Tabs Out | Landon Caldwell & Nick Yeck – Stauffer-Unity in Isolation

Landon Caldwell & Nick Yeck – Stauffer-Unity in Isolation

4.13.21 by Matty McPherson

Spring is here, which means a lil’ bit of rain in Southern California and an encroaching bloom of color. Anyways though, a couple months back I was going all hog wild on Hali Palombo’s Cylinder Loops — dark hauntological ambient music that conjured up all sorts of images on my Nakamichi dream machine/tape deck. I’ve been looking for a yin to that yang though, something that floats and glides the water with grace. Thus, it gives me immense pleasure to issue a Tabs Out certified AQUA JAZZ ALERT! for the following Astral Editions cassette release: Unity in Isolation

Maybe you are not familiar with what an “AJA” is; buddy don’t look at me like I’m the expert! I just make the text bold on Google Docs and know it when I feel it. And what I’m feeling right now in an immense drifting sensation, lost in the trance of Landon Caldwell’s organ drone and synthesizer keys; it’s a deviously simple ambient core you can imagine. Completely ruling side A, the seventeen minute suite, “Ugly Connection,” finds Nick Yeck-Stuaffer swirling through the ambience with his otherworldly pocket trumpet blasts. The two Crazy Doberman members had some of the most notable moments on Illusory Expansion from last year — in fact, I’m quite certain Staffer’s trumpet is the opening note! Here though, they really chew the scenery and spread out like the ocean floor. Caldwell’s hypnotic keys try to stay locked into a reverent melody as Stauffer’s trumpet playing reaches its most punchdrunk at the suite’s climax. Nevertheless, there is a featherweight unison between the gentlemen.

Side B, featuring “Dispossessed” and the title track, are further experiments into the atmospherics of Caldwell’s soundscape from “Ugly Connection.” “Dispossessed” adds foggy cymbals that rustle and creep, as Stauffer’s effects on the trumpet push its sound to its most monolithic (reminding me of the uncanny ambience of Spirit of Eden). Never once though, does it completely dominate the piece. Caldwell’s simple key loops are the real center of gravity, dissolving away to reveal an ascendant organ drone in the outro. The title track is the lushiest of the three pieces, recalling the ghosts of the previous 25 minutes until Caldwell’s synths fizzle out and you are left with only isolation. But hey! Spring is right around the corner…

First pressing of 200 with artwork by Tiny Little Hammers available here.

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Tabs Out | Episode #166

Larry Wish - Comb Hair (Bumpy)
Jeff Gregory - Advanced MIDI Projects Vol.1 (Intensive Purposes)
Ancient Boreal Forest - A Relic From The Sands of Time (Out of Season)
Pedestrian Deposit - Debilitant • Erase • Stitching (Monorail Trespassing)
Ûkcheânsâlâwit - Alaskan Escape (Les Productions Hérétiques)
ZekeUltra - From Time (Utica Records)
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe & Ariel Kalma - Notes Above Land (self released)
SR388 - Where No Clouds Go (Bonding)
Ben Varian - Cudighi Sampler Platter III comp
Equimanthorn - Nindinugga Nimshimshargal Enlillara (Les Fleurs du Mal Productions)
Chunyin - A Thousand Tones compilation (Elestial Sound)

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Tabs Out | Matty’s Punk Roundup

Matty’s Punk Roundup

3.31.21 by Matty McPherson

Sometimes when you load up the Tabs Out tape blog webpage, you expect to receive a recommendation for the latest in sonic experimentation and cryptic otherworldly goodness. This is decidedly NOT that. In fact, today I’ve got three punk-adjacent tapes from across America. All of these have been driving me crazy over the last several months, and I gotta get them out of my system and perhaps pass them onto you, dear reader. 

Sad Eyed Beatniks – Places of Interest

Paisley Shirt Records continues to carve out one of the most under appreciated niches in Bandcamp tapery. Their roster is stacked with honest-to-god California guitar pop gurus, cranking out melodic chords that channel perfect fresh grass smell from lawn mowers. Sad Eyed Beatniks’ latest, Places of Interest, is a shambolic pop nugget perfectly suited for a long spring day. Unvarnished and free-spirit, it channels a “Mekons type drum beat” alongside a collection of tape noise, voice memos, and odd call-outs for the ultimate third gen bootleg of the “Dunedin sound.” Tapes come with a map of San Francisco that detail lyrics and their reference point call outs!

