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digitalis vs. tornado sirens at 5AM

May 13, 2010
hey everyone,

greetings on this awesomely grey & gloomy day… after being awoke at 5 am by the sound of tornado sirens (false alarm, apparently), we stayed up and busted out these tapes for your ingestion:

ltd#107: michael james tapscott “sunny california OST” c26 $7 US / $8 CAN/MEX / $9 INTL

if i could only be serenaded by one person for the rest of my days, i’d choose michael tapscott in a heartbeat.  the odawas vocalist’s talent is something to die for.  that voice… cannot be beat.  but what tapscott brings on his debut solo release under his own name is far more than just that voice.  this is the soundtrack to the short film of the same name by neil blakemore and follows in the ocean-drift steps of the last odawas record, “the blue depths.”  melodic synthesizer passages float lightly on simple, seductive drum machine beats and acoustic guitar lines.  erratic, almost-harsh electronica even makes an appearance as tapscott uses all his tricks to crystalize the theme of the film.  every turn finds a new path, all of which lead back to the central precipice.

“sunny california” is a place rife with beauty and sadness and as tapscott as our guide, we’re bound to find something to treasure.  edition of 100.

ltd#131: planets around the sun “gold” c46 $7 US / $8 CAN/MEX / $9 INTL

back the fuck up and freak the fuck out.  planets around the sun are another epic cog in the music vistas of portland, maine.  made up from members of cursillistas/herbcraft, tempera, white light and others in the l’animaux tryst family, planets’ sonics feel like religious offerings to a long-forgotten stellar godforms.  it’s huge, sprawling and absolutely magickal.

acoustic drones flicker like organic spires in the distance.  the group’s combined voices singing through heavy rays like sirens beckoning you home.  the build-up is incredible.  minimal, nearly-tribal drums push the movement to another level entirely as it enters into its cathartic, critical mass before breaking down and decaying back into the earth.  left behind are the strums of guitars and industrial, percussive blasts that couldn’t be contained in the fallout.  edition of 80.

ltd#135: white leopards s/t c33 $7 US / $8 CAN/MEX / $9 INTL

this white leopards tape has been a long-time coming but will prove worth the wait in the end.  win chavez exists on his own plane out in the city of angels, a wizard with analog prowess.  on this tape chavez blurs the line between composition and improvisation, never allowing the listener to be sure where this music is coming from but always sure of its ability to lodge itself deep inside his or her psyche.

this isn’t just your standard-fair schulze/schnitzler worship session.  chavez ignites his own scree, spewing out concise synthetic concoctions that skirt the line between the darkness & light.  sinewaves flow underneath, creating smooth rivers to build oscillating sawtooth masses on.  hints of bliss shine through and warped voices try to speak-out from the lurch as the whole thing becomes a spectral, whirring idol.  edition of 75.

ltd#137: red electric rainbow “harmonic sail” c34 $7 US / $8 CAN/MEX / $9 INTL

chicago in august is going the place you’re going to want to be.  well, at least during the weekend of the 22nd as the neon marshmallow festival takes over the city.  one of the co-organizers of said fest is daniel smith AKA red electric rainbow.  after a slew of under-the-radar-but-totally-great releases on his own neon blossom label, smith brings his haunted paradise down I-55 and into the digitalis realm.

“harmonic sail” won’t fail to brighten spirits and enchant.  endless, reverb-soaked keyboards runs fly up & down the scales, sounding like the opening to the gates of heaven.  smith adds some mid-range crunch, like he wants to break into some kind of garage-inspired solo but can’t quite get off the ground.  it blends together in perfect harmony.  the tape closes out with the short and sweet “ocean mist,” the pefect polyphonic bring down after the title track’s (both parts) glorious ride.  edition of 75.

