Tabs Out | The Anti-Cassettes of Auris Apothecary

The Anti-Cassettes of Auris Apothecary
2.1.18 by Mike Haley

Generally speaking a desired feature with cassette tapes is that they are easily playable. A dowsing of variants exist, but ideally someone producing a cassette would use high grade magnetic tape, employ real-time or professional duplication, and pack that sucker in a fresh Norelco case. Nowhere during that process would rotten meat or sand make an appearance. Those materials are far from industry standards (I checked). The cassette industry newsletter must have went straight to Auris Apothecary‘s spam folder. Ooops! The Indiana-based label has a long and strong catalog traversing the freeway of possible formats: vinyl, CDr, runs of NES OST tapes, floppy discs, reel-to-reels, etc… They also have a reputation of taking the exit ramp and voyaging the roads far less traveled. The ones paved with rotten meat and sand. I’m talking about anti-cassettes.

Traditionally, anti-cassettes are tapes designed to be impossible to play, or at the very least, a major fucking chore. Auris Apothecary did not invent the format, but have most definitely matured it into a thoughtful art/mind/music experimentation. “Anti-cassettes to us represent a way to implement tangible manifestations of abstract concepts.” said label guru Dante Augustus Scarlatti. “Multiple layers of ideas are embedded into every facet of them, from the audio content and the title, to the artwork and the alteration. Almost every piece of anti-releases are cohesively created and directly tied into one another, rather than simply being a collection of new songs or a random musical object that’s been senselessly destroyed.”

Luckily their plans to use spoiled meat as packaging got canned, along with other bonker blueprints like an ant farm anti-cassette. Sand got the green light in 2010 with AA’s inaugural anti-cassettes Unholy Triforce’s ‎”Sandin’ Yr Vagina.” The plugged-up tapes were filled to the brim with sand, labeled with a vintage label maker, and packaged in an emery clothe (basically sand paper) Ocard. “To this day it’s our most destructive release, musically and conceptually, as it can destroy the machine it’s played in and makes a mess wherever it goes.” If you ask me, anyone attempting to play a tape full of sand deserves to have their deck gnarled up. Dante Augustus Scarlatti has a rosier view. “We very much want people to figure out a way to play back the music contained on our anti-releases. We meticulously test for and can guarantee the salvageability of the audio content for every copy, despite how they may appear.”

Standards are just shy of using a cleanroom and wearing one of those full-body suits (booties to hood style) for their anti-cassette process. While working on “Siberiliszt Inferno” by Unholy Triforce in 2015, a cassette that was literally melted – Melted! – caution was taken not to touch the tape reels. Imagine getting a molten ball of tape and thinking “Let me make sure no one touched the reels!” Up to 71 people may have done that.

Prototypes for the “Baptism” anti-cassette C30 by Rob Funkhouser ran into a unique snag when the water that the tapes were submerged in became cloudy from rust. “We removed the metal and felt pieces” Dante said of the solution, noting an attempt to avoid “compromising the magnetic materials.” That helicopter parenting is what sections off Auris Apothecary’s anti-cassettes from something like “Wind Licked Dirt” by The Haters, an anti-cassette released by Hanson that is played by rubbing it in dirt. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

“Some are harder than others to play back, but none of them are impossible, and they all contain unique music written for the release. Viewing them as “art objects” and never listening is like owning a book for the cover art but never reading it.” The level of difficulty ranges from beginner to expert. If you only feel comfortable toweling off hot sauce and unfurling 50 square feet of aluminum foil, you’re in luck. Maybe you want to tackle a sonic-welded (no screws) tape with toothless spools. Go for it! Or just put the entire damn thing together yourself.

A full archive of Auris Apothecary’s anti-cassettes can be accessed through this anti-link: L#-_I}}][}{\N.k

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Tabs Out | Mukqs – 起き上がり

Mukqs – 起き上がり
1.31.18 by Ryan Masteller

Mukqswell Allison is no stranger to the Doom Trip roster, having appeared on the spectacular (if I do say so myself) “Doom Mix Vol. 1” way back in seventeen. The erstwhile Good Willsmith–smith returns from whence he came, like a dove to the ocean, with 起き上がり, or “To Get Up,” which some of us relate to and some of us don’t, depending on how tired we are after an all-night bender. (I’m of the early bird variety, non-all-night-bender edition.) Mukqs is up with sun, ready for the day, because he’s a really, really industrious fellow. He may not even have gone to bed the night before, to be honest. I don’t know for sure.

