Tuesday, May 23, 2017

"The Land Of Perfect Twilight" C31
(Fluere Tapes)

The ever prolific Andreas Brandal has found a great home in Sweden’s Fluere Tapes, releasing a brilliantly dark half-hour’s worth of moody, cinematic pieces that bridge the gap between the eerier, droning soundscapes of Constance Demby and the brooding, beatless, atmospheric interludes of your favorite Scandinavian, atmospheric black metal outfits. The results aren’t euphoric so much as informed, stoic peace, and the light-dark tug-o-war motifs are pretty much all you could possibly ask for on a rainy day. Andreas Brandal continues to deliver!

Also, if you’re into this sort of thing, do keep an eye out for more releases by Fluere Tapes, as they’re both relatively new to the field and slated to be game changers!


-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Monday, May 22, 2017

"Live At the Spot +1" C60
(Astral Spirits/Monofonus Press)

This here is a live recording of Tashi Dorji (guitar) and Tyler Damon (percussion) collectively loosening their minds together via maximum soundwave disruption AKA jamming-the-fuck-out-of-their-ever-loving-minds. Dorji’s creative use of loop and effects pedals takes this out of the typical free jazz offering and into a constant state of “Now how in the hell is he producing AND stringing all those sounds together like that?” while Tyler Damon expertly picks & chooses his battles as to which nooks & crannies to power-pack full of bombastic freakouts to. On Damon’s solo (beginning of side 2, clocking in at 13:56!), his blending of scrape disciplines, steam-of-conscious phrasings and subtle tribal rolls is beatifically disorienting and hypnotic and evocative of animal rutting and fighting and writhing and I think it’s the bees knees &…well…I think you ort take a listen for yourself via the link below.


-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Sunday, May 21, 2017

CDX “Smiles” C20 (Suite 309)

Embrace the squelch.

Hug it, love it, squeeze it till it oozes all over the place. Make it your best friend in the world. Understand it so that you can serve it better. Utilize it so that you can be free.

Tim Thornton of Tiger Village (music) and Suite 309 (music label) feels the squelch and the ooze and the smoosh at almost all hours of the day. As such, he is in the perfect position to foist it upon us, the unwitting audience, secretly, clandestinely, until it envelopes us within its squooshy center. Or maybe not so covertly – CDX, his moniker when he wants to get all Boards of Canada–meets–Black Moth Super Rainbow on us, slathers the cream all up in your hazmat like flame retardant at a chemical fire. Before you know it you’re coated in the sheez and a mush-mouthed Donald Duck is exclaiming “Get ’em!” Cue devolution to cartoon shimmy shake.

Embrace the clicks and pops, too – the beat. CDX doesn’t just smear, CDX gets it on down, and the combination is a liquid heavy metal bath in the cone of Vesuvius. Yeah, those beats will prop up the magma synths for a minute, then they’ll melt when the grand whole engulfs itself, taking with it listener and stereo rig and cassette tape alike. But before that, there’s a discernible wiggle in the vibrations, a 4/4 tremor that shakes the room and causes something to happen to your human butt. Don’t resist – give in, dudes and dudettes, and feel all Smiles flowing through you like an amniotic Force-esque singularity, replete with Midichlorians and other single-cell amoebic entities contaminating the flow with their presence. It’s all gravy.

Embrace the squelch. Embrace the clicks and pops. Embrace CDX. Smile.

Suite 309

--Ryan Masteller

Saturday, May 20, 2017

ANDREW HOWIE “Scars Are Like a Beacon” (Autoclave Records)

Scottish singer-songwriter Andrew Howie’s The Great Divide was a completely different recording than Scars Are Like a Beacon. Howie normally plies a full-band, guitar-based alternative style on most of his output, and The Great Divide sounded like an absolute triumph in that regard. Immaculately recorded, it fell somewhere right between the type of music released by his fellow countrymen Frightened Rabbit and We Were Promised Jetpacks. That’s good company.

But like all restless artists, Howie basically wanted nothing to do with The Great Divide after it came out, content instead to move beyond it to the next thing. That’s his MO. Only this time, his MO caused him to pause, glance back over his shoulder at The Great Divide sitting there, all alone in its shrinkwrap, and say to say under his breath, but mostly to himself, “Maybe I’m not done with you yet.

And he wasn’t.

Inspired (understandably) by Tim Hecker and William Basinski, Howie took the stems from The Great Divide and fully reworked them, allowing them to stretch, breathe, expand, then decay, in the process becoming something fully and completely other than what they were on The Great Divide. And Scars Are Like a Beacon, in my opinion, is a more interesting listen, a puzzle to piece together how these ethereal, ambient results came from what is essentially rock music.