Low Pass Killer – Crust Funk

The continuing adventures of Anthony Pandolfino’s science-funkified Low Pass Killer project led over to Spider Baby last fall, with a double A-sided C-30 pushing heavy into the red. Maximum crunch! Against all odds though, this crunch imparts a crispy, furious percussive blast across a litany of 70’s no-fi library instrumentals and gnarly hard-rock fuzz riffs. The Final Come Up” and “Dancefloor Crowd Scatterer” are amongst the perfect synthesis of these three together, with the crunch practically disintegrating and breaking apart as synth keys reach for the skies.

Now, don’t think that it’s all noise and games; Low Pass Killer is actually quite the king when it comes to making music for the bachelor pad, with a series of quick bops like “Halfway Home” and “Here a Wroagh There a Worh Everywhere A Wogahrohh” that dazzle with their synthpop atmospherics and wobbly EQ’ing. Needless to say, it has constantly slinked in and out of tape decks at the residence here!

Big Clown – Big Mad

The Memphis, TN quartet known as Big Clown used 2020 to stretch their CV with a rollicking Gonerfest 17 performance, in addition to pushing out two 20 tape runs of Big Mad. Coming in at an impressive 9 minutes and 36 seconds, Big Mad is a high octane, buckshot blast of inspiration that you find at the tail end of a fifth 5hr energy. Big Clown spokeswoman/kazoo-gal Lucy is a propulsive lyricist, wailing out simple demands like “gimme twenty bucks; i don’t give a fuck” and “I wanna eat my burger salad” against a laundry list of dipshits and yokels. Aided by Stephen (guitar), Jesse (guitar/echoplex), and the one-man rhythm section Zach (drums), Big Mad always teeters on the edge of collapse until it goes kablammo!

Perhaps their greatest nugget though is the recontextualization of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap into “DDDDC.” With a meaty guitar riffs and Zach’s tenderized rhythm section, the track becomes a sort of rallying cry/wrestling anthem in its 55 blistering seconds of life. An automatic dive bar classic. Kudos to the band for a superb tape dub; never a moment that pushes into the red (talk about that live to 8-track mix!!), with the TABS LEFT IN, so you can dub more nonsense! 

Best grab this bad boy before it disappears into the wild.

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Tabs Out | Carmen Villain & Jacober – Sketch for Winter: IX & X

Carmen Villain & Jacober – Sketch for Winter: IX & X

3.23.21 by Matty McPherson

It is always thrilling to find an email from Bobby Power in your inbox! Geographic North, the label he co-runs, has been firing up their engines here in 2k21, steamrolling in with TWO entries into their long-running Sketch for Winter series: IX: Peralta and X: Immortal Word! Sketches for Winter has seen GN invite underground experimental celebs (like Pan American, Louise Bock, Moon Diagrams) and let them strike up their own idea of the sounds of winter. For this recent block of Sketches, Carmen Villain (IX: Peralta) and Jacober (X: Immortal Word) have entered the fray. 

Now, if you have been following GN, then neither of these artists should be complete newbies. Villain’s a compilation veterean (having appeared on A Little Night Music in between making “Affection in a Time of Crisis” for Longform Editions) and Jacober’s 2015 tape is a foundation to the Geographic North sound. Thus, it would seem appropriate that both artists’ Sketches continue evolutions in their respective sounds.

Villain did not originally intend for Perlita to be a Sketch for Winter until Power and Farbod Kokabi both heard her tracks. Her adventures through longform ambient in 2020 led to a newfound tabula rasa, culminating in the compilation track “Dissolving Edges”. Focused on the minutia, the track meticulously stripped back the sound of ambient dub n’ drums, pushing synth textures to the foreground. Perlita does continue in the same vein as “Affection in a Time of Crisis” and “Dissolving Edges” with airy synths and slinking percussives grounding the tones of these tracks. Tethered together, they are practically a gust of fresh snow powder, gently landing on your whiskers from the start of “Everything Without Shadow”. 

Complementing these sounds are the flute melodies of Johanna Scheie Orellana. Orellana is practically a commando, guiding these tracks and stretching the melodies towards grander depths; on “Agua Azula”, she practically waltzes across the step-stone beat. Besides the gorgeous fusion, Villain has also become more entangled with field recordings. The snippets range from an affirming coda (“Two Halves Touching”) repeated into existence to the sounds of platonic crowds (“Light in Phases”). “Things That Are Solid” is a particular standout, employing rhythmic strips of musique concrete as an epiphany between friends occurs in the background. It feels like a memory that would be archived on a scratchy acetate, from a future that could still be. For as brief as Perlita is, these moments give it a grand sense of character and location.

