New Batch – Rotifer
4.26.17 by Mike Haley
Ding! Two orders of Rotifer up and ready for ingestion. The 99th and milestone 100th release from the label utilize contrasting zones and maneuvers to tantalize that state-of-the-art brain of yours, but both get the job done in their own special ways.
Handling burnished beats and borrowed sounds from the worlds of hip hop and soul is VV005, a Nevada City, CA resident with their first physical release “Lagrano Ruins.” The 42 minute debut is a collection of marginally modified samples, shuffled together into blurry, beat-based compositions. The cover image of juggler handling torches and blades (and a shark?) couldn’t be a more detached comparison to the mellow vibes held within. “Lagrano Ruins” is a total relaxer.
Back for a fifth round on the label is Estonia’s Ratkiller, the left field electronics project of Mihkel Kleis, full of ticks, caffeinated quirks, and squirmy, oddball movements. Ratkiller has a spirited way of bobbing around the audio color wheel, making pinning them down into a set category a difficult task. The sounds are consistently animated and interested though, that is for sure.
Both tapes are editions of 40 and available from Rotifer Cassettes in a silky smooth batch deal!
Cabo Boing – Blob On A Grid
4.25.17 by Mike Haley
It’s understandable to wonder, perhaps at length, what alternate plane of existence “Blob On A Grid” leaked from. Surely it wasn’t created in this one. Yet it was, that is precisely Haord Records‘ bag after all. From the totally bugged-out assortment on their “Haord’s Bunchla” compilation to the sugary peculiarity of Macula Dog, Jimmy Sanchez & His Crystal Balls, Jake Tobin, and others, Haord have been turning over rocks in caves and climbing to the top of the tallest truffula trees in search of audio extraordinariness. Their latest disclosure is a dozen bounca-whirl songs from Cabo Boing.
If Mark Mothersbaugh had the gumption he would have made “Blob On A Grid” years ago, and it would have soundtracked many a Pee Wee’s Playhouse episodes. Not a single second of it’s eccentric no-wavery antics wouldn’t cozy right up on Chairry’s fluffy cushion. That is fact, not opinion, and in no way open for debate. In reality it was made by Brian Esser of the synth duo Yip-Yip. If we are being honest with each other, and I think we should, I like it much better that way. Splashy imagination is smudged wall-to-wall, no way cowering in the corner, playing coy, only poking out every now and then. It is on full display – nay – on overload. These tunes are dayglo and chafed from perpetual movement. As each track ends, sometimes in under a minute’s time, quick contortions take place so the next can unload it’s enthusiastic energy. Unabashed friskiness scampers into perplexing modes, all pitched-vocals and jagged electronics jerking in unison, backlit by colorful, dynamic textures ready to tweak at a finger’s snap. Get happy.
Stephen Molyneux – Wings and Circles
4.24.17 by Kat Harding
Stephen Molyneux, from Denver, put out a tape in February on No Kings that is a relaxing foray through folky improvisation. “Wings and Circles,” with beautiful radar and map views printed in orange and blue on cream paper, is a work of art both inside and out. A map of the night sky graces the inside of the art work, with the Stuart Friebert quote “My body wants the place where the wings and circles are.”
“Wings and Circles” hums awake with tones from an electric organ. The tape was recorded in a basement, which usually brings dark connotations, but this is a warm and welcoming place. Dulcimer, melodica, pan pipes, banjo, lap steel, and percussion all make appearances in the music. It’s engulfing and relaxing, like a warm summer day, or a thick blanket in the winter. The tones echo and vibrate through the space, with clinking bells punctuating the song randomly, like they’re blowing in a gentle breeze. The track is divided by lengths of silence, but it doesn’t feel like we’re switching songs. It feels like we’re taking a breath before continuing the same track, just a different verse. The gentle purring of the organ carries us through the track and it’s more than 16 minute length is perfect to lull you into a trance.
