i think its about experimental music. .. ... .... ..... ...... ....... ........ ......... .......... ...........

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Oba Gooba of Gort Nork by Modal Zork

Friday, December 21, 2018

Ateh & the astral ramblers by Manja Ristić

Thursday, December 20, 2018

p3 line26 by sandbox tree

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Loops for Jean Dubuffet by YS

Monday, December 17, 2018

Buddha's Hand by Kenny Millions Trio

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Cherries by rnie

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Friday, December 14, 2018

Screamer by Death Tape Super Bass

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Hope In Hell by The Big Drum In The Sky Religion

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Heritage Of Maintenance by Orphan Goggles

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Marbles On Tile by Leo Suarez

Friday, December 7, 2018

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


Sunday, December 2, 2018

Twin Flame by Violet Nox

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Dream Of The Sleeping Stones by Ocean Floor

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Hollow Ward by experiment#508

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Uivo Zebra

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

SCANS Vol. 3 by NO END

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Sunshine Girl - Noise Poem

Sunday, November 25, 2018

November 14th 2018 by Snek Trio

Monday, November 19, 2018

Giant Powder Dangerous by Music For Hard Times

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Above Me Weeps the Sky by Juha-Matti Rautiainen Soundscapes

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Big Island Mangerie from Hawaiian Yurt Music by The Tuesday Night Machines

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Sound and Stone by Various Artists

Hannes Fessmann and his father Klaus Fessmann for the last few decades have been working in the area of stone and sound. The unique instruments they build with different types of stone found throughout the world have a distinct sound to them. They can be played in different ways, but the most common seems to be rubbing the polished surface with wet hands, which makes a deep resonant sound with multiple overtones, quite unlike any traditional western instrument. Although, stone instruments aren't an entirely new idea as Hannes points out in this video which serves as a good introduction to their work:

All the years of experimentation and refining the shape, feel and sound of these stone instruments caught the attention of researcher and composer Steven Halliday and in 2016 Steven and Fessman worked together to design the Halliday/Fessman sound stone, a process well documented by Halliday. Sound and Stone is the title of the compilation released by Steven’s new label, Composer Built, which as the name suggests is a label focusing on composer built instruments. Sound and Stone is the first and only release so far, so it will be interesting to hear what comes next for the niche label.

The album consists of nine tracks by nine different composers all using samples of the Halliday/Fessmann sound stone. It’s interesting to hear all of the different compositional approaches to the prompt. Hannes notes in an interview with Halliday that the stones lend themselves to a slower kind of music, partly because of the naturally long resonant decay of the instrument. As you would imagine, more than a few of the works have an ambient sort of feel. As a listener, it’s quite nice to just let the resonance of the stones wash over you. Although one might be content to relish the tones and textures of the stone, the idea for the album according to Halliday, was to "try to put the sound stone in a different musical context rather than just doing pure stone recordings." In many of these works, new textures are created with various effects and filters and so on. The intro by Jasmine Guffond even has a sort of glitchy vibe to it. To think of the album as sound art, rather than music in the conventional sense, is perhaps more helpful. Most of the works seem arrhythmic and improvised. The multiple overtones produced by the stone, perhaps by western standards considered slightly dissonant, convey at times an almost apocalyptic ambiance, especially when any kind of distortion is used like in Machinefabriek’s beautiful track.

Sound and Stone is available for download on the label’s bandcamp and comes with a sample pack of the Halliday/ Feßmann sound stone that you are free to use to create your own stone music, for £6 of course. A limited edition cassette of the album is also available.

Matt Ackerman

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Transliteration by Future Daughter

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Friday, November 2, 2018

Kelvin (collect) - 77DL by Martin Archer

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Time and Emotions in the Natural World by OUt iNK

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

テオ・ヌーグラーと追湾及 by Theo Nugraha x Itaru Ouwan

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Saturday, October 27, 2018

I N T # R M 3 D I @ T E by Leon Louder

Friday, October 26, 2018

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

--------------------Perdide by Quimper (Interview)--------------------

Quimper’s odd sounds and visual art have been on my radar since I first heard their 2017 EP : Little Legs for Little Eggs. Jodie and Johnny’s catalog however, goes back further, as does their collection of DIY surreal videos. One of the aspects I like about their prolific, if under-promoted body of work is the visual component. In addition to the videos, the album covers, usually by Jodie Lowther, are also quite handsome. Even the music itself feels like it has a naturally filmic quality to it. Each song feels like a strange little sonic vignette. There is a certain minimal eeriness that sounds like it belongs in a fantastical sci-fi film of some kind. Which, as you’ll read in this little exchange with Johnny (one half of the band), is kind of the idea for their newest output: Perdide.

