Tabs Out | TRAYSH – Shady Favorites

TRAYSH – Shady Favorites

8.3.23 by Matty McPherson

So just what is it about Husky Pants and cassette tapes? This is no longer a flirtation but a fixation, if not olive branch, towards the format fulfilling a strange curatorial impulse that’s caught in a lineage between a small bounty of jam-oriented, free-sprawling musics. That’s partially why when Ryley Walker releases a free jazz trio, it not only makes sense, but warrants as much attention as an Astral Spirits vintage. And for good reason! Have you seen the name of the Traysh trio? Daniel Van Duerm, Andrew Scott Young and Ben Billington. These aren’t just ten dollar (triple) names that warrant major billing on the tape releases and any fairgrounds where the ringling brothers once set up, but names rooted deep in Chicago musics. From Billington’s Quicksails to Young’s long collaborations with Walker, amongst Van Duerm’s time in AAVD Trio (who’s 2020 Orb Tapes remains one of the label’s strongest off-center noise curations); Traysh might as well be moonlighting as the Chicago Underground Trio for this era Chicago tape watchers.

And like good ECM warpers and second hand shop sound snatchers, Traysh’s debut Shady Favorites is a twisted left-field ode to the crate digging and scene watching. This is the kind of rollicking musician muscle for the jazz fan with both one hand on the 70s Miles jamming and another on Lounge Lizards/Saccharine Trust’s idea of a jazz for the punk basement. If Emergency Group hadn’t the rigid restraint and adherence to the motorik impulse on their February effort, it’s possible we would have seen territory akin to where Traysh goes. For there is a familiarity in the warming tones Van Duerm hits at with his ever reliant electric piano melodies and grooved out organ solos; as is Scott Young’s bass lines or guitar licks that reinforce the groove and let it sprawl or keep steadfast hustle. Yet Billington has a capacity to keep a normal time, or invert with sporadic frills and sudden solo sleights to upend the tiro’s almost-lockstep; or even with a synthesizer of his own to force everyone down their own crooked paths. Sick With Experience, their pinnacle jam, might buoy others with its true commitment to each member hashing out their own crooked sonic shapes. It comes together in harmonious deposits near its first third and finale that toy with silken noir theatrics, but a tumultuous middle section reinforces an underlying punk dissonance.

Their side B pushes up the hazy psychedelia. Van Duerm’s electronics adding snippets of otherworldly eerie aura, while Billington’s drum strike up claustrophobic, centripetal space. Meanwhile, Young’s guitar on Paint Sink is closer to the wooze of a pedal steel, while his bass plucking is akin to a marijuana cigarette wrapped in an American Spirits slowly spinning out. It’s our only buoy before the absolute technocolor storm that is the free jazz breakdown. Sutra Baths (“a great place to visit” – me) saunters and swells amongst that finger picking and synthesizer wail, natural crescendoes before coming back down to a Billington break that’s got the sweat of paranoia thick on it. Ever Over, the most pulped out cut, pushes the synth drone that’s sort of been suggested in the previous 4 cuts to the foreground, bellying into a massive hurricane with the organ before sputtering to a fine dandy conclusion.

Limited “spooly” Tape now available from the Husky Pants Bandcamp Page. The tape stops at Ever Over, but the gang were kind enough to include a digital bonus that surmises the veracity of this session.

Tabs Out | tondiue – Harvest

tondiue – Harvest

8.1.23 by Matty McPherson

There are several blue rooms that we encounter in our lives from time to time. Take for instane, the AT&T Blue Room, a streaming application that you could watch coachella through with 2k9 state of the art internet! Or how about The Orb – Blue Room, the 40 minute maxi single with Jah Wobble on bass and a Top of the Pops appearance in which a friendly game of chess was played. I’ve returned to the later a lot during spring and summer, partially because I find Blue Room’s sequencing to have an expansive, composer-oriented idea of what it was to accomplish: a water walk for ravers, basically. Such things are quite giving.

