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digitalis DEAD HEAT

July 23, 2010

hey everyone,

fuck this heat.

ltd#78: sam gas can “dog dance” c22 $7 US / $8 CAN/MEX / $9 INTL
sam gas can is one to leave you wondering endlessly and wandering aimlessly. it all starts with a low-key dance party for your favorite haunted asylum. manic voices and near-tribal beats plummet like a meteor through the clouds. you walk into this mental ward with no fucken clue how you got there. luckily there’s clarity on the horizon in the form of uber-melodic synth passages that will guide you like a drunken sailor back to the shore. the morning brings pump organ catharsis that’s bathed in warm white light. hypnotic vocals fill the air while the melodies grind along underneath. it’s blindingly emotive – you can’t help but be drawn in by the familiar comforts of each note that gently takes you home. beautiful stuff from one of the most underappreciated artists in massachussetts. edition of 75, pro-dubbed.

ltd#112: headboggle “banjo signal generator as advertised” c29 $7 US / $8 CAN/MEX / $9 INTL
the boggling continues fresh out of the bowels of the san francisco space program. “banjo signal generator as advertised” keeps the psychedelic synth scrapes brewing and brewing until everyone is buried underneath his electronic portal clouds. inside this howling vortex of bubbling electronics come unexpected shifts of composed guitar melodies that fade away as quickly as they arrived. in its wake, the synth waves dial it in and intensify until petering out into a sample of your favorite piano spooks of all time.

but as i’ve come to expect, headboggle shows up for a live rendition next making me jones heavy to see this spectacle in person. minimalist electronic sculptures battle it out with the crowd’s voices, the latter adding an unexpected bonus to the proceedings. it’s some haunted spliff. headboggle never sounds like anything but headboggle and ends up stuck in your skull for days on end. you just have to keep going back to it, trying to figure out what the hell happened while you were out. edition of 75, pro-dubbed.

ltd#143: afterlife “bodies in motion” c42 $7 US / $8 CAN/MEX / $9 INTL
if this is what the afterlife is like maybe i should start believing in that shit. but really the duo of ryan mcgill (cliffsides) and franklin teagle (meditations) stretches their wings and fly even further on their latest declaration finding the visceral symmetry in subtle shifts and simple composition. dual synthscapes that line the sky with their warm, glowing major chord changes and galactic leads. its music that is easy to grasp on the surface, but deeper listening reveals something even more magical.

of course, on the flip they go straight-up mid-80s sci-fi with abandon. this is not fucking kitsch, it’s fucking awesome. minimal beats provide the backbone for rising-and-falling notes and pitchbends. it’s exactly what i think of when i heard the phrase “bodies in motion.” everything devolves in the end, becoming a spastic mass of elegiac tones that get buried underneath washes of square waves and noise. sort of a poetic end if you ask me. edition of 80, pro-dubbed.

ltd#146: sundrips “through obversion” c23 $7 US / $8 CAN/MEX / $9 INTL
i’ve been to canada many times. hell, half of my family still lives up there and i can tell you one thing it isn’t: tropical. sorry brothers & sisters in the great white north, that’s just not how it flies. well, sundrips would beg to differ it seems. this montreal-based duo craft hypnotic song structures that will heat you up even during the depths of those canadian winters.

armed mainly with a synthesizer and guitar, sundrips are doing a fine job of carving out their own space amongst the cosmos. “through obversion” is filled with four concise rainbow shots toward oblivion. accented with droning vocals and various tape loops, these songs are like statues to the sun gods. dreamlike arpeggios and heavily-delayed guitar notes wind together tightening around your skull. in the end you’re floating somewhere outside the clouds, sucking down as much of the pure, prismatic air as you can. edition of 75, pro-dubbed.

ltd#147: william fowler collins “hiding in light” c30 $7 US / $8 CAN/MEX / $9 INTL
hell hath no fury like the desert, or at least that seems to be the implication on this latest mini-opus from the inimitable william fowler collins. the sparse landscapes of new mexico (where he plies his trade) are evident all over “hiding in light.” the churning of distant machines fight against the wind and blowing sand. but the darkness overcomes as soon as WFC drops the guitar bomb early on and lets things disintegrate from there. eventually you’re dragging bones toward the river styx looking to fill the blackest hole in your heart.

