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Tabs Out | New Batch – Obsolete Staircases

New Batch – Obsolete Staircases

5.28.19 by Ryan Masteller

April was a good month for Obsolete Staircases, that bastion of Louisville, Kentucky, out-there-ness that outdoes even the way-out-there-ness of the most way-out-there Derby shindig. That’s not to say there aren’t any good hats or anything around OSHQ – I mean, I’m sure there are couple really great ones with huge brims and outrageous colors. But the Derby was on May 4, and we’re talking April, and why it was a good month. It was a good month because there were tapes, oh lordy yes, some tapes distributed from the Obsolete Staircases camp that had yours truly humming like a roided-up jockey offering handfuls of coke to his prize mount. Let’s dig into those and forget all about that sonofabitch Maximum Security and how that equine miscreant cost me a cool grand. (This was a TRUE story.) (But not about me.)


TYRESTA – Circles Back Around

I needed this to come down from that rage boil I was building up to there. See, not only does Tyresta, aka Nick Turner, “make music with the intention of creating a context in which people can slow down, breathe, and connect with themselves in others,” being of course “heavily influenced by [his] Zen meditation practice,” but “Circles Back Around” also happens to be part of OS’s “Stillness Series,” no. 2 in it, in fact. And we can get very, very still while listening to Tyresta! Utilizing a variety of synthesizers, Turner creates meditative passages perfect for zoning in to the center of your being and pinpointing all the nasty junk that’s gathered there, allowing you to cleanse spiritually and mentally without all the nasty peyote that shaman was trying to convince me was good for me. But this isn’t about me – this is about suggesting that Tyresta could easily fit on Inner Islands, an equally personal-health-minded label bent on deep self-discovery. After five dreamy tracks of differing tone and timbre, Turner goes all in on side B, a 29-minute mind wipe called “Seasons of Existence.” It’s like the greatest introspective jaunt you’ll ever embark upon.


TIM BARNES – s/t

I don’t think Tim Barnes necessarily has my best interests in mind, not like that nice Tyresta up there. No, Tim’s on a whole ’nother trip, man, and it’s a bit on the squirrely side. “Ketil” is a seven-and-a-half-minute red herring, a fizz of electrodes and synth tones that spreads itself across the digital canvas. But then the shift – that’s not what this is gonna be like, not really. “Temperance” introduces scuzzy rhythms and flitting tones, jazzing me all back up again after that comedown. From there all bets are off – there’s fourteen tunes here, scattered across the stylistic spectrum like errant waveforms from forgotten misfit projects. Almost all of them are built upon warped electronics and weird samples and loops, but everything’s really just all over the place. And maybe that’s just it – that’s the key to realizing that Tim Barnes maybe DOES have my best interests in mind, because he’s so generous with sharing his vivid imagination with all of us. He’s not just a spirit guide in all this.


FLOWER POWER SYNTH AND WOODWIND ENSEMBLE – Titanic II

You guys see “Homecoming,” that weird mystery/sci-fi show with Julia Roberts and soldiers returning from combat deployment? I did. Binged the heck out of it. If YOU did, you know what I’m talking about, and “Titanic II” plays a role in the show. I won’t spoil you. You should watch it, it’s a good one. This “Titanic II” is a liiiiittle bit different, because this “Titanic II” is a live improvisational performance by the superbly named Flower Power Synth and Woodwind Ensemble, a trio made up of Will Hicks, Eve Maret, and JayVe Montgomery. “Titanic II” is also exactly as advertised by the ensemble’s name, as Hicks, Maret, and Montgomery play various synthesizers and samplers, etc., and Montgomery chips in some tenor sax. Got it? Good! The tracks are broken up oddly, mid-performance, in the digital files, but the tape treats everything as a seamless whole, which is the better way to get into “Titanic II.” And just like the captain of the ill-fated second boat, whose comical “Here we go again” and shrugged shoulders and upraised palms foretell yet another incident of iceberg-rammage (honestly, maybe that’s not what they should name the ship), Flower Power Synth and Woodwind Ensemble is going to accompany us as we slip beneath the waves, playing us out in their gurgling experimentation to ease the panic. This whole thing feels like a cartoon though, there’s no panic. Just deeply concentrated musical excavation on tape.

