Top 200 Tapes of 2018
12.17.18 by Tabs Out Crew

“Winter is going to come.”

We’re all familiar with that iconic line from Game of Thrones, when Frank Throne warns all of the princesses, dragons, and Merlins that it is going to be cold soon. A warning from old Frank was needed because reliably with that coldness comes death – Death, and best of lists. Which is worse? No one knows. But Tabs Out is not special (maybe a little special?) so once again here is our completely not ridiculous, categorically decisive, and oddly erotic(?) TOP 200 TAPES OF 2018!!!!!1!!

We took the thousands (literally thousands) of friggin tapes you maniacs sent in over past year and ground them into a fine powder. We then snorted that powder to the dome in the basement of National Audio Company and visualized the list below. The list is not up for debate. It’s actually correct… Like, VERY correct.

Please be careful with it!


#1 V/A – Centennial (NNA)

It almost feels like cheating, calling NNA’s monster anniversary smash ‘Centennial’ the best tape of the year. I mean, how can you even stand spool-to-spool with this thing? It really is a Dream Team vs Argentina situation, but would also be cassette malpractice to not give it the top slot. I’m not risking my license over this. Need more information? We did a bonus episode on this one, folks.

#2 Krümel – Gravewave (Discrete Spectrum)
#3 M Sage – Astrolabe (Noumenal Loom)
#4 Bonnie Baxter – Ask Me How Satan Started (Hausu Mountain)
#5 Seth Graham – Gasp (Orange Milk)
#6 V/A – Fire-Toolz Interbeing Remix Vol. 1 (Suite 309)
#7 JPEGMAFIA – Veteran (Deathbomb Arc)
#8 Kupkă – Altered States (Very Deep Records)
#9 Modal Zork – Oba Gooba of Gort Nork (Bumpy)
#10 Matmos – On the Radio at Southend-on-Sea (Timesuck)
#11 Sharon Gel – Delicious Fish (Fractal Meat)
#12 V/A – These Carbon​-​Composite Poles Are Made For Walkin’ (Strategic Tape Reserve)
#13 Yves Malone – The Most Of What You Need Is All You’ll Ever Have (Third Kind Records)
#14 Brett Naucke – The Back Of The Garden (Unifactor)
#15 Quicksails – The Bright (Hausu Mountain)
#16 Itch Princess – Everyone’s A Doctor (Truly Bald)
#17 Marta SmiLga – Lunar Maria, Vol. 1 (Crash Symbols)
#18 poopdood – Dumpsterave (OJC)
#19 Mårble – Diego (Not Not Fun)
#20 Grant Evans – Ephemerals (Park 70)

Evans has produced two sidelong tracks, each a fifteen-minute slab of roiling, tactile noise. “Grave” recalls digging in the night, nefarious work, unholy activity – or maybe just dirty work, without the whole wicked connotation. Who’s to say? [read more]
#21 Crazy Bread – Vocoder Divorce (Astral Spirits)
#22 Budokan Boys – That’s How You Become a Clown (Tymbal Tapes)
#23 Oestergaards – Rötterna (Tape Lamour)
#24 Lee Noble – Ashenden (Muzan Editions)
#25 Adderall Canyonly – The Limits of All Known Ice (Lighten Up Sounds)
#26 German Army – Kowloon Walled City (Null Zone)

creepy, otherworldly electronics, anime rhythms, eerie ambience, and industrial shudders mark this paean to a weird, unnatural place. [read more]
#27 Gateway – The Dawn of the Civil Savage (Castle Bravo)
#28 Max Eilbacher ‎- Electronic Tape Music (self released)
#29 Charles Barabé – De La Fragilité (Astral Spirits)
#30 Soaplands – s/t (No Rent)
#31 Mike Dilloway – May Bale Paws (Alien Passengers)
#32 Fletcher Pratt – Dub Sessions Vol. 4 (Crash Symbols)
#33 MSHR – Phased Trance Constructions (Unifactor)
#34 Nick Hoffman – Baroque Classics (For Electronic Oscillators) (Pilgrim Talk)

