Tabs Out | New Batch – Never Anything Records

New Batch – Never Anything Records

8.1.19 by Ryan Masteller

When is a batch not a batch? When the tapes you’re listening to were not released together, and you jump from catalog number 47 to 49, then hit 50. It seems random, but it’s not – these were the Never Anything tapes that came in the review box.

But then again, when does a batch actually matter beyond its initial release? It doesn’t. So I don’t know why I even brought it up.


Ross Birdwise likes electricity. He’s practically addicted to it, its features, its sounds, its taste even (probably). On “Crisis Ordinary,” he worships it, as every moment of the tape has a palpable electronic patois to it – you can almost smell the ozone from soldered circuits wafting in the air. Imagine, then, Birdwise getting really close to his gear, right on top of it, right up in it, and utilizing the tiniest fragments of it to compose the most micro electronic tunes, those that fidget on the edges of vision and vibrate with current. Imagine Birdwise is using a microscope. Imagine he’s having a dialogue with whatever it is he’s tinkering with. “Crisis Ordinary” finds the fractures in the building blocks, the corrupted source files in need of digital repair. Ross Birdwise is the technician we need for the problem we don’t know we have. So what if he’s more interested in exploring than fixing? We can just call somebody else then, I guess.


For Benjamin Finger, Mia Zabelka, and John Hegre, collaboration was a no-brainer. Actually, I have nothing to back that statement up other than this documentation of their performance “Live at Rewire 2018,” which, if I’m reading the back of the j-card with my GOOD glasses, was “made for Concertzender Netherlands on April 6, 2018, during Rewire festival in the Hague.” (It also credits Amout Leene for recording this sucker.) But the result suggests the no-brainer aspect of the whole thing, because Finger, Zabelka, and Hegre work terrifyingly well together. Blending various synthetic and electronic instruments together and stretching them to unending lengths, the trio sculpts massive yellow-orange sound designs out of thick mists, with the soft results returning to mist after a few moments to be resculpted into something else. The mysteries of inspiration abound, but they swirl continuously like an alien sea made up of something other than liquid. “Live at Rewire 2018” finds a shared headspace among its performers, and the stunning output is clearly formed at a molecular level.


Data’s worth nothing if it’s not organized. DC stalwart Nate Scheible has provided us the key, the indices, or rather “Indices,” to absorb and reflect properly upon that data. The ambient maestro’s latest finds him exploring vast corridors of card-catalogued data, corridors you can totally spend the rest of your life in, referencing, reorganizing, researching. Sometimes you may be surprised at what you find. At others, you may find yourself zoning out until you shake yourself out of it hours later. But no matter where you are along “Indices’” timeline, you’re beset on all sides by absolute frickin’ magic. You can feel it in the air. Ancient knowledge and secrets are just at your fingertips, and all you have to do is open up a drawer and take a look. Scheible knows what sort of powers he’s wielding, and he lets his work stretch open, ever outward. Even when it feels insular, “Indices” works upon the internal in inconceivably grand ways. Quiet ways, sure, but still awfully grand. 

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