Tabs Out | Zach Rowden – Like a Mirror Does

Zach Rowden – Like a Mirror Does

7.20.22 by Jacob DeRaadt

Four track loops utilizing acoustic fragments and deft tape manipulation from one half of Tongue Depressor.

Stereo fields are utilized to their utmost potential.

Bells ringing down the hallways of memory, tape clicking adding it’s own time signature in call and response form.

Elements slowly swirl around the mix, congealing on different themes of tiny significance, these short terse loops revolving around one another.

Side A slowly builds itself up into a homespun mess of interrupted, tension-buildin’ chimes and overtone harmonies while the tape machine’s take up reel spins out in real time in non-treated fashion. I’m especially drawn to the sounds of the tape machine itself that Zach is working with here. An ambient hissing dysfunction that adds to the mix of four track fuckery that Rowden excels at in leaps and bounds on this. Taking minimal amounts of source material and mining out interactions of incorrect tape responses, slowly fading into silently shuddering loops of degradations to the source material resembling a grey oxide stew with flecks of warbling tape phrases popping up at odd intervals. Rewind function enters the mix eventually, erasing the older information slowly with each repeating cycle of the combined loop phrasing. This is patient, inhuman music deeply tied to the material at hand and a singular vision for building moods that sustain themselves across both sides of this tape. 

Tabs Out | Prayer Rope – Synodus Horrenda

Prayer Rope – Synodus Horrenda

7.14.22 by Jacob DeRaadt

Synodus Horrenda on No Rent Records is my first exposure to this project by Lexi C.M.K Turner. A sound that I heard a lot from tape trading friends in the ’00s is on display here: amplifiers mic’d up and feeding back in unruly tormented fashion. Sustained intensity approaching a meeting of Mathausen Orchestra and mid-period Ramleh guitar feedback, although I don’t feel here a guitar sound as much as a harsh noise rotten tone. Some tapes just get you from the beginning and this one did it for me. Bear witness to a real monolithic crushing sound that builds patiently and never relents in intensity for sustained periods of time, fuzz baths for days of filthy feedbacking, bludgeoning tones. 

Harsh harsh harsh noise, in every sense of the term. Play loud on headphones while drunk late at night. Almost starts to drone for a second before relapsing back into shrieking fuzz swells that are intoxicating in rich texture. Side B’s beginning is a bass tone buried beneath stereo fucking ugly crashing demented filth that wouldn’t be out of place on a David Gilden tape. In your face and intense shit that doesn’t let you have any breathing room. It fills up all the space without becoming a constant wall, rather things are always shifting under the surface in dimensional relationship in the muck. This tape has won me back over to a style of harsh noise I thought I’d grown tired of. If you like brash ugly burly harsh noise that’s unrelenting this will be right up your alley. Sold out already. Wah!!!!

Tabs Out | Body Shop – Hissy Hits Live at Pulp Arts

Body Shop – Hissy Hits Live at Pulp Arts

7.12.22 by Matty McPherson

Out in Orlando, FL, Body Shop’s punk flurry is a sight to behold. You’ll have to bypass a few different Body Shops out in the Bandcamp barrens to find their angular, never-out-of-style artisan style punk that debuted on last year’s FL3SH WORLD. That’s a tickler of a punk EP, itself the byproduct of pandemic hiatuses and a need to push out ideas into the wild. This year though, the band’s partnered with Miami, FL based Crass Lips, itself a local DIY institution that’s quickly mainlined continental connections and booking prowess around the country. Both Body Shop and Crass Lips are a keen fit.

Hissy Hits LIve at Pulp Arts is a raw-throw down of a live in-studio. Six nitty n’ gritty tracks that pretty much run the gamut from any dance-keen rhythm sound from ‘78-’84. Heavy on the dub bass, edging bits of the Police’s Zenyatta era pop prowess, with vocalist Kat’s sing-a-long lyricism itself imparts quite a performance. Times like this when I hear releases this strong I have to wonder if punk is all mathematics and not passion and performance. 

