Is it too late to post about a Fall 2016 cassette batch in early 2017? You tell me.
Stuart Chalmers – In the Heart of Solitude
Stuart Chalmers makes me want to do something here that I don’t normally want to do, and that’s go to church. No, no, I’m not talking an Evangelical-type church, a conclusion you probably jumped to because of my American-ness. On the contrary, I’m more interested in the types of church that actually preserve a sense of reverence for the chosen deity, not try to pander to it with embarrassing, half-baked love songs to Jesus. (Blech.) I’m thinking of cathedrals, European ones, hallowed spaces where no expense was spared to create a true house of God, one fit for the worshippers of an actually powerful entity. When you’re inside one of these spaces, you’re intimidated, often into silence. At least I am. Even when there are people milling about, as there tend to be within large churches in the middle of major cities, there’s a sense of remove, a sense that you’re still able to look inward and connect to a universal consciousness. With strings and tapes and effects pedals, Chalmers allows you to get inside your own head and meditate for the full length of his release. In the Heart of Solitude is a portable pathway to inner truths, an artifact capable of producing peak serenity no matter where you are.
Rose – Exile
More prayer, more supplication, more meditation, if the sculpture of pressed hands on the cover of Rose’s Exile is any indication. But it’s a red herring, and you need look no further than the title to understand that this is music for being cast out of sacred space. The low-key IDM beat makes that clear the minute it enters, announcing that exile, and Exile, is not necessarily the negative result that the term connotes. It can be a path to discovery, a freedom to wander throughout the world or your life and experiment with new things. Without a line tethering you to an ethos, you can branch out and make choices for yourself, maybe embracing the release of pagan practices or even discovering or carving out new niches of philosophy or spirituality. That’s what’s great about Exile: it takes the dull thrum of an ending and turns it into a longing for self-actualization. It’s a companion for that journey.
Hakobune – In Arboreal Whispering
What do you even say about Hakobune anymore that hasn’t already been expressed multiple times? I mean, he’s released so many things. Should I remind you that his real name is Takahiro Yorifuji? Well I just did. His style of layering ambient guitar textures on top of one another results in some of the most gloriously tranquil sonics laid to tape. In Arboreal Whispering is absolutely no different. I mean, look at the title of it: In Arboreal Whispering. Sheer gorgeousness. This is what I want piping through the hospital loudspeakers when I’m on my deathbed, preparing me to pass on into the next realm. Or, uh, to get less morbid, this is what I want playing when we finally have the technology to capture real-time film from distant galaxies. That would look so cool, and this would sound perfect. Or, to keep with the theme of the album, it’s what I want in my headphones when I’m alone in the woods at the end of autumn. Sheer bliss. Keep ’em coming, Hakobune.
Rhucle – Fantastic Garden
But Rhucle’s my favorite. That’s not a slight to anyone else who released a tape in this batch, and it shouldn’t even be a surprise as I went off not that long ago on how much I loved The Moon’s Sigh on Oxtail Recordings. “How about a mass hug movement that dispenses with the judgment?” I asked. “That’s a movie worthy of a Rhucle soundtrack.” Fantastic Garden takes us outside in the moment, the ambience and beauty of nature overwhelming the senses. Rhucle’s music is the perfect counterpart for this imaginatory excursion. There’s even a minute-long track near the end of the tape called “A Secret Passage for Kids,” as if Rhucle has added a magical portal to another land within this release! This is ambient music my five-year-old son and I can dream along to together. We may even end up in Narnia or somewhere similar by the end of it. (But hopefully not Fillory. Too dangerous.)