Jodie Lowther


Caliper (C): So, how did you guys meet and start collaborating?

Johnny (J): Alcohol and a mutual loathing of the local music scene.

C: What are your backgrounds in art/music?

J: We’re both from small towns in the UK so art/music was the usual escapism before we could get out for good. Neither of us really has any formal background, Jodie still works as an illustrator and I ran a small record label for a few years.

C: How does this latest album differ if at all with your previous work together?

J: It’s a bit less overtly manic than last year’s EPs and a lot more coherent. Probably because we tried to write an album rather than just throw four tracks together we had lying around and hoping for the best. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

C: Does this album have any connection to the book: The Orphan of Perdide?

J: It does. Though probably more with the animated film Les Maîtres Du Temps that was adapted from it. It was one of those films I think was shown twice when I was a child, and I somehow stumbled upon it both times. It stuck in my head ever since, and kept coming to mind when we were finishing up the album.

C: You’ve done a handful of videos/animations in the past for different projects. Any videos planned for this album?

J: We’re working on a video for Perdide now, should have that finished hopefully before the year is out. Might do one for Lovely Bees if we get the chance, but we’ll probably be working on something new by then.


You can download Perdide and/or buy the CD they have for sale on their Bandcamp.

Matt Ackerman, John Vertigen

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Amusement Park Phases by Alan Morse Davies

Friday, October 19, 2018

Lifted Compass by Riverdog

Thursday, October 18, 2018

HE​/​ME by Sonotanotanpenz

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

No Exit - by Maja Bugge

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Night Watchman by Life As Surface Noise

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018

firstlight EP by Shock of Daylight

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Five Pieces by DR

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Falling Up A Down Escalator by Comfort Food (Interview)

You may remember Comfort Food from the review we did of their last album a couple of years ago, Waffle Frolic. The funk-noise-experimental duo released a new one last month on Already Dead Tapes called Falling Up a Down Escalator. You’ll probably notice some stylistic holdovers like the virtuosic drum section, and the weird angular bass grooves that build on themselves with overdubs of trumpet and effect pedal improvisation. The way the duo move in and out of chaotic noise breaks and strange soundscapes (something they explore a bit more on this album) really speaks to the musicianship of this duo, which has only improved in the last two years. Something I’ve always liked about these guys too is that they have a live energy, which is rare in this age of bedroom musicians working with click tracks. I could go on about how much I like them but their aesthetic really seems to speak for itself. Perhaps that's why I resorted to an interview this time around with one half of the band, Daniel (bass, vocals, trumpet), plus a surprise guest.

Album art by Angela Roiniotis

Caliper (C): So, what’s changed since the last album?

Daniel (D): Structurally we are the same, bass and drums with some trumpet and vocals. One fun addition to my set up is a TKOG Mini-Glitch pedal, which is responsible for some of the harsher more machine-like solos on the record, also adding a nice element of unpredictability to our live shows.

Sonically, we wanted to be more ambitious with the textures and soundscapes we explore throughout the album. I feel like these efforts are most apparent on “Mystery Dome 2017” where we try to build a sort-of sci-fi western soundscape and explore more sludgy grooves as opposed to our more funky beats. “Claim the Hair Trophy” is also a departure for us in that we went out of our way to write an upbeat, danceable song then smashed it to bits and rearranged it into something off-kilter and constantly changing. It’s almost like an anti-dance tune with all the elements of a funky groove constantly being interrupted by weird glitchy bass, a trumpet solo, or frenetic vocals.

C: Darko the Super raps on Dollar Legs. How did that collaboration come about?

D: We’ve known Darko the Super for some time through our label, Already Dead Tapes & Records. We see him perform every year at the Already Dead Family Reunion with his partner in crime, Ialive. They put on a killer show and Darko has this incredible stage presence and ability to craft some of the weirdest beats I’ve come across in hip-hop.

Jake and I wanted to collab with him and had been working on the Dollar Legs jam for some time, however I couldn’t find a vocal line that I was happy with, nothing seemed to fit. We realized finally that this was the track where Darko’s help was needed, so we reached out and via the magic of the internet were able to compose the entirety of this song remotely.

C: Dollar legs seems to be the most coherent as far as the lyrics and narrative. What’s it about? Why is it called Dollar Legs?

