This cassette is an already sold-out split tape from two burgeoning noise artists both tending to lean towards the ambient/industrial realms.
Regosphere tackles side A with Wolf’s Head (Bleeding) which has a much more power electronics vibe than most of his material and I’m really digging it. Beneath the Sheath follows with more of Regosphere’s token sound but as always these tracks are very thick with excellent synth pads and layers of fuzz.
Shiver’s work here isn’t bad but I have to say it does kind of pale in comparison to Regosphere. Mainly in production quality though. Shiver delivers Statement a seething ambient/noise piece that ebbs and flows until it builds into a wall of controlled overdriven noise and is even joined by screaming vocals by track’s end. I really enjoy the swelling chants here that join the fray and provide a Terminator 2 style backdrop to the whole thing.
I come out of this tape actually really enjoying the efforts of both artists. Shiver could have used a little mastering magic to compete with Regosphere’s thick, full sound but both artists really turn it up for this one. Great work.Composition: 4 out of 5 stars Sounds: 4 out of 5 stars Production Quality: 3 out of 5 stars Concept: 3 out of 5 stars Packaging: 3 out of 5 stars Overall Rating: 3.4 out of 5 stars
When I learnt a bit further that Raphael Rogiński and Mewa Chabiera are in the line up of this project I thought there must be some really powered up energy of the music going on - especially with Raphael's klezmerian attitude and strong Mewa's voice and the rest of the line up which includes such luminaries as Hubert Zemler, Ola Rzepka, Michał Górczyński and Piotr Zabrodzki - to name just the ones I am familar with.
Ghost dance as it is and I didn't expect as much of tribalism in a clichee way as it might be with conscientious theme projects. Instead there is plenty of natural raw power of bluesy surf in a form of a song that never seems to grow silent just like a transposed voice of a wolf in a desert with its elusiveness and hidden multi-layered symbolism which might include anything from the reminescenses of beat literature to mystical exempts of Herman Hesse, the very dignified core of the psychodelic hippie wave and most of all raw power of blues and power of chord.
I really admire the sense of mutual understanding between the musicians and how they operate in the formula they embellished and worked out as their own style. It's so easy to fall into a clichee in a world of guitar work especially when you see how much of the studio work is actually not corespondent with the actual live act.
Musicians are virtuosos in their own respects but withut exaggerating in any way which builds up a solid base for literally anything that can happen - although the compositions are songs - there is so much about the free range space which can be left for steady and very observant way of improvising between the musicians - if not on the actual recording - you can definitely feel it on live shows.
Very refreshing listening and a nice break from my usual experimental bit. I will be definitely looking forward to their next release as well as looking for the records with the people included in the line up.
There's also this, which also features World Dom vocalist Tony and his pal Zac, both of whom I put in the band for the Jandek show I booked at Flywheel back in 2010...fun little tidbit. This is a nice unassuming little album and you'd maybe never hear it if you weren't about to listen to it right? This one is available on tape from High Ledges, a new label started by Meghan Minior and Will Killingsworth of Ampere.
Complete Works by Heaven And Earth Magic
Western Mass motherfuckers.
