The H / Madison Dinelle

On Organization: A Study of Form in Pictures and Music

[Photo Book + CD; Los Discos Enfantasmes]

On Organization: A Study of Form in Pictures and Music isn’t for the faint of concept, in case the title wasn’t enough of a giveaway, but The H and Madison Dinelle lay out an arc sturdy enough to sustain a recorded project four times as long. The CD portion of the proceedings is like a Wes Anderson film: You wonder how they pack so many happenings into such a trim time frame. A low bass rumble holds up an aquatic synth line as sine waves climb up and down the dam of sound like lasers. Pins drop, underwater radar blips, star-ship buttons bloop, and complex patterns unfold without losing their overall shape. It’s part of a complex framework that ties into the titular visual portion: a 52-page, black-and-white, offset photo book with an embossed cover. It’s a solid piece of printing and tracks every move the audio portion makes. I’m in absolute awe of On Organization and, by extension, The H and Dinelle. If a bunch of you aren’t also in the fold already consider this blurb-view a gallop through the town square. The Editions Mego people, for one, will want to check in with this release if they haven’t made the acquaintance of Los Discos Enfantasmes, especially the folks who get down with the Recollection GRM imprint (not to mention Editions RZ). Sharp focus and even sharper tools can go a long way; when organized and executed with vigor, they take on a life of their own.

Links: Los Discos Enfantasmes

Doom Asylum

Stress Techno

[12-inch; Hot Releases]

Finally, the techno resurgence touches down on Cerberus soil, giving us a taste of the stuff they’ve been mainlining in the UK and Detroit (and maybe a few other places?) for what seems like a good long while now. Doom Asylum throw down a vicious update on the tek-nough I remember from the 90s, also bringing the sort of sparkle you might expect from a Bames cut. Stress Techno is straight dance though, yo. Yo-yo, you know it, HA-HA-HAAA(?)! “A Cleaner House Everyday” is like a Rubik’s cube trying to put itself together, and when it fails to assemble itself completely you’ll beg for more time; just move the needle back. There’s a studious side to this track, “Enjoy Bright Leaf Hot Dogs,” and “Nope2” in particular, warping the project into a dizzying mind-melt and rendering a true dancefloor situation out of the question. Andrew Peterson, Doom’s namesake and former member of Yohimbe (maybe you know them? I don’t), isn’t quite as mutant-minded as, say, one of the Copeland brothers, but he’s the restless type, always twiggy-tweakin’ (and his jams, and his jam-hands/hand-jam) while many would sit back and let the beat ride out. He’s a scientist that happens also to possess the ability to make your body move, if you’re so inclined. This record is part of a really fucked-up batch of records I just got from Hot Releases so stay tuned if you want your brain to POP-FIZZZZ and splatter like a strawberry chainsaw waterfall (and I’m guessing that’s exactly what the-fuck you want).

Links: Doom Asylum - Hot Releases

Japanese Treats

*E 468

[CS; Adhesive Sounds]

Japanese Treats: one’s mind races at the possibilities? Did it come from a vending machine like this beer and eel-flavored Kit-Kat I’m holding? Maybe Skoshbox will arrive at my door and to my delight I will try candies Westerners dare not imagine but lo and behold are better than our normal, drudge-filled sundries. Or perhaps it’s delivered from a Toronto label in cassette size? This fun bit of Japanese Treats is the moniker of Ben Crossman who cunningly transforms the oddities of Japan into miniature songs of cute strangeness that only reinforces our love of a culture and society we only know from bizarre imports and Kotaku. It’s the same lights and buzzers and sugar highs and costumed teens that make us all wish we were that free and….dammit, cute (gotta hit the quota of cute in this run-on)! Bottom line, you want this. It may not take you into a headfirst dive of Tokyo or Kyoto zaniness, it will deliver on its promise of being a treat not born of North American palates.

