I was pleased to see DRAFT (Gift Tapes sub-label)get some reviews in The Wire, thanks to Nick Richardson. Joel Brindefalk’s A Rough Patch and Atlantic Triangular Trade’s Velvet Satellite made it into the Outer Limits review section. We’ve posted samples of all the DRAFT tapes – check them out on the site: draftrecords.com You can find the review below.
Turns out Brother Raven’s diving into the pineapple portal LP in The Wire as well, from last month (thanks to Keith Moliné). Dave Segal posted it here on The Stranger Line Out music blog. Many thanks to Aguirre Records for making that re-release possible! Check out their newly re-designed website: www.aguirrecords.com to see all the killer jams Pieter has in store for us!
NEW Gift Tapes are coming soon. My thought is they’ll be ready sometime in late February… a little later than expected, but that’s not too far off. This batch includes solo projects from both members of Brother Raven, as well as the new solo tape by Matt Carlson (synth player in Golden Retriever). Since this will be Gift Tapes 2nd year in business, we’ve planned some pretty crazy surprises for this set of releases. You won’t want to miss out, so get in on the action as soon as these drop. I’ll post the release date and related info to the blog when the time comes. Keep posted!
Last week we received exciting news that one of our favorite Gift Tapes releases, Bee Mask‘s Canzoni dal Laboratorio del Silenzio Cosmico, will see a LP re-release on Edition Mego‘s new sub-label Spectrum Spools. EM’s releases are always top-notch, and this one will be cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering (meaning this LP will sound amazing!). It’s a limited edition of 500, due out April 4th – pre-order while you can! Congratulations Chris Madak!
Oregon Painting Society has a ton of content on their site, from photo documentation to audio downloads to video links – check it out. You can even download their Gift Tapes cassette, released last June.
This year I’ve noticed all kinds of best of 2010 lists out there in cyberspace, so I thought I’d join the party and post a favorites list too. The list includes both recorded work and live performances of 2010. Please note that the albums are listed in no particular order and the live performances are listed by date. I’ve probably missed a few things, but I definitely wanted to mention these albums & live performances because they have totally shaped my reality in 2010.
Favorite 20 Releases of 2010 [that I’ve heard/in no particular order]:
Golden Retriever, Golden Retriever 2 (CDR, Self-released) Robin Fox, Handful of Automation (CS, Editions Mego) Pete Swanson, Challenger (CS, Self-released) Caged Soprano, The Newspaper (CS, Jugular Forest) Pulse Emitter, Cosmic Images (CD, Expansive) Headboggle, Banjo Signal Generator As Advertised (CS, Digitalis) Keith Fullterton Whitman, Disingenuity B/W Disingenuousness (LP, Pan) Alex Barnett, Section 3 (CS, Nihilist) Outer Space, Lightyear Demonstrations (CS, Deception Island) Telecult Powers, Return To The Psychic Dancehall (CS, Snake Mysteries) Geoff Mullen, Bongo Closet (CS, Razors And Medicine) Geoff Mullen & Keith Fullerton Whitman, November 28, 2009 (CDR, Upstairs) C.P.U., The Hard & The Dead (CS, iDEAL Recordings) Synaptic Foliage, The Bottom Of The Ocean Pt. II (CS, Cylindrical Habitat Module) Pax Titania, Orphan Daughter of an Orphan Daughter (CS, Catholic Tapes) Rene Hell, Porcelain Opera, (LP, Type) Any Given Sunday, Take Me To Your Dealer (CS, Agents of Chaos) Bee Mask, Canzoni dal Laboratorio del Silenzio Cosmico (CS, Gift Tapes) J. Hanson, Blood Orange (CS, Gift Tapes) Frak, Dry Vanadis/Tournament City (CS, DRAFT)
Favorite Live Performances of 2010 [that I witnessed/listed by date]:
Pacific City Nightlife Vision Band & Stellar Om Source, February 18, Seattle @ Gallery 1412
Spencer Clark and a friend from the Portland group Eat Skull creating ritualistic Casio music that really had everyone mesmerized. At one point Spencer started some sort of loop and walked through the crowd to grab some other non-name-brand Casio-type keyboard enclosed in it’s original box – totally added to the humorous, semi-ghetto vibe. Stellar Om Source’s set was ultra hi-fi layered synth, performing in near darkness amidst crazy light formations.
Matt Carlson & Josh Hanson, April 2, Seattle @ The Josephine
Matt Carlson played a crazy set of modular synth that reminded me of Carl Stallings cartoon music, extremely stereoized and humorous – I was laughing my head off the entire time. Josh Hanson performed pieces of his Blood Orange tape, using prerecorded material processed through various filters and other analog effects – a very refreshing approach to performance.
Metal Rouge, June 17, LA @ Synchronicity Space
Duo of Helga Fassonoki and Andrew Scott + another member performing trumpet I think whose name I don’t remember. Total tripped-out mysterious improv, with music venturing into mostly unclassifiable territories, using affected/prepared guitar and voice. Helga’s presences give this group a performance art aspect that is very engaging and unsettling, while Andrew seems to link the music to our world.