It’s Tuesday morning and I woke up to 2 notifications, one of which from a gentleman in Europe imploring me to look at the cassette(!) Resident Advisor just reviewed. And immediately based on the “Side A Continuous” & “Side B Continuous” mixes of tondiue’s Harvest, it seemed like a given that a lot of early 90s Orb energy was being summoned into this 60-minute tour-de-force; one as giving as that water walk perhaps. tondiue’s Harvest is a particular creative beast comprised of 2 ~30 minute longforms that terraform their way through their 3 parts. Cameron Kelley, a Pacific Northwest soundsmith and clubber based up in Seattle, is the producer and composer of these gargantuan pieces. They were both of which were written and performed for the 2022 Ground Hum & Active/Passive festivals in the Pacific Northwest, which might be a bit of a key giveaway to the general pacing of these pieces and their regionality. However, I genuinely do not see eye to eye with the resident advisor’s review of this piece’s influences, especially because so much of what Harvest represents is early 90s Mr. Modo catalog.

It’s a credit to Kelley that Lilypad purposely wants you to spread out and sprawl through the reef of its first dozen or so minutes. There’s more in common with Pacific Northwest stalwarts PJS’ sense of stilted atmospherics and vibes than outright rave noise or an endless spiraling crescendo found here. There’s walloping arpeggio and flexuous vibratos that give the sense of a close encounter with a galactic entity, but it’s only a few hazy reverberations away from full on rural psychedelia. By the piece’s second progression, watery percussive, akin to well…lilypads, and slight alien noise begins to give a form and retracts the ambient sprawl into a forward momentum. Suddenly, we’re in that final third, slinking and shimmering our way to the finish. It’s here where Kelley really hits on the pulp quirks that makes early Orb still such a delight to turn to. Bleeps, ray gun sounds, random voices wailing or sprawling out…it’s a giggly kind of psychedelic dance that beckons to you to come in without ever devolving to insular headphone music. All neatly tied to a bow as in its final moment it recalls the piece’s opening vibratos into a kickin’ breakbeat that quickly evaporates into liquid komische.

Koye almost preserves that liquid komische state at the start, just now as a radiating drone; massive EQ’d frequencies rising and falling as synthetic bass chews the sides of the scene. It’s effervescent, lucid dreamscaping for that first dozen or so minutes, only slowly introducing a beat that sounds akin to synthetic bowls being manipulated. Eventually by its middle mark, tondiue has revealed a drum pattern & ambience akin to the work of Bill Laswell’s Material of the early 90s or the Towers of Dub themselves; if you know Material’s Mantra (the praying mantis mix done by the Orb), then a lot of the piece’s tribal techno/”is this O.Rang?” codifiers and energy snap into focus. Seriously, by Koye’s second half, tondiue is full-blown in an Astralwerks Excursions in Ambience revival mode straight gunning to get on a theoretical volume 5. It’s to its credit that he doesn’t reach for the overbearing psychedelic overload, but stays grounded to the floor with the synth noise and that ever-shifting dubtronic beat. By the track’s close we’re borderline sampling the organ of Ride’s Leave Them All Behind and turning it on its side into a legitimate mantra before reducing itself to an electro state and bowing out. Although you could just put it on repeat and get lost for hours.

Limited Tape Available at the Sym Sym (Mor Elian & Rhyw’s Fever AM sister Label) page!

Tabs Out | mioriii – Nature’s Way

mioriii – Nature’s Way

7.31.23 by Matty McPherson

Linger around bandcamp pages long enough and you’ll come to repeatedly see a peculiar supporter with an avatar akin to the Husker Dü logo. Except it has a fourth line intersecting & has been rotated 90 degrees to represent two Hs–for Hush Hush. KEXP DJ Alex Ruder has kept Hush Hush as a reserved tape outpost over the past several years, often times engaging with music far outside the continental scene and as such, importing in high quality foreign artists and sonics for domestic enjoyment. The kinds of releases that quickly appear and then disappear by the time the word’s run amok.

There’s a lovely new continuation of the ever-stable PJS aesthetic currently available from the label right now, but today’s attention is squarely around mioriii’s ambient downtempo pop EP debut, Nature’s Way, which literally came out 2 days ago and took up a sizable amount of Sunday and this morning. It a five songer, the kind that runs as a ~C36 with each 18 minute side repeating the tape in full. That’s a summer walk listen or porch coffee drinker if I ever knew one. I also should mention that it is not exactly mioriii’s debut per se–the Japanese musician’s 2018 Ms. Indie Pop EPs are hiding amongst the crevices of the internet (and yes, mioriii is a voracious pop obsessive). Although you can be certain that Nature’s Way is an assured introductory statement.

