Gift Tapes releases due out in February

All Gift Tapes releases will be recorded to tape.  We believe that the analog recording process preserves the integrity and soul of the sound.  This method provides specific limitations to the creator which promote a more hand-crafted music, simplifying the relationship between human and machine.  The nature of analog recording encourages careful forethought for each creative decision and frees the artist from the false digital infinite.  Additionally, the method of production and distribution in the midst of a consumer-based economy requires artful consideration.  We aim not to create commodities, but to enliven a folk mentality… where art is circulated as gift.

Jean-Michel Jarre & the Gakken SX-150

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK4Wpw5cVbg&feature=related

I found out about this little synth fairly recently.  After looking at some youtubes… this seems to be the most annoying one.  I’d imagine it’d make a cool noise toy gift (gifts are good) to give to your most annoying relative’s kid – 50 bones and it’s analog.  Maybe they can work on playing a backing synth part to some Steven Halpern records… fill that shit in a little.  The other cool thing is you could be the geeky uncle that gives him his first electronic lessons – you gotta build it from a kit – check it out: Gakken SX-150.  My uncle Bill gave me my first calculator watch and it changed my life.  Anyone checked out that JM Jarre DVD?

Muntjac tape ‘Warp’

Muntjac - 'Warp'

See Update Below (posted 12/3/2008).

At first glance I was thinking to myself “It’s cool, no cassette case… whatever… 12¢ might be a lot of money to some people”.  Then I thought a bit about it again… “Come on dudes, jesus!  Lets put the shits in some cases!”  But you could say F-it, plastic is bad for the environment, right?  The case will outlast you and I, and the last thing we want to do is contribute to garbage island.  So instead of the tape case, it comes in a zip lock baggy, along with a little fold out piece of paper with some hand drawn animals and little homemade comic book-looking thing.  Maybe this makes up for it?  I should get to the point… When you put in the tape, it all comes together.  In fact… reality becomes so clear you’ll find yourself slipping from it…  like a barking deer.

The first couple song-based tracks are really strong.  They have this nice murky quality to them that sounds too good to be unintentional… simple-minimal, softly distorted beats both programmed or played, thick bass and a subliminal sounding flute and synth, all flowing, winding, and morphing into what eventually becomes the latter tracks on the first side.  These first tracks are strange and catchy… I had to get up out of my seat to do some of the little dances I’ve perfected in my time.  The tracks near the end have a more psychedelic, slightly messier feel to them.  It’s kind of a stark contrast to the beginning tracks, but they still work.  The second side is a little more spacey/ambient… slightly wandering, but gently drifting to sleep in a pre-warmed lamb-skin blanky.  On side 2 most of the beats have gone away, replaced by synthesizer and nature recordings, forming longer tracks that seem to blend together, with occasional rhythms float down from the heavens.  In the end, the tape will soothe your mind – I recommend checking it out.  Here is his page: muntjac site – a quick whois search will pop up an LA address – is that where Paul Grimes is from?

This is just one of many tripped-out records that are coming from Belgium-based  Taped Sounds, but I have to say… it’s a little hard to tell what the name of the label is actually called.  I see them referenced as different entities: taped sounds, dreamtime taped sounds, bread and animals, cauliflower dreams. Either way, they are releasing new stuff, and most of it seems to be headed in cool directions.  It’s a great underground label.

As far as finding this tape… I know it’s sold out at the source.  I was able to get a copy at tomentosa… but I’m almost positive that these are ultra-limited.  Is it out there in the d/l world?  Here are some samples I pulled from his site: Cave Mangaroo (from Side 1) & Jars (from Side 2)

[audio:muntjac_-_cave_mangaroo.mp3,muntjac_-_jars.mp3]

UPDATE

Thought I should make a mention – Paul Grimes contacted me today.  He’s from Washington DC.  He informed me about his original intention with regards to the packaging:

“the original plan was that we were going to put a ton of these 1-inch cartoon squares with the tape.  hence the baggie to contain the intense confetti action.  however, i think lieven was about to go on tour and in a rush to release it and forgot about the squares.  oh well.  i have a bunch of copies with the squares added.”

