Kill West - Smoke Beach (Dismal Niche)

Day-uuummmmnnnn. Argentinaian psych-rockers have the dense, pulse-light emitting drug haze of a summer record on lock. Buried under a pall of reverb so thick you need a gas mask to get through Side A, Smoke Beach is one of those petal stuck on motorik groove, windows down, black leather tassles flowing #projectbadass tapes that get stuck in your tape player because outside of native climate - stopped at red lights, hands drumming on the steering wheel to each fill - it will whither and then evaporate into the thick steam it has been emitting from your console for the past 30 minutes because each track is a burner. A small sample of some of the amazing music coming out of South America as of late that has found a good home on one of our favorite labels, Dismal Niche.


The Funs/Sad Horse - Weirdos (Manic Static)

Picked this tape up from The Funs / Sad Horse show (complete with beer koozie) with Ampline in Cincinnati. Looking at the size of pedal boards of each respective duo tells you a little bit of what to expect from each side of the split. The Funs Jesse Rose Crane's pedal board was a neat, pristine box of blinking potential which she uses to cloak wistful pop songs under a pall of soft-water noise that is corralled from all-lights on to a melodic lead guitar line or is used to seriously fuck shit up as all out war against your defenseless inner ear. Sad Horse's rig is austere and essentialist as their spiky, flailing art-punk on their side. I think EV used a fuzz pedal...once. Likewise their songs on this split are stripped down to the brass-tacks. Emotion and dynamic are dictated by speed, tempo and how long a drive it was to (blank) city. Crucial art-punk jams from Chicago and Portland, respectively.


Dustin Lovelis - Dimensions (Yellow K / Porch Party Records)

Time-warp harmonies that draw from equal parts late 60's tempered psych and brittle satisfaction of Flying Nun New Zealand pop. Dimensions finds the multi-instrumentalist behind an array of crunchy, reverb heavy guitars, lock-step drums and swirling synthesizers that play in harmony with Lovelis's sweet, sun-baked harmonies. It's hard not to listen to these songs without cracking a smile. Summer will end, time will gnaw you into a Doom-influence-Drone stretch soon enough, but while we have the light and the heat and tape players in our parents' cars lets roll the windows down and let the confused, bittersweet young man petition the gods of an almost-Aquarius age with an offering of their psych-pop put through a mortal lens, like fire was our attempt to steal lightning. 

Friday, July 3rd, 2015 | Add New Comment (0)

Heligator Records is a non-profit record net-label created by Ryan H. to help continously fund the Malindza Refugee Camp Library  in Swaziland, Africa. This is our 21st release.

This piece of living, breathing drone and voice comes to us from Kiev, Ukraine based Creation VI. A longform piece that moves from lush sustained tones to augmented woodwinds, harmonica, field recordings from the Black Sea and those haunting, exploratory vocals that search endlessly for transcendence between pitches of operatic highs and monastic lows. Taken from a live set Creation VI performed in Moscow, this track is an ideal opportunity to blissfully explore some inner-space before hectic workdays or post-weekend recovery. All proceeds from the sale of this track will go to help sustaining the Malindza Camp Library, which, I am happy to report is on the up-and-up. Just got a proposal to put in lights so students can study after dark. Your proceeds make this happen.

Thanks for listening. Donate if you can. Enjoy the positive vibes even if you can't.


Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 | Add New Comment (0)

Back when music blogs actually seemed to have some clout in predicting and in some cases driving musical trends, I had a go-to that I read on a daily basis that informed my music listening more than anything to this date. It was there that I read about Basinski, Natural Snow Buildings, Jasper, TX alongside reviews of more mainstream releases on major-ish indie labels. That blog was Forest Gospel run by husband-wife duo Nick and Erin Potter. As luck would have it we both lived in Salt Lake City and quickly became very close friends. Six years later Nick and Erin are still incredibly dear to my wife and I and in this podcast I sit down with Nick and begrudgingly (on Nick's part) parse out his influence on my writing and desire to start a blog, qualities of experimental music that are attractive to both of us as listeners, our shared religious histories and discovering music in the early 00's.

