Brian Case – Practice Tape

8.25.21 by Matty McPherson

A lot of what could be contributed to the success of Trouble in Mind could be best surmised by the fact that every band on the label there seems to like the Raincoats’ Odyshape. However, only Brian Case (to my knowledge) can lay claim to having once shared a roster with guitar powerhouse Roy Montgomery. Now, was Roy Montgomery or Odyshape being summoned when Case threw down a “Practice Tape” on Trouble in Mind’s rather neato Exploration Series? Well, when I opened my tape cover I didn’t expect to find Cybil Shepherd staring back at me — could I consider this a sort of reference to Ciccone Youth’s The Whitey Album? Well there’s no Madonna karaoke number to be found here…

So then, where does Practice Tape fit in the Brian Case Sonic Universe in 2021? Carefully, one would surmise. Case’s guitar prowess on this year’s FACS album hit a sublime plane with Noah Legert and Alianna Kalaba’s grooves. Yet, this tape is all about electronics and obsession. The former surplants typical guitar reverb I’ve found in Case’s work before, imparting the sounds of dust, echoes, and machines from the Labradfordian dimension. 

Each side is split into 16:29 chunks that feel infinite. They meticulously lurk, crash, and tumble; listening to the tape had that feeling of being on hold with a call coming a dimension over. Perhaps a bit of that could be attributed to Cybil Shepherd, an inspiration to Case and these instrumentals’ own abstracted dirges into “fame and notoriety.” What I know after an hour is that to listen to this tape with your eyes shut ain’t gonna answer any questions there. Start strolling around… head down, blinders on… and stray figments of those themes start to string through with every neon marquee that matches those syncopations. You’ll thank me later.

Limited cassette version, with photocopied J-card, and white cassette shell with black imprint; available from the Trouble in Mind Explorers Series

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