We argue about Black Metal. All of us. What is and what isn't black metal is something we have impregnated message boards with for years. We are so insecure in our ideas of black metal we worry that if we say we like Wolves in the Throne Room that means we are ignorant of what true black metal is. Some of us like to talk about bands like Liturgy or Deafheaven as being black metal or at least the new wave of black metal and that starts a whole other argument. I for one do not think of those prior two bands—Liturgy or Deafheaven—as being black metal. They certainly use the vocabulary of black metal—the screeching vocals, tremolo picking and blazing drums—but they lack the main, most important ingredient. Atmosphere. Without that instantly identifiable atmosphere of icy-cold, empty, haunted, horror-filled depression you are not within the limited confines of black metal. That's why Burzum can put out a record of keyboards and it's more blackened than the Explosions in the Sky at 500mph style of Deafheaven. I'm not trying to talk shit here. I own all those Deafheaven records and I enjoy them but they are about as black metal as Ned's Atomic Dustbin. So what is the new wave of black metal? I don't know, nor do I actually care but Propast is certainly refreshing to these old ears. This is fast brutal black metal that I think belongs right next to the best record of last year, Inquisition's Obscure Verses for the Multiverse. It's a bit different but it contains the same frenzied angst and the same level of musicianship that blew me away. Propast also has only two members, a drummer and guitarist/singer. Aksinomantijan and Kasapin respectively, and they are able to capture the atmosphere of hopelessness and channel it into some wonderfully hateful tracks. The cassette itself looks great with both roman and cyrillic text. The j-card is embossed with something wicked-satanic and the design is solid. All tracks were recorded in Serbia and I think that adds to the mystique of desperation, at least for me. They might not be living in cabins in the middle of nowhere, never sure when the next World War is going to turn their life into a scene from Come and See but they certainly understand darkness and horror way more than someone who complains about having to connect between BART and MUNI too late at night. I guess I look at it in the same way I look at Hip-Hop. If I hear a rapper is from Detroit I am a lot more interested at what he or she has to say as opposed to a handsome white guy from Seattle. I guess that is what this whole conversation is about. Perspective. I have a feeling this conversation will not be ending anytime soon.
Let me begin this review by congratulating Givan Lotz for his design work on the cassette paper sleeve. The cover is gorgeous; it is a fluorescent colored digital homage to silkscreen and lithography, with paper thin subtle hatching gradients in cool hued prints. Floral textiles are reminiscent to Rococo era lithographs, but the repeating patterns feel Warholian because each subjects color is monotone.
The color choices look LSD inspired like Haight Ashbury 60ties hippie posters, but the subjects are fetishistic, like a Henri Fantin-Latour painting. This is fitting for the audio's gentle mood with slight hints to something more acid drenched.
Givan Lotz doesn't have the positive peace sign energy of the summer of love however that his design aesthetic might suggest. The songs on this release were made over the period of four years according to a press release statement. So the songs are not naive. They are considered, humble and a bit burnt out. Lotz's voice is haunting and murmured. At times it can be dragging, but subtle and surprising instrumentation shifts keep the release engaging.
The genre to this music is a cousin to campfire folk, but it's deeper and darker than that; it's cavernous and reverberated. I hear a little Black Heart Procession, but Lotz hails from Johannesburg, South Africa, so the time signatures mimic the rhythms of another culture, even though the common theme of the cassette is melancholia.
Lotz tackles the subjects of loneliness and tragedy without getting over sensitive or dramatic by giving the music the cool of a dusk evening in the desert. The sounds are searching artistically for tonal expansion while the lyrics get down right personal.
It's a strong release that comes recommended. Check it out.
record label: www.other-electricities.com
Artist website: http://www.other-electricities.com/givan-lotz
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Do you live in the Boston area? do you enjoy listening to music on cassette? Are you interested in becoming a Cassette God? I'm looking for reliable and frequent contributors to meet up with me face to face and receive tapes for review every week. I really feel like this system has the best chances of getting the highest percentage of tapes posted to the blog, but if I can't find three to five reliable people out here, I might need to go back to the previous system of posting the individual reviewers addresses on the sidebar. I took those down because I felt like not enough writing was being done, but now we're in the same boat and February has been pretty bleak as far as contributions to the blog go. So please drop me a line at cavebears at gee mail dot comb if you are local and want to help keep this thing running.
Why keep it running? Because a small but consistent number of people look at this site daily. Recently it's been averaging 500 views per day (15,000 per month), with a total of half a million since we started. I'm sure this is minuscule compared to some other music blogs, but it's enough to make me feel that we are doing something for the people whose music we post about.
