Tabs Out | Phil Geraldi – AM/FM USA

Phil Geraldi – AM/FM USA

1.05.24 by Matty McPherson

The designed in France (made in China) We Are Rewind cassette player is the object Santa and his merry elves imagined I would need most in 2024. For the record, I used to use a Walkman WX-197, then swapped to an early 90s SX-F39. I quite fancy those late 80s/early 90s Sony models (especially sports) on account of the auto reverse, radio, and timer features. Terrific situational value, especially the radio on account of the static-laden presets you can find solace in.

I suppose though, that We Are Rewind believe that a 2020s portable cassette player should sacrifice those elements in lieu of one boxy-ass rectangle designed to elicit nostalgia with the charging battery potency of a 2012 iPod touch. The single side tape head is clean though, and it can record a mixtape (not that it has the microphone necessary for bootleg live performances). It would be a tremendous paperweight if not for its lone saving grace: connection to bluetooth headphones/speakers. Wow! Now I can listen to analog golden age classic Paid in Full on the shitty speaker Cox Communications sent my family to appease us for not cutting the chord! I will contend, it can be revelatory to take insular listening habits and move them towards bluetooth connection.

Such was the case on New Year’s Day, boozed up after a couple $5 pints and fiddling with the bluetooth, lamenting that lack of radio transmission. When suddenly, San Diego-based cadaver and “iterant journeyman” Phil Geraldi came through the speaker with a well-timed, well strung out answer to my wish; static and washed out pedal steel with the cadence of channel hopping on my dead walkman. AM/FM USA is one of the few tapes dropping from the ever-omnivorous Not Not Fun label’s 1/5/24 batch, and is an immediate standout, potentially even an epiphany. To call it a “cassette’s cassette” would be meaningless, but Geraldi is at one of the most intriguing crossroads of underground American sounds and tape fidelity I’ve genuinely heard writing about tapes for 42 odd months here. He’s made tapes for the format dating back to 2009, but this is really top shelf ferric.

AM/FM USA is a two-piece longform tape of “radio static, pedal steel, crickets, and great plains haze, the music moves between lost highway melancholia and truck stop concrète”. I was quite thrilled by that last term and what it seemed to imply, especially when the Wire took time with Geraldi for their Dec/Jan double issue to really go in the weeds about what makes someone come up with that lil’ turn of phrase. It’s rare that I hear about a San Diego (transplant) artist making sound quite like this. And Geraldi, a mixed-media artist, has been around in a storied capacity of his own way supplanting off of odd jobs, the open highway, and noise; sometimes all in the same mode that AM/FM USA takes to lucidly.  There’s a consistent melody or rhythm, ever droning in and out of range. Both pieces slide, never not foregoing omnipresent feeling of right now, as a result of the wavy gliding tactic and serendipitous shifts.

An idea for this release seems to date back a decade plus or more back during his time as the cathode noise project Mystics in Bali, coordinating shows at the Arcata Mex N’ Wow. A 2014 interview, one of the rare communiques from the illusive Geraldi, discussed a project entitled “Radio America”. The project was visual as well, quite industrial and terror driven while “using only AM/FM radios as source instruments,” that Geraldi resonated with. He cited “the inherent right-now feeling which grounds it as moldable source material in an interesting way, and attaches to it an odd feeling of social comfort,” planning to “bend it [that distinct social comfort] into a meditative, minimized version of itself.” Geraldi website, filled with a decade’s worth of art videos, surveillance portraits, and other ephemera, is invoked through the way the AM / FM USA can suddenly tip into those bleak zones. It’s the truck stop concrète in action.

I’ve heard other radio tapes from folks like Bridgette Bardon’t & Lia Kohl, but none havever given me the immediacy that I had on my first listen; from fiddling with a bluetooth speaker as if it was a radio tuner, itself granting a parallel, if not uncanny feeling. Although, AM/FM USA is bolder and more encompassing in the feeling Geraldi harnesses from the static and dead air atmosphere, perhaps the most pervasive work I’ve seen giving tape-label americana music a proper link to Hank & Slim. Yes, there is quite a bit of pedal steel that absolutely aches. The whole thing has a cohesive, lo-fi veneer that repeatedly crests and yearns for the highway while also acknowledging exactly what it feels like. The space of suspense radio static, as much as the invocation of the truck stop/gas station can be, if only for a glimpse; a universal happening of USA highway culture. So much of the tape itself is washed out in that static it sounds like tires on asphalt, creating waves of endless terrain to lumber through until its pure heartland anywhere at any time at all; melancholia trying to fade away in the advert for this year’s truck model. Perpetually sepia toned, in peripheral blur. A trance odyssey for certain, in how it begs to ponder time not as an imagined past or a destination to get to, but that inherent right here, right now.