Nick and Erin still post about art and music on Forest Gospel: 

Nick's Tumblr page with illustrations and comics:

The Potters' Etsy page where they sell their screenprinted show and movie posters:

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 | Add New Comment (0)

Micromelancolié – Low Cakes (BDTA, 2015)

Micromelancolie has just released one of 2015’s most unexptectedly great albums. Last time we checked in with the Polish auteur was with the release of Ensemble Faux Pas  on A Giant Fern. That album full of surging, staticy drones and stabs of harsh noise did nothing to indicate Low Cakes’ pastiche of hip-hop samples, off beats and melodic drones. Every track on Low Cakes is a cloistered universe of sounds and actors moving with their own internal logic. In many ways the left-field samples of snippets of conversations, demo-reel intros and screwed-low soundcloud gems feel and sound similar to cLOUDEAD’s combination of combining outtakes and the unintentional beauty that comes in the discovery of tones massaged into spaces between percussion that always hit just a split-second off, but thrown open to the internet and filtered through a Polish musician’s particularly obscure lens. Drones elide into heavy, aleatoric beat-fueled madness between synth arpeggios that could be the entire melodic lynchpin in other tracks, but are relegated to background status here, sharing face time with other auxiliary sounds and melodies or are stopped dead in its track by vocal sample that completely takes control of the track’s trajectory, taking the track to a grinding, unwinding halt before rebuilding it around a rapped interlude or vocal sample pitch-shifted to an uncomfortable timbre. This is the Jamie xx album for Polish noise fans.


D.F.W K.B.D & J.G – A Chance Happening 27/08/14 in Brasserie Beubian (Shaking Box, 2015)

For those of you who book experimental shows know that the expectation for attendance can be low even if you live in a city where experimental shows usually kill. I’ve been there, filled with trepidation that those 35 people who clicked "yes" on facebook would actually show up to a Tuesday night drone show at some dive bar in the formerly-industrial part of town. For those of you who actually attend said shows: thank you. From the bottom of my heart. What should have been a particularly incredible show in Calgary with Devin Friesen A.K.A Bitter Fictions (2014 Tome favorite) and James Goddard (Skin Tone), instead turned into one of those worst-nightmare situations. Only one non-musician showed up. That brave soul was none other than Kyle Bobby Dunn (who you may remember as having the BEST RECORD OF 2014). This poorly attended show turned into an impromptu jam-session that was recorded for posterity sake. The result is something truly staggering. Between banter with the bartender about Hitler’s favorite composer and other small talk are massive, cathedral-sized improvised compositions played into the void of an empty bar. Dunn, who was not planning on playing that night, contributes by the means of a piano located next to the performing area. Plucking out singular notes and coaxing cavernous sounds from the maw of the open mouth of the piano, Dunn’s piano weaves itself in and out of Friesen’s massive-sounding guitar and tape compositions and Godards subtle crafting of electronic tones and minimal – almost incidental – percussion. If these three played a show in Cincinnati, I promise I wouldn’t be the only non-musician to attend. So…think about it.


Drowse – Soon Asleep (Apneicvoid, 2015)