D: In terms of the song title, outside a closed-down restaurant in Kalamazoo, MI there’s a sign that reads “$1 Legs” and nothing else. Since Jake and I are always on the hunt for non-sequitorial song titles, this one seemed to fit the bill. Kalamazoo is FULL of weirdo signs outside restaurants and shops and we’ve named many of our songs after them, including “Mystery Dome 2017” and “Feel-Good Fridays” off our last album Waffle Frolic.

For the rest of the question I’m passing the mic to Darko the Super himself...

Darko: My verses are my attempt at being positive and uplifting which I rarely do in song. Semi inspired by Mystery Men, the film in which the dialogue is sampled from. Partly written after finding out one of my long time collaborators was finished with making beats and moving onto a different alias and project. “Don’t lose the lightning inside you” is also a reference to my good friends The Difference Machine. I was contemplating a lot of feelings of the community and lack thereof throughout a lot of different scenes I feel I’m a part of. So, this was me channeling the Super Squad, the Mystery Men, a team of wanna-be’s who really banned together and took down evil (spoiler alert).

C: Talk about your recording/writing process for this album.

D: We recorded with our good friend Alex Borozan of Already Dead who has recorded our last two albums. We laid the raw tracks down in a basement studio in Humboldt Park, Chicago over the course of one long weekend, with a lot of junk food and coffee and late nights. Then about a month later we hightailed it to Hamtramck, MI to do vocal dubs, sample work, and mixing out of Alex’s living room. In total the album was recorded and dubbed over the course of just six days, which is much less time than our last album, so working within those constraints was a new kind of challenge for us, one which I think we overcame with positive results.

C: This one is kind of a music nerd question. You have a unique bass sound. Do you have piccolo strings on there or something?

D: No piccolo strings, just crappy equipment! I’ve had the same bass since I was 16 years old, a beat-up Hartke I got from a friend in high school, and I’ve never looked back. I can’t understate the importance of using janky no-name equipment in our music making process. There’s so much emphasis on having the nicest equipment around to define your sound and image as a musician, but there are so many incredible sounds just waiting to be discovered in junk! So the sharp, funky crunch you get from my bass is in the lack of quality, and that’s made all the difference.

C: How do you manage to play these pieces live? Do you hire an orchestra?

D: If only we could hire an orchestra! That would make our jobs so much easier.

All of our songs are written with the intention of being played live. We drill the heck out of them in practice, nailing the loops and time changes and instrument shifts and it can be an exhaustive process. Playing these tunes live is a completely different animal than getting them ready for recording. When there’s an audience the song somehow takes on a life of its own and poses challenges we didn’t anticipate in practice, so it always takes a few shows to really nail down a new song and feel comfortable with it. Maybe that’s why we write intentionally messy music, to keep people thinking we know what we’re doing even when we’re winging it!

C: So, are you guys rich now from all the tapes you’ve sold or is Already Dead paying you in candy corn?

D: Let’s just say we’re rich in candy corn ;)

C: Have you ever fallen up a down escalator?

D: Only every day of my life! In a metaphorical sense of course. All of us are always moving up and up and up towards something greater than ourselves, but gravity is constantly pulling us down, tripping us, reminding us of our vulnerabilities and imperfections, and that “falling” is what makes us human, it’s what makes us artists, and it’s what we hope to remind people of through this album and our music as a whole.


You can grab your copy of Falling Up a Down Escalator on Already Dead Tapes or download via the band's Bandcamp.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Party in Partes Ep by Obasquiat Trio

Saturday, October 6, 2018

My Goddess Has A Crazy Bush 9: Fear Of A Sacred Planet by The Big Drum In The Sky Religion

Friday, October 5, 2018

Inner Work by Brian James Griffith

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Law of the Wavefront by 5p6

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

These Carbon​-​Composite Poles Are Made For Walkin'

Strategic Tape Reserve, the increasingly prolific tape label out of Cologne Germany, just released their first compilation titled “These Carbon Composite Poles are Made for Walking.” As you might guess if you’re familiar with STR’s catalogue, there is a thematic concept as well as a sense of humor to the release. According to the press release, the comp is “the first and only cassette scene compilation designed specifically to enhance the Nordic-Walking experience.” What is Nordic-Walking? Apparently, it started in Finland as an off season activity for cross country skiers in which one walks at a steady pace with poles, and has since become a popular exercise for older folks in northern Europe. It is also the first release from STR’s new sports-music subsidiary “Strategic Tape Reserve ACTIVE,” and includes a logo stamped sweatband with every cassette purchase designed to “reduce sweat-related injuries by up to 15%.”

