Monday, February 19, 2018

INNER TRAVELS “Sea of Leaves” (Inner Islands)

It does look like a sea of leaves from up here, the forest spreading out into the distance, foliage rippling in the wind like waves, just dusk enough in the evening that the deep green isn’t so easy to make out against the shadows, mimicking the opaque depths of a vast body of water. From a height, atop a mountain or other scenic point, imagination takes over as the sunlight fades, is replaced by the trickier illumination of the moon, and the mysteries of your vision deepen. Steve Targo, our maestro, our guide, reflects through synthesizer on the “splendor of nature,” internalizing the landscape that he’s witnessed (Celestion, Pell Lake, Wisconsin, Fall 2015 to Fall 2016). This is New Age for a new age, a desperate grasp at inner peace before the peace can be directed outward and shared with those who need it most. Targo’s nailed it, understood that “desperate grasp” and “inner peace” need not be mutually exclusive when confronted with intentionality. Through natural beauty and connection with the earth, Targo is inspired to share the paths to personal wholeness. His gentle meditations penetrate your mind and your body and remove you from daily stresses that only serve to poison your outlook and thereby your relationships. Once again the Inner Islands way prevails, with “Sea of Leaves” yet another guidance system to a better life.

Inner Travels
Inner Islands

--Ryan Masteller

Sunday, February 18, 2018

“Burnt Enigma”
(Illuminated Paths)

Amazing design with elegantly burnt edges on the sleeve. Inside is a slogan: “Gentle Music amid Modern Violence,” a good slogan for this music, a beautiful murky dream.

Deep below, down in the depths, down through the drainage ditch, down through the dark pipes, there is a wild party at bonfire beach. This music is made at that beach.

Better yet, this music plays out of a forlorn jukebox at the laundromat of the end of the world, a jukebox forever tumbling on high heat in the jeweled depths of the cosmic laundromat.

-Kevin Oliver

Saturday, February 17, 2018

“Cities on the Plain”
(We Be Friends)

This tape is expressive of love, friendship, adventure, and the joy of life. I like it a lot. It is an album made by a happy couple, and often that kind of album risks being cheesy and repellent, but this one is really good. The songs are well-crafted and understated. They draw you in and have a bit of a 90s alternative flavor. And moreover, the feelings in the songs, the topics in the lyrics, aren’t cheesy at all. They’re clear proof that love is all you need. If you have a happy love life, you can make a great album. That’s how this tape makes me feel, anyway. Good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

-Kevin Oliver

Sorry for the brief interruption of your regularly scheduled cassette programming. 
We're back to daily broadcasts, at 8:00 AM on the dot.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

QUEST REMOVAL “Preset Stealth / Wrong Wohnung / Furtim Vigilans” (Abstract Tits)

Gang lips melt psychically, ESP on vaporizer, bent ears to heaven, earth, then heaven. Chance chants and hovering lately, base emissions bear instruction if internalized. New moves, moving stealthily through conduits in condominiums, check the synchronization, check the patents, move stealthily. Transmissions almost received, encourage adjustment, adjust, receive. Reframe directives, levels dangerous and vision iffy. Vision compromised, mindwarp engage emergency agents aged acutely. Wrong Wohnung! Falsch flat! Exit strategy, max evasion, adjust, reframe. Crashes thunderous and through portal swift evac, superimposition confusion and nocturnal damage. Transmit, one to one, record, reverse tactics, abort. Check the cortex, retransmit, abort. No signal. End.

--Ryan Masteller

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

"Creatures of Sea and Seashore” C12

Nerd-Core! This quarter of an hour hipster tutorial is  pretty much unabashed Nerd-Core at its finest! With comparable/minimal sonic aesthetics strongly recalling early Microphones’ demos, this marine-biology cheat-sheet-gone-mp3 set is now easily the raddest sea shanty EP I’ve e’r laid ears upon! Minimal guitar picking, concertina & lyrical truthbombs for miles & smiles, forever! Edumacate yo’selvz!

