Peter Kolovos

A Wolf Should Only Be Lone

[CS; Ba Da Bing]

Peter Kolovos is broken. Hearing it fall apart with scratch and claw is as heartbreaking as it is entrancing. Maybe we should help him, but then the far out guitarist would not be creating the magnificent work he’s etching from steel and wood. Kolovos falling apart is also keenly aware of the sound of the Pacific Northwest; a mythical and oft-changing “sound” that has been a commodity and a commercial for the two hubs of cultural (Portland and Seattle) that have sprung forth from the post-grunge-silicon-sludge. “No Daze” is the winter drizzle of Seattle and yet its temperature rarely drops below 40. It’s the hum of the bus engine as it cuts through all those gentrified neighborhoods still teeming with rebellion and scum. “Pure Fire, I Understand Consumption,” is the artier, lighter take. It’s Portland as seen from its Rose Gardens , all its Midwestern-like sprawl unfurling before you like the ripples traveling throughout Kolovos’ strings. It’s the pluckiness of the younger sibling, now beginning to eclipse and overtake its nerdier, dour brother to the North. Part of it wants to break away completely from the shadow; the other is hungry and ready to devour its fraternal twin. Of course, this is just an album of awesome guitar sketches from a man whose built a modest legacy on shredding, so maybe I’m reading too much into it. But if you’ve experienced the world from those forgotten American cities, you tend to project. Isolation does crazy things to us wolves.

Links: Ba Da Bing

Valerio Cosi

Plays Popol Vuh

[LP; Dreamsheep]

A long time has passed since a peep has been heard from Cosi and he returns with a Popol Vuh covers album featuring Paul de Jong and Zac Nelson. What a triumphant return it is, hearing his saxophone blaze through classic Popol Vuh. But it seems a story too easy to write: the comeback, the guests and the well regarded experimental band of 40 years ago re-imagined for the 21st century. I keep coming back to those near 7 years of relative silence from Cosi. What does Popol Vuh have to do with those years and how do these interpretations speak to that time away? There MUST be some deeper meaning that eludes my careful detection, or perhaps – like all good music – I’m projecting myself onto that absence. Perhaps I’m the one who has been holed up, barely communicating for seven years. No, there must be a fault in Cosi. So I keep searching through the ramshackle train sample, the glorious sax crescendos, the spastic electronic melodies but all I find is magnificence. A musician reintroducing himself to old fans and new converts through a muse which we can all relate. A brilliant stroke of tasteful tribute and mad scientific pursuit. Whatever Plays Popol Vuh represents, it’s not loss. It’s not regret. We can all agree that Cosi is back and that is a good thing, no matter the toll those seven years have taken on our psyche.

Links: Dreamsheep

Glass House

Headlands

[CS; Lillerne Tapes]

I’m sure the name “Glass House” is meant to invoke some notion of “transparency” – see-through drones passing through one another, reflective of a certain light or aura, etc… and yeah, that is for sure the vibe I’m getting all over this Headlands tape. But that word also sounds a bit too delicate for me, too passive. The duo of Ian Collier and Eric Brannon make ambient music that is truly activated. They are creators of their own luminescence; they are a source of heat, a generator of comforting calm and tumultuous tempests alike. Leaders of the proverbial pack (of drones) that manifests their own epic destiny before your very ears. And yes, there’s something to be said for the opposite – music made to be dying, constantly in a state of decay. But that stuff only makes compositions that actually compose into something greater all the more aurally substantial and spiritually viable. Let’s call it a breath of fresh air. Or many of them, for that matter, waves of round major chords breathing their warm breaths on the back of your neck, soon to become cooling winds that gently curl away from glowing embers. Glass House’s extending rays of synth are constantly searching for new horizons, new openings, looking for holes in the black blanket of space to peek through and bleed into the next gloriously open vista. And I’m hearing all this and feeling those hairs perk right up on my arm as Glass House swells itself into a mighty mountain of beauty… all on a cassette tape for crying out loud. For as pristine and perfect Headlands is, you have to wonder what other myopic wonders might be hidden in the quiet moments as well… something to look forward to when some bloody genius out there decides to release some vinyl for these guys. For now, headphones and a walkman for Headlands will still get you deep enough.

