Tag Archives: tape

Lost Trail/DOR – “Arachnidiscs Recordings Split Tape Series Vol. 12”

I’m going to get your week off to a great start right now with some fresh noise and drones.

These tracks are coming from a pair of noise/drone artists From North Carolina. The first, Lost Trail, is the husband and wife duo of Zachary Corsa and Denny Wilkerson Corsa. From the sound of it, opening track “Eyes of Fire ’83” finds its footing right away with a huge blast of booming noise that almost immediately finds itself morphing into about a dozen different micro-melodies. Each stream of pitches that emerges from the original blast takes on a life of its own, and it really creates a beautiful texture. The opening blast eventually becomes this lush backdrop similar to a loud sonority being churned out by a large orchestral string section, with all the cellos and double basses bowing molto ponticello on their lowest strings in order to really accentuate the rich overtones.

“In Cold October Houses” takes a similar approach, with a little more focus on the roaring feedback that more or less completely envelops the melody, buried within the cloud of distortion. Unlike “Eyes of Fire ’83” the overbearing roar dissipates, and as that harshness fades the pure tones become clear. This track works more like a suite with various sections that fade out and back in, each exploring different textures.

DOR is a duo of John Rutherford, and Jacob Worden, and they offer up 3 unnamed tracks that are a nice counterpoint to some of the harsher sounds of Lost Trail’s side. Here, steady, glowing tones dominate. Each sound is prolonged, very gradually growing and then shifting in pitch ever so slightly before fading back into the distance. I think that the orchestra analogy is apt in describing this music as well, but the approach is quite different. We’ve sort of moved from Penderecki to Scelsi in a way. Where Lost Trail is clearly approaching from the noisier side of things, and it might be harder to parse out from where exactly the sounds maybe be coming, DOR is more in line with sounds that could come from any of several different post-rock bands, perhaps.

DOR’s 3rd track moves full on into steady rhythm territory, taking their gradually shifting tones and placing them within a new context. The percussion sounds add a degree of coldness to the overall sound, while serving to reign in some of the more ambient elements.

I would highly suggest not only checking out all 6 tracks here on the Arachnidiscs bandcamp page, but also pre-ordering the tape. The packaging looks fantastic, and it’s a steal at $7 Canadian. The cassette is limited edition so get on it.

Stream: Nate Henricks – “Neon For No One”

It just sort of floats out there, gradually taking shape and coming into existence before your very eyes. When it’s off in the distance it doesn’t sound like much, or maybe it sounds a little bit curious, or unorthodox. Or maybe that is just you. You are the one that stands in place while the music comes to you and by the time that it becomes fully formed, about 2 and 3/4 minutes through “Dead Fox Waltz,” the whole thing changes gears completely. Vanishing into the distance and leaving you there with something that doesn’t even closely resemble what you had first encountered.

Off-key, off-kilter weirdness strung together with bits of sound collage, and then delicate strings and lush horn arrangements (though paradoxically pushed way to the back), vocals that break through from time to time either drenched in reverb or in a full chorus; all of these ideas and more just start developing out of nothing as a sort of continuously engaging and shape-shifting event. And, no, it isn’t just about juxtaposing all of these ideas, smashing them together haphazardly, it is in the way that these threads are woven into the fabric so that the seams don’t show.

The experimental, post-modern spirit of the Elephant 6 collective is alive and well, at least in sound. Maybe we could dub it psychedelic sound collage. There are bits and pieces of catchy melodies, alternating the sweet, vocal harmonies of San Francisco circa 1969 with something that rocks a little bit harder, maybe from a garage a decade later. Everything is strung together in a suite, and like any good suite, by the time you reach the end you have definitely been taken on a journey.

The 10+ minute long “Dead Fox Waltz” that opens the tape isn’t the only song able to carry through with this kind of journey either. The follow up, “Deicide in Texas,” manages to do very much the same in just under 5 minutes. The way that the lyrics, the pop-song sounding part, is sandwiched in between two fragmented ideas, makes the whole thing sound like it was just a dream and by the time that you realize you might have missed it, and you try to remember, it’s already begun passing from your memory.

I could go on and on about all the great stuff here. Every minute or so I’m just finding myself hearing something else that really grabs me, and then something else, and then something else. Listen, you’ll see.

The tape is currently available from Crash Symbols and is limited to 99 or less. Check out the rest that they have to offer here.  You can also find them on Facebook.

New Release: Mattress – “Fuck the Future”

Mattress - "Fuck the Future"
Mattress – “Fuck the Future”

Portland’s own Field Hymns Records has some new fall releases from two of the city’s own.