So that means you are in luck – he’s got tapes!  You can contact him from his webpage here to find out how to acquire one.  Thought you should know.

Synchronicity & positive theme music

Dreamers Cloth - Positive Theme Music
Dreamers Cloth - Positive Theme Music

See Update Below (posted 12/4/2008).

I just got this tape and I’m realizing that I made a mention of it in my last entry. Good stuff. That happened with the Sounds of the Mothership cassette as well. This kind of stuff happens – it’s total synchronicity. Where can you find this tape? I’ll drop an address below. The only reason I was able to get a copy of this is that we are trading – Gift Tapes for Dreamers Cloth’s new release. So I owe him and he’ll be the first to get our new stuff.

When I put this tape on today, it eased the nerves and relaxed the mind. Positive Theme Music indeed. The soothing sounds of synth on tape oozed out of the speaker cones. The positively charged air molecules soothed my throbbing head. I have to say, this guy gets really good tone; it’s somewhat lo-fi, but the frequencies that do come through have this quality that emulates the old records your grandparents used to play. You wouldn’t know that this music is from this time, and that is true with all the other Dreamers Cloth releases I’ve heard.

What makes this release stand out from the others are the transitions from track to track. They are pronounced by the start/stop of the playback head of the recorder he’s working with. And this is by no means a distraction, as the tracks build up this cohesive entity, a collection of otherworldly drones and melodies. And this entity distinguishes itself as one that hypnotizes us into entering portals to other dimensions. You’ll be sucked back into your body, but left with the promise of possible reentry (flip the tape).

This tape promises many future travels to a cozy land of island sunshine. Happy time music on an old stereo, relaxing on the beach in the warm ocean breeze. Transformational and teleportational, my friends… you want this tape. You can attempt to get one from Stenze Quo (if you can decipher the text in this image). This is an image of a small card that accompanied the cassette:

Order the Dreamers Cloth from Stenze Quo

UPDATE

Via Relax with Nature site: “get in touch with johann if you want to get hold of this at www.myspace.com/stenzequo

Dreamers Cloth heals

Here is a tiny track from Danish musician Dreamers Cloth. It was released by Relax With Nature on a cassette titled A Bamboo Dream. This feeds me the necessary energies and inspirations I need to cancel out the bad shit. Excellent healing pleasure. As far as I know, he’s got 4-5 releases under that name… all sold out though – super limited edition. Though I do believe there is a blog out there that one might be able to find his stuff on (that is an assignment).

*Look out for a new release on Stenze Quo called ‘positive theme music’. Where you can find that label or purchase that tape – I have yet to find out… Let me know if you know. This shit kicks my ass.

[audio:B2.mp3]

Space, Myspace, and Jeff’s show on EVR

Space/Time

Annoying, but it must be done.  We’ve got a myspace setup… join us and stay connected to the spirit realm:  myspace.com/gifttapes

Podcasts are coming soon… but in the meantime, I highly recommend listening to Jeff Conklin’s show on EVR (East Village Radio) called Bring Out Your Dead.  The show focuses on the music of the Grateful Dead, but I’ve noticed it also includes new stuff from the new age tape world underground.  Its good reefer for the hover-flow space-mind jams necessary to keep the earth afloat.

Arthur C Clarke, Space Music & Descriptions

Books by Arthur C Clark

The Future is where Arthur C Clarke seemed to spend quite a bit of his time… both the future in his head and ultimately, in his books. He made quite a few predictions about the future with regard to science and technology, many of which came true. He was quite the visionary.

I’ve been thinking a lot about time travel these days and I was reminded of his book Rendezvous with Rama. It happens in the future. An abandoned alien starship that enters the solar system. The ship is explored by humans for a few weeks until it gets too close to the sun. Ultimately, the ship uses the power of the sun to shoot itself off into deep space. The book is mind-bending, mysterious, spiritual, totally sci-fi and pretty new age.