Side B starts off with sharp banjo and lap steel, already louder than side A, but still relaxed. This is a front-porch pickin’ side, with an adept player experimenting with a familiar instrument. The clear chords disintegrate into humming and echoing, like an amp buzzing after the last verse. At about six minutes in, the organ picks up in full effect, giving serious church procession vibes. While we contemplate our sins, the organ continues, with clanking bells twinkling through. With the organ as the backbone of the song, the track meanders along, adding new sounds layered on top. Both sides add to give you more than thirty minutes of soft organ music to unwind to. Prime listening spots include hammocks, beach towels, couches, beds, or any other place to get a moment’s rest.
Get a copy of the C32, an edition of 100 copies, on Molyneux’s Bandcamp page.
Cassette Label or Weed Strain?
4.20.17 by Mike Haley
For the third year in a row we present the Cassette Label or Weed Strain quiz! Sativa? Indica? Cobalt? Chrome? Try to figure it out by clicking “Start Quiz” and deciding whether the names you see are tape labels or weed strains.
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YUP! Elevator Bath is a tape label.Incorrect
NOPE! Elevator Bath is a tape label.
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A Giant Fern
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Interlaken – Versaux
4.19.17 by Mike Haley
You may be familiar with Chris Donofrio from his solo work as Reviver, or as a member of the duo Arabian Blade. For his debut cassette under the moniker Interlaken, Donofrio has traded in nightmare crunch for marshmallowy patience. “Versaux,” a C30 which is also the debut release for German label Seil, is glazed over with this newfound ambiance, a slow-swishing liquid of sound.
Side A is the calmer of the two. The handful of tracks that make it up maintain a fleecy flow over their 15 minutes. Cashmere patterns layer and web together with a relaxed consensus. No shimmer or gleam attempts to outdo another. They are all total buds that really want to share space on the magic carpet that is being weaved. Side B leans slightly into a zone of more spirited maneuvers, but remains absolutely chill. It opens with a sound mandala swirling around persevering thumps before offering up a an extra crispy synth fantasy, full of illuminated sequences and bassy, jutting tones. While those two cuts don’t exactly sport the same waxy patina as the earlier songs, they still feel right at home. A foggy, evaporated soundscape, as if someone dubbed a dub of a dub of a slowed down version of the Twin Peaks theme song, takes us out of the Interlaken experience. And here we are, left wanting more.
copies of “Versaux” were dubbed up and available from Seil Records.
The Tabs Out Subscription Series is now CLOSED. Tapes will be made to fulfill current subscriptions, then the series will end. No new donations are being accepted. Thanks so much to everyone who participated!
Grab digital versions on our Bandcamp.
Edition of 75. Massive Mass weirdo SGC retools Super NES songs, then invites pals to retool those retoolings. Create your own artwork for maximum pleasure.
Edition of 75. Synth Magic by Dave Doyen recorded live while hang gliding in a no fly zone at exactly midnight.
Look At These Tapes #10
4.14.17 by Tabs Out Crew
Look At These Tapes is a monthly roundup of our favorites in recent cassette artwork and packaging, along with short, stream-of-thought blurbs. Whatever pops into our heads when we look at/hold them. Selections by Jesse DeRosa, Mike Haley, and Scott Scholz.
Supervolcano – The Vault
4.13.17 by Paul Banks
Supervolcano’s “The Vault” is a fascinating, mysterious album. It occurred to me that the point of emphasis here is distance and spacing. The distance here comes into play in a few ways. The final product here, the recording, is quite removed from its original sound source. A meme, of all things, came to mind while listening: in the exploding mind meme, the most “enlightened” approach was a musician creating a tape “by holding a Walkman up to the computer speakers.” While I’m sure that’s not the approach here, the joke raises a question: do we take the recording at face value, or do we simultaneously, subsequently, whatever, consider what methods were used to create the recording, how it sounded before the final treatment?