I suppose we could stop here, but I suppose this tape has me worked up because of excursion in music from last year. In the realm of “2023 advancements in identifying and codifying” music, ‘ambient americana’ became something of a vague buzzword and area of forensic analysis many folks I talk shop with online were attuned to. I was a bit surprised, mostly because like with ‘ambient jazz’ about two years prior, there had seemed to be a strange lack of immediate music forum/rym discussion regarding genre forefathers (Windham Hill & ECM) and current tape scene players (Full Spectrum, Astral Editions, Island House,  Patient Sounds, Cached, Moon Glyph, amongst basically every German Army & Peter Kris release known to man, et al) have been dabbling in. I’ve asked folks about their feelings on this term and they both are at similar points: this is a long, ongoing conversation that they are just merely taking part of, and to codify what they (amongst any other artists really here) are doing as a scene mistakes the trees for the forest—especially when field recordings, haptics, and a personal imagining of a space (and the emotions you take from it) feel so much more tantamount to what this realm of music can come to champion.

And it’s extremely easy to as soon as you find yourself playing the umpteenth ambient pedal steel recording, to want to bludgeon yourself with the tape deck or speaker box. Codification and typecasting to that realm of these works doesn’t continue this conversation that’s been quite lively already over the past 4 decades; the one attuned to “sonic roadmapping” that anything from dub techno to flickered out Americana can tap into. Geraldi’s AM/FM USA is able to get there, often by not pushing pedal steel to the foreground, just letting the static become desire lines that spread out across the big sky voids lends. It feels like a real eureka for what sounds labeled somewhere between ambient X Americana could be striving for; melancholia trying to let go in the radio bump for this year’s truck model.

Edition of 50 Sold Out at Not Not Fun; Check Their Midhaven Distro or Discogs

Tabs Out | Episode 194 / Top 200 of 2023

Episode 194 / Top 200 of 2023

1 Amy Cutler- Sister Time (Strategic Tape Reserve)

1 and a Half: Various Artists – Synthetic Bird Music (Mappa)

​I think I felt a small piece of me die when Bandcamp started commissioning a round-up of the best field recordings. Or maybe a part of me clicked into overdrive as I kept thinking of what it meant to make music from field recordings. If there’s a term that dominated the non-tape music & personal journeys I was taking, then “sonic roadmapping” might as well have best encompassed it; the way an album can encompass a time and place, based around details not always manipulated or of the source. The best moment with a non-contemporary cassette listen I had this year was being delirious in-and-out of sleep on red eyes to and from Knoxville, TN before & after Big Ears, listening to Selected Ambient Work Volume II. It really is quite the stunner when hypnagogia is attainable. There’s a world there that exists only on that album, sometimes more inviting than others.

Field recordings were not on my mind that often, I’ll admit. But then when assembling this list, after a tumultuous year where forces that had nurtured the tape and its curatorial labels had nearly imploded (and still may turn against us), it seemed that there was something going on in the fringe space between “songs” and “life memories” and “tangible places that may exist” that these particular Top 25 seemed to be embellishing. Some noise, some aching ghostly americana, some bio-ambient straight from Excursions in Ambience, some drones in just intonation, a many breakbeats, a mix-tape celebrating the scene…amongst field recordings of a peculiar manner.

I think Z. Emerson of Doom Trip told it bluntly and truthfully to me in November 2023 baked off our asses on a call about what the Top of the Top 200 should be and reflect: the ultimate stunt tape that embellishes the format and also has that particularly ooey gooey energy that no one can match. 101 Notes on Jazz may be the best realization or this. Or last year’s Moth Cock 3xCass extravagance.

I thought that might mean Marc Masters’ loving overview and curatorial hat-tips on the book and cassette companion of High Bias was that answer. A lot of roads lead to that book and the love Masters laid down in the book (barring a massive slab of alternative facts that we cleared up on the podcast). But then, I found myself on a plane. I found myself up late gnawing over the list. In fact, it’s only in these final hours before we sit down that in whatever god willing state this is, I am committed to saying that for the first time ever in the history of a Top 200, there was a tie. One between the smartest anti-fielding recording pieces of music I heard all year.

Dr. Amy Cutler’s Sister Time feels like the release Strategic Tape Reserve had been promising it would unveil after Bellectronic. Not quite a reissue, but an uncovering and deft display of archival love, Dr. Cutler had found her own void zones that seemed to be inherently contemplating her personal history with tape & work with film into personal memory or fantasized alternate histories. It felt like Strategic Tape Reserve promise had somehow been achieved in a new thinking way that usurped the wry, cunning Listening by Learning without quite losing the eye-winks and shenanigans of early catalog heaters like DJ VLK or Shopland. There is a real sense of wonder, haunting, and the sublime to Cutler’s vision: a true flow state that many tapes I heard this year were not atuned to. Compositional bliss.

Synthetic Bird Music is an overdue hat tip to Mappa (a label like Warm Winters, I’ve often adored but been late to championing), but then I remember they haven’t done something like this. Risiograph 2xCass of various artists (often from Eastern Europe in a capacity that is new and exciting for me to explore) being tasked to create “synthetic bird music” and arriving at the end of a continuum that connects labels and eras like Columbia Masterworks, Windham Hill, Lovely Music, New Albion, Mego, Touch, Orange Milk, Hausu Mountain, Full Spectrum into a true “goo age” opus. Some of this exists in Morton Subtonick’s Silver Apples or Noah Creshevsky’s Hyperreal musics, or David Tudor 1970s composer music played at the Kitchen. It has the same deep listening character of Oliveros, amongst dashes of the pastoralism of Windham Hill. It is completely in line with the territory of heavy drone and bliss out land art that No Rent/Full Spectrum/Reserve Matinee have played to. The 32 cuts here flow into each other with the lucidity, creating symphonies of synthetic birds that babble and bobble in an uncanny, engrossing manner. Heavy on bass and hi-fi freak outs, but also welcoming to newcomers. It is, everything (one form of) tape music has been stumbling towards.

All the while, there’s an unusually stacked under card from old favorites, new players, and anywhere else in between that took us in our own crazy directions! We hope you’ll find something nice on this list to geek out over!

2 Mattie Barbier – This Is What People Think Mountains Look Like (Dinzu Artefacts)

3 Heejin Jang – Me and the Glassbirds (Dom Trip)

4 Clang Quartet – A Slow Death for the Peacemaker (No Rent)

5 The Entire Vibe of High Bias & the Music From The Book (Ya Boy Marc Masters)

6 hyphyskazerbox – Manic In Your House (Suite 309)

7 Nyokabi Kariuki – Resonant Body (cmntx records)

8 Ryley Walker & Jeff Tobias – It’ll Sound Different Once We Get Some Bodies In The Room (Husky Pants Records)

9 Larry Wish – Capricorn Sun (Orange Milk)

10 Ivan Cunningham’s Freedom Pie – One Eye Closed/One Leg Lifted (Bumpy)

11 Cunningham / Shiroishi / Ackerley / Smith – [five lines indecipherable] (Profane Illuminations)

12 DJ K – Panico No Submundo (Nyege Nyege Tapes)

13 V/A – FTAM-100 (FTAM Productions)

14 Quintelium – Moonwaves (Ephem Aural)

15 Lorenz/Reis – Horizontal Hold (Bizarro Warrior)

16 tondiue – Harvest (syn syn)

17 Fire-Toolz – I Am Upset (Hausu Mountain)

18 Andy Loebs – Hyperlink Anamorphosis (JOLT MUSIC)

19 Wide Color – W I D E C O L O R (Oxtail Recordings)

20 Tujiko Noriko – Crépuscule I & II (Editions Mego)

21 Various Artists – High Bias (Backwoodz Studios)

22 Strategy – Graffiti In Space (Constellation Tatsu)

23 yara asmar – synth waltzes and accordion laments (Hive Mind Records)

24 Westelaken – I Am Steaming Mushrooms (Self Release)

25 Synthfreq – Vol. 1 (Orange Mik)

26 Kali Malone – Does Spring Hide its Joy (XKatedral)

27 ichiko aoba – sketch tour tape (self released)

