These are two tapes that have been getting major spins in my slowly dying walkman. Both are the newest offerings from Tome friends Prison Art Records outta NYC and Provo, UT based label Hel-Audio and are about as different as those respective cities. Onward.
prison art tapes - "scrapings"
It isn't very often that a compilation record becomes one of my favorite releases of the year. But, here we are. Scrapings is a fantastic collection of songs collected by some of our favorite Prison Art bands in partnership with Dijon-based French label Capri (for all my due diligence I can't substantiate that claim...but we'll go with it). Some familiar PA friends Each Other, Mean Wind, The Miami, Dillon James Rego and The Spookfish make their mark here with some choice cuts. Newcomers (to us) such as Sam Kogon, SEENMR, Telepathy News and Brandon Hurtado make incredibly compelling welcome statements. The compilation is a nice, mid-range swath of stuff Prison Art is well known for. The poles range from quiet, meditative drones of Brandon Hurtado, Ylang Ylang and monte, the tape finds a nice mean in straight-forward, shambling indie rock of Each Other, Mean Wind and Shopping Spree (with quite a bit of swirling synth interplay), and arriving at the incredibly cathartic spazz-core of SSWAMPZZ. The outliers messing up our normal distribution (I am currently taking a stats class) are the skeletal, haunting folk-drone of The Miami and the bizarro casio-led Middle Eastern Pop of El Hanaan who plays music reminiscent of the kind played at ear-bleeding levels at Pakistani owned shops when I lived in Swaziland. This may be tape that kills my Walkman. What a great way to die.
metatag - transmission
*Originially published in SLUG Magazine*
Metatag’s tape cover bears a strong resemblance to Joy Division’s classic Unknown Pleasures if it were isolated and magnified a couple hundred times. Much like that image of a pulsar CP 1919 radio wave, Metatag plays under a microscope. Often restricted to a handful of repeating melodies undulating and ringing out, full of the most shimmering and warmest digital sounds created sans computer, Transmission also breaks wide open at times with a free-exchange between typical folk instrumentation (guitar, harpsichord) and the siren call of a deep soulful drone. The who of this 60 + min tape is the mysterious Norwegian Θ who put out an equally unpronounceable album last year of dark-ambient soundscapes. This ever-ascending marble staircase of crystalline synths scratches all the itches that tape couldn’t. An album full of John Carpenter melody and repetition without any of the creeping darkness; this is beautiful stuff.