In the mental health field we refer to the effects of anti-psychotic or serotonin reuptake inhibitors in terms of management. The idea is that medication dampens the acuity of symptoms without eliminating the root cause. The dampening of the acuity of the symptoms often has unintended consequences – like the dampening of the acuity of every other emotion. Kyle Bates’ solo output under Drowse, so far, has put out two powerful treatises on the individual effects of prescription drugs – putting an aural soundtrack to the woozy, disorienting effects of purposely altering your brain chemistry. Soon Asleep is a massively more superior record to his initial debut EP Songs to Sleep On in every way. Hazy, atmospheric guitars melt into far-off and receding synthesizers in horizonless fog. But with mastering abstraction also comes a newfound compositional clarity. Underneath the thick pall of perfectly balanced overblownness of major chord riffage under metric tonnage of reverb and crystalline synthesizers echoing from some lower rung of heaven comes Bates’ voice, corralling and guiding the billowing storm cloud into blissful shoegaze-pop narratives of dissociation and dislocation that come from ripping apart and reforming one’s brain chemistry. Not only is this compositionally light-years ahead, but the way in which Bates’ is able find tones through deft guitar-synth interplay that ache and bleed around the edges while holding a golden beam of light in its core is the equivalent of meditative breathing exercises for machines. One of the most personal and arresting albums to date, Soon Asleep comes from the depths of human despair but ultimately serves to be one of 2015’s most cathartic and immediate releases.


Orlando Scarpa Neto – Transporte Publico (Self-Released, 2015)

Orlando Scarpa Neto is a Brazilian musician who has found a way to translate one’s daily commute on public transport into five compositions with guitar and electronics that find purchase not only as a travelogue for the weary commuter but as a guitar record that is versatile and sturdy enough to fill many different roles. Neto’s compositions range from stark, solo guitar playing serrated arpeggios chopped into accelerating ascension, or laid bare beneath light touches of reverb and surging, pulsing electronics that fill in corners of repeating guitar lines with static dread. Other times Neto’s guitar lines are sharply defined ascending lines cutting streaks through the sky like powerlines on a cloudless day. Neto composed these tracks using his daily commute into Rio De Janeiro as inspiration. Even without this exposition, these tracks retain a sense of travel in their ascending guitar lines that gather speed on each pass through Neto’s subtle use of accumulating manipulation of single lines of music. These tracks have a destination in mind and it is straight into your subconscious.

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015 | Add New Comment (0)

We at Tome-Central are happy to announce that our coverage of music has expanded beyond the traditional blogosphere and into the realm of podcasting. I, Ryan H., have started a podcast where I interview experimental musicians of all stripes. Most of them are Cincinnati-centric, however, I've been able to pull in some touring acts to sit down with me and talk about what went wrong in their lives to cause them to become experimental musicians. JK. I am interested in exploring where experimental music and personal identity intersect, "origin stories" of people who I find fascinating as well as the closeness that comes from a face-to-face conversation on meaningful topics. So far I've interviewed: Alex Cobb (Students of Decay), Keith Rankin (Giant Claw), Evan Lautzenheiser (Keiki/Live God), Robert Inhuman, Yoni Wolf (Why?), Ma Turner and Jon Lorenz and John Rich from Public Housing.  I will try to post one of these a week or every other week. This, like the Tome, is a total labor of love. I wouldn't be opposed, in fact I would be eternally grateful, if you find these podcasts worth your time, to throw me a few bucks for the effort in order to pay for the Soundcloud hosting. You can send via paypal to:

All of these are on I-Tunes as well - just search for Tome to the Weather Machine

For this interview I sit down with Ofir Klemperer - Israeli-born, Dutch-trained composer and Sunight contributor who has mastered the fickle Korg MS020. In the interview we discuss growing up in Israel, his experience in a conservatory and the pure magic of collective improvisation. I hope you dig these. Feel free to reach out to me and tell me what you think.

Monday, May 25th, 2015 | Add New Comment (0)

AH! KOSMOS- Bastards (Denovali)

For her first proper release on Denovali, Istanbul-based producer/conjurer Basak Gunak creates dark, lyrical compositions that wrap acoustic and electronic instrumentation around Gunak's throaty baritone voice that ranges from a powerful croon to whispered spoken word passages the way the rings on trees tell a story of inward fortification and outward (perhaps painful) expansion. When we cut deep into the heart of these tracks, passing layers of electronic programmed percussion, lines of distorted guitars, dense near-eastern drumming, samples of snippets of everyday life re-contextualized and stacked in jittery, paranoid strands of audio we get into something that sustains these disparate elements and holds them in useful tension. What "it" is held very close to the chest. An overwhelming sense of hope with its corners darkened by paranoia and fear. A sustaining force that begins with Gunak's innate sense of melody - building ascending synth and guitar lines and slowly layering her vocal melodies until they become one in the mix - and then grows outwards, incorporating sounds from outside her window, musical ideas borrowed/lent from collaborators until the center holds but the peripheries are stretched thin and always searching for that next hit of inspiration. Bastards has my vote for one of the most rewarding discoveries of an already packed 2015.

