12.31.21 by Matty McPherson
It’s the middle of November as I type this and yet again I’ve been on a fly killing spree. I wish I could just make a device as potent as a flyswatter that hits with the same force as Asymmetrical Head’s latest here, Unruly Souvenir. The San Diego based electronic wunderkind and Bonding Tapes label boss has been a stalwart dating back to 2k5 — the era of Myspace! He thankfully and recently hopped back in the saddle of the tape game after a few year hiatus with the moniker and label, in the process offering 3 tapes across Bonding Tapes’ 2021 output.
Unruly Souvenir is the third of this return trilogy, a devious set of snacky booms, claps, and even the occasional stomp — all entangled into rhythmic pulsing that comprises techno music akin to racking up fly swatting kill combos. No, no I’m serious! Listening to a track like Nuova and it’s just full BPM fury that ain’t got nothing to prove but just how much it hates the little critters! I sense that Asymmetrical Head is a big combo raker, with Lyn_C creating pit-patter drumming that begins to devolve and introduce sudden one-two effects, popping with synthetic flourishes and trash-can gongs all the while.
Of course though, a full-fledged tape of heavy hitters might be a little too much fly overkill here. It’s the tape’s downtempo, spatial cuts that are the meat n’ potatoes here. This is where the real shocks come out, navigating the majesty of making “cool fucking noises that sound like a really powerful flyswatter” with immense finesse. MX Cap XM bops and weaves, using rhythmic pulses and an underlying synth to concoct an image of classic marine layer-tinged bumper-to-bumper traffic. Spatium Loop follows the same process, introducing sudden “clanks” and whiplash “blanks” through a wave of synthesizer pulsing that bobs and weaves like fireflies. Meanwhile, Qasira finds beauty, looping a litany of vocal soul shrieks, amidst all of this turmoil. Even as we move into the b-side of Unruly Souvenir, Asymmetrical Head kinda stops making cool flyswatter sounds–it’s all about those sick ass laser rifles noises on “057,” and the pure ethereal red tide nightswimming of “XIIAM.” Cohesion triumphs!
Yet, Unruly Souvenir still relishes in full force on a knockout trilogy to close up shop. “XWN” is all snickering rhythms and deep-seeded tension, while “Fat Clinic II” features a dark bass and that reverberated rat-a-tat THUMP that would land any fly on its ass; the kind of alternative boom-bap beat deserving of an MC of the highest caliber. “OUTX” naturally reflects and recasts “INTX” with the lessons learned from this tape, a mending of the synthesizer ambience that has bound this tape to all those drum patterns and propulsive fly killing mechanisms — at least that’s what I was feeling.
Limited Edition Cassette in Jcard, Norelco Case and Blue Shells with labels available from the Bonding Tapes Bandcamp Page!