The comp is an eclectic mix of different thematic interpretations. In the spirit of what might be called “avant-jock jams,” some artists stuck to the practical task of creating interesting music with a pulse that might inspire the listener to just keep on moving, like “Brisk pace Bilbao” by The Tuesday Night Machines, or “Ninepointsevennine” by Cyfrif Iâ Dur. Though the comp is eclectic, many of the tracks seem to have an electronic tilt to them. The tenth track, Theme from Göttinger Wanderverein e.V., is perhaps the most compelling in that regard. Although it doesn’t have a beat per se, the weird synth improve has a definite, steady, underlying rhythm that one can imagine walking to (if not actually walk to). The Blank Holidays change up the pace a bit (so to speak) with their lo-fi acoustic interpretation, “Lost Dogs.” And spaced throughout the album there are “six interludes featuring Nordic-Walking experts and celebrities offering tips, commentary and philosophical asides” in Swedish and usually creepily warped.

You can listen to the comp as well as purchase your twofer cassette-sweatband on STR’s Bandcamp page.

Matt Ackerman

Monday, October 1, 2018


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Visible World by Seigo Aoyama

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Mouth is the Most Promising by Larry Wish & His Guys

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Weird Babes vol. 1 by Ethan Primason & Dexter Dine

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Trash Hazard by The Sheen

Monday, September 24, 2018

Anomaly by Brodmann Bonecell

Sunday, September 23, 2018

OWL AND RAVEN from Styxtape I​-​XII by Hatred Of Sacred

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Plain of Absolute Spirit by Bidocea

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Syntax Error by The All Seeing Hand

Monday, September 17, 2018

Humanoid Humanoid Humanoid Humanoid, Four Humanoids by mangoSleeves

Sunday, September 16, 2018

RAW MEAT DIET by The League of Assholes

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Derek Piotr Interview (New Album "Grunt" 9/28/18)

Derek Piotr is releasing his latest album later this month entitled “Grunt.” As the name may hint at, it’s guttural, gritty, noisy, even gross at times. At least once while listening in my car, I had to stop to make sure the sound I was hearing wasn’t coming from my engine. It also seems to have a footing in the glitch music world, although it’s perhaps too abstract to really belong there, or anywhere in particular. Machine-like noises and frequencies higher than the enjoyable range are juxtaposed with more organic, intimate field recordings to create a sort of amorphous, microcosmic world of it’s own. I sent Derek a few questions ahead of the album release about this unique world he had created.


Caliper (C): I guess for a textural album like this my first question is: how did you achieve these sounds (equipment used etc.)?

Derek (D): Neumann KMS mic, radiaL (c74 software) and Ableton. Some tracks are studies on a particular sound: Voice I and II are vocal only sounds; Violin I and II are mainly based around violin playing (courtesy of Jason Boada) XA is all mostly saxophone I played myself, and the title track is recordings of a Fort Troff Raw Pup (NSFW!). In general I was using radiaL a lot and some of these tracks came forward very quickly; Main Body and Redirect came forth in the space of a day. Some of the other tracks took a little longer editing but in general I was trying to find the ugliest sounds I could and I had to keep erasing what I'd done because it sounded too pleasant… I am not actually sure this record is the ugliest it could be.

C: Why is the album called “Grunt?”

D: "Grunt" is both an ugly, direct human utterance, and in Polish: "earth" or "ground." This work is pretty guttural, clumsy and heavy. I think both meanings of the title very much fit. I think the zeitgeist has vaporized our connection to the earth and to our own bodies to a large degree and I very much wanted to remember both of those things, also the idea that technology is so greased and smooth now. There is the capability to do a lot of very polished work with very little effort. That feels sort of wrong to me and I sought to subvert it. I think it's incredible we can do such high power things just on our phones but I also think it removes some kind of connection or dug-in effort between artists and medium now.

C: Do you consider this work more art or music?

D: 110% see it as music.

grunt from derek piotr on Vimeo.

C: You probably don’t care much for labels, but how much does this album’s aesthetic owe to glitch music?

