Tabs Out | Catching Up with Ingrown Records

Catching Up with Ingrown Records
11.17.18 by Ryan Masteller

It’s not often we get to peek inside an operation as creatively vivid as Ingrown Records, the Virginia-based label usually bursting with Meme Vivaldi–esque ephemera, but today’s our lucky day: today we get not one, not two, but THREE transmissions of cassette-related goodness, erupting like a fudge volcano from the bowels of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. That’s right, these chrome treats come delightfully packaged, containing foot upon foot of magnetic tape imprinted with the choicest and most delectable musics, and each one contains a golden ticket that allows you firsthand access to the Ingrown campus! Well, the ticket is imaginary, and it really only gets you access to the choice and delectable musics (the campus is a heavily guarded sanctuary of mystery and wonder), but when we consider how righteous and satisfying the musics actually are, we are content in our superior gratification.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Miller time.


“Sport” LOOKS like it should be DOS-based, like “Oregon Trail” was back when you were in elementary school. (I hope I’m reaching the target demographic with that reference.) All those kooky green-on-black representations of different types of athletic pastimes, rendered like “Workers Present” construction signs, scream “stylized cool” before you even dip your first big toe into the Marc Aubele pool. And once you do, the DOS screen shatters to reveal an intensely vibrant menagerie of activity curated like a museum exhibit. Aubele has a keen ear for movement and texture, and he combines electronic adventurousness with a melodic mastery. He’s truly got a deft touch when bringing out the pathos in something as overwhelmingly crowd-pleasing as sport in general, ramming the glorious highs of successful competition into the ground in favor of extreme failure. Or, even bleaker, juxtaposing the vibrancy of athletics with one’s eventual demise. What, has he been hanging around Mumford & Sons, U2, and Glen Hansard or something? Oh wait, he has.


A meteor the size of a Chevy Malibu hits the Everlasting Gobstopper machine and breaks it forever. This is no ordinary meteor. It is infused with liquid alien intelligence, which seeps out and begins to cover the wreckage of the machine, including the Chuck E Cheese ball pit–size conglomeration of strewn Gobstoppers. Us people of Earth still live under the Trump administration, so we don’t understand science quite so good, opting to slap “magic” on any phenomenon we can’t comprehend. So, sigh, this intelligence is “Magic from Space,” which I guess is fine, it’s not their fault. It’s also a kickin’ interstellar synth-funk entity, congealing its mechanisms and sugary detritus into swinging jams. Also, there are great Nintendo references in tunes like “man or megaman” and “marblemadness” (god I played a lot of “Marble Madness” when I was a kid). So, to recap, magic sugary Nintendo robot music from space. Got it. Plus, the songs are presented in alphabetical order – like old Pixies live sets! – so we can practice our ABCs.


MANVILLE HEIGHTS – The Future Was Yesterday
It’s no secret – Yves Malone is The Man. He’s also the Manville Heights, a sidelong gesture existing in parallel with the output released under his own name. For some reason recalling the Iowa City neighborhood (is that where the Wonka factory is located? OMG! [It’s not – the real-world Wonka factory is in Itasca, Illinois, and the Gene Wilder version was filmed in Munich (I believe the Tim Burton version was filmed inside a computer)]) of the same name, Malone as Manville Heights casts aside any and all connection to real-world ephemera with “The Future Was Yesterday.” Clammy robotic disco pulses and blisters like it was waiting in line at Disney’s Tomorrowland, and Malone tosses baroque pink postcards to the crowd, laminated and thick like hard plastic shell chairs. Listening to “The Future Was Yesterday” feels like you’re peering out from the inside of the head of a Greek ruin as wave upon opal wave washes upon the shore of the waiting room of the doctor’s office on one of Jupiter’s moons. Let’s say it’s Europa.

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