Tabs Out | Alex Homan – Dawn of the Jawns Volumes 1 & 2

Alex Homan – Dawn of the Jawns Volumes 1 & 2

2.23.22 by Matty McPherson

Mail days here at Tabs Out West Coast HQ are always a strange affair. On top of the usual suspects (select tapes from select labels) arriving in suspect packaging, there’s always a litany of freeform free-for-alls. And on the downtime of an elongated pseudo-winter vacation, there is an opportunity to employ radical heuristics and find which of those latter tapes tickles my fancy the most. Blind bag days are a vicious treat when you know you’re on a hot streak. Although I  somehow always end up back in the primordial womb of indie rock; maybe that’s just unavoidable to return to my safest roots.

Anyways, Dawn of the Jawns (Vols. 1 & 2) arrived in crude plastic cases with even cruder, more rudimentary Jcard and liner notes (naturally printed on printer paper). Yet, forgoing the aesthetic presentation I took a leap of faith. Homan’s recordings are retrospective, with both volumes covering his “antisocial experiments” circa 2007-2009 in Philadelphia. He writes candidly and reflectively of these recordings aimless, pained attempts at straddling a line between noise and music. Most of the college recorded tunes lean towards a certain Baltimore four-piece in their halcyon era. And while I imagine Homan did “collect all the animals” at some point or another, there’s a bonafide level of trance emanating. More often than not, Homan’s raw musicality (lo-fi recordings of guitar with reverb and effects) entices and acts as a damn sturdy window to a time that feels unarchived and lost to layers of code. Spectacularly, it radiates and glows.

The first tape is genuinely an indie rock tape at heart. Underneath the acoustics and limitations, Homan’s trusty guitar and gaggle of effects are a jukebox of myspace melodies, reflecting song structures that you may have half memorized and will likely fit like a glove. It’s eminently warm and freeing, which Volume 2 often uproots. Slabs of Homan making attempts at beguiling noise a la Danse Manatee are found in and around the tape (alongside the occasional spoken word excerpt or campfire melody). Yet, Homan’s recollections and curation do find a pathway to a semblance of where his projects will err towards. All I know is that there’s no way this tape had to be as listenable and fascinating as it looked, yet here I am, clearly in a sort of trance over the whole state of affairs. Keep it like a secret.

Edition of 6 available at the Alex Homan bandcamp page

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Tabs Out | Bitchin Bajas – Switched On Ra

Bitchin Bajas – Switched On Ra

1.24.22 by Matty McPherson

There may be no other trio that quite embellishes the synthesizer like the Bitchin Bajas (seriously, take a look at that list – posted below for posterity). Cooper, Rob, and Daniel haven’t exactly been MIA since Bajas Fresh, their 2017 release that studiously tinkered and refined the sound until it unfurled into the crispest of loops. They make solo albums on Astral Spirits, go fill in for Tirzah at p4kfest, and sometimes get to hang out and craft pop ditties with Haley Fohr or handle production (scary stuff) for Bill Nace. They still love a good tape release, whether that’s through the research & development of a CUTS self-release or returning to Drag City with this here Switched On Ra.

Whether or not Switched On Ra is a stealth response aimed at rectifying Barack Obama’s failure to put Sunwatchers’ own Sun Ra tribute (Ptah, The El Daoud) on his 2019 playlist may be too hard to call. In fact, it might just be more a continuation of Bajas Fresh’s own Sun Ra tribute, Angels and Demons at Play, which reimagined the fickle, jazz piece as a steamy jungle odyssey; an arrangement true to the spirit of its source as much as the Bajas own lineage. Plus, you have the reference to Wendy Carlos’ own analog synthesizer wondries, so there’s a lot we need to consider here. Also, it was all recorded on “8-track ½” [tape] @ 15 IPS across June of 2021,” in case you are a nerd and love to know just how the lads do it.

