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Showing posts from 2014

Altars Altars - Colour Loops II

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There is something fascinating and pleasant about Colour Loops II. I have listened to this cassette over ten times now, and have been thinking about how to describe that "something". On low or high volume, while doing work or relaxing, the sound has not only complimented my state of being, but made it better. So within this ambient sound scape is a positiveness, making you feel good while listening.

There is so much ambient/drone music ready to be heard with minimal exploration. Sorting through this and enjoying the sounds really depends upon your disposition at the time. The polar extremes of styles can create moods ranging from foreboding to uplifting. To make this process easier, i would categorize ambient/drone music. There are three labels i would use. These would be dark, neutral and bright. Much like Stag Hare, Altars Altars creates an inspirational sound and could be a standard for the "bright" sound of this genre.

This cassette is available on the Altars A…

Jean-Sébastien Truchy - Neither

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Neither is a poem by Samuel Beckett and was shaped into an anti-opera by Morton Feldman around 1977. Release number 81 on SicSic Tapes is an even more modernistic recreation of the anti-opera, newly composed by Jean-Sébastien Truchy.

This offering by Jean-Sébastien is a totally dynamic sound composition. From it's industrial drone like beginning to the tormented operatic voice, there is very little safe haven for the listener. The sonic output pushes farther, pleasantly contrasting with the few quieter moments of simple static and computer generated voice.  The first side includes a reading of Neither by what sounds like an aging female voice. On the second side the male counterpart argues against the victimization of man by civilization. The thesis is correct in my opinion. Why should our lives need to be legitimized? Love and kindness only require a person capable of sharing these abilities. We need nothing more.

So it is nice to listen to music full of emotion, giving rise to t…

Bonding Tapes - Quality Time Volume 1

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Quality Time Volume 1 has thrown me far from the spectrum of snug sounds. Each track is like a short vignette giving way to copious talent by a plethora of artists. Amazingly, the amount of diversity 18 different artists contributes does not fracture this release. Instead, the music stays in a tight orbit, blending most seamlessly, and blurring the fact this is even a various artist cassette.

I have listened to the tape countless times. Being completely honest, i have been afraid to write. This is the most difficult description i have had to put together. Compilations are always challenging and this music is otherworldly from the start to finish. There are moments when i feel like i understand, then those occasions deteriorate. Question marks mixed with fascinating sounds fill my head. Seconds ago i had something to say, now just bewildered by the subtle complexity.

When listening to the tape in the truck with my son, i was told this was the opposite of music. "The vocals are in…

Filthy Huns – Leopard On My Right

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Is it possible to experience a mirage for your ears? After listening to Leopard On My Right a number of times, I think I am witness to a refraction of sound. Listening to this cassette closely resembles staring at a distant Fata Morgana. The sounds of each track rapidly change within these spools, still maintaining a rooted consistent groove to bring them all together. There are moments of a late light celebration of Tuareg music. The B side of this cassette pushes strongly in that direction. This is exemplified not only by the sound but the track titles as well, like "Nomad Status". The A side is steady in mood, and reminds me a little bit of listening to the incredible 936 album by Peaking Lights. As a whole, Leopard On My Right never stops. The diversity is immense, the rhythm is hypnotic, the vocals are beckoning with thick and dense guitar. A tape you will just keep flipping and always go back to.

This is the second release by Filthy Huns. Both releases are on the super…

Glass House - Haruspex

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Stellar drifting to an orchestrated consonance of sound. Glass House uses a wide array of mechanics creating a dense molecular, salt strewn, ambient classical piece. Thick drones fill the background and sit at the bottom of this sound ocean. The currents at the top are controlled by well tuned musicians with some serious knowledge and experience. The overall tone is slightly foreboding, with sound safety nets cast out for moments of recovery. Overall this cassette keeps the listener slowly swirling in a beautiful maelstrom of precise composition. Pleasing Prince Dakkar on his voyage. Glass House knows exactly the mood they are after and Haruspex is a testament to that end.

This cassette was created in a batch of 80 by the super cool label Cosmic Winnetou. Every release they have is sold out at the label website. Fine confirmation of how good their decisions are at every level. Keep an eye out, there is a new batch due out soon.

