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Tabs Out | Episode #131

20180901_235248

Dante Augustus Scarlatti - Dimensional Synthesis (Auris Apothecary)
Charles Barabé - De la fragilité (Astral Spirits)
Crazy Bread - Vocoder Divorce (Astral Spirits)
Forest Management - Love Manual Vol. II compilation (Plush Organics)
Bridges of Königsberg - Mendacity (4 GRE)
EQ Why - Life of the Why, The Mixtape Volume 1 (Third Kind Records)
Demonator 4 soundtrack (Trash Monger Video)
Edwin Perry Manchester - Hopechest split (Impermanent Project)
Mary Ocher - Faust Studio Sessions and Other Recordings (Related Records)
Malaikat dan Zoo - s/t (Noise Bombing)
Yves Malone - Aced (Baked Tapes)
Tavishi - Dwait (Hot Releases)

  

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Tabs Out | New Batch – Housecraft

New Batch – Housecraft
8.30.18 by Mike Haley

My inbox is less than exciting, usually sporting corespondents regarding whether or not I have received someone’s tape in the mail, 10% off coupons from The Container Store, or liberal groups I inadvertently gave my email address to asking for money with subject lines like “They Murdered Tony’s Dog Because Of This Law!”

Today was different.

Today I got an email with the subject HOUSECRAFT UPDATE 2018.

If you’re not familiar with Housecraft, they were a sinew of mid-2000’s experimental cassette mythos. Real important stuff, folks. They never actually went away, but operations slowed down considerably over the past few years as Jeffry Astin did whatever it is people do. Work? Travel? Murdering Tony’s dog? I have no clue, and I’m not about to start asking. My focus is strictly on the three tapes the dropped in said HOUSECRAFT UPDATE 2018.

Those three tapes are rich with the power of Astin: J/R (Astin & Raymond Reitano), Digital Natives (also Astin), and Jeffry Astin (this one is obvious, right?)

All editions of 42, the tapes are frustrated collages, truncating concrète warble, AM interference, and whatever was lying around the shoppe into one of Ernő Rubik’s cubes. Gone is the classic gauziness of Housecraft, replaced with no-logic perplexity that sometimes toes right up to a Tim & Eric bit, most ubiquitous on Astin’s “Recognizely Immedeated” C77 as competing voices talk about “your wife’s cleaning” or “jeff’s five favorite things.” (Spoiler: one of his favorite things is listening to sparklers up close. Sounds fun!) The abstract smoochings continues on J/R’s “Assuredly Volatile Iterations”  before landing on “Bad Acid’s All the Fun” by Digital Natives. This 2xC40 shows a weakness for structure and network, crafting “songs” out of the surge. Bonkers, all bonkers!

Head on over to Housecraft and pick these up before they go off-grid again. RIP Tony’s dog.

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Tabs Out | M. Crook & Oxherding – Soft Moon

M. Crook & Oxherding – Soft Moon
8.29.18 by Ryan Masteller

The Midwest: what’s going on out there? You’d never know it just by looking at a map, but there are people who inhabit the land between the coasts, living hardscrabble lives among the distant waystations in a wasteland barely able to sustain itself under the baking sun. These people are the true Americans, comprising the backbone of this great nation as we fight for gasoline and water. Real heroes.

Wait, I’m just getting a report that the Midwest is actually a pretty nice place to live, and I’m confusing it with “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Uh, haha, sorry – you can see where the confusion might come in, can’t you? No?

Well.

Matt Crook and Fitz Hartwig (Columbia and St. Louis, Missouri, respectively) are true Midwesterners, true Americans, embracing the entrepreneurial spirit our Founding Fathers baked into the Declaration of Independence, toking the spirit of freedom in their First Amendment rolling papers. Crook cofounded the Dismal Niche label as well as the Columbia Experimental Music Festival, and he plays some guitar or another in “folk-drone outfit” Nevada Greene. Trust me, you’ll like it.

Fitz Hartwig makes music as Oxherding and just launched the new label Distant Bloom. Why are these things important? Fitz makes music as Oxherding on THIS VERY RELEASE, the one I haven’t talked about yet (this is all leading up to the big finale), and THIS VERY RELEASE was dropped like a hot potato by none other than the Distant Bloom Record Corporation. I’d draw you a map, but I don’t think you need one to connect the dots; also, it too would look like something out of “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Of course, if you’re familiar with the work of either of these guys, you’d know what to expect, what you were in for. And so, with “Soft Moon,” Oxherding takes a couple of guitar pieces by M. Crook and deconstructs them, reconstituting them as sonic cloud formations in the enormous sky visible over the center of our great country. There they billow and drift, raising the spirits of those who come in contact with them, pulsing hope and purpose into their very being. Each ten-minute meditation stands as a golden beacon of pure distilled optimism. A bald eagle appears in flight. (Big finale.)

