wired for sound part two: three sanity muffin tapes

May 23, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Regular readers will know about the transatlantic bromance gathering pace between me and Billy Sprague, California based multi-media-mogul.  Well, Sanity Muffin is the tape label run by Brothers Sprague and I think perhaps you should pay it heed.  Whilst undeniable hip, this is not a hipster enterprise.  They are releasing tapes for all three of the right reasons:

  1. They have a bunch of talented, interesting friends and acquaintances producing music worthy of document.
  2. The medium of limited edition tapes fits the music like a well-cut suit.
  3. They are interested in the possibilities and limitations of cassette releases as objects.

On an aside relating to reason 3: if your tape will not play nice with a row of other tapes on a shelf then you have failed.  The challenge is to get your design into the homogeneous cassette box, you dolt.  Stich it into a furry pouch or nail it to a housebrick and you can keep it, thanks.  Hipsters and noise-berks should check out the below and learn a lesson.

OK, some reviews:

SM03 Perpeteia – Trepenation Constellation

This one is sold out so I feel no compunction to describe the music.  Here’s a story about what it feels like instead:

Imagine you have had some life-changing news.  Now you have a major decision to make.  Reeling, you leave the house and somehow come to sitting on a bench in the park.  A blackbird sings in a beech tree, someone eats couscous for lunch with a wooden fork.  Around you the world continues oblivious to your turmoil.  Somehow this is both glorious and terrifying.  You shade your eyes with a newspaper you don’t remember buying and suddenly the answer comes to you!  Yes, of course!  You leap up: resolved.

SM04 Naked Lights – Kukulkan Pyramid

Described on the Sanity Muffins blog as:

80s Los Angeles dirty porn soundtracks

Hmmm… I can see it: bleak, affectless, hard-body, no-eye-contact, lots of hair gel.  The kind of porn that Patrick Bateman would be forever forgetting to return to the video store.  But this tape rocks more besides.  I’m not a fan of ‘listing other things it sounds like’ reviews but when, as it is in this case, Julie Andrews could be singing me a personalised version of ‘my favourite things’ then I’m not above doing it.  OK, how about the drug-groove of Spacemen 3 demos, the quaalude funk of 70s Miles, the scything guitar of misery trilogy period Cure and those instrumentals that Gary Numan padded out late Tubeway/early solo albums with?  Yeah, I know, I know…

SM05 Tristeza – City Gaze

Outtakes and extras from the recording of Tristeza’s album Fate Unfolds. As such it has a scrapbook feel but continues the low budget 80s vibe of the Naked Lights tape.  If the latter was porn, then this is a Michael Mann style crime thriller with lots of glass and blue lighting.  The first side has the bedroom electronics feel of (whisper it) early Cabaret Voltaire in places, side two brings things more up to date with some post-rock slipping and sliding.

More SM stuff will be weighed in a future instalment…

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