Links: Lillerne Tapes

Patrick Piper

Bye

[CS; A Giant Fern]

The first I thought I had as Bye unfurled its colorful wings was, “I hope this isn’t goodbye.” In fact, this is a minor plea to Mr. Piper to stay. Much like the classic television episode “Farewell My Little Viking,” I can’t stand to see this minor but powerful character leave. It’s selfish and conceited but I’m not done with Piper or Bye just yet. There’s so much to learn, so much to hear. Unlike Little Pete, I have yet to sop up all the wisdom this cassette has to offer. Its tough exterior does show hints of a soft interior – a contemplative beast with the strength of a million Arties but it’ll take time and exposure to see all of its layers. At least a season and a half. So don’t say Bye. Hopefully this is a mellow, but confusing hello.

Links: A Giant Fern

Life Partner

Have I Demon?

[LP; Sophomore Lounge]

Life Partner’s Have I Demon? is so easy to underestimate, like the first time you heard Archers Of Loaf or tasted pesto. Give it time to sink in and show you its best uses before you utter, “Jesus another garage-rock band that got signed for reasons I can’t rightly identify!” The worth is there, you just need to find the song that hooks you like the bulbous-bellied bass you are (in my case). For me it’s “Jimbo Lives,” and I had to listen to a side-and-a-half of music to get to it; it happens, life is shit, etc. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the singer has had darkness to deal with, either real or imagined. He seems driven, not just by the Demon he’s asking about but by a force even he doesn’t understand. Just a guess. And take a look at the vinyl (or at least the copy I have in front of me), an understated hew somewhere in between light tan/yellow/green, with a purple-pink glow in the middle that becomes green when held up to light. Yeah, it’s tough to explain, obviously, but it’s cool, dude, because you’ll see what I’m talking about when you rip into your copy. You are ordering one, right?

Kara-Lis Coverdale

Aftertouches

[CS; Sacred Phrases]

In the abyss where vaporwave waterfalls into the void, there exists the bottomless pit of our post-[] culture. It empties into the ravine of nothingness but the piling garbage of existential meaning never gathers. It becomes feed for an invisible black hole of slogans and taglines. You see the corpse of the echoing “In a world…” endlessly swirling until it is swallowed by the chattering edifice of Rock Critic. All verbosity vanishing, an immediate ending mirrored in the final seconds of Kara-Lis Coverdale’s “IMGS /R” Aftertouches is beyond this purview, perched on an unseen boat catching those remnants worth saving. Coverdale grabs tightly onto the falling Laurie Anderson, while allowing Ian Anderson to perilously fall (only to save his flute). Her barge is filling up, but with carefully curated artifacts from which to create her post-collages. Sean McCann’s sheet music, Keith Rankin’s visual viscosity, Tara Sinn’s blend of tasteless taste. It’s careful and meticulous, and as it collects to become the sinkhole stop-gap known as Aftertouches, there is hope that this fountain of fad is closed and we’re taken to a new era of pre-[]. Kara-Lis is trying but her ketch can only hold so much, and its weight will soon catch the attention of the massive, blackened mouth that awaits to swallow this era in one big gulp.

Links: Sacred Phrases

MIR

In the Dust of This Planet

[CS; End of the Alphabet]

Desolation is more than one man can explain. It is experienced differently from person to person; where one would place it as a sole being in an area of complete emptiness and seclusion, another may find desolation in the form of the crumbling infrastructure abused in urban landscapes. Does it speak to isolation or deterioration? Is it felt more as an organic happening or a synthesized event? In the Dust of This Planet ask all these questions in its fearless/fearsome drones. Combining the various stages of drone from the past 30 years (a dash of industrial, a pinch of electronica, a lot of minimalism), MIR set the stage for desolate listening. Though the air is disturbed and the scene is well lit, how you make out the surroundings is up to you. What you will notice is how cold In the Dust of This Planet comes across, really letting you feel the crumbling world which we are killing through our irresponsibility. So yeah, another one of THOSE records. Maybe with the not-so subtle hand of MIR, this time you’ll pay attention.