Not changing up the electronic improvisational approach one bit, because that’s what makes the fat stacks of cash roll in, Mukqs breathes his usual exotic life into his soundworlds, crafting something between Castlevania drama and the Hyrule nightlife scene, with of course a little bit of desert-world Mario for good measure. Yes, 起き上がりis a nostalgic pleasure cruise, but with the danger and excitement of a midnight buffet on that pleasure cruise, where you’re not really sure if the custard has curdled or the shrimp have turned yet. But maybe they have, and that’s OK – Mukqs’s style renders the cold remove of electronic music humid and vaporous, and food goes bad pretty quickly in its presence.

As we return on the waves of the dawn, our dreams fading, shouting “We’re up, we’re up!” to our irate mothers and even to Mukqs himself, who of course is quietly tut-tutting in our direction while sipping his third cup of coffee, we are blessed with the weird pulses greeting us from our tape recorder, content in the knowledge that once again, Mr. Maximilian Allison has safely and courageously saved us singlehandedly from a life of boredom. He may also inspire you, too, little ad-libber – I myself once did the improv live-no-overdubs thing with an electric guitar, a practice amp, and a distortion pedal. (I called it “Brachiosaurus,” which would have met the approval of my six-year-old son.) Sadly, no tapes of it exist to this day. Point is, get out of bed and get busy making something! It might be cool.

It might be worth making 125 tapes of. And whaddya know, 125 are tapes available from old Doom Trip. Wait, still available? How have they not sold out already? What the Mukqs?! (OK, nobody says that, I admit it.)

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Tabs Out | Niedowierzanie – Lumière

Niedowierzanie – Lumière
1.29.18 by Ryan Masteller

Can you believe what you’re hearing? Because I can’t, and I’m the one doing all the heavy lifting with this whole “music criticism” thing. Don’t think it’s not a burden, because it is. A massive, massive burden.

Niedowierzanie, a word which I’m copying and pasting from now on, is the musical nom de plume (or de guerre if there’s battle involved, and I’m not sure there’s not) of Léo Maury of France, and he’s been around for a while now doing his thing – a quick check comes up with twelve years. (Gosh, 2006 seems like forever ago.) Literally meaning “disbelief” (see what I did there?), Niedowierzanie does what not many people really know how to do very well: marry the interstellar awe of a really good synthesizer with the pulsing rhythms of a sci-fi action sequence. I can count on one hand the artists who are also really good at that: John Carpenter and Yves Malone, and Yves is pretty much John Carpenter for the twenty-first century (and this is not a slight). Niedowierzanie fits right in with these two loonballs, and “Lumière” is a master class in this type of composition. (Or, uh, I dunno, maybe it’s a week at night school? I honestly don’t know if you need a master’s degree or not for this.)

“Lumière” shines itself into dark crevasses and corners, a beacon of neon in a twisted, violent world. Whether Maury’s walking through the city streets at night or chilling with Mulder and Scully on the wrong side of a chain link fence, he’s got the mood under such control that considering any other option is just stupid. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Niedowierzanie may have just jumped to the top of my Halloween party playlist for next year. And no, we don’t DO the “Monster Mash.”

Creepy crawl all the way over to the Lighten Up Sounds and buy one of the seventy tapes that are for sale, if you dare.

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Tabs Out | Episode #118


Forest Management - Rotating Angle (Unifactor)
Brett Naucke - The Back Of The Garden (Unifactor)
Dominic Coppola - Honeymoon Phase (Unifactor)
Darren Keen - It's Never Too Late To Say You're Welcome (Orange Milk)
Patrick Shiroishi - Tulean Dispatch (Mondoj)
Sharon Gal - Delicious Fish (Fractal Meat Cuts)
Střed Světa - Rozmístění opakováním (Baba Vagna)
Platzangst - Call Before You Dig (OTA)
Smegma - s/t (Post-Materialization Music)
Charlemagne Palestine ‎– STTT THOMASSS """"DINGGGDONGGGDINGGGzzzzzzz ferrrr TONYYY"""" (Blank Forms)
Jack Taylor - Somnii (Dinzu Artefacts)
Twig Harper, Bill Nace, John Olson - Live At No Response Festival (No Response)


