Spinning Liquid Mirror [CS; Fabrica]

I figured a million bands would get around to experimenting in the Morton Subotnick/Edmond de Deyster axis, and while it’s going on, a lot of it hasn’t hit my cassette deck. THREE CHEERS for Orbless, then, for getting up in there and fuckin’ shit up. At first, I thought more of an atmospheric noise exercise was in order, but then those blippity-bloppity synths come in and start belching all over the place like Fantastic Planet never happened. There are moments of outright choppiness, where cones of sound are woven and disintegrated almost instantaneously, then sections of smoother drift float by like asteroids through eternal space. I find both gears of Orbless to be worthy of infatuation, and they work well stacked on top of each other, too. It’d be nice to hear this mess slathered across two thick slabs of vinyl, honestly, but the cassette on its own works wonders. Fabrica 1, The Gods 0.

Links: Fabrica

Venn Rain/Past Utopia


[CS; Goldtimers]

Venn Rain, to be righteously confused with Ving Rhames, has been fogging up the windshield for quite some time. I’m not the only one heavily breathing with each Venn Rain release; scene watchers snatch up all the ultra-lux, superior-limited tapes and trinkets nearly as soon as they drop. Past Utopia is the latest identity for teenage phenom Carter Mullin. But Goldtimers hooks me up with their latest split and I Pointer Sisters with joy. Unlike the title, there is nothing hokey or nostalgic, no tip of the cap to bygone eras when past generations swear it was better. War was always present, fear always rampant, and people always telling others how to live their lives. No rose-colored prophesying here. This past is in fact the future and not Orwellian in scope. It is a perfect storm of calming loops — think of it as a live action Buddha Machine. Ideas bleed into one another (where Venn Rain begins and Past Utopia begins, who knows?), and though pitch and length aren’t at your control (so not completely utopian), the cool summer breezes of Anytown, USA run thick hands through your airy coif. This music stuffs the briefcase soul back into Marcellus’ neck, and Bonnie won’t be a looming threat as we peacefully clean out the car. It’s all one big synthetic parade without the lingering worry that Harry Tuttle is putting an end to your dreamy, sleep-filled future.

Links: Goldtimers

Ensemble Economique

Live in London

[CS; Not Not Fun]

The classic splash gracing the cover of Live in London (artfully mimicking the classic album design of RCA albums) is the visual mantra of Brian Pyle’s one-man deconstruction. But on a stage, Pyle is pouring out solitude in 40-minute spurts. Live in London is a man alone in The Vortex, not giving a shit about perception, killing off the old Ensemble Economique one release at a time and wiping his fingerprints from the trigger. Shredding tape loops, shrouding them in a mass of inhumane static until the results are unrecognizable. Aside from the anguished wail of “Do You?” from Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” much of Live in London is caustic noir. It’s punch-drunk on violence, wildly swinging until it makes contact with the audience. It won’t stop until the pulp has been beaten out of everyone before Pyle washes out the blood stains and goes on destroying what he once held as truth. Pyle’s collecting insurance on a dead entity, using it to build a new identity in a new place, with no remorse for the ruthlessness of obtaining a second life.

Links: Ensemble Economique - Not Not Fun



[CS; Brave Mysteries]

The patience of Larvae is that of actual metamorphosis. It’s a sensual meditation using all the facilities of one man indoctrinated with fantastical mythology. It’s a trip to ruined monuments of historic excess and glorious divination. Hera will sex you up, Zeus will eat your embryo, and Poseidon will make damn sure you are shipwrecked after escaping Sirenum scopuli. Urna hand-feeds you life-giving ambrosia, and to refuse it, to spit in the face of the gods who wish to control your fate, is forgoing knowledge in favor of chance. The mysteries unraveled in the tome of Larvae are yours to absorb, to gulp until you are no longer thirsty. You have it all at your fingertips. Just press play and let the whispered folk tales become your new reality. Television is for the unimaginative, the unworthy. Urna is for the ambitious, the dreamer. Make the proper sacrifice and your godly prize awaits.

Links: Brave Mysteries

Alpha Strategy / Projekt Stinka


[12-inch; Ownness]

Alpha Strategy’s side of Muck is like an aging punk rocker slurring over a ramshackle, firecracker-eating band left over from a surf-death party that never actually happened. Effects and scanners warble over the mix like hordes of cockroaches, eating the musicians alive as they sway and swoon. Underneath it all, there is a shuckin’, divin’ rock ‘n’ roll song, and it is called “Append and Divide.” Listen to it. “O Tar Pilous Devout” is up next, and it jumps off the rails immediately. And you thought Sewn Leather was sick; you knew NOTHING! Drum machines and laboratories full of steamy beakers and shit — Arab On Radar were fuckin’ amateurs, man! Project Sinka inhabit the flip side of this warped wax-on wax-off and… the less said about their brand of Spaghetti Eastern the better. Or maybe I like spoken-word-over-accordion more than I think I do. Just maybe, not really. (HIYO?) “Nosohltan” and… that other song, boy; if the excitement from Side A had a cigarette-smoking, bizarro version of itself, Project Stinka would be it. Maybe it’ll grow. But I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Links: Ownness

R. Adams


[CS; Sunshine Ltd.]