Even though Haruspex is sold out at Cosmic Winnetou, you…

Stag Hare - The Djorna Trilogy

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Have you ever been positively relaxed on a sunny day, attention fixed on nothing more than rays of light and their interaction on this earthly plane? This is Stag Hare for me. Capturing in music nothing more than beautiful simple existence. Delightful drone filling your mind, mixing with seldom grasped feelings of the wondrous journey we are fortunate to partake.

The Djorna Trilogy is an impressive offering from Stag Hare, the project of Garrick Biggs. Three cassettes titled Angel Tech, Pongdools and Gazer. According to Garrick from the Stag Hare website, the trilogy is his second era of music. Everything before the Djorna Trilogy make up the first era while everything after starts the third era. These cassettes were produced in a run of 100 each. They are available now at the Stag Hare website and you can purchase all three, shipped to you in the States for twenty dollars. If you have not had the pleasure of being a Stag Hare fan, this is something i strongly recommend purchasing. If…

Bikini Barista - This Pit In My Stomach

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Captivatingly mysterious is this pleasing cassette by Bikini Barista. Tremendous thought behind every track, commanding your ears to listen, telling your mind to want more. The track titles reflect the music with names like "No Contemplation, Simply Reaction","Scoobies Don't Die" & "Drown Me In It - Bury Me With It".

As the cover picture reveals, there is some spookiness radiating from these synthesizer laden rhythms. Perfect for a late night drive or setting the mood for shadow people darting through your peripheral vision. There is an oscillation from track to track of an ambient plateau of majestic vistas to falling into the smoldering forge of beat creation. These feelings of security and uneasiness provide diversity, keeping This Pit In My Stomach intriguing for a multitude of listens.

Bikini Barista's - This Pit In My Stomach was just released in the middle of this month. I am not sure how many of these cassettes were made, but I am sure…

Moonsicles - Creeper

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Going to skip the usual posting intro/buildup and focus straight away on the song "Perooh" from Moonsicles new release Creeper. This track really caught my attention on the first listen. Incredibly cool retro beat and bass, championing the vibe. The guitar riffs are clean and sweet, sparse at times, truly a perfect amount. Wrapping this song up is the synthesizer, the fabric of the track. Emitting sound threads connecting distant and future points of time. All musicians together creating one of the best tracks I have heard in a few years.

Going back to the start of Creeper is really returning to the beginning. This album builds with slowly dripping water to only a half dose of Codeine. Rambling guitar and ceremonial court drums, guided by snakey synthesizer, ooze from the speakers. This gives way to the mysterious questions placed on early eighties New Age music with the song "Crystal Spy". For me as a listener, everything falling in order for "Perooh". A…

Tallesen - Stills Lit Through

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Prepare yourself for a sound journey traveling in Euclidean space. Sound on the number line is far removed from this transit of music. Tallesen's release "Stills Lit Through" envelopes the listener with a barrage of quiet ambient moments relinquishing themselves to a symphonic beat driven opus. There is a tone throughout this album consistent of a futuristic calliope. The modern version of this ancient steam organ, has been precisely calibrated to emit the softest sounding notes. This creates a dreamlike journey for your astral projection. The beats and rhythm tether the listener, providing a pathway back to the security of a more familiar measure.

As this sound exploration  progresses, there is a definite shift to trance like emissions of rhythmic deprivation. Almost as if underwater, a heavy thickness rolls in, reversing the journey out of body to an inward exploration of the mortal coil. The album finishes with a tranquil state of being completely welcomed after trave…

Phillip K. Glass Dick - Gift of Love = Homies

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Connecting early synthesizer forays to the unknown future of sound, Phillip K. Glass Dick's sound is originative. Like the writings of the science fiction author with the same name (minus the glass), both have created a vision of possible ubiquitous realty in a subsequent time.

Listening to different tracks on this cassette, i feel comfortable with the residence of the songs. There exist a groove taking a slow ride through the 80's and moving to distant points in time. Raining samples of post modern noise drip outside creating mood for contemplation and then empty thought. This cruise of upbeat, chill and futuristic is perfectly timed. The diversity of every track helps maintain maximum interest, spanning the entire roll of the spools forward and back. It is hard to pin down any similarities to existing music, making this truly a unique listen. The closest i could denote anything to is the first song on side two, "(My Time SPent With) Prisoners". This song had a str…

Secret Birds - In Hex

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Cassettes of the past are remembered with these thoughts. So much emphasis on the newest releases, taking a moment to go back a few years. Lee Nobles label No Kings has been a favored label for years. Everything No Kings puts out is pure quality and this results with the entire catalog being sold out from the label. So it does not matter about being available or not for thoughts on any No Kings releases. I selected #35 from the shelf, Secret Birds - In Hex.

