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Tabs Out | Ryan Wade Ruehlen – Time Agnosia

Ryan Wade Ruehlen – Time Agnosia

7.24.19 by Ryan Masteller

This here “alto saxophone/electronics/modular synthesizer/mixer” shindig from Ryan Wade Ruehlen, “Time Agnosia,” was recorded in Denver and Boulder, Colorado, in March 2019. In July 2019, I was rushed to the emergency room in Denver, removed from my connecting flight because I was having difficulty breathing after sprinting fifteen gates (and fast-walking the remaining seventeen) to make sure I got on the stupid plane to begin with. (OK, I so it ended up being more of a gentle ambulance ride filled with pleasant conversation with the paramedic and me being diagnosed as a sea-leveler, but why ruin a good story?) 

With shimmers bursting from the edge of my vision, I was in the appropriate frame of mind to appreciate “Time Agnosia.” “Science fiction,” mentions the Shadowtrash Tape Group site as a plausible categorical description. “Topographical disorientation.” Got me there. “…Quicksilver movements in sudden formation. Inability to recognize. Lost in familiar environments.” Sheets of high-pitched ambience lay the groundwork for the saxophone meditations, and program glitches and shorting nodes accompany the slow march toward completion. Tones hangs in the atmosphere in humid ambience, the sax slowly stirring them until they curdle. All of this penetrates my mind and adds to the feeling that nothing is real, nothing makes sense, not till I get another hit from that sweet, sweet oxygen canister. Even then, “Time Agnosia” coats my mind like some jackweed is all up in it with a can of puke-green paint, coating my senses till I’m in a state of perma-semi-blackout. 

Only in Denver!

Anyway,  you can grab a copy of the tape from Shadowtrash Tape Group’s Etsy site.

And don’t worry, I’m fine.

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Tabs Out | Neil Scrivin – Stars and Rumors of Stars

Neil Scrivin – Stars and Rumors of Stars

7.23.19 by Ryan Masteller

I haven’t watched “Stranger Things” season 3 yet, (2 eps in, gimme a break), but I’m getting that vibe right away from the Jcard font on “Stars and Rumors of Stars,” a “finally-seeing-the-light-of-day” release from Neil Scrivin on Fonolith. And let’s be clear – the only reason I noticed the font in any way is that I somehow glanced away from the brilliant full-cassette-shell artwork (variations of blue-screened autumn tree branches), and I probably only did that because the kids next door were playing baseball and a ball went over the fence and conked me right on the noggin while I stood, mouth agape, on my porch looking at this thing, the rest of the mail forgotten in my other hand. But yeah, it’s that retro Stephen King novel font. I like that font.

This tape may have been initially recorded in 2004, but let’s be clear: this is totally a 2019 release. (Literally and stylistically.) To circle back to those scamps from Hawkins, Indiana – not so scamp-y (and certainly not scampi) anymore, I guess, what with time marching on and all – they’d probably be totally down to listen to Neil Scrivin during a D&D sesh, the moody synth pulses and electro beats just downtempo enough to not overpower the room. The Duffer Brothers should be popping this into a cassette deck near them, and the S U R V I V E dudes shouldn’t go another day without enlisting Scrivin for their next tour. That’s the power of “Stars and Rumors of Stars.” 

Playing off the biblical “wars and rumors of wars” warned of in the book of Revelation, Scrivin eyes something equally dangerous/rapturous in the skies, and he plays to his imagination of it. For example – is that supposed to be a UFO coming down over the night fields by the house on the cover? Given the King nods, my unyielding “Stranger Things” talk, and the tense dark synthwork proffered by Scrivin, I wouldn’t be surprised. It could also just be one of those titular stars, shining down through the clouds, teasing knowledge of mysterious deeds. The mystery is the fun part.

“Full-face UV printed cassette tape in black library case” available from Fonolith. See, I told you you’d want one, if only just to look at! 

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Tabs Out | Church Shuttle – Mind Leash

Church Shuttle – Mind Leash

7.22.19 by Ryan Masteller

“I won’t be, like, tethered to nothin’!”