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Tabs Out | Episode #117


Jack Hardy - For the Sake of Finding Your Clothes (CMM)
Radiator Greys - Life in the Blast Radius (Devine)
Moomaw - ACEJEWEL69/ACIDJOCK420 (Become Eternal)
Inspired School Of Astral Music - Seekers (Cosmic Winnetou)
The Ether Staircase - Aether 6 (Cave Recordings)
Peter Kris - Dutch Flat (Patient Sounds)
Collaped Arc - In Tension (Polar Envy)
Directives - Usphutorontus Deius Nissesubla (Aubjects)
Halfbird - Loomings (SDM)
Grasshopper - Zombie Flesh Eaters ('79) (self released)
Ivy Meadows - Zodiac (Moon Glyph)
Damion Romero - Missing Link (Hanson)


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Tabs Out | First Terrace Records releases the multifaceted stunner “Compilation 2”

First Terrace Records releases the multifaceted stunner “Compilation 2”
1.26.18 by Mike Haley

Let’s say a friend is telling you a story about, I don’t know, going to Whole Foods for avocado water or whatever. If during that story they offhandedly mention that Huey Lewis was there shopping for chestnut kefir spread I would call them out for burying the lede. The avocado water story, no matter how interesting, becomes meaningless when The News (lol) is now 100% Huey.

First Terrace Records buried the lede with “Compilation 2.” And boy did they pile the dirt on.

The image above shows off the compilation’s exceptional packaging and contents. The gold embossed box with prints and a zine looks like something you would see attached to the article “Woman discovers original Basquiat journal in cigar box.” The curation is flawless. You can stream all thirteen tracks if you don’t trust me for some reason. Even if you do trust me, listen to them anyway for a frothy lathering of damaged energy and a hard-won out of body bubble bath.

BUT the real story here: The runtime of “Compilation 2” is 68 minutes long. Just one minute shy of a very VERY funny number of minutes. Start off with that, then get into how fucking amazing this thing is. That tip is free for First Terrace. The tape will cost you, but it’s worth it.

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Tabs Out | Premiere: Adam Gnade & Demetrius Francisco Antuña – Voice Mails From The Great Satan

Premiere: Adam Gnade & Demetrius Francisco Antuña – Voice Mails From The Great Satan
1.25.18 by Ryan Durfee

America’s most troubled troubadour Adam Gnade is at it again, prepping another slab of post apocalyptic talking-blues via the venerable Three.One.G with the help of musician Demetrius Antuña.

“Voice Mails From The Great Satan” is broken up into two sections, Nighttime Suite / Daytime Suite, and explores living in America during Tr*mp’s presidency through the lens of Agnes, a character we were introduced to in Adam’s novella Locust House. Side A (Nighttime Suite) guides Agnes through the darkness of a heartbreak not known since businessmen threw themselves out of windows back in ’29. Ominous bowed guitars & clanging drums, at times sounding like a rough Sunn 0))) (wouldn’t a collab between Gnade & O’Malley be dreamy?) mesh with some gorgeously doomy post rock. It leads us to a question: Is this the society we want to be living in? One where profit motive is placed before the welfare of the have nots. One where greed lays waste to the last dying gasps of a beauty we are so desperately grasping onto. Makes you want to run to the hills. Side B (Daytime Suite) brings more gloom while spiraling further and further down the rabbit hole. The influence of Dean Hurley’s sound design on the latest season of Twin Peaks can absolutely be heard in the distorted field recordings and electrical hum that sound like the ground is being torn asunder.

“Voice Mails From The Great Satan” has a release date of February  16th. Preorders for the tape are open now.

Track 1: Nighttime Suite (11:48)
I Blood in the Parking Lot
II Voicemails From The Great Satan
III Ghostship

Track 2: Daytime Suite (13:57)
IV Interlude
V Sunday Afternoon in the Sun
VI Summers End/Summer’s End

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Tabs Out | The Most Cleveland Tapes Ever

The Most Cleveland Tapes Ever
1.24.18 by Andrew Kirschner

Cleveland has always been the definition of downtrodden. The constant underdog in all aspects, especially in music. While lacking in definitive superstars and major pop appeal, Cleveland has created more underground music legends and game changers in creativity than almost any city. These are the most Cleveland tapes of all time in my opinion, and music that changed my life and made me who I am. Time for a history lesson in the greatest Midwest city where just existing, let alone trying to make music or art, says something about your character. Before you freak out that your fav band isn’t on here, please remember many groups didn’t get tape releases. This is my list of the most Cleveland tapes ever.


