TMT Cerberus 18
The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

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. TMT Cerberus seeks to document the aesthetic of these home recorders and backyard labels. Email us here.

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Warm Climate
Camouflage on the River Wretched [CS]

[Stunned; 2010]
http://stunnedrecords.blogspot.com
By Jspicer

The magical draw to Stunned is how often the now-Portland label releases a talked-about release. Considering the mess of tape labels littering the web landscape, it’s a feat to be the talked-about label once in a blue moon; to do it with each passing batch correlates to an ear for talent. Phil and Myste French’s latest ballyhooed release comes from decade-old L.A. band Warm Climate, and the output matches the buzz. Blending noir, psychedelia, and pop, Camouflage on the River Wretched is a ball of uncontained creativity, jumping from genre to genre with the resiliency of a toy rubber ball. The album is versatile, and despite the clash of styles, the ease with which Warm Climate slips from amped-up rock lunacy into slow psychedelic trips only works to keep Camouflage off-kilter. Each listen is a discovery, as the jigsaw pieces never fit the same way, so you’ll jam them into place to construct your ideal picture. It’s taken Warm Climate 10 years to be this daring, so don’t ignore it.

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Harmonizer
Harmonizer [CS]

[NNA; 2010]
http://www.nnatapes.com
By Gumshoe

I just realized Harmonizer is Toby Aronson and Greg Davis, and I sorta feel duped, thinking that this is an upcoming group with no namedrop-friendly precedents. Then again, there’s really no such thing as a music project without any precedents, is there? We all started that First Band and sucked; most of us moved on, while some of us became awesome like Davis and, apparently Aronson (still others started nu-metal bands with hints of ska, then metal, then post-rock, then noise-rock, then dropped out of the scene altogether and started writing odd, bitter reviews; whaaaaaat?). So where does that leave us, then? Well, for one thing, wading through a sea of pan flutes/horns/bagpipes/reed instruments/etc. that wriggle like millions of pythons, delighting in the fact stuff like this — busy but thrillingly so — even exists. Who would have thought in the early days of Secret Mommy and, say, Lucky Dragons that things would already be developed to this point? That… Just… Happened. Throw in some pounding — but not tribal, weirdo — drum stomp-offs and you have a winner before five minutes have even passed. In fact, I’m so sure this self-titled cassette is a winner (and it is; Side B is just like Side A/pancakes, an’ maybe even better) that I feel confident enough to WASte the rest of this review rating the superhunks. Brad Pitt? Easy 10… Pierce Brosnan? Yuk, 2. Owen Wilson? Oh man, you just… you just hit my sweet spot, man…

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Kellen Shipley
Fell From the Sky [CS]

[Roll Over Rover; 2010]
http://rolloverrover.org
By Jspicer

Shipley continues to be a neglected force in ambient music. Last year’s Deep Breaths went largely unnoticed despite a magical touch that surrounded the album’s chill — perhaps too chill — tone. Unlike the bevy of chillwave acts latching onto sandy beaches and splintered boardwalks for a shot at a bit of coverage, Shipley turns his productions toward the icy. Fell from the Sky falls in with recent Rameses III output. It’s hypnotic, not in repetition, but in tone. These are meditations, to be listened to daily, to cleanse a busy mind and free a caged soul. Fell from the Sky is full of romantic daydreams; the musings of brainwaves turned to melody when eyes close beneath the last sunsets of summer. As the mind dances with visions of orange foliage and snowy white terrain, the senses become heightened and the hair on your arms begins to stand erect with the remembrance of cool fall air and unpolluted clouds. How Shipley is so attuned to the fluctuations of life remains a mystery, but Fell from the Sky delivers another sweet glimpse into his gripping world.

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Book Of Shadows / Vishnu Woods
The Initiate/Nico Teen [CS]

