Thursday, August 31, 2017

POACHER “Veterans Day” (Freak Machine)




Heavily industrialized electronics and musique concrete meet the actual American holiday of Veterans Day, presumably with a sense of commentary of some kind. Open your imagination and let the vulgarity overwhelm it. Harsh noise of constant battle sometimes gives way to speeches, sometimes “The Star Spangled Banner.” Terrifying in its mulching of modern constructs, tangible in its thick, desperate, and violent preparation. Is that gunfire?! Jeez. I don’t think I’m going to be able to sleep anymore. Not just tonight, I mean anymore. I don’t know if there’s any possibility of coming back from VETERANS DAY, from Poacher, from wherever the crap Belchertown is (Pioneer Valley of Western, MA -editor). There’s probably an armed militia group waiting there somewhere for Poacher, and maybe now somewhere for me too. Oh man, I hope not!

Oh, wait, the commentary is how we’re going straight down the toilet. All of us. Look at this beautiful, wretched grave we’ve dug!

--Ryan Masteller

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

ADRIAN KNIGHT
“On the Prowl Again” (Galtta Media)




This Adrian Knight fella’s pulled it off. He’s got everything stacked against him, pretty much, from a stylistic perspective. Optics are straight from the Har Mar Superstar sleaze wallow, the all-in look, the feel, not giving any wiggle room for interpretation of whether he’s sending himself up or 100 percent serious. Yeah, Adrian Knight acts cool, but in a Doogie Howser kind of way, ill-fitting blazer over white mock turtleneck on the cover, khaki slacks, turn-of-the-1990s sunglasses. The cool rocked is of the junior-high variety. And weirdly – that’s OK. The music is a soft-rock/synth-pop hybrid, somewhere between Tears for Fears and Hall & Oates, but with a few Jens Lekman touches thrown into the mix as well. And here’s how Knight has accomplished something worthwhile – he sells this sound, this lifestyle, way better than he probably has a right to. (That’s where the Har Mar comparison comes in, not remotely in the music itself.) Normally, I’d look at this cassette and not give it a second thought, but it would be a mistake to do so. Yeah, it may seem like Knight’s a kid playing grown-up crooner to the lucky ladies in the audience, he pulls it off nicely. The ladies in the audience truly are lucky, because Adrian Knight gets them – he’s sensitive, and he’s oh-so-clearly a grownup. That’s the key. Be a grownup.

Galtta Media

--Ryan Masteller

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

BOYSCOTT
“Goosebumps”
(Pizza Tape Records)




Strangely enough, this band is out of Nashville, Tennessee. Goosebumps by Boyscott is an incredible combination of surf, pop, and psychedelia. I can’t say enough good things about this album.

Boyscott is really just a one-man band started by Scott Hermo. He even wrote most of these songs while still in high school which makes me even more upset with how amazing it is. Back in high school I could hardly even finish writing my terrible three-minute acoustic love songs.

This album is the joy of summer while still remaining deep and heartfelt. The jangly choruses with such crispy, twangy lead guitars would be enough to bring a tear to Brian Wilson’s eye. This album really makes me want to go down to the lake back in the 80s and get some ice cream. Favorite Track: Embarrassingly Enough.

Boyscott

- Garrett Douglas

Monday, August 28, 2017

BURNET207 "Inter" (Jacktone Records)




This music at first glance jumps out and asks "whats my appeal..". Precision controlled electronic parts evocative of Kraftwerk, Drexciya, or even Yellow Magic Orchestra; with an element of elegant simplicity and a spotless melodic approach, artist burnet207's 2016 Jacktone Record's release is sadly SOLD out.

Track after track, this lit me up! Post-futurist, melodically diverse; harmonically unpredictable electronic tracks. The programming on this record seems light years ahead, with an ambiguity of how each part was being created with numerous different sounding keyboard, drum, and bass parts jamming in tandem counterpoint.