This is important on “The Vault.” Because, behind the distance between the mics and what was recorded (or the artificially produced distance), under the Gaussian blur, there are instruments. There are rooms. And none of these things sound quite like they sound on this tape. Much like the recent output from the equally mysterious Korea Undok Group, we have what can be appreciated as, when removing context, as what one might imagine a time capsule recording to sound like. It’s decayed, the loops are organic in a way the might indicate degradation and technical failure. Indeed, as the tape progresses, these qualities become increasingly prominent.
If not for the fact that the digital version sounds practically identical to the tape one, it would be possible to consider it possible that the approach in the above meme produced this tape. But these were intentional choices. The aesthetic, rife with obfuscation, patient, and pregnant with hallways and spaces, collapses in upon itself – we were meant to listen because it was released, and yet the alienation is certainly purposeful, if not overwhelming. Outside of the Korea Undok Group output, I can’t think of an album that I immediately reconsidered if I had even paid attention to it (as that’s how fleeting and ephemeral is tries to be), and yet was haunted by it well after its completion.
Copies of this C30 are available from White Reeves Productions.
Flusnoix – s/t
4.12.17 by Kat Harding
Flusnoix, a Montevallo, Alabama-based group of musicians, was founded by Jess Marie Walker and her need to connect drawing and making music. The group’s improvisations were recorded in March 2016 at the Kewahatchee Lounge in Birmingham. Using flusdrawxing and flusvoxing in other performances and art installations lead to the creation of Flusnoix.
It’s hard to tell what’s on the scratchy black and white photo of the cover; we might be in a cave, we might be in a field, and if you stare hard enough, you can make out the shape of a woman in a flowing skirt standing rigidly in the space. The tape opens in the same mysterious way, with sparse tones weaving through space. Gentle plucks and chirps over tones reminiscent of cars driving past an open window fill the air. The next track, “it ran” ramps up the energy, and we do feel we’re on the run, bobbing through quirky needling sounds, like a guitar being played underwater. Put on “into” while getting ready for your next date; it’s a sexy and relaxing track that’ll give you confidence and calmness.
To see these musicians perform together must be quite an experience, as their pieces fit together in the most natural way, as though they’ve been playing together since the dawn of time. To know they’re an improvisational group is to understand the level of talent they have. The more-than-nine-minute track “the garden” is an incredible work, with soft guitar chords picked over sounds straight from outer space. Soft clanking keeps the track out of the anxiety-inducing realm of deep space and firmly grounded. With alien blips and a deep bassline, “harborin” takes us on a wild ride through time. The tape closes with “mur mur in,” a sweet, almost tropical sounding tune that closes on a high note.
The whole tape is perfect, relaxing music. With mysterious tones and easy-to-listen to experimentation, this should be your choice of sunny day listening. Get a copy of yours from the Sweet Wreath Bandcamp.
Phern – Cool Coma
4.11.17 by Ryan Durfee
I was really excited to check out this tape by Montreal’s Phern after finding out a member of Each Other was involved. I absolutely loved their “Being Elastic” album from 2k14. The story goes that an unemployed Hélène Barbier (who also plays in the excellent Moss Lime) invited Ben Lalonde over one afternoon to see what they could jam out. They invited a veritable who’s who of Montreal weirdo rock to round out the arsenal and created a supergroup greater than it’s individual bands.
“Cool Coma” is a wonderfully off kilter pop record full of angular DC hooks and slack art rock quirkiness. You’ll hear influences of Deerhoof, Rapider Than Horsepower, Ulysses Hellier, or any of the lineup’s daytime bands. Phern recorded the album over the course of a year, and the songs appear in the order in which they were written. Opening with the insanely catchy Excavator, “Cool Coma” immediately makes it’s agenda known with Curtians-esque guitar lines lazily chiming, allowing ample room for Hélène’s surrealist poetry to run rampant. The track Moving Boxes pulls in Elephant 6 sensibilities, refracted through Dischord-iscisms. One of my favorite songs on here is Crosswalk Talk, exuding 5rc cool with it’s fractured poly-rhythms & nods to the dancefloor. The whole album is a fantastically fun record and gets me really excited about what these cats will put out in the future.
