Because cassettes rule hard and never really age, The Analog Cave is here to bring you some of the best in underground tapes and collected vision. A cassette is like your best friend, your most trusted travel partner, and a specimen of imaginative fantasy and otherworldly dimension. Pop one in and transform. Ride the highway eternal.
Genghis / C_C: Split EP: Small But Hard Recordings
This split cassette from the London and Berlin-based label Small But Hard Recordings is like the detachment of an ozone layer from the four quadrants of your alien doppelgänger. Genghis—a new project by Goh Nakada—is like dub techno from Hell. It is equally earthy and robotic, charmed by its contemporary horror-minded mode. Where there’s a clear path to follow with Genghis, C_C presents a more invisible one, accentuated by noise and dark glitch. The beats are musky and circular, and there are deep caverns to lose oneself in whilst maneuvering to the fading angle of electronic approachability. You will get lost.
Charles Barabé / Ratkiller: Avant-Garde Avorton Romantique / Transrational Suite: Crash Symbols
Conceived as an homage to the atonalist Anton Webern, the new split from Canadian composer Charles Barabé and Estonian musician Ratkiller—a.k.a. Mihkel Kleis—is an enchanted journey to the water lands of infinity. Barabé constructs hymns with classical influence and contemporary deconstructionism, finding the sweet spot between form and abstraction. Ratkiller is more club-oriented, though not in the traditional sense. His music is lofty and angular with pinches of sensation and surrealist expositions on pseudo-standards—see “An Attempted Dialogue Between Man and Fish.” The full tape lies somewhere between the breeze from the moon and the light in Plato’s cave.
Upsetter: Sinister Current: Clan Destine Records
Glasgow-based Clan Destine Records put out some skull-shaking techno and industrial music. Upsetter—a side project of the multimedia artist Pictureplane, a.k.a. Travis Egedy—is large in rectangle beats and long in fabricated minimalism, showcasing the label’s edgy, avant-garde sensibilities. Sinister Current is abstract and postmodern, moving in waves of highway thrills and bumpy trance. It’s cut up like a pro and utilizes its constant speed to contrast the often concussion-like downward propulsion that perpetuates its totality. This is a great tape—and an even greater road companion. Cruise through the desert with this one.
DSKNT: PhSPHR Entropy: Sentient Ruin Laboratories
Switzerland’s DSKNT play abstract black metal, focusing more on texture and grain than confusion. The final product is a deepening portal of trance, sucking you into the ether and grinding you with accents and whirlwinds. There’s a perpetual motion to the music that is defiant and bleak, yet never intends to completely banish you from existence—no, there is a message through the madness. What it says, whom it speaks to: those are the possibilities that PhSPHR Entropy throws your way. There is no hesitation with this band, and consequently, you’re treated to a confident and refined propulsion. This is a dark tape to be played with candlelight, “Magic: The Gathering,” and bitter wine.
Alien Trilogy: Snake Trader: Already Dead Tapes And Records
Brooklyn’s Alien Trilogy are a welcome throwback to the sort of post-punk and psychedelic madness I grew up on. The band aren’t afraid to take their compositions and slime them over, make abstract jokes, then bring everything to a halt. There’s a wondrous combination of cutup culture, sci-fi, and straight punk rock here, with groove and abstraction forging a sort of brave cacophony. Hüsker Dü, Butthole Surfers, Sonic Youth, Captain Beefheart, Arto Lindsay, Can—all shed a shimmering light on Alien Trilogy. Snake Trader is a bend in the fabric of time, a story and a movement that alter your step and flatten your mind. The band are best taken with a grain of salt, but it’s hard not to indulge in the album’s progression and extension.
Possessor: The Ripper: Graven Earth Records
Possessor come out the gates like Death riding a blinding comet on The Ripper: a tape that burns in your stereo like a little analog artifact from the fourth dimension. However, the music is actually Earth-based. This London trio know how the good parts of doom, punk, and thrash can mesh together into a leather cauldron of shiny chains and stretched-out highways. The Ripper is sneaky: it holds a straight-forwardness while it bends your equilibrium, churning a particular energy. It’s simple in some ways, brainy in others—mostly, it’s good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll, the kind that runs infinite into the night, never-ending, turning a grave for each and every one of us.