It would be easy to simply listen to the 18 minutes and pick up on a series of loosely connected sonic threads. Nature’s Way is not mixed to transition from track to track, and when an idea suffices it bows out. However, it was sequenced with a clear direction in mind; both the opening title track and Echoes feature faint vocals and restraint akin to Lucy Liyou’s most precious moments at the piano, and they recall the way Nyokabi Kariuki layered and mapped her tracks discussing long covid on Resonant Body. The affect is arguably purposeful, as Bandcamp liner notes do indicate mioriii recorded this music on the cusp of a surgery/recovery from a strange fatiguing ailment that she has been working through over the past few years. Multiple listens, routinized and thought over, reward Nature’s Way’s slight palette that digs deep into what it wants to convey.

Specifically the middle 3 cuts where mioriii starts to twist up shapes of typical synth ambience, hitting the ear favorably. Her bookend cuts feature more “piano key” textures and vocal poems that provide a window to her world, but in the middle we find the dreams and desires. Those middle cuts are grounded by their fleet, effervescent flourishing textures, and they reach for actual pop heights as soon as they take a brief deviation from that path. “Annual Rings” incorporates slinky noises and minimal pulsing beats; the kinds that keep looking forward admits the synth noise’s catatonic wailing. “Mossy” starts from 1000 yards staring above the ground in the skies, with expansive synth patches akin to Drowse at his most uplifting or the urban twilight night-watching found on Aria Rostami & Daniel Blomquist’s Floating Tone; it then adds a cello and rain sounds, immediately finding an introspective somberness that with a minimal beat can saunter the hours away, the clear highlight of these 18 minutes. Finally, “Under the Sun”, the most outright ambient pop cut, limits its movement and twists simply to enjoy a moment in the Sun. As I’m uploading this, it’s a strangely grey, almost thickly humid morning to cap off July. But maybe this will bring out the sun for the park by late afternoon.

Limited Edition Cassette EP now available at Hush Hush Records’ Bandcamp!

Track Premiere! The Exit Bags – At Least I Know Now

Track Premiere! The Exit Bags – At Least I Know Now

7.29.23 by Matty McPherson

It’s been a grueling July. The heat is the giveaway, “hottest month recorded in human history”, after all. But it is in the details of the heat that therein lies the strangely cruel magnitude. Not too far from my house is an asphalt road. It was poorly paved over an underwater creek bed. Every winter shower, it bubble over and runs amok. The city nor the county chose to maintain the road. They let a stream of water spend the last 6 months gently dribble down and create algae debris and a litany of the most colorful weeds this side of North San Diego county. Well the heat proper finally dried that asphalt creek riverbed up. The magnitude is small, but the feeling lingers.

Anyways we turn our attention up towards Edmonton, Alberta, where my observation feels like naive, wishful. There’s more than 10 dozen fires currently raging up there. The magnitude of that destruction doesn’t escape me one bit from my time spent in Isla Vista where 2017-2020 burns imparted a new wariness amongst students of all ilk. And it rings in my head while in the thick of Michael James’ return to “The Exit Bags” moniker. Back in 2021 Michael came to Drongo with a tender, lowkey effort, Tower of Quiet. We premiered a track then! And now, James returns to Drongo with a new release, Our Sun Will Clean its Holy Wounds, out on September 1st. And he comes bearing a humid, thick bass-grounded slow burner of a cut that might as well be the soundtrack of the late stage summers from here on out. Here at Tabs Out, we (well, myself!) are getting out of our summer funk with a track premiere of The Exit Bags’ second single, “At Least I Know Now”. You’ll find the video & Bandcamp stream above and the image of album artwork below.

It’s an exceptional refinement of where Michael James’ slowcore-tinged palette was in 2021. There’s a humid THICK crunch to the sound that rushes to the red. The result of those pulsing drums and lurching bass that make up the bulk of the track proper. but also fragile quietLOUDquiet bursts that run amok towards the end. It all culminates in the kind that sounds both unwieldy expansive yet conveys the summer heat, if not personal anguish, bearing down on you. Whatever James is mining at here on “At Least I Know Now”, it’s conveyed with utmost deftness that defines the personality of each Drongo Release

Snake Eggs – Ceremony I, the cowering

Scranton, Pennsylvania based Snake Eggs has achieved about a decade’s worth of nebulous bandcamp transmissions. All tied to the long running digital label Stress Carrier. Approaching 100 releases, Stress Carrier’s discogs page is a graveyard, although their varied presence across bandcamp, facebook, and twitter do indicate that this has been a lively era long endeavor of capturing independent and experimental music in Northeastern Pennsylvania happening with great frequency. Many free downloads are abound if that sort of interests you.

