DECAYCAST Reviews: Corsica Annex “Doors Outside” (Ingrown Records, 2020)

Corsica Annex from Brooklyn creates delicate washes of ambient hum that will aide to calm even the most nervous and pent up listener.  Beginning  with wishing, weeping waves of  encapsulated warmth; a homely and resounding analog synthesizer din. The  psychedelic sound of “Doors Outside” slowly envelops and drifts away to a different place. Fuzzy, dream like tones gently lift light into the barren, lost eyes like the morning sun’s cast across a frozen, unsuspecting rose from the night before.

The mossy vibe slowly shifts into a repetitive string piece, undulation coupled with a morose progression that leaves the listener in the unknown. Warm organ like tones pulse uncertainty like a shifting leaf lost in the wind. Steve Reich style  string arpreggiations gloss over even more dense patterns of organic sounding  water-grown, nano bots, sonically somewhere connecting  Cloudland Canyon , Tim Hecker “Radio Amor” and later era Tangerine Dream, Corsica Annex have concocted a heartfelt electronic mood  bound to resonate with even the most passive listener.

Buy ‘Doors Outside”from the Ingrown Records bandcamp page, and check out the rest of the tapes from the batch here

 

-Dr. Decacast

DECAYCAST Reviews: Marlo Eggplant “Loose Footing” (Dubbed Tapes, 2019)

DECAYCAST Reviews: Marlo Eggplant “Loose Footing” (Dubbed Tapes, 2019)

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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 

DUBBED TAPES 

MARLO EGGPLANT

DECAYCAST Reviews : SKY “Lullabies” CS (Pop Nihil, 2019)

DECAYCAST Reviews : SKY “Lullabies” CS (Pop Nihil, 2019)

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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.  popnihilSKY 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 Reviews : GLUE “II” Cassette (Zazen Tapes, 2019)

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Another anonymous submission goes under the gun. This is pretty straight forward guitar noise/ harsh noise from GLUE  titled “II”. Lo Fi scraping and a  distressed engine revs over and over grinding the outer ear off with a feedback-induced haze, spiraling headache of a toxic grin, GLUE does exactly that, seals the ear canal as we run for cover from the sharp, cascading blasts of grumbling noise.

The B side is a gust of wind, slowly encapsulating the listener, like a boat  ripping through the beachfront, mauling unsuspecting tourists through VHS style fodder. This is a tour of low-style crunchy, ripping noises, nothing totally spectacular, but a  solid first release for the label ZAZEN Tapes and  A+  for alienation with the  ringing, piercing wind/ cloud cascade,. Fun sonic ride.

DECAYCAST Reviews: Waxy Tomb “Imminent Fold” (Gilgongo Records, 2019)

DECAYCAST Reviews: Waxy Tomb “Imminent Fold” (Gilgongo Records, 2019)

WAXY TOMB is the work of multimedia artist Jules Litman-Cleper. We’ve been following the work of WAXY TOMB here at Decaycast for many years and after a splatter of homemade CDR’s over the years it’s nice to see her work presented in proper LP format, as well as adorned with the nuanced, futuristic, cyberpunk influenced digital art that they have come to be known for through video, live performances and 2D works. The LP is also accompanied with an art book containing expanded variations on a theme of the cover art. The other-worldly visuals are the perfect compliment for the music; dark, nuanced, intricate, alien, and complicated.

The sound of “Imminent Fold” continues where previously homemade releases have left off, with conceptually dense, yet structurally often minimal and stripped down electronic compositions, though there is structure; these exist as “songs” in the traditional sense, however they gel and mutate within the lexicon of Waxy Tomb’s visual and aural landscape to continue to tell a part of a larger story. The voice has always been an important aspect of Litman-Cleper’s work, and this LP is no exception, pushing her extended vocal techniques in effected ways further than they have existed before; blending beautifully with the dark, throbbing chirps of synthesizer explorations and static noise crumblings. Litman-Cleper’s sound is at once alien, and robotic, yet natural and “comforting” in a way. She is able to ride the tension of creating simultaneously a record, that, in a sense is both an experimental electronic record and an electronic pop record, and one pinned together through the visual and aural alien language that the artist has come to define within her aesthetic set. Pulling from assumed influences such as Laurie Anderson, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Tara Cross, and Bjork, Litman-Cleper creates a style of experimental electronic , left-field music all her own which speaks an alien language that with “Imminent Fold”, we just begin to understand and are all the more rewarded for it. Highly recommended.

