I did, and it just keeps getting better and better. D. Petri, the identity behind Directives, experiments with guitar, etc., but comes across like a one-person prog band for the effort. These two 30-minute sides are absolutely overflowing with shimmering waves of sonic joy. Beyond inventive, Directives just keeps layering on treat after treat of effects-laden instrumentation, building an entire world you can get lost in for a long damn time. This is easily a recent favorite and will go back on the “relisten” pile – and NOT the one where I’m like, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll get back to it.” No, I’m listening to Directives again tomorrow.

Aubjects

--Ryan

CRASH SILVERBACK AND MAX MUTHAPHUKIN’ STAX
“Candy & Coombs” (Hand’Solo)



I just discovered the Rock the Bells radio station on Sirius in my car, so it’s been pretty exciting getting reacquainted with all the classic hip hop I haven’t listened to in a long time. I’m serious, slipping back into that has been exhilarating, like I should’ve paid more attention to it the first time around. I’m not a true hip hop connoisseur, but man, when it’s on, it’s ON. And it’s pretty rare we get handed hip hop tapes to write about here for Cassette Gods, let alone decent ones. So this confluence of events seems to be hitting at just the right time…

…that I pulled the Crash Silverback and Max Muthaphukin’ Stax tape from the pile. I love nerd rap, guys, let’s just get that out in the open. You start dropping sci-fi references in your verses, you got me hooked. So these two guys, one who’s got the voice of said silverback, the other who has the voice of the squirrely alien hitching a ride in the gorilla’s brainpan, probably shouldn’t be flowing as smoothly and as super entertainingly as they do. But they do, consistently, and the production is gritty and the samples are on point. Oh my god, I was just thinking about 3rd Bass and Crash Silverback drops a “Gas Face” reference on “Wolfgang.” That’s the sign, ladies and gentlemen – the sign from on high to buy this tape.

Hand’Solo Records

--Ryan

ASPS “s/t” 2xC24 (Nostorca)





Ballsy move there, ASPS, going the “Foghat Principle” route with the double live tape. Well, if “live at the lake June 2017” is your “At Budokan,” then you’re in great shape, because that was a bestseller. And there’s no reason to think “ASPS” WOULDN’T be a bestseller, because it’s filled to the brim (2xCS worth, that is) with the kind of viperous synthesizer racket that the kids today really sink their teeth into. Notice I didn’t say “fangs.”

So how many did Nostorca print up of these? A couple mil? Doesn’t matter, you can always go back to press. Till then I’m smitten by these four sides, these four passages, eleven to twelve minutes each, that just slither under the skin and shoot into the bloodstream. Heartstopping, poisonous electronic workouts! Deep jungle creepage, heavy new wave video game death, hovering alien spacecraft transmissions, werewolf miasma wreckage… Oh to be in the audience on that delightful June evening.

Maybe I’m biased because I’m holding this thing in my hand, but I feel like I can never turn it off, this Norelco cube out of which pulses sound and light, like the fabled Tesseract or the evil masks in “Halloween III: Season of the Witch.” Now, I realize that “ASPS” isn’t in the shape of a Halloween mask, but stick with me here – there’s mind control going on, and I’m afraid I’m gonna bite the big one if I can’t let go of it.

But I oh so don’t want to let go, or stop listening! Drink … the poison …

Nostorca

--Ryan

GRISHA SHAKHNES “ARCS” (Marginal Frequency)




Tel Aviv artist Grisha Shakhnes specializes in field recordings, and “ARCS” delivers the goods like a clandestine briefcase swap in a darkened alley. In fact, this is the exact vibe that Shaknes is going for here, as if he pulled a slip of paper from a “mood hat” with the words “darkened alley” written on it, thereby tying him to clandestine nocturnal deeds for the duration.