Perhaps a combo of both? While it didn’t appear on FL3SH WORLD, the grooved out bliss of Searchers is practically my answer to that quandary. For a whopping seven minutes, Body Shop lay down dub rhythms as Kat saunters through the scene, wailing with gusto. Even with those rhythms holding us to the floor, its not hard for Kat to quickly burst for the ceiling or cause a bash of whiplash when their sound hits the red. Endlessly addictive, easy to latch on to. No matter why Crass Lips was thrilled to run a quick batch of tapes available at their Bandcamp.

Tabs Out | Obsidian Shard – The Marble Animal

Obsidian Shard – The Marble Animal

7.11.22 by Jacob DeRaadt

This isn’t a huge departure from the other tape I’ve heard by this project: lots of quick dynamic edits, unique crackling and popping textures in some parts, generally a fractured take on ambient textures mixed with music concrete editing takes this into some very good zones. Most of the songs on this tape are under four minutes, which means a couple blinks and you missed 50 different sound objects. What I like is there isn’t an over reliance on one type of editing or playing technique, but it’s consistently messing with your attention span by purposeful asymmetry.

I would one to see this project perform live, but they apparently live in Antarctica, so the folk lore goes these days. Well Stapleton me to the wall of a painting, but this gets into a little dark surrealist territory that is all it’s own slimy tendril bath of purring synths and looping acoustic field recordings. Things are filthy and weird enough for my liking on this one much more than “The Ganser Syndrome,” which I like for different reasons than this one.  

There’s some intense tape fuckery going on during the second half of this tape, dissolving into fluttering bells and back into acoustic looping awkwardness. Bewildered ears ponder sound sources and are left guessing and grasping at fragments of ultimate cut up goodness that I haven’t heard since the last Id M Theft Able tape I listened to. Repeat listener, I’ve listened to this at least four times and will go back for more later this year, highly recommended release from this baffled buffoon.

Reclaimed cassette tapes, dubbed in real time with j cards assembled from salvaged craft paper, and cut up art from a diy guide to energy alternatives. Each cassette has unique album art.

Tabs Out | Tomato Flower – Gold Arc / Construction

Tomato Flower – Gold Arc / Construction

7.7.22 by Matty McPherson

Ramp Local, the label/PR workhorse of Jake Saunders, has been steadily cranking out titles for over seven years. You check that back catalog – Stice, Godcaster, Lily (Konigsberg) & Horn Horse, Palberta (also lily konigsberg)… there’s a clear pattern here of “whimsically batshit and dead-eyed, but not fussy” pop that finds you, more than you find it. As a result, every now and again you expect to find yourself with a strange set of mavericky nuggets that you can’t quite detach yourself from, nor know how to exactly pin down for folks. You worry if you go to stump for this kind of stuff, you might be booed out of the indie night or have tomatoes thrown at you. 

Of course, that’s not the case with Tomato Flower. They’re a Baltimore start-up that spent about 18 or so months writing and testing each other’s wits with what they could pull together. They rather casually dropped a sub-13 minute digital EP, Gold Arc, back in early February. It’s the kind of release that requires both a minimal amount of words to describe and yet insists on an essay-level treatise of why THIS sound is so goddamn potent. If you know your early Slumberland, your decade-old Captured Tracks rarities, you like to go “Sam Prekop mode,” or have been tuned to the working of the Paisley Shirt label, then you likely will resonate with Tomato Flower’s second-mover level pop ditties. Their spunky and quippy style of playing emphasizes rhythms first, then builds illustrious sound design that rewards endless listens. And none of the songs on Gold Arc passed the three minute mark; itself the truest indicator of a band with immense pop wit. It practically radiated bioluminescence.

So, it’s with a light heart that Gold Arc is being collected with Tomato Flower’s next, equally rewarding EP followup, Construction, here on August 5th as Gold Arc / Construction. Note the artwork, a combination of both digital EPs artwork. Whereas Gold Arc was the “utopic,” free-thinking EP,  Construction is being touted as a more earthly batch of songs, tethered to the daily grind and endless shockwaves that rupture from its wake. Just from the tropicalia-inflected opener, Bug, you garner a sense that the humidity is way-up and a storm lies ahead. Construction’s other ditties are slower and more ponderous, although sudden whiplash from sonic epiphanies practically threaten to burst at any moment. And yes, three of the tracks now either flirt or outright bomp past the three minute mark! 😮