Order via Gilgongo Records

DECAYCAST Reviews: qualchan “Goodbye To All That” (Houdini Mansions, 2019)

Back from a little break to review the newest release from Houdini Mansions, from Cascadian producer qualchan, titled “Goodbye To All That”, and it’s a rather fitting title as the short, bending, warbling loops come into our lives like short lived, lush experiences that vanish into the haze as quickly as they appeared on the horizon. on “Goodbye To All That” qualchan focuses on subtle shifts within these micro compositions that span ambient, post rock, muzak/library music and more. Some of them operate as escaped breaths from larger compositions, perhaps to be expanded upon, while others are self contained and don’t seek anything outside of themselves. Warm, trippy, fuzzed out loops for a moist walk through an all but abandoned forest. Beautiful release.

DECAYCAST Reviews: AMANDA R HOWLAND “Spider, Milk, Batshit, Silence” (No Rent, 2018)

DECAYCAST Reviews: AMANDA R HOWLAND “Spider, Milk, Batshit, Silence” (No Rent, 2018)

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Cleveland, OH recording artist Amanda R.  Howland comes with refreshing array of sonic possibilities and strategies with, “Spider, Milk, Batshit, Silence” her first tape for the NO RENT imprint, with two sides of mixed-bag, dense, electronics spanning from harsh noise, to musique concrete,  to sections accentuating voice, to more abstracted rhythm sections which blend in and out of a gentle, yet very present, bowed, hum.  Static, voice, melody, clattering broken rhythms, radio chatter of  ancient transmissions and a harsh sense of absence are all present in this short but important release.  Tension is another constant theme to the ear as  one section may contain a harsh, alienating scraping; a  sound nasty pissed and angrily broken, inching across the floor toward its prey as the  amplitude and aggression increase and climax into an alarm style buzzing; alerting the listener that, yes, now is your time. Another sound, if even for a moment, m0014255476_10ay offer a brief, ambient respite to the harsh reality that has encapsulated us all, “Spider, Milk, Batshit, Silence” is, indeed the sound of that. A chaotic, dangerous and aurally thick and swift climax appears and then vanishes leaving only a distant hum of  abstracted silence, a slow, subtle, thumping as if the decaying heart has pushed red for its final beat.  The silence at the end of side one almost doesn’t seem real as the listener is left with wanting more of this uncertain future the ears and brain have yet to test, yet to experience.  If any sonic territories are left unexplored under the “experimental”  or “out-sound” tags on side one, we soon learn they will be shredded and eviscerated on side two with as much skill, tension, and carefully articulated abstraction as they were on side one.

The second side, “Batshit, Silence” picks up  right where the  A side dropped us off, with a high-pitched, distorted and warped melody.  Intense shrieks, angry swells, and ancient hymns of bouncing, pulsing sine-wave frequencies gel together like a microbiological  fungus slowly transforming into something much greater and dangerous, the thick scraping, shooting radio0 transmissions into the brain grow together, seamlessly providing a ridged and ugly backbone for abstracted  layers of thunderous pounding, the a tonal scraping of a ferociously thick winds ripping across the gruesome and confusing scene, pulling tiny, flesh-ridden shards of the listeners inner ear with it,  to cascade upon, as Howlands’ dark, grinning, noisy, churning  machine glides through the wires and slowly leaks out of the pores offering a new dark reality, endlessly searching for a cave to whip around in, an enormous sound. This scene is eventually evacuated to barren, alien radio transmissions have crept their way in and angst-like shake and sputter long lost messages over the dense, thick walls of  bleeding electronics, this like life eventually fades away and we are  left with an alienating, deafening silence.  Highly dynamic and enjoyable tape for a wide variety of experimental delvers. Pick u the digital HERE and the cassette HERE

DECAYCAST Reviews : Witowmaker “Feather” Cassette (Sleep On Dreams, 2018)

DECAYCAST Reviews : Witowmaker “Feather” Cassette (Sleep On Dreams, 2018)

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Witowmaker is the project of Bay Area electronic producer and internet cult personality Christopher Danko, also of Stable imprint/collective, and Religious Girls fame. On “Feather”, Danko crafts ten lush, dynamic,  emotionally present, fun and heavy electronic “dance” tracks which float the listener to an oscillating plane of lush tone poem arpeggiations, thick walls of decaying synthesizers, heavy, dynamic drum programming, atmospheric flutterings, and concisely layered, and intricately mapped vocal samples. The overall sound of Witowmaker is, at times,  surprisingly warm and ‘positive’, with a tinge of sarcasm, and at other times, darker, more dissonant, and even emotionally confusing in an interesting and uncontrived manner. Tension is sonically available throughout the wide range of aural moods on “Feather”, one track is accentuating the bent light sunshine across crashing waves, while the next track descends into another layer of cosmic hell, unsure of the outcome. Refreshing; this is a fun and important release in the arch of bay area electronic musings.