Golden Retriever & Double Dare, June 19, Portland @ Abyssal Behemoth
The duo of Jonathan Sielaff on bass clarinet and Matt Carlson on modular synth – started out like a blippy analog computer, transformed by ecstatic wails on bass clarinet and becoming a ripping field of champion musical energies. Opener that night was a ruling duo of Levi Berner and Amanda Anderson called Double Dare, a combination of samplers, live electronics and some huge Casio CZ synth creating awesome textural noise amidst song structures – my intro to this new duo (and it turned out to be a one-off performance).
Telecult Powers, July 10, Brooklyn @ Port d’Or
Amazing set of extraordinary cosmic jams by the killer synth duo, performing with a rare 16 mm film of animated comets flying through space!
Harmonizer, July 11, Burlington @ Firehouse Gallery
Greg Davis & Toby Aronson’s duo project utilizing synths, effects and the harmonizer! Really killer live collab process, and fairly gestural in sound… inspired by John Hassell’s work.
Bee Mask & Marcia Bassett/Samara Lubeski duo, July 14, Brooklyn @ Zebulon
Chris Madak of Bee Mask which completely floored me with this sound collage/live electronics set; awesome diverse sound set that flowed like a concrete master work. The duo set of Marcia Bassett & Samara Lubeski ventured into some really dark territory; full on ghosted light patterns from alternate dimensions.
Pulse Emitter, August 13, Seattle @ Chapel Performance Space
Daryl Groetsch’s Pulse Emitter project, performed a meditative music set in a beautiful space on a summer evening, using his road modular system and a mini rack mount synth. One of my favorite artists in the minimal synth category and this was an exceptional performance.
Greg Davis, August 24, Seattle @ Gallery 1412
Total surprise set from Greg Davis. I had seen his newly assembled modular a couple months prior to this set, but had no idea what he’d be doing. Instead of his ultra-minimal music I am familiar with, he seemed to do an exact opposite. Sound flying all over the space, ultra maximalist, mostly atonal and masked vocals within the field of electronic chaos. So fucking awesome.
Matt Carlson, September 17, Seattle @ The Josephine
Another Matt Carlson set that blew me away and had me rolling at the same time – he literally uses every available limb to control his modular and keyboard and upped it a notch with his use of the vocoder. Extremely bugged out, dynamic set of weirdo vocals and synth.
Rene Hell, Pete Swanson & John Wiese, September 18, Seattle @ Black Lodge
Swanson’s recent incorporation of the modular synth has been ruling, and I have to say this was my favorite set I’ve seen him perform. (The photo above is actually from the first show he did incorporating the modular synth.) My live into to Jeff Witscher’s Rene Hell project totally stood up to the amazing record he put out on Type. John Wiese utilized way more acoustic recordings than I’ve seen him use in the past, kind of an odd, atonal cut up that was more weird than noisy.
Oregon Painting Society, October 7, Portland @ Holocene
Crazy-ornate set of this amazing Portland-based 5-person art collective, performing live electronics and homemade instruments amidst flashing lights and an insane amount of props. Reminiscent of a dynamic Merzbow set.
Million Mists & Panabrite, October 10, Seattle @ Gallery 1412
Jamie Potter’s first solo performance as Million Mists and Norm Chambers first solo performance as Panabrite – both sets super amazing debuts. Million Mists usage of digital synths, samples and delays gave way to malleable jellyfish textures and cold fuzz. Panabrite used three synths and some effects, creating some truly vintage new age scores to a fantasy landscape degraded on VHS.
Last Spring I posed a challenge to a fellow label-head/musician friend of mine (based in Tulsa, OK), to get revenge of sorts because of a massive 85 minute tape he asked me to do in an edition of 22! So in response, this is what I requested: Super experimental & non-musical & synthy, but not noisey & not too droney using only the pro-one & recorded to tape of course. I guess my challenge was more specific… but I tried to think of everything that that dude does exceptionally well, then ask him to do the opposite! His approach to the challenge is especially interesting to listen to; it’s improvised synth music that consciously attempts to avoid musical spaces. And it’s in that avoidance of musical spaces that hints of musical ideas occur. They seem to play on the creativity of the listener, providing a palette for which to connect the dots, link ideas and create our own music through interpretation. Please except this gift; a prized edition of the MICRO collection.
Next month: New tapes by Matt Carlson, Million Mists & Spare Death Icon.
Charlatan, exercises Download: GT020 59 MB ZIP file, includes 320 kbps MP3s
MICRO CASSETTES… The wave of the future.
Inexpensive. Miniature. Mono. Limited Frequency Response.
Last January we snuck this MICRO in more than a few packages; now it’s high time this is available to the masses. One of the lovely things about micro cassettes is the fidelity, a shadow of a recording allowing a hazy glimpse of what was there. These mysterious artifacts, buried in tape hiss, offer the essence of an artist’s creation, while the listener fills in the blanks. 3 more in the cue that I’ll post in the coming months — so stay tuned! Also, coming in this Winter, Gift Tapes will release new tapes by Matt Carlson, Million Mists & Spare Death Icon.
