Sunday, August 9, 2009

New on Goaty Tapes

It's always nice when a label puts a little bit of TLC into their packaging as sometimes the music just ain't enough. I mean, isn't artwork half the joy of a record? New York's Sacred Bones Records is a great exemplifier of this, what with their unifying cover aesthetics, nice silk-screen jobs, and beautiful old-time / future-shock crypto-zoological artwork. Another label currently treading the same articulate path is the Goaty Tapes label, whose packaging is as uniquely psychedelic as the music that it encapsulates, and they have just dropped a couple brand new winning releases.

First up is the Cro-Magnon / Circuit des Yeux / Bird split release, which is actually a very interesting conceptual piece. Can a split really be considered a split when the artists are practically the same on both sides of the tape? Let me explain -- see, while there may be three names present on this release, the music inside is really only made by two young girls out of Lafayette, IN -- Haley Fohr and Katie Leming. Together they are Cro-Magnon; separately they release music on their own as Circuit des Yeux and Bird, respectively. On the a-side, Cro-Magnon opens things up with "Crop Circles", a decidedly more musical affair than anything found on their 7" on Bruit Direct, recalling a bit of that mid-90s K Records sound, or possibly some of the less caustic moments of Little Claw. "Crying From the Invasion", the second and last tune on the Cro-Magnon side, is more in spirit with the abrasion that I'm used to from these girls. With its discordant string noise and eerie vocal incantations, it calls to mind the Shining soundtrack by way of Diamanda Galas. And while it is an enjoyable bit of skin-crawl, it feels as if it's missing something. Over on the b-side, CdY steps up first with what very well could be an out-take from her recent LP, Sirenum (De Stijl). Haley seems to have found a comfortable stride in formless wailing, and tuneless, detuned acoustic string scraping. I don't recommend listening to this late at night. That is, unless you like giving yourself the creeps. I suppose it's no coincidence that Jandek is one of her top friends on Myspace. Bird is next with what I believe is only her second officially released song (the first being on the great XXperiments compilation released last year on Die Stasi). With "Swamp Cry" Katie builds a multi-tracked vocal procession over the top of a warbly low-end hum that sounds not too far removed from Mongolian throat singing. Katie's vocal excersise starts out in sync with itself, and by the end of the song diverges into two seperate entities, making for a bit of a disorrienting listen. But it's the kind of disorrientation that makes for an enjoyably challenging listen.

Next is the Bone Patrol U.S. / Varlet Tarsod CS, which continues somewhat in the same tradition as the above Cro-Magnon CS, pairing different projects of the same people alongside one another. The subject in question this time around is Madison, WI's Dead Luke, who's made quite a name for himself lately with multiple releases under both his name and as half of Absinthe Minds, not to mention the mastermind behind the excellent Jerkwave Tapes label. With Bone Patrol U.S. Luke is paired up with psychedelic minimalist Aaron Coyes of Peaking Lights and Rahdunes, wherein they serve up a very hazey, lo-fi Western raga guitar dual. Imagine Earth's Southern Lord releases with a heavy Ravi Shankar bent, droning low and high notes weaving in and out of each other, buzzing, rumbling, and generally making good for melting into the couch staring at the ceiling for a while. From there things slowly move to some cacophonous synthesizer wailing, sounding like some kind of foghorn symphony with occasional free-form wailing in the background. I coulda done without this part, but the trance-guitar work-out more than makes up for it. Over on the other side, Luke finds a new solo venture under the nom de plume Varlet Tarsod. Seemingly using Bobby Beausoleil's Lucifer Rising soundtrack as a launching pad, Varlet brings us "Psychic Desert", and, with its high lonesome synth and guitar explorations, it's a pretty fitting title. Luke seems to have a knack for intertwining different ideas and not letting certain themes carry on for too long, with drums and tambourines fading into blissed out synth-scapes, building into a dark psychedelic pulse with wah'd-out guitar drifting over the top.

Keep an eye out for these as they probably won't last too long. I ordered direct, which yielded prompt results.

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