Short, sweet, informative, unapologetically infections. Download the smahtz via this bandcamp link below…

-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Monday, February 12, 2018

“Adrift” C33 (Nailbat Tapes)

I used to live in a town called Boiling Springs, in Pennsylvania, and there was actually a literal boiling spring that fed the lake in town. It was not red (although the water contained a great deal of sulfur, although I don’t think sulfur reddens anything). If you unmoored yourself from any side of the lake, you would find yourself on the other side of it within thirty seconds if you paddled. It was very small. Red Boiling Springs is from Portland, Oregon, but hey, who’s counting? The sounds of ADRIFT, once they’re in your head, bring it all back, all the precious seconds where time and meaning were important. The field recordings and ambient drones cast you into the water and leave you there to contemplate their origin and their purpose, like I once did, many years ago. I was there, adrift, and then I allowed the moments to overcome me. Red Boiling Springs takes me back to those moments and allows me to relive them. Are the questions any closer to being answered? Nah – and that’s the beauty of it, I’ve come to understand.

Red Boiling Springs
Nailbat Tapes

--Ryan Masteller

Sunday, February 11, 2018

HOOPS “What Do You Get When You Fall in Love?” C36 (Chthonic Records)

I really got into “Masterpieces” following this review – it was really interesting and a surprising find. And I’m not going to speak for the vast majority of people who this is clearly aimed at – you know who you are, mom! – but I don’t get it. Why is that? Hoops recorded a bunch of live takes of Burt Bacharach and Hal David songs all on his lonesome with an acoustic guitar. These are good songs. But Hoops, dude, we can’t hear you. You’re too mumbly. The fidelity’s a mess. Is that the point? Am I missing something? Why does this exist in a format where I have to pay for the physical artifact? I was excited, now I’m just bummed. Probably a one-time fuckup. Oh well – better luck next time, Hoops, and you people reading, don’t give up on checking him out!

Please note: Tracks were recorded in 2007 and released in 2017. There’s part of the reason.

And you’re right, nagging conscience – my mom wouldn’t be able to get past the poor recording.

--Michael “Hoops 23” Jordan

Saturday, February 10, 2018

BICHON FRISÉ “s/t” C25 (Abstract Tits)

Quiet down in there, Bichon Frisé, I’m trying to talk on the phone! I mean, I love dogs, but look at these animals – what am I supposed to do with this? Do you breed them this way? I mean, my aunt breeds Lhasa Apsos, hideous creatures, so I guess there are worse things in the world. But still, Bichon Frisés are just WEIRD, and round, unnaturally round with their hair like that. Little yappy roundheads. So glad the “band,” I guess, Bichon Frisé is more interesting than the wacky-looking canines they’re named after. The Copenhagen quartet mixes noise and drone into an unholy racket that I can STILL HEAR FROM THE OTHER ROOM! Shards of sound pierce eardrums, pitches too high for the HNW crowd but malevolent and intended to harm nonetheless. I think, anyway, or maybe this tape is just the rallying cry for the inevitable dog army that can perceive these tones and follow their instructions to an outright conclusion. Sparkly, refracted soundwaves – listening to them is the sonic equivalent to staring at a light spectrum just slightly too intense for human vision. Pushes the boundaries of endurance. Worth the effort. But seriously, I can’t hear a word you’re saying because they’re still at it in there.

--Ryan Masteller

Friday, February 9, 2018

(Do You Dream of Noise?)

