Tuesday, May 25, 2010


copynoisehighclassical/Songs About Pandas – Split c40

copynoisehighclassical is a mysterious act that fills out the A side of this tape with a single track of metered analog glitch. It varies from mildly listenable to extremely annoying. The main problem is their use of a simplistic & highly repetitive “click” percussion. On the flip side is Songs About Pandas with numerous short noise, ambient, noiserock, and experimental pieces that feature looped guitars. Most of it was enjoyable enough, but the brief length and constant genre hopping doesn't really let you get a feel for the songs. Even when SAP is at their best, it can't compensate for cnhc.

Jozik Records

Family Treasures/Hunted Creatures – Split c20

After being blown away by Family Treasures' Alter of Ashes, I was stoked to get the recent split with Hunted Creatures. Unfortunately, Family Treasures ventures off into harsher territory on this release. It reminded me of Daniel Menche's old stuff, but with more synthesizers. It's not that it's bad sound, just not what I'm digging these days. Hunted Creatures do some atmospheric stuff consisting of electronics and samples spliced together. Maybe it's the percussion, but there's a certain quiet, frenzied feel underlying their work. It's a solid release, just not a sound I'm into at the moment. I'm gonna shelve this for a while and comeback to it later, as my audio palate shifts accordingly.

905 Tapes

Roman Wolfe – Yelm c62

You are not ready for the epicness that is contained on this tape. Imagine smoking rocks of frozen ammonia on the surface of Ganymede. YEA. You worry that when synth stuff gets spacey it's gonna go all new age on you, but not here. It must be heard to be believed...So, you know, go get it.

905 Tapes

Suburban Howl/Nascita-ri – Split cdr

We've got an interesting little split here with a single track from two unusual Italian bands. Up first is Suburban Howl, who play something in between lo-fi folk and free jazz on homemade instruments. It gets a little twangly in certain parts, like the solos of randomly scratched, grated, and plucked strings, but generally an enjoyable piece. Nascita-ri follows up with a track of black ambient metal sounding stuff. Very minimalistic and very oppressive, my favorite of the two bands. This is an enjoyable release, but not meant for everyone; you're going to need more than a casual appreciation for experimental music to really savor what these two bands are playing.

Smell The Stench Records

Sunglasses – Deep Cloth cdr

A single track of rhythmic drone, there is something very sinister and unsettling about Deep Cloth. It's the soundtrack to exploring an abandoned chemical refinery where all the machinery is still running; an entirely disconcerting experience. Not the kind of foreboding sound I'd expected from a band with a name like “Sunglasses”. Definitely something you should check out.

Cryptic Carousel Records

Monday, May 10, 2010


Aseethe - The Armada (live) c45

I must admit to having a bias when it comes to live recordings. Around 6th or 7th grade I stumbled upon a used cassette copy of Blue Öyster Cult's Some Enchanted Evening, and ever since it has provided a gauge for all the live albums I've heard. Even if this weren't held to such a standard, it would still disappoint. For starters, one of the wheels on the recording cassette deck is malfunctioning, causing a very audible clicking noise every few seconds. As much as I love the world of lo-fi, Aseethe is a band meant for opposite end of the audio spectrum; the foreboding mood set by doomy, hushed breakdowns is ruined by constant *chk*chk*chk*. On top of that, only one side contains music. The other side is 20 minutes of the band hanging out and bullshitting, which happens to be better recorded than their performance. An unimpressive release that feels like it was quickly assembled to generate some extra income on their tour earlier this year. Go score the Aseethe/Shores of the Tundra split 12' instead.

AROS Records

Family Treasures – Altar of Ashes c45

I'm not sure exactly how to describe this unlikely combination of wailing sax and plodding electronics. I'd say imagine an experimental Dueling Banjos played on woodwind and synth, but that would be a gross injustice to Altar of Ashes. How about this; it's good, really good. One would expect a saxophone erupting over the slow, densely layered electronic composition to have an unpleasant, jolting effect. But, in fact, it's just the opposite. There's a certain mesmerizing quality about it, drawing the listener in and pushing out all other stimuli. Like I said, it's good, really good...