In a world flowing with holy men and televangelists, it’s nice to find alternative ways to transcendence. Culled from various religious tombs, W(REST)LE’s experience is far removed from its trappings. Its pulse, though meditative, is faster than its calming surface would have you believe. Accordingly, the end results are just as varied as religion. So much coming from such a small source of history, it’s a whole new hymnal for those who believe in what cures. There is no higher calling, just the voice of the divine. How it’s interpreted is up to the ears that hear its bellow. Rather than hellacious turns of abstract noise, Adams is reaching a hand down from the heavens. He’s pulling the righteous praise and mixing them just outside the gates of St. Peter, then calling to Moses to carve it on tape reels. The only Commandment is ‘Thou cannot ignore.’ Why would you? This is deep, heady prayer from the secular. I am uplifted, and it isn’t by the mangled interpretation of man, but by the Shroud of Adams.

Links: Sunshine Ltd.

Sands Hollow

Watch Yourself

[7-inch; Monofonus Press]

A quaint little keyboard jam that reminds me of Papercuts in all the right ways, “Watch Yourself” leads off this single with class, charm, and, most importantly, subtlety. I’m more interested in “The River’s Ridge,” however, because it’s a little more lost and wandering, nothing but a tambourine and a piano to drive the tune home. Quite an accomplishment though; rustic and worn. I thought The Shins would sound like this one day, a long time ago, and they turned to SHIT, so I’m glad Sands Hollow are here to offer this sort of promise/potential/you-know-the-drill. Indie-rock will innovate again! Wandering yet focused, warbling yet precise… is that even possible? Perhaps the answers lie here. I believe this 7-inch previewed a full LP, so look out for that one, as it could be a real gem.


Whispering in Their Presence

[CS; Sunshine Ltd.]

I feel as if I need to explain myself, as I now review my third Hakobune tape of the year. Hakobune speaks to me. His gentle guitar strums caress the soul I never knew I had until the first time I heard his work, but lo and behold, it began to stir. I am not redeemed or forgiven. That is not what I ask of Hakobune. All I want is clarity, and once more, it has been granted with Whispering in their Presence. Shivers cascade down my spine. Goosebumps appear. It’s all I can do to not remove this from my Walkman. It crackles, not with the hum of archaic technology, but with warmth. It’s the sensation of night and winter and fall and spring and time and nothingness. It is Zen, and it is chaos. The point of these words are not in review of another beautifully crafted work of space and patience, but a plea that whoever you are — major label lover, casual listener, underground guru — Hakobune should no longer be ignored. He won’t be moving units for those looking to cash in on fad; this is an investment of the mind. Be at peace with stillness.

Links: Hakobune - Sunshine Ltd.


It Never Ends

[CS; Complicated Dance Steps]

Alexander Heath has come a long way since the early days of Keepbullfighting, traveling a long and circuitous route from South Florida to Los Angeles. Along the road, the project gradually shifted from Commodore 64 dudejams to its current iteration as a one-man cyberpunk blues outfit. Desolate vocoders echo out over television skies. Layers of bitcrushed synths threaten to bury an all-too-human presence that continues to assert itself, an emotive ghost in a self-organizing complex of machines. If bedroom electronic music is the new folk music, It Never Ends is the new Red Hash. The sound of damaged neurons rebuilding themselves. “Version of Reality” features beautifully fingerpicked guitar and blues harp over a faultline of inhuman drones, but the vocals are constantly choked by the smog of technology, and we are left in an existential void. Isolated and claustrophobic to the point of hopelessness, the album nonetheless beckons toward a benevolent psychopathology, a post-apocalyptic horizon in which humanity reasserts itself under a new sun of redemption.

Links: Keepbullfighting - Complicated Dance Steps


“Love Song” b/w “Slow Motion”

[12-inch; Robot Elephant]

Husband, on upstart UK label Robot Elephant, launch in several directions with “Love Song” b/w “Slow Motion,” which makes even more sense on this 12-inch because they’re being remixed thrice. As far as the source material goes, “Love Song” is a WHY?-ish, groove-is-in-the-heart mix that blends indie and electronic persuasions well. Almost too well. Are dance trax supposed to express emotions? Apparently they are, nowadays at least. My heart says THESE DUDES ARE SAD, while my mind says LISTEN TO THAT FLOOR TOM and CYMBAL BELLS and other percussion ROCK THIS JOINT. “Slow Motion” follows (and is subsequently remixed, to its detriment), and this is where Husband get dangerous, combining throttling riddims, throbbing bass, and menacing chirps and plicks/plucks, not to mention the odd shaker. You could never play this in a club because it’s too fucking good, almost evil in its insistence that what is being done can, in fact, be done. Listen and you’ll know what I mean; the possibilities from here are endless. Super-dark green wax with black smudges = gratitude.

Links: Robot Elephant

Cerberus seeks to document the spate of home recorders and backyard labels pressing limited-run LPs, 7-inches, cassettes, and objet d'art with unique packaging and unknown sound. We love everything about the overlooked or unappreciated. If you feel you fit such a category, email us here.