“‘Carapace’ and ‘Oneiric Amplitude’ (Side B, bonus track) are tracks composed entirely from my voice. Here, I’m exploring themes of the subconscious, namely the dream state and its ability to communicate vital shifts within our healing before our conscious mind becomes aware of them”, says Megan Mitchell.
She composes unsettling, ethereal music under the alias Cruel Diagonals. A jazz and classically trained vocalist, Mitchell performs and creates in numerous capacities.
Cruel Diagonals is an outlet for destructive sample processing, vocal exploration, and a palette for inter-media contemplations and applications. Influenced by early experimental filmmakers such as Maya Deren and Kenneth Anger, Cruel Diagonals has been described in cinematic terms, evoking moods and montages of an eerie, surrealist timbre. Warped field recordings and layered vocals incite a beckoning to a phantasmagorical, metallic-tinged state of existence.
A minimal synth EP, garnished with harsh noise, composed entirely on a Yamaha DX7. Despite the minimal setup, it creates an intense, sometimes uplifting, sometimes eerie atmosphere.. We believe that you’ve rarely heard the DX7 like that before.
Artist Robin Barnick sold his DX7 a long time ago – it was a rocking DX7IIFD in excellent shape… and yes, he regrets it, a lot. There was just too little space in his apartment and he thought the NI FM7 would do too. Far from it. Here’s what he has to say about the album:
“At the time, I guess it was around 2001, I was trying to program the DX7 and accidentally deleted all of the presets when I started to experiment with emagic’s SoundDiver. Every single patch was reset to the “Init” sound, a simple sine wave.
OK, never mind, I thought, and then got hooked when I started manipulating this ultra simple patch live, with the help of Sounddiver’s quite impressive capabilities.
I was fascinated by how easy it now was to elicit experimental sounds from this otherwise difficult-to-operate machine. I didn’t care about sequencing, so this is just me, playing simple chord progressions and notes with the left hand and manipulating them with my right hand on the mouse, twiddling SoundDiver’s faders. All was recorded live on Minidisc (in mono).
At the time I really wasn’t sure whether the music was good at all, so I put the MD aside … and forgot it. When I remembered it again some time ago, I spent endless hours searching – all my MDs were there, just not this one. When I was about to give up, I rediscovered it, edited the material and subsequently processed the tracks with some few effects.”
Robin Barnick resides in Niederkassel-Lülsdorf-Ranzel, in the lovely rural-industrial no one’s land between Cologne and Bonn, in the wild, wild western part of Germany and at the heart of Europe.
Ogehiko is a layered four track cassette tape loop., The artist does not exactly remember how he created the main sound element (with one of his synths, he believes). He however recognises use of the Fostex’s lovely pitch wheel, which he digs a lot.
Yahiko is a reel to reel found sound tape loop, played at various speeds and sometimes also slowing the reels down by hand, eventually processed with an aged digital pitch shifter/delay pedal. The artist, due to his continual confusion while splicing the 4-track tape), no longer knows whether the basic drone sound is playing forwards or backwards.
I first came across modus pony’s music on a split tape released by Cologne’s Strategic Tape Reserve. His genre-spanning, intricate guitar/bass/synth arrangements immediately stood out (of course next to the artist behind VLK, whom we’ll welcome soon as part of this cassingle series too). Because of its complexity, “Systemmetry/2Systemmetry” could be perceived as a concept album condensed to two times 2.5 minutes. However, this time, the multi-instrumentalist reveals even more of his experimental side – bubbling analogue synths compete with free jazz guitar scales and it’s not clear who’s gonna win this gentle battle. Btw: Does your tape have auto-reverse? This is the opportunity to use it. moduS ponY resides in California, USA. – bleed Air
qualchan. is a native american multi-disciplinary artist residing deep in the heart of cascadia. they describe their work as a reimagining of americana filtered through the tropes of new age, focusing primarily on living through the anthropocene. they call this wave now age, & are the only member of this school. they have released through Strategic Tape Reserve, Hotham Sound, No Problema Tapes and many others.
