Chris Corsano & Bill Orcutt

Live at Various

[CS; Palilalia]

Corsano has always been to the point, not rhythmically but mechanically. The same is true for Orcutt. Both treating their respective instruments as rote pieces of communication. Though there is always a beauty in how they reach out to audiences, there’s a metallic sting when a particular snare hit or awkward note unveils a truth into our own psyche. Together, they provide a near Jungian revelation as the duo tear through machine gun psychoanalysis via Montreal, Cleveland, and Rochester. Usually Corsano has played receptionist to the whims of frequent in-office collaborators but more than not, he’s just as tactile and forward as Orcutt. The twosome sit you on a thorny couch and proceed to turn your fears from unbiased to obsessive. It’s an unromantic process, complete with a Rorschach that makes you see Corgan and Love in bliss. At least that’s what I’m seeing, and it is upsetting me with its plainspeak. And then I began hearing pop bubble up through their double entendre and maybe I’m falling in love with what I despise. Maybe I AM what I despise!? It sinks in, the barbs and the jolts and the deconstruction of ego until all I hear is the id assault. Corsano and Orcutt: The Doctors will see you now.

Links: Palilalia

Stella

Big Table No People

[CS; New Village Tapes]

Arab on Radar and Fat Worm of Error eloped to Columbus (OH). They had a baby (allegedly pregnant with its own baby), which was adopted and nourished on the teat of New Village Tapes. They named their baby after their favorite Comedy Central program or the first memorable name from some forgotten play. Stella was an only child and felt the angst of adoption, but it grew up in a loving home that encouraged such fits. That rage soon became concentrated on music, as if the offspring was attracted to the loud and asinine by default. That asymmetrical DNA finally gave birth once more to Big Table No People, a quick wallop of all that good-riddance feistiness that was long trapped inside the child. New Village, being caring parents, has captured it all on cassette and delivered it to the world. Stella has no plans to meet their parents, crazily chanting “I-71 Forever” and “Go Away” to any transgressor toward their Ohio home. Bless their little expecting hearts.

Links: Stella - New Village Tapes

Corporate Park

Mise En Abyme

[CS; Nostilevo]

Imagine 39 Clocks underwater, or German Army/Merx in the afterlife, and you might come up with a recording vaguely similar to Corporate Park’s Mis En Abyme, but why not go straight to the source and mainline away? I bring up mainlining because many of these freezing post-coldwave tracks, “Pundit Mantra” in particular, sprawl out a little bit like (I imagine) the mind does when it’s lost in the thick, soupy clouds of a heroin high. It’s a bit incoherent if you’re not in the right mindset. However, if you can wade through it, more strident cuts like “Too Expensive to Live” (nice title/truism, also) will reward your perseverance. (That said, eight songs of gloopy goo also would have been fine with me!) Corporate Park is S. English/J. Lange, of Texas, and that explains a lot actually because, as I’ve learned, Texans are some fucked-up motherfuckers. In a good way (mostly; often; the majority of the time; sometimes; occasionally; rarely). Great to have Nostilevo back on the Cerberus clock, and if the tape sold out, don’t forget to check back for a new presssss…

Links: Nostilevo

Jen Reimer & Max Stein

Lisboa/Skagaströnd

[CS; Hula Honeys]

There was a moment when all hope was lost. It caught me in the middle of the night, snatching my breath and waking me from a restless slumber. I sucked what I could of the dead air back in and forced my eyes shut. I tried to forget the hopelessness of that millisecond but it stuck with me in what passed as dreams. It was once the sound of To Kill a Bourgeoisie; it is the hollow playground of Tim Hecker. An instance when the black and white noir of everyday life comes crashing down. It’s not as beautiful as a melting glacier or an exotic chase with a doppelganger, but it’s as real and feeling as it gets. That gnaw of whether this is the paycheck to finish off debts or must I begin new ones to continue to feed into some sort of normal stasis. Jen Reimer and Max Stein embrace all and none. “Lisboa” a slow drudge of a line between holding on and letting go. There is no vacation from this world but there is still beauty within it. It keeps away those fleeting but impactful moments of doubt. There will always be dread but it doesn’t have to weigh us down. “Skagaströnd” is the wistful aftermath – the next night when you try desperately to forget the last. It’s a calming reminder that our film is still being shot and the thrill of the chase is to find happiness in whatever corner of the world it exists. Let go of that fear. Let Reimer and Stein baptize it in their soundwash and be free.