And that’s great, because he’s pretty good at it. Lots of low end, with discrete features emerging here and there, lots of details you have to squint your ears to catch. Sort of makes listening like a treasure hunt, or a form of audio forensics, like in one of those 1970s movies where sound engineers have to parse clues from recordings to discover who committed the crime: “The Conversation,” or the one with John Travolta. Those were pretty good movies. Can’t get away with those now, what with hi-def video surveillance and GPS tracking all over the place and whatnot. Still, relics of a forgotten time…

Marginal Frequency recommends a subwoofer, and I don’t disagree. Stick your head right up next to that old stereo speaker for the full effect.

Marginal Frequency

--Ryan

CRISTIÁN ALVEAR Y SANTIAGO ASTABURUAGA
“capas de un tapiz” C55
(Marginal Frequency)




To understand: Cristián Alvear and Santiago Astaburuaga are a Chilean duo who perform here the works of Rolando Hernández (side A, “topializ”) and Nicolás Carrasco (side B, “sin titulo #21”). Alvear and Astaburuaga play a variety of instruments and electronic components, sometimes dropping into moments of almost complete silence. These lengthy compositions, almost half an hour each, require a delicate touch and almost scientific care. Metronomic rhythm intrudes at points, as does mechanical interference.

If you imagine a space, a studio, a museum perhaps, maybe a laboratory, where sound becomes a subject to be scrutinized as if it took on physical properties, “capas de un tapiz” would be the recording of it. It’s almost impossible to separate the functions that brought about these sounds’ creation from the sounds themselves, and imagining Alvear and Astaburuaga surrounded by instruments and other ephemera and exploring, experimenting, and discovering is the only way to fully enjoy and understand this tape. But hey, it sounds pretty intense too, so maybe just do what you want?

Marginal Frequency

--Ryan

SOMNOROASE PASARELE "Auto[1]"
(Os Tres Amigos)




In the hills of Oakland, Pauline Oliveros's frogs still reign supreme, still rain down their psychedelic exhortations to the burning grass fires and warehouses below; "Come! Do osmose your soulless din through our amphibious skin! Let the chordal whir of your motorhearts sew itself into the motherchorus of life we summon!"

&Some 10,000 kilometers away, Gili Mocanu answers this call with his and Katri Virtalaakso's Audio/Visual collaboration, Somnoroase Pasarele, specifically via their latest album "Auto[1]", out on Portugal's label, "Os Tres Amigos".

A cursory glance at the 25cm x 20cm mini-poster included will show a cartoon calendar-esque caricature; the internal organs/rooms of a living breathing tenement building, both its healthy and sick microfauna, spending and passing their lives in hollowed out ecstacy, deep introspection, and/or manufacturing their basic needs. Each room is built to be independent, yet they all contribute to the aches and quakes of their greater structure, this beast itself under the weight of so many plaguing forces, all interplaying independently, no One Single Straw upon any camel's back.

A cursory ear bent under decent headphones will reveal textural galaxies gravitationally guided by, but nowhere near adherent to, some concerted allusion of scaffolded intention. Syncopated sonic strata upon strata upon strata interweave and unveil themselves, intermittently, in four dimensions or more, the breath between each measured nervous meditation acting as wavering pausal walls between aforementioned rooms/organs above. And then there are all the frogs; robotic, amphibious, their atonal mating calls and war cries, their rubberized digits' pads dragging shredded suction-cuppylike across smooth'd granite and broken glass, shrill trills and deep moans coaxing sympathy from the hills and deep down below the earth's crust, urging greater faults to subterraneously groan along, hertz-wise; implied.

Anyone who has ever attempted to meditate knows the true brute force of the monkey mind, its unbridled power to redirect, fracture, quake & liquify the very foundations of breath itself, this in/exhalation an otherwise universal means to keep time. In this rhythmic hallucination, Gili Mocanu colours & contours so many atonal, timbrally pregnant signals, chirps, & floes with a hypnotist's massaging of time's passing, rendering audible a channeling of earth's possessed vibrations, mocanucured mercurially, to get lost in, over and over and over, again.

https://ostresamigos.bandcamp.com/album/auto-1
and/or
soundcloud.com/somnoroase-pasarele

--Jacob An Kittenplan

THE MIDNIGHT VEIN “s/t” (self-released)





I was really excited when I read that John Agnello had mastered this bad boy – I was hella ready for some throwback Jawbox-y shit, I truly was. You can forgive my confusion at the jangly indie rock that emanated from my speakers, then, and I did a head-fake double-take back at the j-card where I read: John Angelo.

