Catching up with Third Kind Records
5.4.18 by Ryan Masteller

This isn’t really a batch, more of a catching up with Brighton, UK, all-star tape label Third Kind Records. You’ll note that the release dates don’t exactly match on all these, but can you blame me for that? I don’t have a wall calendar, I have a Philadelphia Phillies page-a-day tear-off calendar, so if ever want to go back and figure out what happened on a day in the past, I have to dig through my garbage to find anything. And it really only works for a week, because of trash pickup. Wait, I have a calendar app on my phone? Really… Hmm…

Doesn’t matter. We’re only going back a month and a half or so for Third Kind. Some stellar releases in the interim, gotta say. Might be that ocean air that just opens up the breathing passages, clarifying the internal, making label honcho Nicholas Langley a bit more attuned to the quality submissions coming his way, just a little more ready to pounce on the next sublime tape. Did I say “sublime”? I meant SUBLIME, in all caps. (Not the fake reggae band.) I highly recommend getting your hands on any and all of these. Act now, or that shady back-alley music Craigslist – you know, Discogs – is the only place you’ll be able to find any of these in the near future.


Let’s start here, because this one’s the newest, out April 21, 2018, the very day I’m writing this. Nick referred to Linden Pomeroy’s “Spirit Replica” as a cross between “Jim O’Rourke style songs, post-apocalyptic shoegaze, and ‘Selected Ambient Works II’-leaning ambient tracks.” I mean, that’s almost three of my favorite things right there! (O’Rourke comes in a close fourth to Totino’s Pizza Rolls.) But in reality, “Spirit Replica” is a sprawling sound world that you simply must immerse yourself in or it’s going to go right over your head. And that’s just the best kind of album, in my opinion, the kind you have to listen with headphones, door shut, eyes closed, start to finish. This thing is so clearly labored over, and so multidimensional that turning your attention away from it for even a second will likely ruin the whole experience for you. No, check that – probably impossible to ruin this experience. Just dive back in there somewhere.


I don’t know what “Huxian Farmers Painting Exhibition Hall” is, but I sure as heck know how to get there, thanks to the Bandcamp page for Kyle & Wilbur’s “Springtime Comes to Every Household”! So if I’m ever in China, I’m good to go. Kyle Clangin and Wilbur Armislow’s stylings have a Far Eastern vibe, certainly, in their careful and deliberate compositions. With Wilbur on flute and Kyle on electronics and “occasional” zither and violin, the stage is set for haunting atmospheres and melodies clearly inspired by rural Chinese life. Totally Zen, and the flute often takes on the characteristics of imagined bird flight, an idea that plays right off the lovely painting on the j-card. Hey, is it a Huxian Farmers Painting?? I don’t even know!!


There’s a reason I chose a photo of this tape for main post image. Just look at it! If we were still doing Look at These Tapes segments here, this would be a contender. And Endurance, Joshua Stefane himself, took the photography for this thing, as he usually does for his own tapes. The “Canadian bioethics researcher living in Japan” (I have wasted my life…) is back with another round of tense and sprawling ambience, the best kind of ambience if you ask me. Dubbing this a kind of “music for memory” (unlike, say, Caretaker’s “Everywhere at the End of Time,” which is sort of the opposite), Stefane injects the very essence of the life of the mind into these tracks, infusing them with a universal aspect that serves as a very easy touchpoint for entrance. Again, headphones probably required, but there is no better (or weirder) place to get lost in than your own mind. “The Wandering of Days” sets you up for hours of mental adventure (if you put it on repeat, that is).