Jacober’s previous release on Geographic North, The Gray Man, took the Marimba sound and recast it as a part of ghostly American southern folklore. Immortal Word may not have a ghost story immediately tied to its sound, but Jacober’s Marimba is more spacious than ever. Incorporating chillwave-esque synths that give off an antsy haze, Immortal Word is a sonic postcard from that misbegotten carnival island your parents swore they were going to take you to for your fifth birthday! Opener “Four Horsemen” could easily be an enduring composition for the carousel, until reverb elongates his percussion into a hall of mirrors, impossible to untangle; “Toast” starts with a jubilant stride down the pier, slowly rendered to oblivion with pitch shifting echoes and an encroaching rainstorm.

Speaking of, rain, in all its variations, travels through Jacober’s tape (more than the stray showers on Perlita). If these effects spark your hauntological receptors, then just wait until you hear the sounds of a ship horn on the title track–which layers Marimba loops like bumper cars crashing into each other! Though the most suggestive qualities of hauntology are engaged with on “Universal Sign”. Cracked drums and vaporous stutters make it feel like one’s adrift in an eternal grey, as Jacober’s Marimba rumbles like a voice just out of reach. It is the most paranoid dub has sounded since Pan-American’s early days.

Both Villain and Jacober’s Sketches for Winter are subtle, yet complementary entries into the Sketches for Winter series. If you have been following the series, these releases might even strike you as the polar opposite of brooding sketches of the pre-pandemic winter. Even at their most isometric there are moments of light and grace on these tapes; invitations to somewhere that can be. It recalls a bit of John Hassell’s fourth world music–in their own idiosyncratic ways, that only Geographic North can curate.

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Tabs Out | Seth Kasselman – Anteroom in Birch

Seth Kasselman – Anteroom in Birch

3.19.21 by Matty McPherson

Yes, Warm Climates continues to remain a finished project post their 2013 Sun Ark cassette. Although, main songwriter, Seth Kasselman, has continued to channel Warm Climates’ stoned frivilosity in his own approach to future music endeavors. Kasselman may not hang out on his blogger like he used to — he’s digging up lost sounds every first Saturday of the month at 10PM PST on Nett Nett radio — while his UR Sound label drops is the occasional homespun goody. Last December though, he logged back on with Anteroom in Birch, a web of four electronic synth pieces crossed with tape hissed music concrete. 

You might be thinking that 4 pieces is enough to figure every trick that Kasselman has up his sleeve; it’s still quite tricky to pin down, as each track brims with an amalgamation of ideas that are ever-shifting; don’t expect one track to hold itself together for ya! Side A’s two tracks “Degrees Of Used To” and “Are Lemming”, both feature cavernous drum arenas that are mystical and foreboding, and Kasselman mends both soundscapes up to climb towards the heavens. For the former, it means leading into a blistering synth drone, while for the latter, it continues to build an angular and playful dash of electronic bleeping n’ blooping. 

Track one of side b is where things go haywire. Worlds collapse and rebuild like sandpaper for the first half of “Roadmaster Stitches”. Yet, just when it all seems that the tape is about to explode and disentangle from the deck, Kasslman arrives at a plane of clarity…on what sounds like an unstable 32 KBps connection. Of course, it continues to build like a spire, rumbling until it bursts! That sound of an unstable connection encompasses the last track “Centipede Cathedral”, which sounds like the aftermath of watching a spire go kablammo–or web page after web page of pop up crunchfire. Expect this time, it finally reaches a semblance of genuine peace. For the last several minutes, the track floats on the water, without a care in the world.

Edition of 50 available here

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Tabs Out | Bonus Episode: Easy Money with More Eaze

With some help from More Eaze we tried to turn cassette tapes into cold hard cash.

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Tabs Out | Jet Jaguar – Quiet (1999-2019) & Dan Melchior – Odes

Jet Jaguar – Quiet (1999-2019) & Dan Melchior – Odes

3.3.21 by MattyMcPherson

You might remember Cudighi Records stopping by Tabs Out half a year ago to talk shop on a handful of their releases. A sampler platter if you will. Anyways, the label is hustling strong. You may have noticed “German House Muzik” dropped Bandcamp Friday, February edition. Although, I’ve been returning to a couple of ambient tapes released last fall on the label: Quiet (1999-2019) and Odes. If you have been looking for reflective zones to wander through, I implore you to follow!

