Map Collection – Salad Dog in Moon Shell (Cassette)
Map Collection, the Oakland, California-based duo of Fletcher Pratt (Midori Records, Dub Sessions, Mind Gunk, etc.) and Curt Brown (RCN, Black Unicorn, Baingan Bharta, etc.), returns with their fourth album of electronic music — the full-length cassette album Salad Dog in Moon Shell — out September 2019 on Rubber City Noise as a limited edition cassette tape. Recorded throughout 2018 and 2019 at Life Changing Ministries in Oakland — Salad Dog finds the pair collecting a range of sounds and textures through a myriad blend of rhythmic subtleties and noisy excursions via electronics, synthesizers, drum machines, samples, and electro-acoustics. Across 10 tracks and clocking in at just over an hour, MapCol is in full conceptual mode here in terrain that asks, “Who is Salad Dog?” and “What is Moon Shell?” and “What is that Funny Feeling?”
“. . . a conceptual adventure that makes as much sense as a Vonnegut sonnet run through fragmenting software and spliced together via MS Paint. Which means, of course, that “Salad Dog in Moon Shell” is essentially a vision quest laser focused on discovering the cockeyed realities beyond the fringes of the average and everyday. Its creators, scene dreamers Fletcher Pratt and Curt Brown (gotta love that Black Unicorn!), upend expectation by enforcing the acceptance of the unusual upon the unsuspecting. I could’ve probably just said “dream logic” and been done with it. But where’s the fun in brevity? The software and synth jockeys pepper your perceptions with rancid electronics disguised as dub and electro smears, but in reality these noxious concoctions fizzle and pop and blurt and dribble and pulse and ping, disregarding genre as much as convention. Still, the whole thing is incredibly listenable in a broken and malfunctioning half-speed techno sort of way, and if it’s easier for you to grab on to that kind of description, then be my guest. I’m not gonna tell anybody. The point is for you to let “Salad Dog in a Moon Shell” get its hooks in you, because once it does and once you align your mind to it, it’ll let you in on its inverted secrets, which, take it from me, are worth knowing. Yeah, once “Salad Dog in a Moon Shell” has its hooks in you, it has them in you for good. And that’s OK.” — Ryan Masteller, Tabs Out
Featured on Tone Shift 16.
“Forget dueling synths, Oakland supergroup, Map Collection (Curt Brown and Fletcher Pratt), has concocted a four way meta-brawl here between electronic sub-genres with “Salad Dog In Moon Shell”, and it is no less than a vertical-listening strongarm, an impressionistic pitting of old school techno arpeggiations against industrial beats & textures, of modular synth tweakery against dirty drones, all of these disciplines simultaneously thrust into a rusty shark tank, and every single goddamn one of them allergic to any common pulse or cycle. The achieved mood is a relentlessly chaotic series of claustrophobic dance floor meltdowns and lost-in-Joshua-Tree-and-my-flashlight-is-now-dead sprawlings of shadowy figures and shifting horizons. Probably not so hot for studying, but brilliant for losing your mind!” — Jacob An Kittenplan, Cassette Gods
Chthonian Hyperburrows – Music Video
Mousecop – CAVEFTW (Cassette)
CAVEFTW was recorded in April 2014 at the Rubber City Noise Center for Audio/Visual Exploration (RCNCAVE) in Akron, Ohio right before the esteemed DIY space shut down. Finally released in December 2018 — CAVE Fare Thee Well finds the Mousecop duo on a weird trip elegizing HQ through voice, objects, guitar, electronics, and synthesizers that float above an uncanny valley, while below — in scattered spectral pubs that appear and disappear like mirage — mysterious mutants and cunning cyborgs drink pints of polychromatic potion alongside a rotating cast of rogue fae-folk, elven ne’er-do-wells, and shapeshifting subhumans conspiring for sonic revolt or semblance thereof. Mousecop is the bicoastal dyad of Akron’s Joshua Maxon Novak (Faangface, Actual Form, Stopped Clock, The Architect’s Wife, Griefhound, etc.) & Oakland-based J. Curtis Brown Jr. (Black Unicorn, Baingan Bharta, Eucarya, Map Collection, Peanut Twins, Cane Swords, blckdth, Wyld Stallyns, Dennis Franz Kafka, etc.) Presented as a limited edition cassettes tape, mastered to tape by Jeff ‘Fej’ France and professionally duplicated and imprinted.
“. . . at once haunting and squeamish, a collab cooked too long in a witch’s cauldron. It bubbles over and crusts the sides of the crockery, filling cracks in the stoneware and scoring the bottom of the pot. And that’s what RCN is all about: letting Mousecops be Mousecops, allowing their strange concoctions to fill the ears and the airwaves and the magnetic tapes . . .” – Ryan Masteller, Tabs Out
Map Collection – Praxis parallelogram the subtle spirit warrior worn thru like shoes the day keeps on walking — there’s a forgotten logic to it all (CDr)
PPTSSWWTLKTDKOW—TAFLTIA is the second album from Map Collection (after 2016’s s/t debut on Midori Records) & the Oakland, California duo continues to explore uncharted sonic terrain in a series of electronic & electro-acoustic excursions recorded by Curt Brown & Fletcher Pratt between 2015 & 2017 and incorporating elements of noise, concrète, ambient, psychedelia, free improv, and other experimental territories. Released as a limited edition Infinity Series CDr. Recorded at Mills College & Life Changing Ministries in Oakland, California & Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco, California.
Praxis parallelogram the subtle – Music Video
eucarya – numinosity (CDr)
numinosity is the debut album by eucarya and comprises a collection of compositions recorded between 2014 and 2017 in Akron, Ohio & Oakland, California. Guitars, electronics, and the occasional synthesizer swirl amorphous, coalesce momentarily, and disperse gently (or not) back to source in a group of songs that place emphasis on the experiential, offering a gnostic psychedelia that recalls sources as diverse as noise, folk, american primitive, ambient, lo-fi, metal, drone and other liminal realms. Released as a limited edition Infinity Series CDr.
Black Unicorn – Insect Songs (CDr)
Insect Songs is a series of short form sonic explorations by Black Unicorn. Drifting toward dissonance, IS seems a natural follow-up to BU’s earlier Alien Jewelry (Further Records, 2014) alongside the textural interstices heard on Traced Landscapes (Field Hymns, 2012) but gone are the blankets of ambience instead supplanted by noise and contrast and the certainty of void. IS comprises twelve songs, eleven ~3 minute tracks and a twelfth that finds all of the previous recordings layered in cacophony. Recorded 2016 at Mills College in Oakland, California using cassette tape and modular synthesizer, IS is a different sort of BU album while remaining a facet of the transdimensional jewel hinted at in earlier works. Released as a limited edition Infinity Series CDr.
Insect Songs One – Music Video
Faangface – Cowboy Dynamo (Digital)
Curt Brown & Joseph Minadeo – Stone Land (Book & Digital)
Stone Land is a book/album collaboration by Curt Brown (RCN, Eucarya Press) and Joseph Minadeo (Patternbased, Low in the Sky) that continues themes explored in 2011’s Wood Land (Infraction Records). Stone Land is presented as a 6″ x 9″, 36pp trade book and fourteen track album released as a collaboration between Eucarya Press, Rubber City Noise, and Patternbased. The book consists of fourteen full bleed page spreads, each corresponding to a track on the accompanying album. Recorded 2013—2016 @ Tangerine Sound — Akron, Ohio / House of Maxson — Akron, Ohio / Cahuilla — Twentynine Palms, California / The Gateway — San Francisco, California / Mills College — Oakland, California / Life Changing Ministry — Oakland, California / Miles Manor — Oakland, California.
