Tabs Out | Cyanide Tooth – Midnight Climax Operation & Maximum Ernst – Time Safe Delay

Cyanide Tooth – Midnight Climax Operation & Maximum Ernst – Time Safe Delay

11.11.20 by Ryan Masteller

Ever/Never is a New York label “specializing in music for adults,” meaning that it’s not really intended for people like you or people like me, the good folks who hang around the Tabs Out website or Twitter feed. We tend to gravitate toward a more juvenile humor, where poop jokes collide with funny numbers like 4:20 and 69, where the sound of toilets flushing and farts bleating is music to our ears, and where a tape consisting of literally nothing but fake jazz-radio-station banter comes in at #1 on a year-end best-of list. No, Tabs Out is for big stupid baby children, butt poop pee fart cake wang Super Mario wiener butthole constipated turd. Ever/Never is not for us.

Or is it?


Cyanide Tooth starts “Midnight Climax Operation” with “Heartburn,” a spoken PSA about heartburn that warps periodically before sinking into a morass of processed loops or whatever. It’s a good trick, a good joke, and it might be something we can work with. Hip-hop beats stutter out of it before more heartburn talk, then jackhammer rhythm. It’s the kind of pieced-together madness that fits perfectly on the podcast, actually, a microcosm of speech and noise that so many of you (us) slurp up like catnip. It’s not out of the realm of madness to position Cyanide Tooth as descendants of early tape manipulation and noise experimenters like Throbbing Gristle, Coil, and Nurse with Wound, especially since the promo copy so kindly suggested them for me. Thus “Midnight Climax Operation” shreds itself like a distorted Halloween sound effect tape feeding back on itself while a black cat walks across a synthesizer. OK, that’s one “for” us, I guess.


“Time Safe Delay” starts off like that “Billions” bit, but way better – a voice says “space” a lot over a stuttering rhythm, and other samples start finding their way into the thing. I’m in. This first track, “Signal Thru Flames” takes up the entirety of side A at almost nineteen minutes, and as voices continue to make themselves heard and frequencies continue to spiral out like solar flares, it’s hard not to get caught up in/inundated with/overwhelmed by the sprawl of sonic deconstruction. The chaos is barely controlled, the only undercurrent a relentless shuffling rhythm over which Maximum Ernst can do whatever they want. “Orb-Like” and “Glass Enclosure” take up side B, the former a psychedelic sampled whirl, the latter a shimmery prismatic vapor. And all I can do is marvel at how perfectly Mike would work this into a monologue or something.


So either Ever/Never’s age appropriateness stretches beyond and before that of just mere “adult” or else we’re all growing up a little, maturing. I’ll go with the former, because poopy butt stinky butt.

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