So says Church Shuttle as he casts off the “Mind Leash,” filtering everything that’s trapping him through loops and cassettes and synth pads and all other sorts of crazy nonsense and compiling it into this document. For Chris Durham, the Michigan mind behind the ’Shuttle, putting together “Mind Leash” was the “equivalent of gathering all of my angst into one place and then firing it into the sun” (*quotation mine, not Chris Durham’s, because that’s what I imagine him saying about “Mind Leash” when asked about it for a feature Spin interview). Regardless of who put words into whose mouth, there’s still half a C100 here (weird, right?) filled with garbled noise loops and rhythmic pulsations that’ll leave you bobbing in a life raft in the middle of a plasma sea on the surface of said sun, for at least the millisecond you’re still conscious before the awesome power of our closest star pulls all your molecules apart.

If you were to press play on this Church Shuttle tape in the vicinity of a galactic disturbance or even just in front of the most convenient magnet, the results would be the same: total disintegration, of loops of sound sources, of intent, till only the sounds of the destruction itself become the ambient foci. That is, until the voices pierce the mix. Then it’s like you’re standing on the bridge of the Event Horizon and watching the awful videos of people eating each other, or whatever that was. But again, that’s all part of Chris Durham’s plan, all part of the great expulsion of bad thoughts and sad energy, the casting off of the shackles of the Mind Prison. The “Mind Leash” is UNleashed, UNattached, INeffective in its purpose of keeping the average person down. And that’s what makes it a fascinating listen – one person’s angst is another person’s treasure. Something something empathy.

Grip a copy of this bad boy from Anathema Archive, edition of 100 pro-duped tapes. Remember, though, it’s only on one side!

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Tabs Out | Winter Sleep – Return to Dream City

Winter Sleep – Return to Dream City

7.19.19 by Ryan Masteller

To quote the runaway television hit “Game of Thrones,” “Winter is getting closer.” And by “winter” I of course mean “Winter Sleep,” a fresh-faced Philadelphian named James Webster, who took his moniker from the hibernative qualities of the castle of Winterfield nestled snugly in the north of Westeria beneath the shadow of the mighty Ice-Formed Wall. It’s not for nothing that “Game of Thrones” garnered all those Emmy noms for their final season – the ultimate events of said series were universally showered in acclaim.

So Webster rides the wave of popularity and releases music with a tenuous connection to the show.* Like the Three-Eyed Blackbird, he peers into multiple aspects of human life, documenting what he sees from that dreamlike perspective and envisioning vast multidimensional composites, of which he focuses on minute details in order to explicate their intricacies, absurdities, and sheer banalities. In other words, Webster makes music about what he sees when he wargs through his dreams. And what he sees is both strikingly human and equilibrium-shiftingly odd.

Thus Dream City, and its “Return to” so hauntingly alluded to in the title. Wordlessly, Webster gathers his tools – I dunno, synthesizer? Sampler? – and dives into future nu-scapes only glimpsed through the fog of slumber, the haze of unconscious vibrations. Dream City is a place that’s easy to imagine if you’ve ever caught yourself in a self-aware moment within a dream, the impossibly familiar surroundings suddenly seeming to expand endlessly in a labyrinth of avenues and passageways. All is crystal and liquid metal and smooth pastel. It’s as reassuringly benign as it is brimming with adventure. Truly Webster has crafted a visionary mindspace where future, present, and past combine, and distance and meaning are relative and unstable.

The question really is, can Webster see the Dead Ice Emperor in these extrasensory warg travels of his? 

… How should I know – do I look like Steve R. R. Martin to you?

“Return to Dream City” came out at the tail end of 2018 on Ghost Diamond, but you can still head there for a fresh copy if you so choose! (And you should so choose; honestly, you should also just grab whatever they have in print.)

*He doesn’t really have anything to do with GOT – I’m just jerking your chain.

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Tabs Out | New Batch – Third Kind Records

New Batch – Third Kind Records

7.18.19 by Mike Haley

Stephen King warned us in short story form back in the 70’s that sometimes they come back. He repeated that warning in the 90’s in feature length movie form. I ignored both instances because, with the exception of The Langoliers and it’s groundbreaking animation, I don’t appreciate King’s rude attempts to spook people. No thank you. That might explain why I wasn’t prepared for Third Kind Records to [jump scare] COME BACK!

It was a paltry hiatus that Third Kind took, lasting only seven month or so, but it’s all behind us now with three new (non-scary, quite limited) tapes.


South City Hardware – Redirected Midi

One would assume that South City Hardware is not associated with the South City Hardware And Sanitary Store located in India, which is the first Google result their name turns up, but I could be wrong. Hardware and sanitation are analogous in this situation. Hardware could be producing the vertigo’d footwork and woozy, crytpto melodies that wall-to-wall Redirected Midi. And a sanitation issue would explain the oozy sheen on each rapid clickpopclickpopboomsampleboomclick.