Not John Agnello.

OK, deep breath, you can get through this.

The Midnight Vein is actually pretty A-OK, an indie throwback or two from Buffalo who definitely know their way around their local studio. I’m reminded of the fun melodic bands with acoustic guitars as main instruments that used to play with my much more electrified rock bands in high school and college. (One of those openers was a Dead Milkmen side project, not gonna lie.) Like Decemberists meets Citay, the Midnight Vein wind their psych folk through your wheelhouse, and you slug that thing right somewhere, it’s hitting its spot.

Drink some brews. Is Midnight Vein playing the local hotspot, the watering hole, the independent venue? Hell yeah, go see em. They’ve GOT to have a merch table with this tape. Buy it, don’t think

And hey, if you live in western NY, and you have $30, the Midnight Vein will HAND-DELIVER your tape and then throw a party for you. GAME. ON.

The Midnight Vein

--Ryan

SPECIAL MOVES “January” C6 (Reflective Tapes)




Somebody was telling me the other day that it’s so hard to have fun anymore.

“Do you think it’s because of Trump?,” I asked.

We both disintegrated into motes of dust, the question hanging in the air for eternity.

“January” is a sort of cassingle from Special Moves, and with it comes six minutes of having fun. “Josh from BOX FAN/PARASOL/BLOOD ORPHANS and friends make lo-fi DIY rock,” and life becomes a smidge brighter for these 360 or so seconds. Sparks appear in the corner of our eyes; we exchange knowing glances.

Like early Superchunk if Mac was addicted to Auto-Tune, yet really not as off-puttingly weird as that sounds, Special Moves will warm the cockles of your old-timey indie rock heart.

Reflective Tapes

--Ryan

TYSON SWINDELL “Palindromes” (self-released)




Oh everything’s so goddamn fucking miserable that all we can do is disappear up our own assholes and brood.

Make something better of it, then. Get off your cross. Quit fucking BROODING.

Piano and electronics, for those of you who want some sort of musical guidance. There’s a track called “Dammit I’m Mad.” Snore. 

https://tysonswindell.bandcamp.com/

--Kanye’s Twitter feed

ALGAE & TENTACLES “Lightning” (self-released)




Lay it on me, John Melillo of Tuscon, dreaming of water so far away from water, so bleached and brittle and dry and baking in the desert sun – lay it on me. Still lakes recede, become contaminated, contaminated by nature – some say reclaimed, but I say revised.

Lay it on me.

“Lightning” strikes the experiment and it grows, one lone puddle electrified, molecules dancing, recombining, at speeds unimaginable. Out of this disturbance grows an aquatic nightmare – but with nowhere to go, it disappears with the puddle, shriveling like John Melillo in the blazing Tuscon afternoon.

Plug in, “Lightning,” layer yourself with extra effects, feed from the power grid, breakneck pace forward, sometimes uncontrollably. Smash through highway barriers, perfect chaos, each shredded nerve a trophy for thriving one second at a time. What sounds electricity makes! What combinations it emanates! 

Lay it on me, post-punk desert shaman.

Algae & Tentacles

--Ryan Masteller 

PHTEVEN UNIVERSE “s/t” C44 (Choam Charity)




There’s much to unpack here. Too much? Too much.

When you click on the link below, you will be able to read the backstory. 

