Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gnar Tapes Update

Portland-based Gnar Tapes is always up to no good, and they have recently put out a slew of banging tapes which have been getting some nice airplay on our charts.

White Rainbow- Gnarchives Vol. 1
A compilation of unreleased material (recorded from 2007 to 2010) by Portland’s ambient/psychedelic mastermind White Rainbow. Apparently he has a Ph.D in pizza, so you know it’s going to be good. Most songs are lengthy, sweet syrupy daytrips into the unknown. White Rainbows has been producing music for over 20 years, and is the Father of “Nu-New-Age.” Highly recommended to any fan of psychedelic, ambient, drone, or yes...bladerunnercore. One of my all-time favorite artists.

The Memories -S/T
The Memories is a four-piece Portland outfit that is made up of many of the same scallywags that form White Fang and BOOM! Their short sweet songs (most under 2 minutes) contain elements of punk, Motown, post-punk, and whatever your parents slow-danced to in high school. Most songs have a distinct lo-fi quality, but it’s not too over the top and they still maintain accessible jangly dream pop aesthetics. Lots of lyrics about failed relationships and smoking herb, but they are all sincere and interesting—none of that burnout crap you’d expect from a band of four hesh brahs wearing denim jackets.

Also of note, all tapes come with these hilarious drawings and Valentine's cards that show off (Gnar Tapes founder) Erik's seasoned talent of drawing an entire marijuana leaf without lifting his marker. (Pictures to come.)

Friday, March 25, 2011

M. Geddes Gengras — This Could Be the Last Time

Stunned Records is a label known for bringing out the big guns and they sure don’t disappoint on this latest release. M. Geddes Gengras, (also known as Ged Gengras, M Ged Gengras, or simply M.G.G.) is a psychedelic/experimental producer from East Los Angeles who is notorious for heavy-hitting spirals of drifting synth and awesome facial hair. He also puts together mixes at the blog WHERE’S YR CHILD, and he is probably the only person featured on this blog who tweets. Gengras has put out a good handful of releases in the past few years, including three on Stunned: 2009 saw the release of a c44 and a colorful split with A.M. Shiner, and last year he delivered with a sprawling two-cassette release titled “Pink Moon/Deep Trail Time.”

Both sides of this release are killer and showcase exactly why Gengras is able to stand out in a genre that is becoming ever-saturated by torpid one-take bedroom wannabes. His characteristic sound is forged from long loops of delicately fluctuating electronica and is intensified by the deep, warm f
uzz of Moog waves stretching the very medium of the tape itself. The j-card reveals that the album was “assembled during the week of rain,” which explains the expressive pitter-patter of its gently scaling arpeggios and its tinkling metallic conversations--like Louise Bourgeois arachnids chatting in the downpour.

More than anything, the cassette seems to place an overwhelming emphasis on the very act of transformation--the slowly shifting tides and subtle vicissitudes seem to speak volumes on the importance of celebrating liminality, as opposed to fixating on discrete destinations or starting points. Most of the tape’s 13 tracks take a long time to fully develop, which emphasizes the virtues of fluidity—the large expanses of betwixt and between that bind together our very existence.

“This Could Be the Last Time” comes on a crowd-pleasing diaphanous yellow cassette with a jazzy j-card and Phil French’s signature slash-ribbon artwork.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pine Smoke Lodge - Songs for Sucking Spirit Darts

Pine Smoke Lodge is a legendary experimental drone project based out of Portland, Maine that consists of Matt McKeever and Hillary Dickerson. (Fun Fact: Matt also runs the excellent Existential Cloth cassette label). They have only been producing music under Pine Smoke Lodge for a few years, but they have already cranked out a good two dozen releases that have received much critical acclaim. Their latest album "Songs for Sucking Spirit Darts," consists of three vast sonic landscapes that are ominous and mysterious and evoke images of the dark winters of the far north.

It is a release that is altogether chilling and haunting, with deep resonating drumbeats, echoey breezes, distant chines and a faint light at the end of the tunnel. Huge black brushstrokes on an all-white canvas. 150 square feet of Franz Klein abstract expressionist isolation.
Frostbitten limbs and frozen lakes that eventually thaw in a renaissance of light and color. Perhaps dead men do tell stories?

This CDR was sent to us courtesy of House of Alchemy and begins its run on the KZSU Experimental charts this Monday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Listen to the Rangers Interview!

In case you missed it, the San Francisco-based Rangers stopped by the KZSU studios for a quick interview on March 6 to shed some light on his recording processes and influences, talk about his new label Brunch Groupe, and discuss why in the world anyone would want to put out a release on cassette in the year 2011.

The interview concludes with a short discussion of KWJAZ, the first project slated for Brunch Groupe, which is loosely designed to synthesize "decomposed luxury grooves for an era of imperfect memory."

Check it out in the excerpts below:

Rangers Interview Part 1
Rangers Interview Part 2

Friday, March 11, 2011

Full of Nothing

From Russia with love! Our friends from Full of Nothing Records recently shipped us a carepackage containing two mindbending cassettes that are good enough to skip school for. The first is ThrouRoof's cryptic "Tarots Session" --an epic freezeburn invoking images of labyrinths, hidden walkways, and an ever-nagging feeling that you're being watched. Black ambience, horcruxes, and nauseating washes of shoegaze bliss. Wonderful. As a bonus, the artwork consists of crisp transparent paper layered ontop of Tarot cards that were found in the bowels of a forgotten dumpster in Russia.

The second is
Billiam Wutler Yea's "Calico Desman," a self-proclaimed "therapy tape for soul anorexia." Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Comes with a great puffer fish j-card and a hand-painted clear cassette. Great things are brewing in Russia...

Rangers Interview on KZSU

This Sunday, tune into KZSU to listen to a special interview with San Francisco's Rangers! Rangers is the solo project of John Knight, and his releases have appeared on As Above So Below, Not Not Fun Records, and Olde English Spelling Bee. His most recent releases were a beautiful LP titled Suburban Tours, and a deliciously left-field 7" split with Ducktails.

Rangers will be discussing his musical influences, production techniques, and the new release he recorded last week.
Tune in this Sunday, March 13 from 6-9 PM Pacific Time!