Ranging from drifting ambient  wash to mind-expanding jams, In Hex has the diversity to be extremely enjoyable. Side one invites the listener in with the calming sounds of "Century Waves". Now on a comfortable raft from the opening, the start of "In Hexagon" pushes a meditative rhythm and cascade of guitars and synthesizer. Similar to a long track from the band Stag Hare.

The middle of this cassette reveals something unusual and rarely heard by contemporary listening culture. "Refractions From The Skull Pri…

Ogon Batto - Ogon Batto

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This is an epic journey in galactic audio travel. From field like recordings from other planets, to stoic organ and piano accompanied space travel, this listening experience is not just background noise. This is a fantastic auditory perception for traveling without seeing. There are planets explored with hearing and not sight. Bent Von Bent operates this interplanetary cassette junket. His instructions are only, listen closely because there is no light to see.

-  listener #75.003 written passage from side one -
"After landing on a water planet, our heads were just high enough to see over a terrestrial dune. There next to a foreign sea is a mysterious vessel. Sitting out of the water and tilted to one side, melodies from even farther away spill forth from the ships hull. The music invites us over the embankment, and then turns ominous causing cover to be taken again. We listen further waiting to build courage and venture fourth."

The first track on side two "Bunker Symf…

Dylan Golden Aycock - Guitar Meanderings I

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Simple beauty exist in the music and presentation of "Guitar Meanderings I" by Dylan Golden Aycock. This is on the label Cabin Floor Esoterica and is superbly packaged and delivered. Listening to this makes me feel like a neophyte in the world of cassettes. This is my first Cabin Floor Esoterica acquisition and I am looking at #47 on the marker for their releases. 
Dylan Golden Aycock is venerated with patience in his guitar playing. Nothing seems rushed, the strings are effortlessly played with knowledge of space and resonance. This is exemplified by two tracks on the cassette, "Love, The Lord's Lasso" and "Silver Bough". There is also the use of field recordings to diversify the mix. Almost sounding like live out takes from some point in the astronomical day of Dylan Golden Aycock. This representation can be heard on "Sharp As A Razor/Soft As A Prayor" and  "Untitled III". 
With many guitar playing artists rejuvenating this exqu…

German Army - Social Catalyst

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Escaping the past is easy with so much music available. Modern sounds and techniques can create music completely different from what was listened to. Artist today can abandon or copy the past. German Army has grabbed just enough of the frequency of early 80s, and allowed listeners to move forward, still having safe ears in listening pleasure.

The beats and effects on "Social Catalyst"  evoke a diverse trip through a soundscape of cavernous falls. Some light or platform of security and then blackness and unknown sonic beings make themselves present, loud and wondrous. This is early Cabaret Voltaire meets early African Head Charge while listening to a Witchbeam cassette.

Fascinating and simply really good, German Army has always interests me. Sometimes to far advanced for my novice ears, "Social Catalyst" is a release i can keep on flipping over. Out of everything recently being released, Jozik Records delivers another essential cassette for expanding the spectrum of…

CLIPD BEAKS - FKWRK

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This is very refreshing. A method of donating money for a good cause, allowing one community to strengthen while helping support another community in need.

As seen on the side of this blog under superior sources, Tome To The Weather Machine has clearly been there from the start. The person behind the blog, Ryan Hall has also created a music label called Heligator Records. This is a digital download only label with a wide array of artists. All proceeds from the downloads go to the Malindza Refugee Camp Library in Mpaka, Swaziland.

Clipd Beaks is the fourteenth release from Heligator Records. The sound is a definitive result of a curated style of music, finely polished and presented. Not that Clipd Beaks is that old, just their sound could be lost anywhere in time and be relevant at that moment. With this single release for Heligator Records, FKWRK starts of with some resemblance to "I Dreamed I Dream" of the first Sonic Youth album. The song changes immensely over its durati…

Mark Banning - Journey To The Light

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Originally recorded in 1984, this album has been remastered by James Plotkin and re-released by Students of Decay. Consisting of two tracks, one per side "Journey To The Light" is a completely mesmerizing float above your body.