Stone Land – Music Video
Dennis Franz Kafka – DFK (Cassette)
Dennis Franz Kafka (DFK) is an amorphous entity telecast from an alternate space-timeline: a paranoid police procedural gone renegade, soaked in cough syrup and non sequitur, tamed by the anomaly of observation. Rusted robot rebels all ‘roided out on relativity and revelation, ready to shout the ecstatic word, the electric now for the sake of why not. Or maybe DFK is a shadow corporation with transdimensional connections and unclear motives, channeling ineffable currencies from impossible worlds, smuggling illicit sound relics across the borderless boundaries of low art and high experience (or vice versa). Regardless of intention, DFK is here and the world(s) will never be the same. Limited edition of 50 produbbed cassettes, gold ink on purple shell.
blckdth – blckdth (Cassette)
blckdth is a full-length cassette album built from free improvisations recorded during the summer of 2014 at Rare Books in Cleveland, Ohio by the trio of Ben Osborne (Tusco/Embassy, Fire Death, Rot Ton Bone), J. Guy Laughlin (Fire Death, Tanked, et al.), and Curt Brown (RCN, Black Unicorn, Mousecop) using an instrumentation of bass clarinet, guitar, drums, modular synthesizer, and various electronics (including the infamous Rot Ton Box).Presented as a limited edition of 100 cassettes produbbed and imprinted black on clear shells — 36 come packaged in a special letterpress wraparound band (metallic silver ink on black paper) and norelco case with clear j-card, the other 64 come with a letterpress j-card, digital download included with both. Mastered by Jeremy Bible.
“Two of the guys from Fire Death, plus another Ohio ex-pat now based in Oakland, California, equals this noisy new free music trio. Like Fire Death the feel of the stuff recalls some of John Olson’s more jazzoid projects. This means it retains a certain black metal/noise-grub quality that no number of bowties will mitigate. Not that these guys wear bowties. The instrumental line-up — drums, synth, bass clarinet/guitar — is bodaciously odd, and the playing is inventive and fleet.” — Byron Coley, The Wire
Baingan Bharta – Peace Earth (CDr)
the formation of a new paradigm
borne from the abyss
and sworn outward to stutter
the word held in the mouth like a mirage
Peace Earth is the second CDr album from Baingan Bharta, the braindance alterego of RCN’s Curt Brown (Black Unicorn / DFK / blckdth/ Mousecop / Cane Swords / etc.) Presented as a pretty limited CDr w/ photo inserts.
Black Unicorn / Faangface – Split (CDr)
Peanut Twins – Blackout! / The Peanut Wins (Digital)
Blackout! b/w The Peanut Wins is the debut album from Oakland, California’s very own Peanut Twins — presented here for yr listening pleasure as a pay-what-you-want digital album (free to dub, burn, lathe at yr leisure). Blackout! offers two extended form improvisations recorded at Mills College in Oakland during the Summer of 2016 by J.C. Brown Jr. & A.E. Cohen — the Twins craft a singular leguminous visitation equal portions catharsis and contemplation under the axiom of nothing is true, everything is Peanut Twins.
Blackout! – Music Video
Baingan Bharta – KClank...zXZoOo ( (CDr)
Limited edition CDr packaged in letterpress broadside & band w/ printed insert containing liner notes & pome.
Mousecop – Interview w/ the Ex-Vampire (Digital)
Black Unicorn – Psionics / Brochymena (Digital)
A free (or pay-what-you-want) digital album comprised of two ~twenty minute tracks & two bonus tracks recorded & mixed 2013–2014 in Akron, Ohio using the following electronic instruments and effects: ARP Odyssey 2810, Roland Juno 106, Eurorack Modular, Novation K-Station, Korg Volca Beats, Boss RC-50, EQD Organizer, EQD Talons, EHX Deluxe Memory Boy, EHX Cathedral, Behringer EM600.
Faangface – Whistler (Cassette)
Free or PWYW digital download (it is the future). Originally released as a tour c30 in an edition of 24, each paired with a single found Polaroid.
Wyld Stallyns – Rules (Cassette)
Rules is the debut album from Wyld Stallyns, the Northeast Ohio power duo of Ben Osborne (Fire Death, Rot Ton Bone, Tusco / Embassy) and Curt Brown (Black Unicorn, Mousecop, Cane Swords, RCN). Comprised of recordings captured in 2013 during jams at the Black Cat Factory in Cleveland. Presented in a limited edition of fifty RCN Infinity Series c60 cassettes in oversize album case w/ double sided art, insert, & digital download.
Faangface – The Ship is Doomed (Digital)
Objects. Tape. Delays. Oscillators. Impending Doom.
Recorded live from mixer, no overdubs.
Mousecop – Purple Dookie (Digital)
Purple Dookie is a free digital album by Mousecop consisting of a single song that runs for 37 minutes 54 seconds. Purple Dookie is inspired by two groundbreaking 1994 rock masterpieces. Purple Dookie is for you to download and enjoy.
Faangface – Oboe (Digital)
PSYCHEDELIC NOISE GARBAGE
Dolph Lundgren – Pain Bliss End (Digital)
Faangface – Pholk (Cassette)
The long-awaited debut from Joshua Maxon Novak’s (Mousecop, Griefhound, XXX Super Arcade) concrète folk conjuration, Faangface. Hyperdimensional folk portraits soaked in ether and Robotussin, carried by wandering ectoplasmic golems through melting landscapes, then smashed into infinity just to hear the sound of the breaking. Voice, guitar, banjo, harmonica, flute, percussion, children’s toys, found sound samples, and the like mingle at a midnight gathering in the dark woods amid glossolalia incantations and strange lights.Limited edition of 100 pro-dubbed/imprinted cassettes (c47) w/ digital download.
“Solo project (I think) by Cleveland’s Joshua Maxon Novak of Mousecop. The acoustic guitar is eerily reminiscent of Eugene Chadbourne’s Parachute label-era work (busy, angular and fried), and it’s entwined with multitracked Seven Dwarves-style chant aktion, thrilling whistles, and various semi-acoustic noise tropes in a way that should please any but the mouldiest of figs.” – Byron Coley, The Wire
Kösmonaut – Paragon (Cassette)
Texan kosmische ambassador and sometime spacefarer, Kösmonaut delivers two sides of interstellar synth soundscapes. Swirling textures make way for staccato arpeggiations of spaceship exhaust while militant drum machine robots embark on HAL 9000 holiday somewhere in the OG Stargate planetary system. Meanwhile, Snake Plissken and a band of space pirates hijack the ship, pulsing waves that disrupt the Carpenter-Howarth continuum and Froese forcefield.Limited edition of 100 pro-dubbed/imprinted cassettes (c37) w/ digital download.