Cop this from Fixture Records.
Korean Jade – Exotics
4.10.17 by Mike Haley
Cloaked in low-res black & white conceptual imagery, with perhaps a small visual nod to “Pulse Demon” by Merzbow, comes “Exotics.” This seven cut C30ish by Korean Jade acts like a medicated liniment. It’s flexible drones and swerving patterns rub on like a lotion, but with enough coarseness to cause friction and heat when applied. I don’t know who is behind the Korean Jade name, but whether they were going for beauty trapped in crud, or crud trapped in beauty, they got there. Like the artwork, the sounds on “Exotics” also have a low resolution, lending a satisfying matte finish to the overall production. The occasional scaly tail of mutant techno will take a swipe at ya here and there, but it’s bread and butter is synths bending and blinking in a thick fog. Don’t fear! It’s reassuring fog. Not a too scary fog like from that movie The Children I watched when I was far too young.
A white shell with a single black smudge of black paint rounds out the colorless presence of “Exotics,” a more than decent offering of crisp ambiance awash in graininess. Grip one of the 30 copies dubbed from Plush Organics.
Unguent – Simulation Of A Bat Engulfed In Acid
3.30.17 by Mike Haley
I haven’t watched an episode of Fraggle Rock in a few decades, so I had to hit up MuppetWiki for a reminder of what those tiny green worker things were called. My guess was Goobers, but I knew that wasn’t right. Doozers is what they are called. In case you need a refresher, or have never seen Fraggle Rock before, Doozers are an all-work/no-play race of 6″ tall creatures heavily invested in the field of construction. They spend their days building structures out of Doozer Sticks (thin, transparent rods made of radish dust) that the Fraggles can’t control themselves from eating, which is a total dick move when you think about it for a split second.
I bring that up because “Simulation Of A Bat Engulfed In Acid”, the new C40 by Unguent on Refulgent Sepulchre, sounds like it was made by Doozers. Getting past the clear shell, obviously fashioned from Doozer Sticks, the sounds are totally Doozerish. You’re immediately nudged and pricked by a shoveling of pint-sized zaps, most of which existing only to sting your tush then belly flop back into the couch cushions. At times it’s almost a menacing experience, like… Why is this tape doing this to me? Basically a random splurge of circuit shoving that sometimes sounds like the tape is shaving itself into ribbon. The only breather from that pixel blast is when the bloops and screeps gang up to create spurts of gummy patterns; Doozer dance-off’s possibly? I don’t know, but I like it a good deal.
It should be noted that this tape was NOT created by Doozers, but instead a Philadelphian by the name of Lance who also runs Refulgent Sepulchre. Lance was kind enough to make 100 copies of “Simulation Of A Bat Engulfed In Acid” and a few other killer releases, all available here.
Dan Walsh – Fixity
3.23.17 by Kat Harding
Out on Ireland’s KantCope comes Dan Walsh’s “Fixity.” Dan’s the drummer of Great Balloon Race and the tape is his latest foray into production and composition. Released in summer 2016, the jazzy improvised and experimental tape is perfect for these flashes of winter we’re experiencing now in March. Sit by a fire, gaze out of the window, and let Dan’s controlled chaos warm you up and take you away.
With five songs on side A, there is a lot going on. The tape breaks open with “Hungry Clouds,” which gives the feeling of the calm before the storm. A mysterious bass line and rolling drums drive the song along, picking up low murmurings of lyrics and a plucked guitar along the way. We get to relax a bit with the following track “stigmatostigmata,” a meandering and calming track, breathing softly through improvisations and jazzy tones. Every track shows the pure artistry of the instrumentalists, crashing together and pulling apart, feeling highly improvised but at the same time, like the musicians have played together for years. Dan on the drums is the backbone of each track, with bass, guitar, and saxophone building up and around the sound, pushing each song further into contained pandemonium. The last track on the side, “Blue Paint,” is a more than eight minute jam, sure to raise your heart rate and pull your attention from anything else in the room. An ethereal chorus hums life into the song, sounding like angels from on high while the drums quicken. The song breaks down into the pops and crackles of electrical feedback before buzzing out completely. Were we just in heaven or hell?