“Feather” offers complex, lush, delicate sonic textures while still retaining a pounding, thick, four to the floor heaviness which pulls from Acid, Dub, IDM and a dense warped version of straight-up dance music. Remnants of influence from Aphex Twin, FKA Twigs,  DJ Spooky, Art Of Noise, and later Carl Cox can be heard in the glistening, bright, affront production, yet Witowmaker offers a unique style of dance based electronic music all their own! The B side begins with a fast tempo, funky bass arp track titled “Trick Me Twice” which rings back to 90’s NRG/bass music with an experimental flare all it’s own. A classically trained arp machine spits out climbing cascading  rhythms while lush pads provide a warm backbone for chopped and glued vocal slices, offering a dense, warm, funky dance floor banger. Plug my ears with a drill to extract the earplugs that have been stuck for centuries at the club, ‘cause this is the high tempo, low bullshit dance music I’ve been waiting for.

This little tone machine gets funkier and more dynamic with each spin!  Other tracks like the B side’s “Contamination” offer a darker, more evil-grin means of electronic stylings, which perhaps might be the  darkest and most warped track on the album, pleasing the listener as the acid kicks in and everything changes. Witowmaker is refreshingly honest, dark and delicately crafted dance music for the jokester in all of us laughing to the trap door of life  until the doors spin open and we’re left wandering through a world of confusion not knowing what we’ve seen nor heard. Look for more from this project, we will be. Side note: this is one of the best sounding and best LOOKING tapes we have received in some time, and it’s refreshing when the visual look and sound unite to create a beautiful package of lush electronic presentation.  Order this tape, now!

 

Here’s also some free bandcamp download codes for the album:  redeem at http://www.bandcamp.com/yum

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DECAYCAST Reviews: Katatonic Silentio / Tremco / Neurosplit / Oromë (Biodiversità Records, 2018)

DECAYCAST Reviews: Katatonic Silentio / Tremco / Neurosplit / Oromë (Biodiversità Records, 2018)

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This collaboration shifts  honestly between many many different  sonic spaces; in the least contrived blending of  beat oriented synthesis and, well plants.  Riffing off a  theme of the releasing label, Biodiversità Records, Katatonic Silentio / Tremco / Neurosplit / Oromë create a dense, special world of  sonic possibilities in a structurally rhythmic call and response ping pong of tense, delicate, and complicated sonic events.  Oscillating between dissonant beat oriented electronic music which the  artists admit could be  considered “techno” but the  four to the floor mindless speed comedown hooks are  left  by the wayside for a more atonal, arrhythmic, deconstruction of traditional “techno”, “dubstep” or whatever step” you take away from these quaint but pungent sonic exercises.  “Pteris Variata” unduates  between slower, cold, tense pulsing rhythms, occasionally backed by more straightforward  percussive  voices, however the  ambient  swells and  tense array of  noises never  allows this to become too much of  a  unique sound; the tracks and  sections move  swiftly and  articulate their space and move on, nothing forces the listener into a corner relentlessly, rather  creates a dark and interesting space for the listener to crawl into if they choose and explore a lush, dark, cinematic sound.

Background  swells of anciently articulated sawtooth waves  swell and wobble under a filter noose and offer an ambience which the percussion rhythms can dance around without dominating the mix.  Overall the  vibe is minimalist, tense, cinematic, ambient. Clickity, tapping, bass drums drive the  rhythm exercises through a  full workout of  sonic possibilities ending with perhaps the  EP’s strongest track, ” Oromë – Athyrium cantem” which speaks to  early Phaedra era Tangerine Dream, Wendy Carlos and  even references current producers such as Cloudland Canyon or Peaking Lights.

Will be  digging more through this  Italian based label’s catalog and seeing what other dark, pulsing treats we can find hiding in the brush.