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Omg, he's playing with that kaleidoscoping lense again! Sorry notsorry, can I have a little fun with my phone, now that my Digital Harinzemi toy camera is gone? And let's also focus on the actually important things = more tapes in my collection! And believe me, this edition of the cassette craze chronicles contains some really big, important (as in album of the year contender) and rare new treasures!

EFFLUENCE - Sarmat (2022/2023)

Déjà vu, Mesdames et Messieurs! I have been writing about this beautifully chaotically apocalyptic Deathjazz atrocity before. So if you're interested in my thoughts about this abhorrently lovely mammoth track, let me kindly reroute you to my digital Bandcamp Friday haul of last April!

The cassette edition, which has been released in the meantime is nothing spectacular, but it's what you'd except. And it's nice to have a real item with the great artwork now. To make purchase, shipping and taxes more worthwhile I bought "Sarmat" together with other stuff including one more tape. So we'll return to this amazing batshit crazy band later in this post!


Hallelujah! While the cancellation of her final continental European tour as Lingua Ignota still hurts a little, I'm glad that Kristin Hayter is at least back with a new album, now under her - extended - real name. [Yes, I wrote this paragraph before the surprise release of the final Lingua Ignota live album yesterday.]
And oh boy am I glad that I listened to the album online before I spun the tape, because otherwise I would have been furious about my player devouring it, as tempo and volume of the opening track "I'm Getting Out While I Can" are glitching horribly - and do so on purpose.
"Saved!" is a very minimal and low-fi album, almost exclusively performed with vocals and prepared piano (meaning chains and bells being placed inside) and recorded in high-fidelity actually, but then run through various degrees of copying on tape recorders of uneven functionality and further manipulation to emulate age and decay.

Contentwise the newly anointed Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter presents us with both a continuation of "Sinner Get Ready" and a radical change of perspectice at the same time. Interestingly she still maintains the moving, chilling, shocking effect of her music. It just doesn't come from the weight of her processing deeply traumatic personal experiences anymore, but from a more ambiguous place.
And while the concept is simple - performing traditional and original worship songs in a seemingly historical sonic setting as fervently and intensly as possible to find out if they will eventually work - it isn't that easy to pin down what it actually means. My personal view as an average Northern German atheist is already unable to cope with the creepy intensity of standard American religiousness. Which makes it hard to determine where realistic Appalachian practice ends and artistic exaltation begins - or the other way around.

"Saved!" is a play. If it was a completely earnest display of Kristin actually turning to Jesus, the dissasociation through the low-fi production wouldn't have been necessary. Or is this really her completly serious special way of trying? It is a weird experiment.
In any case the album is no mocking or critique of religion per se. Even though a lot of its content is heavily uncomfortable - especially her speaking in tongues is downright horrifying to behold -, all this still is just a presentation without judgement. There are even some passages which reflect a rather beautiful healing process - at least if you imagine them outside of the eery indoctrinated gospel of the whole and understand the album as an allegoric vehicle, as the translation of an actual experience into the language of hardcore Christianity.

Whatever the whole truth may be, one thing is for sure: This album is utterly intriguing. On paper I shouldn't even have much motivation to even listen to this. But in reality it's of course fueled by the magnetic mind, musicality and presencee of Kristin Hayter, thus transcending my capabilities of written explanation. And just being executed so goddamn good! There's no chance to resist.

You may have guessed from the way "Saved!" was produced that I'm very happy with choosing its tape version instead of vinyl or CD, because I think this is actually the most fitting and authentic media to represent this work of art. And for the Reverend's and the Perpetual Flame Ministries' benefit I want to assume that the writing on the back cover, which is too tiny even for ants, was never actually meant to be readable.

WHERE MERMAIDS DROWN - Live Reminisce Tour 2023 (2023)

This tape surely will be a lot easier to digest for most people - at least if you can live without sung vocals. It's also yet another déjà vu, since I've already seen the Post Rock band twice and reviewed two of their studio releases this year. So concerning this particular genre Where Mermaids Drown have really become the main actors of 2023 for me. And I'm not complaining about that. But of course there's really nothing new for me to add about their majestic instrumental music at this point.