Adderall Canyonly – Excelsius Minor (Cassette)
Excelsius Minor is a haunted house of an album, full of looming mysteries, told in hushed words around a campfire somewhere outside eternity. Portland, Oregon’s Adderall Canyonly is primarily known as an eclectic and multi-talented synthesist, often delving into melodic construction or rhythmic ecstasies on a range of releases for labels like Field Hymns and Tranquility Tapes. Synthesizers nestle neatly beside evocative guitar work and Rhodes melody. Imagine unearthing a forgotten John Carpenter ghost story, the old Betamax weathered from sitting in an abandoned lighthouse near the foggy sea. You put this tape into your trusty Super Beta machine and the tracking has shot the images to abstraction, leaving only the soundtrack which echoes Carpenter and Howarth, Goblin and the Italo circuit, among an everflowing prog-minded propulsion. But there’s something else here too, the tape is imbued with a supernatural force, the lighthouse is glowing, and you can’t… stop… listening…
KBD(uo) – Loss/Gain (Cassette)
Two longform electro-acoustic compositions from Toledo’s KBD(uo). Percussion and abstract synthesizer elements fit side by side in a new aural cosmology, behold a trance, and the cymbal is reduced to homonym or symbol in the archetypal plane. That’s what KBD(uo) does. Michael Kimaid and Gabe Beam make fearless forward sounds, they are timbral safarists in jungles of sound, aural alchemists transmuting the organic and electronic to novel hybrid state. Loss/Gain moves in territories ranging from the unrelentingly uncanny to the sublimely ecstatic and remains a glimpse of a hidden world, a rare catalog of conjured soundforms and evolving ether.
Mousecop – 20 Years of Mousecop, 1987-2007: The Wild Years (CDr)
Second release from Mousecop duo. Behold the face of insectoid symphony! The move over sandwich in clamshell clearings! That’s the old trick there, and this one is the magnificent “other” — yet be not wary for dualism is an illusion and your position as a polyp on pediment of grained past is secured in wholesome holistics and the plural is just to make the game fun! So go on and divide you steeped amoeba and gather no dust in yr travel but always watch out fr magnets.
[insert witchcraft denial and burrito bumble]
[remove effervescent conclusions in eye of amber fossil]
[transmute cathode soul to unbearable glow]
Infinity Series limited edition of 50 handmade CDrs w/ baby hand and heavy stock art card. Out September 2013.
“Pyramidenblumenkohl” – Music Video
“Huffing Paint in the Wal-Mart, Waking up in Another Dimension (Very Moist Mix)” – Music Video
Mousecop – Greatest Hits Volume 2 (Cassette)
Debut tape from Mousecop sees the duo of Joshua Novak (Faangface, Griefhound) and Curt Brown (Black Unicorn, Cane Swords) going beyond thunderdome. Organic, synthetic, and processed sounds mingle in the uncanny valley, briefly forming structures dismantled by strange flickers of hypnosis and dream. 45 minutes of weird rhythms and drones, looping patterns of voice, synthesizer, guitar, flute, and samples amid spinning ouroboroses and mise en abyme drones from strange caterpillars inching across the void.
Andrew Weathers – Sings Praise, Glory, Make A Way, Hallelujah (CDr)
After last year’s split tape with Ancient Ocean, we were absolutely enthralled by Andrew’s take on the American folk song and asked him to put together a release for the RCN Infinity Series. Accompanied by hypnotic guitar work that evokes an American Primitivism awash with the droning beauty of the transcendent now, Sings… focuses further upon the voice as instrument, communicator, invoker. Beginning with the voice, Sings…, carefully ushers in bare elements of guitar, banjo, harmonica, concertina, all toward reverberant timelessness and droning fulfillment.
Ghost Cut – Hard Agin’ (Cassette)
Hard agin’ 90’s hardcore revival music from Akron’s own Fej, Thorla, and Stangelo. (Members of Relaxer, Duunes, Hell’s Information, Don Austin, Pankration, Sofa King Killer, the Basketball, and about a thousand other legendary Akron bands.)
Richard Lainhart & Lucio Menegon – An Abandoned Garden (Vinyl)
An Abandoned Garden is a full length LP compiled from recordings made by Richard Lainhart (Buchla 200e & Hakkan Continuum) and Lucio Menegon (lapsteel/processing) in New York during the spring of 2011. Richard Lainhart passed away on December 30, 2011 and is remembered as an award-winning composer, performer, filmmaker, and teacher based in New York. Richard’s work is regarded as seminal in American electronic music and his compositions have been performed worldwide. Lucio Menegon is an NYC composer and guitarist who performs throughout the United States and abroad. Lucio and Richard performed together in 2010 and afterword initiated a series of three full recording sessions that became An Abandoned Garden, an in-depth yet minimal exploration of emotional spectra through sustained, organic textures and hauntingly beautiful drones and evolving timbres. Rubber City Noise is honored to present An Abandoned Garden as a limited edition of 100 on 12″ black vinyl with hand-crafted silkscreen jacket-poster, wraparound letterpressed vellum band, full color insert, and free digital download. Silkscreen by Benjamin D. Osborne (Tusco / Embassy) & Rubber City Noise. Letterpress by Amanda Lee. Insert by Caroline Meyers. Insert cover photo by Tim David Brice at Somehow.
“An Abandoned Garden” – Music Video
“Another day, another album of new age synth drift. But Richard Lainhart and Lucio Menegon’s is pretty enough to neutralise cynicism. These are old school tone poems; they sound like what they’re called! “Dusk” is unambiguously blissed, oozing tones with a suggestion of Augustus Pablo’s melodica; “Aurora” brings in ghostly whispers; “An Abandoned Garden” uses feather-brushed piano strings and a beautiful sound somewhere between theremin and mouse snore. The stacked hazes and mirages, and evocation of earthly rather than cosmic spaces, recall Kranky and Stars Of The Lid and the days before the synthesizer became a divisive fetish object. And if these pieces don’t hold the attention the whole way through, well, they’re not supposed to. They’re environments to dream in.” – Nick Richardson, The Wire
The North Sea – Grandeur & Weakness (Vinyl)
The North Sea is dead, long live The North Sea. Grandeur & Weakness is the final album from Brad Rose’s The North Sea, a project that has traversed a wide range of phenomenal sound territories, and it is an sublimely uncanny farewell from one of experimental music’s most ambitious names. Rose (best known as the polymath mastermind behind Digitalis and scores of projects) oversees an assemblage of sound sources evoking the history of electric music. From synthesizer soundscapes that seek to reconcile the limits of timbre to concrete sampling and collage, G&W plays a crash course in sonic evocation. Clearly in control of The North Sea sound, Rose notes that he has “never spent more time on any solo project than on this record,” and this is apparent throughout the scale of sound and emotion of G&W. There’s a sense of the uncanny, a mysterious unsettling, throughout the album and this is directly attributable to G&W’s aesthetic basis in Franz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, African percussion, and progressive drone. The “psychology of colonization . . . and all the awfulness that entails” is viewed both literally and figuratively through an aura of uncanny unease, and this aura becomes a metaphor for both internal psychological states as well as external manifestations of oppression, despair, and release. Grandeur & Weakness is a final album monumental to both the worldwide experimental music community (in which Rose is an essential player) as well as on a larger scale, addressing the overall human condition where heavy, ineffable emotions and essences swirl intangible and the most clairvoyant understanding comes from the act of listening. Rubber City Noise is honored to present this limited edition vinyl release of Grandeur & Weakness with full color artwork by Tiny Little Hammers and mastering by John Twells (Type) and James Plotkin. Limited to 300 copies on high-quality black vinyl with pro-printed jacket and free digital download. Distributed exclusively by Experimedia.
