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Tabs Out | Rose Bolton – The Lost Clock

Rose Bolton – The Lost Clock

11.30.21 by Matty McPherson

Important Records is finally making more pro-tape considerations regarding the viability of releasing tape editions of albums on their main front. It’s been a welcome boon for any burgeoning Pauline Oliveros disciple, although it shouldn’t detract from keeping one’s eye on the prize, the label’s tape-curated Cassauna imprint. Rose Bolton recently passed through with The Lost Clock, a 4-song release clocking in around 36 minutes. The Toronto-based composer’s work over two decades has found her working with between Owen Pallet to Jerusalem in My Heart, in a space occupied between 8-speaker drone installations worthy of an odyssey, alongside austere, pointed orchestrations and soundtracks. This release naturally continues to expand on the welcoming crevices that kind of range brings to the table. It is a craft piece of punctilious ambient drones that impart ample imagery.

Both sides A and B open with conciser tracks (Unsettled Souls and Starless Night, respectively) that serve as primers for their respective longform pairings. Bolton’s work has been called impressionistic, which Unsettled Souls quite splendidly confirms. Clattering about, the track features crystalline cymbals that paint echoey chasms as much as desert skies; paired with the synthesizer drone, you can almost sense a fast moving plane overhead. A tidy teaser for the title track. Submerged drum beats ping like radar flashes–something lurches. It’s a precise pairing with synthesizer drones worthy of a low-flying panic attack–low flying because Bolton allows the piece to extend naturally, taking a slow simmer that suddenly has hit boiling. Yet, there’s an adherence to letting the subtleness stretch–it never quite feels like it may go over the edge. 

Starless Night picks up side B, with a percussive that sounds as much as rainy patterning as a rube goldberg in its terminal phase. It cuts out and cuts back in, creating a snipping pattern that I often jumped slightly between the back frequencies of a speaker. Center stage is still a darkened omnibus droney bass. The Heaven Mirror meanwhile, closes the show up with the most impactful, brooding amalgamation, The piano keys and swooning pan effect stumble forward. Underneath it all? Why it’s Bolton’s stalwart droning synth. Acting as a wearisome springboard, it brings out hallowed strings that truly evoke the unsettled souls of above.

The album’s evocative sulking has become a welcome reprieve from the industrial malice and ambient drifts that I’ve found myself stuck in. Bolton’s The Lost Clock is eerie in a masterful sense. It decisively documents the small peaks and valleys of panic before letting it fizzle out, unsolved yet still deeply disquieting. Sometimes, that’s the most devious type of horror.

Edition of 100 Sold Out from the Cassauna Web Page

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Tabs Out | Derek Monypeny – Unjust Intonation

Derek Monypeny – Unjust Intonation

11.29.21 by Matty McPherson

There really isn’t anything to the desert snapshots I took back in January when I passed through Joshua Tree with my family. When I look at them, I’m filled with a sense of awe as much as isolation, the vastness that fills the film from this disposable camera. It’s an environment that welcomes someone like Derek Monypeny and the hypnagogic fiddling he brings to a guitar and some reverb and time effect pedals here on Unjust Intonation. For the uninitiated, Monypeny has played around with a litany of cool cats (and he’ll even being touring the cool out-of-the-way spots across the West Coast in January), all the while traversing through a form of minimalism that evokes ambient house while evading the chill out zones. It’s environmental music well suited to the natural architecture of Joshua Tree.


Unjust Intonation a four part suite (also subtitled the Poorly Tuned Guitar) that sees Monypeny concocting a pleasant chord with his guitar, turning it into drone and then allowing it full reign. It works as a piece of functionatory music where Monypeny is allowed to be at once an observer to the machinations on shorter parts as much as a manipulator in longer ones. In part one, it feels like sun spots sparkling off of desert canyons, while part two could function as a field recording of an underground cave and groundwater flowing–until Monypeny lets a jarring rip shingle across the stately affairs. Different textures plop through part two, pushing towards a reverent kind of abyss (one that also can be heightened via combining a hit of indica and using a book to feel gravitys pull).

Part Three steams and vents its way deep into the dirt, turning the soundscape into a type of meta-recording of a medicine bowl. It snarls and drones, losing that initial focus until it seizes itself as a kind of internal alarm that fades into black. And then that brings us to the infinite star crossed sky that part 4 brings to mind. Here, you kinda feel all the previous 20ish minutes weave themselves into a more omnibus kind of cohesion. Much to my pleasure, it is here where Monypeny really evokes Hali Palombo, albeit by staying and weaving this out to ten minutes of drifting, not just highlighting a snippet of a cylinder.