One such case is Construction, our title track! There’s a sense of legitimate whimsy that evokes Omni’s nervy pace-changes–we literally jump into chorus without much of a warning! Yet, Tomato Flower is denser, flooding the sound with synths in the vein of a trip to Super Mario Sunshine and Austyn Wohlers’ earnest lyricism of day-to-day bygones and adventures. Meanwhile, Fancy (nearly hitting five minutes), is the closest Tomato Flower has come to channeling latter day slowcore. By that I mean it is a spaced-out lounge track on a wavelength between Crumb and Horse Jumper of Love, a suggestive track that suggests symptomatic undercurrents in indie writ large. 

In the EPs most gobstopping moments, Tomato Flower channels a realm of Stereolab-core that hasn’t been completely given its proper due. I’m specifically alluding to tracks Blue and Aparecida. The former’s polyrhythmic strut n’ step puts it in line with present day indie, but when the song hits its halfway point, it suddenly turns into an ambient synth lullaby–its a technique Cibo Matto pulled off brilliantly on their longforms back in the day, but Tomato Flower update with precocious wit. The latter’s only running with enough gas in the tank to last 100 seconds, and each one counts. The tropicalia-tinged track practically unleashes a new synth whoop, chord change, or cymbal wink with every second.

Needless to say, Construction’s compilation and track pacing are a varnished introductory report of where Tomato Flower is at. Perhaps though, the truest knowledge of where their minds are at will be garnered when out on the road with Animal Collective this summer. Goodness what a time to be alive!

Edition of 500 available from the Ramp Local Bandcamp Page

Tabs Out | Longmont Potion Castle – 19

Longmont Potion Castle – 19

7.5.22 by Matty McPherson

Perhaps the only time I ever truly made a mogul move was when I was 15. January 2014. Taking a call from my brother while I sat in a hot tub. I belted into the phone “get me the longbox.” I don’t think Amoeba LA ever carried another Longbox Option Package again. The $70 it sold for is now a bargain. For teenage me, Longmont Potion Castle was the umpteenth piece of comedy ephemera in a long line–right after Space Ghost Coast to Coast and just before David Thorne’s late-00s blog emails; before Mr. Show but way after Homestar Runner. It felt like a secret handshake needed to navigate the world, an armor of its own accord.

Back in spring 2011, his cult-celebrity finally landed him a prime-time spot at 4:05 AM on [adult swim]’s Off the Air. I quickly found LPC 4 at a record shop in Portland, OR on vacation during Thanksgiving 2011. I never gave a second look at the complimentary Sub Pop CD comp, I was reveling in the excitement of Tandy. Since then, I’ve had an open policy of leading the charge on acquiring any and all Longmont possible. This is somewhat of an annual activity, made possible by the seasonal LPC online mega storefronts. Longmont Potion Castle 19 is LPC’s 21st studio album in 34 years, if you can appreciate that.

The 2019 “Where in the Hell is the Lavender House” documentary implied that Mr. LPC has no intention to stop making phone calls, as it is still an activity he enjoys. He even started doing live calls for audiences at screenings and collected the most workable calls into a single compilation. His methods since late-career highlight Longmont Potion Castle 8 (where calls were done on Skype and with a new voice, the result of a nose injury or something) really haven’t changed much. Longmont Potion Castle calls local businesses, the celebs, and assholes on the edge. He usually corroborate two hours of worthy material. If you know this, then you either really like it, or you are T*m Th*rnt*n and think he stopped being good after LPC 5 (this is wrong).

When Bono asserted the idea that their very good song “the Fly” was about “that of a phone call from someone in Hell who enjoys being there and telling the person on the other end of the line what he has learned,” he inadvertently provided the clearest image of Longmont Potion Castle’s discography. LPC has crafted a timeline of weird and eerie dispatches over phone lines, letting us eavesdrop on the unsuspecting, unraveling, and/or unhinged . We almost never know how many times, or for how many months LPC has been calling these people, just that on the calls put to tape, we know they want to murder him with guns and knives and fists. And the entire time, LPC maintains insane composure. This is not trolling. Something more akin to a sincere surveying of the American id, pinpointing what riles people up to the point they declare they will “put a bullet in [his] ass” and murder him. His requests are often incoherently genuine or genuinely illogical; things that purposely push people out of their comfort zone and into the hissy ether of our phone lines. It’s a decidedly unhuman world out there.

