Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Blank Tapes - First Batch!

Here are three new sweet offerings by Blank Tapes from Denver, Colorado. All are available and can be purchased as a batch. This is the labels first of hopefully more to come. If you give any of these compositions some time through the speakers, you will understand why Blank Tapes is moving in cultivated directions.

Here are the links to each:



Links
Blank Tapes - bandcamp

The Original Flowering Earth / CRESCENT COAST - Elliptical / OVAL DRIP

Blank Tapes from Denver, Colorado with the third release of their first batch. This one is an expansive ambient plane that gently settles like an opened blanket floating down. A split between The Original Flowering Earth and Crescent Coast. Both with one side long track exploring the tranquility our lives seem to speed past. Each composition aloft like a thick sheet of cirrostratus clouds high in the atmosphere. The sun's light, only slightly diffused, similar to consciousnesses being ever so pleasantly nudged.

The Original Flowering Earth's track is titled "Elliptical". Just under twenty minutes of blissful night quietness. Field recordings of droning crickets and cicadas combined with meditative tones. Creating together the sounds that touch on instincts we were born with. One part connecting us to the mortal vessels we reside in and the other to where are spirits will one day go. "Elliptical" is perfectly cooked and beckons repeated listens. Also explore more of The Original Flowering Earth's releases at there bandcamp page.

Crescent Coast perfectly balances the other side with the track "Oval Drip". Thoughtful drone providing tones to heighten awareness. This composition steadily maintains itself, changing in a glacial time spectrum. The beauty so subtle, the continual transitions are never felt. "Oval Drip" is a patient lullaby for a future time, fortunately we can enjoy this in the present.

This split on Blank Tapes was released in a very limited edition of thirty. According to the little supported by squares on the bandcamp page, this release has the most supporters of all three Blank Tape releases. Meaning do not procrastinate, at a run of thirty, these will disappear quickly.
 




Links
Blank Tapes - bandcamp

Mending - The Narrow Road to the Deep North

The Narrow Road to the Deep North is such a well thought title for this release by Mending. Imagine reflective and clear beautiful vocals with gently patient piano. The sounds winding through an inviting path, the forest surrounding becoming more and more dense. Like the radio is playing nostalgia from home and the landscape is absorbing some of the sweetness. Infused lullabies with organic tendrils. The sounds become crazed like fine pottery from the town Hagi in Japan.

Mending is Kate Adams and Joshua Dumas. Pastoral creations for a world pushing in the opposite directions. The reflective lyrics, like an old photograph album, describing in words memories from the past. The drone of creaking bygones can be heard though out the entire composition. The pages slowly turn as your ears casually discern the details of Mending's enchanting tracks. Finally becoming transfixed on the last lengthy story titled "Another Mile". The road seems to emerge from the woods as sounds become well balanced. Piano, vocals and currents from the Earth itself forming the tripod of stability as you eventually rest for good.

Released on Blank Tapes in December. This was done in an edition of fifty and are currently available from the labels bandcamp page. This is the second release of the very first batch from the Denver based Blank Tapes.




Links
Blank Tapes - bandcamp
Mending site - bandcamp - facebook 

Azaleas - Sapphire

If every label opened up with their first release being this good....
Welcome Blank Tapes and thank you for sharing Sapphire by Azaleas. With a small amount of internet research (discogs), i noticed Azaleas was on the Rainbow Pyramid label with an extremely limited (32 copies) split tape, so very gone. From the sales log, a used copy has never even been sold. So for all fans of the ambient life force built into music, Azaleas is available.

The beauty of Sapphire is it's resting spot on the ledge looking over infinity. A composition in a precarious spot with dangling legs swinging carefree over the unknown abyss. Listening to Sapphire pushes the consciousness far into the cosmic sea. The tethers are strong and hold you securely. These sounds are positive, adventuress and soothing. They touch on the physical world and explode with aural flavor. Diversity across the six tracks is well crafted and the entire listen through is absolutely delightful. There is a hidden groovy vibe fusing with your physical presence, like an astral dew slowly burning off from the morning sun. You want to be able to understand the physics, but know better. Just take in the momentary beauty and stop thinking about anything.

