6.5.19 by Ryan Masteller
If you’ve been reading anything I’ve written here at Tabs Out, or anywhere else for that matter (I won’t tell you where – Mike’s just going to redact it anyway), you’ll know about Peter Kris, member of (mastermind behind?) proto-industrial tribal-inflected sonic terrorists German Army. If you’ve also been paying attention to me (honestly, what other writer are you going to throw your unfettered devotion behind?), or, I guess, Peter Kris himself, you’ll be acutely aware that this isn’t his first double-cassette release – far from it. In fact, I even opened up my Word document for “Error Into the Sun” and used it as a template for this review! Snake eats tail.
We’re going to test your knowledge even further, because you should know by now that Peter’s solo releases are much more restrained and meditative than the average GeAr joint, more in your brain and less in your face. Still, this being Peter Kris and all, the mood never really ventures into pastoralism or nostalgia, even though the tracks are slow and deliberate. They’re more of the Kranky ilk than anything (think Labradford or Stars of the Lid), and there’s an underlying sense of instability or anxiety that forms the foundation. Again, not a weird thing with anything relating to German Army. Not in any way.
So let’s play “Afternoons in the Valley” as a postapocalyptic reverie then, shall we? (I mean, even Labradford toured with GY!BE.) Not a stretch – the cover shows a modern treehouse in the woods, a home built high above the ground and far away from civilization. The accompanying photographs depict gutted and neglected homes, and also old and decrepit mattresses and box springs strewn about the interior of what looks to be a type of cabin. I mean, sure – these images could also invoke the idea of modern waste, humanity encroaching on nature, but it’s so much more fun to think about it all after we’ve wiped ourselves mostly out, right? It would be so much quieter than it is now. I’d be able to get so much more done.
Choose a path – Peter does it justice with his guitar and bass pluckings and restrained feedback work. And Histamine Tapes does the package justice, presenting “Afternoons in the Valley” on recycled tapes in a recycled triple-cassette case, the ones you find audiobooks in at the library (the third cassette “hole” has a sticker reading “No cassette here”). Maybe this whole thing is an indictment of waste, and the postapocalypticism that I’m reading into it is the harbinger of things to come! Or … nah. I’d rather double down on processing fossil fuels and restricting reproductive rights and dumping money into walls and space soldiers. That makes more sense.
Sold out from the source. Buy from discogs, maybe, if you can find somebody willing to part with one of these for a cool hundred grand? (I mean, I do like money…)