Limited Edition Cassette Available from the Trouble in Mind Explorers Series

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Tabs Out | Scathing – Strawman Rising

Scathing – Strawman Rising

11.26.21 by Jacob DeRaadt

Scathing is the solo work of Kenny Brieger, hailing from Alice, Texas. The project has had multiple releases this year on labels like Hostile 1, Oxen, and New Forces. This release finds Brieger utilizing more field recordings to interrupt flow, without having a “cut-up” feel to it that one might associate with Developer or Endo works. There are no pauses in the attack, just fast-paced harsh noise that has my ears standing at attention for all 20 minutes of this ripper. Right out of the gate, this beast goes straight for the throat. 

Side one gets into some really cool pixelated digital moments that dissolve within seconds. Stuttering moves into blast zones with wah-wah feedback and static dysentery. Fucking hell, it is inspiring to hear noise thatIi can’t name a piece of gear that’s being used.  Scathing has its own language and way of perverting your sense of linear time.

The listener is treated to very unique shredding textures, constant movement, a tape that demands repeat listening to unlock the secrets of deft juxtapositions. Groaning vocals peaking up in spots in the mix, metal objects scraped and smashed into oblivion. American harsh noise at its best. Alternately unhinged and restrained at various moments on this all-too-short document of a project that provides quantity and quality simultaneously.  Great presentation and artwork by the label as well. My dick is standing at attention, and this tape must be gripped immediately by all heads.

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Tabs Out | Teevee – The Sweats

Teevee – The Sweats

11.24.21 by Matty McPherson

“WE ARE LOCATED IN RURAL ILLINOIS WITH LIMITED ACCESS TO THE PO. WE SHIP ITEMS ONCE A WEEK” is about all the information you’re gonna find on the Manic Static website page regarding what their mission is or what they release. Bandcamp and other information is thin and I’m not being paid by the word (or at all) so end of sentence. That being said, the label’s decade plus of lo-fi punk and pop majesty speaks for itself. Early Lala Lala, Melkbelly, Control Top, Wednesday, and (of course noted stalwart) The Funs have all passed through and released proof-of-concept tapes that go above and beyond. Details on these releases may be sparse and the art is willfully abstracted that you might mistake it for death metal or death drone. Yet somehow, they have pushed each act towards a seat at second and first tier indies. Whatever is being cultivated, is clearly and inherently of note. By the heads and for the heads.

So, that brings us to today’s half hour of lo-fi punk with pop inclinings, The Sweats. It’s a 2020 album reissued by Manic Static back in March. It was made by a duo credited as Teevee (DH and WM are the only initials provided; although further research brings up Dylan Hyman & Woody Moore). It has enough strum n’ thrummery and K Records throwback to knock your socks off. The formula is genuinely simple: girl-group melodies, warm n’ fuzzy guitar and slight thumping drums (to prove no one is sleeping here), as well as an airing of grievances/listing of dailies. All in an uptempo, syncopated manner that recalls bits of the no-frills production of personal favorites Privacy Issues and Sweeping Promises (who’s 2020 crackerjack effort recently received a tape pressing). It’s here where the emphasis is placed on how minimal elements can really transcend a garage-type showspace into a full-blown vibe. 

And while I’ve never been in a garage at the same time and place as Teevee, it brings me an immense amount of joy at how… familiar yet encompassing these tracks are. “Resolve” is a classic fuzz n’ buzz piece of guitar pop, with syncopated stops that suck all the air out of my ears. “Hologram” has all the sudden-left turns of classic Amps, running through a litany of melodies and tempos that steadily build to a crushing climax. “Pretty People” is all tantalizing guitar swirls recalling the punchdrunk pleasures of house parties AND county fair tilt-a-whirls! “Holidaze” sneaks in a carnivorous bass line to absorb darkness before cutting to black and Side B takes over. Over on that end, Teevee continue pulling out lo-fi nuggets like its tricks out of a bag. “No Good” dances with a phaser effect, while “Taste Blood” mumbles out the pains of existing past ex-friends and fantastical daydreams. And even Resolve returns to close things out, shedding its skin and making the cut as a droney minimal wave!

I know I said earlier I wasn’t being paid by the word (or at all) here, but I kinda need all the words I can to describe this duo because these tracks are totally analog and the Bandcamp page for it is MIA! But man do they know how to bring the heat!