Yet, with all of this as a possible MO in mind, Switched On Ra still has that immediacy of an old pal. It’s at once warm, jubilant Bajas, just with a level of macroscopic tingly majesty dedicated to these Sun Ra compositions; it’s specially electroshocked at times! As a result, expect less classic Bajas looping, with more an emphasis on odyssey-oriented listening imbued. Where this sound is going is maybe still towards giant vast cosmos–or potentially a land of interlocking, gravity-ambivalent spiral staircases that function like a jungle gym. The anomalous sounds that each Sun Ra tribute provides here is its own zonal bazaar and good golly. I just want to be there harmonizing in a vocoder with ‘em. In fact, as I clank this out, I suppose I’m kinda entranced watching the left and right levels on the hi-fi trying to force myself there. You should try that too.

Tapes available at the Bitchin Bajas Bandcamp Page. A portion of the proceeds for Switched On Ra will be donated to The Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project.

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Tabs Out | Fumbata – Actuation

Fumbata – Actuation

1.12.22 by Matty McPherson

Eternal Search sprung to life as a tape label in 2020. They’ve quickly found a knack for spotlighting various ongoing electronic sounds through a compilation here and one-off singles there. Although it was in 2021 that we started to see them spread out. Nothing splashy, but a couple of tapes in translucent shells with minimal design are always going to deserve a microscopic look. It’s an honest way of telegraphing that the emphasis is really about the sounds inside the tape. 

Fumbata (Anderson Chimutu) is one of the first acts to pass through the label, with the release Actuation. Chimutu has been using the moniker throughout a series of 2021 releases found through the Bandcamp sphere. Each one is an expansion upon his mastery of DAW-tinged techno and its various lineages and sonic parallels. Chimutu has mentioned desire to project “conga and reggae” influences within these granular techno deconstructione.  In their own ways, the six tracks imagine an admirable middle ground between Congotronics and Ngeye Ngeye Tapes’ expansive electronic compilations. 

Chimutu’s tracks switch between bubbly bouncers and airy freakouts. Rubbery, bouncy techno pulses dominate the first side, especially on the title track. Here, it’s a general base to launch out a litany of arhythmic drum melodies and synth flutters that prevent the piece from staying reserved for too long, sidestepping and stuttering through the space in a technicolor spectacle. Still, that emphasis on a minimalist palette keeps pieces reserved and cohesive, oftentimes transitioning from one track to the next is a breeze. Although never think that one piece’s lucidity won’t turn up ruptured by the end of a track, with enough cryptic melodies really calling the shots. Side B closer Perle operates in this manner, with a litany of multilayered patterns all fighting for the center of a track like a hackathon gone off the fritz. 

Edition of 50 available from the Eternal Search Bandcamp Page

Tabs Out | bvth – Etymology

bvth – Etymology

1.2.22 by Matty McPherson

Last night, my friend stopped by and pitched one of the smartest, most groundbreaking ideas in history to me: every night from 9pm – 11pm all the TVs in America are tuned to Lost. We watch it together as a nation, over any of those late night big wigs and their celebrity rodeos. I must admit, it’s such a startling idea that I was immediately entranced. I also didn’t have the heart to tell my friend that this idea ran parallel to my newfound plot to transmit bvth’s new C42, Etymology, every night at dusk; perhaps both plans could be entangled together, by dubbing over Lost with Etymology?!

I don’t know exactly how bvth, the duo of Harrison Boyd and Benny Kannianen, may take this news without any feelings of elation. Their soundings which include “amplified wood block, amplified metal plate and bowed living tree branches, forest detritus agitation” are an island (harboring a supernatural prowess and series of mystical mysteries) unto itself. Together, the duo summon an ASMR bloodbath, where the sky is rusted and still; kindness doesn’t stretch out anywhere around these parts for the miles you may wander! Hmm..that doesn’t sound like that Lost program in all honesty.

In fact, Etymology has a sense of negative space that not even a smoke monster could fight off. Across the cohesive, sultry stature, the duo tinker with savory noisy drops (“Verschmutzung”) and sudden pings (“Gasp – Thrill”), haunting fragments that might as well evoke ragtime silent film aesthetics (“Loveboat Shanty”) than the six season television program. This it might be a little too constructivist and TCM-core for the LostHeads. Ahh but to hell with those lads! Boyd and Kannianen are too dapper and time is too short! Etymology is still a dusk-tinged soundtrack that toys with my idea of psychedelic noise and 20th century aesthetics, a perfect shortwave radio companion.

