Tabs Out | New Batch – Never Anything

New Batch – Never Anything

8.4.21 by Matty McPherson

The Seattle, WA based Never Anything Records always loves to surprise with the occasional threefer batch of hand-dubbed tapes. It’s a welcome display, as their sound curation carries with it a level of rorsarchian therapeutics; these are sounds that mingle quite well with the abstracted covers, deserving to be chewed over in your mind not as definitive answers, but towards infinite possibilities! Every time I find myself with a new release I’m learning a new language, sometimes even taking a trip to Berlin or Australia in the process. So why don’t I share a bit of my recent trips?

Terbijn – Eco

The artist(s) known as Terbijn is a bit of an anomaly at the moment, and trying to deduce any part of that identity feels a bit trite. What I do know is that the tape was recorded between London and Berlin and is brimming with digital processing, downtempo lounge-type synths, low end bass throbs, and field recordings. Eco’s soundscapes are often built off of these remote, isolated tones that a synth or bass can provide. It makes tracks quite open-ended, practically blank canvases to dabble on. Tracks like Eco, Care and Mistletoe quickly dash off into their own paths between alien folktronica and downtempo ambient lounge as soon as Terbijn starts crossing layers of these elements into the compositions. The resulting pieces are all akin to alien camaraderie, with an icy patience glistening through the entire 35 minute affair.

Philip Sulidae – Apãto

The Hobart, Tasmania based Phillip Sulidae has recorded for Tsss Tapes and Park 70 in the past year, delineating between grainy, crackly textures and stretches of natural, sweltering regional ambience. Apãto is able to weave these moments together into a mapping of regional tension, even without ever breaking too deep into the red on the tape deck. It’s sounds, whether its machines buzzing and quick breaths on “Genkan Troubles,” birds flying across a flute on “Alley with Suntory Finials,” or (what sounds likes) the bleeps and banging of a stick against a metal fencepost on “Evening Tairu Collection” there’s a paranoid, conspiratorial sense to this tape; it’s what makes this tapes sudden appearance of drums or its seamless dips into the local fauna, amongst a whole litany of lab sounds as engaging as a pulpy page turner.

Abby Lee Tee – Hausberg IV-V

The final tape in the trilogy is also the slightest of the three. Between tape, cd, vinyl, and digital Austrian Abby Lee Tee has been continually shifting focus and practice throughout the last decade, mending field recordings with the effortless traces of acoustic guitar and electronics for a kind of progressive porch-drinking music, in my view. Hausberg IV-V, his sixth tape and first for Never Anything, is a welcome C16 of constructivist mending of two guitar/field recordings. 

Hausberg IV is a fantastical kind of lullaby. For its 8 minutes, Lee attempts a guitar ritual not too far removed from the ancient work of Dead Can Dance, just sans the vocal melodies in lieu of tonal harmonies. His guitars gallop off of each other, delicately weaving together its own cosmic web, further controlled by the spatial effects that the low end of his field recordings give off. Hausberg V features a slithering water effect that dominates the soundscape, practically trying to sink you whole, while an acoustic guitar meanders about, slinking every few moments until it disappears entirely. By this point, the track further scurries itself into the weird and eerie, building a playful journey towards whatever lies at the base of a “house mountain” (not to be confused w/ Hausu Mountain). And it’s here that we find ourselves with quick-witted finger picking and a most angry cat (I ain’t kidding).

Each available in editions of 50 at the Never Anything bandcamp page!

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