[Folkwaste Library; 2010]
http://www.folkwaste.com
By Gumshoe

Sharon Crutcher is one hell of a wild card to have up one’s sleeve, as her Exorcist shriek-howls are as distinct and fascinating as they come, but Book Of Shadows, judging from the limited amount of material I’ve been privy to, are just as sturdy as a dronoise destruction unit. This material would work with or without the banshee. The bass wanders and attempts to find purchase, the ring-around synths/programs/samples flaring up and dying down like wildfires under an erratic gale. I hate to stick it to the late person (a.k.a. most everyone), but if this music is too scary for you, well, you don’t deserve to say you listen to “everything” (though I know you’ll go on saying it). Vishnu Woods’ side, on the other handle, just ain’t quite fer me. Their contribution, in fact, caused me to pause over the legitimacy of writing this tape up. This one gets stronger as it goes along, but I’m just not one for the uniform-for-so-long-it-must-somehow-be-worthwhile end of the drone spectrum, and VW do too little to reward the heaps of patience it takes for “Nico Teen” to smoke/chew its way through your lungs/face with its so-so combo of piano, accordion, the occasional effect, wah-wah, acoustic, and whatever else. Chalk this one up to a disagreement in germs, or maybe deep-seated fatigue over the Wooden Wand thing… Super-ridiculous, CAUSE-FOR-PHYSICAL-VIOLENCE-limited tape run of 19 copies, all with individualized covers, so wait five minutes after reading this and… see if you can still get one.

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Wet Hair / Peaking Lights
“Blessed” b/w “Birds of Paradise” [7-inch]

[Not Not Fun; 2010]
http://notnotfun.com
By Jspicer

Bored Fortress returns for a fourth term, coming out of the gates fast and furious with a split offering from Raccoo-oo-oon spinoff Wet Hair and lovey dovey duo Peaking Lights. The pair of Shawn Reed and Ryan Garbes has lightened the load with “Blessed,” as the track closely resembles Garbes’ recent 7-inch for Arbor. It’s a slow circus melody, forgoing the twosome’s early bombast for a well-grounded acid-pop tune perfect for light dancing. B-side “Birds of Paradise” finds Peaking Lights’ Indra and Aaron continuing their odd descent into oblong reggae rhythms carefully disguised as flashback psychedelia. It’s a “your peanut butter’s in my chocolate/your chocolate’s in my peanut butter” moment. A drawn-out island rhythm mixes with stoned guitar riffs, creating a genre that is as tasty and messy as a melted Reese cup. Rarely do subscription splits ever pan out this well, but the two moods at work between Wet Hair and Peaking Lights sets the late-night scene, the last bowl of the day as your friends sway in slow motion and you inhale that gratifying last hit before sleep envelops you (how many more pot references can one genre handle? ).

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Voices
Aporia [CS]

[Sanity Muffin; 2010]
http://sanitymuffins.blogspot.com
By Gumshoe

If you can avoid causing a nod-off and/or possibly facilitate the beginning stages of a panic attack, you’re likely to get passing grades from a-Gumshoe these days. I’ve had so much crap caught in my mental grass-catcher I find myself tickled to death when I come across a cassette like Voices’ “Aporia.” “Aporia” sounds a lot like Animal Collective, and ooh-boy, Side (friggin’)-A is RIFE with the influence; stinky with it, almost; notice the chant of “Water,” as if that one tune off Sung Tongs never even HAPpened — it keeps things moving. You can play the AC song-recognition game if you so wish — as I, admittedly, just did, and now I’m judging you for it? — but Voices mute out any problems the overt worship might present, bringing their own spices to the tape-sprawl table and applying them generously. And that’s a good thing, as “Aporia” runs an ear-popping 92 minutes, give or take a few million static minutes on each side. I’m definitely feeling like Side B is the pony to bet on here, as it slips quietly from post-Kaos padding to almost Ulaan Khol-ish half-psych in two moves or less. I was initially attracted to this cassette by its eye-popping art dynamic, and its inner workings have matched the visual splendor. Spoken bird-word, oscillations, imagination, deep-/double-dipping drone, post-folkin’ like Oxbow got younger and maybe a little better; know what I mean? This label is responsible for tapes from Tristeza, Odd Nosdam (two Gumshoe faves), and a few others I can’t think of, so rest assured we’ll be baking up another batch or two of Sanity Muffins ‘round here, circa Aunt Jemima on… some sort of drug. “One hundred hand-penciled copies, you say?” “Uh, yes’um.”

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Reuben Son
Cortical Migrations [CS]

[Digitalis; 2010]
http://digitalisindustries.com
By Jspicer

Reuben Son’s first two releases, via his own Private Chronology label, blend traditional musicality with abstract presentation. It became a challenge to put words to two distinctly different releases, and Cerberus dropped the ball in discussing Reuben’s guitar explorations. Consider Cortical Migrations, the response to a world’s lack of response. Reuben returns to his minimal trappings through synthesizer experimentation. The product is hauntingly beautiful as it maintains tradition while slowly breaking from it. On a playing field where more is less, Reuben strips the synth of any pretense, delivering a thread of finely crafted melodies that are bright and cheery among a crowd of ravers and sad sacks. Granted, the meditative qualities found on the lighter side of synth are present, but it’s the little touches and the fearlessness of keeping Coritical Migrations uncluttered that rules this five-part recording.