First up is Mattress with 6 tracks of deep baritone and synths swirling around creating a dark haze. The release is bottom heavy, pulsating and drowning in a sea of menacing sounds. Rex Marshall’s voice can sound like James Murphy one second (“Beautiful Moment”) and then Scott Walker and Nick Cave’s lovechild the next. He inhabits a world somewhere in between the two. Yes, that would be a truly strange world, like the strangest dance party in history.

The title track picks up the pace a bit, with bouncier analog synths. Marshall’s voice on that track gets anthemic as he states the refrain, “fuck the future. fuck the future,” with an urgency in his voice before returning to a flatter affect. Most of the other tracks are built in a similar manner to this one, where there is a basic repeated pattern that circles around the penetrative vocals. At times it can sound as though all hope is gone, while at others it’s perhaps maybe open to the idea that maybe at one time there was a memory that there was a possibility that there may have been hope at one time or another, but now is currently not that time.

The soundworld in which the songs exist fall somewhere between the Cure and Joy Division. The guitar in “Arrested” points toward the former while “Pretend” is evidence of the latter.

“Fuck the Future” is music for people that have made peace with the fact that everything is coming to an end. But the album is only, maybe, that dark on the outside. There are some hints at light, like the chorus of “Pretend,” that provide a contingency plan. Check out the track “Arrested” below and then head over to Field Hymns and grab the tape.

Field Hymns: Facebook//Twitter//Soundcloud//

New Release: Chris Reimer – "The Chad Tape"

Chris Reimer
Chris Reimer

Christopher Reimer of Calgary art-noise band Women was responsible for some of the more ambient and droning elements of the band’s output. Those elements were not simply limited to background atmospherics but also entire tracks like “Woodbine” from the band’s first self-titled release and “Bells” from “Public Strain”.

As Stereogum, Pitchfork and many other outlets are already reporting the so-called “Chad Tape”, named for Women’s producer and friend, fellow Calgarian musician Chad Vangaalen, is available for purchase on Bandcamp. As stated on the blog run by Reimer’s loving sister in his memory:
Some time ago Chad VanGaalen approached Chris Reimer of Women offering to reproduce a casette tape of Chris’ solo work. Chris started work on this but passed away before completing the project. His closest friends have assembled the songs he intended for the tape, laid it out with Chris’s own writing and artwork and now this tape is available here for you.
All proceeds from this release will benefit the Chris Reimer Legacy Fund, an organization dedicated to providing scholarships for children in music and dance education. You can still pre-order cassettes from the Chris Reimer Bandcamp site, and you can also download the digital album. Release is slated for August 13th and includes artwork by Chris Reimer and tracks collected by close friends, including Chad Vangaalen.

Head to the blog to learn more about the Christopher Reimer Legacy Fund. The money raised through the fund will go towards youth scholarships in music and dance as well as towards the production of Chris Reimer’s work. A truly worthwhile endeavor. I encourage you to head to the bandcamp page, have a listen, and purchase this very special cassette. If you’re interested in simply sending a donation to the Legacy fund, you can download the donation PDF or head to the dedicated PayPal site.

Chris Reimer: Bandcamp | Blog |



Album review: Foton – "Omega"

Foton - "Omega"
Foton – “Omega”

From Portland, Oregon’s Field Hymns Records, Foton has produced an album full of electronic, mostly ambient sounds that fall somewhere between Boards of Canada and more experimental, free-form soundscapes that are (what I imagine to be) like field recordings from a trip to Mars.

Melodies and pulse fall in and out of focus across much of the 30 minute album. For example “There Was the Ruby Glade” keeps trying to leave the ground but sputters into Wagon Christ territory before concluding. Instead of one solid structure, or one solid idea, we have fragments of surging electronics that glitch and buzz,  held together by droning ambience.

“Slope 7F” provides the longest melodic line of any of the songs that hauntingly rings out unsupported by any harmony before the sound of a pipe organ comes crashing through in a swell of sound, that again is cut off completely. The song builds and falls continually leaving the listener hanging, before the lengthy melody returns only to be defeated by scratches of howling distortion and drums. This is probably the finest song on the album.

The closing track, a 15-minute magnum opus of pure, throbbing, ambient sound that builds to a loud organ sound once again, retaining the same harmony throughout and eventually fading away after several shifts in timbre. What’s interesting here is not so much what happens structure wise across the sprawl of 15 minutes, but it’s what happens timbre wise that changes the almost physical shape of the sound that emerges. The form is not in the division of sections here, because there is only one part, rather the form lies in how the pitch envelope is shifted slightly over that time.

This album is an interesting experiment in sound, creating shifting ambient soundscapes that aren’t afraid of straying from that archetype to allow melody and pulse emerge if need be.

Head to the Field Hymns page for Foton to purchase this release (out now!) for only $6, or click through the bandcamp link below. The album is being released on a limited edition of 100 cassettes, so don’t delay. Instant download upon purchase.