Friday, April 1, 2016

Cassette Review: Miguel A. Garcia / August Traeger "Absquatulate Azimuth" (Bicephalic Records)

I'm not really sure who Miguel A. Garcia or August Traeger are exactly (Well, August Traeger does run Bicephalic Records) and if I've heard their music before I'm assuming it was under a different name but for some reason it does please me that this split cassette consists of two artists with first and last names.    I'm not sure why that would make anyone happy but I do find some comfort in it.

Miguel A. Garcia starts things off with bursts of static.   There is this quiet feel to everything, as it seems to be flowing along this wave of static but in such a minimal sense and yet there is also this darkness looming in the background.   A lot of it seems to be inverted from how we normally hear this type of electronic confrontation but there is something to this that has you listening in case that background comes to the surface.    The static also has this ch-ch sound which I can sometimes hear but not place.

As this first part can even remind me of some type of Transformers sound it eventually branches out into an all out alien assault.    The static begins to build itself up much louder and it takes us into a windstorm.     Through the clank and screeches we are taken into more serious tones and then patterns as if aliens are trying to communicate with us or perhaps simply strike us all with lightning.    I'd say that this side of the split does seem split as it goes from soft to loud but it might not be a clean 50/50 split in that way.

On the flip side, August Traeger begins by mixing these delicate guitar notes- which remind me of a harp- with just scratchy static.   It's somewhat similar to how Side A started but these are closer to being at the same level, though the guitar notes would be more in the background just not as far back as the doom from Miguel A. Garcia.    Footsteps in the hall come out next and I touched upon this a bit in the review of the new German Army cassette "Gone In Luxury".    There is an Oriental type of flute drone added into the footsteps though, as are other sort of glitch/harsh sounds.

Electric pinball beats take us into a cosmic swirl.   This is where the music almost becomes blissed out but it does feel a lot more like we've entered either into space or some other dimension.    These fun beeps come out to end everything and it has this mix of being a jawharp yet 8bit to it so I just can't quite put my finger on it.   As much as it feels like I'm playing an Atari2600 game I could just as easily believe it was some sort of stringed instrument.    This all also comes to a close with those Transformers sounds I love so much.

At the end of the split I feel like either of these two sides could stand on their own as a piece where you would perhaps buy the cassette and even if it wasn't split somehow (though they both seem to have stop points where you could flip to a Side B) and it repeated on both sides it would have enough merit to justify it being its own work of beauty.   And yet, I can't help but feel that these two sides are connected somehow and for their similarities and differences listening to them together just seems to enhance the overall experience.    The sound is certainly here but so is the unity.  

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