I have to stress to people that LPC is not prank calls; the objective(s) of DU Records’ highest-profile artist do not align with crass over-the-top antics. The John Cena spam call and Dunkey’s pranks, themselves some of the more noticed/notable prank calls of the 2010s, are crass and lack establishing a dialogue with the individual on the other end. They torment and berate, negating any possibility of ascending to phone art. LPC’s phone art has always been based in two distinct MOs: rhetorical standardization and contextual bafflement.

When I say “LPC has set rhetorical standards”, what I mean is that his capacity for carrying on a conversation is rhythmic. It in its vigor there’s rhyme and flow, amongst sudden left turns; it never ceasing to enact new colloquial quips or turn of phrases. And somehow, people on the line keep trying to decipher or find themselves roped in. So few are the humorists that actually make their sleights of phrase worthy of leaning in (Tim Robinson is currently one of the few who’ve most achieved rhetorical standardization via ITYSL). For the latter, the contextual bafflement, that’s been LPC’s whole bread and butter–since the beginning when the answering machine would beep every ten seconds. The phone is a miracle, one that synchronously connects two spatially diverse voices. People HATE when that is called into question. LPC has often destroyed that synchronicity–accomplished either with batshit noise and feedback, three-waying the phone lines to truly create temporal uncertainty, or by curating the calls that end up on these compilations to be the freewheeling and unbound. Early LPC releases were just dozens of calls under a minute. It was supposed to consume and overwhelm. Listening to a tape (not CD) of his work and the lack of immediate returns to that sensation. The seamlessness makes it hard to pinpoint his melodies. One line closes and another immediately opens.

What has become increasingly apparent over LPC’s 30+ years dedicated to calling people just to see what’s up, is a real sense of what the refinement of the decline sounds like. In an era where public trust in institutions has eroded, we’ve failed to truly combat covid and fascism, and we have no prospect of a real communal future (just dipshit survival of the fittest), LPC 19 is basically a tenuous survey of how close we are on the brink. No, LPC calls have never been outright political–even the 2004 highlight Election Blues is more a dead-eyed stare into the world of opinion polling and petty territorialism, than real politics. Yet, even with the usual roster of peeving or phone mayhem, something about this compilation’s squabbles is more unhinged than usual.

Could it be pinpointed to various moments of the LPC 19 Medley 1/2? Dedicated pleas to help with a garage lever (“I got your number from a friend at the DMV”) hit the fritz faster than a bat outta hell. Later, earnest pleas coaxing neighbors to provide a swab, just to confirm they didn’t steal anything from LPC, unleashes some of the pettiest “go fuck yourself” behavior documented on a phone line. “Machete Lottery,” a stately attempt to make a general store garner $200, unleashes new levels of customer service hell, as if being a valued customer over generations doesn’t mean a thing. Somehow lottery people are enraged by the end of this! One LPC’s finest joke threats is recited by the woman over the phone from a call LPC opts not to record; brilliant depth to the story and humor from what’s been left behind. Meanwhile, no one wants to pay ASCAP the hundreds of dollars owed for Taco Comavilla. People just aren’t willing to let their data be destroyed and restored, and let interstate commerce crimes be bygones in the process. Even the cryptozoologist isn’t interested in building a coalition, only furthering his knowledge. Truly, all signs of a society that wants the other fella on the line to fuck off and die.

There’s still these fascinating moments of brevity. Take the new sound effects, like the reverberated siren that randomly shows a la Eric Andrew style, to the baffling twinkles that pop in moments where people are truly being unhuman; they function as breadcrumbs to signify that LPC sorta knows the insanity he’s in as we sit back and eavesdrop. Meanwhile, while dialing up as Dale Pigtail and trying to force a fella to pay a ticket, LPC just lets the fella state he’d been the target of homophobic slander and sincerely express grievance; he hangs up and never hear from him again. For the first time I can recall since Super Nintendo (perhaps LPC’s pinnacle of empathy), LPC sorta just vibes around with a kid with no real harm or irritation. Even a call to a bookstore reveals that people who staff these stores are more amused by the bizarreness and humor of the three-way rhyming quips than actually wanting to kill this man. Truly, a sign that civilization is still alive, at least as long as someone is listening and playing.