With his newfound case of “the drones,” Howie recontextualized his music away from something aiming toward mass appeal, reflecting instead an inner vulnerability expressed only through wordless meditation. The tones he generates over the entire tape are gorgeous, angelic, fragile, ready to wisp away when you’re not paying attention. Maybe it’s too obvious, but there’s a distinct connection at times to the opening of U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name,” the part before the guitars come in. I’m a big softy at heart, so I love that kind of stuff. Sounds like Andrew Howie is too. We’d probably get along.

Andrew Howie
Autoclave Records

--Ryan Masteller

Friday, May 19, 2017

MIKE PURSLEY “self-titled” (self-released?)

Good old Mike. Old Boat-Cover Mike, they used to call him, back when he was releasing tapes with boats on the cover, like this one. Is this self-titled, self-released? I’m not sure. I’ve done all I can. At least I’ve provided a link to something. Start there.

Good old Boat-Cover Mike probably watches ships come in from his apartment balcony in Fells Point, if he lives in Fells Point, which he might not, but he’s from Baltimore, and a raging Oriole fan (like all good Baltimoreans), and a patron of the Soundgarden, and has seen Ministry at Rams Head Live! – no, wait, that was me on that last one. It was the Adios tour.

From his balcony in Fells Point he plucks his acoustic guitar in the style of early folk musicians and also post rock acoustic musicians like Pajo. It’s a decidedly warm and inviting flavor, and each of the short sides contains one entire piece of music. The recording, clearly to 4-track tape, retains the ambience of the room and the flaws inherent in such a rudimentary setup.

If you can get your hands on old Boaty McMike’s tape, you should. I like it.

Mike Pursley

--Ryan Masteller

Thursday, May 18, 2017


THE CRADLE “Bodies Coiled Around Themselves Drink the Water” (self-released Feeding Tube)

Dear nerds. Question. What’s the point of sending two records by the exact same artist in the same batch? Because guess what – here’s the same review, except with some minor changes. What do you want me to do, honestly?

“Paco’s music is much more interesting than I expected it to be. Terrible moniker (The Cradle?), terribly produced “j-card.” better produced j-card than Bodies Coiled – that’s what not self-releasing will get you, I guess. What do you do? Hope it’s not another garbage fire that’ll ruin yet another cassette player. Well, I’ve got good news for all of you on the other side of this: my tape player still works. Still spitting out music, sometimes like a real jerk, like a jackass. That’s the stuff I don’t like. Paco – well, he somehow channels a wide-eyed innocent version of the brothers Kinsella, sometime before Joan of Arc, Dick Cheney, Mark Twain. It’s pleasantly indie, pleasantly low-key emo, and all around bookwormy in the neatest of ways. Get past the “book-by-its-cover” nonsense my undisguised cynicism if you really want to live your life like an American Football. An AMERICAN FOOTBALL. Get it? They just put out a new album not too long ago. Owen.”

Going to sleep now. In my man cradle, i.e. big boy bed.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

"Northern Palms - Volume One" C53
(Palm Tapes)

This comp might put words into mouths; words unpronounceable. A tongue might feel embarrassed by the bmp, mayhaps overwhelmed. Maybe this is what some want to wake up to? Gives their mind an extra perking up? A li’l poke? Perhaps your neck’ll nod in agree’ance, as opposed to my no-no-negatory-good-buddy.

This 4 way split ‘twixt M. Walter, Burn Cycle, Ado, & Matoko splits the difference, letting your personal deference ‘tween beatific background conversational rhythms & forceful beats come to the fore, or recede, stadium side. At some point, surely R. Reagan did Bust A Movement?


-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

HANS APPLEQVIST “Swimming Pool” (Orange Milk)

This is my fourth review out of five in the newest Orange Milk batch, and I think I may have found the star of the show here. I pegged David Kanaga’s excellent Operaism as a paragon of complete composition, framing a song cycle around the idea of a long-form narrative set to music, but Hans Appleqvist has him equaled, if not beat, with Swimming Pool. The Swedish Appleqvist is no stranger to constructing sound around a story, as he’s long arranged for film, dance, and theater, as his digital CV attests (link below). On this tape for Orange Milk, he lets completely loose, structuring an insanely lengthy and detailed work, weaving pieces in and out of each other until the whole thing resembles an ouroboros or a Gordian knot. Swimming Pool. What secrets are you hiding from us?

The tone throughout is downright Lynchian, and I keep wondering if there’s a Mulholland Drive–esque riddle to parse within the album’s twists and turns. Whatever the underlying concept, Swimming Pool is a fully immersive experience from front to back, trading fully cinematic passages back and forth with ferocious electronic pulses, pop- and R&B-inflected tunes, abstract experimentation, modern classical, and even horror-inflected industrial workouts. Heavily affected spoken word pieces appear occasionally, and the album’s centerpiece, the almost ten-minute “We Touch We Part We Tear Up” could be twice as long and equally attention-grabbing. It’s an entire suite within itself and might be the best thing put to an Orange Milk tape this fiscal quarter.

