Headboggle / Collin McKelvey
Though it never died in the first place, the recent “revival” of the cassette tape in our collective (un)consciousness owes much to the efforts of Mike Haley A.K.A. Wether — co-host of the Tabs Out podcast, and founder of 905 Tapes. You may have scoped the Tabs Out posse’s columns on AdHocFM (Who Has Tapes Anymore?) and this very site (Laser Focus), and then confused relatives over brunch with requests to unearth the ancient tape deck from the crawlspace (“Remember now, there’s no ‘shuffle’ feature on this one.” *wink* *grimace*). 905’s catalog reads like a Who’s Who of Champion Zoners, encompassing everyone from Mick Barr to Derek Rogers, Quicksails to Merzbow, M. Geddes Gengras to Helm (damn [Editor’s note: DAMN]). The label’s new batch, decked out with Sailor Jerry-core classic tattoo J-cards, continues to deliver the goods.
If anyone is exploiting the experimental underground’s cassette proclivity to the fullest, Headboggle (born Derek Gedalecia) is that human being. The restless multi-multi-instrumentalist’s third physical release with 905 finds him conjuring synth-noise chaos from his arsenal of modular, analog, and homemade electronics. Sir Boggle’s ecstatic, randomized bleeps and confounding “song” structures, conveyed to our brains by his hi-fidelity recording practices, beg comparisons to electronic music forefathers like Morton Subotnick while sounding unlike pretty much anything released in this decade / century. Flip over the tape for thirty minutes of eclectic improv from solo synth wizard Collin McKelvey. His live session cycles through enough mutant tones, churning rhythmic passages, and squalls of ‘verb-drenched noise to keep true heads engaged for its whole mind-expanding duration.
The new batch of 905 Tapes is available now.
Crimin’ and dimin’ on the internet. Sluggin’ dem bullet speeds into sludge. Grippin’ all the grime a Boy could Froot. Hefty bags full of skulls. Making it hail diamonds into a vat of molasses. Uzi fire snappin’ spines in slow motion. Jazz’zz on that straight stutter. Smashin’ out the freshest features: KEIKI, DEPRESSIVE TONGUE POSSE: SHARXXX & AGGRESSIVE PROFESSOR, THE SECRET PROVIDER, and H E X X X O F F N D R. Grids of smoke hangin’ low in the air. Hundo$ floating on booze poured out a 40oz. Tryin’ to walk long enough without crawling. Sobriety, amirite?
Boy Froot continues on his wobbly journey, yo: stewed-brain style lyrics are phucked with just as reluctantly confident as ever before. But this time, he’s switchin’ gears with ßITCH $HIFT. How? Well, you gotta listen, sucka! Stream ßITCH $HIFT below by Boy Froot, and take a trip into the steamy world of digital underground:
• Boy Froot: http://boy-fruit.bandcamp.com
Into The Bulk
Refried, bossa, bass, rock, noises: a few words utilized by NY band Palm in the dreaded genre field of their latest Bandcamp release Into the Bulk. Such dynamically self-imposed genre tags serve best to characterize Palm’s multi-dimensional sound, especially evident in the latest EP. Though only three-songs long, Into the Bulk captures an ambitious breadth without ever intellectually imposing or losing continuity. The band churns jazzy dissonance with raw brawn, transitioning in and out of the beautiful and bestial in perpetual progression. With a few singles and an earlier EP recorded at Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen under their belt, Into the Bulk is a powerful release, drawing strength not only from its’ moments of raw vigor, but from its extraordinary dynamism, as well.
• Palm: http://palmnewyork.bandcamp.com
Taking it a step further, you’re going about 30 over the speed limit listening to Techno Imoco, and the sky is balling its eyes out. Maybe the tangible reads through frustrating speeds; everything is wet except for the interior of your car. The tires spin out, your car goes spinning across three or four lanes of traffic (it’s hard to tell), and the vehicle flips, smashing out the sunroof. NOW, everything this wet. Ejecting out the smashed hole in the car roof, you tare against shards, and colors are mixing everywhere as your body is flung into oncoming traffic.
One never thought the afterlife ever existed, or was made of hair. ALL hair. Like being in a dry car wash. Only surrounded in a droplet of air floating across what you can see is the sea. Below is moving within the water and pouncing up at the bottom of this bubble your encapsulated within, so you climb up the thick strands. Atop of this immersion is a pulsating sky, thick with clouds, erupting in color, and not really interesting. Sometimes it’s the tiniest of measures: you begin to tear up slowly. Not because of death. Not because of anything, really. Just to feel the “TEARS.”
Meishi Smile’s first album LUST releases January 28th via Attack the Music and Zoom Lens in digital, LP and CD forms. You can pre-order here and feel the multitude of “TEARS” streaming below:
Portland’s Blankstairs really take their time with things, both collectively and beatwise. The artists involved have been pounding Pacific Northwest beat music for a couple of years and are just now getting around to their second release as a label, and first proper work of music – BST001 being a collection of the aforementioned artists.
This self-titled YIOTA EP drag-drops out through cresting minutes of full-moon waves lushed in ambient luminescence. And when the beat does hit, it probably hits hard. It’s hard to tell with all of this space between us.
• Blankstairs: http://blnkstrs.com
Pulse Emitter / Hakobune / MJ Guider
Constellation Tatsu Winter Batch
Premier synth/ambient tape label Constellation Tatsu bundled their newest batch of tapes with a jar of infused honey, which sits right now on a window ledge in my kitchen, thawing out from its journey through winter-blasted lands to get to my doorstep. Constellation Tatsu also bundled their newest batch of tapes with all of my deepest dreams and emotions, which swim around my brain in a mist of delayed synth lines and processed guitars, waiting to pour in some form or another into this little box of text. Let’s check ‘em out:
Awe: I marvel at the scope and depth of Pulse Emitter’s solo synth performances. Daryl Groetsch stuffs each of his sessions to bursting with intricately interlocked leads, glistening analog textures, and slowly evolving harmonic structures. His work bridges the gap between deliberate kosmiche arrangements and ecstatic improvisation, and remains the drone/noise underground’s most vibrant connection to the New Age movement of the previous century. As with any Pulse Emitter release, I listen to Equinox and emit four or five audible “Ooooooh”s per track.
Reverence: Hakobune’s catalog of ambient guitar improvisations has elevated him to the status of a holy being with spiritual significance in my life (see: A, B, C). His live tones, masked behind a curtain of delay and reverb, force me to reevaluate music I previously considered beautiful. I listen to the five-minute sessions of looping around the forest i thought i remembered and feel as though I’m hearing nothing more than the slow rotation of the Earth as perceived from space. The oceans whisper from this distance, and I am one drop of moisture suspended in orbit above them, truly chilling.
Surprise: I didn’t expect to discover a slice of post-industrial shoegaze synthpop among Tatsu’s catalog, but along comes MJ Guider to reveal the error of my assumptions. Green Plastic airs out a series of anxious atmospheres over a backdrop of drum machine thuds and cavernous synth drones. The arrival of each vocal line or new melody breaks my reverie and snaps me back to the “real world,” where a jar of infused honey sent to me by one of my favorite tape labels sits on a window ledge in the kitchen.
Pick up the Winter 2014 Batch from Constellation Tatsu now or live an emotionless, honeyless life forevermore.