Found this unpublished review from a few years ago, so here it is….
Picking up the pace is a new label started by Greg Garbage of Von Himmel /Donkey Disk fame. Turmeric Magnitudes have been belching out limited-edition home dubbed cassettes of microsounds, tape collage, voice, tape loops, and almost everything under the sun, seeming to come out of the gates blazing with fire. All of the releases thus far are cassette only (a preferred format of Mr. Garbage) and the label, as well as in download formats, in fact, why don’t you go check out some.
The imprint has only been around a few months but has been rapidly belting an eclectic, yet consistent array of audio recorded works, many of his own projects, Black Thread, Dark Spring, Vibrating Garbage, Ester Chlorine, and other local bay area stalwarts such as under the radar artists like Fslux, The Heroic Quartet and much more.
Many of the cassettes I’ve managed to grip this far all focus on the microsound side of things, both in presentation and execution, but this is a good thing. One of the first cassettes I jammed, the self-titled Dark Spring
the cassette is a real charmer for the inner ear. This little number may not be ripping loud, or distorted, but it still holds ships worth of weight. The main theme of this cassette seems to be tension and relentless ambiance; as all recording artifacts are left in the mix to boot, contact mic ground hum, globs of tape hiss, play button fumbling, flying four-track faders hitting the roof, subtle moans of frustration and clarity all are given a breadth in the mix. Subtle tape and voice manipulations, crawling, scraping microtextures, subtly crafted ambient textures of a micro drone bug picking at the walls of your inner ear, slowly sucking grey matter out and forcing it back in through different pores and portals. As the tape progress, Dark Spring breaks into richer, fuller walls of ambient hum, weaving an intricate, yet minimal tone poem of tape loops, voice, and field recordings all supporting themselves forthright in the mix. The sources never really quite reveal themselves, and they are obscured through a musique concrete lens of churning cassette motors, the ambient sounds of an imaginary city in the artists mind etched into a 78 rpm record played through a tape head record needle. This Dark Spring could have been recorded in the early 1900’s or 2023, the listener doesn’t quite know or need to for that matter, but despite it’s timeless, old-world style recording techniques and mysticism, Dark Spring is a patient, well-done offering of ambient collage.
Another release frequenting our ears from the label is the Bonus Beast / Vibrating Garbage “split” reissue, both splits between these two artists (previously not on label) are combined for extra dirge and pleasure in this little package. Bonus Beast tracks range from high anxiety tape collage and arpeggiated washed out analog synth mastery to rolling tape and dense beat mischief. Dense, dark, gangs of oscillators form archaic pillars of menacing tape and synthesizer printed on tape hiss, the out sound of analog debauchery fuzzing brain modulation techniques. There’s a strong presence of masterful edits, one of Bonus Beast forte’s on this little number, and the second track is more representative of his current work. Dense, heavy beats, squirling synths, modulated, mashed, mangled tapes, and four track wizardry. The Vibrating Garbage tracks range from clustered, textured, ambient offerings to masterfully crafted analog influenced EDM/Minimal synth tracks-creating an obtuse offering of the artists chops. , Pre-dating the nostalgia train of Tangerine Dream and Aphex Twin style drum hits engaging in bondage routines, Vibrating Garbage knows what he is doing with these tracks, and more importantly WHY. Each drum hit is accompanied by synth and vocoder textures, unheard in the traditional sense offering of the earlier VG works, but still displays the artists fondness for low fi recordings and analog drum machine mastery. A wonderful complement to each other, this reissue packs some gold gems from each artist. A must have.
The third tape I’ve procured from the label is the FSLUX / BLACK THREAD split cassette. The A side is an allusive project from Oakland, CA titled FSLUX. dark, delicate homemade electronics, voice loops, scraping sounds, and alalog drone doom meld together a ninteen minute track of top notch drone/musique concrete goodness. Lots of textures and carefully considered track breaks elevate this from just being a drone track, but rather an elequently crafted amalgamation of dark, confusing, electronic sounds mixed with voice. “Lyrics” are unintelligible, but the voice acts as a great backbone for the slow churning, dark, hellish loops. There’s a distinct unique tension between voice, strings??? and electronics in this composition unheard on previous FSLUX recordings, a new and unique direction for the artists. DARK, ALIENATING, TENSION.
