Tabs Out | Episode #183

Episode #183

11.26.22


Nirvana (1) – Sway (1) (self released)
Jeanne Vomit-Terror – Guileless (Desperate Spirits)
Nose Bled – Demo II (self released)
Synth Bard – Advanced Goldbox Renditions (Ephem Aural)
Warren Enström – Electrics (FTAM Productions)
YlangYlang – Full Moon Solo Piano (Phinery)
Bastard Noise & Merzbow – Retribution by All Other Creatures (Relapse)
City of Caterpillar – Mystic Sisters (Relapse)
T.J. Borden – Bob Hope Airport Train Station (Alien Passengers)
Himukalt – Conditions of Acrimony (The Helen Scarsdale Agency)
Weyes Blood – And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow (Sub Pop)
Lou Reed – Words & Music, May 1965 (Light in the Attic)

Tabs Out | Theo Krantz – WinAmp Selections

Theo Krantz – WinAmp Selections

11.23.22 by Ryan Masteller

I think it’s only fitting that I end my long-ass hiatus with a thing about a program on a long-ass hiatus, or at least on a long break from a public eye fascinated with other, more versatile media playback software (being Steve Jobs’s sole heir, while a formidable existential position, does make it easy for me to say “Apple whatever” whenever anyone asks my preference). [Ed. note: Ryan is not actually Steve Jobs’s sole heir; please direct any legal enquires to Delaware Dan Incorporated LLC.] I think it’s also fitting that I use the term “long-ass” twice in the first sentence of the first thing I’ve written for Tabs Out in a year and a half. Make that three times in the first paragraph. There’s just something about “ass” and “Tabs Out” that’s so complementary.

There’s nothing ass-related to Theo Krantz’s “WinAmp Selections,” an ode(-ish) to the third-party music-playback program once ubiquitous for Windows machines and now once again available for them after falling out of favor like an aux cable and an iPhone. As a Jobs, I had no idea that Windows was even having any of these problems, but I don’t really care too much, clouding on my focus on anything not me-related. In fact, I had to google the thing, which returned responses like “Does Winamp still exist?” and “Is Winamp safe?” But I like Krantz’s spirit, completely ignoring the second question and blasting the first with a hearty “Suck rocks!” in order to dutifully produce introspective beauty from the elusive software. Yeah, he uses Winamp in his composing and recording process! Like a modern-day Brian Eno but better, Krantz doesn’t stop at “startup sounds,” instead expanding his palette to the two-, three-, and seven-minute marks (seven seconds, Eno? Really?). 

But these compositions are, in the artist’s own words, “three tracks about loneliness, flights of fancy, and unease,” not paeans to computers at all, or their softwares, or to anything other than what Theo Krantz was thinking and feeling at the exact time he laid these tracks to Winamp (or used Winamp to lay these tracks to ProTools – what do I look like, a music expert?). And we’re able to feel along with the artist in being lost (that’s the vibe at least) in a crowd, while chugging mirrors (you know you want to try it), and … not turning (the track is called “no turn,” I got nothing to add). It’s all delicate and vulnerable, and isn’t that how we all kind of feel at this point?

Well I don’t. Not me, not the only surviving great-grandnephew of Steve Jobs. I don’t need nobody.

Check out this short run cassette, limited to a scant 20 copies, on Santa Fe’s Cry Like Donna.

Tabs Out | Jeff Tobias – Just What I Feel

Jeff Tobias – Just What I Feel

11.18.22 by Matty McPherson

We love the face and all the nonverbal cues it displays for us, don’t we folks? I wager you can take on any face and in 3-5 seconds practically have read it for all its worth; maybe you’d even be ballsy enough to wager you know that face’s life story, its retirement plan, and how it would fair were New York to suddenly be swallowed whole. I couldn’t claim to do this with Jeff Tobias’ face though; there’s too much winking and nodding on the “rectanguloid grotesquery sleeve” and melting catatonic catharsis on the inner j-card to properly quantify into a direct thought. It “just what I [he] feel” so to speak.