So what about this release? The title of the tape, which is limited to twenty-five handnumbered copies, says it all: These are recordings from the first European tour of the French quartet. The sound quality is flawless and successfully captures the spirit of their live presentation.

One special thing the band did was that they involved the audience by holding short interviews with visitors before the show, which even the band members themselves would hear for the first time during the ambient fade-out of the final track "Statues Learn To Weep".

NICK HUDSON - That Falconetti Stare (2023) /

But now let's get to something rarer! Not only do even fewer copies of this cassette exist, but half of its content hasn't been released in any other form at all yet, so other than Nick Hudson himself only one or two handful of people have heard "The Falconetti Stare", a collection of thirteen songs recorded between 2014 and 2021. Piano, acoustic guitar and occasional strings are the favored instruments, the vibe could be called Baroque Poetic Sunglasses in the Night Singer/Songwriter Contemporary Timeless Gothic - unless that's a little bit too long for you. But then you cannot fact-check my review properly for the time being anyway.

This is very beautiful material however, with delicate instrumental performances and smooth vocals, probably my favorite quieter album with male lead vocals of the year. So I'm glad that the multidisciplinary English artist residing in Georgia (the European Georgia that is) now could send me one of those precious tapes - even though getting my personal digital copy means a little bit more work than usually in this case. I'll even have to redo it, because I fucked up the volume on the first try. Now look how I am so privileged and yet such a whining crybaby!

Those forty minutes of unreleased songs are also only the first half of this split tape. The B side contains seven more tracks of the Georgian collaboration of guitarist / singer Anton Ripatti and multi-instrumentalist Astermir Marshenkulov on keys, strings, winds, guitars... well everything except drums I guess. And the couple of instances where we get programmed drums indeed fall a bit flatter than the rest of this album. They are still listenable though.

Not the same, but in undeniable spiritual brotherhood to Nick Hudson, whose art also graces the tape's cover, the duo refuses easy categorization, but moves somewhere between almost-Folk ballads, Eighties Art Rock, Electronic Wave and Neoclassical influences. And in this case you can also check this out - and buy digitally - for yourself on Bandcamp.

Even though I don't fully understand what this album wants (the language barrier might be a part of that), it's a good listen. I especially recommend the last track, which mainly consists of eleven minutes of slowly growing, beautifully sad and hopeful piano and guitar meandering.

EFFLUENCE - Liquefied (2022/2023)

And now we're completing the circle back to While being in the hot honeymoon phase with newly discovered music it's an almost impossible task to determine whether the current butterflies will last and if the work will actually proof to a classic on regular rotation. But even with the competition of Reverend Hayter - if there is one album among these cassettes which will undoubtly be as artistically valuable in decades as it is right now, it must be this latest release by Effluence.

"Liquified" is one of the best concept albums of all time. Yes, I said it and I'm not joking!

Of course I didn't say it is an exceptionally deep or complex concept. The cover artwork, song titles like "Mix", "Blend", "Chop", "Dice", "Mince" and pseudonyms like Ice Crush, Nikki Mix or Kitchenaid G are already explaining the whole thing completely: What happens when you put humans into a giant blender and use all programs of the kitchen machine to liquefy them?

That's really all it is. But boy, the execution is so incredible perfect! It's a quick twenty minute inferno of Free Jazz, Grindcore and Death Metal (the Bandcamp tags also read annoying and blendcore), which somehow has all the right bubbling, whisking, chopping, pulverizing sounds to graphically sell each and every step of the process.
"Liquified" may seem like a fun silly hyper-brutal short album. And yes, that's still the most fitting classification for what I would normally call an EP - just given the genre and how overwhelmingly much is happening here in the time. So it will surely be easy to underestimate it for many listeners. But come on, the skill and sonic imagination behind this is just incredible!

This is the kind of mind-bending yet still easily understandable Avant-Garde you can justify putting close to Naked City's "Torture Garden" in your collection. Über-delicious ultra-addictive whatthefuckery. One should film a cooking tutorial with this as the soundtrack.

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