The Black thread side opens up with a beautifully minimal drone and scrape composition reminiscent of ENO’s airport works run in reverse through a micro-cassette player, and this is POWERFULLY DYNAMIC AMBIENT SPACE, just like that surreal moment when the plane leaves the runway. The B side slowly builds up into a distorted beautiful caucophany of distorted tape, strings, and field recordings offering a harsh contrast to the ambient swells of the first track, but never strays too far aesthetically to the vast sound that is Black Thread. Top notch tape, highly recommended.
This offers just a small glimpse into the sonic world of the Tumeric Magnitudes imprint, based out of San Francisco, CA, so be sure to keep an eye and ear peeled for more stuff from this busy, unique imprint. You can catch one of their recording artists, Ester Chlorine on an upcoming east coast tour, from 9/4-9/16
DECAYCAST Reviews: MAX NORDILE “Primordial Gaffe” (Paisley Shirt Records 2019)
Bay Area punk/skronk/noise-jazz stalwart and member of Bay Area angular Jazz Punk trio, Preening, Max Nordile offers a cassette of short improvisations ranging from minimalist abstract percussion collages, to droning amplifiers, reeds, kitchen sink falling down the stairs type of vibes here via SF label Paisley Shirt Records. Plethora of interesting textures here and lots of start/stop/STOP going on which often sounds like a full free jazz band about to blast into a ring of chaos but they keep getting stuck in the beginning, creates an edgelike tension which is hard to replicate in a studio/recording, but Nordile accomplishes this quite nicely with raw room recordings rather than overproduced studio isolationist techniques. Some tracks are more raw experiments with often just one sound source, however others are more developed, using multi-instrumentalist strategies where percussive objects clang and bang into each other while strings and a plethora of reeds bleed through in the background.
My favorite track is without a doubt also the albums longest, “Decaying Tab (with Mirror)” which navigates more into Mort Garson on acid territory with yelled vocals, womping horns, muted, angular guitar riffs, and a percussion shit storm- a true cacophony invoking Trout Mask era Beefhart at times. Highly recommended for fans of skronk/free jazz with a punk sensibility.
DECAYCAST Reviews: Marlo Eggplant “Loose Footing” (Dubbed Tapes, 2019)
For her newest cassette “Loose Footing”, underground experimental sound artist, curator, and all-around master of her craft, Marlo Eggplant further refines her minimalist sound discovery practice for a frightening and dynamic sonic offering. “Loose Footing” is a haunting, dark and powerful delve into the deeper trenches of experimental sound and composition. The tape opens up with a twisted and mangled voice piece that turns into flowing water, a distant wind, a failed communication; we’re not really sure, except that it’s a new part of the journey. This work functions sort of as a “mixtape” style release in the sense that it contains lots of short compositions that all gel into an overall vibe, while maintaining their own individuality of experimentation, free from the flow of an “album” but structurally just as completed, and in some ways perhaps more profound and detailed than many noise “albums” where everything is presented as one long track. After the twisted, demonic voices subside, A more melodic, undulating sine-wave drone piece eclipses from the crumbling fog, like an intense pulsing light escaping from the distant mountain peak at sunrise, warming the inner ear with a comforting din. Eggplant has always worked with a diverse palette of sounds, however this cassette composites so many different styles of composition and techniques that almost no two minute section is the same as the last- we are always led to a new sonic discovery with Eggplant at the controls.
Her sounds hold power and often a cinematic vision, I often found myself closing my eyes and dozing off into an unknown and slightly frightening world of unknown origin. If there’s one person who can transform sound and take us to another place, it’s Marlo Eggplant. The B side contains more of the same, dark, heavy drone-based works which morph strings, turntablism, voice, and mixed electronics for a highly dynamic, tense, and complex effect-my favorite listening experience. Eggplant is one of the best in the game and you should follow whatever she’s doing, including her label and distro and LADYZ IN NOIZE series. Also check out an older review we did of Marlo’s last tape “Head/Rushed” (Vaux Flores) here
DECAYCAST Reviews : Bran (…) Pos “Cosmic Mushmouth” CS (Planetary Magnetics, 2020)
Bran(…)Pos‘ new album “Cosmic Mushmouth” may be the most complete overview of Jake Rodriguez’s multi-faceted soundscape composition to date. With his signature vocal-triggered electronics buried under layers of modular and effects, “Space Gelt” seems closest to a lot of the recent live performances I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing Jake do. I first saw Bran(…)Pos in the late 1990s in SF and seeing how different each
performance could be and the many concepts that Jake has tried over the years has made him a favorite of mine and many in the Bay Area. It’s great to see him team up with Tyler Harwood (who produced this for his label (Planetary Magnetics) and did the artwork) who you may have seen perform as Anti-Ear or together with Rodriguez as ‘Beandip Troubadours,’ fully engaging both of their hilarious stage performance skills.
