Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Cassette Review: IXTAB "Alea" (Bezirk Tapes)

[€7.90 // https://bezirk.bandcamp.com/album/alea]

Compared to Schoolhouse, IXTAB has a vastly different sound but I've always been a fan of artists and labels who have put together different releases based upon the fact that they sound good on cassette rather than thinking of them in terms of a definitive genre.  (Why can't "cassette" be a genre?)  I don't know what the name IXTAB means other than the fact that it looks like part of a license plate.   I do think maybe the "IX" is Roman Numerals, so it could be something like "nine-tab", but I'm still not sure what that means and I don't want to look it up either.

This cassette begins wavy, almost like an ultrasound (and I often wonder whether or not there are musicians out there who somehow gain access to things such as ultrasound machines and use them for their music) and then it turns into big beats.     As it becomes mechanical, there are also whirrs within the beats.    It's heavy on the percussion and borderline instrumental hip-hop as well.   Some drama comes out with trill, like "Law & Order" and then harder electronics bring out laser beats to close the side.

On the flip side there are glass bottles, scrapes and soft beats to start.   I feel like we're going into Jay Peele territory, but then an urgency can be found in the beats as it takes on this "Run Lola Run" aspect.   It's stready rockin' beats and then these guitar riffs come out with cymbal crashes and an overall eerie sound.   There is a certain level of this sounding like a pulse and I don't know quite what that would imply to you, the reader, but just imagine the life beat of someone flowing through them somehow in a musical form.  Ringing bells with beat bring the cassette to a close.

Compared to Schoolhouse, this cassette by IXTAB is electronical bliss while Schoolhouse was droned out sound.    They have somewhat opposite sounds as far as the pacing goes, but yes, this does in a lot of ways feel like something which you should put on if you're in a hurry or at least just moving-- driving in a car on the highway, exercising, etc.   Granted, I've listened to this in bed at night with headphones on, but it's not something to just listen to when you're sitting on the couch chilling.   You're going to want to get up and move to this one.

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