An edition of 100 is up for grabs at Manic Static’s bigcartel page

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Tabs Out | Tara Jane O’Neil – Dispatches from the Drift

Tara Jane O’Neil – Dispatches from the Drift

11.23.21 by Matty McPherson

There’s a heavenly sound (Tara Jane O’Neil, improvising on the keys) emanating from the boombox a few rooms over right now; it’s the kind of sound of a still, foggy grey morning. Maybe you’d think it church music or the soundtrack to a cavernous caper on TCM at 7:46. Nevertheless, it’s always the classic thoughtful probings of Tara Jane O’Neil. TJO’s latest, Dispatches from the Drift, follows her 2010s folk odysseys and synth explorations. Yet, Dispatches finds the old folk maverick and bass superstar in a decisively laid back modus operandus. 

Having come to the tape from her Kranky and K records releases, this release is more of a unique outlier than an outright pivot. TJO’s improvisations on the piano lean towards the baroque and while they never betray her intimacy, they do feel smaller, for lack of a better term. “Use them however you like” is TJO’s only request. As such, I turned them into furniture music and went off onto my own blissed out drift. It is a genuine blast letting the music travel from rooms over and let the sounds mutate into ancillary narcotics of their own accord. Not every sound here is clear exactly why its on the tape, yet this act of honesty and openness is a worthy adventure.. With TJO, you are literally hanging out with a musician who has a way of blurring the emotive lines subtly and meticulously–this hour of material is no different, its effects just are more spaced out. Track titles and the overarching differences between pieces were less the focus than just admiring the open-armed melancholy as much as pleasant ambivalence that these pieces saunter through. That’s not to say you shouldn’t read the titles or will even find this tape carrying sounds of dismay. It’s a utilitarian, seamless kind of affair in this droney bliss or drugged down dreams.

200 pro dub Super Ferric(!) tapes in clear, imprinted shells with three color, Risograph-printed photo j-cards packaged in black & white Norelco cases available at the Tara Jane O’Neil bandcamp page

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Tabs Out | —__–___ – The Heart Pumps Kool-Aid

—__–___ – The Heart Pumps Kool-Aid

1.1.21 by Matty McPherson

I think I was most gripped by that bloody cover. That Bumblebee Mannequin Ghoul isn’t an anomaly; they haunt swap meets of all shapes and deals. But this one (based on a photo) has that same visceral impact that the viral tweet of a degraded Chuck E Cheese animatronic gave me from a while back. Not quite sure how to describe that feeling of that naked corporate pizza mouse character–a tear between a real Junker’s Delight and a grade-A example of the Refinement of the Decline. Sonically, Orange Milk releases are usually good extrapolations of such debris that surfaces on the digital scroll. That the label’s overarching sounds parallel such things that fly through our digital feeds lends an easy shorthand, used too leniently. It is true that they do operate where language and synchronicity falter in a way sound can truly collapse into bonafide feeling.

The Heart Pumps Kool-Aid is a collaboration between maverick goofballs Seth Graham and More Eaze. Yes, their project is literally called  —__–___ and it likely requires apt usage of proper enunciation of “beeps and boops” if you want to request it on the radio. If you know both of their work, then the elements of mumble type pop beats n’ croons, Astral Spirits free noise, and somber digital ambiance is likely a good friend of yours. If you don’t, well the best way I can describe this album is that it seamlessly mixes these characteristics into a full concept piece. 

In fact, it is so seamless that everytime I listen to this half hour, I end up letting it fill the room, trying to take in every tiptoeing key and thousand yard stare of a string. It has been there for me most mornings, as I clean the kitchen, whipping up microwave oatmeal that I proceed to dump coffee all over; arguably this is the most ideal time to digest the depth of this project. Unlike most Orange Milk releases, this one carries wrinkles of a humdrum dawn, a stark pre-conscious clarity that works its way through your nostrils until you’ve come to your senses.

In a way, it is in the same spiritual wheelhouse as Giant Claw’s 2021 ECM New Series inversion, Mirror Guide. A stiller complement to that album’s (horny) frenzy, it too eschews at the fabric of classic orchestration, by often focusing on friend’s commissions that push towards sonic peripheries. There’s the embrace of fringe genres that ropes in Rob fecking Magil’s world of drone and recovery girl black metal outbursts with open arms. Taken in tandem with cello, xylophone, and vocal harmonies that flash like fireworks, it’s a creative goldmine. That does not even account for proxy.exe’s piercing spoken word piece, rock bottom ohio, which is a frank, unabashed detailing of survival. 

All in all, what’s mended together is brevitous in a way I don’t expect from Orange Milk. The Heart Pumps Kool Aid is a constructivist epigraph for whatever the fuck it means to wake up and know you live in America, a neon junkyard of cultural amnesia. It evokes an energy that comes as close as anything in recent memory to Lucas Foster’s sorely missed writings. Might you find yourself wandering through it on a tantalizing fall morning.