Jet Jaguar – Quiet (1999-2019)

The Jet Jaguar (Michael Upton) catalog is intimate already, encompassing CDrs and personal Bandcamp sketches; of course though, twenty years is a lot to parse through. Yet, this close focus, emphasizing on how electronic dance “has been getting quieter over the years” offers a terrific gateway into Upton’s sonic universe. In between choice cuts and new mixes of old Bandcamp tracks, Upton revels in the changing relationship with his music upon this retrospect. 

The electronic guru’s compilation centers around his most blissed out vibes: sparse loops and aqua tinged synths, with the occasional fickle string or vocal element coming in. It is a minimal template, although deviously easy to find yourself lost in. Those new mixes of old Bandcamp tracks subtly subdue the pulses of the bass (n’ sometimes drums!), letting vaporous keys move to the front and hold the sound steady. As Upton settles on the right snare or maraca, the elastic qualities of this ambience fills the sonic space like a streetlight. Bits of radio chatter provide a bit of urban psychedelia in the mix, but these tracks sound like the last vestige of a drug comedown; they are absolutely chill, I promise. For those nights when you really want to reach for hushed spaces, Quiet will take you there.

Dan Melchior – Odes

Dan Melchior dedicated Odes in the memory of his late wife (and Ruby Falls vocalist/guitarist), Letha Rodman, who passed back in 2014. While Melchior’s garage rock and guitar work has been all over numerous underground labels, opening track “Louisiana Honeymoon” tips the scales. Downtempo, meditative zones that slowly unravel with Melchior adding small mesmerizing flourishes; it is a vivid sketch of what once was, but has been lost.

Recorded as if it was made under candlelight, Odes is stripped down to the bare essentials and feels like it was torn from a sonic journal. With just a “partially working 4 track… and karaoke machine that had very good reverb,” Melchior has fantastic control of this fragmented sonic space. Sometimes he summons vicious bolts of guitar noise on the track “Jaguar Girl” or stretches out how many hypnotic inklings can fit into the world of “Night Song.” Either way, these songs feel featherweight and I was left moved by the emotions of these pieces. They are truly intimate prayers; best experienced at the end of the day, when you can soak in the ebb and flow of these patient compositions.

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Tabs Out | Good Willsmith – HausLive 2: Good Willsmith at Sleeping Village, 4​/​25​/​2019

Good Willsmith – HausLive 2: Good Willsmith at Sleeping Village, 4​/​25​/​2019

3.1.21 by Matty McPherson

A HausLive entry beyond the inaugural Sunwatchers Live at Cafe Mustache cassette has been long overdue–all things considered. Likewise, the same can be said to Good Willsmith! The brain terraforming trio of Doug Kaplan, Max Allison, and Natalie Chami have left a few breadcrumbs here and there beyond their 2016 release for Umor Rex. It was that release which acted as the culmination of their early cassettes, touchstones for what Hausu Mountain was to become. Thus, a “gen 1 bootleg” of their 4/25/2019 Sleeping Village concert is the perfect opportunity to return Good Willsmith to HausMo for the first time in over 5 years (!), check what they’ve been cooking up, and perhaps even welcome a newcomer like me into their cinematic universe.

Naysayers may complain that it’s a tad bit short with only 4 zones and a banter track (Tabs Out podcast soundboard, take notice). However, these are pristine on-the-spot-NO-OVERDUB sensations that further the band’s commitment to leaving no zone untouched. The free-flow of “Dolphin” goes between synthesizer squeals and a sick “Jerry Jam”; “Not Your Kids” sees Kaplan going into full bar rock mode, with a fantastic guitar wail taking center stage;  “The Burning Orphanage Sidequest” lurks and falls collapses in real time, like an actual side mission gone awry; “Third Eyebrow” is perhaps the most playful of them all, with funk riffs, electro-clash ambient, and drums that’d make you swear you actually put in the OST for the boss stage of an unreleased Rareware platformer! That it ends with the promise of Guerilla Toss as it reaches the leader tape only left me savoring more.

Ages ago, Doug & Max said this in an interview with a japanese blog:

I think the sound of Good Willsmith is very representative of what music we like to release on Hausu Mountain:

⭑ music performed live
⭑ based on noise and texture
⭑ diverse
⭑ hard to describe
⭑ changes in atmosphere and moves between different vibes very fast…
⭑ can be heavy, noisy, beautiful
⭑ combining electronics with non-electronic instruments
⭑ is improvised

Their HausLive 2 refreshes that template, with the most jam heavy badassery on HausMo in a hot sec. The ascendance of Good Willsmith is back, pushing towards territories unknown. And it may just have even given the HausLive series a possible modus operandus as a guide to the best improvs in Chicago. Well played, Good Willsmith! Best grab this before it disappears into the wild.

