Tabs Out | Wires Crossed – Ephem Aural vs Auralgami

Wires Crossed – Ephem Aural vs Auralgami
7.19.16 by Mike Haley

wires crossed

There is a legion of labels and weirdo jammers releasing cassette, with new names popping up every single day. With those staggering numbers it can be easy to mix em up, get confused, or form loose associations. Wires Crossed will take those Corey Haim/Corey Feldman and Oprah/Uma situations and figure out just how similar they are.

For the second Wires Crossed I talked with people behind the labels Ephem Aural and Auralgami about tapes, robots, tapes, and Bill Murray.

Aural means “of or relating to the ear or the sense of hearing.” So what is the meaning of your label’s name?

Ephem Aural: The label name was my attempt at a pun. When you say it fast, it comes out “ephemeral,” which I think is an endearing part of cassette culture. You have all these people spending their time and money releasing these really thought-out tapes in editions of 30 or 50, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. I think there is something really beautiful in that.

Auralgami: A cross between ‘AURAL’ and ‘ORIGAMI’ / crafting shapes out of sound. I came up with the name years ago mixing music in my dad’s basement. My little brother was and still is obsessed with origami. He’d bring me a crane or a hummingbird or some insane dragon and kinda hang around and listen to the sounds I was making. We chose ‘SOUNDS’ instead of ‘RECORDS’ or ‘TAPES’ simply because it was broad, and we weren’t entirely sure which kinds of media we’d be releasing.

Where are you located?

Ephem Aural: New York City

Auralgami: I [JC Denison] live in Louisville, KY, and Matt is located right across the river in New Albany, IN. So far all of our artists have been based out of Louisville, although we are starting to branch out.

Without checking where do you think Auralgami/Ephem Aural is located?

Ephem Aural: Auralgami reminds me of origami, which I feel like would be a big thing in Seattle. Because it’s so rainy and people need solid indoor activities.

Auralgami: Somewhere floating in the ether, filling in the cracks, patching the holes, tickling ears all over.

Ephem Aural has released tapes by Spaghetti Blacc. Auralgami has released a tape by Cereal Glyphs. So, which is better? Spaghetti or cereal?

Ephem Aural: Cereal.

Auralgami: I definitely eat way more cereal than spaghetti. Andy from Cereal Glyphs makes ice cream from cereal at the restaurant where we both work, so it’s very versatile. But goddamn I love spaghetti! They both invoke a lot of nostalgia, don’t they?

How much control do you like to have over the artwork for your tapes?

Ephem Aural: Early on I was pretty lenient with the designs, but now I’m following a stricter template because I like the continuity that offers. These days I have the musicians send over the picture for the front cover, and maybe images for an insert. Sometimes I do everything myself. The main design I’ve been using for the last 4 or 5 releases actually came from Jake Rowland, a guitarist and visual artist I produced a release with last year. He did the entire design for his album himself, and I liked it so much I asked him if I could use it for future releases.

Auralgami: We typically leave that up to the artist unless it becomes an issue of releasing art that is lacking in quality/definition. I’m constantly amazed and inspired, though, by labels like Umor-Rex and Orange Milk who take a much more hands-on approach in designing some fucking elegant and exquisite packaging. We wanna get to that spot for sure, at least in the sense that we want to be able to fix problems and suggest visual ideas that we can actually execute ourselves. But for now we’ve, I think, put out some really cool looking releases designed by a very talented handful of visual artists.

What is the best thing about running a label?

Ephem Aural: The whole “arts and crafts” aspect of it. Except for the imprinting, I basically do everything from home. I’m surrounded by computers all day at work, so it’s kind of nice to spend the evenings dubbing tapes and putting J-cards into cases.

Auralgami: Listening to all the music we get sent.

What is the worst thing about running a label?

Ephem Aural: Finding space in my apartment for unsold tapes.

Auralgami: Listening to all the music we get sent.

If you had to pick one current cassette label that really stands out to you, who would it be and why?

Ephem Aural: That’s a super hard question because there are so many good ones. At the moment I would say Constellation Tatsu because I recently got their spring batch and it kicks ass.

Auralgami: So many good ones right now that I am way into following including Umor-Rex, Spring Break, NNA, Patient Sounds. Damn so many fine cassettes coming out daily!!! But I think Matt and I can collectively agree that Orange Milk is ruling the fucking school right now. We’re both into dance music and warped electronic shit and insane MIDI stuff and they are killing it with all that.  That Giant Claw/ Guerrilla Toss record is one of my favorites to come out all year, in any genre. And Keith’s artwork and aesthetic are truly marvelous.

Coffee or Tea?

Ephem Aural: Coffee

Auralgami: Coffee

First words that comes to mind when you hear the following

Ephem Aural:
Hiss: EQ
Bandcamp: Convenient
C10: Not a fan.
Norelco: Mori
Dolby: Surround

Hiss: Snake
Bandcamp: Downloads
C10: Short but sweet
Norelco: Clear but black is nice but clear but black but… My electric razor???
Dolby: Thomas

Generally speaking, how many copies of a cassette do you make?

Ephem Aural: Always 50

Auralgami: 100. But we did just do a 2nd edition of Insect Policy’s “Wolf Brick River Dirt Train Moon” in an edition of 50.

Who was your favorite band in 8th grade?

Ephem Aural: White Zombie. I still like them.

Auralgami: The Offspring. Or maybe Guilt (from Louisville). I guarantee you Matt’s answer would be way cooler.

If you had to compare your label to one of the planets in our solar system, which would it be?

Ephem Aural: I’ve always been into Neptune.

Auralgami: Pluto I think. Is that still a planet?

How many releases are you currently up to?

Ephem Aural: 15

Auralgami: Around 20. The first 5 or 6 releases were by a project I started called A7A and it’s a little foggy as to how many there were. Rob Collier’s “Ten Simple Pieces for Piano” was AS020, so… We are about to release our 12th cassette, ‘FIELDS’ by Psychic Skin.

How many of your releases are not tapes?

Ephem Aural: 1 CDR release, though another one should be coming.