While the Alex Trebex calls remain likely finished and all released in the forms they should be, the return to the record store for a semi-sequel to Nash, Buckwild. Here it further teases that those calls that have garnered him a longevity for a new generation. Record store clerks now live to tell tales of LPC. Hell, I met one of the guys on the LPC’s Amoeba Records call from vol. 7. Buckwild’s splicing twists and turns, going well beyond Zia Records’ meta-moment and spreading out. It’s the call that has instilled long-lasting effects on my brain, with LPC’s incessant need for the breakthrough single from a Babylonian group on a “hot imprint” creating massive layups for slam dunk lines. And also, he can’t not sing the song into the phone over and over. All instigates classic LPC pleasure. And of course, there’s the samplepedia ditty, the thrash song, and a whole roster of things I can really only say “you should just hear this.”

I own two copies of it, one on 2xCD and one on 120 minute type II cassette. Both are $25 flat for US buyers, and likely going to be available in physical format when he decides he has the time to offer it/finds more type II tapes. I don’t recommend you play this in anything but a tape deck if you do happen to acquire it. All I can say is at the end of several deep listens in various formats and with various friends, Im deeply thankful this guy just wants to swab some people and keeps doing this shit. It’s important American surveyor work.

Tabs Out | Episode #180

Adam Void - A Call to Ignite (Cut in the Fence)
Urbanfailure - Recurring Errors (EXILES)
n o a h s t a s – Black Bile (EXILES)
Cabo Boing - Real Gems for Little Jewels (Haord)
Jeremiah Cymerman & John McCowen - Biter Desert (Dinzu Artefacts)
Cecilia Lopez & Joe Moffett - Caprichos (Tripticks Tapes)
Paradot - Albumen (Cudighi)
German Army - Then is Now (A Flooded Need)
Catarrh Nisin vs. 6v9id / Swordman Kitala - split (Blue Tapes)

Tabs Out | Vertonen – Territories Et Terrains Parts 1 – 4

Vertonen – Territories Et Terrains Parts 1 – 4

7.1.22 by Jacob DeRaadt

We find Vertonen (takes deep breath) keeping an audio diary of loosely edited Covid commutes paired with snatches of occluded synthesis that surrenders to a series of sublime droning tonalities conjuring up phantoms of Xenakis’ tape works, dancing in the fading light of late afternoon. Brief domestic moments juxtapose with snippets of rhythmic industrial noise before quickly fading into a distorted surrealist hiss with disembodied vocals. Other moments are slow and tonal as physical objects are manipulated into mesmerizing non-patterns of indeterminate electronic pulsations.       

There’s gentle and hauntingly brittle points on “Opense” that remind me of dusted photographs in forgotten garages all over the world. Reality becoming just a memory of past events. Frozen time. Freezing moments of the daily commute. Hacking up experienced time and motion, letting certain passages stretch out into entire songs and other moments as brief interruption in the listened experience of another moment of events in time. Signals being slowly decayed, stripped of fidelity and volume. More disembodied voices leading you through the empty airport. The intercom produces a high pitched hum that seems out of place, but you are straining to hear what the voices are talking about. 

There are a variety of moods on these four tapes, as two separate releases, I’m talking about both as a single album, a whole new period of Vertonen sound is here and a lovely, lonely world it is… Sounds inside of a mineshaft. A hollow echo repeating itself until it dies out slowly. 

“Four Paths Parting” holds the listeners ear up to gentle movements of water for an extended period, events unfolding without added effect or edit. Leaves begin to blow into the river/stream, wind interacts with current, and a hollow sound resides at the center of it all. “And Consequence” takes nocturnal field recordings of insect life and juxtaposes it against barely perceived record manipulations and pitch shifted tonalities that slowly morph into thin hazy textures.