Tape Drift Records

Flesh Forest and The Elephant Only Zoo – T. Hawk c11

I wont lie, I got this solely because of the ridiculous band name. That's always a risky gamble, but in this instance, one that paid off. T. Hawk consists of four spacey, electronic pieces, with a psychedelic undertone. My only complaint? There weren't more songs.

Felt Cat Records

Orphan – I Don't Have a Home c30

Remember how listening to De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas invoked images of frozen Norwegian forests and an overwhelming sense of misanthropy? Well, that's what Orphan manages to do on I Don't Have a Home, conjuring up the foggy bogs of Nova Scotia and feelings of melancholy. Sadness and isolation permeate Orphan's bleak, atmospheric drone. It's really an outstanding release, right down to the handmade cassette packaging.

IHAA Records

Sasha Darko/Electric Typewriter/Noon on Neptune – 3 Way c62

Things start off with a single track of ambient glitch from Sasha Darko. Think a poor man's Oval, composed with sounds you'd find in a bad 50's sci-fi movie. Next up is Electric Typewriter with four tracks that sound like they should be receiving frequent rotation on Hearts of Space. While their style of synth heavy New Age stuff about crystal healing and dolphins on the moon isn't my deal, I'll grudgingly concede that the music is well played for what it is. Filling out the B side is a single track from Noon on Neptune, which takes a little while to get into, but ends up being the stand out on this release. Weird, spacy ambient and 60's styled psychedelic rock duke it out for around 20 minutes, leaving you wanting more. A release worth checking out for Noon on Neptune's contribution, and, hey, who knows...Maybe you'll dig the other artists.

Felt Cat Records

Screwtape/Tenshun/Julia LaDense – 35 Ways c92

Screwtape, whose single piece occupies the entirety of the A side, is collaboration between Walter Gross and Bizzart. Based on what I've heard here, tracking down either of their solo releases isn't on my to do list. It's 46 minutes of lo-fi audio cut-ups, tape manipulation, and the like. *yawn* On the flip side, Tenshun is up first with a track that manages to skillfully blend tip-hop, noise, drone, glitch, ambient and other genres. While most of the song is strong and innovative, the last 5 or 10 minutes consists of poorly manipulated sampling. You get the feeling that after recording his track, Tenshun realized it was too short and slapped on this extra material. It's unfortunate, because that last segment really ruins the song. Finally, the B side is rounded out by uninspired low-volume rumblings from Julia LaDense. A rather disappointing release.

IHAA Records

Vanessa Rossetto – PDD-NOS c30

Does recording someone dragging a chair across a linoleum floor really qualify as a minimalist composure? What about recording yourself unwrapping a piece of candy or the washing machine on the rinse cycle? Vanessa Rossetto certainly things so. Needless to say, I found myself highly unimpressed with this release. Even the parts that weren't annoying field recordings, like the section of atonal cello, were lackluster.

Period Tapes

V.A. - Ukulele, Mekulele, Wekulele c60

As a casual strummer of the ukelele, I'm well aware that it is not a particularly versatile instrument. The sound produced lends itself to folk, indie pop, and occasionally jazz. You wont hear a uke popping up in any death metal or industrial songs. So, it's no surprise that almost all the 27 bands on this comp are pop bands. Not a bad thing, but not being into indie pop, I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy this. After tossing it in for a listen I found this, with the exception of one obnoxious track by the Mill Kids, to be highly enjoyable. My favorite songs happened to be from bands that had an innovative approach to the uke or who's style varied from the standard indie sound. Stand outs were the electronic infused pop of Mother Auxillary, the gritty delta blues of Ruben Diaz, the symphonic indie dirge from I Am Oak, and the jazz of Slashed Tires. That's not to say the more straight forward pop acts didn't leave something to be desired; Yoyoyo Acapulco, MJ Hibbertt, For the Agenda, and Blanket Truth laid down especially memorable songs. This compilation is going to be in my tape deck a lot this summer, providing a soundtrack to sunshine and hefeweizen.

Lost Sound Tapes