Edition of 100 available from wherever you acquire fine Hausu Mountain goods and services

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Tabs Out | Episode #165

Low Pass Killer - Crust Funk (Spider Baby)
The Brankas - Warble and Fuzz compilation (Drongo)
Weaving - s/t (self released)
Mike Nigro - In Communion (Alien Garage)
H Lite - A.V. Tone Alterations (Multidim Records)
Field Recordings from the Sahel (Sahel Sounds)
Sophiaaaahjkl;8901 - Silicon Soul (Suite 309)
With The End In Mind - Tides of Fire (Avantgarde Music)
Danny Potpourri ‎– Leaves Room (Moss Archive)
Sonic Youth - Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father comp (NME)
Marsha Fisher - New Ruins (Full Spectrum)

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Tabs Out | An Interview with Geographic North

An Interview with Geographic North

2.24.21 by Matty McPherson

For over a dozen years, Geographic North has been following their own “classy, yet sassy” rhythm. Operating as a vinyl 7” club before pivoting into tapes in 2014, Bobby Power (former Tabs Out contributor!), Farbod Kokabi (of Lyonnais!), and Farzod Moghaddam have made Geographic North into a prime boutique label of deep ambient zones. Blink and you’ll miss that tape drop! In between the semi-recurring Sketches for Winter series (a Durutti Column reference perhaps?), the label has been known to crank out the occasional delicious autumn compilation. Last years’, entitled A Little Night Music, was practically a victory lap for Geographic North, boasting over 2 dozen artists across a double cassette, a first for the label!

Last year, I wrote about the compilation for the indieheads subreddit’s 2020 Album of the Year series (you can read that over here). For that piece, I interviewed Bobby Power and Farbod Kokabi at the start of November–a day after the compilation arrived in my mailbox. It was terrific fun gushing about our love of Kranky alongside the label’s cataloging system and sequencing of compilations. However, a good chunk of the transcript never made it into that compilation analysis. So, with a new Sketch for Winter (X!) dropping rather soon, here is an edited transcript between me, Farbod, and Bobby about one of the buzziest lil’ tape labels around. We’ll cover everything from how they sequence a tape, to the coolest memory-holed Kranky acts, and how Geographic North even approaches college radio PR machines!

Tabs Out: I wanted to start with-college radio origins. Both of y’all were working at your college radio station in 2007-2008, and that’s where the idea of Geographic North originated?

Bobby: Yeah – I wasn’t there in the beginning of it. It was Farzod and Farbod who started the label together.

Farbod: Yeah, Farzod and I started the label-we were working at WRAS at Georgia State University-a real powerhouse of college radio (in the nation, it had the largest reach/highest wattage of any noncommercial/student run station). There’s a lot of opportunity to meet eclectic artists and different perspectives. Farzod and I aligned in our interests of counterculture arts (film, music, literature, etc). We’re also both Iranian kids and bonded over these things. I was studying graphic design at the time, Farbod was studying biology. Farzod was the music director for two years, I was assistant music director for a bit. Both of us started talking about reaching out to artists we had built relationships with and see if they wanted to put out 7”.

At the time 7” subscription series were in vogue, Social Registry out of NY had put out wonderful weirdo records where you’d pay a flat fee and get a 7” in the mail (probably late) from an artist you might not know. It was visceral and unique to have this relationship with music and we wanted to try our hand at it. I started designing records at the time and still am. This was an opportunity to design records! So we collectively put together our money and put out our first 7” from the band A Sunny Day in Glasgow. They were popping off at the time, along with other shoegaze revival bands.

Tabs Out: Like Belong’s October Language

Farbod: Yup. That’s also where Bobby comes in. I was doing a radio show called Post-Script and I occasionally would run into Bobby at shows. We got to talking and bonded over October Language and we were impressed that we both knew that record. We were lucky enough to reach out to them and we had some mutual friends with Belong. They wanted to put that album out on vinyl and we wanted to put out anything cool, so we were alright with doing a reissue at this point. I wish we had more of an opportunity to work with them!

Bobby: There was another group one member (Michael Jones) was involved with, Second Woman-

Farbod Also with the “Telefon Tel-Aviv” dude! Anyways, October Language is a classic and it solidified the relationship with Bobby and then it was the three of us.

Tabs Out: At the time all of this is happening with SDIG and Belong, the [perennial “shoegaze revival] band that comes to mind [in the Atlanta scene writ large] was Deerhunter, a relationship that Geographic North somewhat solidified with the 2014 Lotus Plaza tape and recent Moon Diagrams releases.