28 Swamp-Ass – Disasterpiece (WereGnome)

29 Mike Nigro – Low Light (Oxtail Recordings)

30 Yellow Swans – Left Behind (Yellow Swans Archive)

31 Skull Mask – Iká (Raash Records)

32 Eniks Cave – Seven Heavenly Palaces (Drongo)

33 Lexie Mountain – I Am Here To Win One Million Dollars (self released)

34 Emergency Group – Inspection of Cruelty (Island House)

35 Andrew Osterhoudt – Out Together (Geographic North)

36 Cop Funeral – Jake (Already Dead)

37 OMS – Illeism & No Consolation (Suite 309)

38 Manoir Molle -intéressant (Cudighi Records)

39 Dave Scanlon – Taste Like Labor (Whatever’s Clever)

40 Andreas Brandal – Trapdoor Curcifix (Lighten Up Sounds)

41 Embarker – Traced Out (Send Help)

42 Quantum Waterfall – s/t (Fluere Tapes)

43 Mildred Bonk – Skeeg: The Locomotive Powers Of Death (Bad Cake)

44 Tim Gick – Body Without Organs (THE ENTIRE WORK ETHIC OF NO RENT RECORDS!)

45 ABADIR – Melting (Drowned By Locals)

46 Burning Plastic Blues Band – Spiritual Latency (Metaphysical Barbeque)

47 Another Dark December – Anthropocene ’ s Apocalypse and Other Various Anxieties (Histamine Tapes)

48 The Drin – Today My Friend You Drunk the Venom (Future Shock)

49 M. Sage & Zander Raymond – Parayellowgram (Moon Glyph)

50 Lia Kohl – The Ceiling Reposes (American Dreams)

51 Roxanne Nesbitt / Ben Brown / Marielle Groven – Play Symbiotic Instruments (Small Scale Music)

52 Kouns & Weaver – Children of Cimmeria (Unifactor)

53 Lo-Tek Larry – 500 Beats (100% Bootleg Cassette Tape Company)

54 Kid Millions and Sarah Bernstein – Forrest Park Live (Island House)

55 Illusion of Safety – Organ Choir Drone (NO PART OF IT)

56 India Sky – Somewhere Over The Mystic Moon (Ratskin Records)

57 Shayna Dunkelman & Javier Areal Vélez – Miru Mira (Atlantic Rhythms)

58 Retrogoblin / low cunning – split (Weregnome Record)

59 Sam Kazakgascar – Long Tones of August (Trouble in Mind)

60 Sungod – Starscape (Crash Symbols)

61 The End, I Love You! – Ghost Chase Sequence: Moongrazing (FTAM Productions)

62 Moth Drakula – Live in Purgatory (Swampland Press)

63 type/token- Riparian Zone (Traced Objects)

64 Parish / Potter – On and Off (\\NULL|ZØNE//)

65 Ki Oni – An Evening Stroll to the Garden Party (Geographic North)

66 Peter Kris / Hyacinth. – Swimming In A Sea Of Sand (Suite 309)

67 German Army – Biloxi (Soil)

68 JOBS – Soft Sounds (Ramp Local)

69 TIE: Dustin Wong – Perpetual Morphosis (Hausu Mountain) + Dusting Wong/Brin – Textures II (Leaving)

70 Lisa Lerkenfeldt – Shell Of A City (Room 40)

71 Spelunkers – Music From the Widow Jane (Tymbal Tapes)

72 Jackson Greenberg – The Things We Pass On Through Our Genes (cmntx records)

73 Nandele & A-Tweed – Xigubo (Jollies)

74 Amber Meulenijzer – Sabb Fanfare (Edições CN)

75 Traysh – Shady Favorites (Husky Pants Records)

76 Seawind of Battery & ragenap – Chaos Life Preserver (Eiderdown)

77 Hoshina Anniversary – HakkyouShisou 発狂しそう (Constellation Tatsu)

78 Derek Monypenny – Born Free (Personal Archives)

79 Davide Cedolin – Ligurian Pastoral (Island House)

80 Jim Rats – Perfuser (No Rent)

81 PCRV – S/T (Fluxus Montanat)

82 Heroic Viking – Ragnarok (Mondes Sonores)

83 TIE: Tongue Depressor + John McCowen – Blame Tuning (Full Spectrum) & Tonge Depressor & Weston Olencki – Don’t Tell No Tales Upon Us (Dinzu Artefacts)

84 Tee Vee Repairmann – What’s On TV (Wartmann Inc)

85 b.michaael – Gore (Orange Milk)

