Tiny Mix Tapes review - Projector Mapping

I like a good synth album that occupies neither space or time. One that doesn’t seem beholden to some concept of science-fiction. It’s getting harder and harder not because of artistic horizons shrinking, but because of hangdog ears and a synapses that associates synthesizers with the relics of retro-futurism. It hurt to type that word, I apologize. But before we crusade against such a nega-term (as we did with hypanogogic), may I suggest Projector Mapping as the music for our march? It’s adventurous and not of this era, though to peg it as some Kubrick nightmare or Hawking dream seems disingenuous to Opaline. What we have here is a ambient pop album akin to R.O.B. Proof positive that synthesizers are not tied to one specification of sound. And though there have been many synth crashes to scare off the masses, those of us who have stuck around to rebuild find new relics such as Projector Mapping by which to restore our faith in the versatile instrument. So those of you still stuck in some teenage idea of synth as sci-fi instrument, I present to you a reason why infantile thinking still makes you think misogyny and super cars are the best things since sliced bread (and you think that phrase is still awesome). Audi 500.


Cyclic Defrost review - Mialle Tapes

2014 has been a fruitful year for Sydney based musician Alister Hill. Under the nom de plume of Lortica, Hill has released a debut EP  – SAD LTD EP  – and now his first full length album, Mialle Tapes.  Both works have received critical attention and a stack of independent radio play.

Hill manipulates found cassettes, guitars, effects pedals and a four track tape deck into dark ambience.  Given his penchant for cassettes, Mialle Tapes has an unsurprising lo-fi aesthetic; in fact most of the tracks are coated in persistent tape hiss, which becomes a unifying timbre for the album.

In his Cyclic Defrost review of SAD LTD EP http://www.cyclicdefrost.com/2014/08/lortica-sad-ltd-ep-valley-spirit/, Greg Bird described the construction of “murky soundscapes” and “weathered loops”. If anything, Mialle Tapes muddies the waters even more. There is much less use of repetition as a compositional tool, rather this album is closer to pure through composed sound design. To my ears, Lortica mines a similar vein to Tim Hecker.

The tracks evoke a lonely, vast space. Wind howls, ghostly unintelligible vocals appear and a post-apocalyptic isolation hangs.  On subsequent listens, new noises, snatches of rhythm and harmony became apparent and I found the unravelling nature of Mialle Tapes to be intriguing.

Hill has done well to maintain the aesthetic of his debut, whilst leading it into a new place. Mialle Tapes is available digitally on the great Feral Media label and – aptly – on cassette via Danish label, Phinery.


Mess and Noise review - Mialle Tapes

– We premiered Lortica’s debut EP SAD LTD back in July, and Alister Hill has now released a proper album under that guise. Maille Tapes sees the Sydney producer as murkily noisy as ever, from the fly-buzzed opener ‘Colour Ks at Sea’ to the blanketing drone of closer ‘Trou De Trou’. Sampling and resampling found cassettes and guitar loops through various pedals, processors, tape recorders and a four-track, Hill makes foggy compositions that at once recall the vast Australian bush (cue field recordings) and a constricting single room. Think of it as a sort of cryptic, fever-dream travelogue. It’s out now for any price digitally via Feral Media and will come out soon as a limited cassette via Danish tape label Phinery.


Juno Plus premieres new ondness video

Watch a visual introduction to the Portuguese producer’s new release for Danish operation Phinery-Tapes.

Immersing yourself in the world of tape labels is to become acquainted with interesting operations on a worldwide scale with the passing of each week. Danish label Phinery-Tapes is a relatively new concern, ermerging back in February with a free digital compilation and the label’s subsequent cassette output has committed a broad range of music to spool – Karl Fousek’s Relative Position of Figures looks to be worth checking if you are a fan of Beatrice Dillon.

Bruno Silva’s Ondness project is amongst Phinery-Tapes’ final batch of releases for the year with Filho do Dono - that’s Owner’s Son for translation fans – consisting of two hazed-out longform productions that seem to be built from field recordings. The below video should offer an idea of what to expect, with Silva drawing from some suitably fuzzy source material including odd 1972 documentary Future Shock narrated by Orson Welles.


Decoder review - Somehow Commissioned # 1 (NOISE)

This week Phinery unveiled the first in what promises to be a riveting new compilation series, Somehow Commissioned, with an inaugural noise focus; though they’ve opened things up with a suitably acousmatic set, future installments will explore different genres through similarly prepared collections. Christian Filardo and Angelo Hemsworth head up a small Holy Page contingent among several American contributors — Virginia experimentalist .glia, Portland band Leveret, San Francisco’s Black Thread, and  Greg Gorlen — but a pair of tracks from Berlin based René Margraff and Munich based Anatol Locker ground some of its consciousness elsewhere, offering a shimmering drone excursion and what sounds like the dread perambulations of some ghostly attendant at an extra-terrestrial welding shop, respectively. Leveret and Black Thread close the collection with more drone and textured atmosphere, but elsewhere the “noise” that these artists derive from Phinery’s prompt is an active and sensational presence, as with .glia’s contribution, “Isfahan,” and even Filardo’s brilliant, melody murdering “Catch.” The compilation is free to download, but you can grab a CD-R edition with an accompanying zine via the label’s Bandcamp; the zine is also available to peruse at ISSUU.



Decoder review - Projector Mapping

As of last May, Purr Tapes no longer operates as a label, after having been putting out excellent stuff on tape since 2011. Instead, founder Hunter Peter Thompson has shifted focus to his solo music project Opaline. Projector Mapping, Hunter’s latest release as Opaline, finds him at his very best. Full of cosmic synth layers, tracks like “New Realities” and “Skyocean” create a melodic euphoria achieved through synth-driven lines and blissful tones. That is not to say that it does not have its dark aspects too though; both “Horizon Circuit” and “Restless Architecture” are guided by an obscure note repetition that often comes off as otherworldly, fitting in with the mood-shifting “Value of History” that goes as long as ten minutes. All in all, Hunter’s sound explorations are now deeper than ever before. A truly pleasing listening experience.” Projector Mapping is out now via Phinery.



Weed Temple review - XLVIII

Hollowfonts - XLVIII (Phinery Tapes)

With their simple, minimal artworks and reduced, cold aesthetics the Denmark based Phinery Tapes seem like a welcome ground for all sorts working with the inaccessible. And Michael J. O’Neal, working under the moniker Hollowfonts, has found himself a great niche within the label. The tape is filled with rugged and noisy musique concréte, a mistreated maelstrom of “captured and mistreated” (as the j-card states) sounds. XLVIII would fit as a background noise for Halloween themed party which takes place in an art gallery with popular props (like pumpkins or scarecrows) made into though-provoking, meticulous installations. There are even some mutant techno vibes stemming here and there from the ocean of tape sludge.



Tiny Mix Tapes review - Arrival

Music is art. Art is circumstance. Circumstance is personal.

Who knows what such gibberish means, and it represents even less when listening to Arrival. It comes from a very personal experience as described by Dobbin, when a bout of temporary hearing loss found its way to transform her dreams and create a different palate of voices and sounds to discover as her hearing returned. Though easy to follow such a guide when listening to Arrival, I do think the above idea can be followed backwards to arrive at such a beautifully crafted cassette of drone reflections. Dobbin’s personal loss led to a new circumstance, that which begot art that formed as music. Simple enough. But there is much more to the narrative following such a scripted thesis. What she experienced can only be shared with others who have endured it. My recent bout with an ear infection does not qualify me. The circumstance it put her in, no matter how it is transcribed and translated in Arrival, will always be hers alone. I want to know that moment but am I willing to sacrifice a sense to understand it? That’s the key to the art form; I am able to get a sense of the isolation and beauty of those moments mixed with the fear and unknown. It will never be mine, but that Dobbins allows this shared moment is more powerful than initially expected. Arrival gives me goosebumps. And makes me talk in circles.