Bobby: Both Farzod and Farbod were close with those guys!

Farbod: Moses would sleep on Farzod’s couch-I think he got kicked out of his parents’ house and was totally committed to band life. That’s where that relationship would have developed.

Tabs Out: I found Geographic North because of Lotus Plaza-specifically the art and an endless barrage of “sold out” tags. A Little Night Music is the most gorgeous packaging done to date, and the closest y’all have come to doing a Factory Records style box. Why the love for the Factory boxes over a contemporary like 4AD?

Farbod: Well…all of it comes together. We do adore 4AD artwork’s aesthetic; the Factory Art is STAUNCH MODERNISM. Lots of it is conceptual-not just art for the sake of art. A lot of the work Peter Saville was doing had this conceptual basis in historical reference or plays on roman numerals (a la New Order’s Movement). It was all clever, nothing was decoration or superfluous. Everything was purposeful in the art. We admired that ethos in the art we wanted to make for the personality traits we wanted to mimic in our packaging.

Tabs Out: Also, do you catalog your shirts?

Bobby: Yes.

Farbod: We catalog all of it. It carries beyond Factory! It’s really cool, akin to a visceral relationship with the music and label. You need to have these relationships to speak to more than just the physical piece. There needs to be a physical connection. Cataloging everything, even shirts offers a permanence. The factory work was so illuminating because it had its place. Another example, Jeff Hunt’s Table of Elements. ToE was one of those labels that catalogued all their elements by the Periodic Table of Elements. It seems silly, but it was practical and clever. 

Bobby: They played with sub labels and series, they started in Atlanta [in 1993] before our time for sure. They were working with [Thurston Moore, John Fahey, Gastr del Sol, etc.]

Farbod: That relationship with their albums, made it feeling like a “big whole thing” that we wanted to mimic down to the shirt. 

Tabs Out: Before you started doing these Autumnal Compilations [Don’t Look Back, Death on the Hour, and A Little Night Music), the recurring Sketches for Winter series premiered in 2015. How did this series come about and what was the necessity for artists to play with making music for “winter”

Bobby: We’ve always tried to consider the set and setting of where you can play a record. It’s not just another release, but it is “the perfect soundtrack for a late night drive”. Halloween is huge for Farbod and I. Soundtracking the season, these specific areas and settings have been crucial, and provided artists who were on a certain track of releasing LP after LP a challenge or “problem for them to solve”. Something fun to play with that wasn’t just a next album. Something for the winter series. People have been into it! Out of box ideas like David Jacober brings us an album inspired by ghosts of the southern coastal shores, that’s not really ice or cold. That’s something that neither Farbod or I would ever consider having opened up those possibilities, super inspiring.

Tabs Out: In 2016 you started Autumnal Compilations and it’s where the label really shows its flair for Kranky. What’s the relationship to Kranky-spiritually/aesthetically?

Bobby: There’s obvious overlap-we came to this project as music fans. We wanted the best music and packaging. There’s been natural overlap (a la Deerhunter). And, when we are brainstorming for the Halloween comp especially, we just try to find artists we like and want to put on, which often overlaps with Kranky folks.

Farbod: I think you are underselling the relationship to the label. A lot of the friendship Bobby and I developed even BEFORE Bobby joined GN is based around records like Stars of the Lid and Labradford.

Bobby: Every single thing that came out for years-

Farbod: We would just devour this stuff. Our ears were brand new! Like at the depths of the catalog, like Magnog

Tabs Out: I have More Weather-what the fuck were those kids doing?!

Farbod: The most incredible drugs! It was stuff like that where even if you were a fan on the periphery of genres or music labels that Kranky touched on, you may not have been going digging for Magnog. Yet, Bobby and I kept discovering stuff like Tomorrowland and Windy and Carl and were in love with these artists. All of that stuff gets sucked into the vacuum of inspiration and you never try to directly rip it off, you take the things you are directly inspired by and let it run its course through your own DNA and come out the other end with something special and unique. To us, we loved these Kranky artists.

We were into seasonal music, let’s reach out to these people that we already admire a ton. There’s overlap there and it’s fine with us-we wear our inspirations on our sleeves and we’re proud of that. You should want to share your favorite things with people and it sucks that certain releases have sold out! We want everyone to enjoy the music and if we reach out and the artist wants to work with us, great! Now we can reintroduce them. A natural overlap and influence.