ltd#139: mohave triangles “astral holograms” c30 $7 US / $8 CAN/MEX / $9 INTL

it’s always exciting when somebody you’ve never heard of comes along and blows your mind.  such is the case with the fantastically-named mohave triangles.  hailing from the depths of north carolina, MT cuts to the chase with thick, crunchy synthesizer drones.  side a is over-the-top, always at 11, always in the red.  he covers the full spectrum, lighting up carolina all the way.  perfect listening with your morning coffee – it’ll wake up your senses and start the day off right.

the flip-side reverses that approach, descending into midnight without a map and ending up lost in the backwoods with nothing but a full-moon and a thousand mosquitoes for a guide.  drink the sludge and swallow it down and at the end you’re rewarded with a short cosmic journey on lsd-wings.  edition of 70.

ltd#141: knit prism/w.a. munson split c40 $7 US / $8 CAN/MEX / $9 INTL

this split from knit prism and black eagle child-spinoff w.a munson finds its solace in the greath white north.  ontario’s knit prism aka michael pouw has been churning out gem after gem lately and this split follows-up on his gift tape quite nicely.  hazy drones bleed into glassine accompaniment, shards falling like hypnotic crystal rain.  pouw cuts and pastes like a master, fusing together something ancestral with an aim to the future.  his piece is equal parts old, dusty relic and computer-age synth dream.  pouw’s a master craftsman and knit prism is just getting started.

munson returns from hiatus and eschews the momentum of black eagle child to dive straight back into the deep end of the pool.  somebody asked me if he’s using a heavily-effected guitar or a synth and i honestly have no idea and could really care less.  munson is playing for keeps.  over the first half, munson is searching.  underneath hiss and fuzz, time-worn melodies play-out even if they’re completely unsure of the destination.  but midway is his come-to-jesus moment.  the fog and haze clear and we’re left with a beautiful, modern hymnal.  tones and melodies that remind me of boards of canada suck you in without fail. equal parts earnest and heartbroken, its a place i could stay for a good, long while.  edition of 75.

ltd#144: mass ornament “fyxe” c39 $7 US / $8 CAN/MEX / $9 INTL

it’s been a while, but it’s finally time for the latest feather in eden hemming’s cap to be plucked.  “fyxe” follows-up 2008’s “bewilderness” on her own teosinte label.  but forget what you know because this is the next level and where it goes from here, i can only guess.

“fyxe” is heavy.  it’s deep.  from the opening, bass-heavy electronics and wordless vocal loops of “polygon angel” you know you’re in for a treat.  the rise of altar eagle has led to more vocal-heavy compositions in hemming’s solo wares, but for my money that’s no bad thing.  discordant, almost-lost guitar structures provide the bass for more soaring.  there’s a harsher side, too, with found objects fed through a continous circuit of reverbs and delays to create aural moonscapes devoid of tonality.  metallic drones pierce the dust while she suffers through, dropping vocals from a perch above.   at any minute everything could fall apart.  it’s a beautiful thing.  edition of 75.

ltd#145: ricardo donoso “deterrence” c34 $7 US / $8 CAN/MEX / $9 INTL

i think ricardo donoso has to be one of boston’s best-kept secrets.  when he’s not performing as 1/2 of perispirit (recent tape on hospital) or in the avant black metal outfit, ehnare, he runs his semate productions label.  in other words, donoso is busy and responsible for a lot of excellent things.  his solo work is no exception.

on “deterrence,” donoso finds his peak.  generated with guitar, analog synth, piano, tapes & contact mics, this is an album of layers.  each repeat listen finds new elements and new sounds floating deep in the mix.  donoso’s interest in game theory and behavioral psychology are the theme to which the music wraps itself around.  by the time the final pieace, “mutually assured destruction,” reaches its inevitable climax, the listener is left to pick up the pieces.  in these slow-decaying sounds are the roots of introspection.  listen closely and make your own choices.  edition of 80.

as always, get the whole batch for a solid discount: $45/$54/$63 but other deals available, just get in touch.

check pics and hear clips:

awesome.  next up on the vinyl front – the ossining & heather woods broderick LPs will ship by the end of the month.  june will see vinyl debuts from both brother raven and radio people.  after that?  stay tuned.

much love,


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