“This isn’t a nostalgiac kickback or a plunky noodlefest, this is some dark n stormy shit with African percussion that’s stemming from FRANTZ FANON’S THE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH which “explored the psychological effect of colonization.” Rose has gathered a potent blend of instruments to work on that colonization theme, he throws down some evil fucking drones that work towards a bittersweet bliss but end up just drenching your soul in disgust, blippy synth loops taking turns with blown out drums for conjuring frantic nightmares, nothing at ease, everything heaving & terrorizing, abrasive grit scouring the depths of your guilted mind, droning machinery impossibly pouding along well after it’s rusted solid, a record that trumps the rest in Rose’s catalog, The North Sea’s swan song that’ll go down in the books as a triumphant fucking masterpiece of noise/drone refuse. R.I.P.” — Justin Snow, Anti-Gravity Bunny
“Brad Rose (nee North Sea) strings together a slew of aural victories that all stand apart. “Empty, Fragile Shell” had me thinking of that Riceboy Sleeps album (aka spiritual drone) while, say, “Vagrant” and “Violence Is a Cleansing Force” ring of Panicsville holding up a WZT Hearts track in Starving Weirdos’ backyard. There seem to be a lot of lazers in today’s experimental records, and this one is no exception. I embrace that, along with the more extreme elements at play here, fully. It’s rare to hear a dronoise album that doesn’t beg for anything. Nothing is left off the table; the tectonic plates shift fairly regularly, but you’ll never lose footing if this crazy brand of music has had any impact on your life. Records like Grandeur keep our little pumpkin patch in the sun alive, teeming with fresh energy and wild, zesty ideas. No reason to quit now, far as I can hear. Three-hundred copies and you don’t know what hit you.” — Tiny Mix Tapes
“It’s been a great ride, but all good things must come to an end, and ‘Grandeur & Weakness’ is sadly the final breath of Brad Rose’s celebrated project The North Sea. He’s fought through drone and folk tropes over the years, but arriving on a rich seam of transcendent noise is probably where he’s been most successful, culminating in the defining ‘Bloodlines’ album. ‘Grandeur & Weakness’ is its spiritual successor, and takes the overdriven grit of its predecessor and adds pummeling African percussion, giving the tracks an unrelenting rhythm and linking it somehow to the recent slew of Cut Hands releases. The cascading oscillators are still stacked up like a wall of Marshalls at a Metallica show, but the star here is those unmistakable rhythms, all fired across cassette tapes and pushed through any number of effects to leave a hoarse ghost of what they used to be. At any point each track sounds like it’s about to collapse leaving a gaping chasm in its wake, but Rose has just enough sense to pull things back before they run awry, leaving us breathless and dying for more. Sadly there won’t be any more – this is it, this is the end, and what an ending it is.” — Boomkat
“In fact, Grandeur & Weakness begins with one of the better and most unexpected album openings in recent memory, as Rose’s shrieking, howling, twinkling, and bursting synthesizer squawks in “Disease Vector” cohere into a very credible aural approximation of a kick-ass fireworks display. Or, more likely given the colonialism angle, an artillery barrage. Either way, it sounds awesome, as does the equally audacious second piece,”Peasants,” which incorporates some brutally heavy African percussion into its ferociously clattering and grinding roar. . . . [the] mixture of densely oscillating synth beds, harsh distortion, heavy mechanical textures, and snatches of brooding and melancholy chords is quite a potent one. Also, the album benefits greatly from its inspired sequencing, building gradually towards the grinding crescendo of horror that is “Violence is a Cleansing Force,” then ending on a disquieting and eerily ambiguous note with the very brief and perversely calm and melodic “Colonized.” Given the title, that feels like a wickedly pessimistic and black-humored way to end this project’s final album: everything is fine now because the strong are finally done crushing the weak.” — Anthony D’Amico, Brainwashed
Karl Vorndran – Thawing (Cassette)
Thawing is the debut solo album by Cane Swords’ modular maniac Karl Vorndran. Using modular synthesis, Vorndran places emphasis on the contrast between structure and chance. “3 Transients” opens the album with slow evolution and exposition of Vorndran’s controlled aleatoric processes. Feedback loops and random generators develop timbre and pitch that feeds back into a network of elements and the result is a document of the complex nature of connection, this easily morphs into metaphor through subtly discordant drone. Paradoxical chaotic meditation sets the tone for the rest of the album. Thawing explodes with cathartic juxtapositions, gestural improvisation, and chance-driven rhythms and melodies that clash with structural segments and motifs. Frantic bursts combine with repetition in songs like “Bound and Folded” to create eclectic soundscapes. Thawing ends with slowly evolving drone that dismantles into disjunct rhythm and grating blasts. Vorndran’s processes afford a degree of restraint and the compositions refrain from pure chaos even in the harsh moments, retaining a dynamic, engaging interaction that documents the relation of structure and chance.
“Bound & Folded” – Music Video
“”Thawing” is straight-up bonkers. And I mean that in the best possible way. This is the first solo effort from Cane Swords’ & RCN Co-Founder Karl Vorndran and it’s fantastic to say the least. “Thawing” is an exquisite dichotomy of chaos and control as Vorndran takes a multitude of disparate, combative ideas and somehow manages to fit them together in a way that not just makes sense, but adds even more weight to the proceedings. Vorndran’s emphasis is on modular synthesis. Each piece of music flows perfectly into the next, turning the tape into a complex web of fried circuitry and sonic shrapnel. Feedback loops devolve into scowling, electronic drones that drill deeper and deeper into your brainwaves until bizarre, disjoineted rhythms drop in from nowhere to run interference. What I love most is how Vorndran’s takes structural compositions and dials them in to the point where they start to fall apart. In those passages he’ll go off in weird, snarling improvised tangents that somehow, eventually, bring it all back home. He does an incredible job at showing how just how blurry the line between structure and discord is and that, in reality, they both work best in conjunction. This is a stellar debut and easily one of my favorite tapes of 2012 so far.” — Brad Rose, Experimedia
“Despite this process being how Karl Vorndran makes music, his songs never feel completely random. On “Bound and Folded”, we hear a lot of squinking, quivering beats, balanced with a three second drone underneath, for about the first 20 seconds. Then a few more layers are added, and you have to trust that these noises are being created randomly. The five and a half minutes of this song, though chaotic, go quickly, and it almost sounds like Vorndran’s aleatoric process of choice was to hire little gremlins who lower each noise into place with precision tweezers, and the part that is set to chance is that their mutterings are also recorded, and they might talk shit about their boss.” — Ari Spool — Impose Magazine
“Karl Vorndran’s Thawing fills that forever unsatisfied hunger for obliterating noise. That primal, essential want (need?) for self destruction via audio. Some may refer to it as annoying buzzes or uninspired fuckery, but Vorndran’s striking some masochistic chords here. Take the 17-minute opener “3 Transients,” for example. What first seems to be the aural equivalent of La Monte Young driving a locomotive straight through your skull turns out to be the an exercise in over-exposure meditation. The assault feels like the lead blanket during an x-ray, providing dense focus in intangible invaders. I think back to Lester Bangs’ thoughts on Metal Machine Music, where the barrage falls somewhere between comfort and battery – a potential cure for one’s hangover sound only a (literal) hermit crab could love. . . . Helicopter blades chopping the air are replaced by sheets of fire, a wall of synthetic napalm. Flecks of retro-futuristic effects litter the scene in a dementedly comical way, but you’re too terrified to laugh. Keith Fullerton Whitman wants to tear down the curtain and teach your the inner workings of his synth patches, but Vorndran wants to maim. . . . My god, I think I’m in love.” — Bobby Power, Foxy Digitalis