Nicholas Langley – Nix Six New Plus Two

Langley’s Nix Six New Plus Two appears to be six new tracks plus two more, which is… One moment here… Eight tracks. Mostly short lil’ buggers, taking up only 15 minutes worth of magnetic tape, these self-described “too cute” ditties mine the fantastic fields of character select screens by way of overly vibrant synthshine. The tapes come packaged in (dishwasher safe??) Bottle Buddies© (see above).


All Cats Are Beautiful – a​/​c​/​a​/​b e​/​p​/​3

All Cats Are Beautiful, a name that plays on the more accurate All Cops Are Bastards, deal level-headed experimental dreampop comparable to LEDs wobbling their light in a dark room. The 30 minute recording is held together by the lush urgency of layered vocals dosing dreamy keys and strings. Almost enough to relax the brain during humanity’s current nightmare scenario. Almost.

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Tabs Out | Adderall Canyonly – Influenza 10

Adderall Canyonly – Influenza 10

7.15.19 by Ryan Masteller

Christmas punched me in the mouth waaay early this year, because it’s July and not December. (I know some of you do that “Christmas in July” thing, but it’s wrong, not to mention sinful.) But I woke up this morning and my tree was up (fake tree) and the decorations were hung and there was a single small present beneath the tree. I was in disbelief, and I had a split lip from the punch, but I decided to roll with it and approach this miracle as something that was truly meant to be. I approached the brightly wrapped package and took a look at the name on it. “The World,” it simply said. Who am I to disagree? I ripped it open.

To my complete non-surprise, it was a cassette tape. The size gave it away, plus I happen to do a bit of writing about cassettes, so there you go: non-surprise. What WAS surprising was the fact that said cassette tape contained an unreleased Adderall Canyonly album, and you know events like new Adderall Canyonly albums should be treated with the kind of respect you reserve for something like Christmas. AC moves in mysterious ways, and sometimes those ways include allowing material to gestate over a long period of time. Such is the case with “Influenza 10,” recorded in Portland, Oregon, in 2010 with a Tascam and a bunch of other likely obsolete electronics that have probably been sold for scrap at this point. That’s just the Adderall Canyonly way – all those electronics combine to form future wastescapes where robots have claimed Earth as their own and Snake Plissken can’t get off his island. Obsoleteness is not an obstacle.

And no, “Influenza 10” is not a re-release of some classic album on a weird anniversary – it’s not “remixed and remastered” but “finally mixed and finally mastered,” seeing the light of day after all these years. It bears all the delightful hallmarks of AC’s work: tortured electronics, ominous tones, queasy rhythms, and fractured viewpoints of futures dangerously close at hand. Did I say “delightful”? Yeah, I meant “delightful,” especially if you’re into stuff like “tortured electronics.”

So be vigilant: you too, like me, may wake up one day with a Christmas sock to the kisser at the wrong time of year; I bring you this warning as a public service announcement. Always be prepared! “Influenza 10” is out July 23 via Personal Archives in an edition of 50 (pro-duped, white shells/black imprint, 2-sided 3-panel j-card). Listen to “Floating Master” below to wet your whistle.

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Tabs Out | Episode #144

Új Bála - Diacritical Marks And Angels (Baba Vanga)
Seth Graham - Hint (Mondoj)
??? - ??? (???)
Spaghetti Blacc - split w/ Gamnad737 (Moontone / Blacc Ski Weekend)
Malk - WMAIDIT (Lost Tribe Sounds)
Darnell Little - theradiantchild. special edition (Bonding)
Ditto - Boojum (Cudighi)
Kösmonaut - Paragon (Rubber City Noise)
SAUCEMAN - Grids 1 compilation (Outlines)
Sophiaaaahjkl;8901 - Fiber​​-​​Optic Fur & 3D​​-​​Printed Bones (Suite 309)
Sad Magic - Herbal Séances (self released)
Mitchell W. Feldstein - Pretty Boss (Flag Day)
Tyresta - Always Ending (Otherwordly Mystics)

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Tabs Out | Co-habitant – s/t

Co-habitant – s/t

7.9.19 by Ryan Masteller

If we’re sure of anything, we’re sure that Chained Library is locked up tight for a reason. Even with its doors firmly closed, we can deduce, through “extra-library” research (internet), that there’s some kind of magic contained within the book-lined corridors. This Co-habitant tape is Exhibit A in the case against Chained Library, and we’re gonna have to get through it in order for me to convince you that we have to burn this sucker to the ground.