Also a note for people submitting music for review: send no promo emails ever. There are enough people who actually send physical submissions that we could review one tape a day (minimum) if we had enough writers, so I definitely don't take the time to look at submissions from people who can't muster a single copy of a tape.
update 3/8/14: I've got some good folks responding, and I've been handing out tapes by the dozen, so hopefully this will mean a more active CG in the future. I've also started writing a few little scraps here and there. keep the tapes coming, there is light at the end of this tunnel of a submissions box...
Halalnihil – Meqbaszni Minden Rákos Embert A Földön CDr
Halalnihil is a project from Hungary. All I know about Hungary is that it is supposed to contain the most depressed population in the world and that the song Gloomy Sunday hails from the country. Halalnihil’s sound isn’t any more lighthearted than that song but it is a hell of a lot more aggressive.
In Meqbaszni Minden Rákos Embert A Földön, Halalnihil skillfully mixes elements of harsh noise and power electronics to offer 4 tracks of varied yet focused and consistent harsh sounds. The vibe here is hardcore and angry noise with spoken passages in Hungarian which to my American ears sounds downright creepy.
This short disc only spans 20 minutes but evolves well especially in the excellent track Harmadik Rész where Halalnihil leaves some dead air time to sit back and leave the listener with their tortured thoughts only to have absolutely horrid screeching electronics blast in and interrupt any peace of mind that might have been formed.
I like the production here, it’s maybe a touch sanitary but it’s clear and intense. The disc itself has more of a demo feel – delivered in a slimline plastic jewel case with photocopied artwork – the packaging is nothing special but it gets the job done. As a first exposure to the project it’s a good effort and I can see a lot of potential here. Welcome to the international noise world Hungary.Composition: 3.5 out of 5 stars Sounds: 3.5 out of 5 stars Production Quality: 3.5 out of 5 stars Concept: 3.5 out of 5 stars Packaging: 2 out of 5 stars Overall Rating: 3.2 out of 5 stars
Jason Honea was born on Whidbey Island, Washington in 1965. Keyed into his musical side at an early age, his church life and street life reflected this enthusiasm in both love and wonder. Cleaning up creeks and forming bands remain as two top favorite things! This history-hobbyist, wanderer, singer, music maker, and drawer is a Pisces Catholic living and working in Berlin.
He has been a major contributor to many of the excellent projects housed in the Jewelled Antler forest. The Child Readers, with Loren Chasse are the perfect example, but Honea has also perfected his craft with the magical Knit Separates. Honea also has let his punk rock roots explode in the all-out aural assaults of Teenage Panzerkorps, a project with Glenn Donaldson. But Honea's craft is delicate and expansive. On The Knit Separates, one can hear his fixations and realizations come to life. There's mysticism and magic, but most important is beauty. He always has his hand in something and you never know when a new project or album will fall from the skies.
1. People who compose or
improvise within a framework of
modern contemporary improvised experimental music cite some
music or in their life as the factor of inspiration? What
about you? How did it
start with making music in your case?
I've mentioned this a few times before but as a child my parents would never buy me records. I had to commit any melody I liked to memory and just hum it to myself over and over . This was essentially my first 'radio' so to speak and it's also where i get my ear from !! Another thing that made a huge impact on me was a Halloween time collection of sounds and what not called Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House. Actually Disney might have had something to do with this record. At any rate, we used to play it again and again non stop... slowing it down, stalling it- just messing with it. I recall being able to tell how unnatural certain qualities of the recording were and asking myself why they might have done it. I also recall thinking how botched some of the skits seemed paired up with the sounds that were accompanying them. Consciously or not I simply took it and made it my MO years later. It just seemed funny to me then but in a few
years I would be doing exactly that.
After long periods of time being in groups I developed the need to jettison the 'band' all together it somehow occurred to me that it was totally plausible and believable to just make songs out of my voice. my voice could be the band, the lyrics separate and standing alone.