With the notion of whether or not the label or Snake Eggs has done physicals before not able to be pinned down in any capacity, we should stick with what we know about their latest, Ceremony I, the cowering. “New mixtape of sorts; reassembles and recontextualizes fragments of sound into a cryptic, haunted narrative.” It’s quite a simple and inviting C34 of two long plays that do end up charting a refined execution of multi-part composition; the kind fit for the cassette format. Ceremony I, the cowering reveals depth in listening, amongst a strong fascination for global genre splicing and movement that the cassette experience does entertain most splendidly.

Phase 1 has a solid flow starting with subterranean backchannel FM and closing with rapture level ritualistic drone. For an 18 minute piece that’s a tricky proposition to set course on, but there’s a real excitement to the opening minutes of strange rhythms and voices moving through static. The sudden pivot into lo-fi indie is washed out, startled to be there itself, a piece of hypnagogia unexpected. And that is before the final eight or so minutes of deep sea ambient exploring and accelerating towards the depths of drone.

Phase 2 ups environmental sounds and effects. There’s helicopters and machine guns, a strange trip to a zone far from the garage right now. Gurgling war machines, and a low hanging spectral synth drone; the kind of a giant red sun. Well, at least that’s the opening 4ish minutes before we turn to an interlude of space machine bleeping and folk that’s artifact’d. All gives way though, to a single guitar chord that reverberates and becomes the drone under bird noises of a non-organic materiality. Again, the band seem to test the elasticity of one chord droning to carry this piece, as it transitions towards a gong’s drone that soon ebbs into a percussive clanking akin to footing and flutes likened to the highlands. It chews the idea for a while, before quickly fading out.

While Phase 2 seems to be a little more stretched on how to edits these ideas together over 15 minutes, it never ceases to be such a beguiling listen. It is as if the possible musics Bardo Todol’s field recordings often suggest are around the corner suddenly did arise. And Snake Eggs in Scranton, PA happens to answer that desire, in stunning lo-fi. With a handful of copies of the tape left, a mighty recommendation goes towards the adventurous zoners.

Edition of 21 Tapes Shipping Now at the Snake Eggs Bandcamp Page!

Tabs Out | Lanayah – I’m Picking Lights in a Field…

Lanayah – I’m Picking Lights in a Field…

6.26.23 by Matty McPherson

Lanayah, “a ‘fairly unclassifiable blackened screamo’ collective based in Santa Barbara, CA & Seattle, WA” [at the House of Drongo], ought to be a household name. Well, in reality, they were sorta a household name if you happened to know the Santa Barabara/Ventura/805 scene AND/OR Drongo tapes back around 2019 and the fateful pre-pandemic weeks of 2020. Lanayah have long been gestating in that region, with a Bandcamp release dating back to 2016, but a proper Drongo debut from 2019, Forever in May. That later one made small waves amongst a few dedicated individuals–Thom from Planning for Burial, if I recall correctly, was a staunch supporter of the album during that time. And for good reason. Forever in May was an absolutely bonkers lil’ doomgaze tape that seemed particularly focused on finding precarious snippets of downtime, droning and crashing into something mighty. The trance characteristics, amongst the heavy bliss out that was hiding underneath it all, would become especially apparent during an auditorium show where I’d be introduced to the gang of Will (vocals/head screamer), Lynn (guitars), Ethan (drums), and Ari (synths, kyma, organ, tape loops/tactical warfare guru).

Now nearly four years later, and after another era of gestating, the Lanayah collective has returned in new form. Ethan may have left, with Michael Tsang now performs drum duties; meanwhile both Isabelle Thorn (of Dear Laika, half a world away) & Elliott Hansen (CEO of Drongo Tapes) fill in vocal and tape loop auxiliary roles, respectively. Everyone’s contribution reveal I’m Picking Lights in a Field… as an airtight C41 that sees the collective both paying attention to larger shifts in online heavy music, while also dialing in their own ability to cast off ecstatic, divine compositions with immense precision. The kinds that you accept whole and take everything.

