Time for more tips from the world of cassette releases. As always, there’s so much amazing music out there—with a few favorites from various musical genres featured below. These are all available on digital and other formats too so, if you’ve yet to dust off your old Sony Walkman, there’s no excuse but to delve in.
Wolf Maps :: Purity (Future Sequence)
The UK label with a focus on ambient, drone and experimental classical, delivers a second album from South of England based Wolf Maps. If you are a fan of the likes of Kyle Bobby Dunn, Pausal, Fennesz and Christopher Bissonette, this one comes highly recommended. Thick billowing clouds of reverb laden guitar hang across 8 tracks—it’s an exercise in concentrated atmosphere creation verified by track titles “Glower,” “Velvet Night” and “Some Waves.” Each piece is perfectly formed in length, never outstaying its welcome with new textures revealing themselves across each listen. Purity maintains a pleasingly consistent theme throughout making for a soft, gently undulating listen. Music that slows down time and one for all you escapist night owls out there.
Perfume Advert :: +200 Gamma (Opal Tapes)
Whacked out bliss laden house is the order of the day here with a super nice twilight world, dreamlike aesthetic. Drawn out atmospheric pads and celestial color accompany submerged pulsing kicks—conjuring that netherworld your mind enters whilst borderline catatonic after a long night in a club. Waves of hazy musical mnemonics fill your mind whilst dubby audio hallucinations flicker over the horizon. Fragments of melody emerge and fade—distant bass lines hum whilst delayed effects scatter across the audio plain. It’s not until the titular final track that a shuffling beat properly emerges stacking strung out funked synths with further dubby effects and arpeggiated bleeps. Fascinating stuff.
Ikpathua :: Tape Paranoia (Noorden)
Ace creeped out industrial shudderings from London based Ikpathua. Steeped in shuffling paranoia, partly tribal and definitely on the moodier side of thing—Tape Paranoia serves up exactly what it says on the..um…tape. The attitude here is one of dislocated dance floor reckonings (see “The Liar”), technoid rumblings pawing their way through bassy gloop (“Swamp”) and a slice of ace flighty techno (“Signal & Noise”). There are loads more releases to explore from this excellent Cologne based label—head across to their bandcamp page and get involved.
Planet Pluto :: Foreign Body (Detroit Underground)
Blistering sci-fi renegade electro from the Motor City—this one mines classic Detroit roots deeply and sticks firmly on point for the majority of the album. It’s pretty much stone cold steel city bangers all the way as jacking bass lines flex, guttural voices intone menacingly and oddball melodies combined with widescreen space effects rain down upon us. As the PR hype reads: “Detroit electro is the steel framework of a musical architecture that stands tall in the city’s history.” Planet Pluto does a very fine job in carrying that musical legacy onwards.
Sarah Davachi :: August Harp (Important)
Recorded in Vancouver between November 2012 and 2013, Sarah Davachi delivers a meditative set of sine wave bagpipe drone lullabies using an enviable array of kit including various Buchla and Sequential Circuits synths alongside cello, harmonium and vocal layering. Kick back and let the melodies unfurl in subtle revelation across the 17-minute journey of “doline” or glide across the gently expanding growth of “hedgerow.” One for fans of Jon Brooks and Donnacha Costello’s recent Buchla synth explorations.
Infinite Scale :: Home Taping is Killing Music (Self-Released)
Not strictly a cassette release this one but there is a tenuous link. As many producers did back in the day, London based Infinite Scale would record his work to tape to road test in the car. This is a collection of early Scale tracks before he signed with Toytronic in 2005, some of which perhaps underwent that test. Starting in 1993 the tracks proceed in chronological order providing a unique insight into his development across more than a decade of music making within an incredibly fertile period for electronic music in the UK. There are some timeless beauties to be found here such as “we are engineers,” “finding the perfect job” and “brushpusher.” There’s also a great quirky Kraftwerkian pop gem in “my information.” Well worth investigating all Infinite Scale releases following this if you’ve yet to get acquainted!