Tabs Out | Induced Geometry – self-titled

Induced Geometry – self-titled

10.30.2023 by Ryan Masteller

Sometimes you need an outlet. A way to blow off steam. An activity where you can let your guard down, be a little more vulnerable, do something a little different. When you’re Daniel Provenzano, bass slinger extraordinaire for Philly wild things Writhing Squares, whose main gig lets him blow off plenty of steam through an unending stream of psychedelic skronk alongside partner-in-craziness Kevin Nickles, and whose records are unending blasts of fist-pumping agitation aimed directly at the heart of convention, that outlet is less a feral pouring out of adrenaline and more an inward grasp toward solitude, a scrabbling at the door to the outer world to slam it shut in the face of constant stimulation. And when you call Philly home (and trust me, I know Philly), sometimes that self-imposed peace and quiet can be a life preserver.

Whether or not Dan truly needed to escape, he certainly receded in his work as Induced Geometry. On his self-titled tape for Trouble in Mind, Dan “began this project trying to make static, featureless music that was the same in all directions – isotropic, geometric, devoid of feeling.” Channeling “the minimalist composers” (while also apologizing to them, which he didn’t need to do at all but was a nice gesture nonetheless, just in case), Dan creates synthesizer patterns that repeat and fold, skimming and shivering soundwaves that conjure up primitive 3D computer graphics, or at least early attempts at MS Paint design. Hanging on tones and motifs until they merge with imagination and become decorative scaffolding on which more tones can be hung if they need to, Dan twiddles knobs and presses buttons and adjusts plugins and applies filters, all in the service of making sense of the inner workings of his private, non–Writing Squares existence.

But Dan is a total and complete failure. See, his initial attempts at “featureless” and “devoid of feeling” electronic experiments quickly became something else, and while there’s a bit of antisociality to the results, Dan himself has done a complete 180 on these tracks, calling them “some of the most personal [pieces of] music I’ve ever recorded.” They’re certainly labored over and well considered, and it’s easy to imagine the interiority of the process of crafting these works. Dan clearly turned inward and excavated a part of himself that he fashioned into the music, giving it a poignancy that perhaps he didn’t intend at first. But, fortunately for all of us, we’re left with a lot more than just “minimalist electronic synth music” for which its creator felt the need to (again, needlessly) apologize. Instead we have one person’s account of rejecting spazz and embracing personal calm, to our total selfish benefit as an audience. We should be so lucky to find such tranquility within ourselves.

This tape is Trouble in Mind’s Explorers Series vol. 31, and it comes housed in a lovely thick cardstock O-card that looks foil stamped – but isn’t! Great presentation.

Tabs Out | Scott Solter & Rohner Segnitz – The Murals

Scott Solter & Rohner Segnitz – The Murals

10.25.2023 by Ryan Masteller

Scott Solter and I go way back. Well, maybe not in a traditional sense, meaning, I don’t know Scott Solter – I certainly don’t want to come off as creepy or anything. But I’ve been familiar with Scott’s material ever since he reworked a bunch of tunes by Pattern Is Movement, the delightfully wispy math-rock duo from Philadelphia. Staining their proclivities with studio trickery and mulching their stems to a wonderfully unrecognizable pulp, Solter repurposed the early PIM tracks until they barely resembled the originals, cementing himself as an inventive producer par excellence. This was 2006, closer to twenty years ago than I’d like.

Rohner Segnitz and I do not go as way far back, but that’s only because I didn’t engage his band Division Day – who released four records throughout the early aughts, if you didn’t know – in a meaningful way. (Nor did I really encounter Scott Solter’s bands Boxharp or The Balustrade Ensemble.) How can you blame me? The first decade of the 2000s was the blog decade, when music fans like me were inundated with basically anything we wanted to hear at the click of a download, and bands appeared and released music with an immediacy and ungodly speed that often proved to be their undoing. Not that Rohner Segnitz suffered this fate, mind you – I place all the blame for my ignorance squarely on myself. What else can I do?

Turns out there is something I can do, and that’s to rectify the decade plus in the desert of not listening to these artists, which is easily accomplished because of Solter and Segnitz’s April 2023 cassette release on Bathysphere Records, The Murals. And while we’re not getting anything here that I would have expected from either of these artists, I’m also delighted that what is here hits the old pleasure centers of my brain in just the right ways that I’ve come to hope for whenever I pop a new tape in the deck. (I almost always hit eject pretty quickly on any guitar-based indie band these days, which wasn’t the case in my formative years, but I think we’ve established that those formative years were pretty long ago.) Solter and Segnitz instead build their compositions from a “simple figure/gesture that grabs our interest” and work that figure/gesture into a “maximal” state, one that grips attention and twists and tweaks it until you’re left with a psychic red-armed “snakebite.”