The Rankin-designed cover, always an amazing element to any release from the label, depicts two lovers in an infinity pool, observed perhaps by a hovering ball, straight out of The Prisoner, reflecting a floating piano and a single-tear emoji. Isn’t that just the Lynchiest? Weird, voyeuristic intimacy cut with surreal or abstract imagery. The story begins here, but it’s far from its conclusion. Who are these people? What’s about to happen to them? It’s anyone’s guess, but the mood is right for intrigue.

--Ryan Masteller

Monday, May 15, 2017

"Minimally Conscious State" C60
(Centipiede Farm)

Moulttrigger is the sound of a thousand failing engines, the first terminally ill robot.
Moulttrigger is Luigi Russolo’s rotting corpse, come back to popularize minimalism.
Moulttrigger is a “Same Shit, Different Day” bumper sticker, spliced & reversed.
Moulttrigger is the calculatedly taunting line between harsh and tonally wayward.
Moulttrigger is an unproductive conversation dwelled upon to the point of disassociation.
Moulttrigger is listenable to via links below and ought be observed with headphones.


-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Sunday, May 14, 2017

“Autobiographical Dynasty: 1996-2015”
(auralgami SOUNDS)

This is an appropriate release for me to cover on my 300th anniversary for Cassette Gods. That’s right! I’ve done 300 reviews! That’s 2,100 in dog reviews. Wow! I’m a formidable internet presence.

Actually, this is number 302, because I forgot to check when 300 actually came around. I sort of blew that.

Whatever, it’s appropriate because there are like 300 songs on this tape! Actually, there are only 30, but Autobiographical Dynasty is a retrospective, so of course it has to cover a vast swath of material within its reels. And it’s a great place to start for Bodycocktail, aka Zan Hoffman, aka “Kentucky’s Punk Crooner,” because there are so many recordings he’s released over the past 20 years that it would be an almost impossibly daunting proposition to find a starting point. Luckily, Autobiographical Dynasty is here to fill that void in your life and point you in a direction of intimate fulfillment that you didn’t even know you lacked.

Loosely sculpted around a proto-new wave framework (Bodycocktail’s categorization), the songs exist along a spectrum that includes both Suicide and early Ween. What you should read primarily into that is that there are no rules that Hoffman really plays by, except that he has synthesizers and drum machines and tinny guitars, and that’s just how it ends up working. It’s barely jokey – I wasn’t convinced at first that I shouldn’t be laughing throughout this, but there’s no way I can. It’s serious, and seriously engaging, although cracking a smile is pretty much a prerequisite.

So for 20 years Hoffman’s been concocting stuff like this in his laboratory, and he never moves along the same paths as the status quo. It’s like he was faced with choosing a direction that he would drive in, but instead he built the world’s first hovercar. Truly, where we’re going, we don’t need roads. (To paraphrase another mad doctor drawing inspiration from the 1980s.) These songs are in the air, and in the ground, and each is strange and unusual and tectonic in its landscape-altering ability. Bodycocktail is seriously too weird to live and too rare to die, a standard applied by Hunter Thompson to an equally unconventional character. Autobiographical Dynasty will carry you through the weirdness to an extraordinary new place. Can you handle it?

Oh, one last thing: why is there a picture of Paddy Considine on the cover?

Here’s to the next 302 reviews!

auralgami SOUNDS

--Ryan Masteller

Saturday, May 13, 2017

MOON WORSHIP “Book the Pops” (Raining Records)

“Like The Birthday Party if Nick Cave wished he were Al Jourgensen instead of singularly defining an aesthetic.”
—Leo Kottke, liner notes to Peculiaroso*

“Wait, Albany’s the capital of New York?”
—Rudy Giuliani

“Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson are fantastic in Three Men and a Baby! A generation-defining hit.”
—Leonard Maltin

“[Book the Pops is] violently arousing.”
—Otis, Kicking and Screaming

“There’s that word again: [sludge]. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Inigo Montoya to Vizzini, The Princess Bride

“Is half this record a séance?”
—Anonymous, but a real witch

“Fortunately, I have a dreamcatcher, so I won’t get scared at night after listening to this terrifying record. That’s what dreamcatchers are for, right? Mom?”
—Me, right now, after listening to Book the Pops

“Moon Worship only emerge on Halloween night, and only visit the most sincere pumpkin patches.”

“Let me level with you – I’m not going to buy this tape.”
—Don Cheadle, after a Captain America: Civil War table reading, in response to me begging him to buy this tape

“I’m impressed with the overall mood, I guess.”
—Don Cheadle, Consequence of Sound correspondent (not the actor)

“Oh man, I can totally growl like this too! Watch: ‘Rawr rawr!’ Did you hear that? Pretty good, right? I’m gonna use this in my next prank somehow. Hey, the Coen Brothers! C’mere!”
—Steve Buscemi

*Absolutely zero percent of these quotes are real, so lighten up. Well, except the Otis one, sort of.

--LeBron James (the scientist, not the basketball player)