D: Oh, very very much. I definitely see this album as something that references stylistically a lot of releases from the early 2000's, and the software radiaL that I used a lot on this album is in fact from 2000 or 2001. I hope this continues the conversation in a way and doesn't just repeat ideas. Maybe the aforementioned idea of being very fluid and greased with technology informs this record necessarily because we've spent decades on laptops now - so the angle is a little fresher or more evolved? I can't really judge this, but I will say that I am forever inspired by the idea of glitch. This album owes a lot to noise music too.

C: Talk about the role of rhythm on the album.

D: Most of the songs are in non- or anti-rhythm, free time, but a few (Despot, Repeating Bloom, Earth Edit) are rhythmic in a way that is the opposite of freetime: extremely repetitious. I wanted both. I tried not to have any repetitive rhythm in most of these pieces because I feel like that's a trap I fall into as a producer often.

C: More than halfway through the mostly wordless album there’s some singing on the track "Pure." Was that to throw a wrench in the machine, so to speak?

D: Absolutely, but it wasn't planned. I am glad for the interruption. Early in the album I sing a little words on the track "DZ": "only to fall into eye-depths". This record works similarly to Drono in that there are almost no words on it. More and more I enjoy working that way.

C: Drono being a 2016 release of yours... Where does Grunt place on a spectrum with your previous work?

D: I think it's the most evolved I have sounded; the truest to what I think music should be or what I hear in my head. It's also definitely a reaction to my last album, Forest People Pop, because I wanted absolutely the opposite of that record with this one. This feels much more me.


Grunt is available for pre-order from Derek's home page.

Derek Piotr, Matt Ackerman

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Kiosk by Used Condo

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

How More Can You Need? by Larry Wish

Monday, September 3, 2018

Traditions from a Vestigial Intranet by Emerging Industries of Wuppertal

Friday, August 31, 2018

Music for the DMV by Elizabeth Joan Kelly

Thursday, August 30, 2018

THE WORK - Compilation by Jelodanti Records

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Bromo – The 25th Child by Al Vomano

Monday, August 27, 2018

Emaranhado by Sann Gusmão

Sunday, August 26, 2018

AVANZI by Ombrelli Sciolti

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Sea of Poppies

Friday, August 24, 2018

EP by beetle box

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Memory Machine by NUM

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

On the Act Of Reminding by Francisco Oliveira

Monday, August 20, 2018

These Elephants by Mathieu St-Pierre

Monday, August 13, 2018

Funereal in a Good Way by Zachary Zena Giberson

Saturday, August 11, 2018

ECHOLALIA by Suko Pyramid and moduS ponY

Friday, August 10, 2018


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Still Unfolding by Matt Pollock

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Jazz Macabre by Leprosy

Friday, August 3, 2018

Bresnix by Vladimir Bresnix

Tuesday, July 31, 2018


Friday, July 27, 2018

call before you dig by platzangst

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Divine Comedy Of Errors by The Big Drum In The Sky Religion

Friday, July 20, 2018

Digittoe Air by Nin Martoize

Thursday, July 19, 2018

AAX​-​174 : Dimensional Synthesis by Dante Augustus Scarlatti

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Frika by L. Valerie

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Demarcation by Reid Karris

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Apollo Shift by Blow the Hatch

Saturday, July 14, 2018

radius by Sonatine

Friday, July 13, 2018

Hands Off by Skimmings

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Austerity Measures by Tim Walters

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Miniforms II: Ten Pin Alley by Whettman Chelmets

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A Confluence (A Baring Of Teeth) by Sara Bess

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Super Dolomiti Crunch by The Tuesday Night Machines

Monday, July 2, 2018

Open Colour by Blanket Swimming

Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Apple of Every Eye by Uboa & Muddy Lawrence

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Vésperas by Cássio Figueiredo

Friday, June 29, 2018

Six Pieces 2016​-​2018 by Ethan T. Parcell & Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestras

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Gancho by uivo zebra

Monday, June 25, 2018

Godhead by Beauty Tool

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Red Velvet Scar by Zhivko Bozdanski

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Vacant Shade by NUM

Friday, June 22, 2018

foralways by shamane

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Soundcraft 2013​-​17: The Best Of Safety Scissor Death Squad by Safety Scissor Death Squad

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Signals from Solar System Piss by Planet of Knives

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Gancho by uivo zebra

Monday, June 18, 2018

Life Is The Fire That Burns The Dross From The Soul by The Big Drum In The Sky Religion

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Friday, June 15, 2018

Pinna Was Ear by Pinna

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Your Skin, My Mask by building castles out of matchsticks

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Untamed Terror by Maryam Sirvan