Thinking about when this was released, "New Age Music" as it was called, was completely uncool for the younger generation at the time. Now 30 years later, many of the so called "New Age" records are being found again by a drone based, ambient guitar, synthesizer group of vinyl enthusiasts.

So much music falls to the ground silently over time. Buried by even more falling music. Some of it is raked and rediscovered, because there really are gems covered under the massive pile of forgotten sounds. For some re-releases I have read, "this was really good but just not given the proper promotion at the time". This is only a modern marketing scheme portraying the weight and shimmer of onyx chess pieces. Labels like Students of De…

Cliffsides - Headspace

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It has been a about a year since the last Cliffsides release on Hooker Vision and when Tranquility Tapes revealed the new double cassette by Cliffsides titled Headspace, making a purchase was an understood endeavor. This is an example of how outstanding labels make great choices when it concerns what limited resources they have. Tranquility Tapes is a leader in the world of beautifully done cassettes.
Headspace is a perfect name for this release. With an hour of sounds on each cassette, there is enough diversity to fill all of the space in your head. The first tape "The Fool" is a solid embodiment of synthesizer mastery. You can hear both the past and the future, a soundtrack for a science fiction movie classic or a gripping suspense thriller. There is drift on the ocean and fast paced hover craft cruising. "The Fool" could easily be a timeless synthesizer masterpiece on it's own without the second cassette.
Making this even more spectacular is the second long…

Memorials of Distinction - How To Organise Your Life & Get Rid Of Clutter

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If you are ready for a truly artistic romp through musicians on the fringe of the unheard, click over to this bandcamp link and read no further. How do you cleverly combine a myriad of different bands and musicians to create the sticky threads binding an entire album together? Memorials of Distinction will capture you and slowly weave the sound into your ears.

Titled  "How To Organise Your Life & Get Rid Of Clutter", 8 different groups and 16 songs have been woven together like a fine tapestry. Intelligently united using an old self help tape, the entire listen is completely entrancing. The instructions for self help are blended in perfect amounts in between songs. There is just enough of the lecturer to make you want to hear more. I drift while listening. Intrigued by fantastic tips on making my own life less cluttered and then being relieved with music. Saving me from the revelation of how messy i really am. From talk of floppy discs on computers, i would have guessed …

Woodbines & Spiders

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Woodbines & Spiders (NW) (N)(E)(S) & (SW) (E) (S) The directions are in the title and i am still lost. Hopefully by the end of the record there will be a guide point useful as reference. Most likely not though. Floating on side Bb, 01 Gas Suite C Radiation 60. Looking for a place to set down.

There are ghosts in these grooves. Strange noises clanging, popping, dinging, whaaaing, and voices??? The background is filled with an eerie tone like old heavy dusty drapes. Then finally something all accounts is music. Recognizing sounds gives relief to the audio journey. The music leaves and now the dwindling radius of the record has become more desperate.

This lp is so thick with brain bending audio. Jon Brooks (The Advisory Circle) and Ian Hodgson (Moon Wiring Club) have combined to create to create a modern journey through the imaginations shared by Scout, Jem and Dill. Perfect amounts of everything from fun to cracked tombstones behind the old house.

From creation through productio…

Marble - Two Women & Tiger

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Not going to wait until the end of the post to say grab a copy. You should go to Sacred Phases website right now and GET THIS CASSETTE. There is still a four tape sale happening for ultra listening value. If you follow the above advice, reading this blog site will be substantiated.

Working on organizing my cassettes by label a few weeks ago. Sacred Phases was vying for top spot with most cassettes on one label. Marble "Two Women & Tiger " reaffirms why this is so.

I have not heard of Marble before, but with one sound sample and ongoing love for the Sacred Phases label, the purchase was made. After the first listen, my expectations had been completely eclipsed.