Links: End of the Alphabet

Radio Club

The Gods of Eden

[CS; Nostilevo]

Radio Club’s The Gods of Eden is another release I couldn’t, wouldn’t dare let fall into the clutches of lost-in-2014 nothingness, now matter how sold-out-as-FUDGE it is. How could I have? This is easily the best coldwave tape I heard all year, and its fresh, creative way of doing business brings back the early 80s in the best possible sense. The vocals are mere shadow voices, like a third-generation tracing of Peter Murphy’s voice dowsed in effects and alcohol, while the synth-simple arrangements evoke awe every time they shift into a new gear. There’s some autobahn-style straight-ahead chugging that gets rather intense, a dribbling of Blank Dogs mid-tempo mumbling here and there, and a smattering of more scientific strains of catchy, maddening Wierdness that I simply insist you hear in the here and now (NOW!). You won’t move like this to a cassette tape in your average daily dealings, I can guarantee that. It’s impossible to fold your arms while listening to “The Monkey’s Paw.” Again: Sold out, but ask Nostilevo for a repress (redub?) and I’m sure they’ll do somethin’ for ya, kid.

Links: Radio Club

Monte Burrows

Fantasy Living

[CS; Spring Break Tapes!]

The debut tape from Monte Burrows (nom de plume of our dear Spring Break Tapes!-maker, Joe “Tuesday” McKay) comes with an interesting passage of complete and utter nonsense written by someone named Uel Aramchek printed inside the fold-out J-card. I caught the word “necropolis” in a quick skim (that word just sticks out, doesn’t it?) and so I wanted to start there. Because that is indeed where this music starts, on the galley of a submerged ship at the bottom of a lagoon, barnacled and gnarly, and your vision of this aquatic graveyard smeared in the wafting lukewarm currents. He takes you right there, fixing your listening scope with a scratched-lens filter, blurring the old tape loops and grinding organs into a haunted dystopian drone from another time. Monte Burrows hits some Basinski vibes as the whole of the composition seems to point itself down into that crumbling descent we call de-composition, but with the horns and woodwinds on side B, I’m also really taken back to my first encounters with Philip Jeck, and the composer’s ability to pull a sensory-stuffed drone out of romanticism and let it ride in a sad, sallow mess of sound, all without sacrificing the most important thing: the melody (of course!). Totally haunting and all-engrossing stuff, an impressive first outing and another slam dunk for Spring Break Tapes!

Links: Spring Break Tapes!

夕方の犬 (dog in the evening)

low temperature room

[CS; Adhesive Sounds]

It’s often a folly to think of modern music as art. Exceptions exist but they are beyond the peripheral; works so simple but presented as complex. Music removed from the mainstream, deemed inaccessible. But it’s odd to separate by these weak definitions. I assume that if you like [MAINSTREAM ARTIST] you can enjoy [INACCESSIBLE ARTIST] when you take the time to find commonality. Actually, low temperature room takes the pain of exploration out of the equation. It follows in the grand emergence of softly sedated musicians taking song craft to its rudimentary form, yet it is not shy about pushing a listener out of their comfort zone in the name of art. The titles are bare bones, telling you how to feel. However, the music betrays the obvious. If you’re a surface listener, all you’ll take from low temperature room is in plain sight. But you learn, just as you will with the [MAINSTREAM] and the [INACCESSIBLE] that they both exist in the same plane. That the terms are interchangeable or frankly, meaningless. Their definitions are attached by lazy hacks and fashion police. 夕方の犬 doesn’t give in to any of it.

Links: Adhesive Sounds
  

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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.