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Spool’s Out with Tristan Bath: The Top 20 Tapes Of 2015
Tristan Bath , December 9th, 2015 09:38

Tristan Bath rounds up his top 20 cassette tapes and favourite tape label of 2015 in his annual assessment of the state of music on tape. Illustration by Wedhar Riyadi

Now in its second year of existence, precisely what the contents of this column are meant to be remains stubbornly fluid. The cassette tape format hasn’t so much had a ‘recent resurgence’ as it has an outright redefinition by this point, and this redefinition is shifting just as constantly as your grandpa’s vinyl collection [Watch it junior, Ed]. Let’s digress for a moment. For verging on the last two decades now, the godlike story of Wolf Eyes and the story of the cassette tape have been the same thing: smatterings of confusingly self-released, shadily produced, often mysteriously labelled goods scratching around in the semi official marketplaces of the pre-digital music-verse. In fact American Tapes, the tape label run by Wolf Eyes’ John Olson dates back the full 20 years to 1995 by my count. It still exists in 2015 mostly to put out Olson’s solo work as The Spykes, but it still very much exists.

Now, mind-bogglingly enough, Wolf Eyes are flirting with the mainstream, going as far as putting out vinyl on Jack White’s Third Man Records this year. (I guess that Neil Young album was kind of ‘noise’ right?) At the same time though, putrid multinational twat-dressers Urban Outfitters have started stocking cassette tapes from such ‘underground lunatic fringers’ as Marina And The Diamonds, Action Bronson, and that one Postal Service album they did. So on the one hand we have the godfathers of American noise and torchbearers for the modern cassette tape underground ‘hitting it big’ (and putting out one of their best albums ever to boot might I add), while the other sees the long octopus arms of mainstream greed getting its salty suckers on those precious tape pressing plant slots. Why does the universe send out such mixed signals?

Of course, the real story, I’m happy to report, is a very good one.

Firstly, the modern cassette tape remains primarily an outlet for ‘unreleasable’ musicians that would otherwise be forced to refrain from physical release or go with decreasingly preferable CD-Rs (or perhaps blow their life savings on a costly and risky vinyl edition of their own). It’s never been about the format anyway really. The physical presence of the magnetic tape is more of a convenient liberator for these artists than it is some ‘niche market’ to be exploited in the novelty shelves of a Covent Garden boutique store. That having been said, a growing contingent of digital labels in fact seem happy enough remaining weightless (although as PC Music have made clear, the oft-utilised aesthetic of hyperactive cybernetic gender-bending quickly comes across as more than a little Nathan Barley-esque).

More often than not though, a musician wanting to release music still isn’t content with the Cartesian acceptance that a digital-only release exists in a computer, and therefore it is. Tapes - like vinyl and CDs - offer that beautifully tangible physical embodiment we obviously crave. Paul Margree, my British experimental music scene protégé, and scribe behind the brilliant blog We Need No Swords, described it aptly during a chat on this column’s Resonance FM radio show: "They’re lovely things, they’re almost like jewellery".

Some labels, such as the London and Berlin-based Slip, have been going beyond discs and tapes, expanding the aesthetic vocabulary available to a music release. Slip have put out posters and postcards with digital downloads, and even quite contrary to expectations, have released digital downloads with the bonus material on separate physical stuff like tapes. However it appears, musical vibration is irrevocably linked to the physical world, and despite everything, music put out only as a digital release can still feel somewhat incomplete. The cheap and easy-to-post cassette tape offers a body to these musics, preventing them from a fate like Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol, doomed to wander as a bodiless ghost for all eternity through the ether. They’re also very nifty and pleasing little fellows too, “almost like jewellery".

As always, it’s worth mentioning that the cassette tape format has never really died out in many parts of the world. The Middle East and North Africa in particular seem utterly committed to the tough, durable little format. Countless contemporary musicians still fill up stores and market stalls throughout the region with newly pressed cassette tapes. Until my Farsi and Arabic skills get up to scratch though, the sphere of influence covered by this column is going to have remain almost entirely based in the West. That having been said, new tape releases increasingly make their way over from further flung parts of the world in South America, Russia, China, Japan, and sub-Saharan Africa. The growing geographic range of new music coming out on cassette tape is similarly growing the already boundless range of musical styles on the format, but much of this year’s top 20 tapes list sits in that vacant space in between styles that really only belongs on cassette tape in 2015.

