“The music is both atmospheric and aggressive, although the bleeping strikes me as more ambient than kosmische. Either way, a cool tape.” Byron Coley in The Wire 475, September 2023
“If a tape loops infinitely, where does it start and end?
A new split cassette from anonymous electronic artist and bassist bleed Air and Shenzhen legends Hualun ruminates quietly on that enquiry. The beginnings and conclusions are not clear. There is an A-side and a B-side, one by bleed Air and one by Hualun, but the labels glued to each side of the cassette shell might as well be interchangeable. (…)
These two sides are, then, inextricably and umbilically linked. They both occupy a contemporary vantage point overlooking some of 1970s German electronic music’s finest moments, completely in tune with the sonic adventuring that the likes of Conrad Schnitzler and a select pioneering few bravely undertook.” (…) Mat Smith, Further. <- read the full review)
Perkins and Federwisch are an electronic pop duo inspired by other electronic pop duos, such as Modern Talking and Captain & Tennille. After a brief foray into educational audio systems, on their third studio album the pair return to entertainment music, specifically sentimental ballads and pop standards. While working within the formalized structures of the Euskirchen Avant-Schlager Scene, the seven songs cover a range of themes including aggrievement, remembering things that happened in the past, and remaining sensible in a world that doesn’t make sense. So dim the lights, pour yourself a chilled glass of dessert wine, double check that you turned off the oven, and let Chip and Uli entertain you with something known as music!
For the Cassingle series, Ball Geographie contributes two tracks from an abandoned 90ies project which were rearranged and recorded especially for the superpolar Taïps label.
Originally, they were part of a two-hour prog-rock musical dealing with the cultural history of communication technology. At the time, the project (working title: »Okay Danke Tschüss«) fell through due to the cost of two symphony orchestras, a mixed choir, and the Remake of various historical instruments. All demo versions and scores for the revue – including songs for Talking Drum, “Rohrpost” (pneumatic tube postal service) and Telex – are considered lost.
However, on the occasion of the Cassingle series, Ball Geographie has now reconstructed two pieces with the help of old diary notes and conversations with sound engineers at the time.
“Hotline” is dedicated to telephony, “Weltempfanger” to radio. In both tracks Ball Geographie was able to draw on his private audio archive, acoustic finds as well as musical support from guest musicians. For example, “Hotline” features spoken word avant-gardist Frelini Caroka and “Weltempfanger” features Sarah Kardamon on prepared mbira, glockenspiel and xylophone.
Für die Cassingle-Serie steuert Ball Geographie zwei Stücke eines aufgegebenen Projekts aus den 90er Jahren bei, die eigens für das superpolar-Label neu arrangiert und aufgenommen wurden.
Ursprünglich waren sie Teil eines zweistündigen Progrock-Musicals, das sich mit der Kulturgeschichte der Kommunikationstechnik befasst. Das Projekt mit dem Arbeitstitel »Okay Danke Tschüss« scheiterte damals an den Kosten für zwei Symphonieorchester, einen gemischten Chor und die Anfertigung verschiedener historischer Instrumente. Alle Demoversionen und Partituren für die Revue – darunter Songs zu Buschtrommeln, Rohrpost und Telex – gelten als verschollen.
Anlässlich der Cassingles-Serie hat Ball Geographie nun jedoch zwei Stücke nach alten Tagbuchnotizen und nach Gesprächen mit den damaligen Toningenieuren zunächst weitgehend rekonstruiert und dann neu arrangiert.
»Hotline« widmet sich der Telefonie, »Weltempfanger« dem Radio. In beiden Tracks konnte Ball Geographie auf sein privates Audioarchiv, akustische Fundstücke sowie musikalische Unterstützung von Gastmusikerin zurückgreifen. So ist auf »Hotline« etwa die Spoken-Word-Avantgardistin Frelini Caroka und auf »Weltempfanger« Sarah Kardamon an präparierter Mbira, Glockenspiel und Xylophon zu hören.
five Bubble criteria (fBc) is a bleed Air side project. A mix of experimental rock, spoken word, sparse electronics, tape effects. Lo-Fi.
“Five Bubble criteria deal in a kind of dissolving fantasy Americana built on twanging guitar lines that melt into broken AM radio white noise chatter. On “Reservoir”, the addition of a spoken narrative by Chip Perkins moves the sound away from abstract, doomy ambience towards denatured horror commentary, like a video game that has swapped the living dead for the citizens of Twin Peaks. As the record closes, its style changes again, “Vays-Rays” concocting a wobbly jangle that sounds a bit like if Nouvelle Vague had covered the Smashing Pumpkins. If it’s completely odd, it’s also completely brilliant.”
(Spenser Tomson in The Wire, November 2022)
“The bleed Air side project takes on a Labradfordian-mindset of tape splicing and spoken word cacophonies; transient noise bursts & out of body hilarity ensues.”
superpolar Taïps is very happy to welcome Hualun to the cassingle series. While they modestly call themselves ‘a rock band from China since 2004’, their oeuvre offers so much more.