A lot happens in four years, enough that renders the tape’s 8 tracks as bonafide genre polyglots. Sewn together to reflect the brilliant, tumultuous pacing shifts that keep yr ears perked up. Lanayah’s capacity for the ethereal had been noted last go around. And now there’s a greater sense of space and varied tension in cuts thanks largely to the auxiliary players and the main lineup’s dedication to explore these textures. Sometimes, like the staunch opener Aspen, there’s a digital crunch enough to carry the tension, and even in the case of Peak and Core, it becomes the framework for its own kind of wobbly, wonky quietLOUDquiet cut. While other times, like in Staring Blankly, it operates as an intricate detail in the mix; an extra crispness that recalls the effortless work Loathe amounted to on their 2020 metalcore masterstroke. This is all but confirmed with Picking Lights in a Field. It’s a highlight, not an interlude, that strips away all tension to revea the production on the loop’s acting as a memory of a memory. The cut itself recalls alternative rock demos, but then strips it down until its wailing effervescence amongst skyscrapers in the distant lights. If there’s one area for heavy, cyborg-esque metalcore music to continue exploring, it’s here.

Yet unlike Loathe, Lanayah can write sub-90 second sludge punk that functions as either an intro to a piece (Insects in their Immersion), or an intricate moment to a song. Knife, Mirror in particular finds that sludgy energy and marries it under a blackened rainbow of a synth line that blisters forward during reverent choruses that actively make me want to melt like a popsicle in the sun. It truly feels like letting everything go. Especially as things pick up on the superblast of a closer, Carrying Fire. It’s an all killer, no filler closer; the kind where knotty riffs and wailing guitars burst into massive fills and uncompromising drones. It’s to the piece’s credit that it repeatedly shifts its bpms and uses everything at its disposal (especially those tape loops and synths) to create an omnibus akin to a steel mill at its most industrious. And it’s fun enough to want to loop back to the start and begin the begin all over again.

Edition of 200 Tapes available now at the Drongo Tapes Bandcamp Page!

Tabs Out | Michael Cormier-O’Leary – Heard From the Next Room Over

Michael Cormier-O’Leary – Heard From the Next Room Over

6.23.23 by Matty McPherson

Lily’s Tapes and Discs has been a quietly upstanding outpost in Rochester, New York, deep in the heart the Hudson Valley. The region’s mass migration (a result of COVID, at least on a secondary level) and ample space has seen it begin to flourish into a real regional community outside NYC happening across the past few years. From the new sounds of Island House to longtime experimental maverick movers and shakers like M. Geddes Gengras and Ben Seretan making it their home (Seretan also recently became Basilica Hudson curator), alongside venues like Tubby’s having successfully navigated COVID era restrictions to hold down a five year festival party. Yup, it’s sort of a powerhouse in new, regional American musics.

Yet, Lily’s Tapes and Discs has been fighting the DIY fight long before, at times circling and encroaching on a variety on gumshoes and mavericks that keep their nose to the 4-track recorder and work on home recording apparitions and sleights. The label sent Tabs Out a handful of their Fall 2022 releases, which came off of a lovely summer 2022 that included the Natural Park Service’s latest slowcore sleeper masterstroke. And as such, I’ve been sort of keeping the tapes quietly to myself and my boombox in the wee-hours when applicable.

I do love Lily’s Tapes and Discs strangely uniform design: a font that’s not quite “grouper helvetia” or “drongo new roman” (some of my other favorite fonts) but often reflects a humble, imperfectly scurried font; color palettes that often employ earth greens and hand drawn drawings that recall crayola tuesday at the elementary; a j-card that folds out to reveal a whole other half of a paper finessed into liner notes; amongst a gold foil on the tape shell. There is a smell that comes with this type of uniformity in tape design, a smell of woodland oak and fine pine wine to be exact. The rustic homemade psychedelia of Lily’s Tapes and Discs can do that to one, I suppose.