86 Stefana Fratila – I want to leave this Earth behind (Not Not Fun/Halocline Trance)

87 Crosslegged – Another Blue (self released)

88 Lanayah – I’m Picking Lights in a Field (Drongo)

89 Whettman Clements – Koppen (Strategic Tape Reserve)

90 Circuit Diagram – Werkschau (Crash Symbols)

91 Drazek Fuscaldo / Thymme Jones – Wings Dipped in Fire (Feeding Tube Records)

92 Hudson Glover – Solar Surfing: Music From The Film ‘Crystal Oscillators’ (Hotham Sound Recordings)

93 Sonic Youth – Live in Brooklyn 2011 (Silver Current Records)

94 weareforests – Where There Is No Ending (Seil Records)

95 Ddrome – Power City (Cruel Nature)

96 Spherule Trio- There Will Always Be Instruments (Orb Tapes)

97 Mute Duo – 5amSky (Astral Editions)

98 Carmen Jaci – Happy Child (Noumenal Loom)

99 TIE: Armand Hammer – We Buy Diabetic Test Strips (Fat Possum) & billy woods/Kenny Segal – maps (Backwoodz Studios)

100 Arthur Russell – Picture of Bunny Rabbit (Audika Records)

101 SPLLIT – Infinite Hatch (Tough Gum USA)

102 Dr Slimer – Slimerhuasca (self released)

103 Omar Ahmad – Inheritance (AKP Recordings)

104 Staraya Derevnya – blue forty​-​nine (blue tapes)

105 Lula Asplund – Unravels by a Thread (Drongo)

106 Alex Jacobsen – Apartment 2021 / Commutes 2022 (Tymbal Tapes)

107 Müller / Doskocz / Gordoa – Aural Accidents (Tripticks Tapes)

108 Drew Gardner – The Return (Astral Spirits)

109 Midi Janitor – Bulk Order (Hotham Sound Recordings)

110 Blasco/Baron – Travesia/The Matrix Split (Full Spectrum)

111 Ian MacPhee – Distance (Already Dead)

112 Noah Klein – Zion (Moon Glyph)

113 N. Hertzberg – Jazz Hands (Personal Archives)

114 Farcaster – Brain Machine (Old Stories)

115 YOCKO O.NE feat. prinz-ip – O . H . E. [action] b​/​w R​.​I​.​FF. [minox] (superpolar Taïps)

116 Uton and Bardo Todol – Bday Lampazo Trompeta (Steep Gloss)

117 Steffan De Turck / Howard Stelzer – Private/Public (Falt)

118 Omni Gardens – Golden Pear (Moon Glyph)

119 Cereal Banter – Kinder Blips (self released)

120 The Gate – Scum (Tubapede)

121 Various Artists – Wrhythm & Fhrasing (Drongo)

122 Names Divine – The Crystal Arms! (Trouble in Mind)

123 Joseph Allred – For the Fallen Dawn (Island House)

124 Windy Boijen – In A Sense (Ephem Aural)

125 Emergency Group – Venal Twin (Centripetal Force)

126 diana starshine – fairy pop (Orange Milk)

127 Mukqs – Stonewasher (Hausu Mountain)

128 Black Button – Rejoice (Anthems of the Undesirable)

129 The HIRS Collective – We’re Still Here (Get Better Records)

130 Alex Homan – The Great American Hot Dog Tour (self release)

131 First Tone – (modemain)

132 DJ Smiley Bobby – Dhol Tasha Drum Exercises from Maharashtra (Nyege Nyege Tapes)

133 Cole Pulice – If I Don’t See You in the Future, I’ll See You in the Pasture (self release)

134 Danie Fishkin – Dark Listening (Tripticks Tapes)

135 Dorian Wood & Thor Harris – You are clearly in perversion (Astral Editions)

136 Monokle – Ultraflowers (Constellation Tatsu)

137 x.y.r. – Memory Tapes (Not Not Fun)