While very many top quality and pristinely produced masterpieces have flooded the tape scene this year - Kara-Lis Coverdale’s Aftertouches instantly springs to mind - the format still best serves its purpose when in use as a communal lo-fi sketchpad for fringe music makers. The likes of Umfang’s self-titled debut tape on South London’s videogamemusic label, or the haphazard world of scratchily assembled noises explored by the Denmark based Phinery label (and well summarised on the Four Way Split #1 tape put out earlier this year) both exemplify the modern cassette tape as a format purpose built for experimental music in the purest sense of the word. Any in-depth exhibition exploring the work of some great painter will normally feature a few sketches somewhere. Many of those old painters would sketch and draft and re-sketch ideas countless times before committing it to some gigantic piece of costly stretched canvas. To this day, some of those early pencil sketches still outstrip the final pieces. Intimate, pure, and personal, they’re mental notes taken immediately in the outer reaches of aesthetic exploration. They’re often a lot cheaper and more portable too.

Label of the Year

There are so many incredible labels working worldwide to put out cassette tapes at the moment, but Astral Spirits has had a year of exponential growth and improvement. Unlike many other labels, if Astral Spirits were to disappear nobody else would currently be there to fill the gap. The imprint is based out of Austin, Texas and run by one Nate Cross as part of the larger Monofonous Press record label. The design aesthetic comprises pure and simple colours and shapes that lineup on the shelf like candies of yesteryear, all put together brilliantly by designer Mason McFee (who just coincidentally seems to have a free-jazzy sorta name). The music however, is a much more chaotic beast, and has for the most part comprised free-jazz and improvised music of the weirdest possible sort, kicking off with a meeting between The Thing’s bassist (and Austin resident) Ingebrigt Håker Flaten with Chris Corsano and trumpeter Nate Wooley under the name Icepick. In 2015 there’s been a steady release of geniuses captured on no-nonsense audio cassette, including Rob Mazurek’s noisiest ever outing, Kid Millions in a raw duo with Borbetomagus’ Jim Sauter, a stunningly psychedelic fusion outing from Shit & Shine, plus combo-breaking outings into imagined Italian soundtrack scores from Tredici Bacci and glacial post-rock dreamscapes from Boxhead Ensemble. It’s a simple concept, but the concept of putting out raw free jazz music on cassette tape is nonetheless pure brilliance.

NB - the list below is in no particular order

Kara-Lis Coverdale - Aftertouches (Sacred Phrases)

Montreal-based musician Kara-Lis Coverdale manages to balance pure textural explorations with a crystalline and very melodic sort of musical beauty here. Unrecognisable and deftly constructed and re-constructed virtual instrumentation collides and erupts prismatically into a million colours and shades under Coverdale’s command. The scope of the music is orchestral, but Coverdale employs every synthetic tool in her arsenal to stretch and skew and copy and paste notes into strange shuddering patchworks of shimmering grandeur, occasionally overlaid with multi tracked choirs (‘X 4EWI’). Aftertouches is an actual masterpiece, and the way in which Coverdale engages with and mutates elements of North American minimalism into her music is essential listening. It would seem Reich, Riley and Glass were merely opening acts.

Cornered Yet Climbing - Fevered Realities (Tombed Visions)

Put out by Manchesters’ Tombed Visions Records - last year’s winner of the coveted Spool’s Out Label of the Year award - this tape from Cornered Yet Climbing is built from the same stuff that made Gnod’s sprawling opus Infinity Machines such a brutally sprawling triumph. Tombed Visions’ head honcho and Gnod’s own sax man David McLean duetted with drummer Pascal Nichols under the Cornered Yet Climbing name before, but the pair are augmented here by fellow Manchester sound artist, Kelly Jayne Jones. She wields a whole host of concrète clatter and found object noises (including scraped house bricks) alongside some stunning flute playing, and Nichols has never played with more understated power. McLean’s sax pepper the lethargic vodou atmospherics with cries and skronks that actually outstrip his own recent work on Infinity Machines. 20-minute closer, "Suadade for Rain Tunnels", witnesses spiritual free-jazz clash with foggy walks through Martin Denny's opiate drenched exotica. Incredible, and intoxicating.

