Tabs Out | Takahiro Mukai / Shoeb Ahmad – split

Takahiro Mukai / Shoeb Ahmad – split
8.30.17 by Mike Haley


Allow me to channel my inner Suess for a moment to describe Tandem Tapes… If you couldn’t tell by their name, or the long list of releases that are exclusively splits, Tandem Tapes is a tape label that exclusively releases splits. That was fun. I promise not to do it again. Anyways, one of the latest splits out of Tandem’s Jakarta HQ pairs up Takahiro Mukai and Shoeb Ahmad in a long distance three-legged race, an ocean separating them (literally and metaphorically).

Takahiro Mukai‘s wormy synths recently discovered a fresh corpse in their garden, at least that is what I’m attributing their avid delight too. Barely shaded from a glistening sun, they chug-a-lug below a thin layer of soil, fluxing in shade. Bobbing their heads – or maybe tails? It’s hard to tell with worms. Do they even have “heads” or “tails??” I’d say no… I fear this is getting sidetracked – as I was saying, bobbing their whatevers, these slimy lil’ suckers pass by shady looking bugs and broken glass on their path to the body.  This particular side of the cassette has three tracks, titled #311, #308, and #312, in that order. Through the entirety of those three tracks is a consistent vibe that is orderly and pleased; These synth worms are thrilled to be alive! They bubble with excitement, never letting it overflow into chaos. Single file lines have been formed and order/fun is being kept. This isn’t some going-out-of-business Best Buy in Florida. This is Takahiro Mukai. He knows how to control his worms, he feeds em right. That’s why they do it. That is where these hypnotic mandalas of blips and blaps come from.

Oh yeah, I Googled “worm anatomy.” Turns out they have gizzards.

From Osaka, Japan to Canberra, Australia. We can jump in a plane or a boat can sail, ya! Sorry, I promised to stop that. Shoeb Ahmad‘s side offers far less optimism than Takahiro Mukai’s saucy worms with their three-day weekend dances. Worms are immediately replaced by “Dragonfly,” an epic jaunt compacted into six minutes in which the elegiac vibrations of an acoustic guitar are drug across unfinished hard wood. A somber trek made awkward (in a good way) by a pesky, twitching loop, all staticy and in desperate need of a Swiffer Dust Cloth.  There is an uneasiness deep in the sounds here. I’d imagine this track is how one would feel walking into the wrong funeral. The weird discomfort you’d feel upon not recognizing a single face in the room, including the corpse. Maybe it’s the same corpse that ended up in Mukai’s worm garden? At 11 minutes “Voigt” is a reflection on what just occurred. Here, the more bummer elements are blanketed by heated tones and desultory snaps, like a medicated recess from reality. It’s nice to get away, even for a moment.

Only 25 copies of this split were made, because Tandem does very small edition sizes. So with a fizzle, a nizzle, a dizzle flamp plamp. Please direct your web browser to a Band that is camp.

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