Marble is other worldly tribal beat jungle space jams. Each track on this cassette is filled with intrigue. There are heavy some heavy rhythms on these spools, like trees on the floor of an ancient forest. Bounteous sounds then fill each track like sun sparkling past the leaves on an old growth canopy. You can get…

Witchbeam - Tales of the Ghede Zodiac

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Witchbeam is just plain super cool. The best description i have for the output by Witchbeam is not freaked out noise, but calculated classical industrial music of a future time. Of course there is noise, music and voice, all components of past industrial groups, but "Tales of the Ghede Zodiac" must have been created in some forthcoming celestial alignment. There is an underlying refinement within this cassette that can only come with an understanding derived from outside sources. I suspect some sort of time machine is involved or a visiting traveler craving past synthesizer drum beat sessions.

Listening to this cassette is a journey through a far distant manufacturing laboratory. Machinery creating beats gives way to electrical static and equipment hum. Recorded vocal messages are triggered to help along your passage. Back to something being pounded into creation. Each turn produces some new process of wonder. What is being created here? Only Witchbeam knows.

I think everyo…

Great Blue Heron - Goodnight Ghosts

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The guitar singer songwriter album is a seemingly easy genre of music to create and infinitely difficult to master. This style mounts music, voice and lyrics on a microscope slide, only to be scrutinized beyond most other genres of music. I think Great Blue Heron "Goodnight Ghosts" can be unmounted from the slide and happily added to future rotations of music listening.

The first track Dusty Old Heart relays the emotional connection between the individual and their craft. This is not someone just churning out tunes, but rather an account of adeptness in communicating thought. This is followed by what sounds like an auto harp style of ballad playing called Stack Wood. Very nice choice for the second track. Song two is always my tell tale for the entire album; Maintaining interest and diversity and at least as good or more likely better than the first song.

The lyrics to the first track on side B, I Didn't Believe in Ghosts reminds me of the Roky Erickson song If You Have …

The Movies - American Oil

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Just received my copy of The Movies "American Oil" from Spring Break Tapes!  Joe the label curator included some stickers and a pin. Always cool and appreciated. "American Oil" is their second release on SBT. The first "In One Era, Out The Other" released last year, has been sold out for a little while. Both releases are reissues from around 10 years ago. SBT has surfaced this music for those of us in a different loop at the time. A very good choice.

"In One Era, Out The Other" and "American Oil" are completely different. I have a difficult time in even comparing them. If you like more introspective, for the most part slower and more moody songs than "In One Era, Out The Other" would be more for you. There are of few songs on the first release like Don't Steal My Licks and Autograph with the swagger of the tone on "American Oil", but beyond this a totally different mood.

 "American Oil" is just plain m…

Young Man Find the Moon - Wica Intina & Joseph Allred

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Listening to the cassette for the first time set me back a little bit. If you could read a print out of my thoughts it would have only been one long row of question marks. After going back for another listen the gravity of this sound pulled me in. I kept thinking about someone actually making this music and finally realized i should support the artists who made such a masterpiece of composition.

"Young Man Finds the Moon" starts off with some nice familiar drone. This continues on and is ever present to some extent on both sides. Almost sounding like bagpipes being played over the hills within a secluded cabin. I guess you could say a collage of sound begins, but it is much more. What seems like chaos has order. Sustained brilliance of sound samples straying far enough to keep interest, but not getting lost. There are tethers holding this zeppelin down. Cartoonish voices sped to incomprehensible pitch. Manic guitar playing sounding like a mandolin played with ten espresso sh…

Zener - Palanca Arbitraria

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Horror Fiction Tapes has had a substantial start with six releases in three bundles since September of last year. Every release completely obscure but bound together as a series. This is accomplished by using printed on inserts created from vintage pages of old classic books. Very tasteful and distinct, like a seasoned book in a study. All releases are sold out now, but keep an eye out for the next bundle!

Zener as described within the tape "was", meaning they no longer perform as a band. There are some heavy sounds shaking the speakers when listening to this double cassette. Cassette A starts with menacing guitar echoing forth from a vast, dark and empty space. The listening experience is completely riveting and then followed by moments of repose. There is a suspense element in the calm, knowing the guitars are lurking for another attack. Cassette B is an uniquely different vibe. Drums exist here. More mellow, industrial, creating the beat for threatening tempo changes. The…

Eyes Like Helicopter - The Shift Of It All

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Biological Radio just released their Summer Solstice Batch and Eyes Like Helicopter was one of the three creations. After watching a prehear/see video of the title track on the BR Site, and finding a lengthy Soundcloud page, my purchasing decision was settled.