Hand-stamped clear C42 cassette with a 4-panel Jcard in Norelco case in an edition of 50, available at the Personal Archives Bandcamp Page

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Tabs Out | Asymmetrical Head – Unruly Souvenir

Asymmetrical Head – Unruly Souvenir

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!

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Tabs Out | Sir Tad – Sir Tad Goes Deeper & Deeper EP

Sir Tad – Sir Tad Goes Deeper & Deeper EP

12.23.21 by Matty McPherson

Okay now listen up folks! I know you were all clamoring for Tad, but they broke up years ago. Also, you didn’t really specify which Tad you wanted so I went ahead and booked us Sir Tad of Columbus, OH (aka Meadow Argus (AKA Tynan Krakoff)) for this here shindig. He’s got a cool thing going, lo-fi keys and dubby bass, plus those misbegotten vocals that make it all feel like a washed out Simpson hallmark greeting card you got for your birthday back in 2009 (also, if you still have any money on the circuit city gift card from that…would you let me know?). 

Anyways, Sir Tad is gonna SLAY at the party. I know it’s only a fifteen minute set he’s pulling here, but it should be enough time for like 5 games of musical chairs. Plus, Sir Tad is a bonafide MC now! Haven’t you heard Deeper and Deeper, the opening track on this EP here? He’s practically guiding you through the sheer drop of a comedown, with jubilant keys and meditative vocals that’ll have you all whizzed out for the carnivalesque music box majesty of a “Yucatan Sunshine”. That one stutters in and out so NO CHEATING during that musical chairs game, Jeremy! Afterwards, we’ll “Tie Cord to Racing Car” and try to figure out what day it is, before letting the goofball hit us with the “county fair public domain type beat” of a Great Generic Park. Oh you want an encore? Sir Tad is there to serenade once more with “Deeper and Deeper Pt. 2”, a last meditative breath. I sure hope he comes back with another set for longer soon!

Pro-dubbed C15 cassette with full color double-sided art by Pearl Morgan. Hand-numbered edition of 50. Available at the Sir Tad Bandcamp page.

Tabs Out | Directives – Protenomaly

Directives – Protenomaly

12.13.21 by Matty McPherson

It’s been a moment since Tabs Out HQ checked in with Denver, CO-based Aubjects’ and their “short-run & home-made experimental recordings & ephemera.” Eagled-eared podcast listeners, as well as beagle-eyed readers may recall D. Petri and his penance for home-dubbing, upcycled tapes, with various trinkets and goodies ranging from “good boy rocks” to “xerox art booklets” (he’s also recently reengaged the Petriblog outpost, with boodles of cassette, tape label, and brainy people spotlights dating back to 2012) . Personally, I adore these kinds of “craft tapes” and the goodies when they manifest out of the giant tape review box I stick my hand in when I so dare to–there’s an alluring quality I have to sit and chew on; a past I’m just not privy to but am the product of. Also, it’s way more preferred to throwing the ferric oxide into the Tabs Out West Coast HQ furnace (a laborious task that does not reveal any prophecies or omens or even free Bandcamp codes; honestly it’s really just kinda wasteful). 

Anyways, I digress. D. Petri’s Directives project is at the heart and soul of Aubjects and Protenomaly furthers what Directives entails beyond where 2017’s Usphutorontus Deius Nissesubla last left off. For starters, Petri has become enraptured with “novel anomalies,” which means sudden shifts in fidelity mixtures from track to track, hard-to-pin-down equipment transistors, amongst other manipulations. Over the course of side A, Petri (& Hillary Ulman) take these in stride, culminating in results that sound like those moments of sudden-whiplash shock Longmont Potion Castle upends a casual phone conversation with. The tape fizzles and straddles, prancing on a vision until it can’t be held and then moves up to another realm.

There is a method to this madness, or at least the track titles across both sides comprise one of a sort of roundabout sense. As a listener moves through the sheer morse-codian noise of “Lower Digestive Register”, the follow track “Upper Digestive Register” scales the noise into a droney yet vicious melody. It’s all short-lived though, when “Beyond Registration” pushes the noise to a textured character, allowing drums and bells, alongside bass, and even keys begin to find a sense of real harmony that “Above Beyond Registration” almost turns into a deconstructed technoise ditty. By this point though, Directives hits a transcendent plane with “Across Many Gulfs”, utilizing a harmonic sound (not too far from a guitar) that sounds like sine waves surfing and thrashing.