Auralgami: Not counting several CDr’s and downloads I released as A7A, we have 2 proper CD releases, “The Golden Autumn and the Afternoon” by Another7Astronauts AND s/t by Curio Key Club, as well as one vinyl release so far, “Sand in Your Mind” by Softcheque. So 3.

Releases from your catalogs that jump out at me are the Synth Bard and Bodycocktail tapes. Can you give a little backstory of them?

Ephem Aural: Truth be told, I’m Synth Bard. The music on that album originally came from the old “Gold Box” PC games I used to play as a kid. I figured out the intro music to each game and based the synth jams around them. It was a lot of fun, and I’ve been really flattered with the response. For the next release I’m going to jump ahead a few years and use some early 90s digital samplers I have. It will still have a strong retro-fantasy element, but with all original music this time around. So more Synth Bard to come!

Auralgami: I love the Bodycocktail tape. Zan Hoffman is sort of a mythic figure in the cassette collecting/cassette label world. I’d always seen him from a distance at bars here in Louisville (he doesn’t drink, just dances). We got to know each other and struck up a friendship and I started hanging at his house once or twice a week while we slowly began culling material from his 200+ CD’s he’d released as Bodycocktail between 1996 and 2015. I thought it would be a hell of thing to treat cassette folks and younger folks in Louisville to a best-of collection by an incredibly prolific artist. Together we picked all the songs. He sequenced Side A, which has some more obscure, older tracks; I sequenced Side B, which contains some newer stuff, a lot of which is pretty dance oriented. Watching Zan perform live as Bodycocktail is a fucking treat and I hope we captured some of that energy in this collection. It jumps out for me too!

Do you have any “fuck, that wasn’t supposed to turn out that way” stories with the label?

Ephem Aural: Yeah, embarrassingly for the first two releases I designed the titles on the spine the wrong way. I could fix one release, but the other was sent to a printer, so I was stuck with it. A total rookie mistake.

Auralgami: In a way, that is kind of the story of the label. We had planned to start very gradually and be quite casual with it. But things picked up quickly, at least locally; once we started putting out things by Cher Von and ATOMO, similarly-minded artists quickly started knocking on our doors. Matt and I both work full-time jobs; also I play in several bands and he has a family, so we’re never able to dedicate as much time to the label as we’d like or as much as it needs. So in short we’re way busier with it than we anticipated at the beginning but completely surprised and excited about that very thing.

What is your favorite robot from a TV show or movie?

Ephem Aural: Bender.

Auralgami: Johnny 5. In fact I called into Talk of the Nation several years ago when they were discussing this very subject! I got through and talked to Neal Conen live on-air while I was prepping food at the restaurant where I used to work.

Do more of your releases stem from demo submissions or artists you contact?

Ephem Aural: Actually the “Noise de Figaro” release is the only one that came from a demo submission. The rest of the releases have been from friends I have here in NYC or friends from college. In truth I don’t get many demo submissions, and many that I have received I wanted to produce but they fizzled out for various reasons. Send your demos

Auralgami: About half and half. And just as many stem from our friends here in the Louisville music community through casual dialogue that turns into concrete ideas. We play at or go to a lot of shows. Louisville is a late-night drinking town. This is where a lot of ideas begin.

What is your Monopoly token of choice?

Ephem Aural: The crusty old boot, because it makes me feel like I had humble beginnings.

Auralgami: Car. Was there a cat? I may go with cat at this point in my life.

Do you have any cassette pet peeves?

Ephem Aural: Printing. I think I’m spatially impaired or something, because it seems like half the time I put the j-card template into the printer the wrong way.

Auralgami: I love extras, but I kinda get bummed when I get a tape in the mail and accompanying it is what seems to be just a bunch of trash. Sometimes less is more. With that in mind, I won’t list any more pet peeves.

In five words or less, describe the type of music/sounds you release.

Ephem Aural: Experimental and underground music.

Auralgami: Louisville. Experimental. Electronic. Garage rock. Minimal.

Does your car have a tape player?

Ephem Aural: I don’t have a car. Sometimes I take an old Walkman on the subway though.

Auralgami: Yes. It is a 2003 Honda Pilot, so it was made at a time of flux regarding car audio. It has CD, cassette, and DVD players. BUT, speaking of that Bodycocktail tape, I was driving around listening the test cassette of that album, and when I got home and tried to eject it, it got stuck. Determined to get it out and inside so I could listen to it on my home stereo, I started poking and prying with some tools and broke the whole stereo. Patience is not my strong suit.

What is your favorite Bill Murray movie?

Ephem Aural: Ghostbusters.

Auralgami: Damnit. Gotta be Groundhog Day, right? Yeah, I think so. Honorable mentions to Ghostbusters, Lost in Translation, and Rushmore.

Are you wearing shoes right now?

Ephem Aural: No.

Auralgami: Yes. Socks, too.

Do you play that Pokémon game on your phone? Why or why not?

Ephem Aural: Nope. I only got a smartphone like a month ago, and I already spend too much time on it.

Auralgami: No. I don’t play it for a few reasons, none of which have to do with any sort of disdain or disapproval of the app. Mainly, I never played as a kid and don’t really even understand what the hell is going on with this phenomenon. I went on a short tour with my band, and when we got back to Louisville last week it had completely taken over my neighborhood. All my coworkers were talking about it. I just got out of a band meeting at a pizza place and everyone there was actively playing. It’s insane, but I’m not sure I have the time to even process it.

Do you own more MP3s or tapes?

Ephem Aural: A few years ago I digitized all my CDs, and all of my wife’s, so we could get rid of them. So I have way more MP3s.

Auralgami: MP3s. Matt and I both DJ out around town and at a local FM radio station. We both do a mix of MP3 and vinyl. I like music in any format, and I have a lot of stuff on my laptop that you just can’t get on cassette. I’ve thought about dedicating a chunk of my show, ClifTones, to only playing cassettes, but typically I just play the digital versions of the cassettes I buy for ease and flow during the show.

Paper, Rock, Scissors?

Ephem Aural: Rock. Nothing beats rock!