2. The world is going
through probably one of the worst
moments of history, rather than the end of the world I think
we are about to
enter a new dimension of thought. what moves you going out
of bed every
What gets me out of bed every morning ?? well, i really like my life and i enjoy my interests which keep me more than busy and keep me learning..Also, I enjoy being around people. To be honest i was able to change my life at some point. knowing that you can change your life offers you a few more options.
3. How does your music
resonate with your personal
philosophy ? Do you try to separate
from your music, leaving it rather to
a vast terrain of associations generated by a listener's
Not sure what my music might reflect about my personal philosophy.Like i just said I enjoy living my life....the music i do or what you hear is simply my side of the effect.I've always said that with my music I'm not trying to tell anyone anything nor is what I'm up to have any kind of narrow definition.If anything it just represents what i think works about music.
4. Nature vs. Culture. Who
is an artist?
I was lucky !
I grew up in the SF Bay Area in the 70s and 80s which was a massive vortex of creativity to say the least so we had plenty of both !!!. Nature dictates ability but culture makes allowances for certain considerations. In general though I tend to go by the piece of art on an individual basis and not by the creator .
5. How would you describe
the masculine or androgynous aspect
of creativity and relate it to your
It's not anything I've ever thought about really though after all the punk rock I consciously wanted to create something that didn't have to be necessarily loud and that spanned a wider array of emotions. Neither masculine or androgynous...more like a step towards the divine !!
6. Imagine you can create
your own island including your
dreams, emotions, positive projections. How would it look
It would look like a Rockwell Kent painting and be perpetually 1:30 in the afternoon in September. Nights would feature my kindergarten years fever dreams as super 8s projected onto sleeper waves.Bang !
7. Interaction with other
musicians - what is important for
you to make a collaboration a worthwhile quality?Thanks for asking. This changes for me constantly.... but i find it easier at least when the other people I'm working with are active in other fields of expression than just music. That said , great things have come about when there's been chasms of aesthetic differences and we've consciously understood that something we did wasn't a 'mistake'.
8. Can you relate yourself
to any kind of esoteric
understanding of your creative process?Other than the fact that it answers my prayers, no.
I call up my own thunder to create what I think is beautiful and this constitutes my getting to be near the divine.
9. What does
"peace" means to you?
10. How do you communicate
with the idea of musical
development in the years to come? What seems the most
tempting and challenging?
It's going to come down to more and more commando/guerrilla- style performances . We're so over served by a variety means in which to listen to music these days (in its thousand and one forms) that before you know it the active consumer will cease to be able to even notice that music is even playing because its just damn everywhere!! Said active consumer will demand a real live,better than live practically 3D experience....
All that Malcolm McLaren piffle is coming true !!!!!!
photos of Jason by
Initially I thought it would be rather a dreamy trip into the past as both albums were released almost a decade ago but not listening to it and having in mind the latest outputs of Hati it gave me a pure pleasure to rehinder it again.
Acoustic sounds as they may seem have a lot to it. Minimalism of the themes developed by both musicians mastered by the idea which stem from La Monte Young's philosophy, not directly using the notation and the tuning per se but the mystical element that this minimalist composer traversed in his genre.
Hati embellishes the hard surface of trance, makes the most out of the least means they use and they don't exaggerate with boasting themselves with the archeological tribalism which way too many times is just a prelude to shallowness.
Comprised of Philadelphia scene veterans Josh Mackie (Your Children is Beautiful, Idiot Forever), Dan Angel (Sex Dungeon Studios, Ugh God) and Nate Dionne, Gunk gels together at the molecular level, offering a freshman LP worth hundreds of work hours and the air of a years old collaboration. It seems as though the post-Joe Sly DIY era finds its rock epicenter in Philly with Gunk churning out some of its most relevant cuts in their initial statement. Picking up where bands like Fat History Month and Arvid Noe left off (and New England Patriots and Pile continue to reside) Gunk takes a standard basement trio and great songwriting to a not oft trod level.