This edition of 50 pro-dubbed, pro-printed Chrome cassette tapes is available from Distant Bloom, or any other brave retailer who truly stands for American greatness.

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Tabs Out | New Batch – Cosmic Winnetou

New Batch – Cosmic Winnetou
8.28.18 by Ryan Masteller

I sucked in my breath and held it.

In my mind, vistas opened.

Endurance, aka Joshua Stefane, quotes Nabokov’s “Cloud, Castle, Lake” in the liners of his own “Cloud, Castle, Lake” (appended also with “Room”), a passage extolling the “inexpressible” and “unique” and “harmonious” virtues of a scene with a lake and a cloud and a castle somewhere in Central Europe. Obviously I’m no Nabokov (yet), so you get my lumpy declarations instead of masterful prose, but you’re not here for me – you’re here for Endurance. As “Cloud, Castle, Lake” becomes the physical world around you, its ambience radiating the perception of shimmering constant time in 4D stasis, you, too, will “[press your] hand to [your] heart,” like Vasili Ivanovich, “to see whether [your] heart [is] still there in order to give it away.”

The duo Navel could also exist in pastoral Old Europe, and also probably wartime Europe, depending on what part of “The Gnome’s Pond” you happen to be on at any given moment. The duo of Gage and Floyd breathe deep (*theme*) and exhale their imagination into rustic folk meditations. “The Gnome’s Pond” is as tactile an environment as it may be possible to conjure with music alone (besides Slayer’s “Reign in Blood”), and they even drop some thanks for a barn and a pond, two things obviously in close proximity to the recording of this tape and possibly in it or on it. Gage and Floyd, along with friends Rahel and Teresa, hew to the maxim that “pastoral secrecy heals the soul,” and they infuse the magic of their surroundings and this idea into a fantasy world. It’s the sonic equivalent to a book (*theme*) being written in real time.

Alex Leonard as Ebauche exists on a fault line of dense billowing ambience and black pulses, and “Formic Syntax” captures the eternal rubbing of those tectonic plates beneath the surface. The sonic upheaval takes these two ideas and mashes them together in some sort of planet-sized blender, where tranquil breathing techniques (*theme*) give way to narrative tension and release (*theme*), like books (*theme*) and tranquility (*theme*) existing on a 4D timeline (*theme*) in simultaneous grandeur. “Formic Syntax” fills your heart to the point where you want to give it to someone else, someone you love (*theme). Probably. I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore.

As the paramedics revived me, I vowed never to attempt to hold my breath through three full-length tapes.

All three tapes are on Günter Schlienz’s Cosmic Winnetou. The utterly astounding artwork by Adrianna Snochowska should be in a museum.

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Tabs Out | Tristan Magnetique – s/t

Tristan Magnetique – s/t
8.27.18 by Ryan Masteller

That Günter Schlienz has outdone himself this time…

ShhhhhhhhHHHHHHH!

What? Oh, we’re not talking about that? Is it a secret or something? I mean, it says right on the Otomatik Muziek page that “Tristan Magnetique is the latest solo work of german [sic] sound artist Günter Schlienz.” So – I guess I’m not really concerned about dropping that bombshell on you guys. You can quit making that slashing motion with your hand across your neck at any time, Mike Haley.

Whatever. It’s neither here nor there, really, if I refer to “the Artist” as “Tristan” or “Günter,” because … just look at this thing! “Tristan Magnetique” the release is really a sight to behold. A triple-cassette album, each side housing a long-form ambient piece, packaged in one of those old audiobook library shells. But yeah, as a listener you gotta take Otomatik Muziek’s advice and be proactive, ignoring the New Age reactions something like this could engender in the passive fan, instead allowing yourself to dig deep into the microcosm of Tristan Magnetique’s soundworld. The tonal and timbral shifts are exquisite as they gradually progress, filling the ear and the heart with peaceful vibes.

And you need those peaceful vibes as you make your way through this world, don’t you? It doesn’t matter whether you’re facing life with your own name or you adopt a pseudonym as a personal shield to deflect enemy attack. I kid, but boy, there are a lot of people in this world, and if you let them get to you, you’re in for some maddening social torture, which is the worst kind of torture, even worse than waterboarding or whatever they do on “Game of Thrones” (I don’t own TVs or books). And even though you’re going to have to play these Tristan Magnetique compositions through headphones, you can at least do it with a smile on your face as you walk down the street or take the subway or sit in traffic on the beltway on the way to work. Because you have inner peace. And that reflects outward.