So if you're looking to blast into a distant future with some sophsticated tantric grooves Inter might be for you. Still available to listen to on bandcamp...

https://jacktonerecords.bandcamp.com/album/inter


--"Jamband" Josh Brown

Sunday, August 27, 2017

two guest reviews from up Canada way

A.J. Cornell / S ‎- 1981 / 1999


I was lucky enough to find this tape at a thrift store. Usually, most of the tapes I'll find there will be old releases, so I was quite surprised to see this tape among the oldies! It even came with the download code! This is a split-tape between two experimental music artists, Andrea-Jane Cornell & S. The liner notes says that the first track, "1981", has been recorded by Cornell in one take at CKUT (a local radio station here in Montreal) with a modified turntable, a pitch shifter, a delay pedal, field recordings and a cassette tape found in an antique dresser. The track is intriguing to say the least: we hear a guy and a woman talk to each other over the phone while sound textures evolves in the background. Apparently, the conversation we hear is between two lovers attempting to keep their politically-explosive affair under control, according to the label's website. I found the track pleasing and interesting to listen to. The mood is definitely meditative.

As for the S track, "1999", the tones are harsher and abrasive. The track is much more noisier than "1981"! It's a mix of police scanner snippets and shifting distorted noise. According to the liner note, it has been recorded in Seattle under rain and starlight. I'm much more into ambient and meditative music, so it was harder for me to enjoy. However, I must admit that it has the merit of always evolving and changing, making it more unsettling than "1981".
You can get this tape from the Canadian IO Sound label.


회사AUTO ‎- 仙Android

I bought this tape awhile ago on Discogs without knowing if it was going to be good or not. It turned out to be one of my favorite tape of all time! There's something special about this album inspired by Philip K. Dick and trans-humanism, two subjects that I dig a lot. I guess it's no surprise then that I like 회사AUTO's music so much! According to Dream Catalogue, 회사AUTO is a vaporwave legend, having released, at the time in 2015, more than a dozen classic albums of the genre. Judging from the material on this release, it's not hard for me to believe!

-- Pierre Parenteau

Saturday, August 26, 2017

JERMAN • BARNES “Karst” (Astral Spirits/Monofonus Press)




Jeph Jerman and Tim Barnes are electroacoustic savants. KARST is two sides, three tracks, recorded in Cottonwood (AZ) and Louisville (KY), but the sound may as well have been captured on another planet. “Scumbling” isn’t even a real word! Yet here Jerman and Barnes are, using it like it’s something that’s in everybody’s everyday vocabulary. Maybe it should be. Maybe it’s in Jerman and Barnes’s. But until we get the good folks at Oxford or Merriam-Webster to listen to us, we’re stuck with the weird and exotic. Frequently thrilling, “Scumbling” has no interest in staying still or hovering over one musique concréte idea until it’s bored us half to death. No, the terrain the duo covers is wildly interesting, and again, it does not seem of this earth. “Occluded” is a dark, less active passage, with spikes of sound here and there – the meaning here, in this track, is hidden, obstructed, blocked, and other synonyms for “Occluded.” Still, it will wash over you, like darkness, darker than a black steer’s tuckus on a moonless prairie night, if I may paraphrase and/or quote a popular adage. But “Karst” itself is a tone poem of literal tone, stretching for almost twelve minutes, doing its damnedest to keep the other noises scuffling around beneath it in the background. “Karst” the track, the sound, is “Occlud[ing]” the “Scumbling,” if you get my meaning. And I know that you do. And you know Astral Spirits – if you like them and you like the field-recording-meets-studio-manipulation that Jerman • Barnes are slinging, you’ll find KARST to be right up your alley. No matter what planet you’re on.

