In the years between 2010 and 2013, the 20 sides of the Arachnidiscs Recordings split cassette series gave fledgling and more established artists and an outlet for experiments, oddities and even odderities, 20 minutes at a time.
Tape #1, Sides 1 & 2: Gown / RobRobRob
C40. 2010. Cassette. Deluxe cloth bag edition w/fold-out (limited run of 50). Free digital download link included.
Side 1: GOWN - Jake’s Strut (Live in Sackville, 2009 w/Omon Ra) – 20 mins
“MacGregor’s voice floats through the murky composition like a lost firefly, giving off light every so often in hopes that he’ll be found again. A foggy oasis steeped in washed out guitar effects, psychedelic clouds of harmonies that float by like the first black clouds before a beautiful thunderstorm.” ~ Foxy Digitalis
Side 2: RobRobRob – Water / Garden at Night / Pocket Thesaurus / Untitled / Sun on curtains — 20 mins
“The first thing that came to mind once the first track started was something along the lines of John Fahey on a This Mortal Coil album. That is to say, achingly beautiful acoustic guitar work with all manners of 4AD production tricks. Instead of ethereal female vocals, exotic instrumentation or covers, however, RobRobRob mainly sticks to heavily reverbed guitar and his own shadowy vocals, which resemble Ian Masters at his most detached from reality. It’s hard to tell if he’s actually singing lyrics or not, so in that way it also bears a likeness to Panda Bear’s Young Prayer album. The whole side is incredibly lovely; I’m especially impressed at how he uses reverb and distortion. It doesn’t drown out the acoustic sounds in noise; rather, it accentuates them and takes them to different places. I also really enjoy the free-flowing nature of this release; it’s all too fitting to hear birds chirping throughout some of the songs on here. Lovely stuff.” ~ Foxy Digitalis
$6.00 CAD world (incl. ship)
Tape #2, Sides 3 & 4 : Healthy Animal / Summer Amp
Side 3: Healthy Animal – 7X Untitled. Seven nameless compositions from the East Coast of the USA. Rhythmic and fuzzed-out, Healthy Animal’s music is as much a part of the No Wave and Krautrock traditions as it is the new schools of Chillwave and Shitgaze. But who cares about labels? HA bury pummeling rhythms under waves of blissed-out white-static psych haziness. Sounds kind of like a possible score to Charles Burns’ graphic novel Black Hole as performed by aliens who only know earth music from hearing Brian Eno on a poorly tuned radio-station.
Side 4: Summer Amp – Danger Zone. Five pro-wrestling inspired psych/noise jams from the West Coast of Canada. Features members of New Yaki and The Madonna Bangers. The vibe might be described as the sunburned hand of Tully Blanchard. Or tribal/industrial folk music for life at the end of the universe when there’s no electricity to play your Can and VxPxC records.
40 mins (total). Edition of 34. 2-sided full-colour poster insert. Cloth bag. Free mp3 download links.
Tape #3, Sides 5 & 6 Theo Angell / Moonwood
C80. 2011. Deluxe cloth bag edition of 50 w/full colour insert and sticker. Free digital download link included.
$7.00 CAD (includes shipping)
Side 5: Theo Angell – Live @ Secret Project Robot 4-17-11
Mightily impressed by his Auraplinth and Dearly Beloved albums, we’re pretty excited to present this 40 minute live set by Theo Angell (JOMF, Hall of Fame) accompanied by one Hamish Kilgour (The Clean) recorded at Secret Project Robot in March. Arcane Eastern ragas and spooky Appalachian rags; ethereal whispers and raging acoustic freak-outs; jaunty alpine whistles and deep desert ceremonies. This here is bare bones psyche-folk wedding the weird and the beautiful to make babies with odd numbers of limbs and psychic eyes.
Side 6: Moonwood – The Path
Recorded by Moonwood during the same sessions as the mostly instrumental River Ghosts material, these nine vocal songs are vaguely woven together by Taoist mysticism and modern day beards. Southwestern reverb, droning psychedelic fuzz, Eastern percussion and plucked acoustic instruments mix with ritual chants and soft-spoken tales about death and small woodland animals.
Tape #4, Sides 7 & 8: Andy Futreal / Babel
(C-46) 2011. Deluxe cloth bag edition of 50 w/two full colour inserts. Free digital download link included. Loosely based around “Tectonic Disasters in Asia”, this is the first themed release in the split tape series.