Side B is just two songs, opening with “damagedgood.” A sweetly strum guitar holds the tune while fuzzy droning swarms behind it. Dan has brought us to the bottom of the ocean and we’re staring up through the clear water to the sunshine above. We’re floating and drifting along, aware of the inherent danger of the open ocean, an anxiety communicated in the background of the song. It comes to the forefront with buzzing growing increasingly louder and more prominent, competing with our trusty guitar, soon overtaking it, the screeching alone closing out the song. “Song for Tree” brings us back to land, grounding us in bass and enveloping us in reverberation. The track is warm and comforting and ends with sparkling tones that fade to silence.
This tape is for fans of experimental music, sure, but also for fans of jazz. It’s chaos coming together in a beautiful way. Pick up the tape now.
Look At These Tapes #9
3.17.17 by Tabs Out Crew
Look At These Tapes is a monthly roundup of our favorites in recent cassette artwork and packaging, along with short, stream-of-thought blurbs. Whatever pops into our heads when we look at/hold them. Selections by Jesse DeRosa, Mike Haley, and Scott Scholz.
Sarin – Just Beat The Devil Out Of It
3.13.17 by Kat Harding
Peering out at you from the front of the cassette is a mysterious grey alien, barely decipherable on the green and black cover, guarding the bright green tape inside. Released on Des Moines’ experimental tape label 5CM Recordings, Sarin’s “Just Beat The Devil Out Of It” is almost 40 minutes of droney, psychedelic improvisation by Matt, Kyle, Kaylee, and Mathias. Recorded in early 2016 and released in August, the tape is nearly 40 minutes of tight listening.
Both sides named after vibrant pigments: Pthalo Green I and II, matching the vibrant green of the cover and the tape. Each side is almost twenty minutes of improvisation ranging from psychedelic to drone to sludge metal. The side starts off with rolling drums, creating a noisy, echoing, drone-filled space. Continuing with anxiety-inducing guitar wails, feedback weaves through the song as it meanders along. A mysterious feeling overtakes around the 8 minute mark, reminiscent of the part of the horror movie where the character doesn’t realize they’re being followed by a monster, but we know. Will they figure it out in time? Probably not. But the song and improvisation continues, even coming together for a brief foray into a jazzy section, with lots of cymbals and a low bass beat. The song picks up speed, screeching around, for one last bit before coming to a halt with one last cymbal crash.
The second begins with industrial reverberation over clanging, moving into a toe-tapping section, that while dark, is more upbeat. The drums are out of control on this song, with heavy-handed smashing and constant cymbals. Continuing into a section of alarm-style tones, the cymbals then throw the song into a section of heavy sludge metal. With seven minutes left, the psychedelic influences reappear, begging to be paired with a projected, swirling light show over a blank wall. The alien repetition evokes outer space and all it’s vast chaos: I’ve never felt like the dense universe would be a peaceful and calming place. The song unravelings into twinkling chimes over pulsating drums and fading to reverb, closing out the song in more of a whimper than a bang — just like the world will end.
Pick up the tape for yourself on 5CM’s bandcamp.
New Batch – Midnight Circles
3.5.17 by Mike Haley
I’m gonna be up front and admit that I have never heard of Midnight Circles, the self described “Xerox-label” from Germany who have been dealing out slimy sounds for several years now, until this latest batch of three arrived at my door. I could ask myself if I’ve been living in a cave, but that wouldn’t account for the oversight, considering most of their offerings sound like they originated in a cave.