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

BUGELLA 20​-​50 by Macchiato Funky

Monday, June 11, 2018

1​.​002 by oxen vex

Saturday, June 9, 2018

music for sketches by tobias svensson

Friday, June 8, 2018

Daylight Dreaming by Liz Helman

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Spooky Generator

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Of Earth And Coffin by Nervous Ghosts

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Hearing Voices Circle EP by Jo Bled

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Osseous Labyrinth Vestibule by Luxury Mollusc

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Further East by Manja Ristić and E.U.E.R.P.I.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Obscure Sorrows by Ryan Carraher

Friday, May 18, 2018

A House With Too Much Fire by Seabuckthorn

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Ghost Dancers Slay Together by Reid Karris Group

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Rebliss by Noise For Bliss

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Volume I by Static Statek

Monday, May 7, 2018

Jizz Crate by SIDCA

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Between Flesh and Dust by Dark Awake & Ruairi O'Baoighill

Friday, May 4, 2018

A​.​L​.​I​.​E​.​N. (All Leads Into Eternal Nothingness) by Total E.T.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Feel Guide Volume 7

The recurring experimental compilation that Caliper Music puts out every so often has recurred. This volume includes some amazingly weird/catchy tracks by Quimper, the Bongoloids, Pollens, IT LO, and Stereo No Aware, as well as another swell album cover by Zachary Zena Giberson. Courtesy of ShanGORIL La Records, there is a vinyl version of the compilation available now on their bandcamp. As always, the digital download is free and includes 3 bonus tracks that for one reason or another, did not make their way onto the record. Enjoyment is mandatory.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Bullet Proof Shoes by Bright Dog Red

Friday, April 27, 2018

Jura by Marco Malasomma

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Beneficial textual simulation of dialogue with Strategic Tape Reserve director, Eamon Hamill.

Of the regular submitters to the blog, one of the most curious and amusing is the small tape label out of West Germany, Strategic Tape Reserve. STR albums always seem to have some unexpected, dryly humorous story or process behind them that give the sounds a context one would be hard pressed to find elsewhere. These concepts are usually pitched in STR’s characteristically dispassionate, professional tone. 2017’s Systems for Stimulating Professional Music, for instance, is described as “a project wherein best-practice and lessons-learned from the petrochemical industry are repurposed and applied to the production of non-organic, leisure music.” Sounds pedantic, but you want to hear what that sounds like now, don’t you? Intriguing concepts such as this, or The End of Music (VLK’s album made entirely of samples of the endings of songs) have made STR releases a favorite of Caliper. It seemed fitting to give them a little more time in the spotlight in the form of an interview with the tape reserver himself, Eamon Hamill.


Caliper (C): You have an interesting sort of ethos there at STR. What compelled you to create this sort of bureaucratic character that the label seems to have?

Eamon (E): I don't remember it being a deliberate decision for the label to take on this kind of image. I guess around the time that I first started the label, I was spending a lot of time in Cologne's municipal offices to get a residency permit. I don't want to just perpetuate stereotypes, but there is a certain amount of bureaucracy in Germany. That said, in Cologne I've found it all to be very friendly, helpful and it basically works pretty easily. Anyway, it's likely that some of those experiences planted a seed for what STR would become. Before there was any kind of an "ethos" (which I think became clearer during the making of the promotional "What is the Strategic Tape Reserve?" video), I was just writing all of the text on the website and press releases in an overly formal style. I've always found stodgy, officious language really funny – especially in the context of music where things have often been presented in a more breezy live-fast-die-young kind of way. Lots of labels can provide you with open-road freedom and fuck-the-man rebellion, so perhaps for the sake of finding some space in a very saturated market, STR slowly evolved into something more like a menacing, patronizing nanny state.

Publicly funded art is obviously important and often under attack, but I can't help finding it amusing the way things are depicted in the conservative press where there are these shadowy, dour bureaucrats constantly squandering a nation's wealth and forcing good, honest, hardworking taxpayers to fund inscrutable, fraudulent avant-garde art, presumably at the behest of The Elites. It sounds wonderful! So in some ways I guess STR is my own just-slightly tongue-in-cheek paradise fantasy, which happens to also be a right-wing fever-dream vision of hell. It's also possible that the institutional image and authoritative tone lend a thin (ok, totally transparent) veneer of professionalism to what is essentially just a guy who has very little clue of what the practical operation of a music label should involve.

C: How big is your operation there?