Auralgami: Paper, of course.

Tabs Out | An Interview With Fatt Grabbers

An Interview With Fatt Grabbers
7.14.16 by Mike Haley

fatt grabbers

Fatt Grabbers. That’s what was written on a sign in a Los Angeles wig shop back in 2010. “It was like a term or something pertaining to wigs. But there wasn’t any info anywhere as to what it was supposed to mean, so it was anybody’s guess. I thought it could be, like, skate slang.” I called a local wig shop to ask them about it and they had no clue what the hell I was talking about. Whatever the meaning, Chris Lazard and Tierra Williams decided it would work for a cassette label name and ran with it.

Fatt Grabbers’ cassettes stick out like shiny quarters in a fountain of pennies, and don’t act like you never thought about jumping in the deep end of a mall fountain to grab those bad boys. Metallic silver Jcards, conspicuous artwork (by Lazard) printed in all black, and tapes with no titles furnish the look. FDM (Flustered Dance Music) and all around paranoid sounds handle the audio. Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard about Fatt Grabbers yet. Even though their releases ooze with terminal creativity, Chris and Tierra’s handling of things is super mellow. I’m not good at Google, so I contacted Chris, who with Tierra also does the project Moment Trigger, for more informations about the label.


What’s behind the decision to not have any titles for your releases?
I think by not adding any other info, it groups all the singles into a series of releases with a consistent theme. I thought in terms of “like, this is the artist. And here’s a couple tracks.”

Is the plan to stick with the exact look throughout the existence of the label, or do you think you’ll change it up/allow it to evolve?
I’ve made small adjustments to the layout and design. And I’ll probably continue to evolve the design. I like working in black and white and figuring out how it complements the metallic papers I’ve been using. But for now I’m liking the consistency of the design for the singles.

I don’t see anything on your site or Discogs about FG001-006. Does your catalog start with release number 7?
No. But the look and format does start with FG007. FG002-006 ended up being basically, one-off prototypes for the singles I’m putting out now. FG001 is a Moment Trigger / Obstacle Corpse split. Old HDD failed so I cannot retrieve 002-006.

What was the artwork like for the first tape?
Letterpress. Corydon (Obstacle Corpse/Sissy Spacek) had access to a letterpress. Inside cover was an illustration of a skater that he did when he was like 8 or 9 years old.

And how about 2-6?
2-6 6 were color. Printed at Kinkos. The cover art for those was a sphere with different gradients for each release.

What labels (if any) influenced the current state of Fatt Grabbers?
No labels in particular. Costs of getting things printed and my ability to get specialty papers cheap online influence it a bit. Or in a way seeing a few labels all kind of gravitating towards the same design themes informed me to stay away from certain aesthetics.

Let’s say all the silver paper in the world burned tomorrow. What color do you switch to for Jcards?
No biggie. Probably just switch to white. Whatever makes it easy enough to keep pumping out more singles, that look good.

In addition to the sounds and artwork, there are so many tiny details I love about your tapes. Namely the hand numbering in parallelogram on the back and the additional spine folded into the inside of the Jcard. Do you ever nerd out on cassette artwork or packaging?
Yeah, I like checking out all the different tape packaging and design layouts that people are doing. I follow a couple blogs as well that post a lot of different unique tape designs/packaging. I definitely nerd out when figuring out a good, repeatable, design for the FG tapes.

Are all your tapes editions of 24?
Yeah. I do 24 because I can get four different singles out of one box of tapes. With 25 being the master.


Do you handle all of the dubbing and assembling yourselves?
Yeah, we do all the manufacturing ourselves.

How have you gone about choosing what to release so far? Is it mostly people you know personally?
Yeah. We’ve just asked our friends that make weird music so far.

Is there anything that really annoys you about running a cassette label?
Nah, we have fun making the tapes and putting them out. Maybe we’d be annoyed if we had unreal expectations or something like that. Shipping rates to Europe are a little bit annoying.

What tapes are on deck?
We should have a couple of tapes coming out by the beginning of August. A Wade Blazer & Steph Russ split single, and a Moment Trigger single. Anthony Anzalone coming out with the other tapes as well. I’ve been working on a zine that will be out in the beginning of August as well. We have some limited edition shirts and hats that we made too, that we’ve yet to announce.

Tabs Out | Ink Jet – Cold Shoulder

Ink Jet – Cold Shoulder
7.11.16 by Mike Haley

ink jet

Forget everything you know about hanging in fancy hotel lobbies, watching montages of very specific teams preparing for a heist, and Blaxploitation fonts. Wait, that’s not right. Remember those things. Remember all of those things at once. Force them into your thoughts until they crash together like matter and antimatter and create pure energy in your skull. Dapper energy with an unhesitating swagger.

The throbs immediately take over. And not just your everyday throbs that you take to the grocery store. You wear these throbs to a wedding when you’re trying to show up the bride. You’re laced with breakbeats and samples and moxie. I’m talking about cassette “Cold Shoulder” by Ink Jet. Like it’s cover, “Cold Shoulder” is a razor cut collage. A stomping ground for slick samples and beats to roll around the rink, house lights down, gel lights in full rage mode. If Jared Arnold wanted to create a time that was a very good time to have then he did it this time. Good times. That is something I support.

I also support the heeeeeella dope (hand?) die cutting of “INK JET” on the cover. A very funky touch to a very funky tape from Gohan Tapes. They only made 20 copies of them, which is something I don’t support. Buy a copy now and maybe they will make more?

Tabs Out | Let There Be Crumer – An Interview With Jason Crumer

Let There Be Crumer – An Interview With Jason Crumer
7.4.16 by Mike Haley


Jason Crumer has been wrecking house since the late 90’s with solo noise and in projects like Reverse Baptism, Aluminum Noise, and many many others. 2015 saw the return/evolution of the infamous No Rent Records. I talked to Jason about all of that shit, plus his teenage mohawk and bird watching.


So where and when were you born? And what is your Netflix password?

Those are serious questions. Answer as many as you’d like.
1978, Belleville IL

How long did you stay there?
Until I was about 16, in Southern Illinois in general. Moved to St. Louis for a few years, then to North Carolina when i was 19.

