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Tabs Out | V/A – Doom Mix Vol. III

V/A – Doom Mix Vol. III

2.22.19 by Ryan Masteller

Look, I don’t get hyped for mixtapes, which is weird because I also write for a different site with “Mix Tapes” in the name, and I won’t get into the size of those “Mix Tapes” right now (not very big), but that’s not the point. The point is, although I don’t get hyped for mixtapes, I get hyped for the annual Doom Trip compilation, even though it’s less a label retrospective than a “tape that one might make for a friend,” which takes us into pure paradoxville if you ask me (and you did), because even with this information at your disposal, you still don’t know where the heck I’m coming from.

“Doom Mix Vol. III.” That’s where I’m coming from.

Not without reason, my hype meter whanged all the way to 10 (on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being “Barely Conscious,” 10 being “Mega Hype – Grab Handrails”) when I first perused this thing, the needle breaking free of its moorings and flying at dangerous speed toward the other end of the lab, while ejected springs and sprockets ensured I’d be spending the rest of the afternoon trying to put everything back together before listening to another cassette and measuring its hype. This was before I even hit Play on “disco” Eartheater, a track recorded SPECIFICALLY for this release. Alexandra Drewchin is INSANELY generous.

But if you’re like, “Whoa, Eartheater!,” my response is, “Yeah, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg – wait’ll the rest of that iceberg rips into the side of your ‘Titanic’ taste in music and sinks the hell out of everything you thought you knew about anything,” which is kind of a jackass thing to reply, but it sounded OK in my head. But still, Swan Meat’s gonna gouge a hole in somebody’s hull, right? Nmesh is gonna blast through metal, yeah? And how about Mukqs? Electro-psychedelia like a wrecking ball to the front of a seagoing ocean liner. Couldn’t pin that dude down if you tried.

And what about HOTT MT? Vinyl Williams? Pale Spring? R23X? Swinging the pendulum of the somehow now-metaphorically-prevalent wrecking ball into that sweet melodic zone and smashing through your personal barriers, the walls that keep your feelings hidden from everyone. Not harsh smashing but cathartic smashing, falling in love smashing, dystopian dreamworld smashing, smashing reality in favor of make believe.

Gosh, “Doom Mix Vol. III” has everything. [*Checks tracklist. Panics*] I’m only halfway done!

The flipside features a bunch of Doom Trip alums (most of ’em are a bunch of weirdos too): Diamondstein & Sangam, Niku No Sekai, Heejin Jang, and Skyjelly (that fuzztone!) make appearances, as does TALsounds (last seen around these parts on “Doom Mix Vol. I”), which sort of makes this a Good Willsmith/Hausu Mountain party too, I guess? Heck, invite ’em all! But some of the best entries are from the Doom Trip n00bs, with Tim Thorton as CDX bouncing his own samplemania around your speakers, Equip slinging some psycho vapor madness, and Paige Emery dreamweaving clouds of cotton candy.

Pant, pant, pant … whew.

To say this is the best “Doom Mix” shortchanges the other “Doom Mixes,” so here’s my advice: combine all three into a gigantic whole. You’ll never get tired of it, and it’ll probably never end. See? I’m also good for public service. You’re welcome.

You can stream a few of these tracks already, but you have to wait till April freaking 9th for the whole thing to drop on your head like Santa’s bag of presents eight months early or that wrecking ball of gentleness or whatever I was talking about up there. Go with Christmas. Christmas in April.

Preorder or else.

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Tabs Out | 3 Cherries – s/t

3 Cherries – s/t

2.20.19 by Ryan Masteller

I’m a two-cherry 🍒 man myself, what with all the Pac-Man, so imagine my surprise when 3 Cherries burst upon the scene with their self-titled cassette tape on Asheville, North Carolina’s Terry Tapes just a week ago (depending on when you read this)! The trio (duh) features TT stalwarts Andy Loebs, Cole Kilgo of Gabor Bonzo, and Devin Lecroy, so basically you’re just going to just have a serious blast with this six-song EP as you load up your cassette deck for your latest Friday-night danceathon. No word as to whether Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde are going to show up.

Doesn’t matter. If you’ve checked out Andy Loebs’s “About Me” or Gabor Bonzo’s “Wad,” you’ll know just what to expect with 3 Cherries. More 1980s throwback synth prog, perfect for the Pac-Man or sci-fi/fantasy movie enthusiast in your life (like me), “3 Cherries” finds the gang slingling pads and patches, with an assist from Loebs on drums. And there’s more than just cherries on this menu! There’s also tot-chos (“Tot-Cho Cup”) and ice cream (“Mr. Ice Cream”), which combined make for a balanced diet, so says the current USDA food pyramid, brought to you by Monsanto, Coca-Cola, and Halliburton. Regardless of your dietary predilections or restrictions, you should have no issue dousing yourself in maraschino syrup and doing the mashed potato while this sweet thing plays in the background.