Astral Spirits/Monofonus Press

--Ryan Masteller

MONAS “Freedom”
(Astral Spirits/Monofonus Press)




To date we’re six parts into the TWIN PEAKS revival, and each one ends with a scene at the Bang Bang Bar where a different noir-cool band plays to a packed house every night. (Julee Cruise exclusively populated the stage throughout the series’ original run.) I’m here to suggest that Monas would be an excellent addition to the Bang Bang schedule, if only to shake things up a bit and freak everybody out a little more than the average fare (which, admittedly, has been pretty dang good). Maybe it could coincide with, SPOILER ALERT, Cooper shaking the stunted (non)personality of Dougie Jones. Inject a little adrenaline into that plot thread.

FREEDOM is a hard slap on the tuckus. Monas is a trio made up of guitarist/saxman Colin Fisher, bassist Johnny DeBlase, and drummer and all-around everyperson Kid Millions, and their chemistry is the kind of chemistry that the class clown deliberately sabotages in the lab. What happens when this beaker full of chemicals is poured into this other beaker full of chemicals? Let’s find out! Turns out Monas, especially on “Visible Spirit,” the A-side to this fantastic cataclysm, fizzes and explodes for a while – nineteen and a half minutes, in fact. Turns out that placing Fisher, DeBlase, and Millions in a room and shaking it like it was in an earthquake produces wild results. Yeah, I know I’m copping press release comparisons, but hot damn if Sonny Sharrock and Last Exit don’t come to mind. The trio breathlessly battles it out, but instead of chaos they construct incredible , vibrant, and harmonic scaffolding to drape their sound over. The idea is a sight/sound to behold/behear, and the action packed track is over WAY too soon in my opinion.

Fisher switches to saxomophone on the B-side, “Invisible Nature,” and the trio picks up right where it left off, no breaks, no breaths, just astral blasts of tonal geometry piped straight from the center of a supernova. There’s literally no difference as to whether Fisher plays guitar or sax, the result is the same: free jazz improv that coalesces as if by cosmic design. Oh yes, it’s also a total acid facerush of tautly wound bloodsugarsaxmagic (sorry), an aural makeover to readjust your worldview. Now, if we could only convince the Bang Bang Bar to let these guys play once in a while, maybe they’d fuse the Black Lodge entrance closed once and for all with their molten sound attack. Or maybe it would just prove to be an invitation for even MORE wacky sprites to join the party, what do I know of the rules of the spirit realm?

Astral Spirits/Monofonus Press

-- Ryan Masteller

Friday, August 25, 2017

JAMES CREELMAN
“Live at the ROFL House”
(self-released)




Comedy. It’s not easy, is it. I wouldn’t know, I’m not remotely funny. All the humor that has been absorbed into my being comes from Simpsons quotes and old Bill Cosby records. Look where that’s gotten anybody! The Simpson family hasn’t been funny in at least seventeen years. Bill Cosby is … not in a good place. James Creelman probably doesn’t care about either of these things, obsessed as he is with jokes of the more non sequitur, dry, ha-ha look-at-me variety. His cringeworthy puns (“Hoote-nanny!”) are often repeated a few times to drive home how ridiculous they are. And the audience absolutely eats it up – they’re totally into it. Can’t ask for a better crowd. And maybe it’s because I, too, was tucked into bed as a child by a six-foot owl (I can’t believe I have someone to relate to), James Creelman, at times, speaks to me, his humor affecting my funny bone like a pie to the face or a flapping dickey. I find myself chuckling along at regular intervals. And hey, at least he’s not some hacky mimic!

James Creelman

--Ryan Masteller

Thursday, August 24, 2017

MAREHELM
“Marehelm” C40 (Cosmic Winnetou)







Dark zoners.

Marehelm is a mysterious lad or lass from Denmark, and its self-titled C40 on Günter Schlienz’s Cosmic Winnetou is a bad trip/good trip, as read with the idea of bad com/good cop in mind, meaning that “bad trip” spirals you down the emotional drain until “good trip” comes and rescues you with a bit of nostalgia and longing. Deft transitions? You betcha. These three tracks shift back and forth in mood, often upon a single note. The atmosphere wavers within the sonic worlds, which often come across as ambient incidental passages for exploratory video games, action taking place in the dark, where a secret or a memory is about to be uncovered. Get ready for a cut scene at any moment! The track titles are as mysterious as the artist, as “Ryst,” “B.N.,” and “Ovre” suggest meaning without getting all overexplanatory. The result is often gorgeous, even in such a subdued state, and it’s easy to get lost in. Highly recommended to set a tone of late-night noir role play.

