If you’ve been following the label with a microscope since 2011, you may recognize Flamingods as having appeared on our first compilation for French digital imprint Beko-DSL (which is still available, on the Crash Symbols page at Free Music Archive among other spots). Since then we’ve been plotting with the band’s head-man Kamal Rasool from his roosts in both London and Bahrain. Those plots will come to fruition this summer with the release of Hyperborea, Flamingods’ second album, named for a mythical country ruled by Boreas, God of the North wind, and populated by a people exposed to constant sunlight. It was a place the Greeks imagined in the vein of a well formed, harmonious society, “Never the muse is absent … lyres clash and flutes cry” according to Pindar. Flamingods transmute a broader palette than we might have found in Grecian taste, five hundred years before Christ, but the same evocative sense of wonder and mystery shines through the band’s shifting rhythms and kaleidoscopic instrumentation.
Hyperborea will be out July 21st. Welsh imprint Shape Records have point, with LPs currently available for preorder via their Bandcamp and we’ll have ours up a little in advance of the release date as well.
Though British recorder Duncan Lloyd began his Decade in Exile project in 2010, shortly after his father passed away, Transit/Pulse is his first collection to explicitly explore that experience as subject matter. In his own words, the album ‘looks at the time in which the human soul travels between the world of the living and the next’ through similarly abstracted forms. Organized into two discrete passages, Lloyd meditates on the subconscious resonance of that transition, focused on both the departed and the identity which must reconcile and remain. Somber guitar, loops, and a heavily textured backdrop give some songs the character of ragas, particularly on shorter tracks. It is largely Lloyd’s periodic singing that amounts to the album’s only distinct signal for the shift from meditation to consciousness. These tracks are beautiful and willful, and among Lloyd’s most varied creations to date… and we’re honored to have had them entrusted to us.
Following on Bary Center’s “Hidden Connection” video, we’ve got a more abstracted visual accompaniment to share for “Time Is Not Real;” although both tracks are standouts, the latter is more taut, unfolding — like the video — through subtle shifts and repetition.
'Nonbelievers' made it into FACT Magazine's latest cassette column, alongside a mind-bending Norwell & S. Olbricht collaboration on Cleaning Tapes, an incredible new DJ Michel Gentil mixtape, and Moon Glyph's Dorval & Devereaux debut… t'was definitely a groovy month and the write-up couldn't have been nicer:
"This collaboration between BK Beats & Black Noi$e finds the production duo in rare form. Throughout this tape their beats are the real star and considering the guest vocalists, that’s really saying something. Dark nets collapse into futuristic orchestras, all crumbling under the weight of dank beats and crushing bass lines."
Three seemingly unconnected city-dwellers are brought together by the machinations of a pyramid faced outsider in director Theodore Robinson’s new video for “Hidden Connection,” taken from Bary Center’s Veiled Void cassette, released last week and available on Bandcamp. Robinson’s oblique hierophant scopes out their more and less conspicuous reactions to his interference from a rather snazzy loft-space, to which the three are naturally drawn for a closing dance number. What could be a better fit?
We’re just now wrapping up our one-tape-a-week-or-more release schedule with Ghosts, the new album from Florentine four-piece The Vickers, ten tracks that represent the culmination of their transformation into one of Italy’s more recognizable touring psych pop bands.
Though we may not have a new tape out next week, feel free to stay tuned - we’ve got plenty more planned for this spring. Which is to say, for the week after next.
"The third Italian band represented in the Crash Symbols catalog, The Vickers hail from Florence, though the band is usually on tour as much as not. That wanderlust has been reflected in their music for years, though ‘Ghosts’ is their most ambitious work yet, transiting from the spectrum of regional pop derivations into the colorful realm of psychedelia. They are ‘influenced by immortal 60s melodies, mixed with a touch of 90s spleen,’ so to speak, and the modest four piece lives up to that legacy with confident vocals and suitably echoing guitars. Their palette for rock and roll shines through easily in diverse rhythms, evoking the acid rock of the early 60s or The Mothers of Invention (as if necessity forced a somewhat different pace to their development), and in their penchant for varied song structures. They just signed to Zuma Booking so hopefully all this business will be transpiring in the US by the time our ‘Ghosts’ tape sells out… though who would really want to move away for too long from the ancestral home of the Medici or the cradle of the Italian Renaissance? I bet the food is amazing."