Cassette available from Terry Tapes in an edition of 50. Do you like fun? You do? Then you should get one of these, otherwise your fun intake may be deficient (again, USDA statistics).

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Tabs Out | J. Hamilton Isaacs – Tolerance Clock

J. Hamilton Isaacs – Tolerance Clock

2.19.19 by Tony Lien

Modular compositions built with complex melody in mind are increasingly rare in the experimental electronic world — being that not only is it tempting to just let lawless noise rule the day, but it’s often incredibly difficult to create patches that cooperate on a melodic level. I do not own a modular system myself, so I’m purely basing this off of what I’ve read and what I’ve been told by modular enthusiasts.

Regardless of whether or not you believe this sentiment to be true, the modular music of J. Hamilton Isaacs’ “Tolerance Clock” (available on cassette via Iowa experimental label Warm Gospel) is something to be admired.

Honestly, I think this may be my favorite modular album to date.

The songs build upon themselves from nothing, layer upon layer of arpeggiated bleeps and bloops fitting together in a Tetris-like fashion that almost seems visible if you close your eyes when listening. Interestingly, chopped-up vocal samples occasionally replace more typical modular sounds and lead the compositions into that very particular ‘post-Internet’ territory often championed by Orange Milk Records (see track 3 — especially the last couple of minutes).

Not only do the songs work together to form an almost audiobook-worthy narrative of sorts, but the transitions from section to section within each track create a story-like experience that very much demands the listener’s complete and undivided attention. Such albums that make a person consciously aware of the full effect being lost or disrespected due to a half-hearted listen are pure audio gold — in my humble opinion.

That being said, the amount of work that likely went into these compositions is both dizzying and inspiring — especially considering that these tracks were (I believe) all recorded live. Someday, I plan on venturing into the world of modular. I can only hope to produce something half as hypnotizing and, simply put, cool.

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Tabs Out | Episode #139

Purelle - Gotta Have It! (GALTTA)
Synthetic Love Dream - The Royal Scotsman (GALTTA)
Herbcraft - split w/ ML Wah (Crash Symbols)
Inez Lightfoot - split w/ Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier (Stunned)
ASPS - Master Was Not Perturbed (Mayonnaise Glaze)
Caloia / Charuest / Fousek - Maps to Hands (Astral Spirits)
Cop Jokes - split w/ Inconvenience Store (self released)
Actual Pearls - Klepht Nest (Single Girl Married Girl)
Bending Spirit - Flower Moon (Boudoir)
Boreal Network - Itasca Road Trip (Illuminated Paths)
Euglossine - Coriolis (Hausu Mountain)
Morgan & Dilloway - Color Changing Knife (Deceptions Order Blank)

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Tabs Out | Cameron, Dockery, & Hipólito – Organ

Cameron, Dockery, & Hipólito – Organ

2.15.19 by Ryan Masteller

What does it look like to field an all-star team? Let’s see how Self Sabotage Records does it:

Lisa Cameron: Drummer in ST 37, Suspirians; serial collaborator; Ganjisland (w/ Raquel Bell); Venison Whirled

Lee Dockery (aka R. Lee Dockery): A Bourdon of Bees; Matamoros (with Derek Rodgers); runs the Somatic label

Daniel Hipólito (aka Smokey Emery): artist and photographer (see cover image); releases on Self Sabotage, Holodeck Records, Chondritic Sound, and others.

That’s like the Denver Broncos of ambient drone.

The trio knocked out “Organ” together in Austin on the eve (so to speak) of Daniel Hipólito’s relocation to LA for art school, a decision he BETTER NOT be regretting right now (Daniel’s mother did not return my emails for comment, although this is probably what she was thinking). Their live improv electronics here unfold like thick waves of feedback, oscillating and swirling in dangerous whirlpools at one moment, twinkling like moonlight on the forest floor at others. It’s at once exhilarating and relaxing, and they should do it again (who’s buying Daniel his bus ticket?).

The further you get into “Organ,” the more it becomes part of you, the more it overcomes your senses and penetrates any conscious effort, so that whatever you’re doing is fully clouded by the “Organ” experience. That’s exactly what you want in this type of situation, an ambient recording that doesn’t fade into the background. Cameron, Dockery, and Hipólito don’t let that happen, foregrounding enough sonic interest that you’re compelled to focus on the result. So it’s not crazy for me to call “Organ” a “sumptuous treat, a tactile atmosphere bursting with color and delight as it illuminates fresh environments and promotes uninhibited and novel thought.” (Quotation marks for easy cutting and pasting – who’s NOT gonna want to use that in a future press kit???)

