Sunday, April 28, 2013

FFFoxy Podcast #18: All Cassette Edition

Innercity “Metal Prince” A Minor Princess CS (Goldtimers)
Glochids “Swell Sacsayhuaman” Originals CS (Weird Ear) [8.37]
Man Made Hill “Deviant Themes” Tassel Hazzards CS (Hobo Cult) [10.44]
It Hurts “Cicada” Thing That Stings CS (Albert’s Basement) [13.44]
Muura “Rock It and Push It” S/T CS (Mazurka Editions) [18.00]
Tuluum Shimmering “Lake of Mapang” Raag Wichikapache/Lake of Mapang 2xCS (Space Slave Editions) [28.20]
The Canannes “It’s Hardly Worth It / Teardrops” Happy Swing CS (All Gone) [36.24]
The Intended “Dirty Secrets” Live at El Club CS (All Gone) [41.04]
Weakwick “Hummer Bummer / Nostrum Pop” Neophyte CS (self-released) [46.02]
Ecstatic Cosmic Union “X=C=U” X=C=U CS (Eiderdown) [50.56]
Ill Professor “Slate Line” Wire & Air CS* (Constellation Tatsu) [54.19]
Heads/Shackles “Identity” Identity/Opposition CS (Self Help Tapes) [57.51]
Yousei Suzuki “Variations” The Scene From A Frame CS (Scissor Tail Editions) [1.06.56]
Giulio Aldinucci “Short Circuit” Archipelago (Other Electricities) [1.10.45]
Justin Meyers “Albuterol Auteur” Albuterol Auteur CS (NNA Tapes) [1.15.30]
PLVS VLTRA “Sitcat (yo-yo blue)” Yo-Yo Blue CS* (Field Hymns) [1.25.41]
Angel Eyes “Starter Engine Down” Vice to Vice CS (Moon Glyph) [1.28.19]
Jason Lescalleet “Il Turisten” (excerpt) Il Turista CS (Chondritic Sound) [1.36.06]
Sheldon Siegel “Copenhagen” Three Euro Breakfast CS (House of Alchemy) [1.45.50]

The tapes have been piling up here in the FFF bunker over the past few months, so it seemed like the right time to play catch-up with cassette culture and spotlight some of the great releases that we have received. Even with two hours to work with, it seems like we are only scratching the surface. There are plenty of other artists and labels we are excited to share new music from in the weeks ahead, but this week’s show represents some of our current favorites. While we get a reasonable number of promo items any given month, we still like to devote a bit of our ‘music budget’ to supporting and checking out new tape labels each month, too. To hell with audio samples, there is still something exciting for us about buying a release somewhat blindly and waiting to find out what sounds are contained therein, and many of these tape labels offer plenty of surprises and at a very reasonable cost. If you fall into a bit of a listening funk, which we all do from time-to-time, we encourage you to give this practice a try. The labels featured on this week’s show offer a great starting point.

For now, let’s talk about some of the highlights from this all cassette edition. Of the tapes we played, we have probably listened to Yousei Suzuki’s The Scene From A Frame and Guilio Aldinucci’s Archipelago more than any others, and both are artists that are completely new to us. Suzuki is a young guitarist/multi-instrumentalist from Osaka, Japan, whose guitar playing style is of a melancholic, detuned, Takoma-school variety. It’s unique and deeply moving, as are his piano pieces, where he attacks the ivories in a sort of free-improvisatory, Jandekian manner, stumbling upon simple, yet beautiful melodic lines. Aldinucci’s Archipelago, packaged in a similar wraparound Bradpak-style as Suzuki’s, this one with some very fetching silkscreen work, has to be one of the best sounding tapes we’ve heard in awhile. Aldinucci is an Italian electro-acoustic sound designer who works with synthesizers, field recordings, mellotrons, and other assorted gadgetry to create richly textured and subtly melodic compositions. While we didn’t play this particular track on the show, the sidelong “R n R Through Broken Headphones” is an absolute monster of slow building, euphoric clamor that displays a certain range and dynamics that sets Aldinucci’s work apart from many others in the electro-acoustic field.

In terms of new batch offerings from tape labels, we’ve been thoroughly enjoying digging into the latest ones from Goldtimers, Eiderdown, and House of Alchemy. Goldtimers, who were inactive for the better part of the last year, unleashed a massive batch of six tapes this past month. While we are still trying to give good focused listens to each and every title, the Innercity, Noir and Antic Hous, and Horsehair Everywhere tapes have been standouts thus far. Innercity, the solo project of Belgian artist Hans Den, caught our attention with his excellent tape that he put out on Sicsic awhile back; however, his A Minor Princess really pushes his warped electronic visions to epic proportions. In our humble opinion, Innercity is one of the real hidden gems within the tape underground. Not sure if two releases constitutes a batch per se, but, what the hell, Eiderdown’s latest offerings from Jon Collins and Ecstatic Cosmic Union are both top-notch. As with their previous tapes, these two feature amazing hand-drawn artwork with a consistent visual aesthetic across releases. Collins, who knows a thing-or-two about unique packaging as the proprietor of Winebox Press, is an insanely talented guitarist and improviser whose The Great Stink just might send us down another guitar-based album rabbit hole as did Willie Lane’s Guitar Army of One. We have also been enamored by the soothing psychedelia of Ecstatic Cosmic Union, a husband-wife duo that sounds equal parts Trouble Books, Sun Araw, and Neu. If it ever warms up around these parts, this will be the tape that we’ll be playing while we are driving around with the windows down. Finally, the latest tapes from House of Alchemy are ridiculously great as always, the monstrous c-84 of Sheldon Siegel’s Three Euro Breakfast being a particular favorite. We will hold off on gushing too much here about House of Alchemy for the time being because we are going to be doing a feature on the label, including a chat with label head and Chapels high priest Adam Richards, in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned!!

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