Tabs Out | They Will Burn Us to Ashes – s/t

They Will Burn Us to Ashes – s/t
11.2.18 by Ryan Masteller

You gotta hand it to Philly’s Saga House – they know what to put on recycled cassette tape. That’s right, the nascent label bills itself as “a curatorial project to recycle a load of 1,700 blank … tapes and a duplicator found in a church basement in 2014.” I hope they have a lot of good things planned for all those tapes; fortunately They Will Burn Us to Ashes is a brilliant start.

The project is the brainchild of Mike Mangino, formerly of Smersh, whose glitchy electronics lean heavily into disintegrating ambient territory – rendering the PR sheet magnificently prescient as it namechecks Gas and Basinski and Jelinek and Jeck. I shake my fist at the darkening sky as I realize with shame and horror that I’ve just let some PR goon do my work for me. But then I remember that this is a totally DIY endeavor, a not-for-profit even (Saga House sells their tapes “directly for $3 apiece”), and that anybody doing PR for Saga House is doing it from the goodness of their gargantuan heart. (As in, filled to overflowing with generosity, not dangerously large within one’s body.)

Anyway, the rustic approach to electronic music fits Mangino’s skill set perfectly, as he’s able to craft magical sound worlds from very little. (The pops and crackles are also appropriate to the recycled cassette medium.) Melodies peek through, but it’s the world-building throughout the entire tape that stuns again and again – tracks stretch for lengthy periods of time (none more so than 43-minute album closer “In This Grave Hour”), but the repetition and progression reveal new levels of detail. It’s not hard to sit mesmerized for the entirety of this thing and let it infiltrate your brain – it might even shake it up enough in there to get those gears cranking again. (I’m assuming you’ve not moved from your chair for a good long time.)

“They Will Burn Us to Ashes” dropped October 31 (boo!). Order from Bandcamp or email I guess?

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