Umfang - Umfang (videogamemusic)

Umfang is Emma Olson, who’s been DJing since 2009 and comprises part of the Brooklyn-based collective DISCOWOMAN, committed to "representing the wealth of female-identified DJ talent". For a debut set of productions, this cassette is deceptively mind-blowing. Sonically, it verges on being as minimal as a sheet of plain white A4, yet each of album’s ten tracks slowly stuns, taking a minute semi-musical phrase, looping it, tweaking it, and eventually fading suddenly to white before the growing tension becomes unbearable. Umfang coerces a microscopic number of her elements into wonderfully strange structures, and her debut set of productions is resultantly something outright addictive.

Otto Willberg - Got Gills? & Andreas Dzialocha - Solo (Slip)

We may have to reassess the term ‘bass music’. Coming via the Berlin-/London-based Slip imprint, these two tapes capture wildly opposing approaches to the stubbornly unexplored soundscapes of the stringed bass instrument, and the results are pretty stunning. Manchester-based Otto Willberg (who plays bass in explosive free-rock outfit Desmadrados Soldados de Ventura) reaches for double bass with something resembling actual spite for the traditional approach.

Andreas Dzialocha’s channels his electric bass themes through an array of filters, reverbs, and compressors, randomly recomposing every note into unruly soundscapes. The scope of both high and low end noises on display is dizzying, and Dzialocha’s musical themes seem seethe with compelling menace, plus the occasional flash of blissful splendour (the reverb soaked chiming on ‘6’). Far from a Solo, the tape’s in fact a duet between man and machine, covering swathes of sonic ground neither could cover alone. Frankly both Solo and Got Gills? deserve to sit alongside the likes of Okkyung Lee’s Ghil and Fred Frith’s Guitar Solos as vital stepping stones in tapping untapped sonic potential from long-serving instruments. (Note: Yes I’m cheating and counting these two as one release in the list.)

Philip Corner - Through More Than The Mysterious Barricade (Sacred Tapes)

This recording made in 1995 at Amsterdam’s School voor Nieuwe Dansontwikkeling (School for New Dance Development) mostly features Philip Corner playing piano, improvising extensively around ‘Les Barricades Mystérieuses’ (a Harpsichord piece composed in 1717 by French baroque composer, François Couperin), but there are extensive passages where nought but percussive banging and clatter can be heard, along with the footfalls and echoey sounds of a group of improvising dancers led by Dutch choreographer Ria Higler (who has also worked with the likes of Z’ev). This all sounds far more academic than the tape ultimately comes across, which is a passionate and beautifully realised set of gently-paced piano improvisations, with several amazingly bizarre detours into dissonance and noise along the way (particularly the centre of side 2). The ultimate resolution at the end of side two is a truly stunningly haunting climax too, including spontaneous choral singing from Higler and co alongside a single repeated chord on Corner’s spontaneously prepared piano. Possibly the most essential tape yet in Sacred Tapes’ fast growing catalogue.

Augenmusik - Augenmusik (Eiderdown Records)

A meeting of minimal violin explorations by Samara Lubelski (Chelsea Light Moving, The Sonora Pine) with the old school electronics and tape manipulations from Thilo Kuhn, and Werner Nötzel of trippy Stuttgart collective Matabolismus. There must have been something happening in the space-time continuum in Degenfeld (near Stuttgart) when this was recorded back in December 2013. The results are some of the best deep space improvisations this side of the godlike trips of the Takehisa Kosugi and Taj Mahal Travellers some 40 years ago by now. In fact Lubelski’s violin playing is all glacial bow screeches and gentle wah pedal modulations, directly embodying the spirit of Kosugi’s unmatched cosmic violin playing on 1975’s solo outing Catch Wave. Augenmusik seem to tune right into the singing of some far distant astral bodies here, with a shimmering bed of bleeps and bloops beautifully guiding Lubelski to lead the way through a mass of sonic wormholes. The finale of the fifteen minute ‘Phase IX’ at the head of side B sees semblance of operatic tension enter the fray, as the trio’s droning atmosphere suddenly comes to something of a head.