The crowning tracks here are the 20+ minute composition “RxR (rocket crossing)” which slowly builds into a stuttering modular synth rhythm with some of Bran’s trademark acoustic tympani playing. The final track “Martian Brine Pool” features an amplified cello; another instrument that Bran has used off and on and in many configurations over the years.
Rodriguez is now heavily entrenched in the Bay Area theater scene, doing sound and composition. It will be exciting to see what lies ahead for this polymath and true SF original. Albums and acts like this that make me excited to be living and working still in SF. Come aboard! – Derek Gedalecia
DECAYCAST Reviews : SKY “Lullabies” CS (Pop Nihil, 2019)
Hauntingly lonely, booming caverns seem to be the backdrop for SKY’s “Lullabies” cassette EP on the refreshingly diverse Pop Nihil imprint. First off, the stark design caught my eye, and I enjoy the minimalist design theme that runs across of these releases, it really helps to gel them together in a special and unified way. The voice, synth, and drums all blend perfectly on this EP, creating a morose, and lush cloud for the uncertain change of the future to be birthed upon. Cavernous reverb on the drums, and strings (synths?) cast a hollow but intentioned place for the voice to dance upon into the night. Favorite track of the A side is “ILIKELIES” though, they all really present a focused and uniformed sound. Like the voice and rhythm section of early Cocteau Twins, mixed with the delicacy and nuance of contemporary avant -garde megastars like FKA Twigs nodding to the softer side of Witchhouse. SKY paints a blissful portrait of an unknown place where the next step is to be taken, the only thing that’s certain in uncertainty. The B side is a little more driving with a ear forward bass and drum rhythm that escalates the pacing and tension from the soft and intricate spells cast by the first side. Closer to tara Cross or a chopped and screwed TuxedoMoon the big percussion and thudding bass create a nice, angular tension for the voice and delicate droning synths to skate off lightly but boldly into the distance, a truly beautiful and nuanced listen.
DECAYCAST Guest List: Bran (…) Pos “EOY TOTALE 2019” Bay Area Multimedia Artist Chooses His Favorite Mind Bending Media of 2019
EOY TOTALE 2019
some of things that flicked my tick this year by bran(…)pos
Headboggle “Polyphonic Demo” – Ratskin Records
40+ one-minute diddies catchy as fuck, and always weirdy. Then the dude practiced the pieces and toured them and they got better and deeper. Each live show I saw of Derek this year topped the last. Bubble machine finale at the Dildo gave me the creepy-happy chills.
Patrick Cowley “Mechanical Fantasy Box” – Dark Entries Records
This got a lot of spins from me and combined with the release of the same-titled “Homoerotic Journal” creates an amazing document of a period of San Francisco that is increasingly becoming as lost as one of those self-driving cars stalled in a SOMA intersection.
Sahra Halgan Trio “Waa Dardaaran” – self-released
Sahra has an incredible voice and energy and this trio combining her song stylings from her native Somaliland with a tight rockish energy brought by French musicians Aymeric Krol and Mael Saletes puts big smiles on my face every listen. I wore out their 2016 EP “Faransiskiyo Somaliland”, and was super excited to see they had a new release on Bandcamp this year.
XUXA SANTAMARIA “Chancletas D’Oro” – Ratskin Records
Haven’t stopped playing this record. Sits right in the 2019 groove for me. Poppy, hard, sexy, smart as hell, and just a really fucking well-produced record. Won’t be surprised when this band blows way the fuck up. I promise I won’t be a hater when that happens.
Ed Balloon “The Dubs” – Deathbomb Arc
Like nothing else I wore out this year. “Dreamworld” may be my favorite pop song in many years, and this tape was certainly my summer soundtrack of 2019. I’ve yet to see him perform live, and I’ve heard he brings it. Excited to see/hear more in 2020.
Dos Monos “Dos City” – Deathbomb Arc
Another tape I played to death and memorized. I love these fools’ energy and sharp vocals riff on each other like the jazz samples they so well-employ in the production. Fun as hell and got me through some bike rides I have no business putting my knees through.