Tobias’ most recent cassette finds him at the center of two things: his burgeoning record label, Strategy of Tension and his sopranino saxophone solo in June of 2021. The former debuted proper at the start of the year with Tobias’ first proper solo endeavor, Recurring Dream, which documented in significant detail Tobias’ wry wit and maverick pop tendencies. The kind of pop that he’s long suggested but often shied away from in lieu of headier instrumental and socio-conscious endeavors with Sunwatchers and Modern Nature, just to name a few. Recorded in June 2021 (and mastered by Mr. Garden Portal himself, a nice nod to Tobias’ Athens, GA legacy and connections), Just What I Feel both keeps one foot in Tobias’ recent collaborative tapes with Shiroishi and Cooper, while finally giving him the space to make the 20-track, C29 experience of absolute “hey let’s make a most raucous noise that captures the modern spirit.” If it melts your face, well then that’s already going to plan.

Now though, Tobias is no “sax offender” (a title that belongs to Christopher Brett Bailey). Yet his 20 noise-excursions on the sopranino do present a moment of raw ingenuity with the vessel. Each track title/phrase more or less describes a scenario or imagines a face or body, that with which Tobias uses the sopranino to render in industrial sludge or free-jazz detail; Tobias seriously handles the sopranino as Einstürzende Neubauten handles a power drill, finding a strangely comforting texture to hold down an idea for around 50-odd seconds on average. As such, the tape’s pacing and general fleet action always keeps the listener guessing “what’s behind the corner”–whether that be a garden stroll drone, a garbage truck trying to move in reverse, or a prick’s smirk documented in grotesque sonic detail. In sticking to raw instrumentals and exploring these textures in concise manners, Tobias grants listeners the ability to piece together just what these sounds could represent on their own merits (well maybe not Lecturer, I think you can figure that out). Yet, the black humor of this all leaves behind a strange curio of late-pandemic era New York City; a truly situated dispatch of sprawling, unfettered noise if there was one.

Limited edition of 100 cassettes, w/ rectanguloid grotesquery sleeve in a brain pink shell, and a sticker, are available at the Jeff Tobias/Strategy of Tension Bandcamp Page

Tabs Out | MANAS – Alone We Are Alone As Far Down As the Sediment, Novatron – self titled

MANAS – Alone We Are Alone As Far Down As the Sediment, Novatron – self titled

11.15.22 by Matty McPherson

To put it forth simply, we need rollicking snapshots of bros being dudes. Preferably ones with the drums and guitars and whatever noisy cacophony they want to make. Personally, I find these recordings to be revelatory listens, taking all of the energy that the crescendo’d end of post-rocking has to offer and imbuing it with a life force that will go out kicking and screaming. There is nothing stately about the mosh pit when it hits with an endless, tumultuous energy of drums and guitar blowing up on top of each other. This is what the pre-and-post exclamation point change GYBE collective has championed for decades: a sound of buildings collapsing as a cacophony of tangible excitement.

I could use this to describe a couple handy releases from this year. One of which is the MANAS tape, Alone We Are Alone As Far Down As the Sediment (ft. N.R. Safi), from earlier this year that captures a 28 minute, 2019 performance from Asheville, North Carolina. Tashi Dorshi and drummer Thom Nguyen’s vision of free-jazz is that kind of raw catharsis that has a clearer lineage in between Bill Nace and Lightning Bolt than jazz, but also that’s why when they come together it has a blasting concept. Heavy in-the-red with crunch, the duo and Safi strike like lightning. An endless barrage of noise–the kind delivered like its a m60 being fired until it goes click–is streamed from the ferric directly through the headphones and to the brain. It’d be too unnecessary to describe it much further, maybe outside a comparison to the great 75 Dollar Bill–if Che and Rick gave everyone speed at their Ornette Coleman closer cover they perform and then proceeded to let it rip, that is. That the tape itself had to be split across side A and side B is perhaps its only egregious error. Yet such is a minimal critique. For Radio Khiyaban, a Netherlands based label specializing in “underground transmissions on arts culture centered around the greater SWANA (Southwest Asian and North African) region,” the tape is another huge play and curatorial boon. The peerless, situated works the label is pulling out of Europe will peg it a label to watch in 2023.