Zoning darkly.

...






--Ryan Masteller

CHINO AMOBI “Paradiso”




Chino Amobi juxtaposes somewhat simple electronic music with seemingly stock sound recordings, such as glass breaking and cars passing by along with a stew of other recordings to create the semi non-fictional world and album “Paradiso” (although Paradiso itself is probably anything you’d like to interpret it to be). Subtle non-musical changes in the tracks provokes you to listen to the music in a non conventional context at times. The album is a blend of a lot of musical stylings and particular recordings, for instance the starting track is spoken word poetry with the sound of an ominous storm in the background. Spoken word, singing, stock sound recordings, electronica, rapping, fake radio promotions, the combination of these particular juxtapositions throughout this album reinforce Amobi's art background being applied to music for “Paradiso”.

https://chinoamobi.bandcamp.com/album/paradiso

--Lucas Martinez

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

BRETT “Die Young” (10K Islands)




Brett is as pleasant as any 1980s soundtrack staple, a dream pop hybrid mixing shoegaze and dance music and straight up “pop” pop into a nocturnal playlist for the tragically beautiful. The production is exquisite, and Brett hints at JUNK-era M83 worship at places. The EP succeeds when it hews less to the pop side of the spectrum – e.g., “California Nights” and “Die Young” – and sounds fairly generic when the vocals are cleaned up and thrust front and center – pretty much the rest of the tape. But hey, if you’re looking for something to tide you over before the next wave of eighties-indebted nightbirds sweeps you off your feet, you’d do much worse than DIE YOUNG.

Brett
10K Islands

-- Ryan Masteller

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

HOT FIGHTER #1 "s/t" (Bob Heavens Records)




Sounds like Delaware's Empty Shapes stepped in on a Royal Trux off-th'-cuff recording session while Jennifer stepped out for a ciggie. It is also apparent that Golden Blossom And Singing Bear were there for the Hot Fighter's hoodoo bash. Side B takes a turn and we get treated to some insightful ballads. God Bless.

https://lather.bandcamp.com/album/hot-fighter-1

-- T Penn


Monday, August 21, 2017

HIFI ENVELOPE
“Transitional Objects”
(Illuminated Paths)




From what I understand, and I paraphrase top scientists here, if you slow down R&B samples enough, in space, no one will hear you scream, correct? That’s how vaporwave gets you – it chucks you out of the airlock of your 1970s-style retrofuturistic pleasure cruise ship into the cold vacuum of space, and you feel stupid for a second before you freeze and/or implode for letting it get the jump on you in the first place. Sure, vaporwave acts all cool at first – I mean, this has to be label honcho, right? Doesn’t this movie take place in Florida? – but once it sinks its teeth in, to obliterate the first shaky metaphor with a second equally shaky one, it’s all over. Curses. Foiled again. And whatnot. But Hifi Envelope has emerged from the disgusting swamps of Gainesville (sorry! I mistook the University of Florida for an unholy cesspool – go Gators?) to chuck all that vaporwave nonsense right back in your smirking face, you buffoon, because TRANSITIONAL OBJECTS is a chillaxed repertory of the dankest proportions. I have forgotten what vaporwave even means while listening to it, if it ever even meant anything to begin with. This is not vaporwave. It is a valiantly composed electronic opiate, not outside the realm of Boards of Canada or even some of your favorite melodic ambient artists. It is at the very least obviously made by a human being with real human emotions and feelings, not a slick, ironic superhuckster. In fact, I’m so blissed out right now right in my OWN human face that I’ve lost all threads of warning you about awful unfunny music masquerading as unfunny satire. Hifi Envelope is the real deal, a joy to listen to on more than one occasion, a repeatable entity whose tape is almost bloody sold out from the IP page. Wonder if you should buy one? I say you should buy one. I am at the very least a non-ironic superhuckster, hocking some sweet tunes with a sincere smile on my face. Not like Chris Sarandon in FRIGHT NIGHT (two for two!).
--Ryan Masteller