We released two new tapes last week, representing two generations of intrepid synth recorders; Kentucky producer Mark Williams’ techno abstractions and Gay Cat Park, an Italian duo active in the early 80s and with a growing contemporary audience abroad thanks to their popular single, “I’m A Vocoder.”
"Bary Center is Mark Williams, an eccentric Kentucky producer with a penchant for fuzzy techno and demure dance music; he made waves in 2013 with releases as DJMRTHEBEST, a more foot-loose beat project on Gnar Tapes that showcases his natural sense of humor and broader influences. Following on his ‘Break Through the Pain’ cassette for Asheville, NC’s Headway Recordings, ‘Veiled Void’ is a subtler move toward a growing body music influence in Williams’ work, perhaps transmuting to some extent the more self-conscious composition that has characterized DJMRTHEBEST. Appropriately enough, Matt Weiner of DKA Records (Featureless Ghost, CGI Records, etc…) mastered the album, we’d like to think placing a seal across Williams’ current configuration; cohesive, minimalist synth bangers."
"Gay Cat Park is Graziano G. Ravizza and Davide Gatti, two icons of Italo disco and synth-pop who recorded the band’s hit ‘I’m A Vocoder’ in the early 80s while the two were only 14. Though the single was an effortless success and the two set out on their own careers, the single was never followed-up - their extended opus being considered not commercial enough at the time. That changed in 2012 thanks to the interest of Texas based Medical Records, the specialist reissue imprint now well known for their contribution to keeping current the exotic synth-work of a bygone era, who dove into the two’s archives to assemble a first LP for the project. Influenced heavily by Kraftwerk, Tomita, and Depeche Mode, Ravizza and Gatti recorded most of these tracks at home studios, layering them on standard UCXS Sony tapes or TEAC Tascam four tracks. In Medicals description, this is for ‘fans of early Depeche Mode, Yaz, and the lighter synthier side of Italo disco,’ but their heft is timelessly fun, if the name ‘Gay Cat Park’ didn’t make that clear enough at first blush. For our cassette edition, the a-side contains their album ‘Synthetic Woman’ as issued by Medical, but for a little extra oomph, the b-side contains just that: b-sides, edits and variations that evolved but never cohered with the tracks that would eventually make up Medical’s release."
We’ve had a new release out every other week this March and we’re wrapping things up with another, the debut tape and first collection from longtime collaborators BK Beats and Black Noi$e, released together with Potholes Music. From Potholes…
After connecting over the Internet back in 2010, Black Noi$e and BK Beats have toyed with the idea of cooking up tracks together. It wasn’t until 2012 that something actually materialized. Since that time, the two have gone on to collaborate with some of hip-hop’s finest rising talents, including the likes of World’s Fair, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Main Attrakionz and much more.
Today we are excited to release their latest project and their first physical collaborative release, Nonbelievers, on Potholes Music and Crash Symbols. The EP features guest appearances from Deniro Farrar, ZelooperZ, Shady Blaze, World’s Fair and more. Along with the free digital download, listeners also have the option to purchase a limited edition cassette, which also includes the EP instrumentals.
If you enjoyed MondreaM.A.N.’s M A N EP for us or Lil Kids’ Slow Rainbow tape, you’ll enjoy the variety on Nonbelievers, though it has the same force and consistency as an album versus a more ‘mixtape’ experience. The instrumental b-sides are gravy, a clarification on the parameters of the partnership between BK Beats & Black Noi$e and an amazing listen unto themselves.
Stream the tape below or click through to our Bandcamp to order a copy. Thanks for listening! More from us soon…
In addition to his involvement with Faun and a Pan Flute, Atlanta recorder Daniel Bailey helped co-found the Primitive Patterns imprint and records solo as Carey, with past efforts ranging from acoustic DIY psych into noisier acousmatic works, sometimes flecked by kosmische or kraut tendencies. VI showcases his range as a multi-instrumentalist, a deftness on keys and strings being particularly noticeable, though the album shines as much for its sensitive production as the intimate tonality of his playing - whatever pace he sets. Each track is a unique vignette, some less than two minutes and the longest more than eight, all with their own animus. Tracing the subtle direction of energy in intonation and repetition enhances VI’s beauty, lending volume to Bailey’s vision, however he’s chosen to cast each of its successive moments.
Cassettes are available here (in case you haven’t intuited that you can click through these Bandcamp players, but I reckon redundancy isn’t always bad).