Joe Bastardo & Howard Stelzer

At Ease

You wake up in the interior of what appears to be a solid white cube. You see nothing but light. You hear nothing but the muted churning of your own internal organs. As if triggered by your awakening, the six surfaces of the cube begin to stream past you. Textures emerge from the seams where two planes meet: sticks caked in mud, sandpaper, ice, algae suspended at the surface of the lagoon. The stimuli scroll around and under your body. You feel them against your skin. You close your eyes again and the cube does not stop.

Joseph Bastardo runs the excellent tape imprint Moss Archive, performs solo as Bastian Void, and constitutes half of the duo Looks Realistic. Howard Stelzer has issued solo and collaborative releases on labels like NNA Tapes, Chondritic Sound, and RRRrecords. The two of them seamed their rigs together and composed the 56 minute stream of smeared synth tones, white noise, and corroded natural sound sources that is At Ease (available now from 905 Tapes), generating their unpredictable narrative arc of hallucinatory texture via randomized and improvised deconstruction of field recordings and tape collages through modular synthesizers. The tape’s stretches of hyper-detailed synth noise hum through your headphones or your speakers at such a high standard of abstraction as to make you scrutinize any semblance of discernible harmony or consonance as an outlier in an otherwise infinite wash of absence. But for all its abstraction, some performative gestures and flashes of the tape’s original source material flicker in the haze: knobs turned, patches activated, channels cut off, segments terminated, doors opened, the quiet shifting of chairs and feet against the wood of the porch.

Back in the cube, you have accepted this lifestyle. When the stimuli are present, you rejoice. When you are left alone with your own senses, you relax. You do not wonder how long you will be inside, as you no longer have a way to keep track of time. You do not fret.

• 905 Tapes:

The Nativist

“I Love Us And What We Are Becoming (The Vanishing)”

Frenzied in a folliage full of raised eyebrows and self-conscious progression, “I Love Us And What We Are Becoming (The Vanishing)” is furiously trying to get itself together by-way of sprinting a beat amongst a flux-staggering bass line while implementing gasped-taps on (my FAVORITE instrument) a xylophone, so when that blissful ambiance kicks in…

Haven’t heard from deep NY producer The Nativist in a minute, though I’m stoked on what going on in “I Love Us And What We Are Becoming (The Vanishing),” and I’m not sure if the title is endearing or just a TMI, but I can get down with intensity, none-the-less. Enjoy below and follow this fucker until his next thing crackles the wax out your ears.

• The Nativist:

Michael Pisaro / Matthew Sullivan

“Add Red (Grey Series No. 3)” / “Meaning, Figueroa”

Jack Callahan’s Bánh Mì Verlag imprint is necessary and fantastic by virtue of it’s consolidation of playfulness, formality, and fucking cool-ness. The “straight up” method of musical experimentation is rendered simultaneously fun, serious, important, and, occasionally, cataclysmically expressive [!]. The counterpoint developed by the label’s first split speaks volumes about the nuanced gradation occurring between DIY intentionality and Wandelweiser-core liturgy. CalArts vs. Berlin vs. “other places” – everyone is deeply concerned with the inter-spatiality of sound interacting IRL w/ various techne, catching the pan-temporal, indeterminate phenomena out of the singularity of moment-hood.

Michael Pisaro’s “Add Red” is a series of four pieces for two or three musicians. The piece treats noise as [a] determined, communicable understanding – the orientation of live bodies processing data, indeterminacy “marked” (macchiato) by instrument-playerz going hard to situate the characteristics of frequency within a synchronically formal and conversational tone. Now, Pisaro’s piece demonstrates the happen-stance of “noise” by valuing “contingency” as necessary in describing [everyone’s][possibly][spatially] shifting perception. In fact, “Add Red” is explicitly about when Michael Pisaro stared at TV-static screen and wondered “Where’s the bass-line?” Here, he adds the baseline (or “Red”) – we are given the opportunity to check out those frequencies.

Sullivan’s piece is extremely good. Here we have a “seagull-gong time,” of sorts, that’s potentially psychedelic. We need to see this piece as vast, “environmentally charged,” and illuminating the fact that mind is a small slice of totem that merely “stands-in” for a larger, atmospheric sort of consciousness. This one blows minds – wind, air, cool, chilly, formal, free.

Bánh Mì Verlag is giving us these things. So, just imagine – this split came out a few months ago – here it is, here, and so it will be…into our futures. Feel free to check out the other releases/splits over at the labels website!

• Bánh Mì Verlag:

M. Geddes Gengras

Collected Works Vol. 2 New Process Music

M. Geddes Genras likes his synths. He likes his synths a lot. In addition to his multi-faceted roles in bands as well as production work, he’s amassed a number of limited run cassettes focused solely on the synth, the focus of his multi-volume series with Umor Rex. With Collected Works Vol. 2 New Process Music, Gengras brings together eight jams composed entirely on modular synthesizers. Yes, I know all the sounds are coming from one instrument, but dammit if Gengras doesn’t know how to pull so many sonic tricks from his mechanical beast. Umor Rex, who also released Volume 1, as well as Charlatan’s ultra vibed out Local Agent LP, have provided a full stream of the new record for your weekend listening pleasure. If you find the sounds soothing your soul as the temperatures drop nationwide, keep in mind that Volume 2 is NOW SHIPPING. If you wanna grip that blue vinyl, head to Thrill Jockey’s store before they’re all gone!!! Dig these groovy digital sounds below in the meantime.

• M. Geddes Gengras:
• Umor Rex:



The roster on EARWAX FIZZICA 2 is as stacked as I’ve ever seen for one of these beat tape comps. And the tracks are interchangeable, but still stuck. Sure, there’s some iffy choices, but that’s to be expected on a LONG compilation. Shit, maybe my clunkers are your gems? And backwards and so forth? I hope so. I need to learn some more about this whole music thing, so help me out, and listen to EARWAX FIZZICA 2, out on Fuzzoscope. And that crackle. That gorgeous, gorgeous crackle. :)

• Fuzzoscope:


CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we'll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.