Selva Oscura by William Basinski + Lawrence English

William Basinski + Lawrence English | Selva Oscura Temporary Residence (LP/DL) Two new lengthy tracks on wax by a pair of the most gifted sound-based artists of our era, William Basinski + Lawrence English. Opening with Mono No Aware, a fluted drone permeates the space in soft modified tones. The vibration rises into your head and stays there like a dense fog, and with a title derived from Dante’s Inferno there remains this gestural quote between the divine and the lurid.  The works here also are “dedicated to Paul Clipson, a close friend whose work celebrated the wonder that is … Continue reading Selva Oscura by William Basinski + Lawrence English

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Across the Blazer by Howard Stelzer

Howard Stelzer | Across the Blazer Marginal Frequency (CD/DL) ‘Tis the season for something new from Boston area cassette deck master Howard Stelzer, and Across the Blazer brings with it a whole new set of intriguing atmospheres. This is also my introduction to the fledgling imprint, Marginal Frequency from my old haunts of the Pacific Northwest  – my guess is we will be hearing a great deal of expertly curated work out of this joint. The rainy hiss and low grumbling drone on the quizically titled Selective Memory (You Never Know Absolutely Quite Where You Are) is head-expanding, and at a … Continue reading Across the Blazer by Howard Stelzer

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Only Now & Orogen

A self-titled debut filled with the manipulated field recordings of San Francisco artists Only Now & Orogen (Kush Arora and Lucas Patzek) is now out on Discrepant/Sucata Tapes (Cassette and Digital formats). These guys admit they’ve been inspired by Zoviet France, Brume, Lustmord, Alio Die, and Hafler Trio. Since I’ve worked with, or reviewed these noted veteran sound benders at some point or other, with CPU revved and ready (theirs and mine), and with open ears, let’s go. BEYOND THE SURFACE: This tape consists of two lengthy tracks, Unearth I and Unearth II, both recorded in 2017 in the Bay … Continue reading Only Now & Orogen

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Early Tape Works by Kuniyuki Takahashi

CAUGHT ON TAPE: Toneshift is spinning both volumes of Kuniyuki Takahashi‘s Early Tape Works 1986-1993 (LP/DL). These fourteen tracks in all come from the Japanese DJ/Producer as reinvigorated by Dutch imprint Music From Memory. Starting with Volume 1 and the track Night At The Sea Side there is a layered, lush ambient set of textures fueled by the immediacy of new age vs space age drama. But what makes this stand out is that the arrangement ventures off screen just enough, avoiding sounding too thin, retaining the listener’s attention. Much of the lighter instrumental music of the time were post-ECM … Continue reading Early Tape Works by Kuniyuki Takahashi

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Tapes by Skrima

CASSETTE CULTURE LIVES! On June 20 Sicilian sound manipulator, Skrima, will release his Tapes (Disasters By Choice; LP/DL). This EP is a true original, delivered on white wax in an edition of 200 with handmade sleeves of epoxy and volcanic materials by @Kolatadesign. Originally recorded between 1981-83 (w/added effects circa 1983-86) the record was reworked in 1999 and mastered this year. At first you are in a world of old soundtrack tapes, rolling on its spindle with a partly petered out warp, a mechanical problem meets desiccated orchestra. It’s corrosion capture along the lines of what William Basinski perfected with … Continue reading Tapes by Skrima

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Shape Memory by Marcus Fischer x Simon Scott

In their first collaboration as a duo Portlander Marcus Fischer & Cambridge UK’s Simon Scott (Slowdive), both releasing separately on 12K, come together to Shape Memory. Out on June 1st in a CD edition of 500 as well as digitally via Bandcamp the two compose three tracks from tapes, cymbals, guitar and various electronics with a running time of just over a half hour. Ferns has a bit of an out-jazz live rehearsal session feel at first, though I would rarely ever see either of their past work in this context. It’s likely both their use of cymbal as musically … Continue reading Shape Memory by Marcus Fischer x Simon Scott

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False Mercury by Frans de Waard x Takuji Naka x Tim Olive

Here is False Mercury (Digital, CD) –  a trio comprised of Tim Olive, Takuji Naka and Frans de Waard and recorded at Extrapool in 2016, mastered in refined style by Jos Smolders and released via Japanese label 845 Audio. In the beginning there’s the reverberating exhaust of a heady drone. The single work is just over a half hour and its title, quizzical and open ended. Static hiss and tape loops are met in the middle with a gurgling sample, and hollow percussion. This record employs considerable microtonalities – so headphones are recommended for fully realized details here. Or just … Continue reading False Mercury by Frans de Waard x Takuji Naka x Tim Olive

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