Moon Bros – Le Jaz Mystique
9.9.22 by Matty McPherson
It’s LATE summer. The time where the cupeth overflows with crisp golden lagers and the sounds of garden splendor. Sounds quaint but it’s also my own personal hell. Have you ever had a day where you just got feck all happening so you commit the cardinal sin of a wake n’ bake instead of doing Real Tasks? Good times! Usually when this happens I at least try to make a day of it. Fancy movie from the silent era of the silver screen? That with any instrumental tape as a personal soundtrack untangles the weed haze into a personalized cinematic experience. A soundtracked bus ride is also equally as compelling an experience and I’m less likely to grow weary.
Anyways, I was just thinking the other day about the Tim Stine Trio’s Fresh Demons–man what a jazz tape! I could use something like that, those tumbly guitars and all the bells and whistles. Well fortunately, in between nabbing headshots for his (unconfirmed) role in the U2 biopic, Ryley Walker’s Husky Pants Records is once again stumping for tapes. Moon Bros’ Le Jazz Mystique is the latest release for the label, bringing recent Colorado immigrant, Fred Schneider and his solo 12 string guitar project back to Chicago. The need for this was unknown.
Unlike previous releases that have utilized pedals as pathways to psychedelia, Schneider goes for no-frills guitar maverick majesty. The move to a staunchly realist aesthetic pushes the tape towards a new mode of psychedelia. One practically capturing the feeling of an Italian post-war nitrate classic. However, even with the opener Jitterbug I, you can sense that there’s a great sense of romanticism and a lackadaisical nature to the space. The ebbs and flows of these pieces have tightly wound rhythms in their structure. It renders brief pivots or sly chord shifts into a mental image like a title card! Meanwhile, the following long winding setpieces function as unmoving, grainy one-takes (track titles themselves suggest the take number more than anything) of the mental action. It’s not a dance in the rubble, but a celebration of gracious planes and ample outdoor vistas.
The simple pleasure of the tape leads to a miraculous one-two closer. The rootin-tootin Honeysuckle Rose III strums with the finesse of oil on canvas, quickly changing from a deep shade of pained, bitter blue into a rustic countryside medley of orange and reds. Don’t Be That Way II meanwhile imagines a soundtrack for a square dance reuniting a familial celebration. It’s airy, evanescent playing keeping an eye-winking energy afoot. Worthy of a glass of the juiciest Syrah and finest silent sunday feature, Le Jaz Mystique tumbles and weaves with a one-track minded exuberance. A dream in heaven for a hound such as myself.
Edition of 100 tapes dubbed in real time to hi bias cassettes. “it sounds perfect. in hand, ships immediately” from Husky Pants Records
Irarrázabal / Baldwin – Grips
9.7.22 by Matty McPherson
At 1:34 on my dream day, I walk into the local world class wine & beer market. I make a mad dash for the 50% off table. It’s flush! Just with all my enemies, unfortunately: hazy ipas 4 months past their shelf life and coalescing into a flight risk; saisons that have less personality than the Michelin man; “grape ales” with brett added to turn any party into a “pour one out and cry session;” a cassette from Tripticks Tapes entitled Grips. Wait, how’d that tape get there? Why the feck is Amanda Irarrázabal’s and Nat Baldwin’s double bass improvisation, recorded in August of 2021 and released as a C27, doing on the beer table? This tape just HAS to be straight edge, it just doesn’t have that energy in it!
Naturally, I take it to the register with my “class A enemy” beers. I use my rewards membership, because I like earning points just in case I wanna splurge for an $8 triple IPA that will fail me (they never cease to!). The man sees me purchasing these all. “Buddy,” he graciously tells me with the power of 1000 bodybuliders, “this tape changed my life. It taught me how to drink these beers.” I’m incredulous. I don’t understand how this gentleman and scholar could learn to drink and contemplate the most brazen of beer from the most elliptical and sardonic of double-double bass recordings. I stare into his lone monocle-drenched eye. “Tell me gentleman scholar, how so?”
The gentleman scholar at the counter proceeds to express, in the most beautiful of diction and concise of syntax, his knowledge. Knowledge of how Baldwin and Irarrázabal, whomst had never met in the flesh before meeting on that cramped stage, would spend 27 minutes with unkempt, yet unwavering grins (under their masks) on their faces and a casual wardrobe. Knowledge of how their exploits, over the composition hereby known as Grips, was as spiffy and fleet as a pilsner, but with the droning, recondite pleasures of brett yeast. “You see, when Baldwin and Irarrázabal joust, the clash is akin to synesthesia; it’s a novel flavor you sorta taste and have to hoard for yourself. Their joust is unnerved in its quips and stretches, even as it steadies and stills itself, it can’t help but jolt or twitch. All the while, they still find ways to bring in percussive elements of the bass akin to a coinstar pump n’ dump or boozy triple; drone worthy of the low level listening experience tang of a sour; why even the acoustics are that of a rustic palette akin to the farmhouse ale!” It all sounded too good to be true as I was tapping my credit card and dropping an extra dollar for lotto.
“Gentleman Scholar, this sounds too good to be true!” I bemoaned. “Like, these two Irarrázabal and Baldwin chaps and all these darn noises they’r-” “Highly technical sounds!” the Gentleman Scholar corrected me. “Right, these highly technical sounds, how can they be in service to improving the flavor of a Brett ale?” I gandered. Perhaps I seemed to near-sighted as the clerk responded. “It’s in the vividness. The way these instruments, believed to be so blunt and ‘black and white’ in their approach, can achieve a thriller level funk and uncanny esoteric dividends for the bass! It’s about the process and the excitement of a new amalgamation; when it brightens up the synapses of your mind that’s just the cherry on top” I pondered the fluorescent yellow cassette, peering into its soul, imagining the sounds I’d soon come to hear.
The clerk was no scoundrel. As the dream day turned into a dream night with the beers, Baldwin and Irarrázabal sashayed and moseyed through a variety of acrobatic sleights. With only 27 minutes, their plucky style of jazz stays precocious. Their movements are steady leaps of faith, an implicit trust carrying the weightlessness of the effort along. It made me a better listener as much as a beer aesthetic ponderer. I suppose that happens sometimes to the best of us.
Coral Club – Lost Cities
9.1.22 by Matty McPherson
Let’s cut to the brass tax about Lost Cities. You see that title and image, you already think you’ve an idea of the tape in your mind. Take a step back though. Think of the past week. The clouds past the mountains, by the desert have been Nope-level ponderous. A weird sticky humidity that ain’t regionally average has been hanging over this month, one that should be tropical but trolls instead. It only reinforces a new kind of heat you’ve yet to really meet.
You start to recall that day you took the bus to a library branch hoping to hash out some work and instead were greeted with a lack of any available power outlets. You need a chiller tape, like Lost Cities on standby for a case like this. Because Alexander Sirenko’s Coral Club project is all chiller music actively out of this time. Is it evoking jungle canopies or ancient city plazas where a mist hangs over? That’s an easy image to prescribe to over the course of its seven, expanse oriented tracks.
For Sirenko’s sound for Coral Club is gaseous. For as much as it evokes early Conspiracy International Chris & Cosey, its also a damn-nice pairing with M. Geddes Gengras’ latest. The emphasis on synth drones and percussive clatters immediately denotes it with qualities as transportive as trance-oriented music. Especially as the clatter turns into simple, booming patterns that aren’t quite dance-centered, but indeed anthemic and attention grabbing. Combine that with Sirenko’s decision to layer the recordings with synthetic sounds that can range from almost-animal to alien, and the result is a series of tracks that just hover. It’s not library music or new age, but just a non-linear, reimagined sense of ancient tones. Tapes like this feel miraculous in how they can remind you that.
