“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)
Tuesday, 23 May 2023, 16:00-18:00 CEST, Dirk Specht (Therapeutische Hörgruppe, Miniklon) and Georg Dietzler (artist, curator, gerngesehen.de) welcomed bleed Air, i.e., well … me, the guy who runs the superpolar Taïps label and also produces music as bleed Air, to FUNKT Sessions on Cologne, Germany’s 674.fm for a two hour live broadcast.
As part of the programme announcement, Georg wrote:
“Experimental pop music on cassettes” – superpolar Taïps is a micro-label, non-commercial, not-for-profit, with a preference for unusual, rarely heard music on cassettes which don’t have much relevance in the mainstream but are becoming increasingly popular in independent and experimental music scenes.
Limited edition cassettes, albums, EPs and – a special format – so-called ‘cassingles’, indeed cassette singles, within the framework of a series that will culminate in a compilation in 2024, have been and are still being released.
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.
Multidisciplinary artist Andreas Gogol first caught our attention with his stunning vocal performances on Guido Möbius‘s album ‘Gebirge’ (Karaoke Kalk, 2009), even if he had been present in the experimental music scene way longer, for example with his album ‘Gorymaaz’, released on A-Musik in 2005.
On this cassette single, Gogol appears under the YOCKO O.NE feat. prinz-ip moniker, offering two quite diverse tracks:
On O.H.E. [action], Gogol takes his funky, dadaesque vocals one step further by bending time and space and chopping things up while it seems as if at the same time a weird entertainer looses control over his organ and its rhythm machine. A feast for the ears.
R.I.FF. [minox], on the other hand, points more to the other facet of agogol: That of the experimental filmmaker, who here perhaps contributes part of a soundtrack to a neo-noir style film he has not yet released. Supposedly you never heard an accordion that dark.
Goodparley (Oli Richards) is a formerly Cardiff now London (UK) based musician. His sounds are largely based around improvised ambient guitar loops and textures, manipulated in real-time using various modulating effects to create inherently experimental soundscapes.
Shreddies is the alias and solo project of Welsh musician, Josh Dickins. He also runs the cassette label New Haven Tapes.
Label maker and SPT COO bleed Air said,”This is Experimental Pop at its best.”
“While ‘Soundtrack for a Hummingbird’ with its gentle melodies indeed feels like pop, ‘Marine Blue’ shows the more experimental side of the two musicians and producers, from whom we will certainly hear more in the future,” SPT Marketing Assistant Robin Barnick added.
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.”
This compilation released in conjunction with 773773773.
bleed Air says:
Moreover, Llwch and I had this – admittedly absurd – thought:
How about – in theory – if people bought four blank C60 cassettes, dubbed them and printed the J-Cards themselves? So just in case someone should have this in mind, print-ready J-Card files + simple instructions are part of the download.
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.
“Two pieces of music inspired by the many cloud formations and skylines I’ve seen from my home in West Yorkshire. Everything I see here is almost in slow motion and the birds seem to be carrying a great weight as they fly.”
Yorkshire, UK based composer Thomas Ragsdale produces under his own name, but also as Ffion and Sulk Rooms.
His music is formed by extensive experience as a music producer for TV, advertising and film – including groundbreaking BBC documentaries such as Adam Curtis’ acclaimed ‘HyperNormalisation’, where his track ‘Warning Mass’ was featured extensively alongside the likes of Brian Eno, Burial and Aphex Twin.
Not to forget: Thomas also runs the tape label Soundtracking The Void together with Ashleigh Ragsdale, releasing such fine acts as The Incidental Crack, Pola, Andy Fosberry and many more.
With ‘Lights …’ and the (cassingle and download exclusive) B side ‘Flightless’ he treats the SPT community with two timeless, cinematic instrumental pieces.
“On the 4th volume of Learning by Listening, Köln-based bleed Air guides us on a strange, sinister survey of primary source audio documents detailing abstruse scientific postulations emerging from contemporary occult branches of Christianity. Suitable for everyone from seminary students to secular amateur scientists, this cassette sees the unorthodox theories set against rich, eerie tape loop drones, sly, laconic guitars and proggy Giallo jaunts conjuring hazy, unsettling surroundings beyond the fuzzy fringes of reality. Topics range from vertebrate anatomy to phonemical history and, while factually inaccurate and indeed frightening, this impressionistic overview provides a mesmerizing and informative introduction to an inscrutable world of anti-information.
bleed Air holds a senior leadership position at the Köln tape label superpolar Taïps and is accompanied on drums by Rose T.”
Learning by Listening is an educational, instructive cassette series designed to bring the information of the world into your home, and your brain. Read more and & listen
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.
Friday 1 October sees the release of a new Cassette Single by QST, Frans de Waard’s – as he says – ‘failed attempt’ on producing ambient house music. I must say I’m glad he failed since what he produces as QST (with beats) and Quest (w/o beats) is way better than what the genre name suggests. In simple terms it’s pretty captivating minimal synth stuff.
The QST cassingle will be accompanied by a new bleed Air album, titled ‘time, ferocious’ – the first following the eponymous 2020 debut album. It is an attempt at sonic exploration of concepts of time.
bleed Air concludes the work started with Cassingle ‘Ogehiko/Yahiko’, albeit in a somewhat noisier and more abstract way. Again, all instruments and other (found) sounds were recorded to and with mostly half broken reel to reel and cassette tape machines, fully exploiting their fantastic manipulation capabilities.
Both cassettes will be available from Friday, 09:00 CEST and also offered as a bundle, so that you can save on postage.
P.S.: The ‘time, ferocious’ digital download will be ‘name your price’ for the first couple of weeks.
CARLOS PEREA MILLA has been creating improvised ambient experiments under the moniker MELQUÍADES since 2016, using tapes, electronics, guitars, harps, field recordings and other sounds. His first two solo albums, ‘Keep A Seed’ and ‘Imaginary Soundscapes / A Map’ were released on CANIGOU RECORDS, the cassette label he has been running from London, Buenos Aires and Málaga. He also co-runs the concert series Bedroom Gigs with Catrin Vincent.
tactile / distante’ was recorded in October and November 2020 in Málaga, right after the change of seasons and right at the start of a new life chapter. This new work is heavily inspired by instrumental and folk music, and artists like Lake Mary, Karen Dalton, John Fahey, Nathan Salsburg, Wall Matthews and Mat Eric Hart.
It’s less abstract and more tangible, but it stays experimental: each part was recorded separately into a tape recorder whilst listening to a metronome, then sent to another tape machine, then into Ableton where the two songs were pieced together, editing the speed and pitch variations caused by the tape. And it has drums for the first time – a lot of drums. ‘tactile /’ features a recording from a conversation I had with Calum Perrin about modes of listening.
‘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