Much like the rest of the DYDON tapes recently sent my way (and thanks for that, it’s been a pleasure!), 4,75 by Sweden’s Det Vilda Fältet blows across desolate landscapes and becomes one with its surroundings. And blows us all away in the process – their controlled, cinematic scores change the landscapes to soundscapes and internalize the vastness of natural beauty in a way that opens up the imagination and the mind to unforeseen possibilities. This is not weird – this is how life works around the DYDON offices, obviously located in the penthouse of some swanky Stockholm high rise. I sense an MO for the label, and Det Vilda Fältet follows it without hesitation. These Kranky-indebted slow burns unfurl as if they were sonic flora on our imaginary plain, blooming languidly under the harsh wilderness conditions. Hardy plants rustle in the breeze, and dust kicks up among the rocks and tumbleweed as the sun beats down upon the earth. Guitars make sounds and tones as if they were barely touched, effected remorselessly, organically growing from the ground as if they WERE the hardy plants they conjure. And maybe that’s the key to understanding the whole thing – the music grows, nourished, however scantily, from the ground and the air, the composers/players the water (we humans are practically 100% water after all), imbuing the sounds with life and purpose. Listeners like us scuttle from the shade of outcroppings to these plants that nurture us like desert beetles, mindless in our basic functions. And Det Vilda Fältet infiltrates and penetrates all like a holy ghost, sacralizing somehow with benevolent auditory beams. I’m too respectful to call this post rock, but it sure scratches that itch.

Det Vilda Fältet
Do You Dream of Noise? (site is in Swedish – beware!)

--Ryan Masteller

Thursday, February 8, 2018

JULIA BLOOP "Roland Throop"
C60 (Crash Symbols)

Julia Bloop is from Brookyln they/she/he makes what I guess is a mix of chillwave an experimental loops. I wouldn't call it vaporwave but I get a similar feel from it.

My favorite song from the album is the title opener 'I Gotta Get Outta This Place'.

Features a double sided full color J-card and tasteful ASCII art pad printed onto clear cassette shell.

-- Chuck Wolfe

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

(La Rosa Nostra)

HDCLNR cranks out monthly installments of lo-fi jams from artists of varying stripes, culling their (mostly ritualistic/meditative/narrative) sounds into 45+ minute batches, a dozen or so tapes made each time around. These bedroom-conjured, often barebones recordings lend an intimate earnestness that may very well be the antidote to radio’s formulaic overproduction, and it’s this humble production style that ties so many different genres into one cohesive offering. Each release is a journey through solo percussion explorations, bard’s lamentations, shoe(stringbudget)gaze jams, and a whole host of other outsider stuff, and, via the bandcamp link below (only), you can have 9+ hours worth of ‘em delivered to your front door for a song. Feeling as curious as I am?

-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

LACE BOWS “Earth Tunnels” C31 (OTA)

EARTH TUNNELS begins with a sample of a song from the 1950s or 1960s, a song I don’t recognize and neither does Shazam (god knows I tried). The effect is similar to the vibe in Terry Gilliam’s TWELVE MONKEYS when Bruce Willis’s Cole catches snippets of old songs on a car radio, or when he returns to Earth’s present (our future) to be woken by “Blueberry Hill.” It’s sweet, it’s nostalgic, but it’s also harrowing, especially when, on “I Saw Earth Leaving through This Tunnel,” the song decays, slowing down before transitioning into a field recording of what sounds like the Rossio train station in Lisbon (the announcements and conversational snippets are not in English, that’s for sure, and Lace Bows is from Portugal, so, 2+2=4!). That transitions too, and it’s as if Lace Bows is wandering from location to location, recording the music playing in the outdoor spaces, looping it, fidgeting with it until it unfurls, trancelike, and becomes part of our own background. The music fades and crowd noise continues, until it, too, is overtaken by the next phase of the track, a pensive drone that approximates cosmic travel.

And it’s here that we have to consider what is meant by EARTH TUNNELS, and “I Saw Earth Leaving through This Tunnel,” because the evolution of the sounds suggests a passage of time and perspective. The past fades quickly, the modern – our present – also fades, although it takes a bit longer, until the evolution is complete, and there’s no more earthly sounds, just the drone of the universe. But that’s just side A – side B, simply titled “-,” emerges from the drone, as if from, ahem, a tunnel, and traverses similar paths as side A (field recordings of outdoor musicians, crowds, stations), but this time, instead of allowing the field recordings to simply exist on their own, Lace Bows traces a musical undercurrent beneath the samples, creating a different experience. By the end of “-,” Lace Bows’s music and a song fragment meld together perfectly, as if they were meant for each other. Does this mean that Lace Bows is outlining through sound a blueprint for human evolution? Or is it meant as a document to be studied by a far-distant iteration of humanity, somewhat like “Blueberry Hill” in TWELVE MONKEYS, or even an unknown civilization? Or is it something completely different?