Multiple influences from Krautrock, Minimal and Experimental form the mesmerising soundscapes you can listen to on this cassette single, but also on their other releases.
Hualun was a vital part of the early years of the “Wuhan punk” scene and the explosive Chinese “post rock” wave.
Since then, Hualun have been exploring new ways of developing their music, focusing on creating mesmerising and immersive soundscapes, and diversifying their music, as it can be experienced in the soundtrack for the independent film ‘An Elephant Sitting Still‘ nd the impromptu project “wʌndərlænd” in 2018 and 2019.
Last year, Hualun created an original score to the Yung Chang documentary Wuhan Wuhan and launched a new episode of their “Scene” series.
Known as a group of musicians who rely on their intuition, they are at the forefront of experimenting with sound and exploring the source of natural growth with their music.
Time as physical quantity, the nature of time as defined by general relativity, the resulting model of spacetime (German: Raumzeit) and ripples therein caused by gravitational waves. Time dilation, time offset, time measurement. Present, future, past.
An attempt to approach the complex subject of time and spacetime sonically, using devices that allow time manipulation (somewhat): Analogue tape recorders, effect pedals with ‘time’ knobs.
All instruments were recorded to and with (mostly half broken) tape machines on looped reel to reel or endless cassette tapes. On some tracks, these machines were also used as tape echos, mostly by exploiting their saturation, warm overdrive and noise capabilities.
Instruments and sound sources and tools used: Field recordings (Star City Tserkov’ Spasa Preobrazheniya church bells; Mbira, Kalimba, Acoustic Guitar, electric bass guitar, cello bows, human voice, found reel to reel audio that came with used tape recorders I bought), synthesizers.
In a way, this album concludes, albeit in a somewhat noisier, abstract and sometimes deafening way, what I started with the ‘Ogehiko/Yahiko’ cassingle.
‘Ihre Meinung ist uns wichtig‘ is the artist’s debut under his Stichflamme Dormagen moniker and, in Vital Weekly’s words, “a most curious piece of voices, chanting exotically, along with wooden drum percussion and line hum for electronic component (…)” as well as “urgency and weirdness at work.” (www.vitalweekly.net/1294.html)
Stichflamme Dormagen is the mischievous incarnation of Rudi Baumgärtner, a music producer born and raised in the city of Remagen, in western Germany.
Not much is known about Baumgärtner except his attempts to self-publish criminal stories under the moniker Sulke Diebler and his deep mistrust of public transport.
In 2006 he took part in a macramé class. Baumgärtner makes his living from soundtracks for local adult film productions. He spends his free time in his little garden in the Remagen suburbs, where he breeds rare slug species.
— THE CASSINGLE SERIES —
30+ Artists. 30+ cassette singles with an intentional, conceptual limitation of under 3 mins per track, exclusive B-sides. Individual artworks. Merely 10 hand-dubbed copies per tape will go on sale. Eventually, all tracks will be released on a compilation, planned for late 2021. That’s the SPT Cassingle series in a nutshell
Following the long sold-out ‘Blessing of the Hand-Sanitizer’ cassingle, superpolar Taïps is very happy to present the first full-length release by prolific and versatile artist Simon Proffitt, here under his Carnedd Aur moniker.
Here’s Simon’s take on ‘Beetles’:
“After a few years of exploring drones / tones / field recordings (as Cahn Ingold Prelog), fictional ritual trance (as The Master Musicians of Dyffryn Moor) and the outer limits of acoustic instrumentation (as Simon Proffitt), the Carnedd Aur project came about as an answer to the question of whether I was capable of writing electronic pop music.
It turns out that I am not – at least, not yet – but what arose instead was actually far more satisfying. Armed with just a MicroKORG, bought years earlier for a one-off gig in a swimming pool and then not used since, I set about trying to make shorter pieces with a focus on rhythm and melody of the kind that my parents (harsh critics of my other work) might not actually like, but might at least understand as music.
Carnedd Aur translates into English as Gold Cairn, a sort of Welsh-language take on Cahn Ingold Prelog.
I’ve long been fascinated by evocative common names for species (mushrooms, moths etc), and especially so in the case of beetles – these names add a layer of mystery and magic to creatures that are well known from a distance but fascinating and alien when viewed close up. It seems to me that there’s a definite link between shuffling drum machine rhythms and busily meandering insects, between shimmering synth pads and shiny, multi-coloured wing-cases.”
Emerging Industries Of Wuppertal’s Cassingle debut. Recorded by a sales intern of fellow Cologne Strategic Tape Reserve, who occasionally produces music for a nearby industrial association to use during meetings and celebrations.
To quote the artist “Dip your toes into the sparkling pixel pond and listen to more synthetic octopus noise …” and add, from my side, “by the visiting the release page embedded below or TTNM’s lovely Youtube channel.”
Oops. A maxi cassingle. Phirnis aka Kai Ginkel’s super dark, noisy and haunty tracks are awesome, but impossible to squeeze into two minutes and thirty seconds. So for once I break the otherwise strict rule. Further info on the BC release page …
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.
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
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.