$7.00 CAD (includes shipping)
Side 7: Andy Futreal — Night Train to Xi’an / For Wenchuan
A vivid soundscape travelogue collaged from field-recordings and performances recorded in China during. 2008-2010. Andy has created vivid journey out of everything from a metal dishrack to the ambient sounds of Zhengzhou train station and the overnight train from to Xi’an. A piano score is derived from Sichuan Wenchuan earthquake gravity wave traces mixed with edited VOA broadcast. A haunting tribute to a harrowing disaster. (www.myspace.com/andyfutreal)
Side 8: Babel – Morpheum (1-4) / 4 Bowls / 4 Japan
Falling somewhere between the 20th century minimalists and the no-wave noise composers of the 1980s, Morpheum explores the tranquility and violence of dream states though a suite of duets and quartets for piano, mallet instruments, electric guitar and Taiko-inspired percussion. Languid, evolving melody lines sleepily weave through each other before cascading arpeggios awaken like a tsunami crashing through a nuclear reactor. Subtle and epic, peaceful and cacophonous, safe and perilous as an ocean or a dream.
Tape #5, Sides 9 & 10: Aaron Lumley / The Knot
C40 // edition of 50 // pro-duped // DL code included // hand-assembled window sleeves
Side 9: Avant improv bassist Aaron Lumley has been making waves lately with his harrowing long-player Wilderness. Of which Foxy Digitalis said “…searching for new methods to escape the limitations of technique, the human body, and the physical science of acoustics. By accomplishing this without straying beyond the boundaries of man and implement, he’s shown mastery of a vigorous beast, a task not for the faint of heart. Furthermore, the album is as appetizing for casual listeners as it is for serious improv mavens – a gravity-defying feat that is as rare as it is welcome!“
We posit this improvised session goes one further, both visceral and teeming with expression in the traditions of Dave Holland and François Rabbath. Recorded by Matthew Dunn in Toronto who, in Lumley’s words, “brought the fuzz and grime to the fore.”
And we have to agree. In the middle ages, people were burned at the stake for playing music like this—he’s clearly possessed by some kind of demon.
Side 10: We’re pleased to present the debut release for The Knot, the duo of cellists Tilman Lewis and Nick Storring. With allegiance to both form and freedom, they embark on sonic explorations that draw on various folk traditions and experimental musics. The pair love to bend the instrument’s lyricism, drawing not so much on extended techniques as on an array of audacious contra-techniques: preparations/ apparati (practice mutes, hair-clips, clamps, wine corks, mallets, egg beaters, plectrums etc.). They still, however, permit the cello’s natural beauty to have its place.
Their large palette of sonorities is channeled and combined into single unified textures, and everything from improvised heterophony, to stark contrast.
Intertwining beauty and discord meeting somewhere between the gravel pit and the northern lights.
Tape #6, Sides 11 & 12, Nick Kuepfer / Khôra
C44 // edition of 50 // pro-duped // DL code included // 16 page full-colour mini-zine
Side 11—Nick Kuepfer, Tape Test For A New Year / Audrey’s Asprin / Grackles: Grinding string harmonies drone from the celestial abyss. Birds sing, forests crumble. A ghost trains thunders across the prairies, hammers on tin roofs as it passes. Somewhere to the south, a bank robber dies in the tumbleweeds, clutching a satchel full of money with a dusty hand. An entrancing, cinematic soundscape; a travelogue of the spaces between light and shadow.
BIO: Montreal-based guitarist Nick Kuepfer weaves nylon string and electric guitar pieces with live-sampled tape loops, recordings of animals, and drones from various sources. His predominantly wordless music ranges from subtle and static to frantic and abrasive, with a methodical, vigilant sense of experimentation guided by the search for consonance and dissonance with the sounds of “nature”.
Side 12—Khôra, Foris: Ringing in the shadows of a European cathedral, tones weave behind a camel train on the spice road and twist like smoke beyond the bazaars of Turkey before erupting like an Icelandic volcano, black ash on white snow.
BIO: Matthew Ramolo’s Khôra project is based chiefly on acoustic/electric guitar and field recordings, with extensive signal processing and digital interventions conditioning these sources to create an immersive soundworld of drones, chimes, rings and other pointillistic sonics. His longform compositions contain lovely stretches of relatively unprocessed and fully recognisable guitar work, with picking patterns and chord sequences that evolve/devolve into more signal-bent and DSP soundscapes. The results are highly organic and meditative while retaining plenty of icy shards, bubbling distortions and passages of controlled monumentalism, making this anything but an ambient listen.
Tape #7, Sides 13 & 14, Silent Land Time Machine / Moonwood
Side 13 — SILENT LAND TIME MACHINE
Track listing: Many Many Happy Returns / The Contours Of Perfect Distance.
They say everything’s bigger in Texas. That includes the mind-expanding tones coming out of out of Silent Land Time Machine’s epic looped violin compositions that weave and drone like tumbleweeds on crack’d black asphalt. Good sounds from bad lands. “Many Many Happy Returns” recorded LIVE at Marigold Studios (R.I.P.) in London, ON “The Contours Of Perfect Distance” recorded LIVE at Le Cagibi, in Montréal, QC, with additional amenities provided by Khôra & Nick Kuepfer.