Available at fine retailers stocking Orange Milk

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Tabs Out | Mot – Defect

Mot – Defect

11.10.21 by Jacob DeRaadt

Mot is the sound world of Canadian visual artist Paul Van Trigt, whose art has been spreading like wildfire in the noise underground, gracing covers of labels worldwide. First side opens with some lo-fi turntable abuse interspersed with ripping physical textures, some stop and start punctuated with what sounds like digital delay feedback and a mangled vocal sample. Overlapping tape loops of low-end drones and scrap metal melodies. Great elements, some good movement, nothing overstaying its welcome.

The second side is where things really start to get into a groove. Shrill feedback tones bouncing in and out of a spinning vortex. …Silence…  Underwater movements are evoked by contact mic’d textures with a filmy bass tone sitting on top like pond muck. Junk metal and feedback slowly coming up in the mix, then a quick shift to more junk metal and drones that evoke violins on downers. Best parts of this tape are the scrap metal abuse and hovering drones. Looking forward to more from this project.

First edition sold out.
Second edition sold out.
From Cruel Symphonies.

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Tabs Out | Asemix – s/t

Asemix – s/t

11.8.21 by Matty McPherson

“Where I End and You Begin” is both the title of a Radiohead track as much as it is the perennial descriptor phrase when talking about Asemix’s legendary debut Asemix. More Eaze and Nick Zanca came from two vastly different spheres. They may have never met in the flesh to date, yet they’ve struck up a collaborative partnership over COVID, intermingling through the ol’ Slovenian TMT-affiliated outpost Warm Winter Ltd. Their debut features both of their respective sound palettes (Zanca has left heady breadcrumbs regarding the pop and sonic influences) in such a seamless lock that radiates a luminescent quality to it.

The blurring of the lines between the two leaves the album in a floaty, spacious black hole. It’s a space where improvisation and rehearsed composition, as well as minimalism and maximalism could be one and the same. Their long form pieces were crafted out of field recordings and synth odysseys and other various dirges thrown through digital patches. When it came out on the other side, it unexpectedly carries that feeling of a dialogue from a distant starship’s black box. One that is all shiny and computer controlled–but just absolutely on the fritz of collapsing in on its own coded responses. Scatterbrained, in the good way.

It even recalled Dainel Wyche’s “The Last Flight of the Voidship Remainder,” but that was a loud guitar-based sonic music–and my comparison is more chance coincidence than surefire fact. Zanca and Maurice are DAW-heads and their synth oriented bleeps n’ bloops can more often than not move down tantalizing low-end oriented pathways. The way a ghostly aberration forms out of the lights of “Phantom Lung,” how those synths rupture and bubble on “Rehearsal Earthquake,” how an underlying bass line channels into a crescendo on “Communal Nude,” even the overarching manner as to how damn whirly the tape sounds! It all moves it beyond a mere monotonous exercise and into a subconscious deep listening exercise. There is a brevity and curiosity imbued that makes it one of the most enticing emo-ambient listens in recent memory.

Edition of 100 sold out at Warm Winter Ltd. Badncamp! But maybe wait for a spare copy to drop from Nick or Mari

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Tabs Out | Kadaver – Mouthful of Agony

Kadaver – Mouthful of Agony

11.5.21 by Jacob DeRaadt

While I was listening to this tape, released on Syracuse’s Cruel Symphonies back in the summer, the fan unit on our air conditioning unit began to draw in air that reeked of burnt rubber. Perhaps it was a nasal analog to the thick auditory assault crumbling about in my headphones. 

After hearing a Kadaver / Astro split and watching some YouTube videos, it seems the project employs two different tactics on releases:

-Thick, slowly deteriorating bass-heavy slabs of crackling static that avoid the “wall” tag

or

-Pounding decayed industrial / post-mortem electronics

The first approach is on display here. It helps that the duplication and mastering on this is decent, allowing a clear perusal of a very muddy painting. Two-thirds of the way through the first side the muck starts to break up, and bits of incinerated flesh, torn by mechanical threshers, start falling to the ground. A mangled sample of female vocals cuts all of this short. Dead Body Love and OVMN come to mind after giving these textures a few listens. I’m most engaged with the material when it feels like it’s coming apart at the seams rather than dredging up miles of bass muck.

Some parts of side B hang out for a while and don’t do very much for me, although the sputtering ending that ends with disembodied vocals immersed in a soup of high-end static is right up my alley. 

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