138 Hualun/ Bleed Air – GhostEP / Dead Man Split (Superpolaris Tapis)

139 Massimo Magee – The Contemporary Jazz Clarinet Of Massimo Magee And His Rhythm (Falt)

140 The Royal Arctic Institute – From Coma to Catharsis (Already Dead)

141 Midnight Minds – Angsty Bodies (Tone Deaf Tapes)

142 Mallwalker – Danger (Tetryon Tapes)

143 Space Camp – Gold Star (self released)

144 MANAS & E.M.M. – At House Unamerican (Radio Khiyaban)

145 Carlo Costa & John McCowen – pianissimo etc (Tripticks Tapes)

146 David Donohoe – Fen (Dinzu Artefacts)

147 Seth Chrisman, Andrew Weathers, & Cody Yantis – After Amarillo (Falt)

148 Organized Cream – s/t (Swaylor)

149 Akasha System – Ancient Path Complete (100% Silk)

150 En Attendant Ana – Principia (Trouble in Mind)

151 Ethan W.L. – The Pink House (Drongo)

152 Wobbly – Additional Kids (Hausu Mountain)

153 You are the Garden – Six Leaf Clover (self release)

154 Zebularin – Nachtarchiv (Cosmic Winnetou)

155 Torture Agenda – Catalyst for the New Homo Sapien (Swimming Faith)

156 Bad Trips – Drink the Ooze (Already Dead)

157 The Electric Nature – Old World Must Die (\\NULL|ZØNE//)

158 Endless Fog – Waiting Forever (Self Release)

159 Streamweaver – Firesongs (Aural Canyon)

160 Lucie Vítková – Cave Acoustics (Mappa)

161 Obelisk Ruins – Thought-Vision-Doubt (Katuktu Collective)

162 Coach Campa & Aaron Arguellp – Weekend Satanists (Already Dead)

163 Saapato – Somewhere Else (Aural Canyon)

164 Feast of the Epiphany – Signifcance (Strategy of Tension)

165 Ki Oni – A Leisurely Swim To Everlasting Life (AKP Recordings)

166 Slit Throats – Joshi Noise Worship: Sky Tiger Crosses Void (self release)

167 Morgan Garrett – Extreme Fantasy (Orange Milk)

168 salad – Riverside Ishiyama (Dinzu Artefacts)

169 K/S/R / Wind Tide – split (Physical)

170 Meadow Argus – This Old Rotten Barge (self released)

171 Massage- Soft as Snow (Jollies)

172 Hourloupe – Three Nights in the Wawayanda (Tymbal Tapes)

173 Charles Lareau – Statis (Public Eyesore)

174 McKain/Murray/Radichel/Weeks – Live At Century (Personal Archives)

175 Hartle Road – MAXX II (K/perrenialdeath)

176 Wolf Dad – Wolf Dad Must Die! (Ephem Aural)

177 Iku Sakan – OMNITOPOEIA (Sensorik Verden/Iriai Verlag)

178 Euglossine – Bug Planet is the Current TImeline (Hausu Mountain)

179 Water Shrew Trio – s/t (Eiderdown)

180 Pan Cyan – Emotional Indulgence (Noumenal Loom)

181 Wife Eyes – Regna Vita (Strategic Tape Reserve)

182 Booker Stardru & Chris William – relay (cached media)

183 MJ Lenderman & the Wind – Live and Loose! (Dear Life)

184 Shõ – Elsewheres (Never Anything)

185 Grant Evans – Ragweed Chess Museum Volume One (Hooker Vision)

186 Új Bála – Letters Are Weird To Look At (self released)

187 Multiform Palace- New World Harmony (Specious Arts)

188 Être Ensemble – CLOSE / SPACE (Katuktu Collective)