Purchase from Denovali


Demian Castellanos - The Kyvu Tapes Vol.1 (1990-1998) (Hands in the Dark)

After listening to these collections of home recordings by Demian Castellanos - founder of The Oscillation - one gets the sense that there are hundreds of tapes that could be released that are just as filled to the brim with incredibly moving, forward-thinking guitar compositions that sound completely at home with 2015's bumper crop of spiritually-minded guitarists using their instrument to reach a higher plane. In fact, these compositions are what I imagine are on a 24-hour loop in the brain of someone like Castellanos - as if someone stuck a stereo cable in and pushed record. What we have is a constant under-drones pulsing and oscillating, panning from ear to ear as Castellanos's heavily processed guitars either stack layers and layers of unsourced sound until all sound ever created exists between the peaks and valleys of a thousand oscillations or pieces the veil in Peter Walker influenced ragas or clarion-clear guitar solos that begin by floating on the same frequency but then begin to steer the composition into unexplored sonic terrain. Perhaps the most celebrated example of this is on "Lizard Raga" (one of the two "official" ragas on the tape) where Castellanos casts his eliding, sinewy guitar lines into a sea of oscillating drones and comes back with sounds and ingenious moves on the guitar that lie just outside of consciousness - like catching an weird deep-water sea creature in a relatively shallow river bed. Castellanos can also build upon structural and less-abstract material with similar effect. "Photon Waterfall" builds upon a minimalist ascending guitar line that accrues meaning each pass through the loop pedal. We somehow get the idea that Flying Saucer Attack was one of the few acts that dwelled on hazy, warm looped guitar passages when we reference acts from the 90's as direct influences on some of the directions that ambient guitar-based music has taken. Kyvu Tapes draws a straight line between  Castellanos' drone-based compositions and today's musicians coaxing guitar tones into the realm of the ethereal.

Purchase from Hands in the Dark


China - Towards the Sun (Self-Released)

Raphi Gottesman's Signed, Noisemaker is one of those tapes that has never really left my player. In it, the multi-instrumentalist shows a sincere and humble knack for crafting melody and mood in compositions that are complete in every way. Gottesman, with China - a proper band-band EP with Michael Tapscott (Odawas) and Jason Quever (Papercuts - who donates some gorgeous strings here) - create perfectly sunbaked, Laurel Canyon country-tinged, free-floating deep-cut LP rock of the late sixties filtered through the modern day exodus out of San Francisco, a move directly tied to the 60's exodus into the city's loving embrace. This is music for hitching up the wagon and ho'ing out west into the land of displacement - the sun always on the back of our pioneers as they flee the bright, cultural wasteland of tech-industry wealth - not the diseased-gum gnaw of Midwest poverty and squaresville Dads. These are songs for the diaspora, and they are beautiful - the same kind of feeling of stumbling across a dusty LP of long-haired dudes and hearing some of the most transcendent melodies and harmonizing this side of Garcia. Fans of recent troubadours The Lowered, Midlake and Howe Gelb should find ample purchase in these five songs.

