As the revival of the tape label continues to enrich our lives with warm analog hiss and affordable production/retail costs, certain genres stick out within our growing collections as Especially Cassette-Friendly. Too many lush ambient/drone tape releases to ever keep track of wash ashore each day (see: Constellation Tatsu, Tranquility Tapes, Field Hymns), while aural terrorists can maintain a prolific assault on their fans via any number of noise merchants (American Tapes, Chondritic Sound, Fag Tapes). Lo-fi rock or experimental pop projects embrace the unique sonics of doin’ it straight-to-tape (Moon Glyph, Night People, some of NNA’s catalog), just as beat conductas gravitate to the medium for its low-end boost and compressed visual aesthetic (see Stones Throw’s cassette renaissance).
L.A.-based multi-instrumentalist Matthew Dotson takes a look at this taxonomy of tape-friendly genres, checks off all of ‘em, and pencils in a few that were missing. 2012’s Excavation overflowed with ideas, but Revolution/Circumvention (Already Dead, and already sold-out) manages to cram even more into 36 maximized minutes. The album’s two sidelong suites segue through so many styles: layered drone washes collide with a synth-pop beach-party; hip-hop beats thud alongside searing noise; acoustic guitar interludes hang out with abstracted IDM squelches. By never establishing firm ground to stand on, Dotson subverts expectations with every juxtaposition. What he lacks in cohesion, he makes up for with technical mastery, uniting disparate passages with a uniformly impressive level of production detail. If sampling the Revolution/Circumvention stream on Bandcamp feels like a shuffle through a particularly Zone-friendly iTunes library, sitting at home with the album in your tape deck feels like a friendly visit from a Zone-conquering mastermind.