Is that around the time you played in Facedowninshit?
In NC, yeah.

Was Facedowninshit your first band?
My first band was called The Vagrants. We were the punkers of the mighty Edwardsville High School.

How tall was your mohawk?
Hahaha! The tallest it ever got was maybe 8 inches, actually not kidding.

I think the minimum requirement is about 6″ to be in a band called The Vagrants. Ha.
True! Also was in System Disarmed and some other kind of one off deals before Facedowninshit.

So were you the classic, piece of shit high school kid who was always doing dumb stuff?
Not at all, or maybe? I don’t think I was a piece of shit. Certainly didn’t fit in there, but that was also like 25 years ago

Give me three bands you loved from that time?
Pretty basic. Germs, Vandals, Subhumans.

So you’re in high school. Sporting a killer mohawk, listening to a Vandals tape. Walk me through that Jason Crumer getting dumped into noise.
I ran away, moved to St. Louis. A kid named Blake had Whitehouse records. First recorded noise in 98 with my friend Nate Hobbs in NC. Never stopped.

What did you record with Nate as?
We were called Aluminum Noise.

Did No Rent start before or after that?
No Rent didn’t start until, I wanna say… 2008. It was started by me and Roxann from Relay For Death in Oakland. It really has only been a “real” label for a year. Before that was just kind of, whatever we wanted to do. If you look at the discography it gets pretty obvious when the decision to branch out was made.

Was your “Walk With Me” live tape the first thing that was made under the name?

What is the story behind that label? I heard something about releasing stuff so you could actually pay the rent.
Wasn’t rent, was an elctric bill.

Were you able to pay the electric bill?
Haha yes!

Please tell me you kept the actual bill.
No! When we randomly put the tape out then it was literally just to pay the bill, and I even felt kind of bad about it. Wasn’t intended as the beginning of a thing.

Did you ever think that if you didn’t jam and dub all of those tapes, the electric bill would have been lower. And what, if anything, does that make you think about life?
Haha. I don’t think I use that much electricity. I think if I didn’t jam and take tons of time off work, the bill wouldn’t have piled up the way it did.

Are you the kind of person that needs a copy of everything you put out, personally and as a label? Do you have all of the older No Rent stuff?
Not at all. When it’s sold out that means i just don’t have it.

Do you own ANY No Rent releases?
The ones that are in print, obviously. And I have all the masters stored on my computer. Most of the tapes sell around 60 the first day and sit for like a month it seems. So i technically “own” those, but they’re inventory.

It sounds like you move around a bunch? Do you like to travel light?
I can move in one trip generally speaking

So you grew up around Illinois. Lived in North Carolina, Oakland, Philadelphia right now. Where else have you lived, and what would you say is your main reason for ditching a town?
I Left Southern illinois because that’s what you do if you want to make anything and are born there. From NC I moved to Portland for a year to finish a record with a band, moved to Oakland basically for an opportunity to live in Oakland, and back to the east coast to Baltimore at the end of a relationship. I made the short move north to Philly because it’s oddly cheaper than Baltimore. Most of the places I’ve lived have been for 5-8 years.

How do you like Philly?
Its nice enough! Only here since January, so most of my focus has been on label stuff. I miss Baltimore sometimes, hated it there at first but turned out being my favorite place I ever lived. Jury is still out on Philly, but some old friends live here, plus the Heaven’s Gate people, and it’s affordable. I can pay rent by selling noise tapes here. So kind of proudly scraping by.

You said earlier that there is an obvious line when the label started being “real”? Where is that line, and what changed?
The line is Headband’s “The Mask”. I ran a small store for these people in Baltimore for 3+ years and got unemployment when they sold the store. I thought it would be good to actually do something positive with the money, so contacted a lot of people and got No Rent going “for real.”

What did you do different between the Headband tape and, let’s say, your “Let There Be Crumer” tape right before it?The “Let There Be Crumer” tape was kind of thrown together. A learning experience I’ll say. With Headband, I was a lot more finicky because it’s somebody else’s music. Had to establish a standard. Before that, No Rents were packaged in trash.

Did you not care so much about packaging and such because it was your own material for the most part?
No I do care about packaging. I care a lot, just didn’t have real resources and am kind of all or nothing type person. If I can’t make it how I want I tend to say “fuck it”. Its useful in like, maybe making music, and in leaving places. Otherwise a shitty characteristic. Also, “Let There Be Crumer” was truly a test run. Headband was the real start of the label. “Let There Be Crumer” can be considered the last “old No Rent” release, and 8 – 29 are the body of work of the label.

Tell me about Headband.
Its Duncan Moore from Baltimore. Tape music that compares favorably to someone like Joseph Hammer. Fairly insane fidelity because I’m assuming it’s mastering grade tape he’s using to loop and manipulate his sounds.

I saw you play at No Fun Fest in 2007 in American Band. Where does that project fit into your timeline?
American Band was made around the same time as solo albums “Future with No Chance”, “Burning In Hell”, and “Ottoman Black” were recorded. Right before I moved out West. Just met Matt Franco when his van broke down on tour and they [Air Conditioning] stayed at the house a couple extra days. We just kind of decided to do something. My friend Lee Counts is a painter who has lots of tools so we decided to focus entirely on crazy metal abuse and processing of it, but Franco is a pretty unique musician and obviously added his pretty singular touches.

Who else have you collaborated with?
Roxann Spikula of Relay For Death, Ryan Sixes, Aaron Dilloway, Joseph Hammer, Anoushe Shojae-Chaghorvand, Zoe Burke, Cold Electric Fire. Currently woring on a collaboration with Marquis Knox, a young blues artist from St. Louis.

Do you like to record and play live more in duos rather than alone?
I hate playing live basically. I prefer to record alone, but love outside input. I’m a lot more precious with someone else’s sounds than mine and I like how it makes me think differently about the editing process.