Links: Adhesive Sounds



[CS; Stupro Rituale]

A lot of cauldron-black outfits have been dousing their black metal with noise or vice-versa, but few come out and proclaim it with as much reverence as Krueleco, and I respect that (I’m guessing they’ll take their lumps elsewhere, and that’s not my problem). So just what does a seamless marriage of BM and nnnoize sound like? Hell, I’m not sure because this ain’t a combo platter as much as it is a simmering noise record bolstered by random live drums and a darkened core (until halfway through Side B, when a monstrous blast kicks up the drama for a spell). That’s my take; sorry if it stings like the cold steel of yr dad’s work boot. It’s a workmanlike effort that scrapes resin from several sides of the experimental stem, retaining a harsh edge that relents only to allow gunfire and lazer sequences proper passage. The Rita, Sujo, Blue Sabbath Black Cheer, Burning Star Core, and Jazkammer would appear in the lineup if you were trying to formally identify Krueleco, and other harsh wizards should and will be suspected, but from track to track it’s anyone’s guess as to what segment of the indie community will be offended next. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in seeing where this whole K-co thing is going, so ramble on, death dealers.

Links: Krueleco

Matthew Dotson


[CS; Already Dead Tapes]

It seems like it’s been a decade since I first looked at the music of Matthew Dotson for the Cerberus section of Tiny Mix Tapes. In fact, the amount of time that has passed is really only about a year, but to Dotson that might as well be a light year – what a turn-over/around/under for this now-LA based musician. The Dotson-isms I came to know and love from his self-released Excavation cassette are still recognizable here, but he’s thrust his shape-shifting rhythms, elegant explorations of the stereo field, flirtations with tonality-intonalities and breakneck editing into the world of the Vapor – a new set of audio-pigments with which Dotson paints swift strokes on his own unique canvas. Neon beats bubble up to the surface from under washes of ambient synths and time-warped pop samples, only to be cut up with hyperactive hand claps and sliced with shards of white noise. Intermittent sections of soft, twinkling piano melodies drift by like a cloud. Tempos glide from gobs of slow-mo bass to swift, galloping trots only to dissolve and melt themselves back into beatific balladry. To be short about it, nothing makes much sense although at the same time it all coalesces like magic, a mix concocted by Merlin himself. The rules and regulations of the regular are here, but pushed to their limits, Dotson bursting through musical shackles in exciting new ways that will prick the circuitry of your brain with little electric shocks of intrigue. And a lot of it is also downright beautiful. Miles ahead of his contemporaries (if there are such things), and maybe even miles ahead of his own damn self… Here’s hoping Dotson doesn’t end up running his work off the side of a cliff, only to fall into a pit of oblivion. This is just manageable – barely and perfectly so.

Links: Matthew Dotson - Already Dead Tapes


My Horse

[CS; Self-Released]

Rap as deconstructed art study. Maybe that’s reading too much into Hunter Johnson and his 30 song opus as MC NASDAQ but it’s hard to ignore the juvenile Adam Sandler devolution inherent within My Horse. Simple beats. Silly internal dialogue. Inside jokes. Making fun of yourself while also propping up the projected image therein. It’s why MC NASDAQ is perfect in this moment residing between the over-the-top white adoption of ghetto farce (Riff Raff, Mac Miller, Asher Roth) and the pseudo-serious shift in a genre flooded with major label cash (Jay-Z and 50 Cent as entrepreneurial moguls with a sideline gig as emcees). My Horse is an odd display of wealth and fame the last 20 years of hip-hop has held on the mountaintop coupled with a subtle humor about those skewed values. Truth is MC NASDAQ holds his love of hip-hop near and dear and that’s what makes this all the more difficult to place. It’s hard to ignore the free-for-fall sledgehammer My Horse takes to a genre still struggling to wrap its arms around the likes of Kitty and Danny Brown for producing witty prose that is expose of real life as it stands in 2014 for most of us. There will always be the suppressed with their own voices and viewpoints that aren’t up for satire or marginalization and that’s what My Horse avoids.

In truth, MC NASDAQ is likely a bored but bright suburban kid in the mold of Ariel Pink or Druken Weazil playing boombox to his own experience without the need to dissect the motives. And in that case, throw this tape in, throw the driver seat as far back as it goes, crank the bass and shout out the window: “I’m a really nice dude in real life.”