In short: Phteven Universe is Pilleater, and “Phteven Universe” is a vaporwave tape whose twisty philosophy encompasses a lot of the questions I once had about vaporwave. In the end, I’ve learned to relax, take it slow, take it easy, and appreciate the vaporwave releases that I enjoy. Not all of them are enjoyable. In fact, there are so many that a lot of them blend together in a slurry of pristine chemicals, too toxic for human aural consumption.

“Phteven Universe,” I’m happy to report, is one of the ones I enjoy, one of the fun ones.

First, Pilleater himself doesn’t take himself too seriously. Maybe it’s a Philly thing, because, c’mon, you gotta have a bit of that blue-collar gallows humor if you’re coming from Philly (and I grew up in eastern PA, so I should know). Second, he gets the absurdity of infinite repurposing, as his garbled sources sound like fourth- or fifth-generation mulch composites. Third, he namechecks “Floral Shoppe” and “Eccojams,” possibly both with and without irony, suggesting that these, too, are ripe for the recycle treatment. Fourth, he’s a Skinny Puppy fan, so – cool!

So listen, I know it’s hard to take vaporwave seriously anymore, but this is a great reminder that you can still have a good time with it, that it’s more than just mall music slowed down to a crawl. We all know how boring THAT is, so thank goodness Phteven Universe is here to do something about it.

Choam Charity Records

--Ryan Masteller

TINGO TONGO TAPES ROUNDUP




I’ve watched from afar as my colleagues at Tabs Out did a little retrospective/spotlight on Tingo Tongo Tapes, the Oakland-based label blasting cassette recordings out at us unsuspectingly like human waste from the shitting cartoon ghost man NBA logo on the K^aren “NoT BaLD” tape. (And yes, I admit, that was me. I hated that tape.)

But that’s the thing about Tingo Tongo (or any label, really): you hate one thing, you get down with another. So yeah, get down with the Tingo Tongo vibe. There’s so much weird magic on their side of the bay that it seeps into the water table and the drinking water reservoirs and contaminates the holy living crap out of whatever music emanates therefrom. (There it is again – “holy living crap.” I can’t get away from the ghost man.) I’ve got some physical artifacts that are actual proof of whatever point it is I’m trying to make. 


CMMZMMMG \\ ELECTRONIC QUARTET II: WHEREAS

You never know what’s title and what’s artist with these guys, and a perusal of the Bandcamp page (Mike Meanstreetz’s Bandcamp page, one of the TT showrunners; but not Tingo Tongo’s of course) only confounds the matter. I’m going with CMMZMMMG \\ Electronic Quartet as the artist because I’ve written about them before. Nope, still confusing. Anyhoo, did you ask for this? This tape I mean. No, you didn’t but CMMZMMMG, etc., delivered big time, the quartet melding minds over two inscrutable sides of murky atmosphere. On this version of “Whereas,” or whatever, Cameron MacNair, Mike Meanstreetz, Mike Glover, and Maneesh Madahar (the titular CMMZMMMG, ish) mutilate their instruments in a sort-of séance environment, mixing in static and noise for an ungodly but tempered racket. This is Tingo Tongo at its most controlled. Probably.


WHEREAS / DEVIN NOLAN – SPLIT

Things get really confusing here, because Whereas was also a name in the release above, so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Whereas’s side is “Live at Acerogami,” a free-form freakout of psychotic instrumental noise rock that would fit equally as well on AmRep as on Astral Spirits. To say this is my favorite seventeen minutes of the Tingo Tongo catalog thus far wouldn’t be the craziest thing in the world. It’s pretty great. Devin Nolan adds his own seventeen minutes on the B-side with “Hedgehog Blues,” which oscillates back and forth between what sounds like field-recorded banjo music, and then that same banjo music run through an industrial magnet, slowed down and distorted beyond recognition. The transitions are fabulous, the noise is glorious, and this whole thing might have hopped to the top of my repeat queue.