Grab a tape from Self Sabotage’s Big Cartel shop, and stream it below.

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Tabs Out | Proud/Father – Symbolic Exchange and Emptiness

Proud/Father – Symbolic Exchange and Emptiness

2.14.19 by Tony Lien

Simply put, there’s a staggering amount of ambient/soundscape/drone albums out there — and an unfortunate number of them just aren’t worth listening to. It’s a genre that can easily be exploited by the lazy or the uninspired — due to both the ease at which the music can be made and the generally low cost involved in its production. I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again now. I’ll probably even say it a couple more times in the not too distant future.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s discuss what makes the good ambient/soundscape/drone albums worth our time — as listeners.

When it comes to this (sometimes challenging) genre, I feel that a story (or at the very least, a theme) is essential to the creation of a compelling album. What would Brian Eno’s “Ambient 1: Music For Airports” be without the inherent imagery of stagnant terminals, buzzing fluorescent lights and weary travelers’ faces? Just this little bit of extra effort — outside of the music itself — can do wonders for album’s overall effectiveness and emotional impact.

This all comes to mind for me when experiencing “Symbolic Exchange and Emptiness by Proud/Father — most definitely one of the good ones.

The tape’s liner notes read: “The first side is a reflection of isolation, both physical and emotional, from depression and similar mental health disorders… The second side is an exploration of the fading Boricua culture and the history of Puerto Rican independence movements.”

Just those few sentences alone tell a story that traces and illuminates the contours of the tape’s surprising amount of sounds and textures that whisper gently through the warbles and hiss. Soft wind that blows through open windows at night. Lonely lullabies. The endless vibrations of nearby urban traffic. Uneasy dreams. A colorless world that plays on like an old silent movie. Voices drowned and unintelligible — lost to ignorance, apathy, or clueless governmental administrations.

It does you a minimal amount of good merely reading a brief description of such a towering, beautiful album.  As of writing this, there are still five copies of “Symbolic Exchange and Emptiness” left via the always thoughtful Orb Tapes (out of central Pennsylvania). Give them your money and allow Proud/Father to tell you a story.

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Tabs Out | No Rent Records shares samples from upcoming tapes

No Rent Records shares samples from upcoming tapes

2.13.19 by Mike Haley

No Rent Records has stacked up a formidable catalog since it’s rehabilitation just few years back. With their upcoming five tapes (or “jawns” being that they are located in Philly now) No Rent will smash through the 100 release mark. The lineup is quite a party:

NRR97: Mukqs
NRR98: Rusalka
NRR99: Climax Denial
NRR100: Lt. Col. Cooter
NRR101: Paranoid Time

The tapes will be available in February, starting on the 19th with Mukqs. For now you can go Black Mirror style and watch these videos on loop until you pass out.

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Tabs Out | HAWN – For a Ride

HAWN – For a Ride

2.13.19 by Ryan Masteller

What did we do to deserve this? We weren’t that good, were we? We’ve grumbled a lot, acted pretty cynical, didn’t do a good job with voting for government, called each other some names that are gonna be pretty hard to take back (in fact, you should see my Twitter PM thread with TO HQ). And yet here we are with HAWN (no relation), and their latest tape “For a Ride.” See, HAWN not only released their tape on one of the coolest tape labels going at the moment (Strategic Tape Reserve, both a personal and Tabs Out–wide favorite), the duo also features vocalist Michael Jeffrey Lee, who also happens to be half of Budokan Boys, whose “That’s How You Become a Clown” tape on Tymbal last year landed HIGH AS HECK on my 2018 personal lists and also HIGH AS HECK on Tabs Out’s Top 200 Tapes list. You don’t take that lightly – we’re tastemakers around here.

Hopefully all this Budokan love doesn’t detract from Lee’s partner in crime in HAWN, the illustrious John Craun, who not only has a name that rhymes with HAWN but also has the synth game DAWN … er, DOWN, in this crew, “crossing hot wires in the cold mortuary of tradition since 2010.” I wish I had written that, but I didn’t. I WILL write something along the lines of, “HAWN done good on tapes today,” but … no, that description doesn’t hold a candle. Still, when we compile our 2019 lists, we should remember to look all the way back to January to ensure we accurately capture “For a Ride” in our archives for posterity, ’cause we’d be fools not to.