So pony up the euros (they don’t take deutschemarks anymore, I checked – I had a suitcase full of them) to Otomatik Muziek and grip the latest Schlie… uh, Magnetique before the edition of 40 sells out!

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Tabs Out | The Corrupting Sea – Reflections

The Corrupting Sea – Reflections
8.23.18 by Ryan Masteller

It might be the “Chariots of Fire” vibes I’m getting from track 1, “Triumph” (what’s in a name?), but I’m feeling “Reflections” by the Corrupting Sea right off the bat. “Chariots of Fire” was one of those films your parents likely made you watch when you were growing up. Was it just me? Who knows – it taught me about perseverance and hard work and fighting against adversity and stuff, and it was about the Olympics. Big emotions, big stakes. I was such a jock.

Being an athlete has its perks, but it also has its drawbacks. By nature, the athlete internalizes struggle and uses it as fuel for performance. As the Corrupting Sea, Jason T. Lamoreaux has also internalized struggle, but instead of manifesting it on the playing field, he’s channeled it through his own creativity, an outlet that’s seen its realization in multiple cassette tapes, most recently in “Reflections.” It doesn’t all sound like “Chariots of Fire,” and in fact it deviates down many nostalgic paths (lengthy album centerpieces “Flooded Gnosis,” “Calm,” and “Uninterrupted Solipsis” are particularly meditative). But in the end, the mind is where life is, where the heavy lifting happens, where the real personal workout begins.

Speaking of heavy lifting – look, this is gnawing at me. I can bench press more than Mike Haley. I can curl more than Dave Doyen. I can squat more than Joe B. It’s true fact, and the quicker we can understand all this, the more honest with each other we can all be: I am stronger, more muscular than at least two-thirds of Tabs Out Podcast put together, maybe even all three.

Get pumped mentally otherwise with the Corrupting Sea’s “Reflections,” edition of fifty, out NOW on Somewherecold Records.

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Tabs Out | New Batch – Constellation Tatsu

New Batch – Constellation Tatsu
8.22.18 by Ryan Masteller

Get out your star maps – yes AGAIN – and help me find Tatsu on it, because I’m having a heck of a time. I can go outside my house at night and spot the Big Dipper and Orion … and, well, not much else save for a couple planets and the moon and stuff. Sometimes clouds and airplanes, but we all know what those are.

Tatsu’s a tricky one though. It’s in our galaxy, I’m pretty sure, but it’s so hard to spot. I guess we can mentally draw lines and connect dots and make a cat wherever we want if we run into this kind of difficulty. And I’m definitely at the point of giving up. There! There it is. No, I won’t show you. Let’s go inside.

There are two dots to connect on cassette tapes, the two big holes right in the middle of them where the spools are. Constellation Tapesu. Summer batch 2018.

First up is Liai, a crackling campfire of nocturnal ambience, and if it was realized in physical form, it really wouldn’t even block out the night sky if there’s not a lot of additional light pollution. (Put away your phone, Mike Haley, no Angry Birds out here in nature.) Ghosts of the night sing hymns like whispers through the trees throughout “Lili,” a remarkable introduction to this batch and to Ctatsu itself, and to Liai, whoever you may be (Lo Bise, Chicago).

At least she doesn’t hate crickets, poor little bastards, like OCA does! Well, a sample in “HeavenCent” suggests as much, but let’s put Yo van Lenz and T. M. Zeisig on the spot for all this anti-cricket activity. Maybe they can answer for themselves. See, personally, I fall asleep just fine to the sound of the little musicians bowing their legs together, and I count myself lucky whenever I’m near a field containing a deafening amount of the bugs. Speaking of drifting off peacefully to lovely sounds, OCA’s “Preset Music” is an infinity pool in space to submerge yourself and get lost in!

Not that it matters, but poemme is more active during the daytime. That’s what “Moments in Golden Light” suggests to me anyway, and if you check out the Cleveland ambient artist’s Bandcamp page, you’ll see a bunch of releases with covers featuring soft natural light hazed over with a tranquil glow. “Moments in Golden Light” continues that motif, both visually and sonically, and makes you feel like you’re in a painting. Or a glorious daydream.