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Tabs Out | Vieo Abiungo – The Dregs

Vieo Abiungo – The Dregs

5.21.19 by Ryan Masteller

I’m a Fritch, but with an “s,” so: Fritsch. That’s my mother’s side. I’m also a Ryan, spelled the same way, so: Ryan. William Ryan Fritch is Vieo Abiungo … I got nothing there. He’s a singular dude when we get to that part.

Fritch is also a film composer and singer/songwriter, but his Vieo Abiungo guise is a different thing, an animal whose appetites are as omnivorous as they are adventurous. Drawing from West African traditions – dense polyrhythms, Tuareg influence, timbral suggestions to instruments such as the oud – Fritch weaves careful yet playful sonic tapestries, staking his own claim within this genre and solidifying a mastery over the elements at his disposal. Every moment on “The Dregs” is saturated with emotional resonance or technical prowess, often both at the same time, because that’s how GOOD MUSICIANS DO IT. God, Kyle. (Kyle’s my brother.)

And just because “The Dregs” is titled like the contents are scraped from the bottom of a barrel, like the tunes are leftover experiments laying around on a forgotten hard drive, doesn’t mean that they’re second rate in any way. I think I’ve already made it pretty clear that they’re not. For me, Vieo Abiungo is crafting a new language, a distinct folklore with many antecedents but a fascinating new direction. Fritch’s arrangements on “The Dregs” are dense and forward-looking, rich and invigorating, much like Sufjan Stevens’s when he took us all in a new folk direction in the 2000s (although Fritch eschews vocals for his Vieo Abiungo work). If we pay attention, we may find a new mythology unfolding in “The Dregs” whose throughline we may need to follow until its bitter/glorious end. I’m onboard. How about you?

Available from Lost Tribe Sound in an edition of 100. Pro-dubbed High-Bias audio cassette housed in a reverse print 300gsm heavy board stock case, hand-numbered.

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Tabs Out | Bonus Episode: Bugs and Bungles

The Bonus Brigade celebrates the world of bugs but encounters some technical bugs as well. With half of the episode deleted, Jamie attempts to apologize by presenting his "most valuable tape."

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Tabs Out | Schweben – Sketches of Plains

Schweben – Sketches of Plains

5.17.19 by Ryan Masteller

Don’t they have drones for this now? If you need some overhead footage, all you gotta do is strap a camera on your drone, fire up the propellers, and send it soaring over the landscape. There it can hover, taking in a wide swath of the countryside, recording a panorama and beaming it back to our waiting flatscreens that we’ve set up in the dens of our mansions. Mine’s freaking enormous. The picture quality is superb, and it oughta be – I paid a lot of money for it.

“Schweben” means “to hover” in German, and Philipp Hager, under the solo moniker Schweben, does the whole hovering thing pretty well himself. But instead of using some sort of video-recording technology to bring home the bird’s-eye view of the plains so we can see it, he uses AUDIO instead to conjure the FEELING of the plains. Or at least sketches of them. See, “Sketches of Plains” (nifty nod to that ol’ Miles Davis record) isn’t obvious, isn’t a full color-enhanced and edited representation. Instead, it gives us what it suggests it would, sketches: ideas, impressions, interpretations, off-the-cuff improvisations of what Hager would be viewing if he was on a drone large enough to hoist both him and his synthesizer rig, also with a long enough extension cord. (Wait, he could probably use a hot air balloon.)

Schweben wings it with delicately processed sounds, allowing bubbling melodies to suggest colors and shapes of the surrounding area. Through this he captivates, drawing you into his environment like you’ve strapped on a VR viewer and joined him in the air. But there I go – back to suggesting that you’re SEEING something when you’re actually HEARING it. I guess that means you’ll just have to close your eyes and drift off into whatever imaginary topography you’re glimpsing behind your eyelids.