Perhaps though the vaporous and miraculous qualities of the tape have a premonition to them.Sirenko’s bandcamp page states the tracks are a response to “deserted urban cores” amongst “disappearing epochs and cultures.” When I reflect on the low lighting of that library with no outlets, itself the result of a (somewhat) thriving city center, Im at least comforted in that moment, but even I feel ancient as this tape’s affect brilliantly unearths. If anything, I’m left pondering one absolute knockout of a closer; the ambient dub of Eldorado that deconstructs itself until synthetic flutes and droning loops see the sun fade down.
Alexander Sirenko’s Coral Club project is going for 2 for 2 in 2022. I’m no scion I can’t tell you the significance of those numbers. Nor how the Russian producer landed one for Not Not Fun and Moon Glyph in such a short span–all Sirenko needs is a Blues Tape catalog number that’s what we call a tape hat trick. Top shelf stuff, never seen it in my life but a fella can dream amongst the lost cities.
Limited Pro-dubbed cassette, imprint, sticker, full color artwork available at the Moon Glyph Bandcamp Page
Viiofix / Viimeinen – split
8.30.22 by Jacob DeRaadt
Viimeinen side: Creaking loops of ominous discord surge through tunnels underground, granting no access to inner portals of clanging mists. Tape loops corroding in bogs of metal scrapyards that echo off time, these forlorn gusts respond to the clanking metallic objects at the edge of perception. Again, more corrosion into inner memory as another fiercer grinding loops takes the forefront. Strange beasts and insects begin making their howls and night chirps into the mix, fading into the night….
A sound resounds in the tomb, hauling off slowly down septic corridors into dark spaces of deadly resonance. This simple loop builds in power, intensity and volume. Working it’s way to climax. Rustic shards of Ferris oxide releasing slowly into buildups on tape heads, gray soup with what sounds like a very loud engine sound or metal trash cans with a lot of rocks being rolled around a cement room, someone racking the lawn while some mows the lawn. A power washer going off at different intervals with a gas powered generator, or all of these things, then dissolution back into the original loop.
Viiofix side: More oppressive seething industrial churn through oxide strain. Parts of this wouldn’t be out of place on an early Broken Flag compilation. Filth is in the forefront of textural throb. Humming ambience towards the end of the track is frozen in time, gaining momentum back up and a delayed ghost layering effect that feels like too much sunlight all at once, a blinding light that paralyzes the vision, or in this case, the ear.
Excellent split tape.
C. Vadi – Woodland Synthesis
8.24.22 by Jacob DeRaadt
Nebulous drones float around parts of the first side that remind me of Iannnis Xenakis’ tape works; modulation of tones, depth of acoustic layering, and mood control is at master level on this slab. Hovering ambient field recordings mixed with synthesis often holds down the lower end of the spectrum or vice versa depending on the forest sounds being absorbed into the mix. This is tone experimental music at its higher form. Undertones framing the harmonic meshing of the individual layers.
Side B starts out with the slightest of tones that slowly gestates into a cystic mass of frozen synthetic tones. Outside my apartment window mentally I’ll imagine people yelling at each other in a courtyard. It’s the perfect contrast of serenity and mental calamity. Their hissing pulses beckon the ear forward into a smoke screen of wire meshed tone that cyclically cancels itself out as the motif for a lot of “Point Beach.” At its emotional core there’s a twinged element of deep melancholic melody in long term forms that form themselves like cliffs into a foggy landscape. Not quite Eliane Radigue pacing within these solemn tones. The fog thickening throughout the forest as the recording goes on. Hypnotic gestures of repeated melodic structures in signal and noise ratio encapsulates our attention as viewer to the landscape. The owl makes it’s presence known as the autumn tones slither away into the darkness. There’s a subtle effect with the insect sounds that gradually invade our view of the situation; someone’s left out a corpse on the path to the mountain. We find ourselves befuddled and entranced by the workings of this artist and can’t wait to hear more from them. Totally new project to me that I will have to seek out other releases of.