Side B makes up for less tracks with greater time dedicated to these zones, which ends up culminating in full-fleshed longforms. “Society Toothpick Diorama” could be a fancy way of relating the ways in which a dentist manages a drill, with noise pulses and outbursts moving in cyclical, focused patterns that recall such the labors of a root canal with decadent results. “Tangled Narratives” and “Slumping Into Progress” meanwhile materialize haywire, schizophrenic vestiges into the vaguest sensation of “noise pop”, but it’s not until Petri hits “Towards Fertile Grounds” that everything comes into focus–literally it’s a personal field recording; one that’s beyond a momentary relapse and more a full fledged place of solitude. Petri crafted most of these sounds over a span dating back five years ago, and coming down to end the tape with the crystal sounds of cicadas and other various ephemera offers a passage out of the Protenomaly, as much as a reflection to this era of novel anomalies. To new frontiers.

A visual rendition on youtube is also available for consideration.

Home-dubbed-in-real-time C60 in upcycled norelco cases w/ hand-cut / stamped / glued / numbered j card & insert utilizing personally significant 8-50 year-old upcycled papers  + 16p b/w art booklet. Hand-numbered w/ elements hand stamped / glued & different square of antique construction paper w/ crayon markings by humans who were pre or grade school children at the time the markings were made (between 1975-1985; mine came with the letter b etched on it)! 66 copies produced in total. 

Available at Aubjects Bandcamp Page

Tabs Out | Enjoy Our Last Century on Earth – Was Ist Los

Enjoy Our Last Century on Earth – Was Ist Los

12.10.21 by Matty McPherson

Brisbane, Australia based Minimal Impact is not a frequent updater of their blogger outpost, but when they do so, the goods are always going to be chunky, droney, and filled with that sweet blistering noise that gets you shrieking, dancing, or maybe discombobulated. So, I suppose that brings us to today’s quick treat, the upcycled C32 Was Ist Los by the lads in Enjoy Our Last Century on Earth. If you’ve been jonesing for the kind of metallic void screaming and cantankerously clanky industrial, then let this duo be your guide. Was Ist Los collects a small fortune of one-offs and split/collab tracks that don’t hold back any punches. It’s a barbarous kind of tape. Yet one that also is impeccably mixed with the kind of precision that doesn’t seek to wear out the hi-fi. It stays in the green without ever floating into the red, which leads to all sorts of malignant brain-fried deviations rendered with utter clarity.

Side A opener “Acknowledgement (And Yet We Continue) ft. K.P.” functions like a phone call coming from hell, as a voice as gargled and ancient as a martian narrates the state of affairs like an omnibus narrator. All the while, both T.E. and Z.M. make quick work of turning scrap metal into electronics and electronics and synths into scraps; clever how they can pull that off. Although the duo are not just in the mood for crushing, omnibus weight; tracks like “Serene Agitation” give the bass a moment to breathe and open things up, while “Libidinal Terrain of the Nation” and “Where is Snow” function like stately power tool drone waltzes. Both (of course) soon descend into a reign of chaos that cuts out just before the state of affairs can completely collapse. Imagine if this was played during the pipe dream minigames of Bioshock and you’ve got a good grip on just the kind of energy this duo is weaving themselves through,

Edition of 40 available from the Minimal Impact Bandcamp page.

Tabs Out | Nina Guo – Blauch Räusch

Nina Guo – Blauch Räusch

12.6.21 by Matty McPherson

As soon as I plopped the half-listened side B of Blauch Rausch into the player, I felt that sublime feeling–the one that teeters the line between “this really the pinnacle of what ferric tape has to offer” and “wow this is insanely rudimentary vocal argle bargle.” It’s a magical feeling because if the chips stay on the table and the bet pays off, then I likely have myself a tape I’ll be gloating over. It is with a light heart that I can confirm Nina Guo is leaps and bounds a genuine talent. The Berlin based Guo’s debut, Blauch Räusch, on the burgeoning Unknown Tapes imprint is one of the more colloquial and startling tapes I’ve heard across 2021. The sound of someone letting loose and going hog wild in the good way. It left me with a litany of questions and unspeakable, uncategorized quips that I suppose I’ll be left scraping for an answer to with no avail.