BIO: SLTM; an inadvertent aural accumulator; a fractured signal; a concerted, compassionate memory resistor; the IN/OUT of an organic circuit experiencing itself for the first time; a starry-eyed-bliss-transformer; nerves attaching, detaching, strengthening, and severing; aimed at the clearing of neural circuitry with the frequency of white wind.
Side 14 — MOONWOOD, Soul Oaks
Track listing: Introlude / Drone #3 / Cardamom #2 / November /Cardamom #1 / Woodpecker
Moonwood guitarist, Jakob Rehlinger, works through six electric and acoustic solo guitar improvisations trying to get somewhere in the Easts (Far- and Middle-) while remaining rooted in the Americas. Lyrical, soaring airs played over dark, oily drones. Recorded direct to 2-track live in Moonwood’s rehearsal studio between Nov 2011 and May 2012.
BIO: Moonwood is the psych-improv project of Toronto (ON) guitarist Jakob Rehlinger, often joined by Jacqueline Noire on percussion, vocals and woodwinds. Solo or as a duo, Moonwood’s music is informed by (while not necessarily adhering to the traditions of) Tibetan funeral chants, krautrock, Balinese gamelan, classic psychedelic rock, traditional Japanese and South Asian music, dub, free-jazz and the usual grab-bag of avant-folk styles
Tape #8, Sides 15 & 16: CHIK WHITE / HOLIDAY RAMBLER
C50 // edition of 50 // pro-duped // DL code // glossy accordion fold insert // cloth bag with hand stamped product tag.
Side 15 – Chik White: I Am Muck. You Are The Wind.
CHIK WHITE is the recording alias of Darcy Spidle, star and co-writer of the Canadian cult film, Lowlife, and the guy behind Canadian indie institution Divorce Records. Playing almost like a possible alternative soundtrack to Lowlife, I Am Muck sucks you into a starfish licking world of bizarr0 psych improvisations and avant soundscapes created from “experimental jews harp and acoustic guitar”. Exciting and fearless stream of consciousness music/noise/sound making—like the wind and tides blowing and flowing.
Side 16 – Holiday Rambler: It Lasted A Hundred Years, It Will Last A Hundred More.
“More like coal than gasoline”, HOLIDAY RAMBLER (aka D. Alex Meeks of Hooded Fang infamy) is one of those young men you meet where you simply know they have a time machine buried in their backyard. They’re just too comfortable wearing the attire and diction of yesteryear for it to be entirely an act. The title of this set of songs and sounds, It Lasted A Hundred Years, It Will Last A Hundred More, could be a reference to the timeless/old-timey nature of the Rambler’s American gothic folk-blues. Despite being a relatively young sprout, there’s a lot of gravelly down-home wisdom woven throughout the set of bluegrass and gospel informed tunes with a decidedly end-times feel. Kind of like a Smithsonian Folkways recording from the backwoods of Virginia in an alternate universe where the Great Depression never ended.
Tape #9, Sides 17 & 18: BEARD CLOSET / PRIMATE PYRAMID
Sides 17 and 18 of the Arachnidiscs Recordings Split Tape Series.
Toronto’s Beard Closet and Primate Pyramid administer 40 minutes of essential Skullflower-esque doom-gaze guitar improvisations. White noise bliss. Harmonic reverberations. Avant post-rock drone. Ambient guitar experimentation. Hypnagogic feedback dreams.
High-bias cassette tape. Gold cassette shells. Hand assembled, fur-covered cassette boxes.
Tape #10, Sides 19 & 20: ROSS BAKER / TRANZMIT
C60 // Pro-duped // Stamped, numbered download card with stamped envelope // Sticker-sealed obi sleeve // immediate download
SIDE 19 — ROSS BAKER: Terra Incognita.
ROSS BAKER has been making music since he got a hold of a tape recorder at the age of 10. From early tape and radio abuse, his music has been linked by a love of contrast and collage.
A half-hour collage salvaged from at least three hours of recordings, soundtracking the countless distant landscapes and buildings glimpsed momentarily during 28 years of car, bus and train journeys. Sprawling farm and forest punctuated by sinister undentified buildings and distant motorways. Ambient washes and sci-fi movie memories with a synth-pop interlude.
SIDE 20 — TRANZMIT: Deep Video
TRANZMIT began as a radio wave sound-college side project of BABEL in the early 2000’s. In recent years it has moved with the times, “mashing-up” (in the contemporary parlance) audio material sourced from the internet.
Film dialogue and Star Trek sound FX. YouTube video collage and movie trailer audio. Retro television commercials. Public transit, elevator and busker field recordings re-mixed. Augmented vocoder demonstration video audio. Spam emails read by text-to-speech and modified Bach. Voice synthesized random phrase generator and Twitter and Facebook updates. Digitally synthesized zen monks.