“For a Ride” is definitely a tale of two personalities vying for attention but instead weaving around one another’s contributions, sharing the songwriting spotlight like well-behaved musicians who don’t complain every time somebody crams their awesome vocal take with like a million tracks of backing vocals. (Sorry, that one was on me. Personal experience.) Here, Craun prepares the foundation of sometimes delicate, sometimes swerve-y electronics, heavy, glitchy, fully textured, creating the mood, laying the groundwork. Lee arrives in all his Joel RL Phelps-meets-Craig Wedren glory, undaunted, telling tale after NOLA tale in the heat and the haze. Is there a story about the legend of Tommylee Lewis and that devil Nickell Robey-Coleman? Shh, shh. Time will tell.

Speaking of stories, there’s also this little nugget: “The album is dedicated to Alex Chilton, who, in the last decade of his life, would occasionally appear at the Thai restaurant where Craun and Lee worked to order a Pad Thai, with beef” … which of course is a WAY BETTER story than me running into Annie Lennox at the grocery store that one time. See? Look at me, still grumbling. For no reason.

“For a Ride” is available in an edition of 70 from STR – be sure to just buy, like, everything that’s still available on the Bandcamp page.

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Tabs Out | Yves Malone – Beyond the Before

Yves Malone – Beyond the Before

2.12.19 by Ryan Masteller

Just because we know what to expect doesn’t mean we can’t act surprised, am I right? Yves Malone is a household name now, an institution, and it seems crazy that he hasn’t already released something on PDX’s Never Anything Records. Although the reclusive maestro can usually be found in his studio way out in the woods somewhere (which was unmitigated hell to wire for electricity and internet), soldering away at circuit boards and plugging various patch cables into various equipment holes, he still manages to lift his head fairly often to eject a new musical release into the “scene.” These of course get gobbled up by eagle-eyed consumers hunting down the most hilarious Twitter memes, algorithms colliding in sheer fortune as an audience is “cultivated.” Whatever that means. Yves Malone is the shit.

Maybe it’s because there’s a cross-section of cynically humor-minded folks that find solace in that very cynicism, and Malone’s work can act as a soundtrack for it. Maybe it’s because escape into Malone’s soundworlds is the only outlet for the daily frustration of daily frickin’ frustration. Maybe it’s because you just watched a good genre movie (sci-fi, horror, suspense) and you realize that the new Yves Malone tape you just got in the mail would be a good alternate soundtrack. And it would be – “Beyond the Before” is a creepy and synthy and otherworldly in its high-tech postmillennium tension, ratcheting up nerves while it slinks, trying to avoid attention but not doing a very good job of it as it goes about its nefarious business. Think about it: what if John Carpenter had scored “Annihilation” instead of Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow, and then released it on Holodeck instead of Lakeshore?

Seriously: think about that for a while.

Then listen to “Beyond the Before,” edition of 50, which you can get from Never Anything right now. High-quality label, that Never Anything.

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Tabs Out | Hunted Creatures – Sleep Weed

Hunted Creatures – Sleep Weed

2.11.19 by Tony Lien

Hunted Creatures is a supergroup of sorts — consisting of White Reeves Productions label heads Micah Pacileo/Ryan Emmett and earth/vessel member Jeremy Yamma. All distinctive noise artists in their own rights, these three dudes have pooled their respective talents together in a cauldron and conjured something quietly magical.

Behold “Sleep Weed.”

The album is so deliciously lo-fi it feels wrong to listen to it on a computer — which I tried after letting it play through on my tape deck. Consider this the first of two instants in which I implore you to buy the physical version of this album.

Tone-wise, the music reminds me of the soundtracks used in 1970s-era nature/science documentaries I used to watch in middle school on VHS. In this sense, the nostalgic element of classic Vaporwave stuff is present. There’s even sort of a meta-Vaporwave moment near the end of the album when the first track is slowed down slightly and repurposed as the sixth track. An unnameable eerie element permeates these tracks as well — but only in that special way strange dreams tend to be eerie. Nocturnal logic abounds.

The overall fabric of the album is held together not only by the music itself but also by Tim Thornton’s (label owner of Suite 309 and the singular mind behind experimental electronic project Tiger Village) mastering work. The unity of sound he was able to achieve is something to be celebrated.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that this is an aptly named album. You have a 100% chance of enjoying this music if you’re listening to it in a dark room whilst smoking weed and attempting to drift off into a warm slumber.

Honestly though, you have a 100% chance of enjoying it no matter what. I’ve been a sober guy for a long while now, and it still struck me just as hard as it would have otherwise. As of writing this, there are seven copies remaining on the White Reeves Productions Bandcamp page. There’s my second ‘buy this tape’ plug. Don’t sleep on it.

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