Monday, August 19, 2019

Cassette Review //
Robert Cole Rizzi
(Histamine Tapes)

$8 //
Edition of 24 // //

This begins with a footsteps type of sounds, words are spoken and then these dark, deep organs come in to paint the space.   It becomes a drone but you can hear that static crackle like footsteps, a slight shuffle, every so often.   As the tones drone like an intergalactic space station it feels like the footsteps have become a field recording of someone out there in nature or just the world in general.   Car horns can be heard blaring now, and then it goes into an audio clip about being abstract and holding the instrument, then the car horn continues.   Children's voices can be heard in the distance.

The drone takes a short break as we venture out into the city but then it returns a bit sharper, a bit more piercing to the ears.    It feels like we're falling into a void, but also there is that feeling of being amongst society.  Two tones beep and it feels like we entered a store.   A voice is scrambled now as a different voice says "There is a language".    Somehow it's this out of body experience, like walking through life but not as yourself, watching a film about yourself perhaps.

It gets a little bit squeaky now, like a rusty swing or a flute.    It's quiet now, a slight wind and a slight crackle like fire.   As it feels like it burns out, there is a slight crackle as the spoken words come back and there is a conversation now about intuition as the deep organ drones behind the words.    We're just floating on in this drone now.    More words now bring about this mechanical banging sound.   It feels like we're in an old abandoned warehouse now.   The drone becomes a little bit wavy as well.    Lasers blast like guitar string scratches and it feels like there is a deep beast moaning.

On the flip side we start with these horns and tones which make it feel more like jazz.   It can begin to feel like a video game, as these drones also fill the background, and then the words are spoken once again.    "I never knew what was going to come"   Water now.  Sonic frequency changes and beeps.   That drip drip drip.    Darker it grows, more like a basement or boiler room now.

There is a sound of wind chimes now, but also like pots and pans to some extent.  It's a growing intensity.    A quiet, minimal winding, a creaking now as words come in here and there.    After he says he thought of that when he was ten years old, these suspenseful tones like Hitchcock come in.    It feels like an accordion now, folding in and out, yet we also seem to be making our way through space with those extra tones coming in which feel like transmissions as such.

A little bit of these Transformers/droids coming through now, but still in that "Alien"-like atmosphere.   As the conversation turns to how it vibrates (the paintings and the sound) a lot of mechanical bug sounds come in to the point where it feels like metallic rain.    Someone enters the room and tells him about Kombucha- calling it "a weird fermented drink" (which is fairly accurate) and then this is how the cassette comes to its end. 

Cassette Review //
Stop n' Shop
"Time Wasted"
(Lazer Burn Audio)

$10 //
Edition of 15 // //

When I got this cassette I thought I could spend a decent amount of time typing about how- at the time- the grocery chain of the same name was on strike.    But there is a lot going on during these songs, so I feel like I cannot.    When this cassette first starts I feel like I'm hearing this fun, energetic pop punk type of sound, which takes me back to bands like Schatzi and The Beans. 

By the second song though I hear more of artists like All Get Out and The Casket Lottery, which is funny because those are the bands I tend to listen to when I'm sad (among others, such as Sorority Noise and The Hotelier) and it's late at night.   These songs have this pop punk aspect to them at times, but they also can fall into that indie rock genre where I can't quite place them.

"Between You & I" has elements of Modern Baseball to it (another one of my sad bands) and there is also an audio clip from "Of Mice and Men" in here.    "Apologies" has that All Get Out feel to it at first, but then it shifts into something more like Violent Femmes and as the cassette goes on you'll hear the songs pick up these pieces along the way and the overall sound just expands and grows.

There are a lot of words on "Apologies" and then "Locomotive" has that folk punk thing going on.   By the time we get to "Time" you'll hear these sweet guitar riffs and bass lines, which build to this screamy mewithoutYou type of song.   Again, it's about picking up the pieces along the way, adding them in little by little until you hear them much more fully.

Along with this sound which should have you singing along, I tend to find these lyrics to be meaningful to me.   On "Indirect Post Malone" there is a line:  "I don't like the way he lives / But it don't matter what I think"   While the song itself seems to be about leaving behind childish ways, I tend to think that too much these days we get defensive (especially on social media) of others based upon what they like and what we don't like.

In some ways, I like to think of this as being "The Post Malone Effect" because I, for one, do not like Post Malone as a musician, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be allowed to make music even though others might feel that way.   People will say he's not talented or he has no place in music when they really mean that they just don't like him.  That whole thing needs to stop.  Just because you don't *like* something doesn't mean it's wrong.