COLA可樂巫術NECROMANCY
“family vacation”
(Illuminated Paths)


 
Slide into the comfort of vaporwave. It fits over your earholes like a forbidden glove made especially for ears, lovingly caressing their canals and stroking their drums. Illuminated Paths is the suave purveyor of the luscious vaporwave, meaningful glances firing in your direction from just over the top of tilted-down shades, even though it’s night time and you’re in a dimly lit club and Illuminated Paths isn’t really a person but an enterprise, personified here for effect and also just for funsies. Today Illuminated Paths is as charming as Chris Sarandon in FRIGHT NIGHT, luring you in with the promise of romance and adventure, and delivering with COLA可樂巫術NECROMANCY. I don’t know why this is called FAMILY VACATION – it comes off as waaay too adult for the kiddos, but hey, who’s arguing? Not me, I’m fully stoked, and I’ve got some of the most erotic liqueurs and some candles and stuff like that, ready for an evening of sweet, glorious, processed smooth-jazz sax and warped adult contempo slow jamz. I might even break out the bubble bath.

Illuminated Paths

--Ryan Masteller

Sunday, August 20, 2017

GIRLS OF SLENDER MEANS
“Synthesizer"
(Hollow Home Ministries)




Sometimes harrowing, at others transcendent, the five-piece knob-twiddling maestros known as the Girls of Slender Means, named after the novel by Scottish author Muriel Spark (which I’m now going to have to read, thanks a lot for extending my book list even further than I have time for), fiddle with the titular instrument throughout a multitude of interesting permutations. A quick perusal (that’s all you’ll get regardless) of the Hollow Home Ministries tumblr page reveals that this release was announced on December 9, 2011. In fact, the last entry on that tumbr is four years old. So, I guess you guys probably missed out, but feel free to electronically contact the label at hollowhomeministries@gmail.com to see if someone answers and if they still have more of these tapes. Did this one get buried somewhere? It’s utterly fascinating – noise meets kosmische, straight up synthesizer dirt, all the way, till you can’t stand hearing any other sound except for this one. Please. Synthesizer is filling my body with unfamiliar pulses. I am at its full mercy. Don’t bother sending help, I’m fine – maybe pizza. Send pizza.

Hollow Home Ministries

--Ryan Masteller

MYTHICAL MOTORS
“Running the Shine”
(self-released)




Mythical Motors, Chattanooga’s favorite indie-pop outfit, are back, this time in pog form! Not really, though – they’re just back with a new tape, RUNNING THE SHINE, continuing along the same rock action path as their previous work, such as SELECTIONS FROM THE PSYCHIC’S MUSEUM, reviewed by me not terribly long ago. (And remember pogs? I was a little old for them when they came out, but whatevs.) EQ in the red? Check. Guitars blazing a power-pop trail? Check. Melodies to die and/or kill for? Double check. In fact, the quartet sounds particularly energized in this iteration, as always led by the probably-GBV-worshipping Matt Addison. The sixteen songs are crisp, delivered effortlessly, and fuzzed out for maximum eardrum poppage at the right volumes. Any one of the tunes would be safely snuggled in good and tight on the CHILDREN OF NUGGETS tracklist. Or on one of Bob Pollard’s mixtapes, if he made mixtapes instead of tirelessly making the music of other people’s mixtapes instead. Which is sort of what Addison and crew do: tirelessly make side A/track 1s for all us proles whose guitars are hidden under beds or in closets, cases covered in dust and strings rusty from disuse. I am one of those of us. My guitar strings are rusty. I listen to Mythical Motors and I think to myself, “Gee, I should really bust out the old guitar and tune that thing up.” Then I remember that takes actual effort, so I’ll leave that effort to the professional rock-and-rollers. When there are tapes like RUNNING THE SHINE around, who needs to do anything besides kick back, strap in, and feel the Gs. Or maybe go out to one of Mythical Motors’s live shows – I bet when they’re plugged in they can really shake some teeth. In a super catch way.