One thing I am NOT crappin’ you negative about is this new “Baroque Classics (For Electronic Oscillators),” which is also something you can play your kids to promote healthy brain growth. Or your adults. Anybody, really [read more]
#35 Bending Spirits / Quicksails – split (Solid Melts)
#36 Arian Shafiee – Beauty Tuning (Hausu Mountain)
#37 Terlu – Big Bingo (Not Not Fun)
#38 Somnoroase Păsărele – auro[1] (OTA)
#39 Plastic Weather – s/t (self released)
#40 Meng Qi – Sidrolz (Obsolete Staircases)
#41 Cube – Wet Housing (Anathema Archive)
#42 Uton – Sax On, Sax Off (Eiderdown)
#43 Jardín – Butaca (Freaks)
#44 M Geddes Gengras – Hawaiki Tape (Umor Rex)
#45 Motion Sickness of Time Travel – The Circuit (Adversary)
#46 Giovanni Lami – Hysteresis V (Null Zone)
#47 EQ Why – Life of the Why (Third Kind Records)
#48 Mukqs – Slug Nut (Unifactor)
#49 Bridle – Forward Motion Plus Volume One (Hurt Collection)
#50 Tiger Village – The Argument (Patient Sounds)
#51 Mary Ocher – Faust Studio Sessions and Other Recordings (Related Records)
#52 Aether Jag – The Universal Veil (Hot Releases)
#53 Tadzio – The Complaint (Blight)
#54 Joe & Joe – s/t (Oxen)
#55 Machete USA & Song – s/t (Permanent Nostalgia)
#56 Lifestyle Pornography – Community Control (Hideous Seed)
#57 Southfacing / Ali Wade – split (Frequency Domain)
#58 OverScan – The Marriage of Violence and Desire (Muzan Editions)
#59 African Ghost Valley / Richard Frances – split (Elestial Sound)
#60 Shedding – Plod and Play Vol.2 (Obsolete Staircases)

An errant gravy of small to tall, softly hewed, and slightly rusty bells that make magic *pops* and deeeeep doooooown *plooooooms* with crypto precision. [read more]
#61 Gunther Valentine – Maine Redactions (Anathema Archive)
#62 Nick Hoffman – Salamander (Notice Recordings)
#63 Toon – Cudighi (Cudighi)
#64 Former Selves – Forgiveness Circles (Patient Sounds)
#65 More Eaze – a l4ngu4g3 (Tymbal Tapes)

“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. [read more]
#66 Matthew D. Gantt – Isomorphs (Oxtail)
#67 pal+ – Kinetic Dreams (OTA)
#68 Miho Hatori & Dave Harrington – Mondialite (Commend)
#69 Varsity Voltz – Academic Probation (self released)
#70 Alpha Mound – Dvahla (Tape Lamour)
#71 Carey – The Great Southeastern Dissatisfaction (Null Zone)
#72 Dere Moans – Future Deli (Bad Cake)
#73 Mahesa Almeida – A LT O/P A N (Hasana Editions)
#74 Proven Recordings – Dubs Vol. 1 (self released)
#75 Foolish Belief – Luck (Crippled Sounds)
#76 Nikmis – #17 (Third Kind Records)
#77 Andy Loebs – About Me (Terry Tapes)
#78 Shadows – Bruce Spills the Pills (Polar Envy)
#79 Dinosaur On Fire – Populous Romantique (Ghost Diamond)
#80 Bedroom – Moons (Fluere)
#81 Bill Nace / Twig Harper / John Olson– Live at No Response (No Response)
#82 Long Distance Poison – Knock Magh (Hausu Mountain)
#83 Farwarmth – Immeasurable Heaven (ACR)
#84 Rayphaze – Wobbler (((Cave)) Recordings)
#85 Cool Person – Good-Person (Permanent Nostalgia)
#86 Julian Abraham ‘Togar’ – Acoustic Analog Digitally Composed (Hasana Editions)
#87 Cavatus – The Celestial Extasis (self released)
#88 böhm – Transients (OTA)
#89 Bridges of Königsberg – Mendacity (4 GRE)
#90 Bromp Treb / Fritz Welch – split (Timesuck)
#91 Grant Evans – Vessel (Null Zone)
#92 memorygarden – district (Constellation Tatsu)
#93 Niedowierzanie – Lumière (Lighten Up Sounds)
#94 Riar Rizaldi – I Only Have Visions For You (Hasana Editions)
#95 V/A – Till Bertil Enstoring Vol.1 (Tape Lamour)
#96 Cartoon Forest – s/t (White Reeves Productions)

