Reedbeds
Heirloom Rust Garden [CS; Old Frontiers]

When I was a teenager, my friend and I made parody tapes from a bevy of samples: video games, pop music CDs, toys, screams, chance interruptions. We made fun of those who deserved it (and some who didn’t), all in the name of a good laugh and a release. We were no Carter Mullin. The teenage dynamo runs a blog, a tape label, and records under a handful of pseudonyms. One imagines that if his talents were focused on one area, he would be a real-life Doogie Howser. On his latest as Reedbeds, Mullin takes a moment to stroll among the foliage of adolescence. Heirloom Rust Garden is a thoughtful, not-all comedic tape made from the best musical bits ingenuity and know-how can make. Mullin’s talent puts my old self to shame, but it doesn’t last long — not because Mullin slips, but because of how gentle and understanding his music is. We walk together and talk about our experiences, him doing all of the listening because he’s mature and wise beyond his years. As we clomp through a bed of leaves and dirt, we enter into a transcendental clearing where Mullin begins to float away, as if an angel saying goodbye to the earthly to revisit the heavenly. Heirloom Rust Garden is indeed from the clouds, a quick gift of talent and a look into how it could have been for someone like me; content to tear down when it would have been much wiser to build up.

Links: Old Frontiers

Nothing People / Mondo Phase Band

Split

[7-inch; Captcha]

The sub-sub-SUB-level garage-rock/lo-fi indie massacre of Nothing People is a sound to behold, matching slow riffing circa The Beets with some major guitar ZAPpage courtesy of Jim O’Rourke and a vocalist so fuzzy-absurd he could be singing from a space bubble for all we know. I’m pretty sure the submarine sunk during “Pride;” “Compromised” is the subsequent underwater struggle, like Gang Of Four stuck out at sea and/or slipping into a nice mermaid vagina as the “one/two”… “one/two” guitar stabs rain down. Whatever gives you kicks, man. Mondo Phase Band is a skeleton playing echo-guitar along with a slow-motion drummer, and it’s so fucking awesome I regret not having brought it to you earlier. Ty Segall and the SF folks need to hear “Horseshoe” or risk getting schooled. Damn, robotic odd-rock with an indie soul never sounded so good. The Harmonia easy-roll of “Equalizer” manages… just that. A glorious split-level achievement considering the relatively SHIT history of the format.

Links: Captcha

Journey of Mind

Oil Burner

[CS; Constellation Tatsu]

NEW AGE! I knew it was upon us. All those late-night infomercial warnings, those tactful 30 second breaks in the mid-90s interrupting all the distorted three chord angst and rap-rock hybrids. The world is coming to an end. The Mayan prophecy is fulfilled. Marshall Applewhite. Jim Jones. Carrot Top. Oil Burner is the sound of a world purged of BP, Goldman Sachs, and Halliburton. Fuel returns to the core to rejuvenate the world. Wait, I’ve written this review before. Maybe the world’s already reset; maybe I’m trapped in the matrix. I’m doomed to repeat myself. Space. Galactic. Psychedelic. Sounds like… four words… first word… It’s getting so tiring. Let’s be simple: You’re going to grip Oil Burner, because it’s as real as I’m being with you right now. It might lean a bit too new age for its own good — 80s keyboard interlaced with the odd field recording and electronic nodule — but it’s chill, ripe to place in the cassette player on that fateful December day. You won’t be witness to anything the next day but relaxing diversions from all the bad social media jokes and 24-hour news cycle bullshit about Mayans and cultists and fanatics, which will lead you to Oil Burner. Just as Journey of Mind designed it.

Links: Constellation Tatsu

Haunter

Ablesigh, 1984

[CS; Self-Released]

If you’ve been in a Students of Decay/Aidan Baker/Locrian/Pink Priest mood of late — and many have — you could do worse than give Haunter a pinch of your time. The scorched landscape left by Ablesigh, 1984 leaves one with a sense of incoming doom, tempered by the reassuring beauty of the subtle melodies that swim on its ocean floor. It’s all over pretty quick, which always makes me wonder, if a tape is the method, why they didn’t go longer. But I suppose they have their reasons. The painting is done when you put the brush down, right? Drone on, Haunter, drone on…

Links: Haunter

M. Akers

Mythical Abyss

[CS; Self-Released]

The first eager moments of “Rolling Night Tide” from Matthew Akers’ newest tape signals a new direction from the electronic musician’s last tape, The Elders of New Detroit. It’s… POPPY! And I dig the singular groove that strides 80s analog and 90s grime as it chills out for six minutes of B-roll energy. But it’s a trap: Mythical Abyss soon devolves into the same cryptic landscape that haunted Elders, this time with a mesmerizing replication of alien abduction during the epically eerie “Taken Aboard.” It’s as if Akers was in the midst of a stroll before going past his neighborhood boundary and discovering the rest of the world is in utter madness. Was his a village of the damned, or has he found himself in the middle of those doomed to nuclear fallout and extraterrestrial invasion? Isn’t it the plight we all experience when snatched from the clutches of our comfort zone? It’s becoming a trademark of Akers, one that makes the skin crawl with abhorrent anticipation. Why I crave these odd fatalist fantasies are beyond me, but clearly I am not alone in my stagnate pool of the bizarre.