MMMOOONNNOOO - The Act In Between (Speaker Footage)

The absolutely brilliant Phinery label from Denmark has given birth to the potentially even more brilliant offshoot imprint, Speaker Footage. Besides a compilation to launch the label, this tape from Lisbon-based experimental noise, ambience and beat weirdo Daniel Neves (aka MMMOOONNNOOO) is the first full length on the imprint. And it’s one hell of a doozy. It’s the second album from Neves, and the music on The Act In Between was inspired by a trip to Tokyo in 2014 to attend a high profile music academy, and the resultant tracks resound with nervous tension, only occasionally relieved by tuneful pads and densely black beats. Opener ‘Third Transition’ has Neves guide a storm cloud of fuzz and sampled sounds into a towering monolith. ‘Strayed Source’ is a terrifying set of looped, speaker-busting bass fuzz. As the tape goes on, Neves works club music histrionics into some of his splintered monochrome compositions, like the triumphant bass drops on ‘Decay Movement’, or snatches of beats on ‘Lost Recollections’, but for the most part these tracks exist as self-contained three minute exercises in texture and meditative exercises in bleak industrial aesthetics.

Jacober - The Gray Man (Geographic North)

Recorded in the dead of winter in his grandfather’s beach house, The Grey Man comprises seven brief lo-fidelity instrumentals based around marimbas (whether real or digital, it’s actually very hard to tell) and it’s simply dripping with murky stoned tropical lethargy. ‘Seven Headless Laps’ even dives into something nearing dust and cobweb covered reggae, while ‘Patapsco Girls’ more closely resembles some melancholic minimal film score. Jacober’s dealing with an unusual aesthetic here, but the results are brashly potent. The drum kits, drum machines, and sparse array of instruments that backup the dominant marimba remain sleepy and unintrusive, while the marimba spars with a handful of wordless vocal chants and old school synth notes through brilliant formulated melodies. It’s as much a sort of sleepy cousin to Tortoise’s Millions Now Living Will Never Die as it is menu music for the slowest ever edition of Monkey Island. That is to say it’s very good indeed.

Lee Noble - Un Look (Patient Sounds)

The tough-to-define Lee Noble has been a constant presence on the transatlantic tape scene for a few years now, but Un Look comes across as the apex of his recent efforts. It’s a web of sparse emotions and perfectly realised textures, knitted together into a suite of pieces that interlock into a powerful whole. Forlorn guitar pluckings and smoky songs form the skeleton of several tracks, like the melancholic whisperings of ‘Light Death’. Elsewhere though, Noble makes rocking miniature lo-fi anthems (‘Valley View’), cosmic country (‘Lock-Breaking by Magic’), slow moving instrumental drifts (‘Holy Ghost People’ or ‘Marble Shroud’) and even sluggish stunningly pretty gamelan replete with a crystalline violin (‘Pearl Divers’). A second pressing of this would also be entirely justified.

2 8 1 4 - 新しい日の誕生 (Atarashī Ni~Tsu no Tanjō) (Not Not Fun / Dream Catalogue)

The incessantly productive vaporwave subculture can be so relentlessly prolific that the odd masterpiece can disappear into the abyss having only reached the eardrums of a mere handful of ravenous vapor-heads. Luckily, 2 8 1 4’s 新しい日の誕生 (‘the birth of a new day’) seems to have dodged such a fate. It’s one of the most potent portraits of ambient, rain soaked urban beauty to have emerged in years. Lengthy, slowly evolving atmospheres resultantly seep from your speakers gaseously, intoxicating and weary with downpouring cityscape lamentation. 2 8 1 4 is in fact a collaboration between two mysterious artists called t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者 and Hong Kong Express, and it most certainly combines the best aspects of both artists. A distant whirling piano seems to lead us into these eight dense cityscapes, evoking the rainy, neon lit culture clash of Blade Runner’s futuristic Los Angeles. Sonically, it comes somehow close to the most melancholy moments of DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing (minus the heavy hip hop beats), capturing that wistful metropolis emotion perhaps best summarised by the album’s animated artwork viewable below. This album’s going to provide years of peaceful healing to everybody who gives it a listen.

Delphine Dora & Sophie Cooper - Distance Future (Was ist Das?)