Something to think about. Whatever it is, EARTH TUNNELS is fascinating to listen to.

Lace Bows

--Ryan Masteller

Monday, February 5, 2018

“Farewell, Ringworld” C40
(Hylé Tapes)

I can’t get off this Ringworld soon enough. All this traffic …

Alright, I admit it, I was thinking of wrapping in that titular line bit from Upright Citizens Brigade (all hail Matt Walsh), but I think it’s gonna get totally blown. Probably because I don’t know anything about RINGWORLD, the book series, other than that it’s a pretty popular science fiction tome among the unwashed D&D nerd masses. I kid, I’m practically one of them, although I wash and I don’t play D&D. But I do love me some sci-fi! Just … not RINGWORLD. Haven’t got around to it. So I don’t have any in-jokes to share with you.

What I do know is that FAREWELL, RINGWORLD is spectacular. El Choop (by the way, I don’t get the name – that’s not a slight, just wondering) out of Bristol, THE UK, drops the dubnuts for the lugnuts, the SPACECRAFT lugnuts that you have to, you know, work on with tools so that you and your crew don’t instantaneously decompress or something. Meaning this: what El Choop does on FAREWELL, RINGWORLD is very synthy and not at all dubby, his usual MO, meshing oh-so-appropriately with outer space environs. Take for example the j-card visuals that serve as a starting point for your imagination – amazing, yes, bringing to mind EPCOT Center from the late1960s or early 1970s (even though the theme park opened in 1982), but every group picture of a crew always foretells disaster. El Choop predicts the disaster (whatever it is – again, RINGWORLD virgin here) in his tense synthesizer compositions, recalling the ubiquitous STRANGER THINGS score but set in space. This is the soundtrack for takeoff, docking, quick dashes from local law enforcement, secretive meetings in clandestine locations, offworld transactions, and spaceships, spaceships, spaceships. I could live in this music – it’s what I dreamed as a kid would be our reality right now.

Sadly, our reality is our reality, but it takes artists like El Choop to help us engage our imaginations and bring us back to that innocent time when we were young and the future was ours. Is that nostalgia? Yeah, maybe, but so what. You can tell a million stories with FAREWELL, RINGWORLD as the background and none of them would ever be boring, ever be anything less than gripping escapist fantasy. That’s important when you need something other than, pft, “real life.” Forget it – you might as well spin yarns about having incredibly important lines in wildly popular films if “real life” is where you’re rooted. El Choop’s giving you an opportunity to live a little bit in your mind, in your heart – take that opportunity and run with it. Or launch with it, or whatever space verb you want to apply here.

El Choop
Hylé Tapes

--Ryan Masteller

Sunday, February 4, 2018

KONAKON “Ousia” C33 (OTA)

Oh heavens, this is the second OTA release in my batch, and I’m deep. First it was Patrick R. Pärk, now Konakon? (And I see you there, Lace Bows tape – you’re next.) Konakon, aka Parma artist La Blancheur des Cygnes (which is NOT a real name, unless your parents named you “The Swan Whiteness – blame Google Translate for any miscommunication there), has been jamming experimental nigh on twenty years, even playing in an Italian noise rock group called Brother James and peddling wares through Second Family Records Netlabel. As Konakon, he drops all that noisy horsecrap and steers down the straight and narrow, playing wonderfully expressive electronic tunes using digital tools that he developed. (Not that the noisy horsecrap is a bad thing – goddang I love noise rock.) It’s pretty great stuff, and it’s pretty all over the place too, which is just how I like these kinds of releases: you never really know what direction it’s going to head in next. From stuttering hardvapor to chillwave to IDM to industrial to ambient, Konakon knows when to hang back and when to jam the pedal to the floor, only letting up when he feels like he’s shredded the tires of this metaphorical jalopy and you’re just coasting on the rims. Then he just rides the rims. Oh, what’s that? The tape’s stuck in the tape deck and it just keeps skipping and disintegrating on itself? OUSIA has a little bit of that too. But mostly it’s a noir electro free-for-all, a brooding party for night owls SO OVER the club scene. I don’t know where OTA keeps digging up these releases, but they can keep ’em coming for all I care. Never stop never stopping, friends. Also, as is the label’s wont, each tape in the edition of thirty comes with “unique handmade covers done with wax crayons on architect sketch paper. That’s a terrible photograph of mine up there – doesn’t do it justice. Beautiful stuff in real life, Catarino Gorgulho. Beautiful tape Konakon. Keep on keeping on, OTA.