E: One day soon I hope to have a 1960s concrete tower full of morally compromised functionaries, but at the moment STR is housed in a single-unit IKEA PAX wardrobe. I've also colonized the tops of several bookcases. I've occasionally been encroaching onto my 4-year-old's art table, but he's pretty fierce, so I think I'm going to have to back off. Our head count is in the extreme-low single digits.

C: How much music do you personally make for the label?

E: My two regular projects on STR are Emerging Industries of Wuppertal and VLK. The VLK releases are always sample based, usually with some self-imposed constraints that form the basis of the concept. The VLK release “The End of Music” was an especially strict example. All of music was made from the last couple of seconds of tracks that were in the Billboard Top 20 in the last week of 1999. There were no fx, processing, time stretching, pitching, etc. - just arranging and layering. Other VLK releases have been a bit more lenient, but the basic idea of working from a limited pool of themed samples is always there. Emerging Industries of Wuppertal is much more synth-based and, among other things, tries to draw on points where industrialization and mysticism meet.

C: I like that some of your releases include textual material that put the sounds in context. A lot of the albums seem to have a story behind them. How important is this conceptual foundation for STR releases?

E: One role of a label is to help place the music in a context by, for example, providing album art, the release medium, press releases, promotional photos, billboards, associations with other releases on the label, etc. This context can have a considerable effect on how people listen to music or experience it, and, in my view, the context can even be thought of as a parameter of the music itself. The amount of reverb on a track probably has more direct influence on the listener than the amount of blur on the cover photo, but the effect is still there and it can alter the way that the music is heard. For some of the STR releases, especially Efficient Processes for Synthetic Funk or Music for Euronews, I think the liner notes are really essential to the music. I realize that perhaps not everyone wants to read a big block of text, which is fair enough, I guess, but it is meant be a real part of the release, rather than something supplemental like a behind-the-scenes DVD extra.

It's possible that the textual component got a bit out of hand with the Mr & Mrs Chip Perkins release where there are 8 pages of very tangential liner notes. I was thinking for a while that it would be fun to try to get to the point where the liner notes were the main focus of a release and the music would just sort of be the vehicle for putting out the text. Obviously, it's not a great idea – might still do it. But, to answer the question, yes most releases on STR have some kind of conceptual foundation. Jack Wolfskin Made Me Hardcore is a re-imagining of Mark Leckey's influential video art from the perspective of a nostalgic Schlager fan. The Modern Door's Augmented Folk Music of the Leine Plain was conceived as a Lomaxian ethnographic study of sounds indigenous to an industrialized flatland three hours north-east of Cologne. Not every single tape has to be presented with an explanation of the background, but in general, it's something that I enjoy doing and plan to continue.

C: Some of the literature suggests some specific utility for the music. Music is not often talked about this way, but what purpose do you think music serves in society?

E: I definitely think there are many utilitarian purposes to music. Because music is fluid and ubiquitous, for me it's often hard to make a distinction between utilitarian music and aesthetic music, as I might be able to do with other forms of art or design. I guess for me the default way of thinking about most music is that it's a form of self-expression, and that as the listener, by receiving and then processing or relating to the artist's self-expression, you can attain some fulfillment or, at least, be temporarily entertained. Of course, music can exist as pure sound, but seems to me that most music is declared, presented or marketed as self-expression. Some possible exceptions might be techno, where the stated purpose might be to compel listeners to dance, new-age music, whose main function might be to promote healing or whatever self-actualization means, or mass-market pop, where it's not hidden that the point of the music is to maximize value for the artist or shareholders. Even in these cases where more utilitarian purpose is evident, self-expression is probably still a big part of the utility.

Whether intended by the artist or not, most music has more than one function: music can be a tool for widening one's understanding of the world; it can unify people as a community, tribe or nation; it can promote a religion, ideology or brand; or many of those things simultaneously. A lot of playlists on Spotify have a suggested practical application, often something related to relaxation or motivation. I don't have scientific data about it, but my own experience is that every supermarket in the world plays Chris Issac's “Wicked Game” over the PA. I suspect that grocery cartels have uncovered something in the music (probably his syrupy vocal delivery) that suppresses thriftiness or dissuades shoplifting. As you said, some STR releases are presented as serving a specific function. For me, it's another parameter of the presentation, or maybe even of the music itself, to play with. Beauty Product's Wild Parvenu was released as a corporate management fad. Efficient Processes for Synthetic Funk was designed to cause “destabilization in closely-controlled societies”. I don't think there should be any hierarchy of utility though, and if any listeners wanted to use EPfSF to prepare themselves to compete in a sporting event or possibly even for simple entertainment, I suppose that would also be fine.