Azaleas is Kyle Wade & Alice Andres-Wade. This is there first full length releases as noted on their bandcamp page. Sapphire was produced in an limited edition of thirty on the newly formed Blank Tapes, a cassette label from Denver, Colorado. Out in December, i am sure these tapes will not last long. Definitely give this listen a relaxing spot.





Links
Blank Tapes - bandcamp

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Lily Tapes & Discs - Fall Releases

Here are the most recent releases from Lily Tapes & Discs. A label from Rochester, New York close to five years in existence. Both The National Park Service and Lung Cycles are label regulars, but this batch takes steps towards showcasing both projects. Theses cassettes are also available as a bundle. Please take a moment and give these sounds a listen.




Links
Lily Tapes & Discs site  - bandcamp - facebook

The National Park Service - Secret Wind

This is the second write up for The National Park Service on Lost in a Sea of Sound. The first was for a cassette release on Rok Lok Records titled Winter Clothes. The distance is vast, close to three years from Winter Clothes, to this release on Lily Tapes & Discs titled Secret Wind. Oscillating slightly towards a focused storm of sound, guitars and drums pull at the helm and sail this composition through your thoughts.

This is a lengthy cassette. Almost an hour of well honed melodic ambient soundscapes. With the depth of recorded music on Secret Wind, sinking into an organic pool of droned out goo are steps your ears will take. The National Park Service seems to flip like a vintage coin, two sides of sound, both highly polished and deserving your attention. The fourth track titled "Smooth J" is a good example of the juxtaposition in composition. The start and finish play like an ambient soundtrack to a world passing by outside a vehicle window. Somewhere in the middle, the music gives way to mysterious field recordings and muffled voices. The entire tape resembles activity in a small port town. The harbor filled with fog and variations in light of day, sounds traveling through without origin or particular destinations. Then a ship pulls in, giving reason for the existence of life on the shore. Music plays like a fanfare for arrival and departure, then drifts back into the patient dark until water is parted again.

Released on Lily Tapes & Discs in November of 2016 in an edition of fifty. From The National Park Service bandcamp page this is something like the twenty first release. Number five on Lily Tapes & Discs.





Links
Lily Tapes & Discs site  - bandcamp - facebook
The National Park Service - bandcamp

Lung Cycles - On Being Lumpy (2016 Edition)

Technically this could be the first Lung Cycles release as it was recorded long ago from 2010. Originally released on a limited run of fifty CD-Rs in 2011, On Being Lumpy has found a second home on cassette format for the end of 2016. Lily Tapes & Discs from Rochester, New York has also given Lung Cycles a first non split release with previous other staple label mates. Hopefully this explains the (2016 Edition) parenthesization in the tapes title, but unfortunately does little for describing the music within. The next paragraph will hopefully tackle that.

Ben Lovell the musician behind the project Lung Cycles has been making music for a good amount of time. Taking the beauty folk simpleness both in instrumentation and vocals, then combining experimentation in sound. Gently pushing on the boundaries, with crucial diversity in instrument selection and track length across both the ambient and field noise spectrum. On Being Lumpy is a massive en devour with close to forty five minutes in length. The tone Ben holds on to is similar to the reposeful feel of a mountain stream with clouds looming overhead. Turbulence lurks up the hillside and could be on the descending path at any time. Quietly ominous, whispers in the woods to keep asleep what is sleeping. Shaded porch lullabies, baked by thick humidity and finding temperance in late evening hours. This lo-fi singer song writer style connected me back to K Records and a band called the Microphones. Similar dulcet and hushed tones with ability to ingeniously clamor for your attention.

On Being Lumpy was released in the 2016 edition of fifty cassettes. Taking on new art and pro printing by Jeremy Ferris.




Links
Lily Tapes & Discs site  - bandcamp - facebook

Monday, January 23, 2017

Clara Engel - Your Halo is a Swarm of Bees

The most resplendent affair transpires when playing acoustic styled guitar through simple amplified electronics. Like an epoxy resin poured over a favorite collection of insects, the sounds gain a new dimension. Capturing the vibration of strings, picked in various tones and taking on a sheen not present before. Clara Engel pulls from her patience and talent, composing electric lullabies for midday siestas.