"Gradual Shove" sounds like a band's band on tape in 2014 should, recalling a pre-aught decade and excavating the best parts of the unsung bands from them, in this case perhaps Heatmiser and Rob Crow, as well as a bit of Spoon with the piano doubling on opener "Photograph". The arrangements are spooky and expressive, bass overdriven and above the mix.
"Ice Cream" is the definitive cut on the album. Smart and hook laden, musing on simple benefits of hydrant breaking and ice cream eating in the east coast summer, giving way to a complexity of arrangement that pushes it over the edge. A wobbly counter melody, sneaky flutes and "self help" tape static segue a traditional rock statement into concrete smatter and the closing cadence of a stately symphony. The album takes no time to slow as the listener is immediately pummeled by "Kill Em All" by the time the next quarter note hits. Keep listening because these off kilter melodies ripen with age.
The raison d'être of Gunk may be summed up in the first three tracks but they are a sweet combo. Stick around for the rest!
- -Matt Robidoux
Arabian Blade – Perpetuate Myself C30
It’s no secret that Christopher Donofirio’s Reviver is one of my favorite projects currently in operation in New England but here we have him teamed up with Donovan Fazzino, a man who I am less familiar with. Luckily it seems the pairing works quite well together because this tape is an excellent offering of droning ambience and industrial.
Side A consists of a few tracks with the first 2 building up to the third. Beginning with more subtle drones it’s solid work until it gets into the buzzing 3rd track where the sound reaches a climax. The climactic moment is just great though with reverberating industrial alarm sounds like an imploding factory warning.
Side B features a more subtle and focused effort with a few high tension moments but once again it leads into a noisier pinnacle. Slowly flowing drones seemingly sourced from feedback run the gamut from more saturated pulses of distortion to clean high string-like sounds. Very much a stream of consciousness kind of thing going on here but working very well on a level of consistency, focus, and evolution. The build-up is superb once again this time leading to a more noise-centric passage but still with an industrial edge.
This is an excellent tape and great show of the top-notch noise and industrial that is coming from New England these days. If you enjoy heavy encrusted drones and seething ambience you need to hear this.Composition: 4 out of 5 stars Sounds: 4 out of 5 stars Production Quality: 3.5 out of 5 stars Concept: 3.5 out of 5 stars Packaging: 3 out of 5 stars Overall Rating: 3.6 out of 5 stars
Opponents – Psychosexual Spiritual C38
Opponents were founded in late 2006 in New York City by the duo of Joshua Slusher and Aaron Feinstein. In Late 2009 they were joined by Joshua Greco to form the current lineup as a trio. I’m surprised they haven’t crossed my path before as they are quite prolific and if Psychosexual Spiritual is any indication they’re sound and style is evolved and explorative.
Opponents embrace the blurred line between industrial, electronica, abstract, and psychedelic music while using all analog gear. The production quality reflects that as the record has a very warm and somewhat lo-fi sound, but it fits the style perfectly and makes the overall sonority much stronger.
The songs are long and mesmerizing and this is where the artwork reflects the audio perfectly. Tracks are split pretty evenly between exquisitely repetitive or intriguingly evolving but they all keep a consistent atmosphere of mystery and fascination. It brings to mind images of 80s style electronics and aesthetics something like the film Beyond the Black Rainbow.
I have to say this tape really impressed me with it’s pacing and subtlety. The consistency and unwavering vision converges with time-tested compositional tactics and excellent dark sound design to create a focused and effective release. A must have for anyone into old-school rhythmic industrial or dark psychedelic music.Composition: 4 out of 5 stars Sounds: 4 out of 5 stars Production Quality: 3.5 out of 5 stars Concept: 4 out of 5 stars Packaging: 3.5 out of 5 stars Overall Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars
Faint Glow does quiet a good job at the minimal, noisy drone. This would be the second time in as many weeks I have made the comparison but I think that Faint Glow could even be at home on Hanson Records. Maybe even Worthless Recordings. It's pretty killer stuff. Of the 10 tracks on the cdr most are very focused and not too long. I like it and I think you might as well. I have zero complaints in that department. The cassette is even a little better in my mind. It's a bit more piercing and brutal but still focused and drive. I hope to hear more from Faint Glow in the coming months.
