New Batch – Tymbal Tapes
10.3.18 by Ryan Masteller
I’ve been accused of almost everything: being a nice guy, having impeccable taste in music, writing with the flair and panache of a neon motorcycle zipping flawlessly and fluidly through the gridlock of vocabulary. But I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of cronyism – at least not until today. And I haven’t even been accused of it yet, but I’m totally expecting the backlash. See, in the interest of full disclosure, Scott Scholz, owner and operator of Tymbal Tapes, is a valued contributor to Tabs Out, even teaching me about a thing or two in the process (like tape decks!). But we as an internet presence are also aware that we have to tackle the most interesting and magnificent musical releases on cassette, because that’s what we do, even if “one of us” is the entity ejecting those tapes into the marketplace. So we have to cover the new Tymbal Tapes batch for two reasons: (1) it is unflinchingly awesome, and (2) what the hell else are you gonna do while you wait for “Space Age Pressure Pad #4,” listen to podcasts or something?
Mosaics – they totally piss us off completely, as if we’re supposed to see images within the placement of like a billion tiny tiles. (OK, that last one’s cheating.) I mean, I don’t even know what the hell this is a picture of! And yet mosaic is a legitimate and recognized art form by at least one reputable (I think) institution. … Look, I’m just kidding about the mosaics, because they’re actually pretty rad (I see you, Philly), and they’re even more impressive when you recognize the detail that goes into them. Now, apply that concept to sound design and you’ve got a GOLDMINE on your hands! That’s where Joshua Stefane comes in, who you may know better as Endurance (what with the back catalog). On “Celestial Governors,” Stefane’s usual pastoral synth smears take on new levels of definition, especially in light of the revelation that “architecturally it’s made of a brazillion [sic] tiny fragments of sound, mostly produced by getting his equipment to glitch out” (thanks Scott!). Said Joshua himself to Scott, “I especially liked the idea of artists leaning over their work desks, blinking through magnifying glasses, and arranging thousands of pieces of colored glass into a scene.” “Celestial Governors” is most certainly the audio equivalent of that, as sonic elements have clearly been deeply considered and labored over to a remarkable degree. This is intensely layered music, grand and enveloping from a macro perspective, but bursting with incredible specificity the closer you get.
There’s a lot I’ve already said about “Cinjusti,” Mortuus Auris & The Black Hand’s new tape, which was once limited to CDR release and which I got my hands on a little over a year before this new iteration. As such, I’m gonna point you here for my initial thoughts on it, but I implore you to approach it with a fresh ear and perspective, because it’s just a fantastic trip, as is the rest of the MAbH catalog. I was also reminded by Scott that I put him in contact with Peter Taylor, the man behind MAbH, just after the CDR release of “Cinjusti” – I had honestly forgotten about that. So – yeah, that whole cronyism thing. We’re a bunch of peas in a pod.
Maybe it’s the intense introspection engendered by artists like Endurance and MAbH that throws something like Budokan Boys into stark relief. The faux wide-eyed innocence and the playful no wave trolling the New Orleans duo displays almost feels like total satanic blasphemy after utilizing the previous two tapes to center myself in some way. Well, all that centering was a complete waste of time now that I’m being confronted by this cockeyed playfulness, this “That’s How You Become a Clown.” With synthesizers burping away like they were trying to complete the alphabet and a heady and obvious delay on almost all vocal intonations (as well as an appropriate overreliance on pitch-shifting), Budokon Boys put the “fun” back in “What in the fuck am I listening to?” (trust me, those letters are all in there), which just so happens to be a seasick barrage of commentary on some stuff, like the clown thing and active shooters. I love it so much, it has made my year-end shortlist.
“More Eaze has been a long-time favorite artist around Tymbal HQ,” and I’ll stop you right there, Scott, and add my own unfiltered praise – pretty much each tape I’ve covered by More Eaze has been an absolute blast, a joy to dig into and sift through the detail, the compositional levels, the intentions and the language, gosh, the LANGUAGE. Now “a l4ngu4g3” really focuses on words and their meaning, how repetition and alteration change one’s perspective on connotation. Well, at least the sound of words emanating from a human mouth. “All 4 U” is the master class, fourteen minutes of human speech and strikingly melodic (at times) and hopelessly invasive (at others) programming leading off the tape. The other, shorter tracks follow their own intuition, their own logic, each encoded with DNA designed to invoke heightened visceral responses. Rhythms and samples collide to form conversations you’re having with yourself via ESP, which is how I know More Eaze has made a good tape. He’s got my own brain doing just that, communicating in an echo chamber lined with infinite mirrors while simultaneously rejecting that notion. Everything is meaningless and full of meaning.
You should pony up and get the whole batch while you can – there are only nine bundles left as of this writing, then it’s à la carte hell for you! #cronyism