Pagans – Buried Alive (Treehouse)
The Pagans are Cleveland punk, period. Formed in ’77, they ripped thru ’79 with some EPs and roaring live shows. Following a road paved by the Eels and the Dead Boys, they perfected what their earlier contemporaries were doing. Faster and deadlier, the Pagans were the soundtrack to watching jobs leaving the city and slamming drinks. This comp captures all of the aforementioned material from 77-79. What’s this shit called love and street where nobody lives are the sound of Cleveland punk and rock n roll. Lead singer Mike Hudson recently passed away in 2017, leaving a legacy that changed Cleveland forever. RIP “You better give up!”

Pere Ubu – The Modern Dance (Fontana reissue)
While The Pagans were raging and pissed off in the alleys of Clevo, David Thomas and Pere Ubu took their anger in almost the complete opposite direction in 1975. Grating synths and noise, Thomas yelping and yodeling, Ubu juxtaposed their mess of art punk with an almost pop sensibilities to their songs. Thomas would frequently just smash a wooden block with a hammer during live shows and incorporate saxophones, homemade instruments and whatever else they could find. After Peter Laughner’s untimely death, the band became the figurehead of everything weird, strange and uncomfortable in the city. Reissued on tape in 1988 on Fontana, this is a must have along with their first album “Dub Housing.” When I saw Lydia Lunch perform in Cleveland last year, she stated this: “This song is for my friend Peter Laughner, and this song is the anthem of your city. Be proud of it.” And then tore into Final Solution. Cleveland’s finest outsiders.

Spike In Vain – Jesus Was Born In A Mobile Home (Trans Dada)
While hardcore was exploding all over the nation, Cleveland was a little different. Most of the hardcore bands didn’t last very long at all and sounded very different than, say, Black Flag. Enter Spike In Vain. This recording of hardcore, post-punk and even deathrock hits like a sledgehammer. Released during the last year of the huge hardcore boom, every lyric holds the desperation of kids in a city that tears apart any dreams or admiration that you could have during your break at your shitty job (if you were lucky to have one at that point). Soundtrack to steel mills closing and cheap beer.

My Dad Is Dead – Let’s Skip The Details (Homestead Records)
In my opinion, this is one of the most underrated bands to ever come out of Northeast Ohio. Playing post-punk and a mix of Husker Du’s later era, My Dad Is Dead shattered pop/indie rock. Mark Edwards was championed by not just Cleveland but by John Peel and other very notable DJs playing his tunes on their shows. Mostly a solo project with others brought in to play the instruments, MDID should have been as big as REM and all the other college rock bands but suffered the inevitable Cleveland curse. While not entirely buried in obscurity, My Dad is Dead is still considered underground in the most sense. Gone but not forgotten.

Integrity – Systems Overload (Victory Records)
While Dwid and company didn’t invent crossover, they sure as hell innovated it. In the wake of hardcore bands Confront and Face Value (which FV almost made the list), Integrity put Cleveland on the map nationally for hardcore/metal. Along with bands like Ringworm, One Life Crew and Keelhaul, they helped bring many national acts through Cleveland that would have otherwise skipped the city on their tours. This helped spark a resurgence in the 90’s of Cleveland punk starting with the Apartment 213, Inmates, H-100s, Gordon Solie Motherfuckers and the Darvocets, who would take this hardcore blueprint and give it the Cleveland sleaze it deserved. Infamous especially here in town, Integrity and Dwid will always have a name attached in 90’s hardcore and the sub genre of straight edge.

9 Shocks Terror – Zen And The Art Of Beating Your Ass (Devour)
You were probably wondering why I didn’t mention 9 Shocks above along with all the other great late 90’s Clevo hardcore/punk tapes. Well, theses psychos get their own section! Literally a super group of everyone that had laid the groundwork for Cleveland punk beforehand, 9 Shocks shows were stuff of legend. They were the first hardcore band I ever saw live and I will never forget seeing a Christmas tree on fire getting thrown around at people and fireworks being launched inside Speak In Tongues like it was the 4th of July. Erba bleeding and cutting promos between songs, Steve Phefer destroying anyone who was in arms reach, this is arguably the most Cleveland band and album of all time. Thanks to them, a ton of bands were created and a scene rejuvenated.

Emeralds / Tusco Terror – Christmas Tapes 2006 (Tusco Embassay)
Speaking of rejuvenating scenes, this tape was single handily responsible for spawning more bands and labels in Cleveland than almost anything ever released in the city. Operating out of the Embassy gig spot in east Cleveland, some of the wildest parties and shows went down in the mid to late 2000’s. Helping usher in mainstays such as Bee Mask, Moth Cock, Skin Graft, David Russell, Sam Goldberg and more, both Emeralds and Tusco Terror paved the way for both experimental music and harsh noise. Both sides are some of the bands finest works and this will always be a relevant album in both Cleveland and noise in general. Scene has never been the same since the doors were closed and both bands split.