C. Reider’s “Chew Cinders” C26 plays like a dusty reel-to-reel found at an estate sale. Ideas of the original content remain intact, but just barely. As bits of strained words warp into swine-like snorts you can only imagine what was initially recorded on the magnetic tape before time and the elements ate away at them. Those antique distortions, with their airy, chalky bias, are met with the occasional synthy snaps, but this tape feels most at home trapped in mold.
Die Neuen IBM is the cassette/synth duo of Chemiefaserwerk and Aaron Yabrov. The series of eight live improvisations on “Berliner Klassik” were recorded in Berlin last year and mingle the very familiar sound of tape hiss and scramble with a music box like delicacy from their Korg MS-20 and Yamaha SY77. The results are a C40 of no coffee / all tea plunges into deep chillness with moderately scratchy interference.
Last in line is “Birch”, a C30 effort from Danny Clay & Greg Gorlan that follows their “Brittle” tape released by Canti Magnetici in 2016 and several other get together’s prior. Gorlan, who has been known to mangle a tape or two (see: Vibrating Garbage, Black Thread, etc) and Clay churn piano melodies into a thick static paste. Notes swirl, rerun, and often go adrift in a sea of hiss. Depending on how you approach it, “Birch” can be a depressant cruise or a momentary escape. It really depends on what elements you focus on. Either way, it is a solid tape.
Each cassette from this batch is rather limited, packaged with fancy silver or gold paper with top notch art, and either nearly or completely sold out from Midnight Circles. Do yourself a favor and try to track em down.
New Batches – MJMJ Records
3.2.17 by Scott Scholz
One of the biggest advantages of cassette labels is curatorial flexibility. Tapes are relatively inexpensive to produce, so you can take chances on highlighting different scenes, and listeners can similarly afford to speculate on batches of unfamiliar artists. While a lot of labels follow their interests in national and international artists, there’s a unique opportunity to turn folks on to local scenes, too. Some of my favorites strike a balance between international and local sounds: Eiderdown Records is always good for a balance of fried psych and drone from the Pacific Northwest and far beyond, for example, and Iowa stalwarts like Centipede Farm and Personal Archives keep folks hipped to sonic adventures from both far-flung lands and the Hawkeye state underground.
Minneapolis-based MJMJ Records is another label you can count on for great music from both local and remote areas, and their last couple of batches have focused on some Twin Cities-based artists that definitely deserve some wider love. Here’s a little overview of some wild and wonderful sounds from the Mini Apple, all still available from MJMJ with rad risograph-print artwork lovingly designed by regular MJMJ art collaborator NIco Stephou.
Fall batch: live jams
The MJMJ fall batch focused on live recordings from a trio of fascinating MN artists. Experimental collective American Cream Band starts us off with a mesmerizing set of material culled from live recordings made in 2015 and 2016. Largely percussion-driven pieces, American Cream shifts between krautrock and dancey beats with a hint of free jazz, like Shit & Shine colliding with Sand. Based on these recordings, these live sets must drop some serious ritual vibes.
This is followed by two slices of reverb-drenched goodness from ZOZO Tek, excerpted from their portion of a 28-hour drone marathon last February at the Cedar Cultural Center. The harmonizer-fueled sax lines in these pieces are especially affecting, and the group manages to stay faithful to the drone concept while still creating lots of dynamic variety and interest. Recorded in the wee hours of the morning, you’re not likely to find jams that manage to be this psychedelic while incorporating the classic Seinfeld-slap-bass synth tone:
My favorite of this live triptych may be a potent C20 from relative newcomers IE. The first release by this quartet, IE brings old-school synth zoneouts that unfold with careful restraint. At first this feels like a relatively straightforward drone recording, but as a groove patiently emerges in the final quarter of the tape, the subtle beauty of this music proves to be quite addictive on repeated listening.