“Sketches of Plains” comes in a hand-dubbed edition of 40 transparent tapes from Otomatik Muziek, but you’ll have to make like Jamie Orlando and scour Discogs for them, because they’re sold out at the source. D’oh!

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Tabs Out | New Batch – Orb Tapes

New Batch – Orb Tapes

5.15.19 by Ryan Masteller

That frickin’ orb, like a fully black eye above the pyramid, peers out at us like an even more evil Sauron, but from Central Pennsylvania instead of Mordor. Can somebody please put a lid on that thing? Let it close once in a while? I’m sort of exposed here, petrified by its gaze.

However, it is also the ancient hieroglyph for, “Hey, Orb Tapes has some new releases.” So … here you go.


PHONED NIL TRIO – Gets Nasty

“Gets Nasty” indeed! Each track is a dick joke, and I try to choke back my laughter as I listen. But then, maybe I’ve got it wrong. Maybe “Gets Nasty” is a commentary on the current state of the “penis,” the oppressive male organ on which we can pin an entire species’ worth of hardship. (Although let’s not literally pin anything to anyone’s penis.) If so, “Gets Nasty” should instead be read as an indictment, a reflection of the “creeping moral decay” of human society toward its inevitable end. Isn’t everybody in power a giant dick-swinging monster whose raging ego and inflamed desire spell utter disaster for anyone who crosses their path? Does the Phoned Nil Trio’s sickening nihilistic manipulation of objects/tapes/electronics/whatever point an accusatory digit at the status quo? I think it does … until I read “I had transported my mismanaged and ungratified and engorged penis across the frozen sexual moonscape of the 1940s” and immediately laugh at the images of Sci-Fi Boner that jump into my head (although I know you’re not going sci-fi here, Phoned Nil Trio!).


BUTOH SONICS – Butoh Sonics

Not straying far here, “Butoh Sonics” starts with “Human Rehabilitation,” a long live track that takes up the entirety of side A. Rehab is the worst. I tore a ligament in my ankle once, and coming back from that was the total pits. Granted, I was (am) an athlete, so I was attempting to get back into playing shape, but still! Humans too need to get back into playing shape, maybe playing with each other shape, cooperation shape, kindness shape. It’ll hurt. Butoh Sonics provides the soundtrack, the trio scraping and creaking and clanging as the aches and pains dull and sharpen over time, always in a constant pattern. “Lush and Spare,” another live one on the B-side, blazes out with the heat and intensity inherent in heat/ice treatment, a constant stream of radiant sound threatening to overwhelm you. Imagine the pain of a deep tissue massage, but also that it feels good. This is kind of an aural equivalent.


LEDGE WALKER / MISNOMR / MISERY RITUAL / BURIAL WEAVINGS – split

Oh no, four of you? That’s not fair – it feels like I have extra work to do or something. OK, enough complaining, let’s get it moving. Ahem. Ledge Walker jams the sound of distant trains down your earpipe while subtly teasing rhythm. The timbre changes and shifts in intensity challenge the listener to keep quiet and still and not scream as it overtakes all sensory inputs. Misnomr forgot the “e” but NEVER FORGOT the “Head on the Tracks” – and who could blame them? Five pieces devoted to an unthinkable discovery, each more terrifying than the last, especially with all that synth and static and disembodied voices piercing the synth and static. And speaking of terrifying, is there anything more dread-inducing than a Misery Ritual? No there is not. As such, Misery Ritual fires walls of unreal sound that splinter and shatter into millions of hellish fragments that pierce your mind like digital shrapnel. And of course there’s Burial Weavings wrapping the whole thing up like a funeral shroud, creeping up like a distant whirlwind, getting ever closer like an approaching funnel cloud, its roar increasing as it comes closer. By the time it’s upon you the klaxons and alarms are sounding, but it’s too late. It rips the roof off your mind and scatters your brain to the four compass points. How’s THAT for a wrap-up!