What is it about playing live you don’t like?
Crowds. Getting more easily overwhelmed and a deer-in-the-headlights set is often the result. Sometimes I break through it, I don’t know. I liked playing live with American Band. Maybe I like playing live with other people more than solo? There’s less chance of saying “fuck it”, and you have something to focus on with someone else. Allows you to survive the social component more naturally.

I remember watching video of you playing live somewhere, I guess a venue where drinking was not allowed. Someone came and took away your drink and you just stopped playing.
Yeah, that was at The Smell. I get why they have to do that, wasn’t pissed, but didn’t have it in me to sit in front of those people without a drink so had to stop. I should’ve hid it better, or at all.

Did you get your bottle back?
Nah, they dumped it. Again, that was fine. The Smell was a real resource and they could’ve gotten shut down by me boozing.

It still kinda sucks that they dumped it though. Haha.
Well, yeah.

You’ve been involved in the noise scene for almost 20 years now. Who is someone that has vanished you’d like to see recording and playing gigs again?
Easy. Joe Colley. He hasn’t vanished in the real sense, like he responds to emails. Just would like to hear more new Colley.

Have you asked him to do something on No Rent?
Absolutely, and he agreed.

Oh nice. I’m assuming a cassette? When is that happening?
Yeah a tape. That’s up to him. There are longer term projects and shorter term projects, he’s a longer term one.

What are some of the shorter term ones?
There are things that are solidly planned and everything else is in some misty future. Next is Relay For Death, Vanessa Rossetto, Sickness, How I Quit Crack, Howard Stelzer, FFH/Crumer, Purgist, Faster Detail. Re-issuing Zoe’s tape [NRR18: Sapphogeist s/t C28] too, so she can have something on tour in August.

I wanna talk about a tape you just put out that really stuck out for me. The Ama Divers “An Echo In The Sound” C40
Yeah man! Its great

It’s an amazing tape. Definitely sticks out from the usual. Who is Ama Divers and how did that release come about?
Ama Divers is Renee, Brian Mendoza Haran, and a person I don’t know. I’ve known Renee since 98, she was one of the first people in NC who was totally supportive of noise, without any judgement at all. Then, people would be supportive to be nice, but there was always this “not real music” vibe. She didn’t have any of that. Totally love the tape. It’s that rare thing. Great, GREAT, band based ambient “real music”.

Speaking of “real music”, I’ve seen (by way of Facebook) that you’ve been really down on Bruce Springsteen lately. What you got against The Boss, man?
I actually don’t hate him that much, just sort of slightly think he’s corny. I think I can get away with that. I mostly just say anti-Bruce shit to rib Gene Pick.

Which do you think would be better: Springsteen doing a Whitehouse record or Whitehouse doing a Springsteen record?
My god. Is suicide an alternative?

It is not. You either answer that or give me your Netflix password.
Okay, so no way out, Let’s go Whitehouse doing Springsteen.

How have you been deciding what to put out since No Rent became “real”?
Started by asking lots of people if they’d want to do tapes, and as I receive masters figuring out an order. I try to present a kind of flow out of generally four masters at a time. I ask friends what I should put out or at least listen to. Ama Divers was something that totally needed to come out, and it fits with the aesthetic of the label. I pretty much loathe the uniformity of a lot of noise labels, and I know lots of people from lots of different eras, so I get that it may come off random, but over the years a true aesthetic will emerge. It’s just not super up your ass “it’s this, duh, drool” style.

You put out a tape by Christian Mirande not long ago. Did you meet him when you moved to Philly?
I had met him before that, but yeah. He’s a talented guy!

He’s like a pilot or something, right?
Not entirely sure. He works for the Air Force in some way. I think so?

I wonder how the Air Force noise scene is.
Haha, lots of loud noises I’m sure. Which he samples, actually.

That’s so great.
He’s kind of a renaissance man.

Go on.
He just seems to have a lot of ultra specific knowledge. We’re supposedly going fishing and bird watching. We have similar interests, but he’s just better at them.

Are you into bird watching?
I’m a posuer bird watcher, yes. I bought a book on birds, and have actualy went out as an adult something like 5 times. I don’t really care to get too deep into it. I just think it’s nice to be out in nature, no need to nerd it up too bad, but it does feel good knowing what you’re looking at.

Okay, so you’re out in nature and not just staring at pigeons in West Philly?
Haven’t even went in Philly yet. But in Baltimore there’s this filthy, like, hobo jungle behind the Greyhound station that’s a perfect place to bird watch. But if you’re stuck in a place with not enough nature, you can kind of go macro and still get a similar meditational vibe and stay sane.

And if you have a cell phone while you’re out bird watching you can call the noise hotline.
Yes sir! Or a landline

Explain the noise hotline.
It’s an answering machine that anyone can call and hear something on No Rent. 641.715.3900, extension 590622#. On the page there’s updated information about what is actually on it.

Is it some sort of free service or something?
I pay, but there’s a free version. It’s super cheap.

Is it always samples from No Rent stuff?
I’ve put solo material up there but felt weird about it. So I think until further notice, yes.

I know the quality is awful, but ever think of releasing something on there, so people have to call and dub it to tape themselves?
It compresses some things so bad that they’re kind of useless. The Headband tape actually sounded the best on the hotline. No, I hadn’t thought of that. And, yes, it’s a great idea. Thanks.

Last question: How would you describe current noise to 1998 Crumer?
I wouldn’t try. The only difference I made was loud and quiet, and it kind of all grew from there, so any subtelty was lost until at least my 30’s. Ha. No reason to talk to myself in the 90’s.

Tabs Out | Various Artists – bblisss

Various Artists – bblisss
6.23.16 by Mike Haley


Everything from shampoo to chocolate to I’m sure much more (but I’m not about to Google “ways to obtain bliss”) promises the user “bliss”. To the best of my knowledge, there is not an item in the grocery store, or on the internet, offering a dose of “bblisss”. See those extra letters? Those make all of the difference.

“Bliss” can be showy. With all of the super puffy, sunlit clouds and naked baby-angels playing harp music. But “bblisss”, as in the “bblisss” cassette comp, does away with all distractions. Hell, if a poorly written note wasn’t included with the tape I wouldn’t know what it was. No one would. The art is washy and grey. A cropped off image of a plant with leaves resembling some magnetic tape removed from it’s shell on the Jcard. The tape itself is clear with a smudge of white imprinting on the A side. And… Nope, that’s it. No track listing, which is bizarre for a comp, right? No label name or release number. Nada.

That lack of somethingness clears the head. Think of it as a refresher. It clears your head and clears the skies for seven tracks of bliss/bblisss. Unless you want to borrow my poorly written note, you can find the tracklist on Bandcamp. I don’t know how many clicks you have left, so here it is:

Ulla Anona – Moon
Pendant – Des Vieux Temples
DJ Paradise – Ssumo
Billington & Tramposh – Live January 13 2016
Enamel – Quad
DJ Paradise – Mbizi (R)
Naemi – Procel (Original Mix)

There is also little distraction on the audible end of “bblisss”. Everyone decides to remain calm, taking to the recently cleared skies like chem trails rather than sky writing. Rhythmic new age and drone vibrations so stealth and relaxed that some may say they don’t even exist. Maybe they don’t. Maybe the “bblisss” comp is something my brain made up to cope with some heavier shit? You know what, I think this tape feels a lot lighter than most tapes. Is that just in my head? There is a Bandcamp page for it, but for all I  know, I could have made that myself.

I don’t know where or how to get this tape. I’m sorry.

Tabs Out | IMF – Harlem Electronics

IMF – Harlem Electronics
6.17.16 by Mike Haley


Friends, I went to a dark place. I was only there for about an hour or so, probably less, but it felt like a damn eternity. That lurid terminal was the Teletubbies Wiki. I’m old enough to have not watched Teletubbies as a kid, but young enough to be aware of their existence. So I was able to immediately recognize what the cuddly buddy was on the cover of IMF’s “Harlem Electronics” cassette, released in an edition of 100 copies by Pilgrim Talk. Still, I wanted to know more about them, so off into the internet I went… I can’t get that time back. What piece of important information fell out of my brain to make room for knowing who the youngest and smallest Teletubby is, I may never know (Spoiler: It’s Po). The only way to get out of knowing that, and what happens when The Teletubbies enter their Tubbytronic Dome and the Magic Windmill starts to spin, may be a swift kick to the temple by a horse. Sigh.

That’s neither here nor there. Knowledge of those cotton-stuffed suckers is not needed to enjoy “Harlem Electronics.” Association ends with the cover. IMF offers nothing to snuggle. IMF is all about discombobulated shots of relentless noise. Noise created by, or not created by, Ian M Fraser. I say not created by because the liner notes state that “this program performs with no human interaction whatsoever”, IMF opting for algorithmic, computer rendered compositions. Human interaction or not, this tape gashes into existence with unsettling, wavy coarseness and grating randomization. It bolts through an audible brick-and-mortar melee, scrambling streaks of feedback like a malfunctioning machine attempting to fix other malfunctioning machines. No machine is restored to factory settings, though. Instead there is a further soiling of an already exacerbated, oil-stained workplace.  IMF is more of an executioner than a mechanic I suppose, and the causalities on “Harlem Electronics” put most pedal pounders to shame.

This was the swift kick to the temple that I needed. My brain is officially reset. I will go on.

Tabs Out | New Batch – Wounded Knife

New Batch – Wounded Knife
5.23.16 by Mike Haley

wounded knife

Repeat after me: I want the knife.

You may be wondering why I just referenced one of the two parts from The Golden Child that I remember. It’s because there is another knife I want. The knife, in this case, is Wounded Knife. Specifically their brand new batch of four cassettes. Take a moment to appreciate Eddie Murphy’s impressive filmography from 1982 – 1988 and then we’ll casually chat about what those four tapes are… Alright, got that out of your system? Let’s go.

Randall Taylor unfolds 30 minutes of his cloaked guitar/noise based abstruseness as Amulets. His tracks on “In Flux” (CUT#33), are weary and weathered. Stout burners that inch along on all fours in slow motion thunder storms. To the best of my knowledge, Amulets has only been active for a couple dozen months, in that time releasing tapes on Spring Break, Horror Fiction, and a few others. All pleasing grips, “In Flux” being no exception. Lake Mary & Nathan Wheeler, who performs in the live version of Lake Mary’s Ranch Family Band, link up for “Also” (CUT#34). The duo campaigns through two side-long tracks of antiseptic minimalism by way of grand piano and synthesizers. Gripping and beautiful work. “Harigams” (CUT#35) is a 45 minute improv session between Sébastien Branche, Miguel A. García, Wojtek Kurek, and Mateusz Wysocki. Mimicking a sandcastle that refuses to hold shape, the four form vexing structures of sound. A mixture of dry and wet rasps and squeals that puddle up with each wave. Rounding out the batch is a collaboration between Charles Barabé + Roadside Picnic. Their “National House Milk” (CUT#36) C35 is a deluxe party bag of rando-avant chunks. Doses of flustered on-board beats, swampy synths, and sound samples that made their way through a paper shredder and were hot glued back together just in time to be recorded. Weirdo tunes that will leave blisters.

Buying these is something you should be doing currently.

Tabs Out | Spring Break Tapes’ Mystery Batch

Spring Break Tapes’ Mystery Batch
5.18.16 by Mike Haley

spring break

Some people hate surprises. They like the comfort of knowing exactly what is and isn’t going to happen. They don’t want to be offered a slice of chocolate cake that turns out to be a turd I found at the zoo (dessert prank!). But not all surprises taste like capybara poop. Some are awesome!

Back in April Spring Break Tapes announced preorders for a two tape “Mystery Batch”. No information about the artists was given, other than these would be their debut releases. The tapes would be limited to 50 copies was pretty much all that was said about the releases. Within 24 hours all but artist copies were gone. Sold to chill risk takers with a few bucks in their PayPal account and a knowledge of SBT’s fairly dope track record. If you ask me, and I know you did not, this was totally a smooth move by Spring Break. An amusing way to place new sounds in ear holes that may have missed them otherwise. And it was fun. And fun, IMHO, can be fun to have.

The now un-mystified cassettes, shipped with a “special gift” (maybe capybara pooooop??), are from halcyon soothsayers Gaetano Cappella and Contagious Yawns.

“Italian artist, Gaetano Cappella’s debut Maiella is a cassette dedicated to and inspired by his birthplace of the same name. Cappella equally holds strong feelings for his process of drone creation. All the sounds on Maiella were solely created by him with guitar, natural ambience and a cassette recorder. Like most drone releases there is a darkness to the recordings but you can also feel the spiritual quality they have, as though you were atop the highest peak of a mountain as it moaned and wailed it’s first sounds after a thousand year slumber.” – Spring Break Tapes

“Influenced and inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick’s epic drama of adventure and exploration, Contagious Yawns’ debut, Some Places Aren’t Around Here, shares some of the same qualities as the classic film. Hypnotic rhythms and ethereal synth organ create a feeling of suspense, a sense of chaos and a path of uncertainty. Some Places is undoubtedly an impressive release from an artist we’re sure to hear more from.” – Spring Break Tapes

Both artists will have copies for sale for those who just had to know what was in the box. The label has plans for future blind batches, which I fully support.

Tabs Out | Wires Crossed – Hylé vs Haju

Wires Crossed – Hylé vs Haju
5.13.16 by Mike Haley

wires crossed

There is a legion of labels and weirdo jammers releasing cassette, with new names popping up every single day. With those staggering numbers it can be easy to mix em up, get confused, or form loose associations. Wires Crossed will take those Corey Haim/Corey Feldman and Oprah/Uma situations and figure out just how similar they are.

This inaugural Wires Crossed examines Hylé Tapes and Haju Tapes. Two fairly new, impressive labels that I can’t seem to keep straight.


Tell me a little bit about the name of your label. What does it mean, why did you choose it, and how do you pronounce it?

Hylé: In philosophy, hyle (/ˈhl/; from Ancient Greek: ὕλη) refers to matter or stuff. It can also be the material cause underlying a change in Aristotelian philosophy. The Greeks originally had no word for matter in general, as opposed to raw material suitable for some specific purpose or other, so Aristotle adapted the word for “wood” to this purpose. The idea that everything physical is made of the same basic substance holds up well under modern science, although it may be thought of more in terms of energy or matter/energy. I recorded a track called Hylé with my solo project Acid Fountain and I thought it could be a cool name for a tape label. It sounds kind of French to me with that letter “é”, but it is not.

Haju: Haju Tapes is named after one of my aunts (on my mom’s side of the family). Her full name is Hajra, but everyone calls her Haju. The reason I chose to name the label after her is because we were very close, when I was younger. Our personalities are very similar… both of us are total introverts, which is strange since everyone else in the family is an extrovert. Other than that, I just like the way it sounds. As for pronunciation, it’s Ha-Jew. It always cracks me up, whenever you guys try to pronounce it on the podcast.

What do you think Haju / Hylé means?

Hylé: “Dog” in Miwok?

Haju: “Hail” in French?

Where are you located?

Hylé: Paris, France.

Haju: Northern California, the Bay Area to be exact.

Do you get many orders from California / France?

Hylé: Oh yes, I have shipped tapes to San Mateo, San Francisco, Oakland, LA, … And I have made some tape trades with Ted James Butler (Head Dess, Norelco Mori) and Constellation Tatsu, both from California.

Haju: Not that often. I think we have gotten a couple.

When did you start the label and how many tapes have you released so far?

Hylé: I started in January 2015 and I have released 28 tapes.

Haju: The label officially launched during November 2015. That’s when we put out our first release (oddigtl – Solarium). We have four releases out so far and I just ordered the supplies for our fifth release (Spliff Jacksun – Memory Display).

Who designed your logo? Could you describe what it is?


Hylé: I made it myself. The kind of “blue mountain” you see on it is a modified picture of a piece of wood I have at home. From the bottom of the logo you can see a hexagon taking shape. We use this geometric shape when we talk about France : “L’Héxagone”. And the pink circle is there because it creates a good balance with the “blue mountain”.

Haju: I made the logo. It was made when I first started using Adobe Illustrator. Basically, it’s a square with a couple of strokes and “HAJU TAPES” written in a sans-serif typeface (forgot which typeface it was, to be honest). The strokes are supposed to be an abstract take on the bottom half of a woman’s face (since Haju is a woman’s name). Over time, I have made the stroke weight thicker and font size larger, so it shows up clearly on Jcards. Everyone I’ve shown it to has hated it. I don’t care though, I actually like how unrefined it looks. Kind of reflects the rough Hip-Hop beat stuff that we have been releasing. I also try to switch up the logo’s color scheme for every release.

You put out a tape with people floating on clouds. How does that imagery, if at all, reflect your label’s vibe/operations?

Hylé: For me it will reflect the fact I am a daydreamer, an outsider, and that Hylé Tapes tries to share the mysterious art of amazing musicians as Théodore Lüne, JUJU, African Ghost Valley, Jay Glass Dubs, or Forest Management with people. I try to link these original worlds to listeners.

Haju: I always try to incorporate the artists that we release in the art and/or design work. For the Lzu. release, it was a collage he made for the digital version of the album. I really liked it, so we decided to use it for the physical release as well. I think it really fits the whole vibe of that album. Listening to that tape is a really gentle, dreamy and soothing experience and the artwork embodies that.

In five words describe this cassette:

Hylé: Smooth, collage, dreamy, luminous, touching.

Haju: Sleepwalking, friendly, floating, vintage, self-aware.

All of the photos of your tapes on Bandcamp also have rocks in them. Why is that?

Hylé: When I was a child I used to love rocks and take them home after being at the sea or at the mountain. I still do that. Hehehe. I have stones from all over the World. They are treasures to me. There are some photos with plants and pieces of wood, I love that too!

All of the photos of your tapes on Bandcamp are taken outside (3 out of 4 in your hand). Why is that?