The other release that has been recently receiving a huge burst of enthusiasm on the hi-fi is Novatron’s self-titled recordings. It comes out of Berlin-based Kitchen Leg Records. Limited edition tapes abound of cut-n-paste j-card aesthetics; nothing can be as seems even if a “weirdo” label may be hiding at the edges of a many Bandcamp pages. Anyways, Novatron is the dupo of Tatsumi Ryusui (gtr) and Itta Nakmura (drums). The duo take a garage-fidelity approach to creating massive valleys and peaks of crashing undistilled noise rock goodness. The promise of this tape’s ability to travel “to the infinite and back to your seat” is indeed with merit. The a-side sputters and refuses to let up its tenacious energy, as endless guitar drones and solos firebomb the mid-frequencies; its raw energy the source of about five different genre classifications from drone to acid psych, which make it such a versatile front half. Meanwhile, the ever-stable drumming of Nakamura, is a bellwether for the low end. Amongst a litany of delay pedals, help terraform the rollicking garage sound into an almost-techno frenzy of “Not Yet”, the kind of noise machinations that anyone could rack an infinite wombo combo out of. It’s the kind of energy that side B further warps and processes into the longform “After Break.” Of anything it sounds most similar to, it’s shockingly Nick Zanca’ Cacerolazo III. That was a piece based around a drumsolo’s delight going to the heavens, and for the entire 16 mintues, Ryushi and Nakamura team up to move themselves towards to no. 1 spot in heaven. Just a slow cymbal rush steadied by motorik impulses–until it becomes glitched out glimmers–as guitars layered over and over bask in the glory through a processed, warped tone. At some point, it will sound like a Sonic Youth bootleg from 1985 and you will be thankful.

When you enter the working world, you’re given a government mandated lunch break of 30 minutes. You simply just cannot ascertain or listen like you want to. It’s perhaps why I’ve had such a liking to shorter, longform oriented tapes and listens. At a certain point, Im caught in the piece and Im feeling the rays of a low fall sun glide over my hair, and just letting my mouth remain ajar. Novatron hit like that and they could for you as well.

Tabs Out | Sentry – Perfect Blue Bubbles

Sentry – Perfect Blue Bubbles

11.10.22 by Matty McPherson

We turn our attention today towards a Brooklyn “Mostly Electronic Cassette Label” upstart, Jollies. I’ve been paying attention to Jollies here and there throughout the past couple of years, as the label has slowly built a catalog of vigorous brainy zones amongst visceral pleasure. African Ghost Valley and Geomag are both easy highlights. In the span of about 3 years, the label has logged on with 16 endeavors for the hi-fi, and Sentry’s Perfect Blue Bubbles might just take the cake for the premiere zone from the label to date.

Now Sentry is no first time caller, long time listener. The Sheffield, UK-based Jonathan George Fox has been releasing tapes under this moniker (amongst Aches, Foundling, j. Fox, and Power Therapy) for a bit, most often through his Flight Coda label. Perfect Blue Bubbles might as well be a prime entry way into Fox’s world of sounds. Ambient synths as a baseline for distinct club-oriented beats, hi-hats, and bass thumps. It’s not an earth-shattering template: “UBLVBLHD” is the platonic example, working as icy-clean four-on-the-floor that chills accordingly. Yet, this is definitively a rip-roaring good time, especially thanks to small left-turn details. You’ll notice that on your first go-around, where “Citiopolis” drops its rhythm out and lets the synths gently levitate until hi-hats are called back for a sudden dance floor bop; how “Boiler Person” keeps one foot tuned to an ethereal amalgamation of acid-house and another foot in abstract industrial-dance patterns, until it suddenly merges the two and a flood of zany, jammy gamer synths rush through; high BPM energy like “Donut 2″ that revive the fervor of an R&S 12” while maintaining those airy synthesizer melodies that keep your body gliding.

And that’s just the first side. In fact, I’d make a gander that Fox was using all that energy as build-up for a more abrasive “knock-you-on-yr-ass” back half clap back (at least the one minute Good Clean interlude suggests he could go even further). “Arc” thumps with a the quaking power of a giant. “Chance” follows building off those Arc drums, with a corroding liquid synth squiggle. “Is This Real?” isn’t a rhetorical question for Drew Daniel, it starts at a subterranean level and brilliantly moves it sound palette through murky and clear channels like yr traversing different soundproof chambers of a warehouse rave. A lot of this energy does culminate in Workcitipoly, which perpetually is going haywire with vocal samples, sudden synth cut outs, and the best THUMPS that four on the floor muster. It’s a rollicking finale, and there ain’t much more to say but that.

Limited edition tape with full color double sided j-card, professionally dubbed glitter cassette with body print, is available at the Flight Coda bandcamp pages