BUBBA CRUMRINE – How Brightly Can You Burn? (The Death of Youth)

Like I needed the reminder that I’m getting old, that my youth is receding faster and faster by the day (no hairline jokes – mine is still pretty good). Clearly referencing the “burn out” / “fade away” fork in the ol’ life-choice road, Bubba Crumrine wonders that about himself. And although I answer the question with “Not very brightly – I’m doing the sloooooow fade thing quite well, thanks,” he may have a different take on it all. In fact, he may be fading too if this dark take is any indication. Comprised of what sound like a six mini hymns (indeed, one is even called “Returnal Hymn”), “How Brightly Can You Burn?” is a methodical approach to self-dissection. You can even hear Crumrine sawing away between introspective haunts, as indeed “Burial of Ridges” sounds as though he’s sawing away at his own head to literally get at what’s inside there. But beauty often intrudes on the violence, even if it’s cathartic or decaying beauty. And you gotta take the bad with the good anyway. Maybe the question is, why even burn or fade? Just frickin’ light up the night sky with your internal beacon – we’ll observe and report back whether it burns you up or you survive it.


LEAAVES – Death Metric

I feel like I haven’t heard from Nate Wagner in a while, and I’m not sure if that’s my fault or his, but it’s sure nice to see a Leaaves tape in this set. And as I’ve come to expect, Nate bridges this world and the next in effervescent and radiant synthesizer. This is a departure from the rest of the Orb Tapes ogres noted earlier, with the exception of Bubba Crumrine perhaps, but Nate’s delicate touch stands in stark contrast to the heavy metals dripping soullessly down the fronts of your speakers. I don’t mean for that to sound like a bad thing, it’s all just … different. And so “Death Metric” confronts death too, the rapture, drowning (ahem), being lost, and, how can we ignore them, chemtrails. Everything takes on a dizzying spectral hue when Nate Wagner’s around, even when he’s “Drowning the Neighbors Out” with his Unikitty version of unceasing noise. Who am I kidding – the only thing drowned out by Leaaves is unpleasantness, and I just want to hug “(I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for) Chemtrails,” not only for its delightful title but also for its sheer overall delightfulness. Those synths are just gorgeous, like rainbow-colored clouds across the pinkest sky. Or like chemtrails.

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Tabs Out | New Batch – Dubbed Tapes

New Batch – Dubbed Tapes

5.13.19 by Ryan Masteller

I mean, everybody dubs tapes, right? It’s a no-brainer, no-duh situation. You place one tape in one tape deck, you place another tape in the other tape deck, and you do the whole press play/record thing. Done. Boom. Tape is dubbing. That’s how you disseminate music via the cassette format.

Oh wait – London’s Dubbed Tapes isn’t just telling us what we already know. In fact, they’re taking old tapes and DUBBING over them with new sounds, not just taking a blank one and making duplicates. They’re actually RECYCLING, minimizing landfill space, actually working to save the environment in the process. Huh, yeah, recycling. That’s something I can get behind. OK, let me start over.

If you’re not recycling, you’re part of the problem! Dubbed Tapes is part of the solution, because they take old tapes and reuse them, making them brand new art artifacts in the process. No two tapes are the same! So cool. I wonder what my tapes used to be before Dubbed repurposed them. I could peel back the sticker, but I don’t want to ruin them. I guess I’ll just listen to them, then.


