New Batch – Spring Break Tapes!
2.22.17 by Scott Scholz
Spring Break Tapes! proprietor Joe McKay had a busy 2016 that included the launch of the incredible Dinzu Artefacts label, an experimental/sound-art focused imprint with a thoughtful, unified art/layout design scheme. But fear not, Spring Break fans: SBT shows no signs of slowing down, either, with a recent pair of jams that may be the best yet on the label.
Hainbach – The Evening Hopefuls
Berlin-based composer Stefan Paul Goetsch’s electronics side project Hainbach takes a fascinating turn with “Evening Hopefuls.” Previous Hainbach jams have mostly incorporated beats, though 2015’s “Ashes” heads into more ambient pastures. While these pieces still ebb and flow between layers of loops, the source material is generated from rehearsal recordings of Goetsch’s debut orchestral composition, a long piece intended to be performed in sync with a showing of Wiene’s silent film classic, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.” Many composers record ongoing orchestral rehearsals if possible, as they’re invaluable for helping to improve scores during the rehearsal process, but Goetsch took his rehearsal tapes to a whole new level, using his downtime between rehearsals to create Hainbach-styled arrangements of the material.
The result is an incomparable ambient album, with mesmerizing, gentle layers of sound. While very small fragments of sound are deployed to create these soundscapes, the timbral richness of its orchestral origins comes through with a variety of sounds one doesn’t hear in albums made of modular sounds and field recordings. Worlds collide, and charmingly so.
Bus Gas – Live On Leave Us
Nebraska ensemble Bus Gas returns for their second tape on Spring Break, and fourth overall. Past recordings have found these gentlemen processing their drone-oriented improvisations into complex tapestries that sound highly composed, but this outing finds them tackling a pair of composed pieces instead. Recorded live at O’Leavers Pub in Omaha, Nebraska, richly orchestrated layers of sound turn this trio lineup into a massive force of drone, and for guitar tone aficionados, you’ll find some of the most satisfying tube-fueled melodic lines of the Obama-era outlining the mysterious architecture of these pieces.
2014’s “Snake Hymns” highlighted shorter pieces that often took on a more Faust-ian sound-collage delirium, but the alternating delicacy and weight of these new jams takes a classical kind of solemnity, like Sclesi’s harmonic-based minimalism hefted into Ligeti-esque sound masses. There is a deep current of melancholy woven into this music, but to make sure you don’t turn into a ball of ennui sobbing in a corner, Bus Gas helpfully provides a little brevity in the form of the album title itself, a play on “Live at O’Leavers.” This performance marked a sort of geographical split-up of the project, but considering how each of their tapes has reached new heights of beauty and darkness, let’s hope they find a way to continue working together regardless of distance.
It should be mentioned that Spring Break has really stepped up their already killer j-card game on this new batch as well: both tapes feature intricate zillion-panel artwork, printed on both sides, that provide a lot of visual interest while listening. The metallic inks on the Hainbach tape really pop, and the enigmatic artwork for Bus Gas fits perfectly with the music. With only 100 copies of each in the wild, you’d best step up to Spring Break Tapes in a jiffy.