Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Cassette Review: Patrick Cosmos "Tonal Rotors" (Big Sleep Records)

When this cassette by Patrick Cosmos first starts it has beats which are dark with keys as well.    There is this part of the "Twilight Zone" which I am reminded of and then there are brief screwed vocals.   Piano and bass bring in a bit of video game pinball destruction which also has a little Transformers influence.    Full on arcade style comes with frantic drums and then haunting tones.    There is really a lot going on within these songs and to listen to them is not to be able to digest everything the first time through.

Static scratches lead to an instrumental hip hop vibe.   Electro-carousel loops have me enjoying the mechanical aspects of this.    It turns more into a dance party though, which also has this upbeat cartoon feel to it as well.   Tarantino type slashes come out next, followed by a heartbeat type of pulse and solemn video game synth tones.   Static crackling brings about some sort of keys and then dogs can be heard barking.   It's the first time we really have spoken words on here (Human, not the dogs) 
A reggae sort of dub synth turns into a NIN type drone while we overall just seemingly groove out into the sunset to end Side A.   To be fair, there was so much going on during Side A that the first time I listened to it I wondered if it was all of the songs but once you press play on Side B you can tell that it is not.

Some of that static with carnival type loops turns into this desolate wooshing and percussion which also has vocals in it.    Yes, I do believe he has begun singing now.    This is almost like a synth pop song at this point.   ("All Alone")   It just goes to show the range of Patrick Cosmos, as you might think you've heard all that he can do and then he'll go and pull a new trick out of his bag, so to speak.   But he just keeps singing the same line over and over- "Now you're all alone", even though it does strike me that it is entirely possible the line was recorded only once and is being played back on a loop.

These tones are so fun and unique, slightly glitching in their delivery.    It has that Pong feel to it as well, which for some reason right now it just struck me that Pong was once a band but I'm speaking of the Atari game of course.    It sounds quite a bit like a game of Pong is being played through "Finger Magnets".    Waves of organ-like synth bring about mechanical beeping and this has a faster paced drum sound to it which reminds me a bit of The Prodigy (Remember them?) except in this case it is combined with something that makes it feel electronic but also just different-- not as angry perhaps.   It's more fax-modem than it is mowhawk.

It begins to take on this urgent sound, like something out of "Run Lola Run" because I do, in fact, imagine quite a bit of running (It moves quickly).   Surprisingly, the track "Profanity-Induced Party Error" doesn't contain a single word and here I was expecting it to sound like an Andrew Dice Clay joke (Is that a dated reference no one will get?)   A nice synth beat and this almost grunting loop combine to give this sort of 1990's cop movie vibe but it also has an outerspace feel to it overall so dear readers I present to you what can only be called: space cops.  (Seriously, why aren't there more movies or television shows about cops... in space?)

The droning, sort of grinding on "Formic Acid" brings in some nice synth and drums.   It has the feel of a band sound which could go back to the 1980's or 1990's even.   I think like Oingo Boingo but a little bit more mechanical in the delivery.   Somewhere between that and something more closely related to 8bit even.   But it has these laser blasts as well, which come through and then can be kind of muted and/or repeat to an effect that makes it sound like glitching as well.    This has certainly become a common theme on this cassette and I enjoy it.

As we approach the last few songs and the end of this cassette, that idea of this being an Atari game orchestra only heightens and it has this quality to it that goes back and forth (get it?) between a tennis match and a full on alien invasion which leads to a war.   I can't tell if they're firing in friendly competition like a tennis match or actually shooting missiles.   But that is where the beauty in this cassette is: the ideas are there it is simply up to you, the listener, to interpret them.

[Side Note: I listen to each piece of music as much as I can before forming a review.   I listened to this both on cassette and I streamed it digitally through Bandcamp.   For what it's worth, if you can get this cassette you definitely should.   Something about the flow if it is altered digitally.   That continuity you feel on the cassette is really something you can't experience in a digital sense.]  

$7 //
Edition of 50 //

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