Such is the case with one of the best DIY-tape modes that I’ve been a bit privy towards recently: the homespun rehearsal tape. Michael Cormier-O’Leary’s “Heard From the Next Room Over” is one such tape, a sudden spurt of January 2022 recordings that seemed to just drop out of a hat and into a C25. I was drawn to the tape by merit of its title, which almost seemed to become a daring desire of how to approach these tunes. Up close with headphones, and well yes you’ll be especially attuned to the pedal clamps, the studio set-up sounds, and the small quivers that each key provides. Tune it out and play it over the hi-fi, in another room over or underneath whatever anime boxset you have out that the library will let you keep for half a year, Cormier-O’Leary’s keys become a sound bath, if not just fulfills a sort of utilitarian purpose its title promises. Really there is not a lot I can emphasize about Cormier-O’Leary’s playing or MO on this recording besides that each cut carries a velvety finesse and familiarity. It happens to reflect a particularly strong day of piano rehearsal.

The mode that tapes like this provide, from Tara Jane O’Neil’s 2021 sketches for Orindal or Ross Hammond’s guitar practice tape from last fall on Full Spectrum, is one of both intense listening as much as a window into the past. A strong day of rehearsal can sometimes just summon such stirrings. The kinds where my minds recedes towards when I lived with a piano. Its sound filled the house and its hallway. Was it pleasant? I suppose so, especially at the age of six. Do I wax nostalgic for it really? Well it never was delivered with the delicacy that a six year old can provide. At least nothing that Michael Cormier-O’Leary could not have found with the dazzling key changes and cooing haptics of a rehearsal well spent.

Edition of 75 pro-dubbed gold foil tapes. Packaged with full-color j-cards with artwork by Francis Lyons (, numbered and assembled by hand at LTD Headquarters available now!

Tabs Out | K/S/R & Wind Tide – Split

K/S/R & Wind Tide – Split

6.22.23 by Matty McPherson

Have you ever watched your famous empty pond become…well I guess an unempty pond? One filled with winter rains that slowly evaporate across spring? But have you ever had it evaporate so slowly algae starts to suddenly grow and turn the granite colored water to swamp granite? That empty pond…it’s aging well in its late day life; never thought I’d see a day where it would mature enough to have algae here on the property. But today, it does.

I suppose there’s something within that paragraph above you could untangle a connection to the KSR/Wind Tide split from January 6th of this year, released by the sterling, PHYSICAL, tape label of New Mexico. We come nearly half a year after its release, as my ears have continued to mature (and bubble like algae?), once again finding myself back to craving the gaps and the space between the noise; they bubble like algae I suppose. Anyways, K/S/R is comprised of Abigail Smith, Justin Rhody, and Ben Kujawski, and they happen to keep their feet low to the ground. They’ve been working with PHYSICAL before on releasing other 2022 recordings at the No Name Cinema and the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe. This time their work in the venue sees the trio laid down three inquisitive, low-rumbling improvisations of wind instruments and stringed playing. It maintains one hand in free-jazz and another in rudimentary slow finger picking. Smith and Rhody often complement themselves thanks to their flute and violin playing, respectively; it’s the kind where both of the performer seems to be trying a tickle of a flute or a ghastly high-wire chord crash out of each other. All the while, Kujawski hangs underneath with impressive electronic bass or free form pedal steel and unkmept percussive. Together, the trio’s free forms on Side A are nothing short of a small ruminations. Fit for dusk or dawn, these are pieces that labor slowly in their space, beckoning to be beamed on your porch in the comedown or come-up of a scorching desert day. The energy of the pieces themselves reflect low desert plains and the tourist traps of lost wisdom found within, tangled lethargic balls of energy that keep you a minute and seem to take you somewhere further out.

Of course, Side B will lead us to perhaps the best non-tourist trap in the plains of West Texas: the Wind Tide studio in Littefield’s downtown. Have you ever visited Wind Tide studio? It’s quite the spacious endeavor. Wind Tide, Gretchen Korsmo & Andrew Weathers, keep the endeavor as an open-book affair, which is what makes Wind Tide (the project) a rather exciting, enticing proposition. The 2020 era releases from the two were obsessed with the studio space itself, turning their home loft/studio/etc into one grand musique concrete tribute and experience to the time and place. But as that energy has furthered back into Full Spectrum’s land art MO, Wind Tide has found themselves industrious as ever. The resulting tinkering with synth almost-pop and drone works (most notably 2021’s haunting surprise, Saturation Dust) has given the project’s longforms their own sense of adventure. Turn Up the Periwinkle is a serendipitous experience for Korsmo & Weathers, pushing away any traces of the project’s naturalism or intrinsically sweetness for a relatively brevity focused speculative fiction oriented soundtrack soundscape. Both the duo utilize synths (of an unknown source), as well as clarinet & tenor sax (respectively). With further instrumentation including lap steel and piano keys with even microcassette (loops?) and a shruti box being brought in, the duo work refinements towards a strange kind of monolithic entity. The synths radiate like plutonium, with a glisten that sugarcoats the ear. As such, the shruti box and microcassette loops maintain prescient buoyancy in the mix, as the horn and clairnet paint oblong shapes amongst their cryptid notes. Its calming though. Especially in the moments the synths drone at their lowest and leave them just playing off each other. The kinship to that moment, two souls on the Texas prairie just rehearsing their own prairie jazz. A fine day’s work.