Links: M. Akers

Metasplice

Topographical Interference EP

[12-inch; Morphine]

Metasplice is the tandem of that guy from hair_loss and that guy… that guy that is Dave Smolen. Both were great on their own, but as a team, they tend to tag a little harder, dig a little deeper, and down a lot more space-dance donuts. The easy way to explain the appeal of Topographical Interference is to invoke kindred spirits like Demdike Stare and Ensemble Economique, so there you go. Yet these two lay it on a lot thicker, “it” being a strange aural substance known as digi-spray that cropdusts the arrangements with a layer of spice that more minimalist dark-dance folk lack. If it feels like Metasplice are rambling at times, it’s because they are. That said, they’re one of the few groups mining this sound with any semblance of bravado, laying down tracks a more enterprising chap might even be able to dance to. Go figure.

Links: Metasplice - Morphine

Long Distance Poison

Ideological State Apparatus

[CS; Constellation Tatsu]

“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

In the real modern age, we’ve all gone here before. But Long Distance Poison don’t take us by warp speed or by parody. Ideological State Apparatus unfurls slowly, window shopping the galaxy as it explores the unexplored. Our curiosity is satiated by the leisurely pace. It becomes maudlin, making the music meaningful. Light year twinkling and alien life are so pedestrian at this point. LDP get it. They dress it up in clever titles and futuristic synths, but it’s still an earthly life for us. And that’s cool. I’m tired of the elaborate spaceships and nighttime visits; I want something real! Now, I’ve got it. Space music to explore the new world that is the outlet mall 40 miles away. That’s where Ideological State Apparatus will work its magic. The mundane will become the exciting, and as security drags me away while I make phaser noises out of the side of my mouth, I’ll hear LDP soundtrack my misadventure.

Links: Long Distance Poison - Constellation Tatsu

Hellvete

‘T Orgelorkest

[CS; Crooked Tapes]

As if Death were the Earth, to you to me to her to everyone, and dissolving is human’s long pathway toward the next thing. The “next thing” for this cemetery is more than 300 years away, as humans have decided that burying the dead is too primitive, so they’ve turned the area into a miniature forest. An attraction at its best; the biodegraded coffins and decayed bodies have provided unusually speedy and meaty nutrition for the vegetation. ‘T Orgelorkest park thrives on the oxygen, for this world has been depleted of pure air, and society relies on cemetery parks to breathe a bit better. Scattered around cities, churches, and ‘burbs, people suck in the purest air brought to them by the people before their people before family. Long awaited benefits. Death went green. Morbid air lingering as the finite time has come. Humanity cannot escape humans, for existence is as long as it’s spoken/written. And once transcendence through decay becomes beauty and a vantage point for quality life, then peace will be made with the past. Until then: it’s the future.

Links: Hellvete - Crooked Tapes

Emme Ya

Erotognosis: The Voices From the Void

[CS; Brave Mysteries]

Erotognosis: The Voices From the Void is another must-hear drone album. You’re sick of hearing that, right? DEAL WITH IT, as the art form rarely presents itself in such ripe form. The first half of Erotognosis is a walking cloud descending into a yawning chasm as slo-mo processional drums mark the occasion. Glad to hear so many dronesmiths coming around to the sound of percussion once again, and if the sub-life chants of Emme Ya’s mega-godz are any indication, it doesn’t take a zillion layers or obnoxious effects to achieve artistic heights both harrowing and subtle. Side A and B bear that point out with equally stimulating yet disparate moods. B is more of a dungeon-clanker, albeit one with more of those eternally watching eyes of audio malice peering through every Sauron-conjuring spell cast. I was never one for those Arrington de Dionyso didgeridoo records, nor did I take to the the eMEGO-by-way-of-IdOrgan Phurpa 2xLP (ooh, just realized Phurp-Phurp also have a release out on label-at-hand Brave Mysteries that I haven’t heard), but their deeeep groans are in play here, along with House Of Low Culture, black-drone, ring wraiths, and a thousand angry shadows. Submit to them.

Links: Emme Ya - Brave Mysteries

Isle of Sodor

Goshen

[CS; Sic Sic]

Isle of Sodor is not a person. Nor is it an island. It is a desolate rock floating light years beyond the Oort cloud, collecting dense matter and planetismals to form into a supergiant. Goshen is star stuff — as Carl Sagan put it, the particles that make up all of us. We are all connected by the Big Bang, each born from the cosmic dust and icy gases that continue to expand. But we’ll get lost if we focus on never-ending expansion, worlds that not even our grandchildren’s grandchildren are likely to experience. But that little shard of frozen oblong rock that hovers just outside of the Milky Way? That’s what matters. It captures the last gasps of the solar wind, vacuuming up debris into its condensed form. It grows hot, as hydrogen and helium begin the earliest stages of nuclear fusion. Goshen begins to glow, sending its beacon toward all inhabited worlds. It has just reached the view of Earth, a new star in the night horizon. It’s taken billions of years for it to reach us. Isle of Sodor has been manifesting itself well ahead of our comprehension. Although it’s brand new from our perch, it’s as old as time from its lofty confines. But we’re glad it has arrived in all its galactic glory; to be a planet rotating around Goshen, to see its yellowed photosphere from a new habitation zone. Only John Elliott has made the journey, and not even he is speaking of its wonder.

Links: Sic Sic

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In this ever-expanding musical world, there's a wealth of 7-inches, cassettes, CD-Rs, and objet d'art being released that, due to their limited quantities and adventurous sonics, go unnoticed by the public at large. Cerberus seeks to document the aesthetic of these home recorders and backyard labels. Email us here.