Monday, March 26, 2018

Cassette Review:
Awkward Geisha

Edition of 5 //
$6.99 // //

"Trees" is my first time listening to Awkward Geisha on cassette and not digitally.  I was thinking about what to do when all my Awkward Geisha reviews are eventually posted: do I archive them alphabetically or chronologically?  One reason why chronologically might not work is because digital reviews would be under "Music Reviews / A" while cassettes go to their own subsite.    So this is my fourth time overall listening to Awkward Geisha (the first three were digitally) and as such if my next time is digitally as well then the archive will feel like it's missing that number four spot if I choose to do them in chronological order.  Or am I just thinking about this too much?

My first time listening to "Trees" was through my new portable cassette player.  This is only the second cassette I had played that way and the first was "Return To The Hell Hole Store".   I had The Hell Hole Store cassette up pretty loud because when I pressed play on "Trees" the guitars came blasting through and then this wave of metal noise took over.   It was like "In Utero" era Nirvana or maybe even their song "I Hate Myself And Want To Die".   But it comes through more metal than that and it reminds me of the Awkward Geisha cover of "Frogger" from a previous review.

This is also funny because on the song "Hell Hole Cafe" (which is on the first cassette I listened to via my new portable cassette player) they mention only ever playing The Spits second self-titled album at a volume too loud for you.   This first song kind of reminds me of that and in a sense, listening to these two rather different cassettes back to back links them in that way.   I like when things can feel connected like this.

The second track is quieter.   While it begins with an audio clip about some company protecting your records while they play, the line "Protects them in the groove" repeats itself when piano keys are struck.   I'm not the type who is crazy enough to count how many times that line- "Protects them in the groove"- is repeated exactly but let's just say it is a lot.    It sort of fades out after a while and then some sharp tones drone their way into the next track as someone is speaking.   Whenever I hear someone speaking in a song like this I just assume it is an audio clip but this actually sounds like it could be a member of Awkward Geisha because of how it is recorded.

The sharpness sounds more like guitars, first as some scratches down the strings and then as notes kind of like Peter Frampton before it eventually comes out like bass notes as well.   The talking continues but I'm not sure what is being said I just hope I'm not a sleeper spy.    On the flip side we go into these plucks and twangs like a sitar.   A frantic flutter of bongos being played joins this.   A horn- I will say trumpet- comes in now as well and this begins to generate a funky rhythm.   This really ends up breaking down into a jazz free for all though, while somehow the bongos manage to stay at the front of it all.

An acoustic guitar comes strumming through on the next track.   This also happens to be the titular track and it is breaking down in all sorts of ways.    Vocals are in the background but not really saying anything as there is also what sounds like a harmonica but is likely that trumpet again.  I imagine these string plucks as being from a banjo plus the deep vocals as being a jawharp because for some reason I just want this song to take me to the swamp with Kermit the Frog.   Now let's just somehow dub this over the first track and call it "swampcore". 

Now we do go into the darkness but a lot of the swamp feel fades as the horns come blaring out instead.   There are still those delicate plucks and it also feels like there is a swarm in here.    Space laser whirrs come through as well and this has become a real sea of chaos.   More words about records comes with pianos and I'm kind of glad this is on cassette and not vinyl because it just feels like it'd be too cliche to talk about records on record.   There is an eerieness droning away in the background as piano keys are struck.  This is somewhat like the second song but without the repeated audio clip line.

The tone descents into madness and then everything is cut off except for the piano.   Some lower notes are played and then it comes to an end as well.   To think of how this started so violently, like a bullet shot out of a gun, to the way it has ended somewhat mellow is just one of the many aspects I love of Awkward Geisha.

As I did my research like a good music typer guy, I found that the third song which I thought was an actual person talking and not an audio clip being sampled it turns out it is someone talking and that someone is I, Eternal who has an album out on Attenuation circuit so if you needed any more reason to be one of the lucky few to own this terrific cassette might I say: guest spot!

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