Co-habitant is I-don’t-know-who from I-don’t-know-where, and it doesn’t matter.  All you have to do is press play on the tape and you’re under an instant trance, totally susceptible to whatever your new master’s whims are. I’ve heard stories, stories that will totally freak you out, that witches use the repetitive loops contained herein to summon demons and ghouls and all sorts of frights to fan out over the land and terrorize the slumbering populace out of their slumber and into perpetual panic. It’s all here – it’s all in this tape.

Why don’t we check it out, see what all the fuss is about? Then you’ll understand. … See, those high pitches rustle through the trees like a foreboding wind, repeating, continuing until they’ve chilled you to the bone. Then the Carpenter worship – always the Carpenter worship! Can’t you hear the “Halloween” theme, but only restrained and just at the periphery of your consciousness? This is how it burrows into your mind and takes control of your soul. We could keep going, but you’d just get the vibe of an after-hours séance or a morality tale gone wrong or a mysterious light in the deepest part of the woods.

Yes: the minimal melodies are entrancing and the repetition sinks deep into your mind. It penetrates your consciousness. It remains there and moves you to do its bidding. Listen to it! You’re powerless to stop it. I’m powerless to stop it. In fact, I think we should just let this play, just let it play and leave old Chained Library alone. Yeah, that’s probably for the best in the end, don’t you think?

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Tabs Out | Bonus Episode: Ready? Cassette. Go! 2

Ian Franklin defends his title against Jamie Orlando in the second round of our classic cassette guessing game Ready? Cassette. Go!

Tapes by Goblintropp, Sarah Hennies, Ayatollah, Matt Bachmann, Rambutan, German Army, Whettman Chelmets, Soda Lite, and J. Soliday.

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Tabs Out | Karris Adams Duo – Nothing Stays Buried (La La La La)

Karris Adams Duo – Nothing Stays Buried (La La La La)

7.1.19 by Ryan Masteller

I don’t know why I’ve been inundated with scary things lately, but Personal Archives has sent me the Karris Adams Duo’s “Nothing Stays Buried (La La La La),” and now I’m all like, should I be afraid of zombies too? I don’t know if they’re quite as scary as ghosts (not as fast), but they look way grosser. Still, I’m not here to beat that dead horse (unless it’s chasing me); instead, I want to focus on the music, and if you’re unfamiliar with Personal Archives (I know you’re not unfamiliar, but bear with me), you should be ready for some wild and woolly (and wiggly!) improv. Here, Reid Karris (prepared guitars, “skatchbox on b2”) and Alexander Adams (drums) build worlds out of sonic tinker toys, creating bizarre and excellent scaffoldings that continue to increase in height and breadth until they’ve filled the studio space that they’re recording in (Hinsdale Underground Bunker Complex, which is a great place to hide from the undead). At least that’s how it’s working in my imagination.

Karris and Adams aren’t as bombastic or in-your-face a duo as Sex Funeral, Personal Archives honcho BBJr and Matthew Crowe’s outfit. But they’re certainly kindred spirits, with Karris’s guitar squiggling all over the rhythmic framework Adams provides. They don’t take themselves too seriously, which highlights their playfulness and creativity – in fact, it sounds like they’re having an amazing time recording together. Just look at some of these jokey track names: “Emerson Karris, Lake Street, and the Palmer House Hilton” (ELP jokes are not easy, and this one works!), “He Won’t Stop Thumping until You Leave Him Alone (For H)” (ew?), “Wiggle a Bit” (gladly!), and “Pop Song 312” (take THAT, R.E.M.!). Don’t you want to listen to those tunes, no matter what they are?

All this just goes to show how finger-on-the-pulse BBJr and Personal Archives is when it comes to live improv. Karris and Adams are a joy to listen to, and probably a joy to behold in a live setting. Why don’t you figure out how to make that happen, how to get off your couch and go check them out? I have no idea where you live, but if you’re like me, you’re probably always up for a road trip.

“C30 lavender shell hand-stamped cassettes, dutifully dubbed in Dubuque. Professionally printed two-sided j-card.” Only 40 available!

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