Winter batch: boreal beats
MJMJ’s latest winter batch transitions from local psych/drone to (mostly) local beat-oriented electronica, perfect for cold Northern winters. The only exception to the Twin Cities orientation of these tapes is a grimy set of beats from Gaffe of a Lifetime, the solo project of east-coast producer Alexandre Louis Petion. While much of his “Mansa, and the Far End of the Death Spectrum” would work comfortably on a dance floor, the music pushes into the kinds of introspective early-industrial soundscapes that provide lots of sedentary listening interest, too. Crossing into the forward-thinking electronics vibes that labels like Orange Milk have focused on recently, some tracks like “Justify the Inane” embody glitched-out dramas that could bring fans of EDM and German Army together:
Heading back to Minneapolis, Nathan Brende drops a tightly-constructed longform jam with his latest as God’s Drugs. Slowly unfolding through a series of house-centered workouts, “Loaded” could keep any party moving with a series of beats that are mostly convivial but subtly evocative of those dark, mysterious spaces your parents warned you about:
Last but not least, MJMJ brings us a heady tape from recent MN transplant Lonefront. According to the label, this solo project of Ross Lafayette Hutchens has been making major waves on the local rave scene, but “Cimilada Qaxootiga” offers a unique modular-based experience that retains some beat orientation within a more delicate tapestry of subdued pads and dismal atmospheres. The A-side especially focuses on beats, gradually ramping up its rhythmic propulsion until it comes to rest just shy of a techno workout, while the B-side remains more rhythmically static, concentrating instead on successions of short textural loops, rising and falling in density:
Traveling to the snowy climes of Minneapolis can be a real drag this time of year, but head over to the MJMJ Bandcamp, crack open a sixer of Grain Belt, and bring the MN underground to your own deck instead.
Crown of Eternity – Dream Architecture
2.28.17 by Scott Scholz
If you’re already familiar with Inner Islands, you’re probably well aware that the label is a sure bet for aural excursions into tranquility and redemption. With a serene discography including Ki Oni, Stag Hare, and Kyle Landstra, I get a tinge of joyous calm just hearing about any new arrivals on the Island. While it’s hard to pick favorites in this lush catalog, it may be fair to say that their latest, Crown of Eternity’s “Dream Architecture,” is an archetypally perfect album for the label. The perfect sonic respite for whatever might be ailing you, or an excellent sonic meditation session to focus your energy if you’re already feeling fly, this tape is a next-level deep listening experience.
Crown of Eternity is the long-running duo project of Gallina and Mike Tamburo, multi-instrumentalists whose work and training unites musical pursuits with the healing arts. Mike has been featured on Inner Islands before, dropping the heavy-meditation double cassette “Presence” back in 2013. You might also recognize his wild jams under the Brother Ong moniker –I’d highly recommend his “Deep Water Creation” on Deep Water Acres, full of ripping shahi baaja loops through guitar effects. The Tamburos have a gift for coaxing warm, inviting music out of any instrument, and while much of their work has focused on strings, “Dream Architecture” is an impassioned exploration of metal percussion. Gongs, chimes, bells and bowls come together here toward the creation of a listening experience that soothes both body and mind.
“Dream Architecture” aspires to a transcendence that’s better felt than described musically. Centered around 11 gongs and over 60 supplementary instruments, these pieces occasionally get really dense to powerful effect, such as the middle sections of the title track. However, most of the album works with open spaces and subdued volumes, allowing the listener an intimate window into the rich harmonic potential of these ancient instruments. The recording itself is beautifully produced, too: cassettes aren’t always about low-fi, friends. If you fire up your best deck through your biggest speakers, you can lay down and really feel like you’re in the middle of this recording in progress, and I think you’ll find that it’s an empowering place to be.
Crown of Eternity is the real deal–with training in yoga, body harmonics, and sound massage, this tape may prove to be just as useful in your medicine cabinet as your cassette shelving. These likely won’t last long, so be sure to grip one from Inner Islands while you can. And perhaps even better, folks all over America have a chance to experience some Dream Architecture in person: check out these tour dates, and show the Tamburo family some love as they bring their beautiful ceremonies-in-metal on the road.