Knit Prism, coral mediations Download: GT016 53MB ZIP file, includes 320 kbps MP3s
MICRO CASSETTES… The wave of the future.
Inexpensive. Miniature. Mono. Limited Frequency Response.
Gift Tapes will present an exciting evening of electronic sound and visuals featuring CORRIDORS, Million Mists, Matt Carlson and Panabrite. Brooklyn-based CORRIDORS mixes multichannel works from processed instrumental and environmental sound and video imagery. Portland musician Matt Carlson (member of Golden Retriever) will play a solo synth set, and Seattle solo synth acts Million Mists (Jamie Potter of Brother Raven) and Panabrite (Norm Chambers) will both make debut appearances.
Byron Westbrook (b. 1977) is an artist working with the dynamic quality of physical space using multi-channel sound and images. His audio/video performances under the name CORRIDORS involve the distribution of processed instrumental and environmental recordings through a multi-channel environment with a focus on energy distilled from sound and light. He has presented at venues such as Tonic, Roulette, The Stone, Diapason Gallery, Issue Project Room, Experimental Intermedia, Exit Art Gallery, (NYC), Les Voûtes (FR), Wien Konzerthaus (Austria), NonEvent (Boston), Sonic Circuits Festival (DC), and Institute of Intermedia (CZ). He has shared performance bills with Tony Conrad, Phill Niblock, Jandek, Sawako, Heribert Friedl, Stefan Tcherepnin, Maria Chavez, Alessandro Bosetti, Jason Kahn, Jon Mueller, and Tetuzi Akiyama, among many others. Westbrook has also collaborated with Paris-based composer and former Kitchen curator Rhys Chatham in the drone metal group Essentialist (Table of the Elements), as well as performed in the ensembles of Phill Niblock, Rhys Chatham, Glenn Branca, Duane Pitre, David Watson and Jonathan Kane. He has worked as technical coordinator of Phill Niblock’s Experimental Intermedia Foundation since 2004. In 2007, he was the recipient of the Jerome Foundation Emerging Artists Commission through Roulette Intermedium. In 2008 he was an artist in residence at Hotel Pupik at Sclhoss Schrattenberg. A cd will be released in Fall 2010 on Sedimental Records. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Gift Tapes is pleased to announce its 7th batch of tapes, just in time for the Fall season. Synthesized soundscapes, meditations & fantasy landscapes… Available from gifttapes.com (orders will ship early next week). Also coming soon to many fine online distributors: Mimaroglu, Tomentosa, Discriminate Music, Eggy Records, DNT Records & Colour Ride (UK).
Mi Or And The Pedestals: EOS
C30 audio cassette, edition of 150 Aerated synth atmospheres and crystalline shapes; white light angelic perception
EOS is a skillful blend of voice and synthesizer, sculpted by Brooklyn-based Mi Or And The Pedestals (Ceci Moss). Distant atmospheres are spawned from lush soundscapes and chaotic noise in an excellent fusion of contemporary synth styles.
Nathan Mclaughlin (currently residing in Sauk Centre, Minnesota) reveals a new chapter in his recent series, following up a previous release on Digitalis. Echolocation #3 is ambient music, rich in color and mood. Layering vintage synths on room-length tape loops, Mclaughlin crafts music for meditation.
Panabrite: wizard chimes
C60 audio cassette, edition of 150 Submerged journey toward a glowing pearl; Juno-60 driven fantasy soundtrack
Seattle-based Panabrite is the brainchild of synth musician and record collector Norm Chambers. Wizard Chimes carefully layers drifting arpeggiated melodies, forming the soundtrack to an epic journey through fantasy landscapes.
*All new Gift Tapes are pro-dubbed, imprinted & loaded with chrome tape.
Few copies of Brother Raven’s VSS-30 LP available here.
Brother Raven Diving Into the Pineapple Portal LP & Eagle Vision TAPE due out on Aguirre Recordsby the end of next week!
DRAFT, the new sub label of Gift Tapes will debut it’s first releases in early October.
Details on upcoming Gift Tapes performances on 10/10 & 11/1 listed here & be sure to check out the Debacle Festival this weekend!
Tomorrow, Cristin and I are headed out east for a little vacation to NYC. Immediately following our break, I’ll be touring as Harpoon Pole Vault with Bee Mask/Chris Madak (see Deception Island label). Super excited! Three of these shows will feature Zaimph/Marcia Bassett, so be sure to catch those if you can. Our NE mini-tour dates are listed below. Hope to see some of you! FRESH poster design by WITCHBEAM!
Gift Tapes presents a night of contemporary drone music: NYC-based Zaïmph, recent Seattle transplant Jaime Fennelly, and Seattle’s Brother Raven. Zaïmph, the solo project of Marcia Bassett, combines guitar and electronics to create subtle noise music. Jaime Fennelly (of Peeeseye fame) will make his first appearance solo on the west coast, performing with a harmonium and electronics. And lastly, synth duo Brother Raven will attempt to craft the music of the cosmos with synthesizers, performing the last show of their west coast tour in their hometown.