The result in The Murals is eleven vibrant pieces that shift and redraw themselves as they unfold, routinely breaking from a haze of static or ambient gauze to puncture any boundary imposed upon them in the interest of mutation. This is what the duo means in their intent to go “maximal” from a minimal base – they establish the atmosphere through “instrument, tape, wire, module, filter, sample,” then, using the same methods, they disturb what could simply be an ambient groundwork with melody, noise, or more and more intense ambience, ratcheting up the tension of the tracks until they break back into silence, rarely resolving into an expected state.

The Murals could be mentioned in the same breath as the more abstract works of Derek Piotr, whose recordings, especially Tempatempat, from which “Horror Vacui” utilizes “Slow March,” are invariably thrilling. Erik Friedlander, the cellist whose credits include collaborations with John Zorn, Wadada Leo Smith, and the Bar Kokhba Sextet, also lends a hand to “The Sea Breaks Over a Derelict,” and in doing so offers a wide-angle perspective on The Murals as a whole: if you cock your head to one side, at the correct angle, the song cycle in total resembles a Cubist interpretation of an actual cello, its entirety – body, strings, conception – an object of hyper-revision and composition. But maybe that’s just me – I see cellos everywhere for some reason. Whatever you get here, Solter and Regnitz are clearly painting outside the lines and making up their own rules, and it’s because of that that The Murals resoundingly succeeds.

Tabs Out | Coach Campa & Aaron Arguello – Weekend Satanists

Coach Campa & Aaron Arguello – Weekend Satanists

10.22.23 by Matty McPherson

“Texas is a landlocked state” once mused an individual who was so wrong, that they now have 21 million Spotify listeners and social media run by “management”. But as the days go on, you do have to wonder if yes, on some metaphysical level, the state of Texas is indeed landlocked in its own woes and rough and rowdy ways. But that does not stop the entire state, itself a giant interconnected series of tubes and dive bars and stray stages, from concocting its own vicious brand of noise that with which the tape underground can find stray whimsy from.

Thus we turn out attention today towards San Antonio-based Ethan “Coach” Campa. Coach Campa is a frequent San Antonio drummer turned collaborator, that seems hellbent on finding peace of mind in a middle zone between Astral Spirits free noise, early 00s NYC noisenik shenanigans, and 70s Electronic Deutschland Musiks. Partnering with tactical synthesizer warfare guru Aaron Arguello, and their Weekend Satanists cassette on Already Dead Records (a return for Campa and introduction for Arguello) happens to present a complete psychedelic kaleidoscopic vision of jazzy speculative fiction for the hi-fi. It’s a rainbow blast of punk as much as a throwback to early Astral Spirits when free noise reigned supreme and felt akin to a backyard all ages show, not a jazz club.

A majority of the tracks aren’t in a template per se, but do have a sense of jamming and parallel tracks of thought: Campa finds a furious drum frill, or a cymbal rush that’s gotta be shaken LOOSE; Arguello hunts for 70s synthesizer horror shlock keys or knob twiddling cryptid themes that JUST HAPPEN to repeatedly collide with the spectacle of a demolition derby, but none of the fussy mess. Campa’s drumming is buzzing, close in spirit to the buzz of a fly who found itself saved from a spider web. It shines through and beckons to the noise freak while Arguello can often pursue a reserved mode of droning or quick bleep sensations. In the tape’s finest moments, like Santana Shoes Stay On, you can end up with the punkier, krautrock indebted sibling to Nala Sinephro’s Space 6.

Yet, it is side B’s A. Enter Sandman Pt. 2/B. Nothing Else Matters that truly captures the Campa x Arguello spirit. For both, it feels as if they’ve swapped roles. with Arguello making a most insect-esque drone buzz akin to a chainsaw as Campa’s cymbal rushes feel akin to flow state bleep sensations, finessed and bristling with radiance, not pummeling or rushing. When it finally bows out for that back half, it’s terraforms into blistering frills searching for a way out amongst a blackened drone morphing into arcade noises coming to swallow it whole. Within the 8 tracks across the tape, it’s the welcome longform that doesn’t overstay its welcome, engrossing adventure and trial for the two that suggests that they themselves may have a real match in heaven.

Edition of 100 Tapes Now Available at the Already Dead Bandcamp Page