♫♪  Tymbal Tapes - October 2017 batch

Somewhere deep in the heartland of America a creature stirs, awakens, turns its attention to the unwitting populace, and unleashes its power in such unceasing intensity that we are helpless to stand against its force. All eyes turn toward the center of the country, to Lincoln, Nebraska, to Tymbal Tapes, to the three sonic documents issued in cassette format in this terrifying month of October. What secrets do they hold? What answers will the sonic maelstrom emanating from the spinning reels divulge? And does it even matter – do we even need answers if the recordings withstand this scrutiny?

I was a fan of Macho Blush’s Favorite Poems, and TMT is also a fan in general, although of course my blurb is listed above TMT’s on the Bandcamp page (for whatever that’s worth). I’m still into it – you wanna know why? Because Austinite Gina Probst continues to craft visceral and confrontational sound art from some primal well deep within her on User Guide. Incorporating a variety of instruments, Probst casts all notions of convention aside and taps these resources like a water diviner in the desert, allowing the refreshing liquid of catharsis to trickle over the craggy outcroppings of tension. Regardless of whatever the hell that means, User Guide is like an, ahem, user guide for the partially mad, or at least those of us angry enough to require more than the musically simplistic to sate our restlessness. Or our blood lust. This does take on a somewhat ritualistic cast, I guess.

“Bad Jazz” is not something your colleague Sallah somberly and knowingly says over a dead monkey as Dave Koz plays on the stereo in the background. No, Bad Jazz is the source from which its eponymous antithesis flows, improvisation that invades and engages all the different parts of your brain and doesn’t just sit on your chest and fart for half an hour. There isn’t even any swinging brass here, no sir – Bad Jazz the performing/recording trio makes their own dang instruments, thank you very much. These entrepreneurial souls have figured out a way to avoid the mundane cul de sacs of “tradition” (although they do use piano sometimes, I suppose) and compose on their own terms. Endtable Transmissions consistently grips you by your lapels and makes you question the very reason for hiring Bad Jazz for your 1920s-themed Halloween party; they should be performing at the afterparty for the Nobel Prize in Physics award ceremony instead.

ARU Experienced?! LOL, that’s gold. But it’s the experience that counts, and ARU’s all about the experience here. The Iowa City project begun by Randy Carter, now a duo also featuring David Pauly, makes its Tymbal debut with this collection of live material sourced from albums Consumed and Saturated. This isn’t typical regurgitation, though – Carter and Pauly simply start there, then repurpose, chop, screw, and improvise over the recordings for maximum experience. And good news: this tape retains the spirit of experimentation and creativity that the pair exudes in a live setting. Crowd conversation even enters the equation at points, and it fits in just fine. While ARU Experienced? is totally visceral and an obvious live document, the flaws and ambience only serve to add to the, erm, experience (yeah, again).

Chocolate Grinder

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.

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