Edition of 100 copies w/download code, professionally dubbed with gold printed shells, are available now at the PHYSICAL Bandcamp Page

Tabs Out | groffic – Bad Luck Comparing Hands

groffic – Bad Luck Comparing Hands

6.14.23 by Matty McPherson

Don’t anticipate to find much information on groffic currently. A twitter that indicates a presence between Texas and Oklahoma with work that dates back to 2021, a groffic gorilla logo by Jordan Kelley, and a bandcamp page that ponders “Does it think of me as much as I have given thought to it?”. All is mystery to my eyes, but the truth is that Bad Luck Comparing Hands, the groffic debut cassette self-release, untangles the mystery a bit. There’s a picture of a friendly looking individual inside, someone who likely haunts the country fauna of the Texas plains. It was mastered FOR CASSETTE by none other than Angel Marcloid, whom is thanked alongside glitch[dot]cool, God is War, Semantix, Little Mountain House, and a few other artists that possibly suggest a semblance of a scene–part meatspace, part digital–of likeminded individuals working together in realms of “hyper”-glitch, high-pitch jitterbug electronic listening music, and deconstructed rave textures.

If those genre labels sound enticing (or you like early PC music), well Bad Luck Comparing Hands, is likely going to be an incredibly smooth soulful listen. groffic’s thirteen tracks are giggly, bubbly romps; illuminating synapses in the process that construct a pathway out of the club and into the psychedelic tropics of that j-card. A lot of which is the result of groffic’s pacing across the 13 cuts. Tenacious and high-wire like Orange Milk or Hausu Mountain sleights streamlined into a full fizzled DJ mix stuttering on command. Tracks sort of collapse into each other, united by a whatever thread was last on the mix: a vocal texture, a fizzling high bpm drum, or a synth line that keeps the eye on the prize. The result is that downtime on Bad Luck Comparing Hands becomes a rarity, but its not to be treated a luxury; groffic’s one-track mindset is such a draw itself that the tape’s consistent punchy textures and dopamine jackpot deconstructions. It’s other worldly big sounding music. Less focus on the low-end package, with a greater emphasis towards vocal frys, metal sounds, and hyperrealist urban blights in mid-end that wake one from a pre-conscious slumber. You’ll seem to have a greater realization of where you are as you hear the tape.

As such, it makes natural sense that groffic didn’t just do a cassette release. There’s still a handful of “DIY VHS includes the entire album accompanied by visuals for each song which combine AI visualizations with other video”. These kinds of releases are rare–calling back to Already Dead’s release of Muave from early 2023–but I cannot help but endorse the release full stop. groffic’s tunes at their best moments on the tape carry that kind of potency of wearing the “THEY LIVE” sunglasses, realizing everything around you isn’t what it is. To marry that to new images, like the one suggested on the cover, only seems to hint at where groffic is further taking the music towards.

Edition of 100 tapes and 10 VHS tapes are now available at the groffic Bandcamp page.

Tabs Out | Dinzu Artefacts June 2023 Trio

Dinzu Artefacts June 2023 Trio

6.6.23 by Matty McPherson

I’ve found myself finally coming out of a bit of a crunch period, recovered and back to hearing esoteric sounds with gusto once more. Being in touch with label pals also helps, but the recent era of Dinzu Artefacts has been notable for its consistent peaks and tantalizing potential that the batch promises. Unifactor used to hold this power more so, but I truly cannot anticipate what Joe’s curation with the artists he’s working with will happen to build off a mental crumbs or notions of what dedicated tape label curation can afford us. For the 2023 June batch,m Dinzu Artefacts calls to certain “otherness” found within geological accidents, both manmade and of natural evolution, ending up with a definitive era peak.