Darren Myers is the man with the guitars and a varied collection of other instruments making up Eyes Like Helicopter. What distinguishes his newest release and music style is a true craftsmanship of sound. With over 13 songs from both sides, sound from The Shift of It All arrives from extremely different places. From beautiful acoustic guitar playing to crazy tribal beats with harmonica, each track is a completely new turn in sonic experience. With this vast amount of variety, listening to the cassette produces no disjointedness but rather an excitement to hear what is next. Keeping this interest is a challenging task to maintain through the course of an entire album, but "The Shift Of It All" is aptly named. Raw and f…

Greg Manata - Washing

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I am unfamiliar with Greg Manata. Very familiar with Constellation Tatsu. They did an astonishing job a securing this release. Greg Manata's style of music would fit solidly with so many other labels right now. Inner Islands is the first that comes to mind, followed closely by Rainbow Pyramid.

If I could ride in a star ship like riding in a car, this tape would be playing. And yes my space craft would be equipped with a cassette player. Looking out the window, as the cosmos moves by, "Washing" would be the perfect event soundtrack for the trip. There is a beauty and happiness in this ambient drone. The songs seem to flow and drift and fill the ears, leaving only the view to be satisfied. The third song on the first side "Chamomile" starts out with what almost sound like thrusters slowing the music for the arrival of the next song "Monolith".

Clocking in at over 40 minutes, this cassette is a spool full. With the incredible seasonal batch deals from Co…

(( Husband Material )) - Go Ahead and Start The Family Without Me

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I have been been enjoying this tape tremendously! Describing the sounds is a difficult task though. The easy start is the basics {{Husband Material}} with the release titled "Go Ahead and Start the Family Without Me". Probably named because it's creator is still tinkering in the sound laboratory inching the music closer to perfection.

My best attempt at typing what this cassette rattles forth.... Have you ever looked through a really old box of keepsakes? Crumbly and tattered containers, dusty and faded, hiding something that sparkles from a past existence. Each song is all deconstructed on the outside with scratchy noisy melody. Listening carefully or listening over and over for me, the turning worn shell reveals to the ear, a sweet tuneful rhythm hidden within.
This tape is full of fascinating songs, each different but congruent with each other.

Patient Sounds release number PS049. Sold out on the Patient Sounds website. Maybe they will make another batch of these, or…

Rawmean "Of Today"

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Rawmean makes me think there is a description of sound style in this moniker chosen by Ramin the creator. Or it could be some deviation of Ramin's name. Maybe both revolve around each other. I purchased this from the Rawmean's Bandcamp page back in February. After listening repeatedly to "Of Today", Rawmean's newest release, here are my thoughts.

There is the beat, this is the "mean". Solid without breaks, on most songs rhythmic, like a boxer on a speed bag. Then slowly sounds are thrown on to the pulsating rhythm. The sound space fills up. These individual samples move the entire piece towards complexity. The beat maintains the temperature and cooks the floating sound parts until perfectly done. Then they are removed and there is only the mean, the "beat". 
The physical cassette is well presented with a fold out j-card of some pretty cool artwork. There are no tracks listed on the cassette nor sides. Maybe this is needed in the digital world,…

DISMAL NICHE TAPES 009

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This is a cassette I chose not order, but Matthew curator of Dismal Niche Tapes was kind enough to include this unselected release with my purchase. This generosity made me realize, no matter how many sound samples I listen to on the internet, my decision making process is still dubious! 

POI is Caleb McMurray. His release is titled Teenage Dolomites. I have listened to the tape over and over. Side 1 and 2 have fused into one long warble of keyboard rhythm and beat. Every revolution of the cassette spool is so strikingly solid. There is a weighty groove throughout Calib's debut. Each song is unique but not disjointed with the next. The tracks effortlessly flow together as an album should. This is a well conceived sonic offering, complimented by very cool artwork and layout. Press play on this in the car with friends, you will get the nod.

Thanks POI and thanks Dismal Niche! I am humbled because after listening to sound samples and passing on the purchase, my judgement was given a…