One of the dudes who founded Rubber City Noise and half of the Cane Swords duo, Vorndran’s making his debut outing with Thawing. Awesome harsh drones on this tape (yeah, that’s some high quality square art for the digital/Bandcamp whatever, the j-card is only slightly different), blazin lazers set to liquify, Excitebike motors revving & overheating, thunderous electromagnetic storms surging every socket in the house, bitter, acidic, & smooth like coffee, harsh, brittle, & warbled like some fucking alien roar, a guttural and insane swarm of noises, night terrors and fever dreams, chaos & control, darkness in the form of modular synths. A beautiful fucking mess of a tape and a magnificent display of Vorndran’s skillz. As with all RCN releases, Thawing is limited, so don’t dawdle.” — Justin Snow, Anti-Gravity Bunny
“[Thawing] explores nasty modular shifts, from belching electronics and coarse knob-twiddling to slowly evolving loops. Sound is thrown about as a rag doll on a record that should never be left within the reach of children. But within the revolting chaos that dominates, the sound is bound together tonally. Between the blistering sub-bass, and the deafening shrieks a dark pleasure can be found.” — Samuel Breen, Clash Magazine
Mike Shiflet / Joe Panzner – Recollect / Reconstruct (Cassette)
Split cassette from Columbus-based drone explorers Mike Shiflet and Joe Panzner, who sometimes perform together as Scenic Railroads. Recollect / Reconstruct moves all over the Dali melting map, from lush engulfment to claustrophobic intensity, and plays out as a platting of new sonic territories. Shiflet’s “Recollect” builds from euphonic ether to subtle discord as the clouds darken and pour granular rain. Panzner’s “Reconstruct” moves in reverse, beginning with a brutal earthquake of crunching chaos and settling into slow waves and scattered lightning. Recollect / Reconstruct is a soundtrack of planet birth—from gaseous outer layers down to primordial ooze. Shiflet and Panzner are obviously familiar with form and transcendental occurrence is obvious in the tape’s builds and releases. The new lands documented here are eclectic and lucid and the otherworldly conjuration is taken as wholly natural, an organic process built from simple elements but perfectly arranged in intricate complexities.
Recollect / Reconstruct – Music Video
I was pretty happy when Rubber City Noise (the label that released the fantastic Cane Swords record last year that would have easily been in my top three releases of last year 2011) sent me a copy of Shiflet’s split release with Joe Panzner, a fellow mid-western noise guy. Each artist contributes a 22 minute track. Shiflet’s is titled Recollect and may in fact be the most accessible thing he has done. It is a stunning piece of ambient drone work which begins as a beautifully meditative composition until the comforting tones are stripped away to reveal its desolate heart. An amazingly emotional track from Shiflet which abandons the austere distance of some of his earlier work. . . . Joe Panzner’s track is titled Reconstruct and begins as a jittering, stuttering noise track that recalls Jazkamer at their Merzbow like best. Yet lurking under the barrage of fuzz, feedback and static is a Stars of the Lid style drone. It takes a fair bit of active listening to hear it but as the barrage dies down and brief glimpses of calm return the drone shrinks away. It is one of those tracks which combines everything that is wonderful in drone, noise, experimental weirdness. It is a remarkable composition. Utterly amazing. . . . Both of these tracks contain some of the finest experimental sound you will hear all year. Rubber City Noise is in danger of becoming one of the best labels around right now and you’d be mad not to get a copy of this. Another absolute winner.” — Ducks Battle Satan
Andrew Weathers / Ancient Ocean – Split (Cassette)
Split cassette from Chapel Hill to Oakland, California transplant Andrew Weathers and Brooklyn-based John Bohannon (Ancient Ocean). Best described as ambient americana—beautiful, haunting acoustic guitar and vocal ambiance that recalls an amorphous temporal/spatial American landscape. These songs focus on the human emotion inherent in comprehension that spans areas of unfathomable intimacy. Andrew Weathers and Ancient Ocean document the struggle to affirm an independent identity in an ambiguously founded country that, generations removed, moves past guilt and toward transcendental reconciliation. These are songs of a new American folk and a direct line to the rawest feelings of the 21st century. From finger-picked reminiscence to color-washed soundfields and amber waves of ambient—Andrew Weathers and Ancient Ocean create a singular tape that perfectly captures the contradictions and complications of modern American music. Presented in an edition of 100 cassettes, pro-dubbed and imprinted with pro-printed and scored heavy stock j-cards. Digital download insert included. Design by Charlie Wagers (charliewagers.com).
Andrew Weathers – “Taking Names Blues” – Music Video
“Disparate strands of rustic Americana and lulling ambient atmospherics are tied into a singular entity on this split cassette from Andrew Weathers and John Bohannon as Ancient Ocean. The two prove to be a fitting pair as each artist documents the various ways quiet drones and slowly unfurling acoustic guitar notes can combine. There are subtle differences in their approaches, as Weathers is more prone to feature fluid melody while Ancient Ocean builds a base of looped repetition for his dew-coated guitar figures to take hold. However, both sides of this 43 minute tape go a long way toward establishing the promise of this subgenre that seemingly owes just as much to Sandy Bull as it does Brian Eno.” — Ryan Potts, Experimedia
“Sometimes I just want to hear an instrument and recognize it for what it is. Andrew Weathers and John Bohannon (Ancient Ocean) understand that. Which is why I have taped their split to my heart; we will never part (well, until I get sick of the above sentiment). Weathers’ work is elegantly calm, wispy guitar accents, blends and plucks at drift in a sea of understated drone. It’s pulling together many musical ideas into a peaceful dingy hidden in the fog. Songs stretch out, unrestricted by radio time constraints, but aren’t so unfettered they unfurl into endless parades of steely strums and fingerpicking. The same is true of Bohannon, though his is a side much more reflective. His instrumentation takes a bit of detective work but it shows itself when the moment is right. But more than anything, this is a tape that has been desperately needed. A break from the modern for a taste of the traditional—guitars! Recognizable guitars!” — Justin Spicer Tiny Mix Tapes
“le Californien Andrew Weathers et le New-Yorkais John Bohannon aka Ancient Ocean se chargent de nous faire redescendre en douceur, en quelques accords de folk primitiviste et mélancolique bientôt transmutés en drones mystiques pour le premier, ou par le biais de riffs acoustiques rêveurs et hypnotiques sur fond de nappes analogiques solaires pour le second.” — IndieRockMag.com
Jeremy Bible – I Am Very Uncomfortable Most Of The Time (CDr)
Jeremy Bible has been busy for the past few years turning the store/label Experimedia into a kaiju force of aural delight. He’s been so busy that you might forget that he also is a pretty talented musician. Uncomfortable… is the second RCN reissue, after the 2011 cassette The Journey of Enoch, of Bible’s early work and it provides a perfect example of his prescient, eclectic style in works crafted between 2004-2007. The recent resurgence in beat oriented electronic music among the noise world is carefully predicted as Bible explores a terrain of IDM and electro infused percussives, dystopian synthscapes, and general sound manipulating that varies from nearly danceable to full on glitch catharsis. Released in a limited edition of 100 CDr in beautifully subtle craft packaging lovingly created by Ram Youssefi (Zurvan, Dolph Lundgren, RCN). Each album is handmade using textured 100lb Canson Mi-Tientes stock paper and intricate, minimal layered artwork. Developed exclusively for the Rubber City Noise Infinity Series, a series dedicated to the art of the handmade sound object.