BONUS BEAST – “MORE DECAY 2”

God love em, or it, Bonus Beast forgot that we’re not ACTUALLY living inside a video game and made a tense song cycle to what it’s like to probably live inside one. Harsh beats collide with “melodies” straight from the ColecoVision soundcard collection. It’s sort of like Trent Reznor left the studio lights on back in 1989 and a pack of sentient cartoon weasels came in and cut a record. With LOTS of laser and static effects. I don’t know what to do, these tapes just keep getting better and better as I go. I’m totally atoning for the K^aren review.


TENDHER – “DREAM”

Oh fucking Christ, there’s a hair in this one. Gross. I won’t let that ruin my experience of TendHer’s “Dream,” though, I promise. In fact, by the end of it, I’ll probably forget it was even there in the first place. That’s because “Dream” is 90 minutes long, two thick sides of gently shifting soundscape that I’m pretty sure are meant to keep me company through a fever dream, but they might actually be the CAUSE of said fever dream. Either way, this ambient stuff is way more tactile than it ought to be, and I’m not sure if my hands feel grimy because TendHer’s in my head or if I’ve been smearing them in wet sand as I listen. Maybe it’s the hair. Dammit, I haven’t forgotten.

***

For all your Tingo Tongo needs head to their super sparse Bandcamp page, or check out their much more expansive Soundcloud. All you have to do to order tapes is email em.

--Ryan Masteller

HI MY NAME IS RYAN
“Honestly” (Related Records)




Hey, MY name is Ryan too! What are the odds? Not to be weird or anything, but this sort of looks like my high school yearbook photo… Erm, no, we’re not the same Ryan. I had to think about it for a second.

Ryan Avery has a great time riffing a capella to appreciative audiences, sometimes in spoken word. These are funny, short songs/tracks/etc., and Avery’s wit and wisdom (he’s released a lot of stuff, check out his Bandcamp below) seems to translate well to a live setting. Have fun with this one.

Hi My Name Is Ryan

Related Records

--Ryan Masteller 

My apologies for the brief lapse in posting. We have now returned with our regularly scheduled programming - Ed.

CHRISTIAN MIRANDE
“Property Line / Plunge Pool”
(Unifactor)




Life hack: When traveling, be accompanied by music. Sure, that’s an idiot life hack, as anyone with even a little bit of street smarts knows that music is the best traveling companion. Who needs other human beings, dialogue, conversation, company? Not me. Just give me the open road and a stereo system and I’m good to go for hours and hours.

While you might think a good Weezer jam or the latest Drake joint would get my car a-thumpin’, you’d be absolutely dead wrong. Give me Christian Mirande’s “Property Line / Plunge Pool” any day of the week, because not only does it provide the sonic complement to, let’s face it, any motion at all, it also provides the mood, the surrounding ambiance. As these carefully crafted soundscapes unfold, the sense of travel, of movement – the interlocking functions and patterns that cause mass movement from one place to another – trickle, then rush, to overwhelm with stimuli.

Life hack 2: If you’re in a car, I suggest cranking this pretty high to get the full nuanced effect. Or you could do this:

Life hack 3: “Headphones Recommended,” like it says in the parenthetical addendum to “Into the Bin.” I’d pay attention to that one if I were you.

Christian Mirande

Unifactor Tapes

--Ryan Masteller

PRIMARY MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE
“Arcana” (Aural Canyon)




Primary Mystical Experience exposes the hidden mysteries of Aural Canyon on “Arcana,” a tape chock full of secret wisdom. Or maybe it’s an actual canyon facing exposure – just take one look at that j-card and marvel at the markings of time passed etched upon the rock wall by the flowing water. “Arcana” itself contains the sonic equivalent of discovery, of meandering down that river, of coming face to face with history and geography. Allow yourself to imagine as you listen – you’re on the river, the slow movement propels you ever forward, time is a relative construct. Ponder how the canyon looked in ancient times. Wonder at the people who lived nearby. Dream of returning to that time, of simplicity, of personal fulfillment and challenge. Let go, and all will be revealed.

Well, probably. It all depends on what you’re looking for.