Other pieces like “Uprooting Assembly” finds a mixture of hollow earth drone and domestic shuffling tangling with more subtle stylus manipulation. The quiet tension that occupies space here is fragile and relatively unadorned.  Sounds breathe freely, commuting spaces explored in detail, and lines are blurred between chance events and planned object deconstructions.

“White Shell Sky” might be my favorite recent drone piece, curved arcing tonal rays firing tracers into the looping center of a tone arm riff dissolving into muted territory towards the end of the song. There’s enough dirt and hiss here to keep it from being overly polished and utopic in overall atmosphere. The mixture of synthesis and field recordings in this one really gets me. 

Pedestrian walking sounds, fabric against the microphone, lots of sounds outside as well as in tunnels, 

Definitely material that will have to be reissued at some point. Four cassettes with muslin pouches with prints on each set. Edition of 26 from Ballast.

Tabs Out | Night Sky Body – Pain/Air

Night Sky Body – Pain/Air

6.27.22 by Matty McPherson

Sound as Language has been slowly hashing out its aesthetic and general ethos for the last two years. Ki Oni (arguably the A-list bad boy of ambient), brin (the A-list bad boy graphic designer of ambient), euglossine (the library music enthusiast of ambient), and Matthew Ryals (the bad boy modular synth enthusiast) are on one end, exploring eye-wnking ambient zones where not all is as it seems. Flight Mode and Tar Of are on the other, obliterating everything in sight with fiery fury and noise pop explosions. Truly, we haven’t seen an “ambient label that rlly likes emo” like this in the history of tape labels. Also, their tapes have o-card outer sleeves. It’s quite nice.

The label also is anything but regionally focused. Will might be steering the ship somewhere out of NC, but his knack for curating a roster filled with the crevices of the continental United States is worthy of commendation. Recently, I’ve been chilling with the work of Murfreesboro, TN’s Night Sky Body (fka Sparkling Wide Pressure, AKA Frank Baugh). Baugh’s got a hefty CV with works extending from Hooker Vision to Lillerne and Never Anything. His new EP for Sound as Language, pain/air, is a continued meditation of his songwriting practice; ” Dream imagery, automatic writing, and psychological landscapes” are the guiding MO for pain/air’s six tracks.

For a C30, it’s considerately fluid and dense. This approach to songwriting is a mend of electronics (including sampling) with shimmering guitars and somber piano, sort of just seeing what might come of it. Sometimes it is real dream music. Other times, it’s gothic nightmares. Neither are handled without an acknowledgement of the other though, giving the tape a situated balance and the aura of a journey. In the tapes most wide-eyed moments, like opener Clouds Form, the sounds come in with a crystal clarity, automatically endearing and gracious. Side A’s other two tracks, Lawrence and Undo Fragments, let the automatic mumble writing seep in, casually becoming a meditation to one’s self; an exercise in the subconscious. Yet, Undo Fragments’ sampling of heavier bass textures doesn’t quite function in the constructivist manner it seems to be edging for.

Side B though, is able to better mend these textures together into a cohesive suite. Braugh’s automatic writing is more sinister on Picture a Garden There, itself benefitting from the brooding synths and shaken strings/percussive textures. Together, there’s a real sense of uncertainty and desperation; like you’ve just fallen into a gothic rabbit hole. Between’s unshaken piano and low end practically keep that journey on its toes. You’re not sure where you’ll end up but fortunately, it’ll be at Relief. Just like Clouds Form, Relief is a bright track on the tape. Morphing between precious piano and wicked feedback, it lands comfortably on an astral plane, slowly whisking away.

Edition of 100 carmine red ink on frosted ice cassette with Ocard outer sleeve, available at the Sound as Language Bandcamp.