Norelco Mori Podcast episode 006

Our sixth episode takes us through tracks by Hecanjog, Listening Center, Karl Fousek and new stuff from Toronto's Stenorette.

Tabs out - New labels spotlight

There’s been some highly sleek activity from this Denmark imprint with their six cassette releases to date. Included in that half dozen is some gorgeously murky, textured sound sculptures by Hollowfonts, the 7th appearance of Daniel Leznoff’s meticulous synth work as Demonstration Synthesis, and some game changing nuggets of designer sound by Karl Fousek on his imaginative “Relative Position of Figures”. Phinery’s editions range from 50 – 75 copies and look stunning.


Label spotlight by Dirty Pillows

Label Spotlight: A weekly or monthly thing where we give a shout out to record labels that we think are keeping the dream alive

Phinery is a relatively new  label that has been putting out some really interesting and unique cassettes over the past year. Established in Denmark in February 2014, this superb label already boasts some impressive releases from musicians like Karl FousekHollowfonts, and Demonstration Synthesis.

The initial vision that founder Benjamin Krarup had for the label is what really sets Phinery apart. As stated in the label’s description, Phinery is the combination of art and sound. Krarup set out to create a label that would not only feature fascinating sounds, but would also promote the cover artwork and the artists behind them just as prominently.

Each release is a collaboration. Different artists and musicians are paired together for each tape. Krarup curates the label on his own, deciding which artist’s work will best compliment a musical composition, and vice versa. This joint effort between musicians and artists has yielded some excellent results. Krarup has managed to get respected artists from around the world, including Daniel EverettChristopher Norris, and Jennifer Mehigan, to provide pieces for Phinery releases.


Isolatarium review - DS7


Demonstration Synthesis is a project of electronic explorations of all kinds from the Montreal-based Daniel Leznoff.  I will readily admit that I’m not as familiar with this project as I think I should be, but since first hearing DS7 (which I assume is his seventh release under this name), I’ve headed down the rabbithole to see how much I can find.  And so far, there’s a lot.  Yet DS7 is where I keep coming back to.

Leznoff covers a lot of ground over the course of this tape, but there’s a tonal quality to everything that ties things together nicely.  What really surprised me, though, was the funkier elements and a bit of tongue-in-cheek-y-ness.  While Leznoff is incredibly adept at constructing steller atmospheres, like with “Drop In,” where it feels as if everything in the room will be airborne at any moment, and the spooky “The Analog,” it’s in syrupy-sweet moments like “Isabella” that DS7 really shines. Leznoff holds nothing bac and, as listeners, we’re rewarded.

If DS7 is an indication of Demonstration Synthesis’ trajectory, there’s some special things in store going forward.  Out now on cassette and digital via Phinery.

Decoder premieres Isabella video

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve no doubt caught wind of Montreal’s Daniel Leznoff and his lucid, kosmische synth guise Demonstration Synthesis. Leznoff has been somewhat of a prolific underdog at this point, having released several tapes on various labels before the year’s midpoint. But his astounding efficiency shows no sign of slowing down, as we’re now given the first taste of DS7, the next release in Demonstration Synthesis’ discography. The lethargic and aquatic tones of “Isabella” cycle through with blithe buoyancy skimming across the sine waves in a lazy river of sound more than surfing through choppy waters. The track hosts a certain mid-90s male melodrama vibe that could soundtrack “Heat” or some other meditatively macho movie but still nods toward the analog bubblebaths of Warp’s dreamier canon along with recent, dark bedroom – or better yet, closet – pop geniuses Inga Copeland and Dean Blunt without the shady backdrop. Check out the video above and head over to Phinery to grab a copy of DS7 for yourself.