Tabs Out: A Little Night Music feels like a culmination of Geographic North. What was it like sequencing this? Was there cutting room material?

Bobby: We started to work on this in January. It’s our favorite thing to do! We start with brainstorming, asking as music fans “who do we want to work with?”. Most of the people we asked were super on board, excited about the theme of the project and the charity cause [Over $7,000 in proceeds were raised for the Atlanta’s Women’s Center]. This brainstorming process took about 5 months.

Farbod: Bobby is incredible at Google Docs. He organizes 6-8 weeks out in google docs and lists out every single thing he’s got to do! So for the compilation, Bobby sets up a google doc of everything we are listening to, along with who the label has worked with and any other ideas that come to mind. We’ll add to it for 2-3 months, to the point where there are 150 artists, spending time whittling it down to people who seem most  reasonable to be on the compilation. It ends with a combination of those who we have relationships built with and those who we want to have relationships built with-really what works best. 

Tabs Out: So, how’d you score Fennesz? Was there anyone else?

Farbod: Fennesz was a surprise. You don’t know until you ask, but we have a vision and we’ve pulled it off two previous times! Some of the people who were going to make it out last time on the comp made it on this one. Persistence wins out. GN is not trying to pester people, but we’ll ask 8 months out just to check! There seems to be more meaning when you add meaning to pay money for this stuff. That is an incentive to pull out some folks.

Also, Bobby is massively resourceful at finding connections! We were in touch with William Basinski, Ryuchi Sakamoto, Mica Levi, amongst a few others during the early brainstorming part.

Tabs Out: The Lotus Plaza piece struck me as the highlight of the album-how’d you call Lockett out of hiatus?

Farbod: Well he’s a born talent, ya know? Deerhunter is a complicated story unto itself and the relationship they all have makes it difficult to explore what they want to do outside of the barriers of the band currently withstanding. I’m not certain people are knocking down on his door for a new Lotus Plaza LP.

We just emailed Lockett, and we’ve had a working relationship for over a decade. He knows us and what we’re about. Despite having kids and a new career coming together outside of music, it was just a need to find time to do it. Right before summer, he jumped on and created a piece. That he did not have to be committed to a full record changed things.

Tabs Out: I chatted with Forest Management and his label, Reserve Matinee, earlier in Spring. What was it like to get him on the compilation?

Bobby: We’ve been casual fans for ages; I was doing a lot of music writing with Decoder when he was making music earlier in the last decade. I wrote up his first CDr, Colour and Light. It was the perfect late night nocturnal ambient, uniquely of his own. It naturally came out of nowhere. We just wanted to make a well rounded compilation. His was one of the later tracks we got–ironic as he was one of the first people to sign on and wasn’t able to make the last comp!

Farbod: He had a CD that smelled like cologne.

Tabs Out: How difficult was it to sequence? Was it like a jigsaw falling into place?

Bobby: Well we did not actively sequence it until it was all together. 

Farbod: We both took multiple early stabs. I thought I had gotten it! And then I’d listen to Bobby’s sequence and be jealous. You want to think about it as someone who is going to be living their life around it. No one’s really sitting around listening to music without doing anything anymore. Logistics of life. (Ex: You’re riding around and you pop in tape two, how does that kick?) Bobby knew how to turn that into something like a “car ride going to a pumpkin patch” sequence. In my mind, Bobby read it well.

Bobby: We had sequenced the other ones together, especially the last one, just sitting for a few hours just going “yes this works. no this doesn’t.”

Farbod: There’s kinda an alphabetical order on the last comp.

Tabs Out: Who are you all dubbing tape from?

Bobby: We’ve used NAC for 80% of our tapes. We did go with duplication.ca for A Little Night Music. The quality/customer service is amazing and the attention to detail, allowing us to achieve the imprint on the shell was crucial. We wanted this to turn out good.

Farbod: Being nice to people is so critical! We’re novice at doing this, but we love interacting with people who are genuine about what is at stake, and that’s not the case all the time.

Tabs Out: For Sandy’s Traces, you all partnered with college radio promotion. How do you all figure what you might send out to college radio?

Bobby: A lot of our early PR was to college radio (especially locally to WRAS). Ongoing PR to college radio is a case by case basis. We do contact a handful of people to spread this stuff out; we trust that speciality show hosts and Music Directors are in the know and digging for this stuff. Plus, we’ve already got an audience of people buying each release as it comes out chronologically!