Mattie Barbier – This is What People Think Mountains Look Like

San Diego’s marine layer was in full force during the month of May. Enough so that it appears to be staying into a traditional “June Gloom”. The kind that imparts a morning mist, rather unfavorable laundry drying conditions, and a long standing call for the slowest of cinema. Your “El Sur”s and Leviathan (2012, although 2016 is upstanding work). Mattie Barbier has successfully concocted the kind of drone akin to the diving rod of the former, as much as the camera cinematography of the latter, within this one outstanding piece, This is What People Think Mountains Look Like.

40 minutes of sustained trombone drone is going to seem like an appetizer when you’re coming off of 3 hours of pondering just whether or not Spring Does Hide Its Joy. But over recent evening, I’ve come to desire keeping this in rotation. Barbier’s recording, dated from June 2021 a the Tank Center for Sonic Arts in Rangley, Coloado, is an unequivocal production dream. It also just happens to reflect a fragment of 20th century Americana repurposed into something beyond this mortal coil; a futurist silo of sound. What could have been turned into scrap metals, saved by a consortium of local & east coast composer and deep listening music enthusiasts, has become an “impossible sanctuary of sound on Colorado’s remote desert, perched atop the oil fields about 90 miles north of Grand Junction”.

The Tank itself has a lovely website listening many of the activities, although I suggest further reading the AP web piece which provides many other insights. This space can be a mecca for the artists that with which the famed underground Cistern of the Deep Listening Band is unattainable. And to think in its local history of the Rangley area, its history as a sort of pilgrimage site for teens and ne’er do wells, before becoming the venue that it is today, feels eternally cool.

Anyways, Barbier’s trombone is just beyond engrossing. There’s a majestic, stately tone to a few of their early blasts, the kinds that mutate and swirl in a quixotic blend until its alien garble. It’s sets up the 41 minutes that follow as Barbier pushes towards metallic textures and slight tonal changes and strange rattlings that make the heart skip a beat. It sounds of garbled radios or giant locust crushes; insect buzzing and rocks tumbling on the high desert. It’s a type of drone that in spite of its naturalistic title, both the sound and tape cover reveal Barbier’s underlying rural psychedelic approach to the mountains. Perhaps that’s why coming off an early Plotkin cd and the FSA/Roy Montgomery collab, this tape hasn’t left the boombox so easily. Heady trance depths indeed, especially on side B.

David Donohoe – Fen

The dirty little secret about freeform radio? We’re suckers for a good hour of field recordings. And when we have none to offer, the computer is loaded with bird sounds. The Dublin, Ireland based sound practitioner, David Donohoe likely would feel the same way just based off his latest surprise treat for DA. Fen opens like a podcast, as Donohoe takes his Bandcamp liner notes and recites them directly to the listener. It’s a nifty act of priming the listener for what the tape is to hold: “Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler (both Summer migrant breeders) and Snipe (resident breeder), alongside tuned percussion and synthesizer textures,”. Donohoe is earnest about seeing an otherness and eerie factor to these birds that mimic 20th century developments in editing. He chose these particular birds noting their capacity for exceptionally alien sounds; the kinds that human electronic music of the 60s and 70s happen to mesh with splendidly with low synthesizer bass rumblings and percussion noise.

Thus, if you come to Fen with a particular desire not for bird sounds, but to see how Donohoe fuses it into a soundbath, then you have likely come to the right place. These are the kinds of songs I imagine the Birds of Maine in Michael DeForge’s latest donate for their library system–both wholesome and uncanny yet wit. There are periods of actual bird sound and environmental rainstorms that practically call to the immense pleasure of having something outside typical time conditions. Although, the tape is best for pitch black level listening, appreciating the timbres ability to create electronic esque tones. As the tape goes on though, greater focus on Donohoe’s electronics do take shape. Yet, the birds remain precarious and reveal how well Donohoe has achieved matching his sounds to their frequencies.

Merzbow – Hatomatsuri

On Hatomatsuri, Merzbow fetches the bolt cutters.

Tapes Now Available at the Dinzu Artefacts Bandcamp Page