Tabs Out | Uli Federwisch & Chip Perkins – Visiting Places (Learning by Listening Vol. 5)

Uli Federwisch & Chip Perkins – Visiting Places (Learning by Listening Vol. 5)

6.24.22 by Matty McPherson

They (aka PUBLIC LIBRARIES) like to advertise that you can go to a library and “jumpstart your future” by watching a bunch of Great Courses about pirates, facists, and uhhh… integrated calculus. I mean I guess that’s good enough to like get a GED or a diploma from Crazy Go Nuts University, but I just don’t feel like that truly does justice for what today’s feeble-eyed audiences are in need of. They should be learning with their ears, LISTENING to important lessons and concepts! Some people might just say “isn’t that a podcast?” But not Strategic Tape Reserve! Even if libraries think cassettes are outdated (or too scary to file under the Dewey Decimal System), the STR has been innovating in learning arenas where results had been practically stagnate. “Learning by Listening is an educational, instructive cassette series designed to bring the information of the world into your home, and your brain,”. It’s a simple approach that has led to DOZENS of degrees (these tape runs are few, because the value of these degrees are akin to liquid gold), tens of armchair critical thoughts/forum posts, and at least 8 tape releases to date.

Now, I’ve been out the STR loop for a while (Eamon, you really outdid yourself with Bellectronic!). Yet, as a clerk with Dewey Decimal number knowledge, I felt that I could help analyze Vol. 5 Visiting Places and provide insights for future knowledge enthusiasts. A Dewey Decimal Classification of 910, for “geography and travel” is a sufficient starting place for this tape release. It’s the work of Uli Federwisch, the Secretary-General of the Prüm-Eupen Partnership For Success and has visited many places both inside of Germany and abroad.” Hmm, maybe its a 914.3 situation–ya know for the German/Belgium area? Wait a sec–it says here “Chip Perkins has submitted demo reels to several well-respected voice talent agencies and expects to hear back from them soon”. Last time I checked we were filing voice talent demo reals somewhere in the 790s. Goodness! Is this even catalogable?! Okay maybe we should focus on the listening at hand–Federwisch really likes to play with the synthesizer. And when I got those Autechre cds from the library, they were filed under 786.74 for “synthesizers, electronic music.” Technically, Visiting Places fits that description, but you and I both saw that bench on the cover, we know this is an experience of real human travels.

Visitng Places’ is the designated length of a super-sized Rick Steves Europe episode. Now, I watch a lot of Rick Steves on weekends. It used to be Bob Ross, but my folks saw the documentary on his life and are appalled by the cottage industry based on his likeness. Rick Steves is a pretty good compromise because it fulfills their dreams of going to Europe and my fascination with his “blunt as fuck” (bro loves his doobies!) nicecore aesthetic. A sizeable chunk of Perkins’ informative monologues struck me as warped inversions of Rick Steves’ charming historical tidbits of European history and culture. In the hands of Perkins, they become brilliant distillations of STR’s lore and fever-dream Europe that us Americans so rarely have any real understanding of. Also they are paired with Federwisch’s uncanny knack for pulling out synth textures and bonkers sounds that emphatically parallel the journey Perkins pulls us down. It can be funky or ethereal; blissful or deranged. It’s really all about how you learn by listening.

Visiting Places is undeniably an execution of the “weird and eerie” aesthetic, outside of our perceptions. Our journey will start at a bench on the Belgium/German border, playing a flute. No, we don’t know how we got here. We just must traverse and figure what is real and imagined. We’ll encounter adult-sized tricycles, with decorative cladding and displaying scenes from popular movies. To describe its limitations and otherworldly-ness (it sits on a track between the two countries’ borders) would fail you, dear reader. We’ll visit a model train museum where budget cuts have truly put things on the fritz. We’ll move like a tightrope walker. We’ll lay down and count back from 8 and come to a wind park, truly considering how wind turbines could become giant fans! We’ll ponder the results of referendums that destroyed all maps of the local village. The village residents though, they speak in a language that is “profoundly beautiful”. All the while, Federwisch will continue to take every quip or turn of phrase and turn it into an apt sound.

As I read of future civil wars and think of fractured borders, this tape produces its own solace. Federwisch & Perkins achieve a radiant energy that begets questions to answers that aren’t even acknowledged within this tape, allowing a listener to truly ponder the places they visit. But let’s not dwell on that. Just merely tap in for five minutes, and before you’ll realize it you’ve been been on a journey of your own for the past 40.

Professionally dubbed C40 audio cassette. Edition of fifty something from Strategic Tape Reserve’s Bandcamp Page.