189 Anal Drill- Peeping Tom (No Rent)

190 Captain / Magill / Wood – Sliding Man / Live at The Monkey Pub (Weird Cry Records)

191 Christopher Robert Duncan – Seasons (self released)

192 Merzbow – Hatomatsuri (Dinzu Artefacts)

193 Tamarisk – Plays a Word for Wind (Astral Editions)

194 Prokharchin – Ardea Herodias (Tone Deaf Tapes)

195 Yui Onodera and Takashi Kokubo – Thousand Bells (Constellation Tatsu)

196 Clear Thing – Everywhere I Go (The Lapsis Group)

197 Adriana Camacho & Stefan Christoff – Años y Minutos (Moon Villain)

198 Miorii – Nature’s Way (Hush Hush Records)

199 Sam Gas Can – II (Crash Symbols)

200 Mr. Tim AKA Ya Boy Timmy 400 Hundo – The Celebration (Hausu Mountain)

Tabs Out | yara asmar – synth waltzes and accordion laments

yara asmar – synth waltzes and accordion laments

12.22.23 by Matty McPherson

Over a shepherd’s pie dinner yesterday evening, my uncle lamented the state of the southern Virginia shopping malls. Many are talking about this, mind you; it’s an American tragedy! Every giant closed space (except Virginia Beach’s!) seems to have died sometime around 2005 and remained in a decaying, decrepit undead state. It is only here where the remaining organs American mall seems to find its own bizarre afterlife, not as a horror level or YouTube video you stumble into 2 double cognacs deep, but as yet an almost-bazaar. More a collection of functional dollar table of junk and records, rented out by suburban dead stuff collectors. “Eclectic” nor “hectic” describes the waltz one makes inside these near-squats; records and memorabilia of a local populace, not farmers nor urbanites, are the echoes on display here. It was only here, did my uncle seem to find himself looking at himself 30 odd years prior; a photo of a blue honda taken from a track meet. He could not verify it, but even if he could, why would I call out the man’s gumption?

The puppeteer, yara asmar, had a more reverent variant of this experience earlier this year, relayed in the liner notes her latest brilliant release, synth waltzes and accordion laments. In March, the Beirut based artist found herself at an artist’s residency in Black Forest, Germany with her grandmother’s green accordion. Originally, it belonged to her grandmother’s brother, but he was not one to play it much; thus the instrument took to her grandmother, before then the attic of the family house. Only in the past decade had asmar taken to the accordion, amassing a library of elliptical “Home Recordings”. Frugal recordings interweaving synths, decommissioned music boxes and toy pianos, amidst life recordings. After being informed the accordion was only made minutes away, in the town of Trossingen, asmar soon found herself staring directly at an old ledger revealing a date of manufacturing and shipment in October of 1955; two green accordions, one headed to ‘Libanon’. A score for unexpected genealogy.

As much as a remarkable antecedent. One that tugs at roots and the sense of place that can bring you to staring at an image of yourself decades prior, if not jittered out of jet lag in the middle seat of purgatory. Her attention to the instrument, to this point, has imbued it with a level of love as she moved (due to intrusive rent costs) around Beirut finishing the recording of her second cassette release. Much of the result is dedicated to Beirut, as much as her family surrounding her and their own enclaves and objects. A brilliant ode to family as much as a deft presentation of beauty.

asmar has not modified her overarching musical orientation: Pauline Oliveros inspired deep listening accordion zones, augmented via a fair licking of pedals and synths. She is a tinkerer first and foremost though, focused on extracting a synth sound, slotting a life recording, or discombobulating a toy music box to affect her own accordion drones, if not create their own isolated worlds. Disconnected from this immediate plane and suggestive of a premonition beyond. That notion of place, especially from the story relayed above, is culled into a crucial sixth sense to this release. asmar’s zones start to evolve over into their own dazzling, patient enclaves.

Track titles convey that, sketching out a stream of conscious logic; a private journal ruminating over itself briefly considering what led it here and whom to thank. Often her accordion drone is one of precocious warmth, only augmented through few elements like voice or bells that point to directions or apparitions outside the space. It’s those fusions the drone is just transcendent and a synth (or music box) burrows underneath, as asmar’s utter simplicity and ear for detail takes over, we find her embellishing her own form of SAW II’s bliss zones–her’s are the kinds that ECM’s New Series regrettably shy away from but feel intrinsically compatible with classic Windham Hill Cosmic Pastoralism. The reverent “from gardens in the city we keep alive”, the highlight is magnitude of different feelings at a magnitude of different volumes, times, and places through chimes, a whistle, and the way a pedal can just make any sound wave into a sunset.

To great measure, this is achieved without ruminating or fussing over the placement of these tracks. Her intuition, or the low stakes of home recording, on the curation gives the tape a real sense of immediacy and familiarity, shifting like the body. It’s a pondering kind of warmth; one that nudges you to consider just why you haven’t watered those poinsettias during a frigid sunrise. Or finds you staring back at yourself decades prior in a mall. The waltz and lament of life finds one naturally, if not eternally, as this tape would argue. And at 5:00 PM with nothing to do, it calls to you as well.