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Pete Fosco
Negative Mind [CS]

[Holy Cheever Church; 2010]
http://holycheeverchurch.com
By Jspicer

Christopher Riggs continues to open the door to his Church for new patrons, so imagine the excitement when Cincy guitarist Pete Fosco walked through the stained-glass doors. On Negative Mind, Fosco continues to harness the permafrost that inhabits much of his work while lending it the gravelly, gnarled fangs of the Holy Cheever Church brand. Riggs is forever strangling his guitar, looking for angry growls; Fosco seems to jump in on the instrument abuse with little remorse. Negative Mind cackles with a smoker’s cough, as Fosco scratches his nails down the chalkboard-strings of his guitar. The result is industrial-strength chilliness. Where Autumn Fire Blues (and its ilk) celebrated the dustings of winter mood, Negative Mind is the wrath of Old Man Winter as he watches the world hate-fuck Mother Earth with venomous glee. Winds howl, snows bury, and townships crumble under Fosco’s might. Side B offers the silent aftermath, a blank crust from which to rebuild among the winter ruin. HCC is fast becoming the premiere label for total guitar exploration — Fosco’s latest being the soap box on which the label can stand to proclaim its new hierarchy.

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Various Artists
Discovery [CS]

[Lazy Roar; 2010]
http://lazyroar.blogspot.com
By Gumshoe

I thought this was a band, maybe at first? As my daughter, 3, would say, “Ummm, I don’t remember is last week.” How relieved I was — and somewhat humbled, as I couldn’t glean it on my own — to learn “Discovery” is actually a mixtape featuring… haha, NO ONE YOU’VE HEARD OF, EVER!! And don’t listen to the description on the Lazy Roar site; these bands don’t belong together at ALL. They just manage to coexist, barely, fighting each other with neon-green good-guy lazer swords (mostly; some red ones, too) and drippy, milk-soaked-oreo explorations into the space where the cookie meats the cream. I’ve been listening for nye on 10 minutes, and I’ve already been sucker-punched a few times by this brilliant, sopping-wet fish. Reminds me of that Starving Weirdos 2LP in that it makes me forget about the Eric Copeland record a little, knowing this exists. I wish I could keep up with which-bands-are-who-what-when here, but I was lost almost before I started, so you’ll have to do with my vague praise. I blush to the toes when I admit to people I’m starting a record label, but Lazy Roar have the right to be cocky about it. There’s an instrumental-hip-hop-ish cut on here that pits Deceptikon and Riceboy Sleeps against each other and emerges alive on the other side. And HOW! I wish I were thrumming on ecstasy right now — one of the few drugs I never tried — and stewing in all that joy juice, though I’m actually fairly content to listen to this stone-cold, strangely.

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Buchikamashi
Message from Space [CS]

[Ginjoha; 2010]
http://ginjoha.blogspot.com
By Jspicer

From the Land of the Rising Sun comes a Message from Space. Launched in the middle of the year, new Japanese sensation Ginjoha delivers a true vision of the future as seen from the past. Japan’s influence on Western experimentation runs deep, and with the first batch of Ginjoha, we’ve learned that their influence is only bound to increase. One of three releases from Buchikamashi — on the burgeoning label, Message from Space — is a blast of isolation, a space madness that has no cure. Gone are the notable noises from which a crop of young musicmakers has mined for spaced melodies. Buchikamashi is one of minimalism, creating monochromatic drones in the vacuum in which outer space exists. Message from Space isn’t big budget, effects-riddled tripe. This is the claustrophobic beats of a heart, the brain waves of an explorer going mad. Clint Mansell’s soundtrack to Moon is as close as one has come to capturing man alone in the new wilderness — until Buchikamashi upstages him. The only break from the paralyzing quiet of solar wind is satellite static and errant radio waves. The only suspense is that of anxiety. There need be no aliens, no crew gone mad — the human mind is the most sinister villain, and Buchikamashi captures it at its most heinous.

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