KIRSTY PORTER / C. REIDER – SPLIT

I’m spooked by Kirsty Porter, because she sounds like she’s doing a séance. If she does it right, she’ll be calling ghosts into the room, and that can’t be good for anybody. If it’s just that unearthly guitar and effects and chants and stuff, I guess that’s fine, but I’m not feeling too confident about it. Even with the drums entering periodically, the mood isn’t ruptured in any way. Still, there’s beauty in it, even in the chaos of the noise when it blasts through (“The Dark Period” indeed!), even when Porter’s “Jamming with Alice” Coltrane (not … literally, like in the same room). (Unless it’s a ghost!) C. Reider spends the entirety of side B grinding through “The Science of Inattention,” twenty-two minutes of the gnarliest “abstract electronic, electoacoustic, and process music” that you’ve ever heard. Minute one sounds completely different than minute five, but the shifts are gradual and logical and mesmerizing. There are probably ghosts in his equipment too, maybe the ones Porter’s called into this universe, but more than likely they’re of Reider’s own doing. Maybe they’re just bees bending circuits. You seriously never can tell with this one. Edition of 40.


TENDENCYITIS – MICRODEBRIS

Mira Martin-Gray sounds like she’s making harsh digital drone at the microscopic level, but she’s really just manipulating feedback, which, take it from me, is super fun to do. As Tendencyitis, Martin-Gray sculpts throbbing, monstrous frequencies out of sloppy, heaping globs of sound. It spills out between her fingers, the audio splattering everywhere like clay on a potter’s wheel manipulated by a chimpanzee. But it’s a bright and colorful mess, as the j-card would suggest, brilliant thick beams of gooey light stretched forever. And no, I wouldn’t take a boombox down into the ocean and play the sea life down there any part of the title track, which takes up all of side B – I believe Martin-Gray when she warns that it’s “hazardous to marine life”! Edition of 30.


FURCHICK – RACE AGAINST TIME

Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves an actual noise cassingle, spotted in the wild for the first time in human existence! “Race Against Time” was recorded for WFMU in 2015, and Furchick’s dropping it on us physically, like a brick from the window of your brownstone. Heaving, earnest waves of tension rip through speakers like they were in an antimatter wind tunnel, their almost physical manifestation colliding with your solar plexus and knocking the wind out of you. Furchick’s not messing around people. Pop this in your car’s tape deck the next time someone wonders what the latest hot single is and watch their reaction. (No one’s ever asked anyone that question, I understand, but go with me here.) Edition of 22.

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Tabs Out | New Batch – Tingo Tongo Tapes

New Batch – Tingo Tongo Tapes

5.6.19 by Ryan Masteller

We’ve all been baffled at one time or another, and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, bafflement can often lead to understanding with the right line of questioning. On the other hand, if you can’t snap out of it, bafflement can be quite frustrating. It’s all in your approach.

Tingo Tongo Tapes baffles me. Not in the bad way, because whenever their tapes appear in my mailbox, I’m at least always intrigued, even if that intrigue peters out once I listen to them (which, truthfully, barely ever happens, but it has). They baffle me because I can’t pin ’em down. The LA/Oakland label is always uncovering strange and unusual sonic artifacts, pressing them to tape, then somehow selling them via email and … Facebook I guess? Events, record shows? Listen, just email them (tingotongotapes at gmail). I’m sure they’re fine.

So here’s me, baffled and intrigued, ready to dig in to three zany new platters. [Ed: Aren’t “platters” records?] Join me. Or don’t. You may have something important to do.


LAZER BLADE – ALL VENICE ALL THE TIME

Not even gonna lie – Taserface was the first thing I thought of when I saw “LASER BLADE,” but this isn’t about the MCU, this is about smashing the smashing-through “The Wall,” taking Floyd down a notch, rending every physical barrier with a mythical energy weapon. (Love the cover, LASER BLADE.) Since this is the West Coast, we can’t begin to talk about the shreddy hardcore punk on “All Venice All the Time” without mentioning SST, the paragon of early American hardcore and clearly the antecedent to LASER BLADE’s antics. Over six short tunes, the band’s pummeling riffage and shouted mantras kick up so much dust that you’ll be looking all over your body for boot prints from the fictional pit you just exited from. But you won’t find any, because this is only a tape… [Cue “Twilight Zone” music.]