Purchase from Bandcamp


Metatag - Surrender (Hel Audio)

All we have are our mistakes. Genetic aberrations unlock hidden potential to adapt and evolve. What wipes out large swathes of the population allows a small minority to develop resistance and flourish. But machines aren't supposed to make mistakes, right? That's why we built them. External brains that are capable of specificity unencumbered by consciousness that we could never even aspire to. But somewhere, knocking around in the hardware, are misfirings, loose connections and random events that create mistakes or half-formed, mutant children of a perfect system. Clocking in at 2-minutes shy of an hour, Metatag's second full-length on Hel Audio, does not shy away from displaying these weaknesses and flaws. The decayed tones of a dying synthesizer, the glitch of audio data spat through spools of wiring are written into these songs, creating moments of unintentional beauty and useful aberration. The Norwegian duo's commitment to creating 22 stand-alone, cloistered units of music is impressive. By rarely, if ever, changing tempo or melody once locked into a 2-3 minute groove allow Metatag to explore the rich underbelly of machine-created music, delving into tones that dissolve or sputter into productive decay while allowing the steady minimal synth lines to remain in the driver's seat. Surrender, at times veers into dark drone-based compositions instead of riding the arpeggio sine wave for an hour. The darkly cinematic quality of each track suggests a dystopian future that has been ruled by Vangelis's pulsing synthscapes in his Blade Runner soundtrack. Any attempt to not notice that influence is impossible, but Metatag manage to create something even colder and perhaps even a bit more futuristic. The seedy future-ghetto, Chinatown replaced by clean, symmetrical lines and curved angles: more Kubrik's vision of the distant future in A.I. than dystopian battledome made of recycled sports equipment. Perfect tunes for nighttime bike riding through the city.

Purchase from Hel Audio

Monday, May 18th, 2015 | Add New Comment (0)

Family Underground - No Host. No Guest 

Danish drone duo make improvised guitar music that would sound breezy if not under the harsh light of distortion, fuzz and steerage of passages straight into dark, forlorn places we were warned not to go. With that said, the twisting passages of seriously spooked guitar work float on a never-ending cusp of a great idea that shatters on impact into a thousand strung together fragments of its once ideal self. This spectral shattering creates shards of fuzz-laden naked guitar improvisation, a brilliant Krauty approximation of Hookworms on a dangerous level of sedatives and bluesy sky-ripping lines that ascend in archangel triumph out of a shimmering sea of angular guitar tones and overdubbed piano lines. The price of entrance is relatively high, but the rewards come frequently and intensely. Try not air-guitaring along to "The Original Freezecult" and all associated passages of transcendent guitar communalism and secret language sharing. Constant breakdown. Constant renewal. 

Eye - The Future Will Be Repeated

The Future Will Be Repeated is a whiplash call-and-response record of some of the greatest New Zealand noisemakers around today. Recorded live, these tracks capture the dynamism of this supergroup of sorts. Equal parts sea of contemplative interplay between guitars, percussion and electronics involved in an animalistic courtship ritual that explores sweet, understated tones that pulse, scrape and fill in politely for each other when the chance to explore gaps in the composition arise and fuck-all displays of power and violence (but not powerviolence) on tracks like "Owls at Noon" that recalls the glory daze of other NZ and Ba Da Bing stalwarts Dead C. Frantic, but never unhinged, drumming races to an epic climax with a sea of distortion and fuzz while a single line of lead guitar distortion stays just above the fray like a nervous surfer trying to outrun the a wave much bigger than he intended to ride. That kind of works for this record. A sound this huge was never intended to be contained by compressing bits of data. Other, quieter tracks work quite well for the walk home, but something like "Owls at Noon" will always keep us watching our backs, realizing we are caught in something a bit too big for casual listening. "Skeleton Key", the aptly named sum of this records parts, serves to bring us back home. Equal parts contemplative improvisation with the ongoing maw of the cavernous potential to decimate always kept just at bay.

