These Feathers Have Plumes

All Cats are Grey by Night

[CS; cae-sur-a]

Subtlety is a lost art. So is patience. Andie Brown displays both within All Cats are Grey by Night. Much like the stealthy street cat, Brown creeps up slowly on melody, leaving the carcass untouched by the time his mighty incisors have sunken deep into the avian victim. This is drone from another era, so gentle and disarming yet so vicious and efficient. There is no need for flash; Brown is confident that the work shall speak for itself, that silence is just as effective an instrument as any man-made device. Ideas are allowed to float, the silence not uncomfortable at all. A combination of double bass, field recordings, and the air in the room is all that is needed for communication. We’ve allowed ourselves to be tied to the matrix. Buzzing, bright gadgets with mumbled names compete for our attention, distracting us from the natural world and its gifts. Brown harnesses it with simplicity and grace, even if just for a few fleeting moments.

Links: cae-sur-a

Marcello Magliocchi

Music For Sounding Sculptures In Twenty-Three Movements

[CS; Ultramarine]

I’m not normally one for the science-experiment, lock-me-in-a-room-with-different-noise-instruments-and-I’ll-whip-together-an-album kinda feel. If you truly rip your guts out, however, I can be persuaded to listen. Marcello Magliocchi is a hard-working cat, when it comes right down to it. Far from taking — or should I say, taping — the easy road, Mags scrapes together nearly 60 minutes of improvisations, running the gam(elan)ut from sheet-metal sparklers to… actually, it’s pretty much all metal-related, as Music For Sounding Sculptures in Twenty-Three Movements consists strictly of Maggliocchi manipulating sound sculptures by Andrea Dami (with strings, stones, and gongs mixed in). Again, not my cup of pee-pee, but the man has done his chromework. Truly a savory value, at the paltry price of popping a tape.

Links: Ultramarine



[CS; Catholic Tapes]

Forgive me, for I have sinned. It’s been many-a-Cerberus since Catholic Tapes has graced our pages — and how much penance must I pay for making an obviously bad joke? If the punishment is to listen to Wume’s Distance for eternity, I shall most graciously accept it. From the minds of Albert Schatz (Bird Names) and April Camlin (of the Wham City ‘collective’), you’d expect no less than zany, engrossing pop-tinged weirdness. Although your calculations wouldn’t be far off, Wume is also heavy on the carnivalesque madness of 60s and 70s B Cinema with just enough kosmische and kraut to make this one desirable sausage encased in plastic and tape roll. Distance, as cabbage-reeked as it smells, does indeed go to great lengths to be accessible to old and new. It’s a throwback to Germanic touchstones, but Wume’s vision is clearly planted in the future, riffing on modern proto-synthers like Lopatin and Ettinger with some new age twists. But most of all, it’s upbeat and rhythmic. The incorporation of a rhythm section and structure breaks Distance from the pack. There’s nothing sinful about polishing off good music with a bit of pop wax. Wume is catchy, and no matter how many lashings I’ll have to endure for calling it so will never take that away.

Links: Catholic Tapes

Rangers / KWJAZ Lite

Angel Island

[CS; Brunch Groupe]

Leave it up to Rangers, bringing all the murky and criminal that dwell within “Xochimilco,” the Mexican-named, non-Mexican side of the Angel Island, where bustle is rustled and the muscled get muffled. There, hope exists only on notes played out in snippets of what do-and-don’t happen. What’s euthanasia and natural? What’s drugs my dealer? “Shhh,” not too loud, cause it’s all being reel recorded, and ya can’t turn back now. Continue on the path of mutual as/decent by tuning into KWJAZ Lite. Confusion sways in lost, smeared melodies as you drag yourself to the other side of Angel Island. What you’ve ingested in “Xochimilco” begins to both take effect and wear-off, swelling your pupils and heart, creating the feeling of assurance: “It Is It.” Covered in slime inside and out, you find yourself entering the “Word of Phase,” only it’s not how you expected the other side of the island to appear. With hopes of climax being smashed, there is only drab, oven-like humidity, and purple-skinned tribesmen wearing white faces hunting you. They dig a hole, bury you alive, and wait before you’re completely dead to pull you out. Your brain gets all fuckered up from the lack of oxygen, and you become their personal zombie/slave. Do work!

Links: Brunch Groupe

Jeremy Bible

The Journey of Enoch

[CS; Rubber City Noise]

The proliferation of tape labels has given birth to an equally rampant and much appreciated phenomenon: the lost reissue. Of course, how do we know something is lost to us when we never had it in the first place? Needless to say, Jeremy Bible’s The Journey of Enoch was most definitely lost, drowned in limited availability and a response to the blowhards that dominated radio, television, and print for the last few years of the 20th century. Recorded between 1998-2000 and first released as a CD-R in 2004, Bible’s baby is given a proper Easter celebration — the dark, piercing synth reverberating from the hollow earth from where Enoch was buried, as Bible busts through the dirt and ascends the physical plane, only to find a world seeking salvation at the hands of the synthesizer. Of course, the persistent hums key a chorus of angels, singing in a language that needs not to be fully recognized to be understood. Bible’s cult classic now finds itself on tape, a place its manifesto was meant to be guarded all those years ago. With a new track lineup and art, Bible’s cherished Enoch is given the dressings of a king without tarnishing its halo. But come the end of Enoch, you may begin to discover that Bible has not produced the new savior, but has in fact given rise to the horn-tailed devil, as the album pokes you with its sharp pitchfork, the angelic chorus turning to fiery cackles.