PINK ABDUCTION RAY – WARP CANAL

“Dubstep, eh? I dunno … isn’t that whole scene a bit … iffy?” I don’t know what to tell you. I’m feeling pretty good about it actually, and I don’t even really know how one defines “dubstep.” I guess this is as close as anybody’s gotten, and it’s pretty spot on in some ways. Pink Abduction Ray certainly has the in-your-face electronic bludgeoning down, and the BPMs are pretty high on “Warp Canal.” It’ll certainly make you move in jerky, uncontrollable motions, and the constant battering over the two long sides of this C45 allow no respite, except when you get up off the floor from your prone position to flip the tape over. “Warp Canal” is nothing if not a visceral experience, and the electronic faceblasts hit with such intensity that you’ll be combing your body for actual shrapnel. But you won’t find any, because it’s all digital, and this is only a tape… [Cue “Twilight Zone” music.]



SCARED OF SPIDERS – MANGELOID EP

Sure, why not split the difference with “Mageloid EP” by Scared of Spiders? Smash LASER FACE’s hardcore right up into Pink Abduction Ray’s electronic grill, et voilà! “Mangeloid EP.” Another quick burst (only thirteen minutes, this one) of EQ abuse, this one bringing back that “digital hardcore” epithet that Alec Empire popularized [Ed: Word choice? Check reference.] all those years ago. Fast, sadistic, primal, “Mangeloid” is a runaway truck aimed at your unsuspecting eardrums. It probably wouldn’t stop but for the fadeout applied to several tracks, and even then it’s like a violent takeover, like somebody other than Scared of Spiders grabbed the knob and turned it down. A roommate perhaps. Maybe a disgruntled cassette podcast host.

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Tabs Out | Episode #142

Breakdancing Ronald Reagan - Harsh Noise (Self Sabotage)
Bridle - Forward Motion Plus Volume One (self released)
Shredded Nerve - Attempting an Exit (Thousands of Dead Gods)
Channelers - Entrance to the Next (Inner Islands)
C. Reider - ...A Trustable Cloud (self released)
pal+ - Kinetic Dreams (OTA)
connect_icut - No Darkness? (Aagoo)
Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising (Sub Pop)
Naturescene (South Carolina Commercial Music)
Huxley Maxwell - Bummer City, Dude (Warm Gospel)
Mdou Moctar - Pop Music from Republique du Niger compilation (Autotune the World)
Acegawd - Funeral Time Come (Dancehall Neil Tapes)

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Tabs Out | New Batch – \\NULL|Z0NE//

New Batch – \\NULL|Z0NE//

5.3.19 by Ryan Masteller

\\NULL|Z0NE// . We wish we understood you. We wish we could pin you down. We wish you were more predictable so were ready for you. We wish, we wish, we wish.

But that’s not even true. Not by a long shot.

One of the things that makes this Athens, Georgia, label a favorite is its unpredictability, and our baffled and flailing attempts at keeping up are a comedy of intense personal errors. What’s the point if we’re force-fed the same thing all the time? Michael Potter, who runs \\NULL|Z0NE//, would never cave to sameness – he’s a slave to variety. And for that we as listeners and paragons of the underground and the outsider, cheerleaders of artistic freedom, trailblazers of taste and cultural cache can rest assured that there will always be something valiantly interesting from Potter’s camp.

I’m actually sort of embarrassed for anyone who thinks like my first paragraph up there.


SKINNED OR SUNBURNT – SKINNED

Sahada Buckley’s skinned or sunburnt project allows the violinist to realize her compositions as part of a quintet. Indeed, Buckley’s joined on piano by Brad Bassler, drums by John Norris, clarinet/bass clarinet by Kathryn Koopman, and bass by Jamie Thomas. After a few iterations that lean toward the abstract and experimental, the players teasing out some of the more unconventional predilections, the quintet opens up, really flourishing in the spectral jazz of “ethereal green” as the violin and piano dance around each other over a galloping rhythm. “hab’ galest” is like a German-language chain-gang blues tune, although I’m not sure “hab’ galest” is German. (Somebody check me on that.) But these two centerpiece tunes fracture back out into raw experimentalism once again, with “skinned” tripping back down mushroom-glazed twilit forest paths. Buckley and crew won’t leave the jazz alone though, and “temper tantrum” appears out of nowhere like a #BlackLodge smoky club in a clearing, offering the promise of taking off the edge but more likely enhancing it. The tape ending on strange, unhinged laughter over dissonant piano chords doesn’t help. Gives the whole thing an unpredictability … something we’ve already championed as a good thing around here.