Your Halo is a Swarm of Bees is a highly artful and concise foray into introspective creativity. Six tracks gently piercing your thoughts and softly echoing in the mull of your mind's workings. Clara's guitar style has a subtle worldly quality, from almost Indian styled ragas to nomadic African agelessness. Some how reminiscent of John Jacob Nile's strummings from so long ago.  Plugged in, these notes pull you into a crystalline dimension, where beauty has shimmering edges and captivation extends in all directions.

The artwork in the CD-R booklet was done by Clara as well. The flow of ink portraying a slightly darker context to our natural surroundings. Extremely fitting for the sounds contained on the disc within. Your Halo is a Swarm of Bees was released on the Polar Seas Recordings label in November. A very limited edition of fifty for this composition. Both Polar Seas and Clara Engel are from the Toronto area. Almost everything from Polar Seas has sold out, so do not hesitate on this one.





Links
Polar Seas Recordings site - facebook - twitter
Clara Engel  - bandcamp - facebook - twitter 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Rok Lok Records - Three Cassettes

Here are three recent cassettes from the Long Island, New York label Rok Lok Records. Amazingly these are release numbers one hundred and eleven through one hundred and thirteen. This is a very diverse group of compositions, having a very good chance to hold a beauty for all listeners. 

Listen, read & explore with these links:



Links
Rok Lok Records site - bandcamp - facebook

Soda Lilies - Love Cemetery Tapes

Songs strung out with an almost de-tuned quality. Soda Lilies captures a modern charm, creating static filled pop with heavy tones of a late night affair. Sounds fall thick, like time has destroyed the magnetic tape, wobbling in and out of clarity. The energy of  Love Cemetery Tapes burned so deeply, no matter how old, the cassette spools still spin.  A composition that makes you think about how creative musicians are today.

Love Cemetery Tapes takes eight tracks to the grave. Vibrancy of sounds compressed in times crypts and smashed apart to spill on new listeners ears. Like the band Flipper crossed with Jesus and the Mary Chain, there is an enthusiasm heralding to pioneering new genres. Guitar strings loose and buzzing on the frets, raw drums driving sense and reason, making the entire project move through ghostly light. The soft styled vocals almost whispering as to not stir the spirits of the past. If you have read many of the posts on this site, my bias is towards the longest track "The Bees In My Stomach Are Dead And Getting Used To It". The only track without vocals, droning instruments taking on there own decaying form. Like really good fiction, hard to tell if this brand new or if Love Cemetery Tapes was found in buried in a thirty year old box of tapes.

Soda Lilies is from Austin, Texas and they joined forces with Rok Lok Records out of Long Island for this cassette release. Fifty tapes released in October of 2016. Currently available from the Rok Lok Records bandcamp page. Also Soda Lilieshas shows coming up if you are in the Austin area.
March 12th @Wake The Dead San Marcos, Texas and March 17th @ SXSW




Links
Rok Lok Records site - bandcamp - facebook
Soda Lilies - bandcamp

Blueblack - Destroy

Fueled and ready, Blueblack speeds along with a fine crafted balance of driving sounds mixed with mesmerizing laid back contemplative gazing. With so much noise being made voluntarily, Destroy could lead thoughts asunder of what these sounds really are, but Blueblack's sound is well honed and tightly articulated. Heavy at times but not without knowing how to lay back and let listeners thoughts rest and catch up.

Seven tracks covering the sonic field with percussive stability. Blueblack does not really upon manipulation of sound like crazy synthesizer or special effects. So straight forward and using this approach, incredibly diverse. The tempo changes and alternations in timing of instrument use, make each track it's on affair. Because of taking the simple, and having the talent to exploit the melody in that context, Destroy is extremely solid in composition. "Branches Broke" is one track that uses spoken word reminding me a little of another New York band "Bongwater". The fifth track, "Spaghetti Western" holds the key to the footing of Blueblack. A instrumental rock ballad telling the story of both sides of the equation making up Destroy. From the slow swirl in the beating abysmal depths to psychedelic guitar riffs lifting above and tackling your consciousness.