C: Is humor one of those purposes for you? Because some of your concepts crack me up. I mean that in a good way. They are funny and brilliant.

E: I think humor is very important in music and almost everything else. Sure, making people laugh can be a function of music (pastiche, novelty songs), but I definitely prefer when humor is a component of the music, rather than the purpose of it. That said, now that I think about it, I wouldn't rule out a release of novelty songs.

C: Sometimes the literature also describes interesting, vaguely experimental processes that made the music, like Efficient Processes for Synthetic Funk, or Systems for Stimulating Professional Music. Do you think process is just as important as the end result in music?

E: Not always of course, but it can be. It depends on the listener and the situation. I think a person can hear prepared piano music not knowing that a piano has been purposefully tampered with and just enjoy the sounds. But if they know about the process, I think that might change how they experience the music, and the process becomes a part of the end result.

Personally, I find music production methods interesting to read/think about. There's often a lot of information about the gear that people use and I'm definitely interested in this. For STR releases, I usually try to take a wider and less literal view of the process. This part of Germany is still industrialized and I think I find some inspiration in the landscape. There are a lot of sinister-looking chemical companies around. I don't have any background in science. In fact, I failed chemistry in high school, at least partially due to the teacher who played us cassettes of her boyfriend's chemistry-themed folk songs, which put me off both science and folk music for about 15 years. But since being here, it's become kind of fascinating for me, and concepts from the industry like process engineering, catalyst additives or automated control systems seem comparable to certain ideas in music production, so I've tried to incorporate these themes into some of the releases.

And I honestly do try to use processes or workflows that allow me to get stuff done. I have two young kids, a day job and a certain amount of inherent laziness, so I need to find ways to make up for the lack of time. Both of the releases you mentioned above basically grew out of a process where a laptop was set up to control a few synths/samplers to make evolving, generative rhythmic patters and noises. It would be left unattended, recording for 30 minutes or more while I could go do other things. Then I'd listen back and snip out and arrange the parts on the train to work the next day.

C: What kinds of artists are you on the look out for?

E: I'm usually most interested in stuff that falls between genres that, to me, sounds unique, or in the best cases sort of expands what I'd previously thought of as music. I like it when I have the impression that someone has followed their own idiosyncratic style down a hole and ended up in some strange place. Also, as you said, a lot of Strategic Tape Reserve releases have some kind of concept, and I'd like to continue in that direction. I try to be pretty open and patient when listening to music. Some music that I really like took me a while to connect with, and I try to keep that in mind. Of course limited time and the vast amount of music out there make that a pretty unrealistic goal.

Also, in terms of what I'd like to put out on STR, an overall wide variety is pretty important. I'm very impressed by labels that can pinpoint a certain specific idea for the music they want to release, and then create a world of sound within those limits. I guess a label like Jahtari's unique low-bit take on dub comes to mind as one example. I don't really have the temperament or focus to do that though. I'd prefer to do a little bit of everything, as long as each piece of everything is somewhat weird. I would be very happy if at some point STR resembled something like a scaled-down, distorted, slightly dystopian reflection of normal music culture.

C: What can consumers expect from Strategic in the coming months?

E: A lot, really. There's an album of really nice lo-fi, textured pop from a Belgian band called The Blank Holidays. There'll be a very crunchy, digital-sounding electronic release by The Tuesday Night Machines which is about being in the mountains (and was recorded in the mountains!). STR is releasing the synth-heavy soundtrack to a bootleg Welsh version of a very popular audiobook. We're also putting together our first compilation release that will be “sports music” like the Jock Jams series, but specifically for Nordic Walking. So far there have been some great pieces sent in for that. I'm still looking for a few more if anyone wants to contribute a walking anthem. There's also another Emerging Industries of Wuppertal album that is basically finished. Maybe some moduS ponY?

C: Will there ever be a Strategic CD reserve or Vinyl reserve?

E: Could be, but I have no plans to expand into other formats at the moment. Vinyl is nice, but not particularly DIY-friendly and, therefore, too expensive. I might consider doing some CDs in the future. Yeah, the fact that the word “tape” is in the name lays down one of the few firm constraints for the label. In the past I released a few mp3-only releases and it felt a bit like cheating.


For more information regarding the Strategic Tape Reserve or to acquire tapes, kindly visit their homepage or bandcamp.

Matt Ackerman, Eamon Hamill