Peter Kolovos - The Wolf Should Ever Be Lone

Another, "you had to be there" albums of live recordings of a guitar player with almost superhuman dexterity, stamina and timing. Kolovos knows that exact moment of when to let a violent, shuddering, quivering line of deconstructed rummage sale of misfit tones bleed into rumbling seas of amplifier-destroying distortion that soothe the psyche in ways you never thought possible after watching/hearing a guitar take such abuse with welcome and full-disclosure on its telling. Or when to throttle back and lay golden, naked tones minister to the infirm. Kolovos reaches climaxes on "Seattle" and "Portland" that rarely change in tone but rely on the ancient hand-around-the-neck strangulation and mandible strength that led our ancestors out of caves and into the lone and dreary wilderness in search of prey, along with the schizophrenic crack-ups and piercing, blinding light and sound that came with revelation from on high from older, angrier gods.


Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 | Add New Comment (0)

Ed Hamilton - Arabesque

Built around the first four chords of Debussy's Arabesque and then put through a bevy of electronic manipulation and acoustic interpretation, Ed Hamilton's ode to the fertile ground of Debussy plucking a handful of chords out of a near infinite combination of choices is one of 2015's most intriguing and captivating listens. Much like the ornamental design of intertwined lines (thanks wikipedia) of the arabesque pattern that seemingly have no beginning or end point, Arabesque's passages of processed tones - drawn out into huge droning arcs or run through tape manipulation to give an ebbing, throbbing star-death quality - weave themselves in and out of Hamilton's expressive interpretation of Debussy's introductory notes on piano - both prepared and straight - as well as ruddy strings, wordless vocals and elegiac brass that sounds like it is being played and recorded miles away across a fog strewn fen. This is an album that unfolds itself in linear fashion, but in such a subtle way that the beginning is obscured by the gradual layering and latticing in tones that tracing a line back to an impetus is impossible. We are caught in the eternal now of a line without beginning or end. 

Purchase from Bandcamp


Drombeg - Notes from the Ocean Floor

A modern-classical album with all the emotional heft and deft moves of a post-rock album. Huge swells of orchestral strings on the ever-ascending, near religious revelry of the crescendo, long diminutive passages of piano being played against resonant passages rooted in the minimalist tradition of repeating passages gathering meaning as they gather momentum. Drombeg's short-ish EP brings to mind some of the best ideas Rachel's or Balmorhea ever came up with and placed them in the context of a rocky coast somewhere along Ireland's deserted coastline. Samples of childhood idyll and electronic manipulation of strings and piano often stand in for the on-the-nose emotion-evoking musical movements, while songs like "Horses" hold looped passages in tension with no identifiable resolution. Sweeping passages of electric guitar and wordless choir sample on "Jeremiah Holding Hands" fold in on themselves to create something wholly frozen in time and triumphant. Notes from the Ocean Floor is an EP holding an incredible amount of promise in a short amount of time.

Purchase via Bandcamp


Wolf Maps - Sun Ghosts

A distant, fully fleshed-out world existing in the abscess of a busted eardrum, or, the no-firm-line guitar drones of Wolf Maps exist in a nocturne world of 3AM where everything is slightly fuzzed out and augmented. The three tacks on this album track a linear progression of loud, blown-out drones to extremely-fucking-loud-blown-out-drones all while never hitting a harsh note or dwelling much in distortion. Rather this is an all-grey, all muted reference point drone that manages to be all-encompassing without sacrificing the beautiful, mid-range tones that spread themselves across this record like a blanket of thick fog. Unshrouded guitar lines occasionally break free and offer a point of reference, but otherwise, you are rudderless and directionless in a sea of transcendent tones. An astute, perma-beautiful ambient-drone EP.

Purchase via Bandcamp

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 | Add New Comment (0)

Head Dress - Mesa (Horror Fiction)

This Head Dress tape out on Horror Fiction came like a burst of light through a smudged and dirty window. The previous Head Dress tape we covered - Deicide (A Giant Fern) - was a heavy name for even heavier light/dark noise filtered through deconstructed beats and scraping drones. Mesa, however, is a crushing meditation played out on lone and dreary riffs that accumulate more dread and audio detritus as they are repeated over and over. Heavy and spacious, recalling the "magic, murder and drug abuse" of the Southwestern landscape that this tape reinvents. Aside from ponderous and chugging, things get downright thunderous as Ted Butler unleashes an electrical storm of spleen-rattling, blown-out distortion towards the end of Side B. I can listen to this for days and never get sick of hearing that riff played out in ever expectant doom. Fans of bands like Barn Owl, Earth or Thrones should be salivating over this.