Mike Nigro and Andrew Osterhoudt (aka Channeling) channel (get it?) the everlasting zone of perpetual day and perpetual night; in fact, there is neither day nor night within “Latitudes,” as your mind hurtles at unimaginable speeds through a sparkling aurora borealis of pure sound. Is this the proper way to wrap up a Constellation Tatsu batch? I think it’s the only way! The stars are now connected in neon patterns all across the horizon of your field of vision. I would say don’t look down, but there’s no down. No up either.

Buy a batch of these tapes – it’s cheaper than getting them individually.

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Tabs Out | New Batch – Astral Spirits

New Batch – Astral Spirits
8.21.18 by Ryan Masteller

As you should be aware at this point, if an Astral Spirits batch shows up in your mailbox, you stop what you’re doing, no matter what it is, and turn your full attention toward that new batch. (In my case it was helping my father-in-law carry a heavy bookshelf – he was pretty pissed when I dropped my end and ran toward the approaching mail truck.) Somehow, the Austin tape (and, cough, record) label has made it all the way to batch number 17, as if it were old enough to drive around its friends now or something in its 1976 T-top Pontiac Firebird. Monofonus Press obviously gets shotgun. Is that Holodeck in the back seat? Doesn’t matter. Seventeen’s a good number for an honest jazz label these days.

Did I say jazz? I uh – you know it’s jazz. Don’t look at me like that, like you were expecting something different. This is only the most far-out, forward thinking jazz, and you KNOW it’s in your best interests to wipe that smirk off your face. What, you think this is something tragic, like jazz funk? No sir, not even a little bit. You need to tune in right now in order to have your mind blown. It might be so intense that you end up losing your sight, like so many jazz musicians as they get older.

Sorry for the video links – I’ve been on a Mighty Boosh kick. I’unno.

Drummer Andrew Barker’s back fresh off his “Polyhedron” tape with Daniel Carter, this time fronting – well, lending his surname to – the Barker Trio. He’s joined on tenor and soprano saxophones by Michael Foster and on bass by Tim Dahl, and when they’re not laying waste to whatever practice space they inhabit or whatever recording studio they enter, pushing the limits of chaos within improvisation, they’re riding a groove, feeding off each other as they try to maintain the tenuous mind-meld they’ve achieved. And maybe that mind-meld isn’t so tenuous after all – I mean, they rip through almost seventeen minutes of the title track of “Avert Your I” without even pretending to care about their health or well-being. I mean, seriously guys, do a little warming up first! Some lunges, jumping jacks, a few pushups or something. And that’s the norm. Even in the more cavernous sections of this tape, like “Spacial Needs” [sic] where everybody pulls back, and those electronics mentioned in the liner notes come into play, there’s a level of mischievous abandon, like they’re building a structure out of glass bells, but they know they’re going to knock it over any second. And then they knock it over. And it’s awesome.

Signe Dahlgreen doesn’t need a drummer or a bassist, though – that’s right, she doesn’t need ANYBODY. Which is sort of surprising, because this is the first solo release (in conjunction with Insula Music) by the Swedish saxophonist, and she just steps out into the middle of the spotlight shining down from my imagination on the imaginary stage that I imagine she’s standing on in front of all the imaginary bigwigs of all the jazz record labels from time immemorial. I mean, bravo, Signe Dahlgreen, bravo – that’s impressive stuff right there. It takes chutzpah to step out on your own, cojones, sheer strength of will. And then to control your instrument with such precision, to guide it through intense exercises, rhythms, drones, patterns, and virtuosic nimbleness, holding back at times, careening at others – I think we’ve got a winner here. Now, the only question is, what the heck is a “Kunki Snuk”?

Speaking of winners, speaking of maybe one of the most surprising and excellent recorded pieces of music I have come upon this year, speaking of brash musicians getting brasher by the second, speaking of this cauldron of bubbling friendship and free jammage, speaking of the diabolical takeover of my afternoon by a bunch of hairy psych freaks – wait a second, there’s no need for name-calling. There IS a need to involve yourself almost immediately and certainly fully with “Ronda,” a collaborative effort between Chicago free-rockers Mako Sica and “legendary percussionist” Hamid Drake (and also a joint release with Feeding Tube Records). Over two separate recording sessions, the Fab Four (patent pending) hit a groove together, which is not super surprising considering some of these tracks are expansions upon Mako Sica tunes, although others were formed from the primordial goo of improvisation. Like all the best freeform psych rock, the pieces that comprise “Ronda” stretch out seemingly forever, nailing vibe after vibe as they shift and sway in the clutches of master handlers.