"Fishbowl" has this great line: "I need help to help myself" which is something I wish I realized much sooner in life.   We can't solve all of our own problems and sometimes we don't have to.  Sometimes we can help someone else and sometimes someone else can help us.    In that way, I feel like this cassette has really helped me because it rocks and the lyrics give you a lot to think about.   Perhaps it can help you as well (or you can just rock out)

Cassette Review //
"Ghosts before breakfast"

$10 //
Edition of 24 // //

"Ghosts before breakfast" begins dreamy and trippy with singing in Spanish (I believe) and then it gets sped up all crazy.   It can feel swirly and then there are parts where it's blissed out.   Sometimes the drums cause distortion.   A series of beeps now and then it just kicks into all sort of jump cuts heavy.    As it grows wild it can also feel tribal.   It can feel like it is on an electronic loop as well, which is interesting in terms of combining the technology with the primitive.

If "electronic tribal" is not a genre yet (it probably is) then that might be where you can find Hucksley.    There is a jungle, underwater feeling now with some jazz as it is also instrumental here.    For some reason every time I think of the jungle I think of "G.I. Joe" and having one of those characters playing a sax like jazz in the jungle just doesn't seem so out of place for me.   Maybe others who have not had similar upbringings would feel differently.

On the flip side we open with these wild beats and squeals, kind of like birds chirping.   I'd describe it as trap, though I'm not fully sure what that term means aside from that one song that's goes "Iwaslikeheywhatsuphello".    As it grows into this video game sound, the singing returns.  I hear "fake emergency" but I know that can't be right.    Winding, western like guitars set the pace for drum mayhem now.

There is a bit of alien feel to all of this as well, like perhaps it is set in the Nevada desert.   Video game blips make me think this could be such a soundtrack as well, though the only video game I can currently think of about aliens is that old Atari "E.T." game.   As intense as this grows, it slows down to that wind again as well.    This brings about the sad strings, strange sounds, a rumbling and growing static.    Sounds of kung fu fighting now and that Pong ding/beep, but in perfect closure it rests on that winding western guitar.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Cassette Review //
Casper Heyzeus
"Turn Loose The Ducks"
(Ice Cream For Crow)

£7 //
Edition of 35 // //

It is nice to know that after writing about music for something like twenty years I can still hear things that make me go "I haven't quite heard that before" and also I can reference music I heard early on in my writing days that people might not still understand the references to right now (In this case, I would compare Casper Hezeus with Adverse Side-FX)  When I see the name Casper Heyzeus I think about the "Die Hard" film with Samuel L. Jackson because he corrects Bruce Willis' character by saying someone said to him "Hey, Zeus".   Does anyone else get that?  I think that was the third or fourth "Die Hard" film as well, yet it's the one I've seen/like the most.

Right away, this sounds like The B-52's and Oingo Boingo.  It's drum machines and synths, then sweet guitar riffs come in.   On closer inspection, yes, there is a line that says: "Have you ever masturbated to a picture of your best friend's wife?"  I don't really have a best friend and if I had to think about it, my best friend probably doesn't have a wife but if I had a best friend with a wife, sure, why not, I probably would have at some point.   I think we all have, just some of us won't admit it so freely.

The second song is a slower jam with pianos and it's like the Love Boat but he's singing about Joey.    This takes us into what could be considered punk, as it's hard rocking, and I even think of some combination of Weird Al and The Offspring (both of which work so well)   There is this bassline now which makes me think of "Fraggle Rock" but then it switches into a song which reminds me of Elvis.   There is this 70's chicka chicka wah wah guitar riffs and it's about staring at screens which I know I do far too much.   It's a great way to be anti-social as well though, so...

During a dance number he begins singing about "pee pee and poopy" because the song is about how he's in love with this woman when he sees her but she smells like a toilet.   It's a little bit like the Vandals "But Then She Spoke".   In a jungle boogie number- complete with horns and all- Casper Heyzeus rhymes "gringo" with "Ringo" and that's pretty funny.   The flip side starts with electro dance pop and has a song called "The More I See" which is about everyone's favorite member of The Smiths.

Funky horns bring on "Juice Bag", which is about the Juice Man and it's sly.   I want this to be a very specific type of animated music video.   Pianos now and I'm feeling the Violent Femmes as it's got that acoustic appeal.   At times, this also reminds me of My Pleasure but that might also just be because of how much I listen to My Pleasure, but yes, a split between those two artists covering each others songs would be delightful.

As this reminds me of the Breakfast Club, there is a namedropping of the "Lilo & Stitch" movie.  A creepy drive takes us into hard mosh chords and somehow this all ends with a fun pop punk song.    Mostly all guitars, mostly all rock, this cassette is as diverse as it is bold and it's just one of those sounds you won't soon forget.    There is quite a bit going on throughout this entire cassette but I bet after listening to it even once you'll get something stuck in your head for your next thousand listens.

Cassette Review //
Tim Kaiser
(Damien Records)

$8 //
Edition of 50 // //

Hollow tones like electronics bring about this rhythm which eventually feels like falling.   A series of beeps now, like morse code.   It perhaps could be a distress signal, if only I knew what it meant.    Frequencies begin to change now and the knocking comes in like footsteps walking down that long and empty hallway.    The beeping continues.    The tones begin to swirl in melodic hues now. 

The next song comes on sounding like a trap, a clap and the furthest reaches of space are being sucked into it.    A deep synth takes us into Transformers sounds and then it becomes this scraping, almost like an electronic raking.     It grows quieter now, more minimal, and then it just becomes that deep synth drone.   It picks back up with the crack of the electronic whip.

After some slight wind whooshing we're back into that world of Transformers.   This all quiets and the next song comes in with a very minimal squealing.   That drone behind it is like a lightsaber but it's so quiet, so set in the background.    Piano keys now are echoed by synth tones, creating a fun number.    In some ways, it feels like a game of Pong at a jazz show.    A crackling now begins a build and those footsteps return.    This takes us into frequencies which feel like an alien transmission and only rightfully so given what else we've heard so far.

Bigger synth steps now.   A ringing like a pinball error.  The synth crawls through on its belly now as glass tones make their way in like something out of Dr. Seuss.   This grows much darker now, haunted even.    The footsteps appear to be walking away as Side A comes to an end.

On the flip side we begin with what I can only describe as ambient traffic and then a tone ticks back and forth like the ever-winding down of the clock.  A sonar ring comes behind this all now.    It's windy and I feel like vocals are behind this, all chopped up and spit out in the wrong order.   Deeper it goes, to that darker place.   There is a scraping now, as it feels like it might take off.   It's amazing how all of these sounds have remained throughout the song and been built upon.

The sonar bell rings alone and it rings for thee.

What sounds almost like a whistle brings us into the sound of faded memories.   It feels like glass bottles being played as well, a little bit of Jay Peele in that sense.    There is a feeling of percussion in here as well, as it fades out and the next song begins to fade in like "Knight Rider".    Though it can feel lost and desolate, there is this comfort in what feel like windchimes, as they make it feel like home.    Static waves crash through, shaking the speakers.    These bells can almost sound like pots and pans and this almost feels like one long song on Side B as it just sort of stops. 

Cassette Review //
"Deep Roots"
(Flower Room)

$8 //
Edition of 50 // //

Electronic ping pong balls bounce around like a game of Pong and organ-type drone fills the air around them.    These tones which follow sound like keys of some kind but also have this Middle Earth feel to them, like I feel like we're about to embark on a magical quest.   That bouncing has seemingly become the beat here and this has a feeling like bagpipes about it to some extent as well.

This goes into a singing type of chanting and it just feels like... I'm not sure if we're sitting around in a circle somewhere, preparing for war, or out in the desert losing our minds to the heat, but either way I'm down for whatever.    There is this sax feeling, like how you would lure an animal to slumber or of a snakecharmer perhaps.    A long trip now, this feels like it could be something out of Woodstock.

Ultimately, this just breaks down into a cloud of distortion and then single guitar notes chime through in order.    Drum beats and bells now, that triangle ding into the stampede.    This begins to take on a tone which reminds me of The X-FIles.   The keys have shifted from what I heard earlier into something now which feels much more haunted and then the vocals come through and remind me of early Portugal, The Man.

That circle chanting sort of feel takes us to the end of Side A.    On the flip side these organ-like tones bring about this climbing beat and it feels like we're driving down a bumpy road.  It feels like there is a sax behind what could be described as a Doors caravan.    This somehow feels like it's droning but is really just ringing through here at such a steady pace.   Definite sitar vibes come through to where I feel like this is taking us to that sort of place now, yet it is so relaxing.

As it shakes and rattles, words are spoken and then the next song begins with footsteps and a drone.   Guitar notes come through like a sunset.   Though this carries a certain sense of energy with it, I could still see how someone could use it for meditation purposes.   It drones and rings but feels also like a march, like something more is happening than just the minimal sounds which we can hear.

Even though I've stressed the desert a lot in this review, I feel like this is something you could also listen to while getting lost in the woods.   But I think ideally, at least for me anyway, something about these sounds makes me feel like they should be best experienced in solitude for self reflection.