Tape Sold Out at Bandcamp! But Boomkat might still have copies…

Tabs Out | Creatian Heap – Domains

Creatian Heap – Domains

12.7.2023 by Ryan Masteller

Wipe that crud from your lips a second, cyborg mercenary! Take a moment from ingesting that chemically enhanced dietary packet and listen here, because what you’ve heard of Creatian Heap is truly not a myth, I hereby tell you. The duo of Philip (one “l”) T. Walker and JJ Creatian are indeed spinning the tales of your existence, writing your history and your future simultaneously as you struggle in the postapocalyptic landscape in which you find yourself. I get that maybe you’ve been experimented on and cobbled together by the evil corporations who used to run this planet before the great wars, but perhaps they were not the ones you should have been going after and upon whom you should have enacted your vengeance. Seems like a couple of puppet masters are behind the actual curtain, the veil of reality, and you should put aside your petty local squabbles and go after them instead.

Can’t you hear it on the desolate wind?

That’s right, Walker and Creatian have really blown everything out around you, placed you right in the middle of “Planet Dangerous,” which just so happens to be the title of side A, or “Domain 1,” of Domains, their most recent recording for Bummer Punk Records. But let’s not dwell on those details too much lest we’re yanked from the narrative: “Planet Dangerous” was Earth all along! Or something like that. At any rate, the near future finds cybernetically enhanced humans occupying a postindustrial wasteland decimated by disaster. The sound of this wasteland isn’t unusual – it begins with the existential dread and synth pulse not uncommon in a Wolf Eyes track, plodding toward its inevitable tragedy. It blooms a bit, but only in that Tangerine Dream-y way that suggests acid rain – the burny kind – blanketing this neo-futuristic nightmare in sinister arpeggios. And “Debris Field,” aka “Domain 2,” doesn’t even have the courtesy to suggest a way out of this – the grimy downpour is forever, and always!

And that’s what we’re left with – a sad aftermath, with nothing for nourishment except tasteless dietary packets, enhanced by life-maintaining chemicals, with no future.


These red-shelled beauties were dubbed in house and released in an edition of 50. Buy all 50!

Tabs Out | Video Premiere (!) Fantasma do Cerrado – Anhangaretá

Video Premiere (!) Fantasma do Cerrado – Anhangaretá

12.05.23 by Matty McPherson

“Holiday Time” is an official designation that you can sort of prescribe to what’s going on right now in America. Cars with blood red noses and fuzzy faux reindeer horns, fake plastic trees, post-cyber monday deals, and (this year) a suspicious lack of snow and Mariah Carey music. Perhaps because the local Mall’s Nordstrom closed leaving Target the last real player in the game? Leaving the ghosts to have taken over the other outlets?

If there’s anything to take note of from my ramble, it’s that the Tabs Out gang is still slowly chipping away at our giant list. I’m crossed between a stack of digitals and a pile of 2023 tapes that continue to push me to my own outer limits. All the while, I’ve been taking Fantasma do Cerrado’s Mapeamento de Terras a Noroeste de S​ã​o Paulo de Piratininga for spins once more. A silky smooth blurring of the lines between field recordings, travelogue, and psychedelic folk showed another side to “barely known villages of the São Paulo State inlands”. It too, has ghosts that’d make the average American mall’s poof up.

Well, in a stroke of wonderful timing when Rafael Stan Molina, the artist behind the project + the Municipal K7 collective, hit our line with this novel gloaming of a video/field recording into to the world of Mapaeamento de Terras! You won’t find Anhangaretá on the cassette, but its presence feels natural and like a spectre to the entire tape. A welcome epilogue, or asynchronous extension from Rafael that only furthers the power the No. 3 best tape of 2022 had last year. I was more than overjoyed to have a chance to bring this out to the Tabs Out audience as an invitation to ‘Termas de Ibirá’, a district of the city of Ibirá, northwest of the São Paulo State.

Front of the abandoned hotel on the cover of the first album at an eternal 3am during recording session, Rafael nails the elliptical uncertainty of dread. The kind that flowed like water from the best experiments of early 2010s Marble Hornets in the SE United States. If you appreciate the crunch of that era of youtube walking videos, there’s a real ominous dread that Rafael captures here. Filmmaker Natália Reis ( helped realize the final edition featured here.

From Rafael about the title: The name ‘Anhangaretá’ roughly means ‘Many Ghosts’ in Tupi language (the language of the branch of natives that inhabited the region). To be perfectly honest I couldn’t be sure if the term is precise, but looks like. I’m sure that ‘Anhangá’ is accepted for ‘ghosts’ (even though the use of the natives look like for some specific ghost, there are different versions about which ghost) and ‘etá’ is ‘many’, and the construction of the word feels right.

Indeed Rafael. And with that, a gentle reminder to pick up one of the last 9 copies on the Municipal K7 bandcamp