Wednesday, May 27, 2015

TALsounds: All the way (cassette)

I feel like I'm floating, weightless, directionless, thoughtless. The cause for this pleasant state of mind is the music of TALsounds, released on cassette by Hausu Mountain under the title All the way.

TALsounds is just one person: Natalie Chami on voice, synthesizers, oscillators, effect pedals and loop pedals. Her music is like waves caressing the beach on a sunny day, or wind in the trees when dusk arrives: gentle, pleasant and soothing. It has a childishness and innocense that we all should embrace, to become like children again.

There are no regular songs on this tape, just sound patterns hesitating, shifting, moving. There's some connection to Fripp & Eno's tape loop music released on Evening Star or No Pussyfooting. or Philip Glass's mathematically structured minimal music, but only superficially. Because TALsounds' music is much more unorganized, and therefore much more unpredictable. This means there's a lot to discover by playing the tape repeatedly, which is of course a big plus.

The simple synthesizer sounds, the abstract voices, the soothing basses, the gentle chords, all flow in to and out of each other in a very pleasant way, yet experimental enough to avoid the New Age moniker. There are dissonants, and thank God for that! Because Ms. Chami has played all her tracks, as multilayered as they are, in one go, leading to many unexpected but pleasant musical surprises!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Heck no, I don't listen to techno! (cassette)

Do you like Italo Disco, early 1980s synth pop or 1990s 16-bit Sega videogame soundtracks? Then log in to your PayPal account and buy Heck no, I don't listen to techno by The Hound Of Love. The tape is released by Plastic Response Records, a cassette label from Greenville in the United States that has the magic touch for catchy retro techno.

The music is a tongue-in-cheek representation of the above mentioned genres, but at the same time so well constructed musically and rhythmically, and so super catchy melodically, that I'm starting to feel more and more happy as I type this review while listening to the music.

Those synthesizer and drum computer sounds that once were modern, then became outdated, and now are retro-cool again! Those orchestral parts, clearly and purposely recognizable as samples instead of the real thing! There are hardly any vocals on this tape, but when vocals are there, they are funny. For example, some dialogue fragments of a man who explains he basically totally wasted his life, are the highlights of Back to normalcy, a track apparently referring to mental illness.

So here I am, typing on the keyboard of my Chromebook to the beat of Heck no, I don't listen to techno, and what else can I tell you then to go and listen, and get happy!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Delmore FX: Innumerevole (cassette)

Musique Concrete was born in the early days of the tape recorder. Tapes were used as analog memory: to record, slow down, speed up, invert, cut up, loop, and otherwise treat sound in ways that had simply been impossible before it could be recorded. It was reinvented with the arrival of the analog synthesizer, an instrument even more suitable for the creation and processing of sound: it could even create totally new sounds!

Elia Buletti, who runs the Berlin based cassette label Das Andere Selbst (The Other Self), and who performs and releases music as Delmore FX, stands with one foot in this tradition, while with the other foot he steps out of it. Listen to his cassette Innumerevole, and you will understand what I'm trying to say.

He uses analog synthesizers and digital equipment in the same spirit as the pioneers of Musique Concrete: exploring sounds in-depth, whether musical or not. Recording or creating sound,s tasting them, chewing them, swallowing them, spitting them out again, mixing them, cutting them short, cooking them, frying them, burning them, breaking them ...

To paraphrase Star Trek's Spock: It's music Jim, but not as you know it ... It's a weird, alien landscape constructed out of sounds you think you know. But just when you're starting to recognize them, they mutate into something else. And then again. And again. So: no music in the traditional sense of the word. No easy listening. But if you are willing to put on headphones, and maintain your concentration for 2 x 20 minutes, you will make an interesting, crazy trip through a mutated musical universe.

Listen to the music, and buy the cassette or the digital audio, at Bandcamp.