Charles Barabé may seem like an interesting addition to the Astral Spirits roster, and you would be right on the money with that assessment. I had some variation of the following thoughts once I saw his tape among this batch: Would this even work here? Will the Astral Spirits audience understand? The electronic artist doesn’t scream “jazz!” or “improv!” like many others among the ranks, but let’s see where this goes… I was not alone, as the bigwigs at Astral Spirits pretty much went through the exact same cognitive exercise when Barabé approached them to do a release. (See, we’re peas in a pod!) But one listen to “De la fragilité” had them (and me) not really worrying about anything anymore – they just happened to be in the possession of a damn fine cassette tape. The six “Mouvements” that make up “De la fragilité,” while being distinct from each other in certain ways, flow into one another with absolute intention, the delicate electronics and musique concrète manifesting into palpable mood. As viewed through the lens of modern classical performance, they fit right in with the most forward-thinking releases on the Astral Spirits catalog. Who knew, but Charles Barabé has found a surprising new home for his music!

The Barker Trio and Signe Dahlgreen tapes come in editions of 150, and Barabé and “Ronda” are in editions of 175. As usual, the house design stuns. Never deviate from it!

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Tabs Out | Giant Dwarf – Kicking Bones

Giant Dwarf – Kicking Bones
8.20.18 by Ryan Masteller

For local baseball action, I’m forced to suckle at the nasty teat of the Miami Marlins (ugh), as their AA affiliate in Jacksonville, the Jumbo Shrimp, is the only team within reasonable driving distance. It’s not an inspiring hometown nine – I mostly scour the opposing lineup for top prospects or rehabbing major leaguers, but even then I’m looking at squads from, like, the Cubs or Braves organizations, and the only thing worse than the Marlins is the Mets and the Braves. In fact, the whole NL East can suck a big fat lemon. Except for my precious Phillies.

You’re probably like, shut up about baseball already, nobody cares, we listen to podcasts and tapes and secretly hope that one of them contains some kind of lost Can/Miles Davis mashup. Well, I’ve got a bridge that spans both those things, your complaint about my baseball digression and your hope for that unlikely collaboration! That’s right, check out Giant Dwarf, its name an oxymoron that mindlessly parallels my mention of the Jumbo Shrimp, a connection so slim that I won’t even talk about it anymore. (Poor Scampi lowers his head, turns around, and closes the door behind him on the way out.) This Giant Dwarf is an experimental head’s dream collaboration, as it pits Very Special Recordings artist and trombonist Rick Parker (whose 2016 tape “Free World Music” with Li Daiguo was a standout) against Brooklyn drummer Jeremy Carstedt and Austria-based guitarist Martin Philadelphy (with whom I’m sure I’d instantly get along with that last name). The result is a Can-meets-Miles Davis fusion fest, and that’s not just because Can and Miles are dropkicked into the promo text!

Although that’s certainly part of it, and it’s the main reason I couldn’t wait to jam this into a tape player and hit Record. I mean Play! I almost really fucked up this tape just there. Whew. Back to it, the interplay between these three warped minds is phenomenal, as vibe shifts from laid-back world-building to dynamic shredding and back, each swirling around the others like a miniature tornado that forms a big normal tornado upon convergence. Parker’s trombone, slathered with effects at times, works magic when paired with Philadelphy’s guitar, and with Carstedt’s drumming as the backbone, Giant Dwarf truly lives up to its name. I mean the Giant part, obviously – the scope is huge, the sonics massive, and Parker plays synth too, like he’s got more than two hands or something.

These excellent tapes are available from Very Special Recordings, but who knows for how long???

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Tabs Out | Episode #125

125

Uton - Sax On, Sax Off (Eiderdown)
Meme Vivaldi - 420 Deluxe (Ingrown Records)
Attenuated - Ideomotor (Space Slave)
Tyler Damon and Dave Rempis - Full Yum (Park70)
Jadelain - Unravel (Atlantic Rhythms)
Meng Qi - Sidrolz (Obsolete Staircase)
Legion Of Mary - Live April 12, 1975 Scranton PA (no label)
Marlo Eggplant - split w/ Arvo Zylo (No Part Of It)
Phil Maguire - Fower/Fowk (Dinzu Artefacts)
Christian Mirande - Property Line/Plunge Pool (Unifactor)
Snubnose Frankenstein - Rappin' Ass Nigga (Lil Fat Tapes)
QBLA - So Far (Bonding Tapes)
Presidiomodelo - split w/ Machinefabreik (Tandem)
La Forêt rouge - Le Maquillage de tou le monde coule (Cuchabata)
Somnoroase Păsărele - auto[1] (OTA)

  

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