Zurvan – Chapter IV (CDr)
Chapter IV is the newest sonic offering from Akron, Ohio drone cult Zurvan (James Bryan Parks & Ram Youssefi). A limited edition CDr, designed and manufactured by Youssefi, details the last known recordings in Akron’s mysterious Ghost Mansion. Rumors of spatial-temporal rifts and evening fog chants haunt the album as it holistically details a creation mythology based on Zoroastrian cosmology. This is seriously deeeeeeep meditative drone. Recommended for candlelight listening in the witching hour. Released in a limited edition of 81 CDr, designed and handcrafted by Ram Youssefi (Zurvan, Dolph Lundgren, RCN). Developed exclusively for the Rubber City Noise Infinity Series, a series dedicated to the art of the handmade sound object.
Black Unicorn – 18047 (Cassette)
Compiled using a single synthesizer, basic effects, and one take recordings, Black Unicorn’s 18047 (the serial number of the Moog MG-1 used on the album) is an exploration of minimalist immersion. Following several recordings utilizing multiple synthesizers and multitrack recording, 18047 was created in preparation for a series of performances in the Pacific Northwest and the overall aesthetic comes from the requirement of fitting an entire setup into a single suitcase. The first side opens with a pulsing drone that grows to nebulae stutter and continues with submarine melodies and monolith synthscapes before moving to a thunderous growl and culmination in repeating notes and soaring melody. Side two washes up on the shore of some dark sea, where spectral sounds merge into galactic beeps, gigantic bowings, and robot lullabies that swell into oblivion before phased patterns and ethereal leads fade out. Presented in a limited edition of 36 hand dubbed cassettes with printed j-card.
Zurvan – Live Meditations (Digital)
Close your eyes……. Let your body relax……. Relax……. Focus on your breathing……. In……. And out……. Slowly……. Slowly recite your mantra……. The first live album from “Ohio’s sonic mystery cult” is a free, digital-only release. This chapter in the Cult Of Zurvan takes a glimpse at the living ritual, the live performance. Captured at various locations, each composition is unique in that they can never be recreated. All material is specifically designed for that place and time. The recordings are rife with secret conversations between unknown entities. These subversive subliminal messages are unavoidable during such practices. And so we present these 3 offerings to you, the masses, for your own meditation experience.
Zurvan – Cymatic Sacrament (Cassette)
In the forgotten places and factory shadows of Akron, Ohio, two Zoroastrian heretics are droningly amassing a sonic mystery cult in an effort to unlock ancient secrets hidden in waves of sound. Zurvan, James Bryan Parks and Ram Youseffi’s meditative drone conjuration, follows up a limited CDr debut with Cymatic Sacrament—two side-long explorations of psychedelic ambience through Sunn amplifications and processed vocal mantra. Ethereal voices intersperse with sustained guitar tone, feedback, and subtle electronics in an ultraworldly summoning. Deeeeeeep drone w/ artwork designed by Ram. A edition of 50, full-length c51 pro-dubbed and imprinted on clear red cassette w/ printed j-card.
“Sonitus Vitualamen” – Music Video
“Two dudes from Akron, OH making some seriously minimal dark drone. Just vocals & guitar meditations, way deep, way zen. Long form glacial drifts, blackened nothing amplified into ritualistic mantras, the sound of air moving while monks question existence. Hum & thrum, bleak & empty, eye opening in the most dangerous sense. The loneliness of forever embodied in two side long pieces. One of the best overlooked albums of last year. Only five goddamn dollars and only 50 made. This is way too good to miss.” — Justin Snow, Anti-Gravity Bunny
Jeremy Bible – The Journey of Enoch (Cassette)
The Journey of Enoch is ambient apocrypha—dark, dirty synthesizer soundscapes built from eerie, expansive timbres and drones read from an ancient tome written in fractured oscillations and noise generator syllables. Created between 1998 and 2000 w/ a range of hardware synthesizers and effects, Enoch was first released in 2004 as incredibly limited CDr and netlabel release that went on to over 22,000 downloads and became an internet cult classic. Far from youthful synthesizer experiments, Enoch is a haunting account of the world-generative abilities of synthesis and soundscape storytelling loosely based around hidden books and warring angels. A newly remastered reissue, the RCN version of Enoch features a new track listing and original art designed by Jeremy. An edition of 50, full-length c78 pro-dubbed and imprinted on solid blue cassette w/ handmade vellum j-cards.
“The Cavern of Silent Children” – Music Video
“Bible is perhaps most widely known as the founder of Akron, Ohio’s Experimedia site, through which he has distributed tons of great sounds. This is a cassette reissue of a CD-R Bible did in 2004, and which has only been available as a download since. Enoch is a long solo synth piece with a dark outlook and sonics that possess a timeless heft. The movements have some of the textures associated with the Kosmische tradition, but they never rely on crackpot melodicism. Without getting harsh, this music rubs many things in various ‘wrong’ ways.” – Byron Coley, The Wire
“Jeremy Bible is one of the kings of freaky indie audio [and] has been pumping out the non-hits since the turn of the millennium. . . . “The Journey of Enoch,” in all its dark ambient glory, is one of those budding artifacts that helped put the [Experimedia] out there for all the world to worship. . . . this drone masterpiece has recently been given the reissue treatment – this time on cassette – by the folks over at Rubber City Noise. . . . Composed entirely with synthesizers, the textures and timbres exposed by this release are incredibly chilling. This is deep, deep sonic material – murky, subterranean tones for eyeless organisms. His softer side getting the better of him, Bible strays away from producing music that is outright terrifying, choosing instead to slot himself into the cozy nook between dream and nightmare. Given today’s crazed synthesizer hordes, “The Journey of Enoch” was an incredibly prescient album upon its original release date – that it has remained relevant is proof of its greatness.” — Bryon Hayes, Foxy Digitalis
“Remastered cassette reissue of an original ultra-limited CD-R issued in 2004 by underground legend and Experimedia founder Jeremy Bible. Recorded between 1998 and 2000,The Journey of Enoch prophesied the rise of lo-fi, minimal drone underground which first reared its analog head in mid 2000’s. Jeremy Bible’s release is a haunting, stretched-out affair of harsh sound effects, sudden atmospheric changes and heavy synthesizer bliss. An essential release for every kosmische sound archivist.” — Jakub Adamek, Weed Temple
“. . . dark, piercing synth reverberating from the hollow earth from where Enoch was buried, as Bible busts through the dirt and ascends the physical plane, only to find a world seeking salvation at the hands of the synthesizer. Of course, the persistent hums key a chorus of angels, singing in a language that needs not to be fully recognized to be understood. Bible’s cult classic now finds itself on tape, a place its manifesto was meant to be guarded all those years ago. With a new track lineup and art, Bible’s cherished Enoch is given the dressings of a king without tarnishing its halo. But come the end of Enoch, you may begin to discover that Bible has not produced the new savior, but has in fact given rise to the horn-tailed devil, as the album pokes you with its sharp pitchfork, the angelic chorus turning to fiery cackles.” — Justin Spicer, Tiny Mix Tapes Cerberus
“Contrary to the melodic, sequence-fed nostalgia shared by many, Bible’s electronics function as a purely tonal entity, stark and lustrous. The album’s most compelling facet is in the absence of connotation in Bible’s textures, for they elicit neither sublimity nor disquietude. These are ululations of pure emptiness, a locale parsed well enough to consume its observers.” — Carter Mullin, Olive Music
“. . .a re-release of one of the most influential synth-based drone releases of the last 10 years and a totally killer set that’s been out of print entirely too long. Dark, chilling, and utterly essential.” — Sam Sodomsky, Zen Effects
Cane Swords / Griefhound – Split (Cassette)
Do human archetypes translate to alien species? For example, could the familiar image of the swamp—a dismal place of gloom, sludge, and mystery—exist intact on a planet orbiting a twin sun two million light years away? Would the intensity of such an atmosphere translate into a dialect of the stars? Cane Swords and Griefhound seek to reconcile these questions through a dialog begun in the hidden places of Northeast Ohio but applied to the furthest reaches of the universe. Here, stars are born and swamp gas ignites in simultaneity, the light from both shining on the manifest soundwaves. Cane Swords start with star birth synthesis, tiny pin points amidst nebulaic drones, build to a scattering of light through epic low frequency oscillators, sample and hold patches, and projected phrases of celestial sound. This is space. Griefhound begin with ambient whispers of feedback and will-o’-the-wisp struck strings then settle in deep doom with mud and moss distorted bass, airboat churned alligator drums, and howls from creatures summoned in dark ritual. This is swamp. Limited to 100 copies, 40 of which are going with Griefhound on their summer U.S. tour. Pro-dubbed and imprinted C63 on clear solar yellow with swamp sludge green print. Printed J-Cards with custom art by Curt from Cane Swords and random inserts by Curt, Karl, Harvey, and Novak taken from Time-Life nature books, ancient tech manuals, retro porn, and various handmade things. The first few Experimedia sales include hand-drawn pictures by Jeremy’s daughter. A completely separate Griefhound / Cane Swords CDr is to be released soon after the cassette.