One question I know I want to ask is just how much funding do libraries have for onomatopoeia story hour? And if they do have funding, then why isn’t Nina Guo being tapped for a world tour of library reading rooms for her semantics and antics? Blauch Räusch is a heavy piece of vocal games that would absolutely floor a group of kids as much as it might give their parents who use a library to check out classic orchestra CDs a run for their money. 

Most of the pieces are really not that long here and they recall David Moscovich’s Dada Centennials for Tymbal Tapes or Ka Baird’s own Vocal Games; both utilized a lack of formal cohesion to answer and pose quandaries that stock instrumentation just could not provide. Guo follows suit, with a (literal) page ripping level of dada to these compositions. After being ushered and shushed into the “listening commons”, the laugh riot “25” throws us for a loop. Meanwhile, a piece like “Bud Burst” sees Guo turning her voice into a bonafide modular synth–a mini orchestra that sputters and spits until it arrives at a terminal impasse; it’s only a minute but good god is that an exciting minute. “detest” builds up a crescendo style flow that is clearly arching for that opening spot at a 75 Dollar Bill show. After the laugh riot of 25 comes the stoner babbling in tongues/burst spray frenzy of “26!” It came as a surprise, especially after being told 24 is the highest number.

Side B is ruled by one of the year’s best singles/longforms/grant applications for library programming, “aristocats”. And yes, this is a full-blown re-enactment/synopsis/borderline-zonked out performance of the 1972 Disney film, the Aristocats. Complete with a full rogue’s gallery of voices, plenty of mumbles and tumbles, and some fantastically laugh off loud quips about the film’s not-so-subtle racism, the sheer majesty of this execution had me salivating. I could only imagine how Guo would throw her arms around or run up and down…like I say this is a wildly imaginative kind of tape. Hell, it even ends with three minutes of screaming like a door creaking and creaking like a door screaming that gives any Hallmark Halloween tape a run for its money.

First run of 50 copies only available at the Unknown Tapes Bandcamp!

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Tabs Out | Derek Monypeny – Unjust Intonation

Derek Monypeny – Unjust Intonation

11.29.21 by Matty McPherson

There really isn’t anything to the desert snapshots I took back in January when I passed through Joshua Tree with my family. When I look at them, I’m filled with a sense of awe as much as isolation, the vastness that fills the film from this disposable camera. It’s an environment that welcomes someone like Derek Monypeny and the hypnagogic fiddling he brings to a guitar and some reverb and time effect pedals here on Unjust Intonation. For the uninitiated, Monypeny has played around with a litany of cool cats (and he’ll even being touring the cool out-of-the-way spots across the West Coast in January), all the while traversing through a form of minimalism that evokes ambient house while evading the chill out zones. It’s environmental music well suited to the natural architecture of Joshua Tree.


Unjust Intonation a four part suite (also subtitled the Poorly Tuned Guitar) that sees Monypeny concocting a pleasant chord with his guitar, turning it into drone and then allowing it full reign. It works as a piece of functionatory music where Monypeny is allowed to be at once an observer to the machinations on shorter parts as much as a manipulator in longer ones. In part one, it feels like sun spots sparkling off of desert canyons, while part two could function as a field recording of an underground cave and groundwater flowing–until Monypeny lets a jarring rip shingle across the stately affairs. Different textures plop through part two, pushing towards a reverent kind of abyss (one that also can be heightened via combining a hit of indica and using a book to feel gravitys pull).

Part Three steams and vents its way deep into the dirt, turning the soundscape into a type of meta-recording of a medicine bowl. It snarls and drones, losing that initial focus until it seizes itself as a kind of internal alarm that fades into black. And then that brings us to the infinite star crossed sky that part 4 brings to mind. Here, you kinda feel all the previous 20ish minutes weave themselves into a more omnibus kind of cohesion. Much to my pleasure, it is here where Monypeny really evokes Hali Palombo, albeit by staying and weaving this out to ten minutes of drifting, not just highlighting a snippet of a cylinder.

Limited Edition Cassette Available from the Trouble in Mind Explorers Series

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