“All music recorded by PME on modular synthesizer Fall 2017. Each performance was recorded onto a single stereo track in one take.”

One glorious take.

Primary Mystical Experience

Aural Canyon

--Ryan Masteller

BRYAN REYNOLDS
"Spring Peppers"
(Mythril Strap Records)




Spring Peppers is a seemingly random assortment of tracks by Providence, Rhode Island songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Bryan Reynolds (that admittingly came out in 2011). It opens with a song called “Mist Your Little Failure”, a fairly deconstructed, very strange, sophistipop song.The album has a unique, fresh take on lo-fi engineered hauntology and experimental pop songsmithing, recalling more the Residents than Ariel Pink, John Maus, or R. Stevie Moore. Reynolds voice is bold and unique even when the lyrics seem obtuse.

Reynolds mastery of guitar, drum programming, hand drums, and drum kit are apparent throughout. There is a bizarre tribute to Salvador Dali which repeats “I put a lobster on a phone” over and over and over and over with a strident confidence. “It Shines (Because Its Real)” is a catchy abstract shoe gaze song.

Some of the tracks are reminiscent of cable access grade science fiction scores. Elements of industrial such as Coil or O.L.D. is apparent in the electronic driven tracks. The final acoustic track, A Tame Lion III might be the best of all. If you’re looking for a thought provoking collection of experimental music that is heavy in the music department and light on the experimental, this might be a great listen. Longggg SOLD OUT!

https://bryanreynolds.bandcamp.com/album/spring-peppers

-“Jamband” Josh Brown

JUNK DNA
“Plastic Exports”
(White Reeves Productions)




These are devotionals to the noncoding DNA within the human genome, the junk DNA. Are these components doing nothing in not encoding protein sequences? Are they doing something otherwise, perhaps regulating other protein-coding sequences? Who’s to say. Scientists have no idea. Scientists are dumb, according to the guy screaming at me on the corner. He is composed of nothing BUT junk DNA.

I’m junk for referring to Wikipedia for all my DNA-related information.

Junk DNA, the proper noun, the artist, the alter ego of Matt McDowell, functions properly. The tracks that make up “Plastic Exports” are devotionals to … maybe not the noncoding DNA within the human genome, but they’re certainly compositions whose molecular structures are 100% active in all aspects of execution. Nothing is wasted. Guitar, bass, vocals, keys, electronics, and field recordings, all performed by McDowell himself, intertwine among themselves like the structure of a double helix; each has its place, its purpose. Together they haunt the collective body, the many who become transfixed and transformed. Evolved.

These passages sneak, slink, weave, envelop, and penetrate. They’ve been on ice since 2012 for some terrible reason, only now released into the world for our consumption. And of course, White Reeves Productions is back, too! But after only a year of hibernation, not six years.

White Reeves Productions


--Ryan Masteller

THE WASHBOARD ABS
"Recurring Chasms"
(Antiquated Future)




Soft guitars, windchimes, a bit of a lilting male voice. A pulsing, driving bass line.  Still that voice, which works very well here.  Full band kicks in with drums, that interesting guitar.  I'm feeling this, a muted and muffled recognition from somewhere to the side of the center.

Olympia, Washington's The Washboad Abs come at us with arpeggiated guitar over muted drums, and an almost a hushed reverence over a driving rock beat.  Travelling through some coma dream, some fever on this autumn afternoon.  A lightness and an airiness throughout.  There is a hefty undercurrent, a tight rhythm section locking the proceedings to ground though our head wants to embrace the clouds very often here.

Something about this feels lo-fi, though not in the way you'd expect. This is especially on side 2, starting with  something more upbeat, "One" is a bit of pop to color our Indie. But the overall feeling is so laid back, so lazy and drifting, it's sometimes hard to see the individual pieces here.  That said, the craft is undeniable, and this will get its hooks in your if you let it.


https://antiquatedfuture.bandcamp.com/album/recurring-chasms

-- Kingo Sleemer