WAXYTOMB “Imminent Fold” – Gilgongo Records
Strange and gorgeous futurewrong electronic rhythms and vocals LP packaged alongside a 10-inch glossy “visual lyrics book” with amazing computer art by JulesLC, this is hands-down one of my favorite new weirds of 2019.
**** You can also read our review of the album here
Sir Artful Cornhole Doily “Sings the All-Time Greats” – Planetary Magnetics Corporation
Imagine The Frogs slapping a baby around with a rubber fish covering the best/worst songs of your ok-boomer life. Yeah, this fella has more musical ability in his damp palms than any of us deserve, and we should be so lucky that he is putting music out in 2019 and beyond. Good luck finding this tape, but try contacting Planetary Magnetics hq in New Orleans direct.
The Residents “Mole Box” – Cherry Red Records
A longtime favorite set of music from a longtime favorite band came out this year collected, remastered, and filled with tons of extra material and documentation. The Residents alongside Cherry Red Records have been firing out reissues of all their classic material lately, but none of the pREServed editions have been as exciting and revealing to me as this set. A runner-up would have to be the Record Store Day BS reissue, filled with ancient Rezzy material I had never heard. Residents 4ever.
Chromatics live at Mezzanine SF June 12, 2019
I’ve been a casual fan of Chromatics, but this live show put me over the edge. So great to see this unit form the music live and fill a club. This being the last show of their first tour in many years, there was real emotion on stage and in the audience. Their new record “Closer to Gray” has been on repeat play for me, but nothing recorded from this band has quite captured the energy of the live show in my opinion.
Evil Moisture/Thomas Dimuzio/Demonface/Ava Mendoza/Hobo Sonn live at Peacock Lounge December 18, 2019
James Decker/Resipiscent Records has been putting on monthly experimental shows for a few years now at venues around SF, but the much-needed SF series has really found a home at Lower Haight’s Peacock Lounge. I had the pleasure of working sound and sitting front row for this particular gig, which really brought a fantastic close to 2019 with solid to spectacular sets from every act, including maybe my favorite solo Ava Mendozaset ever.
RaffyTaphyASMR “ASMR raffy’s 3 hour video”
The king of tingles is back! After a lengthy break from any new material, Raffy came back strong in 2019, and his 3-hour video of all new good sounds quietly blows out the competition. Other ASMRtists have trouble coming up with a continuous 20-minute session without looping, and here Raffy remains strong and relaxing with unique content all the way through a full 3 hours. At least, I think that’s the case. I’ve never made it through the whole thing awake.
Biggest Crock of Shit 2019
“Cambodian Rock Band” by Lauren Yee with (some) music by Dengue Fever at OSF
Remember those Cambodian Rocks comps from the 90s? How about that 2014 documentary “Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten? Cambodia’s Lost Rock ‘N’ Roll”? Playwright Lauren Yee and band Dengue Fever hope that maybe you have forgotten about artists like Yol Aularong, Ros Serey Sothea, and Sinn Sisamouth as they front this disingenuous music play about the Cambodian genocide. “With music and songs by Dengue Fever” blasted all over the promotion and program with little to no information explaining that about half the songs are cover songs from this classic and tragic period of music and history. Dengue Fever has made a career of this kind of charlatanry and unfortunately theater folk are as susceptible to this kind of shortchanging of history as anyone I know. This play is a HUGE hit and will be produced everywhere in 2020. Almost every theater person I’ve talked to about it loves it. Every music person I talk to about it gags. I have way too many thoughts but suffice to say nothing in the arts irked me more in 2019.
Late entry (direct into my veins): Follow Your Heart “Siracha Vegenaise”
The Belgian concept of mayonnaise on fries has always disgusted me. After trying this incredibly addictive vegan spicy sauce during the recent holidays at Follow Your Heart’s longtime Canoga Park home, I have to revise all former thoughts on the matter. In 2020 you will find me dead of heart failure with an empty bottle of this shoved direct in my throat. I will have died happy.
bran(…)pos is the ongoing audio-visual-performance-noise-musique-brain-bend of Jxxx Rxxz from San Francisco, CA. Rodriguez has been performing and recording under this moniker since 1996 with releases on C.I.P., Resipiscent, Ratskin Records, Animal Disguise, and Chitah! Chitah! Soundcrack
You can follow Bran (…) Pos at: