Tabs Out | New Batch – Cabin Floor Esoterica

New Batch – Cabin Floor Esoterica
12.5.16 by Zachary Lauterbach

cabin-floor

There are few better reasons for excitement in the tape (or music) world than when Cabin Floor Esoterica announces a new tape batch. That said, I thought it would be awfully tough for them to outdo their stellar spring batch from April of this year. While they may not have done that, what they have done with this most recent batch is nothing short of amazing. CFE#60-62 are all duo tapes of musicians who, although are not strangers to recording in duos, have, to my knowledge, never recorded together before.

CFE#60: Shane Parish & Frank Rosaly – Labrys
“Labrys” is comprised of nine duets for nylon string acoustic guitar and percussion. Parish’s playing is on point, as per usual, and Rosaly gives his semi-classical guitar flourishes an appropriate percussive background that only adds to the skillful guitar playing as opposed to drowning it out or taking attention away from it. I was expecting more traditional drumming for this tape, but to my surprise the percussive clatter is a perfect offset for Parish’s smooth nylon string compositions. Overall, an excellent effort that stands up with best of today’s guitar/drum duos, even if it is the quietest.

CFE#61: Ilia Belorukov & Taneli Viitahuhta – Sax Worker’s Rights
Dual saxophone workouts from Russia and Finland, respectively. Oddly enough, it is the two artists of this batch that I am least familiar with that have me most intrigued and going back for more listens. I had literally never heard of either of these names, let alone their music, before this tape. Sax Worker’s Rights is made up of four fairly longer pieces wherein squeals, shouts, and snorts are evened out with calm, breathy passages. Sax Worker’s Rights is never too busy, yet never too sparse either. Although it may seem rough on the ears upon first listen, its underlying beauty reveals itself in droves upon subsequent listens.

CFE#62:Nathan McLaughlin & Jeremy Purser – Levain
Using a mixture of acoustic and electric instruments/sounds, McLaughlin & Purser work together to create an ambient sound that plays well off of each other’s contributions. Two side long pieces wind soft, acoustic guitar playing over various quiet background noises. The inserts do not list what is played, but one can assume synthesizer/keyboards, field recordings, and analogue tapes in addition to the acoustic guitar. Quiet, stretched out, and beautiful; this is relaxation (or meditation) music at its best without ever being boring.

All three tapes offer up different but equally enthralling sounds and come packaged in Cabin Floor Esoterica’s usual artistic flair. You cangrip them individually, or as a batch along with some excellent zines that were published by their paper imprint Painted Door Press, here.

Tabs Out | Sparkling Wide Pressure – Answerer

Sparkling Wide Pressure – Answerer
11.14.16 by Zach Lauterbach

sparkling-wide-pressure

Sparkling Wide Pressure follows up his excellent tape on Cabin Floor Esoterica from earlier this year with “Answerer.” Released on Patient Sounds (intl) in late August, “Answerer” conjures up a sonic realm inhabited by acoustic and electric stringed instruments, synthesizers, organs, and looped up, talking background vocals. The A side, with its shorter, lighter tracks acts as the entrance way into this world Sparkling Wide Pressure have created for us. The opener “Deb’s Song,” with its loose, acoustic picking and muted electronics slowly guiding you in. The momentum gradually builds over the next three tracks, culminating in the A side’s closer “Current.” With its ghostly keyboards and spooky tones, this is the track that lets you know you have gone as far as you can go.

The album’s B side slowly begins the descent back. It is a slow and beautiful journey though. The side’s two longer tracks could be considered as focused as any on side A if they were split up into five or six tracks. Instead, each track simply changes direction every few minutes at random, as if taking the most zig zag route to get to where it is going. That is not to say these songs are aimless, but rather so full of ideas that an efficient route to the end is not necessarily the goal. The closing “Turning You Into Me” is the tape’s highlight, containing both its darkest and most optimistic moments within its nine minute running time. A jangled melodica solo running over a looped up robotic voice until this fades to give way to an almost sunny electric guitar before turning again into a cryptic closing piano part. The whole time using subtle electronics and synth washes give texture to an already deep sound.

Overall, “Answerer” is a fascinating journey. Sparkling Wide Pressure’s mixture of traditional acoustic and electric instruments with loops and found sounds is in top form here. Its not just Answerer’s brilliant use of acoustic and electronic instruments that is most impressive about it, but rather how perfectly blended together these instruments are. Over the course of the album’s forty minutes not one note or noise sounds out of place or overstated. It baffles me that an album can sound so spontaneous yet so planned at the same time. It has made me want to journey into the concoction of sounds this album inhabits on a daily basis.

Copies are still available via the Patient Sounds shop should you care to take the journey too.