November 14, 2011
Sparkling Wide Pressure/No Mind Meditation – Split c30
Some record labels take some time to develop before demanding the music world’s attention; others come right out the gates fully loaded and ready to blow people’s minds. It goes without saying that Paramita Recordings is in the latter category, welcoming itself into the world with three split-releases featuring some of the most acclaimed and celebrated acts in the current underground of cassette coolness, packaged with flat-out jaw-dropping artwork. Best of all is this wickedly warped split starring ZE favorites Sparkling Wide Pressure and No Mind Meditation. SWP presents another reason why we all need more of his gorgeous, lopping guitar-sprinkled drone, and NMM goes even further into the realms of subconscious, psychedelic new-worlds ambience. Revelatory, chill-inducing stuff.
Sparkling Wide Pressure/No Mind Meditation – “Split [sample]“
October 31, 2011
The Cats’ Orchestra – Easter Yeast
Chances are, you’ve never heard music quite like Easter Yeast. It’s an album that runs primarily on chaos, noise, and spontaneity- yet there is total beauty and grace to each of its noisy, subtly melodic, homemade compositions. It’s a completely cohesive work of lo-fi art that functions best as an album- yet nearly every track could stand alone as a highlight. Even if you can’t quite figure out what exactly is going on in the mind of The Cats’ Orchestra mastermind/Dumpster Diver Nicholay Syrov, I’m willing to bet you will be totally moved by (not to mention, strangely addicted to) this album. Big recommendation!
The Cats’ Orchestra – “Ablutionary Ritual”
October 21, 2011
Jeremy Bible – The Journey of Enoch
Even if you’re the most casual fan of the music I write about on this blog, you have probably come into contact with Jeremy Bible a few times through the one-stop mecca-like internet-distro Experimedia, which he owns and operates. Bible is also a notable figure, however, due to his consistently breathtaking ambient and modern-classical records, released sporadically throughout the years on various labels. This particular tape, 2004′s The Journey of Enoch, happens to be a re-release of one of the most influential synth-based drone releases of the last 10 years and a totally killer set that’s been out of print entirely too long. Dark, chilling, and utterly essential.
Jeremy Bible – “The Cavern of Silent Childrne”
September 30, 2011
A Full Cosmic Sound – A Full Cosmic Sound
In this week’s edition of “tapes that review themselves with their own titles”, Chilean improv ensemble A Full Cosmic Sound has released a self-titled album of unfathomably lush and sprawling sonic mayhem on Brooklyn tape warriors Fabrica that just truly amounts to one full cosmic sound. The five tracks on this tape are about as diverse and wide-ranging as any non-compilation release you are bound to find all year, encompassing most all regions of psych weirdness. It’s a wildly engrossing spirit journey whose echoes will ring in your memory for a long time after the music stops. Insane, chaotic, and hauntingly pretty, A Full Cosmic Sound comes with a huge recommendation.
A Full Cosmic Sound – “Comandante Chubaca Acelere y Entregue el Mensaje”
September 23, 2011
Sarongs – Sarongs
Clouded in a murky shroud of mystery and bringing to mind the simpler times of late 2010/early 2011, the songs of short-lived Syracuse sludge-rock band Sarongs aim straight for the heart like vomit-green, formaldehyde-soaked bullets. This brand new collection- the first release on promising new tape upstart Prison Art – compiles six of their finest original songs and their live-staple cover of “Goodbye Horses”, and it already sounds like a worn-in, lost classic. Whether or not you were able to catch one of Sarongs infamously raucous live shows, hearing these recordings is a fine character study of a band who truly deserves to be heard and cherished by as many people as possible.
Sarongs – “Mineral”
September 15, 2011
Quicksails - Silver Balloons in Clusters
Straight from the translucent chrome tape factories of Deception Island comes another exceptional and forward-thinking set of gooey synth jammers. This one is from the increasingly awe-inspiring and prolific Ben Billington, aka Quicksails, and it is arguably his finest moment yet. Featuring ten brilliantly paced compositions, this album inserts the listener among its titular silver balloons, floating slowly but surely toward the cosmos. A sense of refinement and beauty permeates through the tape, especially in moments where Billington’s synth is complimented by impeccably-placed drum and percussion parts. It’s a set of music that sounds unlike anything in recent memory and a journey worth taking over and over again.
Quicksails – “A Million Knots”
September 12, 2011
Grasshopper – Miles in the Sky
With its insane trumpet/electronics combination and its numerous spaced-out long-form improv recordings, Grasshopper has become one of the most delightfully singular “Free Jazz Drone Noise” acts to emerge from NYC. There have already a been handful of essential Grasshopper albums released this year (including this particularly fantastic one). But lucky for us, omnipresent tape label House of Alchemy has just reissued one of their dreamier sets – the totally-not-a-tribute-album Miles in the Sky - onto 100 glorious blood-red, high-fidelity cassettes. The intensely blown-out a-side and the whimsical but more subdued b-side result in just two more reasons why Grasshopper is an act that can not be ignored.
September 7, 2011
Tom Hall – Muted Angels
Tom Hall’s music is, albeit transcendent and uplifting, a very different kind of experimental music from what I usually write about. Whereas many of the best ambient releases this year have found beauty in the subdued, relaxed, and melancholic, Hall’s music tends to bleed right through the fabric: its brilliance and luminescence create an atmosphere that is almost too much to handle. The audio often clips and falters. Layers upon layers of sound build to seemingly accidental crescendos. Sometimes it even seems like the tape itself is going to explode into a psychedelic burst of color from all the light and energy contained within the music. Honestly, you just might too.
Tom Hall – “Before Being”
August 30, 2011
The Final Stunned Records Tape Batch
It seems like every day there is a new tape label being started somewhere: young artists trying to get their music to the world in physical formats in the most inexpensive and time-efficient way possible. Some labels disappear just as soon as they emerge; others slowly develop and become productive sources of entertainment and creativity. Then there are those labels that go as far as to create their own aesthetic, promote consistently awesome music, treat customers with respect and care, and basically define a movement.
August 23, 2011
Cray – Show Fades
Fresh out the gate from Digitalis Ltd.‘s latest batch of summer goodness (which also features the sublime and long-awaited return of Sovetskaya Gone, now represented as S. Gone) comes this awesome tape from Australian dreamweaver Cray. Featuring twelve seminal nuggets of tight library-music and wandering synths, Show Fades slips in between dreaming and lucid states at a rapid, mind-altering pace. Best of all are the tape’s noisy, melodic pieces hinting at a fuller, more melodic sound in Cray’s future. For now though, he’s inhabiting a beautiful world, and Show Fades is a fascinating expression of it.
Cray – “Show Fades [album preview]“