Destroy was released in August of 2016 in a very limited edition of fifty. From Long Island, New York and partnering with Rok Lok Records also from Long Island, this is a stout composition showing off the sounds and creativity from the area. Copies are currently available from the labels bandcamp page. 




Links
Rok Lok Records site - bandcamp - facebook
Blueblack - bandcamp - facebook

Atariame - Weirdo Goes to the Disco

Playing from a hazy dreamlike void, Atariame's sound cuts through and roots itself in your thoughts. Weirdo Goes to the Disco contains seven time lost tracks merging multiple genres into one contemporary sound. Glazed pop offerings drenched in an ambient mash of mysterious hypnotic vocals backed by rhythms of futuristic new wave electronics. This composition beckons you to draw closer while the enchantment of prismatic beauty finds aural pathways into your mind.

Most simply conveyed, the allure of Atariame grows with every listen. Being an outsider, these soft-hearted tunes almost seem to wisp by on the first time through. Like you are present but do not have the matured empathetic ability to truly understand. On the second listen, Atariame has shared wisdom and pulled your feelings from the cold night and closer to the flickering flames. The gossamer tones through out Weirdo Goes to the Disco are tethered to times passage with vintage polish of the early eighties. Only drawing from the past in a tributary quality, and with this moving the entire sound far into the distant future. There is a reminiscent tone to this tape reminding me of the first Flying Lizards record from 1979. Only Atariame has focused her sound in the trance like qualities of the past exchanging the avant-garde for melodic elegance.    

Released in a limited edition of forty cassettes by Rok Lok Records from Long Island. A really good choice for the label in keeping a well rounded diversity of the artist Rok Lok exposes. Copies are available from Rok Lok's bandcamp page.  





Links
Rok Lok Records site - bandcamp - facebook
Atariame - bandcamp - facebook

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Günter Schlienz - Autumn

Autumn is a time for contemplation of both beauty and how quickly the world moves with us upon it. The changing color of leaves coupled with cold winds jolting the consciousness from the long humid and hot summer. The world baked for so many long months is now cooling. This process seems to free the mind and allow realization time is moving. Günter Schlienz has composed a pastoral and serene alluring ambient paragon. His sounds subtly mirror this change, pacing organic matter and its decent to the earth below.

Just about an hour, Autumn is arranged in three very distinctive tracks. The first "Oktober" is the longest and most uplifting. Notes played with a gentle sway, tones like light sparking through an ever expanding opening in the forest canopy. Birds seem to whistle in some synthetic speech just as graceful as true field recordings. Life is abundant and this spectacle in sound floats in harmony with the vibrant surroundings. "September" is a little darker. Clouds loom as arctic air pushes down into the lower continent. The drone of winter is looming and Günter captures this in comparison to the shimmering sounds on the previous track. Fortunately keeping away from the ensuing gloom, "September" is more mysterious than it is melancholy. More contemplative than heavily overwhelming. "November" is quiet. Ice has gripped the planet's surface and the notes move almost motionless. Frozen in place as the Aurora Borealis dances in electric harmony with the patterns this track forms. Like deities singing in celestial voices, "November" maintains the aesthetic grace the composition came into existence with.

This was released on the Polish label Zoharum in an edition of two hundred and fifty. Less than twenty percent of these compact discs remain and are available from the labels bandcamp page. Housed in a beautiful tri-panel medium configured by Rutger Zuydervelt of Machinefabriek and mastered by Łukasz Miernik. 





Links
Zoharum site - bandcamp - facebook
Günter Schlienz site - bandcamp 

Cosmic Winnetou - Batch cwXII

Batch number twelve for Cosmic Winnetou is weighted heavier on the darker ambient side. Two thirds cups of whole wheat and one third cup of ground cane sugar. The resulting mix is perfect for cloudy winter nights and crystal clear blue sky mornings. Give these releases your ears and read if you like.

Here are the links if you do not like to scroll.





Links
Cosmic Winnetou site - bandcamp - soundcloud