Dilloway devotees know this zone well — A haunting series of celiac cycles closing in on you. The feeling of wearing a bug’s shell. Cartoon Forest ooze right into those degenerative duties. [read more]
#97 Muyassar Kurdi & Nicholas Jozwiak – Intersections & Variations (Astral Spirits)
#98 August Traeger – The Harbinger (FTAM)
#99 The Fathers – Sound Advice (Tusco Embassy)
#100 Marsha Fisher – Doll Tape (Gay Hippie Vampire)
#101 Persona Black – Through the Black Sky (Ephem Aural)
#102 ML Wah – Big Air (Flower Room)
#103 Mukqs – 起き上がり(Doom Trip)
#104 Cinchel – A Sad Study in Temporal Dissonance (Patient Sounds)
#105 tape000 – chasing windows (OTA)
#106 Suko Pyramid and moduS ponY – Echolalia (Strategic Tape Reserve)
#107 Teuthis Galore – I Smell Voices (Lurker Bias)
#108 Individual Distortion / Bossbattle – split (Tandem)
#109 Seth Chrisman & Nathan McLaughlin – Earth Tones… Metal Show (Full Spectrum)
#110 Hakobune – Parhelion (Constellation Tatsu)
#111 Kyle Landstra – Within / Without (Muzan Editions)
#112 V/A – Compilation 001 (Norelco Mori Limited)
#113 Headlights – The Radio Plays (Unifactor)
#114 QBLA – So Far (Bonding)
#115 RXM Reality – Panic Cycle (Hausu Mountain)
#116 Man Made Hill – Fingertip (Pleasence)
#117 Sam Goldberg – Unto Others (Boudoir)
#118 Talc – Eye Idols (Impermanent)
#119 Ross Khmil – Suburban Lights (Hellscape Recordings)
#120 Energy ☆ – Energy ☆ (Galtta)

To call the music of duo Camilla Padgitt-Coles and Bryce Hackford effortless would be an utter understatement. Each tilde-y wave undulates frictionlessly out toward infinity, and would continue toward it if time constraints and the shortage of Chrome tape stock didn’t put a damper on the party. [read more]
#121 Kohl – Imposed Ethics (Umor Rex)
#122 Toasted Focus – Concrete Bleach (Baked Tapes)
#123 The Triangle Man – Majick (Bad Cake)
#124 Truth Decay – s/t (Castle Bravo)
#125 Sturqen / vÄäristymä – split (Nervu)
#126 Crazy Doberman – 2038 (Obsolete Staircases)
#127 Grant Evans – Ergot Dogs (Adversary)
#128 Emerging Industries of Wuppertal – Traditions from a… (Strategic Tape Reserve)
Emerging Industries of Wuppertal imagines a bleak future whose denizens study the cracks of human folly. There they assemble historical frameworks that they somehow beam back through time to EIOW so that EIOW can write these future events into sonic structures. [read more]
#129 Matthew Atkins – Porous Inner Montage (Minimal Resource Manipulation)
#130 Beast Flower Coiffeuse / Mossy Throats – split (Moon Myst Music)
#131 Dante Augustus Scarlatti – Dimensional Synthesis (Auris Apothecary)
#132 Nicholas Langley – Entropy Soundtracks & Ambients Volume 2 (Third Kind)
#133 Wet Garden – Deep in Earth (Null Zone)
#134 Space-Saver – Save Yrself (HIC)
#135 Sparkling Wide Pressure – Find a Frame (Park 70)
#136 Dotson – De/termination (Already Dead)

Everybody drives in LA, nobody walks, but Dotson’s rhythms skip like compact discs flung across macadam ponds. They jiggle and jut, lurch and bend, all while crisping in the digital fryer. [read more]
#137 Sunmoonstar / Euglossine – split (Moss Archive)
#138 Nature Camp – Dry Food Wet Food ($ucces$)
#139 Shedding – Wave to the Wind (Obsolete Staircases)
#140 Yama-No-Kami – Kakusareta (OTA)
#141 Christian Mirande – Property Line/Plunge Pool (Unifactor)
#142 Dere Moans – Brain Mountain Disciples (Orb Tapes)