[LP; Milvia Son]

I read somewhere or other that indie is dead, a statement which, as popular as it is to refer to musical genres as ‘dead,’ strikes me as an almost astronomical overstatement. If you want to know where the pulse is for people who purchase records with money and attend live concerts (as opposed to digging deep on the internet and never spending a penny), look no further than the garage scene, care of labels like Castle Face, In the Red, Goner, and Slovenly, which serve as a farm-league presence for upper-indie labels like Drag City to pluck their rosters from. That seems to be where a lot of the energy is in the underground, and while it’s not precisely where my head is at these days, I’m glad the magic is alive no matter where it’s coming from. Enter the Milvia Son label, an outfit seemingly bent on extracting the slightly skewed derivations of the genre for those of us who wouldn’t know where to look for it, and you have a pretty important wild-card presence. Birthed on cassette in 1988, O-Type’s Darling is what you might call, special. It doesn’t need the same things most rock records need. It craves extra attention even when you don’t have it to give. It seems to have a speech impediment. And if you’re looking for an unblinking take on absurdist lo-fi rock, it will stay with you like a bad memory. Only apply if you’ve had the following experiences: passing out to Ed Schrader fronting Live Skull; waking up with a Feeding Tube attached; accompanying 39 Clocks to a Random Victim concert; or pressing the flesh with The Rebel, US Maple, and Rapider Than Horsepower before they were born. Shit, is that enough? More than; thanks for playing.

Links: Milvia Son

Girls in Love


[CS; Coeur d'Alene]

The murkier the better. That’s the ethos behind Girls in Love, whose 4-song cassette Tomatoes sounds as if it were recorded down the shaft of a glass bowl covered in a Downy dryer sheet. How else to explain the equal attention to sappy pop melodies (“Before, Again”) and stoner classic jams (“I Feel Blue”) as imagined by Times New Viking? It’s an endearing mix of gumption and can-do attitude even if mixed up in a rolling fog. They only managed to crank out 50 of these cardboard sleeves, with the tracklist etched hard-way into the cassette shell. Motivation lasts only so long – oddly the length of these four songs. Now I’m stuck on the couch in the middle of a review with no…..

Links: Coeur d'Alene

Yves Malone

Three Movies

[3xCS; Field Hymns]

The triple-tape is both a rare beast and a welcome treat for a cassette-hungry reviewer like myself, but it’s also just the perfect way for composer Yves Malone to have gotten this work out to the masses – “Three Movies,” acts like a set of three different soundtracks to imaginary films, and even though the specific characters and plots from each aren’t totally clear, Malone still succeeds in painting vivid imagery with the limited set of synthetic textures utilized across the piece. We get the setting at the very least – the GTA style artwork gives a sense for an urban environment with a deeply-seeded noir attitude, only located somewhere in the tropics… I’m thinking Law & Order but with blood-orange sunsets falling slowly behind the palm trees. Is this what Miami Vice looks/sounds like? I have no idea, but if it does I’m going to start watching that show immediately. The music follows suit with a classic ’80s/neon-fried texture zapping just about every note you hear. It’s an appropriate sound for the chilly melodic material, which tip-toes its way across sheets of chords washing back and forth as the waves of an ebbing tide. Filled out with plenty of mod-wheel sass and some dark, mysterious beats, all three tapes deliver the suspense, intrigue, action and horror of a stone-cold whodunit. The only thing missing is the popcorn.

Links: Yves Malone - Field Hymns



[LP; One Hand]

Fadensonnen represent the absolute cream of the improv guitar-noise crop, so to hear them hit vinyl with a resounding CRACK should be a priority if you read this column. Badlands bristles with post-no wave energy, all-instrumental and poised to break the record for most circuits broken in a single sit-down. The ear has so many points to find purchase it’s impossible to pick one. That’s what so impressive about the whole maelstrom of Side A: Each element is blended together, yet set apart just enough to trick the ear into believing (save for the theatrics of the guitarist). I don’t hear drums but I sense them deep in the thicket of hot, wet sick. Side B turns the ship around. We get readily apparent, half-flailing, cymbal-worshiping drums, droning bass, more of that singular, exceptional guitar abuse, and a psych-noise brew not unlike portions of AMT offerings and/or all-out Matta Gawa jamz. But Fadensonnen’s sense of clinical cool and restraint undercuts the gestures toward instrumental excess and psych. It’s an exercise in blown-out precision and repetition that sucks all into its orbit. Whole sections of pure feedback-doused frenzy tend to do that, too, and we’ve got a hair-clump mess of it closing out the record. There are 150 copies of Badlands in existence, and they’re handmade, so find a way to make your dreams happen soon or you’ll end up drinking the dirt of denial.

Links: Fadensonnen

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.