Skin Graft – Drug Addict (Wagon, Hanson)
I would not be writing this right now if it wasn’t for Wyatt Howland. He was one of the main reason I started my record label, Mistake by the Lake. Seeing him live as a young gun blew my lid back so hard, I had to release something by him just so more people could experience what I did. The king of Cleveland noise, the king of harsh noise period, no one does it better. This disgusting tape features Howland messing with a sink full of water with a contact mic, producing some of the sickest noises I’ve ever heard. Initially released on John Elliott’s Wagon imprint, it has since been reissued on Hanson Records, where it is still in print to this day. The true sounds of the Cleveland underground; All the shit you have to take, the people you have to deal with on the streets everyday, everything that is wrong with the city and the world at large. Hats off to ya How-How.

Andrew Kirschner is an unlicensed, amateur Cleveland historian and runs the very Cleveland label Mistake by the Lake.  His latest solo cassette, “Eulogy For Past Lives,” is available now from Torn Light.

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Tabs Out | Cinchel – A Sad Study in Temporal Dissonance

Cinchel – A Sad Study in Temporal Dissonance
1.23.18 by Mike Haley

I’m onto you Cinchel. *cracks knuckles*
I’ve figured out your little game. *cracks neck*
I see what you’re trying to do. *cracks all seven Chakras*

“A Sad Study in Temporal Dissonance,” Cinchel’s latest for the Patient Sounds label, is a trap. A sunken trench covered in fall leaves, misleading young lovers, hikers, and cassette reviewers to early termination with the assurance of radiant golds and magentas. The nine track subterfuge (which clocks in at a hour btw) starts off with bells. BELLS! It seems obvious now, gazing up to the light from the bottom of a deep ditch Cinchel has dug, that the bells were pure enticement. Why would the sound of ceremonious bells even be wafting about like an unignorable aroma anyways? But, you know what they say – hindsight is 4/20. Now I’m trapped in a pit.

Every song on “A Sad Study” doesn’t begin sugary sweet only to dilate into a ravine of darkness, but it would be good form to assume that the next gum up of good times is always on it’s way. The smooth sailing guitar, electronics, and BELLS! It all crumbles with time. I guess that’s just life though; A sequence of attempting not to fall in ditches mixed with falling in ditches.

I managed to get a message out to Cinchel asking him to explain his intentions with this devious shit, and to please send supplies. His response:

“The tape is meant to mimic the arc of life: birth to death. Each song explores how events in a life are in a constant balance between happy/sad, optimism/pessimism.”

No supplies were included.

I applaud Cinchel for his work on this tape. The angelic avalanches and cruel certainty are like oil and water, end-to-end saturating the recording. Cinchel is one of the few “drone people” (if that means anything?) that refuses to bore and “A Sad Study in Temporal Dissonance” is an excellent sounding/looking tape. I just wish he would help me out of this hole… Maybe you’ll join me!?

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Tabs Out | Norelco Mori announces preorder for “Compilation 001”

Norelco Mori announces preorder for “Compilation 001”
1.19.18 by Mike Haley

Well, well, well. What in the hell do we have here? It looks like the Tabs Out archenemy, rival cassette podcast Norelco BORI, has done cooked themselves up a niiiiice looking cassette compilation for the new Norelco Mori Limited label. Wouldn’t it be a shame if something nasty were to happen to it? Something like, I don’t know, a REAL COOL cassette podcast pulling a huge prank and dubbing over all 100 copies with Donkey Lips sound clips just as Ted ButTler finished dubbing them in real time on chrome cassettes. I’m not saying it’s gonna happen, I’m just saying it COULD happen. Yeah, dub right over all 11 tracks from b.lind, øjeRum, Desroi, Grozny Penthouse, Head Dress, Lower Tar, Con Cetta, Tom Hall, Sleep Clinic, Grøn, and even this little ditty by Sequences.

That would be hilarious. And to be honest, people would probably like “Compilation 001″even more with a zany twist like that. And can we talk about the name?! “Compilation 001” is what you’re going with? That’s it? Here’s some low hanging fruit to bite into, Ted: “Compilation 069.” You taste those juices? That’s a name like that will drive these preorders through the friggin ROOF. So heads up, Head Dress. Get your act together.

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