My issues with these releases, and the reason I am reviewing them together, is the packaging. There's is nothing there. The artist thought enough to get completely blank cdrs but then they just print out some info and scotch tape it to the cdr. Same with the cassette. The Arigato packs for both the cdr and the cassette are killer and more people should use them but these just have poorly stenciled text on them that is far south of both legible or attractive. I can get with minimal and messy but this looks like the artist thought that this part of sharing music was either too much effort or worse yet, beneath them. I'm probably wrong but that is what is being communicated to me. I would love to see some of the aural creativity become visual. If you are going to go with minimal text and no images then make it a strong typographic layout with structure and beauty in it's simplicity. If you are going to use plain cdrs (please no more tape, you can order inexpensive custom rubber stamps from simonstamp.com) then make the packaging exciting. All of the Wolf Eyes cdrs I own are basically just memorex cdrs with sharpie on them but the packaging is a crazy, beautiful collage with hand painted elements. You want to hold it and own it. That's the thing with physical copies these days. You must make it something that someone would want to touch. Tapes and cdrs are becoming fetish objects. We can just as easily download stuff all day but that isn't interesting to me at all. That is why I don't review downloads. Making music well is difficult and Faint Glow has a pretty good handle on that but making objets d'art is extremely difficult. I want to see how much you care about your music. Show me with my eyes before you show me with your ears.
156 – A Life Lived As If In Hell C30
156 is back with their unique brand of musique concrete industrial music. This time bringing their awkward style to the next level and truly creating an audio soundscape of the most hellish levels.
Side A combines field recordings of people screaming, yelling, coughing, maybe fucking? Who knows? With reverberating industrial junk noise sometimes forming rough looping patterns at other times just cutting in and out incessantly. There seems to be little rhyme or reason to these sounds, their main goal to create a feeling of unease and cold atmosphere.
Side B is the more introspective side here and satiates my taste a bit more than side A. The transitions are quite seamless with more subtle textures leading to various states of unrest. One particular moment which is really great is when the layers just fade to a recording of someone sharpening a knife, your own private hell.
The best way I can think to describe the work of 156 is like a darker, more abrasive Contagious Orgasm. I think I like this release more than his previous tape. Side B stands out as being really exceptional work, very much a stream of consciousness kind of ambient thing going on but very effective. Intriguing sounds.Composition: 3 out of 5 stars Sounds: 3.5 out of 5 stars Production Quality: 3 out of 5 stars Concept: 3.5 out of 5 stars Packaging: 3 out of 5 stars Overall Rating: 3.2 out of 5 stars
Exceptional new compilation from Indiana (Bloomington and surrounding areas) tape label NO!, featuring some of the area's finest local experimental electronic, industrial and ambient acts. Approached as a cohesive cross-stitch sound collage, rather than just another label sampler, the artists featured all share a similar gloom and ache, yet they all have their own slightly unique vibe. Drekka tips this off with a dark and brooding wash of deep tone drifts and minimal percussion, heaps of low end magic akin to recent Lustmord or Peter Kyed scores. My personal favorite. The NOON and John Flannelly works that follow, pull you in quite different and quite manic directions, as Canid and Assimilation provide some very heady, live power electronics.
Agakus closes the mix with "Last Reichs," a track dedicated to Wilhelm Reich, respectively. Slabs of what sound to me like treated voices (or tugboat horns) swell up in a deep and haunting melody, atop a gurgling wash of mysterious field recordings. It's undeniably the most "musical" of the bunch, and an really nice closer. Something interesting is clearly happening in this part of the country, and NO! has done a fine job of getting these local artists' work out there. Recommended. Edition of 75, includes download code. Get one from NO! here.Http://norecordlabel.bandcamp.com