Haju: It’s convenient. No deeper meaning. As soon as I finish manufacturing the tapes, I go out to my deck and take photos for Bandcamp. Nothing fancy.

What tape labels got you interested in starting one of your own?

Hylé: Phinery and Opal Tapes.

Haju: SICKONASTY is a huge influence. It’s run by my buddies Mark Aubert and Bluezr. They release some really interesting stuff and everything from their tapes, stickers to patches are all DIY. Definitely check them out, if you haven’t already. G.O.A.T Beetz is another great label, run by Knablinz. He’s a producer based in Astoria, OR doing his own thing. Really interesting artwork. Nekubi Tapes, out of Greece is also very cool. The artwork, design and music are on point every single time. They used to only do twenty copies of each tape, but they’ve been doing fifty lately. Even with fifty copies, their releases go incredibly quick. Acorn Tapes is a great little UK based label, run by TMCT. Very dope imprint that consistently releases good beat based stuff. Humble Weight, El Sereno Records, Cindy’s Tapes, Colossal Tapes, Warm Gospel, Oligopolist Records, Modal Aspiration Records, Grand Garden, Paxico, Carpi, Spring Break Tapes!, NNA Tapes, Patient Sounds… Too many to name.

You use framed out images in squares and circles on your Jcards a lot. Is that a happy accident or done on purpose? Who does the majority of your artwork?

Hylé: For me it is a happy accident. The artists are completely free to use their artwork if they want, but I love doing artwork too. I have done more than half of Hylé Tapes’ artwork.

Haju: I handle the design work for the most part. The artwork is usually done by me or the artist. As for the circles and squares, I just like the way they look. Very understated in a way. I try to switch it up though, like for the upcoming Spliff Jacksun release, the collage takes up the entirety of the front panel of the j-card. Also, for the Lzu. release, the artwork takes up the whole j-card.

Do you home or pro dub your releases?

Hylé: Pro Dubbed at home by myself with a Sony CCP 2300.

Haju: I’ve been home dubbing everything so far. I think at some point, I’m going to start getting them pro dubbed. Even though there is a sense of satisfaction when you home dub tapes, it starts becoming somewhat tedious and overwhelming.

What was the last tape you bought?

Hylé: A second hand copy of “Arbos” by Arvö Part.

Haju: Ghost McGrady  – Groveland. I don’t know much about him, besides the fact that he’s from LA and makes good music. He has a very mysterious presence.

Beavis or Butthead?

Hylé: Don’t Know… uh huh huh huh huh huh

Haju: Beavis

If your label was a color, what color would it be?

color bar

Do you have an ideal tape length?

Hylé: I love C40’s, It is long enough but if the music is good you still want some more.

Haju: Around 20-30 minutes is ideal, as far as beat tapes go. 30-45 for Rock, Jazz, Rap, etc.

First words that comes to mind when you hear the following

Single Sided: Vinyl
Polycase: The “Tapes Series” from 36, a British tape label
Postage: Once a week
Download Codes: Gifts

Single Sided: Simple
Polycase: Cheap
Postage: Expensive
Download Codes: Unnecessary

pick a number between 1 and 10

number bar

Who is your favorite Batman?

Hylé:  Michael Keaton

Haju: Adam West

How would you describe the sounds you release, and the fact that they are on cassette tape, to someone completely detached from that sort of thing?

Hylé: Empirical electronic music.

Haju: Gritty sample based Hip-Hop beats. Listen to them on cassette, because the tape hiss just adds to the music. Tapes are better than digital, because they are physical objects that you can hold in your hands. Vinyl is cool, but tapes are cheaper to manufacture. CDs aren’t very durable, so I would rather put out tapes.

Have you had to do that with a relative or friend?

Hylé: Yes, and I normally tell them Hylé Tapes is an experimental electronic music tape label with releases of Ambient, Drone, Techno, Improvised electronic music, etc.

Haju: Yeah, my aunt and uncle stopped by, around the time I was working on the motion. release. I was dubbing tapes and trimming/scoring Jcards. They were very confused, until I went on my whole, “why tapes are better” rant.

What is your favorite Star Wars film?

Hylé: The Empire Strikes Back

Haju: The Empire Strikes Back

How do you want people to feel when they look at and listen to the tapes you put out?

Hylé: Puzzled. And I want them to discover the rest of these artists discography on other labels.

Haju: I think it’s different for each release. Overall, I want them to feel satisfied. All of our tapes are around twenty minutes, which isn’t very long, but give me quality over quantity any day. I also want the art/design work to reflect the music. Like one cohesive object.

Tabs Out | Pay The Rent – Soft On Glass

Pay The Rent – Soft On Glass
5.12.16 by Mike Haley


Have you ever listened to a cassette and thought that it should come with two hammocks. One for you to relax in until your earthly body eclipses and becomes pure energy, and another hammock for the energy? I take by your attempt to close out this tab that you have not, and that’s fine. You just haven’t heard this new ambient banger from White Reeves Productions: Pay The Rent’s “Soft On Glass”.

Pay The Rent’s “Soft On Glass” is a liquefied bliss. A candied concoction of striking synths, lush as h*ck guitar, and drones. Drones that cascade down the pews of a very large, showy church. They move reservedly, like fog. Guitars bellow from the ornate rafters in outstretched waves, their origins cloaked. The stone queue of creepy, blood stained statues that line the walls sorta sway and throb along with the crystal clear keys. Like the rafters, the music on “Soft On Glass” is, in a way, also sort of ornate. Maybe “ornate” isn’t the right word. Flowery. It’s flowery. It wants to be seen. And it does so in servings much, much smaller than it’s dashing, relaxed kin tend to. Instead of playing the long game, Pay The Rent is all about making a show of itself in rather short jaunts, then doing the quick move on. Get baked, pop on this tape, and watch a documentary about bees on mute to taste the honey. This is the life and Pay The Rent stings. Buzz buzz.

The 20 minutes of “Soft On Glass” flies by, but each track is an impressively defined, mini-miracle. Pete Mudge, John Kasunic, and Mike Kasunic is a very tight trio. You should buy their tape and see for yourself.