Farbod: Part of this is the capacity as people. You’re looking at the label here! Both of us handle artwork, label, manufacturing, along with other jobs and our families outside of the label. When working with artists we are upfront about what we can afford them. With Sandy, Bobby and I thought it was beyond our realm of musicality; they were essentially making kick ass pop songs and really wanted to work with us. So, we tried promotion on it! We still think this record can open people up to GN that might not normally be tuned in to what we are putting out. Promotion is worth trying-sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t. When these albums come out, we put everything we can into it! We are still hitting people up [on November 1st, 2020] to check if they listened to the compilation. It should not fall into the ether and only exist for a few weeks and then be gone.

Both of us are really comfortable getting to put out records and design them, while designing copy and press in-house! And that’s a rarity for most labels.

Tabs Out: Finally, can you lead me towards any information about the Geographic North House Band?

Bobby: Someone knows, but we’ll never tell…

Bobby and Farbod recommend:

-KMRU’s Peel

Jusell, Prymek, Sage, Shiroishi’s Fuubutsushi (風物詩)

(Farbod calls it the best album of 2020!)

GN discography to date

(GN63) Various Artists-A Little Night Music: Aural Apparitions from the Geographic North

(GN62) Secret Pyramid-Embers

(GN61) Keep Walking…Tee & Sweatshirt

(GN60) Fruit Tea Redux/Artist TBA-Sketch for Winter X 

(GN59) Carmen Villain-Perlita (Sketch for Winter IX)

(GN58) Aria Rostami & Daniel Blomquist-Floating Tone (Sketch for Winter VIII)

(GN57) Louise Bock-Abyss: For Cello (Sketch for Winter VII)

(GN56) Ilyas Ahmed-Behold Killers

(GN55) Sandy-Traces

(GN54) Moon Diagrams-Trappy Bats

(GN53) Clarice Jensen-Drone Studies

(GN52) M. Sage-Catch a Blessing

(GN51) Various Artists-Don’t Look Now: Aural Apparitions from the Geographic North

(GN50) Nick Malin-Slow day on a Brilliant Drive

(GN49) Félicia Atkinson-Coyotes

(GN48) Rafael Anton Irisarri-Midnight Colours

(GN47) Night Cleaner-Even

(GN46) Jon Porras-Tokonoma

(GN45) Café Ale-Transformative Nature

(GN44) N/A

(GN43) Algiers-Blood

(GN42) N/A

(GN41) Moon Diagrams-Lifetime of Love

(GN40) Hiro Kone-Love is the Capital

(GN39) Strategy-The infinity File

(GN38) Various Artists-Death on the Hour: Aural Apparitions from the Geographic North

(GN37) Arp-Inversions

(GN36) Donne/Vitiello/The OO-Ray-Nuvole

(GN35) Jefre Cantu-Ledesma-In Summer

(GN34) Danny Paul Grody-Other States (Sketch for Winter VI)

(GN33) Mark Van Hoen-It’s Not Me (Sketch for Winter V)

(GN32) Lyonnais-Anatomy of the Image

(GN31) Fruit Tee

(GN30) Jacober-The Gray Man

(GN29) LebLaze-When Doves Fly

(GN28) Jesse Osborne-Lanthier, Noir, and Robert Lippok-Timeline

(GN27) Moon Diagrams-Care Package (Sketch for Winter IV)

(GN26) Night Cleaner-Green Sleeves (Sketch for Winter III)

(GN25) Pan American-Rue Corridor (Sketch for Winter II)

(GN24) A Sunny Day in Glasgow-New Christmas Classics (Sketch for Winter I)

(GN23) The Flag-Heat Waves

(GN22) Mountains-You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever 11

(GN21) M. Sage-Data in the Details

(GN20) Hiro Kone-fallen Angels

(GN19) Auburn Lull-Hiber

(GN18) James Conduit-Two Lines Thick

(GN17) Lotus Plaza-Overnight Motorcycle Music

(GN16) TWINS-Love is a Luxury

(GN15) Tinniens-Dub Guns

(GN14) Clipd Beaks-You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever 10

(GN13) Test House-You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever 9

(GN12) Windsor for the Derby-You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever 8

(GN11) Landing-Landing

(GN10) Windy & Carl-You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever 7

(GN09) Warm Ghost-Claws Overhead

(GN08) Soft Circle-You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever 6

(GN07) Landing-You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever 5

(GN06) Belong-October Language

(GN05) Psychic Powers-You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever 4

(GN04) Tarentel-You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever 3

(GN03) One Poster

(GN02) Tussle-You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever 2 

(GN01) A Sunny Day in Glasgow-You Can’t Hide Forever 1

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