Links: Hula Honeys

Ketamines

11:11 EP

[7-inch; Leaning Trees / Mammoth Cave]

Ketamines are so good to me, so why did I sleep on this pretty little 7-inch for so long? Honestly, I hate to admit it, but a lot of times the records you send me get lost in the shuffle of tapes/LPs/7” and are never found, so just be happy I got to this one at all, maybe? Agreed. I never got to try ketamine back when I was still in playing shape where drugs were concerned but I do know it seems to be a fuzzy, fun-as-fuck trip to the nether-regions of the psyche, a lot like songs such as “Take Me To Your Leader,” actually. Then “Light Workers Lament” steps in and comandeers a dance from your lady with its Yardbirds (“Shape of Things” in particular) feel and somewhat psych-y delivery. “We Are 1” is a lot more polite, even more druggy, and represents perhaps the best trip you’ll have via this six-track, super-stacked EP (I think all 7-inches should be EPs, rather than a single backed by a b-side; make it so!), but “Right About Now” is a cute lil’ acoustic daydreamer too, followed by the almost funky indifference of “Change Your Ways,” which wraps things up. Keta-who? Keta-duuuuude!

Links: Leaning Trees / Mammoth Cave

Pumice

Land

[CS; Soft Abuse]

Stefan Neville is the sound of our fractured continent, even if he lives on a different one. So perhaps broken culture is more appropriate, though I think only a few cultures are actually in disrepair. What this has to do with Land is purely imaginary, though from its pristine cover art to its raw production, I think it has MUCH to do with how we view where we live, the resources we gather from it, and how we treat it and others who use it. This isn’t some politically correct jargon about greenhouses and global warming – though likely you understand them if you’re reading this – but rather shared ideas. How is it that some are so giving and others so selfish? Neville has often exhibited the former throughout his half-life as Pumice, this no different. A keen observation into the human psyche as played by distorted imagery and noisy lash-outs, Land is also contemplative in how it approaches these belches of creativity-as-commentary. Again, totally making all this up as I go along. I’m sure you’re just listening because of the rad screeches and toy-like melodies that repeat until you fall into a hypnotic state. That’s well-intentioned. Keep your nose clean, I can respect that. But I’ve long been feeding from the muddy trough and Land is my latest hard-to-chew, easy-to-swallow parable, even if it’s as made up as a talking asp.

Links: Soft Abuse

Attempt

“Another Night” b/w “Up to No Good”

[Cassingle; Self-Release]

What happens when a fraction of Hair Police (Trevor Tremaine) gets stuck in sheen of ’80s synth pop? Not quite as lucid and lazy as Howard Jones, Tremaine’s Attempt is a rose by any other name. Despite a more accessible sound akin to the $2 bin at the record store, there are moments of disruption that seem far more familiar by the end of “Another Night.” But this ruse doesn’t let up with flip, “Up to No Good.” A more folksy pop ballad, there are moments of generalized complexity and depth that just fuck with you in the best possible way. Attempt is rather a stab by Tremaine at supposed reputation. So if you see his name (and that of Hair Police cohort Robert Beatty as mixer), you’re expecting a particular brand of noise. What you end up getting is a much more shocking revelation and one for my money that is well worth the $5 on one of 50 cassingles.