Mythical Motors

-- Ryan Masteller

Saturday, August 19, 2017

NEW BATCH: THIRD KIND RECORDS AUGUST 2017


Happy summer! Did you expect a couple new tapes from Third Kind Records, especially since they just graced us with the spectacular WIDDENDREAM by Nikmis and the equally spectacular SELTRAC by International Debris? I sure didn’t, but here I am, stupefied in my glee. The Brighton, UK, label (hey, I’ve wandered down Brighton Pier, etc.!) even doubles down on the Nikmis, flashing some serious street cred when it comes to your baroque synthesizer musicians. I’ve often thought to myself, in the past month or so, gee, if only I had something to listen to by Nikmis after WIDDENDREAM ends. I no longer have to wonder about the answer to that question. The answer is here!

NIKMIS – 10 MOVEMENTS FOR LARGE SYNTHESIZER (1909)

I’m a huge fan of classical music permeating whatever genre or scene I’m digging into, whether it’s Patrick Higgins’s guitar interpretations of Bach or David Kanaga’s interpretation of opera (or something) – heck, there’s an Orange Milk subset that’s all over this classical thing. But Nikmis goes a step further – well, a step in parallel with 10 MOVEMENTS FOR LARGE SYNTHESIZER (1909), a lovely meander through the baroque while often sounding like he’s set up his instrument of choice in a large cathedral. The effect is sort of like a pipe organ, but the timbre throughout betrays its electric origins. Not unlike Wendy Carlos’s SWITCHED-ON BACH, Nikmis plays it straight-faced, simply reveling in the possibilities of marrying the old approaches with new technology. The result is never less than fascinating, as Nikmis proves himself a deft composer and performer, flitting through arpeggios and movements with ease. And this is doubly fortuitous, as the answer to my earlier question is now and always 10 MOVEMENTS. (Plus it has a reversible cover!)



CRUSHTRASH – RECLAMATION YARD

But that begs the next question – what’s next after 10 MOVEMENTS? Well duh, if you’ve bought the batch it’s obviously Crushtrash. RECLAMATION YARD is a reclamation project of sorts for Third Kind, as it comprises the remastered/reissued recordings of a “friend made long ago” – the mid-1990s! God, I remember the mid-1990s. I was into a lot of great music back then, and a lot of stupidly horrible music. Crushtrash stands the test of time, coming off as a mix between Depeche Mode and Morrissey, but a lot darker and a lot synthier. Maybe if Julee Cruise was male? Anyway, the synthpop/darkwave tunes are a nice trip down memory lane, as they’d be perfectly at home popping up on the 1st Wave station I constantly listen to in my car. I’m sure it was a blast for Nick at Third Kind to revisit and beef up his friend’s old tunes – they sound fantastic to this day.

Third Kind Records

--Ryan Masteller

Friday, August 18, 2017


sorry for the brief interruption
of our regularly scheduled programming
we'll be back at 8am tomorrow

from here on out
we will began posting
two reviews per day
on most, but not all, days
in order to keep up
with the massive
influx of packages
we are are receiving

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

CRUDE REZNOR
“Vernon#30
(All Gone)



Two things are hard to escape when listening to the garbled nether-vibes of Crude Reznor: (1) the inescapable presence of everybody’s favorite Reznor, Trent, and (2) the palpable degradation of composition to its “hoagie sleaze” state. Make that “moistening” instead of “degradation.” Well, not really “moistening.” It’s more of a smeary concoctability than anything, a devil-may-care attitude to the whole idea of consumption. But you’re distracting me; it’s hard to concentrate on anything when you’re questioning all my “hoagie sleezes.”