This release is insanely beguiling, and features a collaborative session between West Yorkshire based musician Sophie Cooper and French improviser Delphine Dora. Recorded in the atmospheric sonics of Todmorden Unitarian Church, Cooper reaches for her trombone alongside electronics throughout the tape’s 13 deftly chosen snippets from the performance, while Dora swaps her usual piano for organ and percussion, with both utilising their haunting wordless vocals throughout. The possible comparisons are few, yet brutally raw in nature: Keiji Haino’s Nijiumu albums, the sound of an Alfred Schnittke choral work refracted through an infinite number of ancient stone wall corners, small snippets of La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela epic vocal drones. Every moment in the unitarian church feels imbued with some truly ancient sounding ritualism. Cooper’s excellent trombone playing adds a rarely heard colour to proceedings, and Dora’s off-kilter percussion contributions (as on ‘Interlude 2’) yank the carpet out from beneath us just as we settle into the strangely alluring darkness summoned by the pair as they drone, sing and concoct strange sounds before our very ears. Distance Future is pure sonic magic, and the strangest part is, we’re never quite sure if we’re heading into, or escaping from the darkness.

Various Artists - Pekak! Indonesian Noise 1995​-​2015: 20 Years of Experimental Music from Indonesia (End of the Alphabet Records)

The long simmering noise and experimental music scenes of Indonesia’s scattered islands is put centre stage on this tape curated by the Java-based promoter/musician Indra Menus. The dozen and half tracks detail the wildly unpredictable scene where smatterings of Euro-American noise cassette culture fuse with shapes and textures from local gamelan and vocal traditions. Javan duo Senyawa provide a self-titled contradiction of harsh yells over hand, noisemaker Grindtabachan whips up a hyperactive three minute collage, Melcyd sculpt the spacious outline of a gamelan ensemble piece before launching into serrated rock band free forms. The stars of the tape however are the outright sonic terrorists. Bornean solo artist Theo Nugraha and Sumatran noise duo Apocalyptcore, each provide tracks of harsh tones and brutalised samples that treat the human ear like a Brillo pad, and in much the way modern fuzz addicts are used to, but the colour and shape of these assaults is often somehow more welcoming than that of its Western counterparts.

Smiling Disease - Beach Bodies: 2008-2014 (Memorials of Distinction)

Six years worth of bedroom recordings made by Olly Moss (who also plays bass in London indie poppers, Evans the Death), and was entirely recorded using the most primitive of digital music tools: a Skype mic and everybody’s favourite freeware, Audacity. It’s brilliantly lo-fi like classic albums from Sebadoh or Beck, but broader in scope, bringing to mind Anton Newcombe’s cinematic post-shoegaze take on psychedelic rock. We hear Moss get more ambitious at points on the tape, with the filmic melody that opens ‘Sarcastic Compliment’ aiming for heady baroque pop, his voice emerging from the fuzzy buried depths to come front and centre on ‘Windup Merchant’, and the epic-sounding distorted keyboards of final track, ‘It Was Empty’ hinting at the orchestras in the artist’s head. Beach Bodies is an incredible debut - you can practically feel the frantic joy of the artist yourself just listening to it.

Sculpture / Karl Fousek / D Hansen / Glia - Four Way Split #1 (Phinery)

Though established a mere year ago, Phinery is a tape label that’s truly excelled in crafting a unique, singular sonic vocabulary all its own. Label runner Benjamin Lind Krarup has a real knack for seeking out like-minded artists too, and this tape split equally between four artists winds up practically sounding like a manifesto for the label’s sound world, where rhythm, space, and time are all completely flexible. Dan Hayhurst (the audio half of UK/NZ audio-visual duo Sculpture) delivers four of his most potent and concise constructions, where shuddering synth bleeps and randomly sliced up magnetic tape samples melt into sleepily resigned atmospherics. Two Montreal-based musicians appear, with Karl Fousek’s heavily textured modular synthesizer expelling electricity in all manner of hitherto unheard sonic forms, while D Hansen (aka Stefan Jós of Opal Tapes) layers field recordings and montaged noises from mysterious sources into miniature acid trips of the Dantean variety. Virginia-based experimentalist Glia rounds up the tape with four bizarre sound sculptures based around squelching noises and decaying loops, burying plentiful odd beauty deep beneath. This tape was labelled as Four Was Split #1 too. Phinery are at the starting edge of something here, and it’s something we’ve never heard before.

Jay Glass Dubs - Jay Glass Dubs (Hylé Tapes)

Ostensibly this is an outing exploring a "counter factual historical approach of dub music, stripped down to its basic drum/bass/vox/effects form." Indeed, the debut tape from Jay Glass Dubs on Parisian label Hylé Tapes dives into the methodology of dub more deeply than anything since Creation Rebel’s epochal Starship Africa. Scattered samples of horns and distant musical stabs resembling vintage Jamaican groups get strewn into delay-ridden cosmic riddimscapes riddled with thick clouds of sweet vapour. It’s a stunning reassessment of dub music’s bountiful possibilities, similar to the likes of Sun Araw, yet somehow remaining closer to the music’s Jamaican origins. Dimitris Papadatos - aka The Hydra - is the Athens-based producer behind the name, and promises plenty more Jay Glass Dubs to come in 2016. Jah bless!