“lost in fire” echoes how you feel after the fact. once you’ve destroyed everything and secluded yourself in isolation, the numbness takes over. but there’s an unsettling comfort in feeling nothing and WFC etches that out like a true sonic magician. eventually the blackness reaches a distorted feverpitch and falls in on itself until there’s no sound left. edition of 100, pro-dubbed.

ltd#148: nathan mclaughlin “echolocation #2” c30 $7 US / $8 CAN/MEX / $9 INTL
alright friends, this one goes deep. REAL deep. nathan mclaughlin (half of the excellent loud & sad, who you will hear more about later this year) offers up the second volume of his “echolocation” trilogy (vol. 3 coming on gift tapes this fall while vol. 1 remains up-in-the-air) and we are all the better for it. deftly composed electronics bind together effortlessly with ghost drones of the highest order. this is music that is simultaneously beautiful and disjointed. mclaughlin is an expert at knowing the perfect placement for each movement and each fluid note.

“echolocation” is split into six separate pieces, but they all form together to form a much greater whole. this isn’t a single continous composition, but the pieces fit together expertly. fuzzy tones generator from decaying radio waves and field recordings sit alongside delicate drones without interfering with each other. at times i’m reminded of some eloy’s “shanti” record or dick raajimakers longer tape pieces, but “echolocation” is something that is wholly mclaughlin’s own. exquisite. edition of 75, pro-dubbed.

ltd#153: dense reduction “fictive agriculture” c42 $7 US / $8 CAN/MEX / $9 INTL
travis bird and evan lindorff-ellery caught my attention straight away on their first trio of releases on the label they run together, notice recordings. “fictive agriculture” finds them spewing new organic sonar trails through hazy concrete forests. this is music that requires repeated listens to fully digest all the layers. things start off minimal and almost-melodic before bursting into a blown-out, churning mess. things go back & forth, covered in tape hiss and full of tonal warmth. it’s like unsuspectingly tuning into lost radio transmissions from the past half-century, sending out maydays from a distant planet.

the flipside opens things up a bit with some harmonic sand castles from the start. eventually the tide rolls in and smashes the whole thing into bits, but the cleansing is all well and good because bleak, dissonant electronic triumph emerges from the ashes. it coalesces into a feedback labyrinth, unsafe for those with delicate ears. edition of 75, pro-dubbed.

ltd#154: motion sickness of time travel “seeping through the veil of unconscious” c60 $7 US / $8 CAN/MEX / $9 INTL
“seeping through the veil of unconscious” came to us out of nowhere as a demo and i think i can say with some certainty that it’s the best demo we’ve ever received. motion sickness of time travel is the solo moniker of lagrange, gerogia’s rachel evans. she also plays in the duo, quiet evenings, with her husband and runs the hooker vision label with him as well. and while she’s done some really great stuff, this album takes all of it, everything, to incredible new heights.

evans concocts six whirlwind romances all in the space of an hour. beauty, magic and bleeding effervescence come together in perfect harmony. vague electro meanderings hide hints of early grouper as evans’ compositions sing with the spheres. while the songs are built around vaguely catchy repetitive synth backbones, she laces an incredible array of instrumental layers between those bones creating music that is as dense and complex as it is continous. yet, the real star here is her voice. sometimes its at the fore, other times its buried underneath the plodding keys but it never gets lost and always shines. stunning music in every way. debut LP coming on digitalis next year. she’s that fucking good. edition of 80, pro-dubbed.

pics & audio as always:

sundrips, nathan mclaughlin, afterlife, WFC and motion sickness of time travel are sold-out (the others are close). get in touch for a new batch price for what is left. or email me with questions, etc (other discounts available if you’re ordering 3 or more tapes). get in touch!

up next: sparkling wide pressure, brother raven and lawrence english LPs. tapes soon from xela, aino tytti, & more.

much love,

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2010 10:25 am


  2. dialsquaretapes permalink*
    July 23, 2010 10:52 am

    and so the digitalis/hooker vision connection officially begins. 😉

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