The number of his entries on discogs is 49 – in reality there are innumerable and probably half of them are cassettes or other obscure formats such as a (CD-sized 5″) vinyl single called “See Dee”. To keep it short: Harald Sack Ziegler – or simply “Sack” – is a lo-fi experimental trash pop/punk legend. He is by no means just a solo artist, as he has already worked with musicians like E*Rock (Sack & E*Rock), FS Blumm (Sack & Blumm), Mouse on Mars and many more. Harald studied orchestral music and is a master of French horn, guitar, drums and toy instruments – but rarely uses them as inventors usually intended.
With Ahornschraube (“maple screw”) and Blechriff (“brass riff”), Harald provides two tracks which have his main instrument – the French horn – at the centre, albeit heavily processed and sometimes literally chopped up. And, as always, to listen with pleasure.
The Master Musicians of Dyffryn Moor are a ragtag band of percussionists from a parallel Wales where rituals and folklore dominate contemporary life.
The “Blessing of the Hand-Sanitizer” ritual gives thanks for the anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties of this in-demand substance, and aims to ensure its plentiful supply. The ceremony documented here took place in Llangollen, and was led by local elder Carnedd Aur.
The “Blessing of the Spam Filters” ritual gives thanks for protection against unwanted pharmaceutical offers and banking scams. Timing of the ritual is crucial, and 2:30 is generally believed to be the optimal length. Less than this, and the filters are feared to become ineffective. Longer rituals, on the other hand, are thought to lead to an increasing number of false positives.
The original thought behind the music of Tiger Village was to make music that is missing a core component of composition, as if an artificial or alien intelligence tried to mimic human music but the results were skewed. Much of this is achieved by blurring the concepts of tempo, rhythm and time signature. Over the years of the project the processes Tiger Village uses have changed, but the concept of blurring the lines of composition always remains.
Tiger Village is Tim Thornton. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio, USA and runs the Suite 309 label (suite309.bandcamp.com).
30 35 (then, it’ll really be over) Artists. 35 cassette singles. Exclusive B-sides. Individual artworks. A limited number hand-dubbed copies per tape and artist Eventually, all tracks will be released on a compilation (digital/cassette), planned for … I don’t know, maybe end 2022 or beginning 2023. That’s the SPT Cassingle series in a nutshell.
Contributing artists: Orca, Attack! (Elizabeth Joan Kelly & David Rodriguez), Cruel Diagonals, moduS ponY, Nicholas Langley, Emerging Industries of Wuppertal, Phirnis, Whettman Chelmets, Aros E-V, Carlos Perea Milla aka Melquiades, qualchan., German Army, Stichflamme Dormagen, bleed Air, Ball Geographie, Leaaves, Francesco Ameglio/I Was Listening To Tapes In Tokyo, Tiger Village, The Master Musicians of Dyffryn Moor, Harald Sack Ziegler, Daniel Saylor, Adderall Canyonly, Jamie Orlando/Zigra, The Tuesday Night Machines, Robin Barnick, Therapeutische Hoergruppe, QST, Von Heuser, Chorchill, Cinchel, Hualun, Ffion, Petridisch, Yves Malone, Letters from Mouse, Goodparley.
Stay tuned for more details on the individual releases and artists mentioned over at Bandcamp or here.
bleed Air’s debut full-length is a mix tape blending dark ambient, playful electronica as well as experimental beat and drone.
A journey into warm, analogue noise, echo and soundscapes, sometimes resembling a soundtrack for a yet to be filmed low budget sci-fi movie. When Robot choirs start singing or broken analogue circuits and filters start doing what they want, it can get wacky, but we think it always remains pleasant to listen. Mostly analogue electronic gear, often of the cheaper and not exactly hip kind, and tape effects were used.
It is recommended to listen to each side of the album in one piece.
bleed Air lives in Cologne, runs this label, loves his Omnichord OM-27 and his tape echo too.
Many references and elements come to mind when trying to describe Ball Geographie’s music: From Chamber Pop to Disco. From Lo-fi to High-End. Found sound referencing the likes of Studio Braun. Fully conscious use of presets, but only when they make full sense. Beats. No improvisation, everything is always structured to the maximum. 80ies vibes, folky guitars, timelessness …. It is electronic, and acoustic.
Ball Geographie lives, works and produces his music in Cologne, Germany. He loves his Boss DR-550 and its HiQ sound. Kalimbas, musical toys and Dictaphones too.