Josh Millrod - Chasing Ghosts (Seagrave)

Layering trumpet loops on top of glacial string-like electronic atmospheres, Josh Millrod's Chasing Ghosts is minimal chamber music of the highest order. Each side comprises a single 15/16 minute piece, and ‘Opening the Doors’ on side one makes also includes wordless vocal contributions from Noa Fort, blending with string-like tones and a multitude of reshaped horn loops from Millrod, who then improvises on top of the stunning dawn-like ambience. Minimalist music is both an experimental and a thoroughly approachable art form, and this is a minimalist statement to rival the heyday likes of Garrett List, Fred Rzewski or Terry RIley. Oe of the finest debut releases on tape this year.

Broshuda - Outlines (Sonic Router)

Germany-based producer and graphic designer (he does covers for that Seagrave label don’t you know) Broshuda has steadily upped his rate of output over the course of 2015, and with it his sound has refined. This 10 track EP on Sonic Router records is the man’s most concise and successful set of atmospheres and beats to date, with tracks like ‘Incense’ and ‘Celebrity Skin’ towering as examples of hazy late night synths meshed with crunchy noisified beats in minutely detailed atmospheres. If Jay Dilla and Boards of Canada had an eternally baked German lovechild, his name would be Broshuda.

Tanner Garza - Always (J&C Tapes)

Sometimes a single release can more or less lay claim to an entire genre. Disco had Saturday Night Fever, grunge had Nevermind, and now lush ambience has Always. Two cassette tapes and four hours of bountiful drone music from Tanner Gaza. "All treatments of original material using tape loops, frippertronics" says the J-card, "recorded from April 2013 - August 2014 at Nordling House (Houston, TX)". The music consistently stuns, with Garza completely giving over to the idea of the longest possible form, taking the scenic route with every single drone. The 17 minute ‘February 1979’ bubbles with menace sprinkled with sugary sweet melodies, ‘Overexposure’ tinkles along like a greatly extended version of Vangelis’ synth-phonic Blade Runner overture, and the forty minute finale ‘Giraffes on Horseback Salad’ is the sort of exercise in washed out distant guitars and looped noises that Windy & Carl would dedicate entire releases to. It’s vast, it’s unfocused, it’s impossible to sit all the way through - but it still pretty much renders all other excursions into ambient drones pretty much irrelevant. Now, and for Always.

TALSounds - All the Way (Hausu Mountain)

TALSounds is the solo nom of Natalie Chami, one third of Chicago’s abstract-lush-noise trio Good Willsmith, and All the Way sees her utilising her set of synths, vocals, loops and effect pedals to craft eight near-perfect excursions into swirling space hymnals. They were all made without any overdubs, and Chami’s got the melodic chops to make the keyboard loops at the core of most pieces almost hooky, and her vocal incantations are wispily enticing. Weirder moments too, like the shapeless noises at the start of ‘Reach’ are readily weaved on the spot into spiralling passages of filmic drama. The excellent Hausu Mountain label have a knack for putting out trippy music set in imagined landscape, but TALSounds has several additional layers that reward the listener. One can follow Chami’s skillful linear methods of on-the-spot layering, hear her intertwine cybernetically with her gear, or float along in her raft of tranquil modes.

O$VMV$M - Memoryz Ov U (No Corner)

As suggested by the title, this mix of worn sample loops from Bristol’s Sam ‘Neek’ Barrett and Amos Childs (of Jabu) infuses the Young Echo crew’s post-everything take on dub with a sense of both nostalgic romance and one ov dark gothic (‘Throbbing’) experimentalism. Forlorn atmospheres shrink and swell, submersible beats pulsate, and rain sodden black & white memories dissipate into puffs of dense fog. Fans of the melancholy worlds of Actress or Burial will find much to weep over here. To boot these two masters of their craft already put out a brilliant follow-up on vinyl - but this sort of over-encumbered misty music never works better than here on murky old cassette tape.

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