Links: Rubber City Noise

The Rebel

The Five Year Plan

[12-inch; Monofonus Press]

Last I heard about five-year plans was from D.R.I., so who’s this fuckin’ “rebel” guy? Apparently he’s in Country Teasers (who aren’t Scene Creamers, unfortunately), which doesn’t help me out much. What to do? The Rebel wants more, more, more; MORE as in LESS-is, I mean. These cutz are relatively bare, considering all the temptations out there just waiting to be picked up. Oscillators, pads, pedals, loops — many of these tools are leading us right down a toilet-swirl of chillwave/hypnagogic fogginess, but The Rebel ain’t goin’ there. Just give him a guitar, a synth or two, a cheap drum machine stolen from a pawn, and something — anything — to record with. He’ll make do. To be honest, my mind’s kind of spinning right now. I just don’t hear enough good indie-rock these days. Inspector 22, The Robot Ate Me, Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, Emperor X, The Planet The, and listen to that bassist go super-high up on that fret; that’s gotta be real. Rock it, big man. Those tag-echo vocals also do it for me. A smooth ride.

Links: Monofonus Press

M. Aker

The Elders of New Detroit

[CS; Retrograde]

In the world of blaxplotation, there is no film rifer with folly than Detroit 9000. And yet, for all its mistakes, it still captures a city crumbling despite one beastly history of success and homogeneous pride. Nearly 40 years on and Detroit continues to shrink into the abyss, known largely for automobile fuck-ups and an aging rock scene that still spits out relevant (along with many irrelevant) acts from its dried-up womb. However, Matthew Aker is lending Detroit a bit of silver-bullet power with his 80s soundtrack homage, The Elders of New Detroit. Speaking in the same jive as the marks in Detroit 9000, Aker speaks to a Detroit still riddled with rotten enamel but strong in root. For all the obstacles that stand in Detroit’s way back to prominence, the power surging through Aker’s work — harkening to the machismo of Commando, Robocop, and its action-flick ilk — also speaks to an idea of a brighter future. There’s always going to be something to darken our doors, and it stands to reason Detroit will always have its detractors and antagonists. But may the synthesized soul and confident strut of The Elders of New Detroit lend the citizens of Detroit the confidence to wrestle itself out of corrupt hands and to remake itself as the steely city it was once proud to be.

Links: Retrograde

Jordan Piper Phillips


[CS; Feeding Tube]

As soon as cassette-head hit tape, I knew this was that motha-humpa from GDC and Blanche Blanche Blanche, getting all overly comfortable on his piano stool and shit. Truth is, I craved to hear a coherent Casio-finger flow after the exhausting razzle-dazzle of the GDC tape on Alchemist (“Jours Avec Jennie”), and “Glades” is… more zany than I’d dared dream, perhaps even a few whippets above what I’d already heard. I guess I’m not gonna catch a break from this guy, and that’s okay, because he’s working up to something truly dramatic, one composition at a time. There exist moments aboard “Glades” so pure (“Different Guy,” “The Climate”) you’d swear dude was ready for a piece of Ariel Pink-curated prime time. Just listen to that milky synth drizzle into the nooks and crannies of that Thelonious comp! Ultimately, Phillips is still working shit out, and like I always say, I hope he gets the chance to take his time. The shade is the best place to find your face.

Links: Feeding Tube



[12-inch; Brave Mysteries]

Doom and gloom exporter Brave Mysteries continues to expand its stonewashed mind with acid-washed tomfoolery. How else to explain the schizophrenic wonders of the strangely twisted PWIN ▲▲ TEAKS? Blending warped tape loops and samples, Aoxomoxoa exists only in the mind, so to hear it coming from speakers only causes paranoia and anxiety. Noises come from all directions and in all pitches and tones, blending itself into a climax only suitable for those who can stand to watch Requiem for a Dream on repeat. But when the swirling nonsense does die down, PWIN ▲▲ TEAKS is discovered to be masters of nuance. As the din of “The Mirror Cabinet of the Water Witches” draws to a fade out, the rich layers of low-end rhythm and high-end drone unveil a band as steeped in musicology as it is in psychology. The cassette’s title track is even more subtle once it silences the voices talking over one another. Don’t be fooled by the stylized name and gimmick; PWIN ▲▲ TEAKS is deeper than their shallow name and trendy palindrome of a tape title leads on.

Links: Brave Mysteries

Aaron Dilloway

Lip Syncing to Verme

[CS; Hundebiss]

Aaron Dilloway’s Lip Syncing to Verme is the best kind of noise experiment: one that constantly turns the listener on his ear. D-way also takes the extra step necessary to extend a noise recording’s worth from “glad-I-checked-it-out-now-to-the-back-of-the-pile-with-you” to “I-find-you-enchanting-and-will-lovingly-place-you-on-the-Favorites-rack.” Side A is like hearing that short story wherein a young girl falls asleep and wakes up packed to the gills with ants (They had climbed into her nose, you see.): I’m creeped the-fugg out and I think something’s buzzing around my skull. I can’t really tell you what’s going on here. Dill could be sampling a pig’s “hoinkle” or diddling the innards of a dusty, hard-to-find Royal typewriter and I’d never know the difference between it and a duck’s fart (though officially my money’s on a piece of luggage being thrown around a room with snare-drum-head walls). And that’s of course the beauty of the whole process: I feel I’m learning by way of knowing it exists.

Links: Hundebiss

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.