Sal Lake/Keiki - Split (Live God)

Very rarely do I ever take notes when I listen to albums for review. I did for this split between Sal Lake and Keiki, two very fine noiseniks cranking out positivist psychedelic noise for the iniated. Reading back through those notes a week or so after writing them was something like remembering a dream that made such perfect sense while in it that you mistake it for a remembered past. For example, once I had a dream where I constructed a completely plausible plot scenario in the second season of The Wire. To this day when I watch it I can never be sure if what I dreamed about actually occurred or not. Relistening to this tape my observations of "breaking into tribal drumming...Popol Vuh" on Sal Lake's "Lungsack", the  "peaking, decaying harshness" on "Betterhomesandgardens" or the   "winds of harsh noise" that wash over the gentle synth/guitar drones on Keiki's "To Listen, To Love" make even more sense after a week of digesting the psych-noise contained within. This tape is immersive on so many levels. Keiki's harsh tones wash over you without the abrasive jolt of so much of this ilk. It is like being pulled away in a riptide, you are caught in a gentle current until you realize the shore is much too far for you to swim back to. Sal Lake's  muscular rhythm section gives rudder and direction to his tapestry of outerspace sounds. A highly enjoyable split by two of Ohio's up and coming drone/noise dudes.


Jung an Tagen - Aeussere (Orange Milk)

Another impossibly good release from Orange Milk. Jung an Tagen is Stefan Kushima, an Austrian native whose icy synths belie a surprisingly warm human heart to what could otherwise be a gallery-bound sound-art installation. Aeussere is held in acute tension between passages that could snap into a thousand fractals from the brittle, diamond cut beats and synth lines and the smeared orbs of color that reach back to a time before solid lines and differentiated color schemas. To a post-gill, pre-cognition experience of being completely immersed in sound of indiscriminate origin - like being in the womb at a Four Tet show - our mother's belly against the amplifier. There is probably a straight line between womb-like coffin of sounds to linear, austere beat structures of this record, but it is much more fun to take this in outside of time, to let both happen simultaneously or at least in disjointed order. Time slips or God-like omniscience. The last minute and a half of "Nie and Nammer"...Fuuuuuuuuuuuuucccckkkkkk. I can't even.


Lesionread - Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (Live God)

I wish I had the confidence of Lesionread. Seriously. This is one of the most self-confident, fully-realized, lived-in worlds created by someone probably a lot younger than me with boundless energy and a touch of mania. Greatest Hits is auteur on god-mode. How many minutes are on a tape? Fuck it, run that thing til it runs off the spools. Vol. II is probably rotting away on his computer just waiting to see the light of day and Vol. 15 is already in the works.  The only comparison I can give to the sheer audacity of this record is Jerry Paper's Big Pop for Chameleon World, Sir Benedick the Moor's El Negro or...Justin Timberlake. A tape that trawls all genres and knows no boundaries. Demented 11th dimension pop bleeds into banging warehouse-party beats next to augmented rap that unspools into aural-art noise attacks. This should be getting all the hype right now. There are some certified hits on this record. When will "Art All Day" be our generation's anthem of post-collegiate angst? Not that this is all extroversion. Between the meat-slab thud of beats, saxophone interludes both recorded and synthesized, are some hyper-confessional lines whispered into a microphone late at night. Yoni Wolf said it best when he said, "sometimes you gotta yell something you'd never tell nobody". By making certified club bangers out of our most guarded secrets is as cathartic as it gets. A 21st century version of bloodletting. Someone please get on Lesionread's level.