“It is easy to get lost in this monstrous split . . . both projects offer a disorienting, mapless take on their respective genres, each using different mediums, both ending up comparatively heavy. . . . [Ohio is] “connected” with a common mission: [to] make the “pure” electronic sound, free of annoying niceties or elegant sound effects in favor of monumental, sometimes outright harsh walls of sound. Cane Swords begin with a nearly tectonic, infrasonic rumble which later transforms into an image of a wasteland: raw, coarse sonic textures rub each other accompanied with cold, seemingly infinite pulsations. . . . If Cane Swords decided to assault the listener with synthesizers, Griefhound decided to do the same with guitars. The appropriately named “Churchburner” begins with distorted sludge riffs, first droning relentlessly in the vein of genre’s classics, such as Sunn O))) or Boris at their earliest . . . the first track is just a preparation for the grand jam: the 20-minute long monolith of “Thorns”, which more sludgy evil overloading the amps with a slow, open-ended jams filled with satanic loops and freestyle drumming.” — Jakub Adamek, Weed Temple
#16 on KZSU Stanford’s Top Tapes of 2011
“Akron, Ohio duo Cane Swords deal in fractured synthesizer textures, the kinds that build on the darker hues of early electronic pioneers Morton Subotnick and Raymond Scott. Rather than watery new age sounds, we get desolate, almost metallic scraping and pinching electronics — an overall struggle revealed through modular synthesis.” — Keith Rankin,Tiny Mix Tapes’ Chocolate Grinder
Featured on The Wire’s Sleeves Received.
“The Cane Swords side is totally killer, just absolutely great outer-space synth exploration. It feels like a bunch of different alien crafts coming at you at the same time. . . . The Griefhound side takes a while to get going, but then it tears into some lo-fi sludge metal.” — Paul Simpson, Foxy Digitalis
“Let me begin by saying that, if it’s a tape released by Northeastern Ohio-masterminds Rubber City Noise, then it has already got my fullest recommendation and support. With the few releases that they have delivered this year, RCN has displayed such an intense care for aesthetic, design, packaging, and production that it seems downright antagonistic not to support them. . . . a time-warping split between synth demons Cane Swords and swamp sludgers Griefhounds. Needless to say, both sides are absolutely mental and totally captivating. It’s powerful and crucial stuff and just another reason why Rubber City Noise is killing it in 2011.” —Sam Sodomosky, Zen Effects
Black Unicorn – Squid and Whale (Cassette)
Following his ultra limited CDr/digital debut Prosper Drift (free download on Bandcamp), Black Unicorn (1/2 of hobos-from-the-future Cane Swords) shifts the focus from deep space to the deep seas. Squid and Whale follows the tale of two sea-beasts, their quarrel, and reconciliation in the shadow of a cosmic intuition. Heavy underwater arpeggios and synthesizers prove the ocean and outer space as selfsame, both representing the universal expanse and individual intimacy in the titular animals’ struggle for identity and awareness. With a heavy focus on drone, pulsing patterns, and dramatic accidentals, Squid and Whale is a journey that evokes the classic synthesis of Tangerine Dream and John Carpenter, as well as bedroom synthesizer contemporaries—but this isn’t another kosmische revival or throwback tribute album. Black Unicorn carefully balances drone and rhythm, noise and melody, pattern and chaos, and pulls these elements together to tell a story, one that is elaborated upon through the artwork and micro-fiction accompanying text. Comes on solid black cassette with dark blue ink in printed and hand stamped j-card. C27 limited to 50 copies. This is RCN Recordings 004.
Shit Going Down in Space – Promo Video
“Half of the Ohio dream-team known as Cane Swords, Black Unicorn actually beat The Emeralds at their own game. Breezy (almost New Age-ist) electronics that still somehow manage to hold my interest. Who’d’ve thunk it?” – Byron Coley, The Wire
“. . . primitive, old-school electronica brings to mind Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Kraftwerk and other pioneers of their kind. At the same time, a dark current seems to flow through the robotic, analog rhythms, which are amateurish and soulful at the same time. The music becomes threatening, bringing forth a threat long forgotten, but once prevalent in popular culture as seen in films such as Blade Runner or Tron. The nostalgia for more innocent times, generates dreamy but thoughtful synth melodies, reverberating beats, which draw the listener in a world where magic is still possible. Highly recommended for anyone in love with early ’80s electronic music.” —The Silent Ballet
“It’s a record of layered hardware synths: some old, some new. The sounds roll on top of each other with a belief in ‘real-time’ recordings. The sheer vibrancy within the minimal structures is astonishing. …not so much a revision of the past, but rather the instruments are employed to create a sense of lighthearted futurism—think a beta soundtrack for 16-bit Star Fox. As with the music of his peers, the ostensible limits of the machines provide a platform for endless experimentation and novel creation.” — Samuel Breen, Clash Magazine
“Layering oscillating electronic patterns over deep-sea drone, Black Unicorn has fucking outdone itself. The musical narrative of a battle between two oceanic collosi; I was initially expecting some hokey, dramatic synth bullshit. What I got completely blew me away. A masterfully crafted and theatrical composition, Squid and Whale is required listening. Fuckin’ go get it.” — “Geräuschkrieg!