--Ryan Masteller

Saturday, February 3, 2018

HYLIDAE "s/t" C30 (Night People Records)

Armed with ‘90s upbeat techno aesthetic and ‘10s dubstep modularly-shifting atonality, Hylidae massages together every single trope among the two (and all subgenres betwixt- minus obligatory metronomic pulse), thus culling this vast expanse into one techno-cosmic blackhole’d tome-in-concentrate.

&while the first few minutes might have us wondering if this is just another multi-layered pop-fest collage of major-chord vaporwave phrasings, the progressively erratic transitions between riff, melody, harmony, &rhythm all seamlessly coalesce into one solid, energetic (I did dance; like, a lot) journey that, due to convoluted arrangement, proves well worthy of continued revisitations. This is a pretty rad debut, and I’m really curious as to where Hylidae goes from here.

-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Friday, February 2, 2018

ROMAN NAILS "Chiseler" C15
(Night People Records)

Roman Nails is a dude and his looped modular synthesizer and countless pedals and an old drum machine.
Roman Nails is ominous as fuck, enchanting/possessing various parts of the body, jerking them sporadically. This is known to many as dancing.
Roman Nails is Steve Reich’s maybe distant millennial nephew, ‘lectrifying polyrhythic phrases, converting them to the dark side.
Roman Nails’s “Chiseler” is incredibly short, but listenable to over and over again cz you totally missed like at least TWO of the SIX or so layers the last time they came around.
Roman Nails is the reason you own good headphones.
Roman Nails is a fitting contributor to Night People’s mind-warping roster of awesomer.

-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Thursday, February 1, 2018

ZINA "Furniture" C22
(Night People Records)

Zina sculpts infectious synth-pop earworms on her lonesome, enlisting little more than her cotton-candy alto, a drum machine (stuck in ‘80s mode), and a handful of varying synth riffs (&modes, &drones, &basslines & swells, & simple contrapuntal melodies), each turned up to eleven, all (the synth dynamics) hosting stock-nostalgic timbres that both amplify And shimmy right through her vocals. The real kicker for me is in the genius mixing, because, while that voice IS gorgeous, it merely hush-hushed’ly swims in the mix juuuust above the surface of said beautifully arranged minimal synth compositions, only modestly commanding to be the focal point, if not outright sharing the spotlight with said synths, altogether.

The end result is a trance-like pop soundtrack that is easy to get lost in and easy to let get lost in the background, only to have one of the many hooks bring you right back from your thoughts a moment later. Each song has it’s own individual identity, yet they all share in the dancy-pantz ‘80s love. The last song is a serious must hear, so strap on the headphones & play loudly!

Also, to note, I got FOUR Night People tapes in my review package last month and really gotta hand it to the good folx over there on an outstanding aesthetic, both on the physical J-Card, as well as the sounds contained therein. More please!