Crude Reznor’s compositions don’t remotely not draw comparisons to early industrial music – they surely recall the experimental cacophony of early purveyors of the genre, replete with the requisite bizarro samples and wacko electronic touches. But if you were going to pit Trent Reznor against Crude Reznor in a winner-take-all freakout competition, I’m not sure the Crude wouldn’t outweird the Trent. The plunderphonic craziness, especially as the tape progresses, might just make Trent nuts enough to toss in that towel fairly early in the match.

And you know what hoagie sleeze is, right? It’s when you get a hoagie from a supermarket or something, and it’s gotten extra moist because it’s been in the wrapping, so the bun starts to disintegrate from the wetness when you try to eat it. It’s icky and sloppy, and it begins the inevitable decay of the sandwich at perhaps too early a point in its existence. Sometimes Vernon#30 seems moist and disintegrative, like the tape’s been stuck in a fridge and saran wrapped in with some leftover watermelon slices or something. It’s exactly the kind of post-post-production the tracks needed – they’re gross, they’re humid, they’re wonderful.

This all to say – I’ll provide some thumbs in the general up direction for Vernon#30, as it’s a weird-ass, perfectly relistenable smattering of wackjob composition. If I may give you some advice, all of you one-on-one Thunderdome-esque gladiatorial aficionados: never bet against the weirdest dude in the room. That’s the guy that’s gonna walk away with the trophy.

All Gone

-- Ryan Masteller

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

JEMEZ “Jemez” (self-released)




If I were to paint shoegaze by numbers, the colors would be represented by the letters “J,” “E,” “M,” “E” (yes, again, it’s a subtly different “E”), and “Z,” which spells Jemez, duh, pronounced “Jeemz.” Just kidding, it’s “HAY-mez,” so I’m told on the Bandcamp page. As I faint with damning praise, I implore you not to misunderstand the “painting by numbers” aspect of my reaction as a real criticism. See, it’s really hard to pull off anything terribly innovative in the whole shoegaze spectrum, and Jemez at least has the overdriven and tense guitar thing down. It’s certainly not unpleasant, and the noise quotient is sure to entice even the casual fan. But there it is, a curio within the genre, an equation that can be written x = Morella’s Forest + “Summer Babe,” where you can solve for x if you want, but you don’t need to. Just relax and enjoy it. Or pull out your older, better shoegaze records and enjoy them instead. Jemez will at least wet your whistle.

https://jemez.bandcamp.com/releases

-- Ryan Masteller

Monday, August 14, 2017

MONAS "Freedom"
(Astral Spirits / Monofonus Press)




Side A:  "Visible Spirit"

Side A adapts and mimics the paramount free jazz of Sun Ra, where the electricity of instruments are exploited to create cosmic sounds that conjure up images of the depths of space. But instead of Sun Ra's contorted organ being a prime instrument, "Visible Spirits" instrument of choice is a rock 'n' roll classic; the electric guitar.  At its best moments, Monas' Colin Fisher gets his guitar to sound like a Godzilla death cry.  It's "awakening" is accompanied by the appearance of a bass guitar which rattles out a fuzzed out escalating, doomy melody. The guitar transforms into spacecraft bleeps and back to cyborg bear groans.  The drums are feral and anti-socially bubble about in the background, like a boy in his diapers splashing around in a puddle of mud.  Monas is performing some bad behavior for sure.  At times the guitar becomes recognizable as it performs endless metal scales which seem to not be in rhythm with anything but an inner monologue that is occurring inside the musician.  Side A ends with the musicians embracing the fundamentally punk nature of this session; a crescendo of the themes priorly described in this review followed by the acceptance of the void - broken speaker feedback.

