Friday, April 17, 2015

Cassette Review: Joe Newlin "Sea of Tranquility" (Already Dead Tapes)

[$5 // Edition of 50 //]

The music of Joe Newlin is tough to describe and that doesn't really surprise me since "Sea of Tranquility" was released on Already Dead Tapes, which is a rather diverse label.   I guess that's what I like about Already Dead: you kind of don't know what to expect when you listen to a new artist for the first time, but you know it's going to be good because otherwise it wouldn't be on their label.

At its base, "Sea of Tranquility" is full of tones that can sound like beeps but also have a layer of 8bit quality to them as well.    It's not quite full on 8bit, but it has that hint of it where you can hear it if you really listen.    This presents a feeling between ambient and FNL, which also just adds to the overall bliss-filled aspect that the title would imply.   It is truly soothing and relaxing.

Moments of static glitch which can turn into trill, triumphant organ tones, dark guitars, a little hollow sonar and shakers can really round out the sound here.   In some ways, it feels like at the root you do have some sort of Atari game but the tones are simply rearranged to form this beautiful pattern to really bring them to life.

I think of that as being the "8bit" factor, but then the way that Joe Newlin uses them it's like bringing something one dimensional into the 3D world (which reminds me that this cassette did come with a pair of 3D glasses for viewing of the j-card)  So you have to just imagine this base that is taking something good and making it so much better.   But then on top of that, "Sea of Tranquility" is just filled with so much more.

With beeps anywhere from a heart monitor, which reminds me of the television series "Grey's Anatomy", to beeps and beats that combine to form something I like to call beepwave (probably already taken) this is just a spectacular combination of forces working together at their maximum powers to create something both unique and special.    This is definitely something everyone should hear and one of the finest cassettes I've ever heard.

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