5.19.20 by Tony Lien
No Rent Records is possibly the most prolific label I can think of. By the time I received this tape in my “to-review” box, they had already released eight other albums. At the time of finally writing this piece, they are up to thirteen. There’s always a bit of lag in coverage – since the world’s most capable scientists have yet to devise a feasible way to teleport anything besides singular particles – but still. Damn.
Existing as a sort of subconscious companion to his Horoscope project, “Poems E on Magnetic Tape” by Rene J Nunez is a lo-fi, abstract offering that harkens back to the early days of the cassette revival. I’m slightly reminded of Ricky Eat Acid’s first couple of albums (when it comes to recording style and how the songs are weaved together in a seamless stream-of-consciousness fashion) – except whereas R.E.A.’s music was born out of a rural atmosphere, Nunez’s compositions are more urban in texture and aesthetic; the lazy jazz element leaves me slumped in a corner booth in some dark, long-forgotten speak-easy in the bowels of Brooklyn.
Going off of that image, each track is pensive and eerie – especially when comparing song titles to their respective sounds (see “Love Is a Word I’ve Never Used In A Song” – a janky loop that pans back and forth in your headphones and mirrors the uneasy notion suggested by the track name). Beneath this, moments of artful dissonance (see “Kendall Jenner in Print Part 2” or “Let’s Compare Ex’s Suite”) work to conjure sub-layers of beauty that make this tape seem more like a full-fledged silent film rather than a mere collection of songs.
To me, it’s background music that’s meant to be appreciated in whatever segment of your attention span’s spectrum that feels the most comfortable at any given time. Nuances aplenty, there are countless audio details to sift through – but by no means is it ever too dense or busy; the warm, static-enveloped world Nunez has created is simply there for you when you choose to acknowledge it.
Miraculously, there are still copies available on the No Rent Bandcamp site. Being that they sell out of their tapes pretty quickly, I would make sure to order this one once they get back to their normal shipping routine.