PLAKE 64 AND THE HEXAGRAMS – ALL HAIL YEAH

Alex Homan is a psychedelic bodhisattva with an ear for dense arrangement. Freak folk for the spiritually ascendant, “All Hail Yeah” invites listeners in and assimilates them into the all-seeing oneness at the center of the mind, the galactic manifestation of eternity through sound. That’s a fancy way of saying that Homan’s work as Plake 64 and the Hexagrams is far out, man. At times utilizing acoustic guitar and a soothing, multitracked vocal delivery, at others tapping the primal sound sources available within the bowels of various synthesizers (I’m assuming), Homan embraces the – dare I repeat it – unpredictability of his creative whims and crafts a variety of earthy yet mystical zones. By the time he’s ascending “The Mountain” (and then descending it) by tape’s end, he’s fully encapsulated every impulse of his into a single sprawling trek, a fitting and fantastic end to “All Hail Yeah.” Maybe you can hoof it up that magical mountain yourself, get a little inner peace while you’re at it.

Each tape comes in an edition of 50.

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Tabs Out | Various Artists – The Great Krell Machine, Volume One

Various Artists – The Great Krell Machine, Volume One

5.1.19 by Ryan Masteller

I read this book, you guys. At least I think I did. Actually wait – maybe I didn’t, but that cover certainly looks familiar. I’m certainly no stranger to 1960s sci-fi, and the cover of “The Great Krell Machine, Volume One” looks like something I DEFINITELY would have read at some point. I’m just drawn to that look, because you know just what kind of vibe is going to be going on within those pages. It’s comforting and exciting at the same time, and there’s that retrofuturistic nostalgia factor that is simply unignorable. Actually, my interest is piqued – I’m going to start reading this book right now.

What the … This isn’t a book! It’s a cassette tape. Well I’ll be darned … It looks amazing. If it sounds half as good as it looks, we’ll be in really good shape. And what’s this? It’s a Flag Day Recordings compilation? That makes it even BETTER. I don’t know about you, but the raft of quality releases that Flag Day has dropped rivals the output of Isaac Asimov. OK, maybe that’s too far. But we’re in good hands, trust me!

To “The Great Krell Machine”: the tape takes its name from the 1956 film “Forbidden Planet,” which I’ll not delve too deeply into here, because you can look it up. Basically, it is a machine of immense power created by the extinct Krell race discovered by spacecraft crash survivor Dr. Morbius on the titular planet. You can imagine, especially in 1956, its enormity, its vast arrays of light, its analog ambience. It was a time not long before the golden age of Sputniks and space odysseys, when the tactility of control rooms and the blinking lights of consoles and displays captured the imaginations of every human being.

“The Great Krell Machine, Volume One” takes us right back to that time, its nine contributors tapping in fully to the hands-on science of early discovery. They twiddle knobs and flip switches, and it all sounds like someone set up a microphone in a physics laboratory, capturing its ambience. Sure, there are bleeps and bloops, but that’s all part of the immersive experience, getting really deep into the vibe of new scientific frontiers and pristine utopian fantasies. It’s an environment in which I’d like to spend a whole heckuva lot of time.

This cassette came out in an edition of 70 for last year’s Cassette Store Day. Still available!

Tracklist:

Francisco Meirino
Geoff Wilt
PraxisCat
Benjamin Mauch
Guillermo Pizarro
Walker Farrell
Death Lessons
cloning
Todd Barton


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