Tuesday, October 7, 2014

CASSETTE REVIEW: Arma & Refusenik “TWO MEETINGS” // Gushing Cloud “Activities of Daily Living” // Homogenized Terrestrials “Sticky Date” // Nigel Samways “Flowered Medulla of Arthur Rama” (AUBJECT)

            What you have to understand about this release- physically- is that when I requested it I had the Arma & Refusenik “TWO MEETINGS” cassette in mind, yes, but it is produced by AUBJECT as a double cassette and each cassette itself has two different albums on it.   This isn’t so much of a fourway split as it’s just a package deal and as such everything you need to know about purchasing this cassette can be found in the link above, but it is still kind of like four cassettes in one (or rather two if you’re counting cassettes and not reviews)

            The first cassette that I put on had the Arma & Refusenik name on it and as such Side A is “Two Meetings” by that particular artist.    It begins with the sounds of pianos and strings and immediately I think we’re in for a treat along the lines of Stephanie Lak and the music I associate with her but have heard quite often before.   There is this somewhat classical feel to it, yet it can also be somewhat of a drone vibe.   The fact that the two are combined is quite amazing.

            We also can hear some 8bit sounds, which are mostly related to Mario jumping and getting coins.  Through R2D2 type modems there is also a sound of strings and horns dying.   Mix in some wind chime type sounds and organs and you have what I like to call a noisy orchestra.   It is rather good and for some reason put the music of Dashboard Confessional in my head. 

            Side B is called “Activities of Daily Living” and is by Gushing Cloud.   This one begins with locomotive beats, strained growls and some glitchy horns.   It is somewhat triumphant through its clanking and hip hop beats do come out as well, along with that chicka-chicka-wow of the record scratching.   In this way it does get kind of funky and, yes, it reminds me of Limp Bizkit somehow because in my head I’m singing “Like a chump, hey!” over and over.  

            Gushing Cloud does manage to finish off this first cassette with the first sign of audio in terms of vocals as there is a screwed line going through that says (I believe) “That’s something you don’t see in everything” repeatedly.   This adds to the overall experience of this cassette on the whole, but while you will equally enjoy these two pieces by Arma & Refusenik and Gushing Cloud neither necessarily need to go together. 

            The second cassette begins with Homogenized Terrestrials.   I’m not certain you can homogenize a terrestrial but I like the idea of it.   Through synth glass, rapid fire beats and a computer voice on a loop saying no real words I begin to actually hear it saying “robo”.   There is a drum kit and Darth Vader style wavy strings.   Footsteps, sad strings and the ambient bliss take us into Jay Peele influenced bowls. 

            Vocals get chopped as the bass gets funky, beeps begin a pattern and then it gets quiet and minimal.  Computer sounds dominate most of the second half of this cassette side, perhaps the whole side, and it ends with the only appropriate knob changing whirrs. 

            Nigel Samways takes control on the second cassette Side B and what begins as simply zoo noises turns into space zoo noises for me.   It’s a building ride with saxophones stuck in loops, sort of vocals but not really and piano rattles over beats and creaks.  Through dark strings, there are also celestial wavy loops and just an overall ambient feel before all is said and done.

            All four of these different artists have created music here that could stand incredibly well on its own, yet somehow bringing them together only feels appropriate.   If you like one of these, you’ll like all of them and that is perhaps the best reason to give this entire sampling a try.

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