Dere Moans whips together a crackling slurry of disparate source material into two sidelong slabs of constantly shifting sonic collage, at times smearing the atmosphere with gross digital brushstrokes while at others pinging breakneck impulses through the ionosphere. [read more]
#143 Noxroy – Protomontage (Kolo)
#144 MAbH – cinjusti (Tymbal Tapes)
#145 Yuto Ohashi – Juvenile – Insubtantial, Re-Present (Cudighi)
#146 Estlerot – Ciseaux (Herhalen)
#147 J. Soliday – Synth Tidings Vol.1 (Baked Tapes)
#148 R.M. Gellin – The Cutest Boy In Town (OJC)
#149 Beast Nest – A History of Sexual Violence (self released)
#150 2 Dads 2 Sons Emoji – Church Emoji (Gay Hippie Vampire)
#151 Erik Levander – Couesnon (Katuktu Collective)
#152 Tender Crust – The Earth’s Axis and Hare (Oxtail Recordings)
#153 Fischerle – Ptylotics (Spring Break Tapes!)
#154 Night Cleaner – Even (Geographic North)
#155 Grave Blankets – s/t (Flag Day)
#156 Ratkiller – Unapologetea​/​Forged Panoply (Cudighi)
#157 Perfect Jack – Gold Chain (OJC)
#158 Substrates – Lethean (self released)
#159 Tiger Village – Tact (Orange Milk)
#160 Peter Kris – Error Into the Sun (Never Anything)
#161 Tereshkova – Addendum: Raindbows (Audio. Visuals. Atmosphere.)
#162 Rambutan – Swerve Throgh Time (Null Zone)
#163 Unsustainable Social Condition – Pleasure Seaking Pacifist (Phage)
#164 Bus Gas / Amulets – split (Spring Break Tapes)

The music on this “companion release” (a great way to describe a split that uses two tapes instead of splitting sides on one) would certainly make two fine independent releases, but Spring Break Tapes knows a good thing when they hear one, and there is an undeniable synergy found in bringing Bus Gas and Amulets together within one double-tall Norelco case. [read more]
#165 Mod Exist – Caught in the Noise (Uncle Bob’s Records)
#166 Eave – s/t (Astral Spirits)
#167 Larry Wish – How More Can You Need? (Field Hymns)
#168 Félicia & Christina – Folded Galaxy (Commend)
#169 Pepper Mill Rondo – E.D.M. (Hausu Mountain)
#170 Saint Hewitt – Oblivescence (self released)
#171 Forest Management – Rotating Angle (Unifactor)
#172 Royallen – Found Tape (Permanent Nostalgia)
#173 Günter Schlienz – Liederbuch (Muzan Editions)

The tracks on “Liederbuch” follow Schlienz’s penchant for unobtrusive and dreamlike, cloud cushions of synthesizer melodies and hushed vocals piled together on the Milky Way, just ready for all the constellations to materialize into their actual forms and recline on the ethereal plane.  [read more]
#174 presidiomodelo / Machinefabriek – split (Tandem)
#175 Marlo Eggplant / Arvo Zylo – split (NO PART OF IT)
#176 Cryptonym – Automated Predation (Castle Bravo)
#177 Vierzig Skizzen – Travels in Public (Lily Tapes and Discs)
#178 CDX – All Night (Suite 309)
#179 I Am Just A Pupil – The White Album (Crash Symbols)
#180 James Fella + Steve Jansen / Tom Tom Thrasher – split (That’s Cool)
#181 The Tuesday Night Machines – Hawaiian Yurt Music (Strategic Tape Reserve)
#182 The Marx Trukker – Ease of the Bough (Magnetic Purely)
#183 Bary Center / Yorihisa Taura / Nicholas Langley / Chemiefaserwerk – Puzzle Time (Third Kind Records)
#184 Attenuated – Ideomotor (Space Slave)
#185 HCMJ – 의미 (Ghost Diamond)
#186 Meme Vivaldi – 420 Deluxe (Ingrown)
#187 Aviary – s/t (self released)
#188 Marcia Custer – Stacey’s Spacey (Unifactor)
#189 Sun.TV – Hyper Portal Terrorism (Shadowtrash Tape Group)
#190 Storyteller – The Stubborn Organic Emblem of… (AD AAD AT)
#191 Bob Bellerue – All In (Anarchymoon)
#192 Bary Center – Betrayal (Always Human)
#193 Sugar Pills Bone – Slack Babbath Plays Peep Durple (Orb)
#194 Celer + Forest Management – Landmarks (Constellation Tatsu)
#195 Wilted Woman – Trapezoid Tappers (Plastic Bags)
#196 Pajjama – Womb (Orange Milk)

 “Womb” is a technical beast, a massive hybrid of band interplay and digital fuckery that shifts as often as… I’m drawing a blank on something that shifts a lot. [read more]
#197 Clear Fluids – Music of the Spheres (Lighten Up Sounds)
#198 Dominic Coppola – Honeymoon Phase (Unifactor)
#199 Christopher Witley – Hecca Autre (Audio. Visuals. Atmosphere.)
#200 Mechanical Facade / Ratkiller – split (Cavern Brew)