Links: Attempt

Zeek Sheck

Joinus

[2XLP; Resipiscent]

So many labels claim their latest record emanates from the mind of a misunderstood prodigy I’ve began to tune those voices (repeating “genius!” over and over) out. Then again, when you’re right, you’re right: Zeek Sheck, former Skin Graft artist and current carrier of the Resipiscent torch, is a misunderstood genius. But what renders her so great and of-the-moment? Didn’t her last record drop like a mini-bomb in 2003? Wasn’t she on a split with fuckin’ KILLdozer at some point? Yep, all great questions, and I will answer them in one form or another by the time this Cerberus shithouse goes up in flames. For now, I want to focus my gaze upon Joinus, a sprawling double LP (of course, is a double LP ever not just a tad sprawling? discuss) that allots ZS room to rev up her wrecked madness without worrying about time constraints. Here’s where the 10-plus-years break comes in, too; she’s spent her time wisely and has a lot of creative coin in the bank. Sheck gives a lot and demands a lot; either you’re in or you’re out. Wisps of this and that (True Primes, of Locust Music fame; Liars, in general; The Residents, of COURse; Bene Gesserit just a tad) flit by like the dead dreams of our fathers, and if you don’t like what you hear one minute, rest assured Sheck’ll stack the deck differently soon enough. She’s keen on repetitive chanting, so if that’s a pet peeve look elsewhere for your underground thrills. She also claims she’s not violent or crazy, so if that’s you’re kick… But this isn’t an inchoate artist we’re talking about. Major chops flaunted all over Joinus, from clamoring, practically neoclassical clarinet to wandering guitars to Mincemeat Or Tenspeed effects pedals to FUCK look people I could literally name about 34 more instruments/styles here so allow me a spot of mercy and grab this one for yourself. Highly recommended from folks who know better.

Links: Resipiscent

Olli Aarni

Auringonnousu Pikseleinä

[CS; VAALD]

My addiction to ambient music stems from its ability to create or influence an environment; altering the feeling of my rather cramped, over-priced room. I can make the room feel inviting, off putting, open or oppressively closed-off merely by choice of record. It’s “select-a-mood,” almost like ingesting a drug, taking a vacation, remembering a dream or drifting into fantasy and distant imaginings at work.

Olli Aami’s Auringonnousu Pikseleina takes me nowhere. Not that it is boring, or a failure as ambient music, or even as minimal an album as something like Kevin Drumm’s Twinkle Toes. There is content here, and it captures the moment after; the silence when you finally turn the car off after an extended drive, the first minutes when you step back onto the street after a concert, the second when you turn the water off before getting out of a shower. This is the grey, drained feeling after an expenditure of energy; post-party, post-drinking, post-vacation, post-orgasm, post-work, post-accomplishment. Good and empty, quite and content, tired and satisfied. Auringonnousu Pikseleina allows the moments where everything has been done, where there can be true emptiness and balance, before you come back to responsibility, life and the real world.

Links: VAALD

Phil Maguire

smll hnd/dctfl hnd

[CS; Drone Warfare]

Debates about limitations on music matter not to Cerberus. Sure, the ability for as many people as possible to possess said artifact matters, but there’s also a lost art in private pressings and rare monuments of a recording in its first iteration. It carries with it a personality, and though a market has arisen to commodify and profit/prophet from the sell and trade of these rare resources, it’s ultimately up to a buyer what a personal connection/collection is worth.

I’d like to think smll hnd/dctfl hnd is Maguire’s treatise on such trivial notions. In an edition of only 50 copies, Maguire’s debut is inauspicious in its release and conservative concerning its first impression. There is no desire to make this an artifact that balloons in value, just modesty about the interest from a saturated market that is hard to tap as a new voice. But this tape tears at the very fabric of that choice, as if to say its 50 copies are truly 5 million. All those zeroes buzzing and clawing among the stacked sounds of lives being lead outside the metropolitan. The static of hard wired electricity navigating empty fields and lonely roadways; the longing of distant lovers across the world; the sine waves of incomplete thoughts feelings fighting each other over which shall prevail. Dichotomy seems too innocent an idea of Maguire’s work. Modest as it may be in size, it lacks no amount of bravado in scope. So if you cannot save up your pennies to buy a copy now, best continue to sit on them for awhile because in the future smll hnd/dctfl hnd sketches, you’re going to need them for a far greater cause.

Links: Phil Maguire - Drone Warfare

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.