And that leads me to the idea of Space Music. Is this really a genre? Supposedly, this is a subcategory of New Age. Could be I guess, I don’t know.  I understand genre category names like New Age, Noise, Experimental, Minimal… They’re all pretty straight forward. Past that though, it gets a little dorkville – in my opinion. What I do like though, is good descriptions.

I’ve been ordering tapes lately. A bunch of them. Most of them are coming from small labels or small distributors of small labels. All of them are super limited edition (minus the David Parsons tape in the last entry). Sometimes I read about something and want a copy. Sometimes it’s word of mouth, sometimes i want a legit copy of something I’ve downloaded. Lately, I’ve been into reading descriptions of the tapes. You should check out tomentosa. I don’t know if these descriptions are written by the artists or by the dude that runs the place, but they’ve really been helping me find new stuff I like. Check out this one (via tomentosa):

Caboladies, waterslide mines

caboladies – waterslide mines – arbor – cass –6$ sold out

Kentucky’s Caboladies recreate the cosmic birth of droning stars. Dense, psychedelic synth compositions, building to the point of electro-ecstatic infinity. Sliding through the crystallized air, shining with beauty. Uplifting, transcendental spells stuck in the newness and awe of the atmosphere. The young trio have released stellar cdrs on Students Of Decay and Mountaain. Limited to 100 tapes with full color art and labels.

This tape is pretty good by the way, but you can probably tell from that description.  This is what I’m talking about.

And with that, I leave you with my favorite track from Hans-Joachim Roedelius‘ record Durch Die Wüste (the title track).  If there is such a thing as Space Music, this is probably a good example of it.
[audio:durch_die_wuste.mp3]

Sounds of the F’ing Mothership

Sound of the Mothership Cass.
God Damn. This is my hand.  That is my tape and that shit was sealed.  I looked all over the place for this cassette. A few weeks back I found some cheesy website in the UK, a new age shop that had a pretty big catalog of shit. Check it out: http://www.discord.co.uk/. They listed that they were selling David Parson’s Sound of the Mothership on tape, so I took my chances. I didn’t think I’d really get the cassette, but then they got my hopes up after contacting me to inform me that I was in fact ordering a cassette. It arrived in the mail today and I’m going to fucking celebrate with beer. Cheers.

The Raag…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcSZE-4q_yA&eurl=http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=ravi+shankar+sitar&www_google_domain=www.google.com&emb=0&aq=0&oqiurl=http://i3.ytimg.com/vi/rcSZE-4q_yA/hqdefault.jpg

Loosing touch on Lark in the Morning’s site where I found that video. I’ve really grown to love the sound of the sitar. And that reminds this dude:
David Parsons in 1977
David Parsons.  Former ad exec turned new age after seeing Ravi Shankar perform. He quits his job, goes to India, studies sitar, then buys a synth. Bouncing tracks back and forth on a tape machine, he came up with Sounds of the Mothership. Thanks Jeff! Actually, you should check out his blog: Avant Ghetto – it’s still there, dubbed from cassette.

Welcome to the Gift Tapes blog

Welcome to Gift Tapes of Seattle, WA. On this blog you’ll be able to find out what’s new with Gift Tapes, in addition to posts focused on both old & new new age, noise, & experimental music.  Designing the blog will take us a bit of time, so please bare with us.

NEWS:

Our first limited-edition cassettes will be released in January 2009!
2 releases are for-sure, but we hope to have 3.  Spare Death Icon, Jason E Anderson‘s new age project and Jamie Potter’s (of Bonus) currently unnamed project.  Both Anderson & Potter are also working on an electronics duo project, so we hope to see some material from that soon.  In the meantime, we’ll leave you with our first bit of sound from the Spare Death Icon cassette!

[audio:half.mp3]