Side B: Invisible Nature

Side B, "Invisible Nature", trades in the electric guitar abuse for a saxophone which expresses endurance by playing improvised virtuosic melodies until what feels like physical breakdown.  The drums go in and out of rolls that respond to the saxophone in real time.  Philosophically, the drummer seems to be treating this session as exercise as well, testing his physical abilities while pushing the sonic boundaries of no wave-free jazz. The clashes of symbols scatter the improvised composition like fireworks crackling a fourth of July sky.  The Bass remains uncommitted, gradually dictating and establishing a rhythm before abandoning it, drunkenly positioning itself between 3 or 4 notes.  The bass is strongest sonically when slid, as the distorted amplifier exaggerates the instrument's primal core; hyper picked Dick Dale single note freakouts - Miserlou attempted by an unchecked Existentialist just in time for their mid-life crisis.

By the time the bass has found its groove, the saxophone has hit staccato pitches which mimic a cat in heat, a dying rabbit or perhaps a science fiction type robot short circuiting.

The music's unhinged, endless freeform produces both sensations of catharsis but also fear. The music suggests an unsettling situation in which the listener, accustomed to looping vaporware and television commercial jingles with the sole purpose of getting stuck in your head, cannot know what will happen next.  There is simply no relief from the imaginative on-slot which purposely dismisses harmony, pattern or order for freedom.

Invisible Nature ends with the Saxophone spiraling around nonsensically, with no direction but still with the same level of passion and energy ... the saxophone's volume fades out, unresolved, implying it never ends.

Fans of Sun Ra, Lambsbread, Mothmus and other Ecstatic Peace noisemakers will dig this release.

-- Jack Turnbull

Sunday, August 13, 2017

PYROLATROUS
"Become the Earth"
(Already Dead Tapes)




A really solid fine piece of black metal/punk crossover craftsmanship here from Pyrolatrous ... Excellent use of metal typography, with the band's name just legible enough while remaining enigmatic, cryptic and menacing. There is also phenomenal use of symmetry and geometry as the text resolves around a silhouetted circular sphere that mirrors itself with radiating abstract lines that reinforce the gnarled nature of the text.

While the remaining text of the cassette design is more classic, an Olde English font commonly found within the photoshop font presets, the old proverb fits here; "if it ain't broke don't fix it".

While you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, the graphic design of the cassette is representative of the music inside; two metal sonic blasters that bring home the bacon, get your head banging while you occasionally stroke your professorial goatee. This is some thinking man's metal, with influences all over the aggressive music spectrum.

Side A, "Become the Earth", is the dominant track here, although this is not to lay blame of the Side B, which is totally slaying and epic, but suffers from less dynamic tempos; the blast beats blend into one another more on side B, where as the shifting beats and Tempos of side A feel more cut and paste, thus being more disorienting, hence more metal.

But really, I'm slicing hairs here. This 2 song appetizer is just the thing to get your motorcycle rally, Satanic Seance, horror movie marathon ice breaker, or whatever transgression of your choice, ... goin'!

Fans of Motorhead, Liturgy, Horrendous, Candlemass, ... perhaps even those of you who dabble on the heavier side of prog (???) will love this ... You get the picture. Enjoy! 


Saturday, August 12, 2017

MUSTAPHA BIERE
“Fieldwork”
(Tape Du Jour)




I don’t know about the other reviewers here, but most of what I get is electronica. Given that, I’ve developed quite a taste for it and feel that as a result I’m better able to discern the distinctions much better than when I started. So thanks, Cassette Gods!

This is electronic but with a heavy influence of soundtrack stylings and even smooth jazz which, in this case, makes for a very listenable experience. The tape is very well recorded, in fact one of the best sounding (fidelity wise) tapes I’ve heard come through here yet.

Mustapha Biere (Mathew Greasley) is a UK based multi-media artist and musician with several releases to his credit. There are only 25 of these tapes (and I have one) which were duplicated real-time unto TDK tape. The insert is on nice linen paper, with artwork by Ben Holmes. Purchasing the tape allows you unlimited streaming via bandcamp. It’s a nice package, but you better hurry over to Bandcamp if you want one.

www.tapedujour.bandcamp.com

-- Bob Zilli