-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

BOLIDEN “Backyard” (Lillerne Tapes)

Let it go. That’s an easy sentiment to read into Boliden’s work. The Barcelona musician, going by José María Delgado Díaz in real life, fills his work with such a sense of freedom that you can close your eyes and revel in the moment. Washed-out visions of sun-dappled fields flit through your mind, and you breathe in the scent of the outdoors and nature and lose yourself in the world around you, untroubled by other people. The tracks inhale and exhale, becoming part of you, innately occurring with you, becoming intertwined with your life cycle. There’s great longing, there’s hope, there’s nostalgia, there’s sadness, there’s happiness, there’s love, there’s loss. Boliden deftly weaves the human experience into his work, drawing from the grandest and broadest emotions to appeal to a great swath of listeners. Chances are, if you’re human, you’re likely to find something to enjoy in Boliden’s work. I’m not kidding – it felt like I was listening to a new love letter to life with each passing song. The production, a bedroom-style agglomeration of tones and moods, appropriately misty and interspersed with sparse beats, perfectly fits Boliden’s idiom, the lived-in quality of the recording and worn edges of the tracks complementing the suggestion of outdoor activity and exploration. Easily relistenable, the exact thing you need for long drives or walks, BACKYARD opens the world around you in a way that’s new and inviting. Get your mitts on a copy right quick before the 50-tape run sells out.


Lillerne Tapes

--Ryan Masteller

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

JOHN FREIDEL “Entrancer” (self-released)

Entranced. I know when I’m being it. Done to me. When it’s happening. Entranced by the sounds in the air. John Freidel has seen at least a couple of BLADE RUNNER movies, and he knows how to be the ENTRANCER, the suggester, the sculptor of the atmosphere. His cinema ear has led him to the synthesizer, and with it he imagines worlds. Who said John Carpenter? Oh, right, I did, I’m the only one here, and surely Carpenter’s disciples are welcome. They’re welcome until they come in here and hypnotize me, leaving me open to suggestion, to entrancement. I’m my own man.


Where was I? Did I type something just now? Peering one line up leads me to believe I’ve been entranced, hypnotized, but Freidel didn’t need to do that. ENTRANCER is a supremely enjoyable listen without a trigger, the only cue needed may be a visual aid, a film that ENTRANCER can play over. Either that or I’ll skulk around to it in the haunted house or the haunted rooftop in the rain, making my own movie version of Freidel’s artistic vision in my head. Like our old pal Yves Malone, Freidel doesn’t seem to be averse to conjuring unrealized narratives through his music. See past release A ROSE IN GLASS for further example. ENTRANCER, though… that one’s a keeper. And the artwork by Evan Hill? Stellar. All around excellent package. ENTRANCER is probably … [eyes glaze, blank stare] ENTRANCER IS THE GREATEST TAPE EVER.

What just happened?

John Friedel

--Ryan Masteller

Monday, January 29, 2018

(Empty Cellar Records)

I gotta admit that the album name is so big and promient that I mistook it as the band name.

Mercury, the latest album from Earth Girl Helen Brown starts out with a very lo-fi sounding track called "Fox Trott", it is a very Ty Segall-esque song.

She then shifts 180 degrees to "Earth Elevator"; a country western song about leaving the planet.
Finishing out sdie A (spelled wrong, on purpose, like on the album) is "Space Travel is in My Blood", a synthy, chorusy, ambient pike.

So then a funny thing happened to me. This album is actually taped over a Joni Mitchell album, Mercury is only 6 songs long.

After sdie A was finished the album cut back to that Joni Mitchell album, and I gotta say it was pretty bad.

Even though it is not the most professional thing to do, I kind of really like the idea of recording over shit albums, give them a new life, a new purpose.

Plus it saves the artist some money, and it IS recycling, so like hug a tree man!
After a quick fast forward the tape auto-reversed and side B was all queued up.

Wicked cool bass line intro on "Set the Woods on Fire", a little mischievous diddy about just burning it all down.

"The Other Man" is a weird "Florence and the Machine" sounding entity, very ambient. It's got this thing with synth beeps going off here and there.

Finally "Starlight" concludes the album, its kind of fucking weird as well.