Monday, March 23rd, 2015 | Add New Comment (0)

Cambo - Patronage and Pork (Crash Symbols)

Next level beat tape from a relatively enigmatic producer. Patronage and Pork plays on the gritty past of a drum machine's former life hiding in Main Street pawn shops and studios under the patronage of drug money. The new Medici's of Flatbush have commissioned the representations of their religious myths scrawled out in a sequenced boom-bap drug through the dizzying highs and lows of chemically induced escape through laser-like synths that drip dopamine like rain through open rafters. This tape is on point. Samples of self-help gurus, rapped interludes, squealing, squashed synthesizers, peaks and valleys of loud-soft dynamics, martial lock-step of a beat pitch-shifted beyond the point where it could look in the mirror and recognize itself. All very familiar and strange.


Aphasiacs - Debtor's Paradise (Crash Symbols)

And thou shalt forever bang thy head until thy neck shall break. When God handed down this rule he did so, not by commandments carved into stone, but through a forever-ascending populist dancefloor banger that is unrelenting in its litigiousness. If you are caught lacking, or your mind wanders for a minute, a machine gun BPM or swirling arpeggio will grab you by the scruff and throw you back into the deep end of obedience by compulsion. For our God is a jealous and God and will have no other space of your cranium that is not filled with beats sprinting a marathon or hacienda-style throwbacks to four-on-the-floor hardness with skittering breaks over tape-decayed Glass-style surging and swirling. God also doesn't care about double negatives or run-on sentences. This testament to dance music will be erected and desecrated on every county courthouse lawn in secret bohemian gardens. Consider this canon.


Nico Niquo - Epitaph (Orange Milk)

Epitaph is a strange name for this tape. Ostensibly, Orange Milk Records has putting the nail in the coffin of genre distinctions for some time, using the internet's trawling net to scrape together entire ecosystems of micro-genres to explore, extract and piece together in a lived-in, no-rules frontier. Perhaps no tape has done this with more grace and exactness of vision of Nico Niquo's Epitaph. It is full of beat-heavy compositions that pair trill high-hat breaks of trap with the triller high-hat breaks of yesteryear's downtempo/chillout, often following each other in the same pattern. Synths sound as if they were pulled from some Windham Hill retrospective and then processed through some ancient text-to-voice software. Free jazz samples, hotel lobby piano lines, pitch-shifted vocals that go hard AF. These wash themselves with a soapy film across tracks that leave plenty of breathing room before being jarred out of this meditative state by beat-heavy movements. This never quite interrupts the tranquil vibe of this tape. These two worlds live in the same neighborhood, a click away I suppose, and indicative of our schizophrenic musical tastes when the vaults of ownership and genre distinctions are thrown open. Somewhere, in that liminal space between our proclivities and general moods, lies this tape by Nico Niquo, an ear shaped as a modem, its output only a fraction of the insane amount of data being taken in. One of my favorite pieces of music in 2015.


Strange Orbs - Strange Orbs (Live God)

Strange Orbs is one of the favorite things in my tape deck these days. A percussion-driven tape that teeters between psychedelic guitar and synth lines, arcing drones and scraping, harsh noise. In service to Strange Orbs' galloping beats, sometimes simply the weight of itself surging and tumbling over itself, these disparate elements become two heads of the same coin, both creating an atmosphere of unease and tension but never giving over to misanthropy or nihilism. There is tension, and probably some disgust, but this exists at the edge where tones begin to shed their sweeter tonal quality and nudge into the realm of bad trips given a soundtrack, instead of at the blackened core where world views are formed. When the needle goes into the red it does so in short, rhythmic blasts that are eventually folded into the texture of the track in the vein of Wolf Eyes' Burned Mind with considerably less firepower. They become a cathartic release that snap and contract with every involuntary head nod. Ambience rooted in improvisation is at the heart of this record, but when its parts coalesce there is little out there that sounds better than this.

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 | Add New Comment (0)