“Fresh off a red-hot CD-r debut, Black Unicorn (aka half of Cane Swords) is back with a total burner, this time presented on magnetic tape. “Squid And Whale” is here to fuel your blade running fantasies. Soaring arpeggios, deep sea drones, claustrophobic headfuckery, it’s all here.” — Mitch Putnam, OMGVinyl
“For those of you who think that they just don’t make massive, thought-inducing, concept tapes like they used to, have I got the album for you. Following the intertwined activities of its titular beasts, Squid & Whale swirls around with with awesome synth based melodic movements that totally bring the story to life. Even if you get too wrapped up in the music, you can follow the story along with a Spark Notes-esque summary generously printed in the tape’s packaging. Still, there is enough to enjoy here for those just looking to bliss out to a fantastic droning synth tape without worrying about the bigger picture. Enormous humpback recommendation!” — Sam Sodomsky, Zen Effects
Cave Comp One (CDr)
Cave Comp One is the first in a series of limited, handmade CDr compilations featuring artists connected w/ the RCNCAVE in some capacity. One details the Cave’s innermost dwellers and features one-of-a-kind hand painted/numbered covers by the Cave dewds.
In order —
1.) Faangface’s chaotic assault tells the tale of a misnamed canine. Gerald or Siegfried (depending on who you talk to) is snarling freeform jettisoned jazz black metal from the smoldering wreckage of a downed dirigible. Assembled as a Cave break-in and featuring an eclectic cast of cave-dwellers led by inductor Joshua Novak—Ram Youssefi on blackened guitar wall, James Bryan Parks on twinkled bells and funereal synth chords, Curt Brown on beat struggling in antimatter explode percussives while Novak issues dog manifesto and wraps things up w/ acoustic layers of cosmopolitan catharsis.
2.) Cane Swords assemble a golem from melted laserdiscs and scattered transistors. The smell of obsolete technology hums as facsimile didgeridoo in post-apocalyptic walkabout. Recorded live at Thursday’s in Akron and assembled on loaned computers on top-floor couches. An intro/extro examination of collapsed societies, robot uprisings, and technology’s ghosts. Through warped time earthwormholes, dirt covered temples, and flashing headlamps comes this future wave communication.
3.) Zurvan’s dialect is melted glass stretched phonemes and enlightenment drones, a balance of dark mystery and beautiful rapture. The soundwaves manifest in physical pattern and amid the paced syllables the tales of heretical and buried knowledge creeps like conjured monsters. A cosmogony of factoried rubber and shifting sands, where the folded universe encompasses 1930s tire strike revolt and worker revolution in the same masonic backroom as hash fueled assassins carrying out clandestine midnight missions.
4.) Black Unicorn was launched in an experimental space craft, aimed at the source of the Wow! signal, and returned w/ this coded message. Nearing Chi Sagittarii, his onboard radio tuned to interstellar motorik was taken control of by unseen entities and redirected to the sounds of star birth and dark matter mystery. Before the mission was completed, the space baby finale of Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite was reenacted and Black Unicorn awoke in Akron holding this song on an Iomega Zip disk marked “cellar door” is faded sharpie.
5.) XXX Super Arcade’s song is playing after the big game, friendly ass slaps and derogatory banter aside, you and the bros are ready to hit the strip club fr a night of hard drinking and party-harding. The dancer comes out, dancing in seductive stutter to the rocking semi-Sabbath riff and yeah, hell yeah, she’s taking it off. But, wait, what’s that under the g-string? A tentacled spawn of Cthulhu oozing hues of swamp slush and toxic waste, tendrils whipping outward in furry and peeling faces back to reveal the muscle and bone underneath, gently cracking the skull to suck back the brain juice. All they found the next day was a deflated football and a room full of ectoplasm.
6.) Vatican is a mystery. We do not know who made these recordings, when, or why. When one of the RCN dewds inherited some land in Tennessee, it included a falling down barn. A large metal flight case w/ the word VATICAN stamped on the side was found amidst ancient tech manuals, cases of resistors and capacitors, and scattered 1970s pornography. Inside the case were scores of unlabeled or minimally labeled recordings on everything from quarter inch reel to reel to cassette to vinyl. This recording was from a cassette labeled “Per Gli Idioti 1644” in weathered, blue ball point. No one in the immediate family had any knowledge of the recordings or their origin.
7.) Human’s lone banjo quickly becomes magnet and pulls in an assorted cast of melancholic, haunting tones. Attracted like small blocks of metal, each piece fits puzzle-like as temporal leanings stride. Retaining a strong element of folk pop, the darker less stable components run like liquid at room temperature through this portrait of isolation where a haunted house looms against a textured landscape of Ohio winter.
Griefhound / Cane Swords – Split (CDr)
Both a companion to the Cane Swords / Griefhound cassette and a stand-alone release—this split flips things around. Griefhound start it off with foreshadowing acoustics, a simple guitar piece that strums headfirst into feedback noise and Sabbath riffs filtered through Cuyahoga River chemical sludge. Further, toy keyboard arpeggios and electric wheezes stalk like the masked killer in a fuzzed out horror movie. The monster’s hidden lair is infiltrated, chaos reigns, and a field recording of 2011’s most brutal thunderstorm transitions to the outer space yearnings of Cane Swords. Raw synth and oscillated swirls of post-digital dust funnel cloud their way to space shuttle bass drum hits and gamma ray sequenced leads that disintegrate into 8-bit coin hunting heaven. Pounding drums sound in militant step against vintage polysynth alarm calls and odes to dark future machine take-over. Electronic storms reflect the Ohio sky in binary and control voltages, then the synthesists depart, blasting off and leaving the atmosphere behind in sine waves and electric chirps.
Black Unicorn – Prosper Drift ∞ (CDr)
This is a story about a space ship. Black Unicorn’s debut follows the space ship Prosper Drift as it journeys through interstellar waters—encountering battle, rebellion, and mystery among stars and space dust. Originally released as a free digital album on Rubber City Noise, Prosper Drift∞ was an ultra limited CDr release for the RCN Infinity Series w/ new artwork and bonus song. Free download includes high resolution cover art and photographs.
Cane Swords – Shit Gold Bootleg!!! (Cassette)
Black Unicorn – Prosper Drift (Digital)
“this is the story of a spaceship”
Cane Swords – Big Warmup in the Mouth of Eternity (Cassette)
The debut album from the Cane Swords duo—swelling drones, sustained synthesizer tones, scattered rhythms and arpeggios carved from walls of noise. Utilizing vintage analog, handmade, and digital equipment, Cane Swords engage in a sonic conversation that moves from meditative to abrasive; holding the organic and robotic in the same breath. Limited to 100 numbered copies on clear purple cassette with metallic silver and gold print and three panel foldout art by HORAK
“[Big Warmup] was a record I fell hard for and one that should have been in my top five of last year . . . a complex, immense record which contains everything I like about experimental music. I may be a prick for not posting earlier but you’d be a prick not to hear it.” — Ducks Battle Satan
“Big Warmup In The Mouth Of Eternity is a fucking journey and a half. Layers upon layers of static & space dust, glitches & anti-matter. They build dense clouds of electro mist, raining ice crystals down through murky tumble drones, bubbling swamps of gamma rays, pulsars of technoise in a blazin hot swarm . . . Big Warmup is goddamn fantastic, an hour long disarray of non-abrasive synth noise that spits in your face and tells you to chill the fuck out.” — Justin Snow, Anti-Gravity Bunny