Tabs Out | Ruin Garden – s/t

Ruin Garden – s/t

11.9.20 by Ryan Masteller

I know what I was doing in spring 2020: sulking. Sulking, and a lot of nothing. There was nothing happening. Nothing to look forward to. Nobody to chatter with. No incompetents to holler at. (Well, in my vicinity, anyway.)

What was Ruin Garden doing in spring 2020? A lot more than me, I can tell you, if this self-titled cassette tape is any indication. The recording project of the elusive “JKA” of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Ruin Garden may have been planning “Ruin Garden” all along, but the timing couldn’t have been better. A treat for all senses – yes, even smell – the tape slowly unfurls an impressive “collection of static loops and drones from archival tapes, found sounds, and electronics,” each one a completely different vibe and result. Sometimes it feels like you’re underwater, perhaps in a deep-sea trench, or maybe you’ve just stuck your head in a fishbowl. At other times it feels like you’re in slow-motion hyperspace, if that even makes any sense, separated from the vacuum only by a thin membrane surrounding your body. At still others, you might be standing next to a wood chipper as somebody continually chucks cases of pint glasses into it.

Regardless of what the heck “Ruin Garden” is doing, it’s clear that that JKA has kept themselves busy throughout a life of isolation. JKA’s work is quite industrious too – the tapes themselves are recycled TDK D90s, and there’s just a hint of artwork on the shell to suggest that this isn’t a blank (although I wouldn’t store the tape far away from the case – you’ll never figure out what it is otherwise). Fifty of these were made. Only two remain. I’ll let you get yourself in gear while I sit back and listen to the alien probe from Star Trek IV pretend to make whale noises.

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