Cassette features a 4 panel color J-card
upcycled cassette (mine was Joni Mitchells "Dog Eat Dog")

-- Chuck Wolfe

Sunday, January 28, 2018

PATRICK R. PARK “Library Sounds” C57 (OTA)

I can’t believe it’s 2017 and we’re still talking about Stranger Things. Well, maybe I can – season 2 is on the cusp of release as I write this, after all. But talking about Stranger Things in the context of its music right now seems passé, as if it hadn’t already been beaten to death in 2016. Key word being “seems,” because I have good news – the 1980s-synth-soundtrack-indebted album is still alive and well, and some would say better than ever in the hands of someone who knows what to do with it. That someone is Patrick R. Pärk, erstwhile Kösmonaut, serial tape releaser, synthesizer manipulator, and all around good guy. LIBRARY SOUNDS easily falls under the tags “cinematic” and “electronic” (and by the way, I just saw BLADE RUNNER 2049 too, and this would be an equally appropriate soundtrack for that excellent depiction of a dystopian future), but don’t let those simplistic descriptors fool you – it’s an absolute aural treat, a fine addition to the genre’s canon.

All these sci-fi references make me wonder what sort of library we’re talking about here. Documentation of civilization is one thing, an idea perfectly relatable as a way to compile historical evidence. But what if that history is being viewed from the perspective of an extraterrestrial entity? What if that entity was viewing the history of Earth through its lens? What if that lens existed long after humanity, and Earth itself, had ceased to exist? What if humanity was just one of a multitude of interstellar species in a great nonterrestrial compendium? Pärk’s breadth of tone, at times placid and at others tense, billowing ever outward, could easily serve to assist research and discovery in a location such as this. We, as humans, just won’t have anything to do with it – you know, because of being long gone and stuff. Pärk is able to plumb the depths of those feelings, where we stare awestruck into the vast expanse of the universe, dumb, questioning, violent, until the universe decides it’s had enough of us and we are lost to time. How weird to be reminded of our inconsequence. How satisfying.

Patrick R. Pärk

--Ryan Masteller

Saturday, January 27, 2018

“Raft Recordings from Economy”
(Notice Recordings)

Economy is the name of a place, in Nova Scotia, the place, in fact, where Darcy Spidle was spending a residency (of some sort) and where he also decided to build a raft and make a jaw harp record under his Chik White moniker. It’s not that simple (or as ridiculous as it sounds) – it was pretty industrious of him to build his raft, and he decided to make his recordings while on it in the Bay of Fundy, location of the world’s highest tide. (He also brought some seal bones, eagle feathers, and clam shells, because DUH.) This modern-day Gilligan (you guys get that reference anymore?) would head out, hoping his raft wouldn’t sink, and make music with his hand-made jaw harps, using the lap of water and the surrounding ambience as background for his compositions. Surprisingly listenable for such a strange endeavor, “Raft Recordings from Economy,” while no “Thriller,” is certainly one of the most forward-thinking and natural-sounding releases of its type. Aw, who am I kidding, it IS the “Thriller” of jaw harp records! Topping the charts. But seriously, folks, this tape is beautifully curated, thick cream cardstock with faux woodcut artwork. Looks like a real artifact – gorgeous thing, and as tranquil and natural as it gets.

Notice Recordings

--Ryan Masteller

Friday, January 26, 2018

Stefan Thut & Seth Cooke
“Aussen Raum” C40
(Notice Recordings)

Field recordings of the sounds of water along Bristol’s River Frome. A “realisation of Stefan Thut’s text-based score.” Wander the waterways with Seth Cooke and hear firsthand the actual sounds of a river diverted and its surroundings. Ridicule along with everyone else the water feature built as a monument to the river. I’m laughing at it in my head. It’s so stupid! “Aussen Raum” is clearly a labor of love, academic, stone-faced, serious. Understand the commentary of man’s hubris as he foolishly tries to subvert the will of nature. Listen to him try and succeed in the face of opposition, only to be mocked incessantly! Water continues, water goes on. Such is life.

--Ryan Masteller