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.
Anatomia: Cranial Obsession: Caligari Records
Japanese rippers Anatomia make death metal that feels like ‘80s sci-fi. Crackly riffs hypnotize within a dark and arty semblance, while progressive and experimental doom extensions move at glacial speeds. Headbangers and psychedelic bursts intertwine to pace to and fro in your skull, around the meaty brain stem, and on toward the inner-soul—which an invisible nightmare surgeon wearing hot pink tights has sold. You’re basically along for the ride, and it gets sharp and edgy, a punk-inspired death metal that is dangerous and stirring. Anatomia have been around since 2002: they’re one of the best groups out there. You’ll be ripped and moved.
Philipp Bückle / Michael Potter: They Never Got the Message / End of Summer Music: \NULL|ZØNE//
A colossal of experimentation and avant-noise-folk, this split by Philipp Bückle and Michael Potter is a sensual and ambient landscape with two sides superimposing a dynamic counterpoint. Buckle takes side A, moving from drone folk to more layered and orchestral finishes. His compositions are both ringing and lulling, with high emotions and extended breezes. Potter’s side B is guitar-driven, though not in the traditional sense. His three songs are circular and warm, with expansive melodies and licks that dream through sky visions and fields of memory. There’s an eerie and beautiful nostalgia to Potter’s playing, in many ways like jazz guitarist David Torn; he’s an artist concerned with inner-structure, building outward toward infinity. This is a great tape, one of many excellent cassettes on the \NULL|ZØNE// label. Check them out.
Shredded Nerve: Trojan Self Image: Chondritic Sound
Shredded Nerve are out of Ohio, but their sound is not Midwestern. It sounds like the landscape the Cenobites come from in “Hellraiser.” This is some scary stuff. There’s a piercing and repetitive twitch to the two tracks that make up Trojan Self Image, with enough variance and diversion to make you appreciate the symbolism and rebellion in the otherwise—and possibly overlooked—acute quality of the structure of the tape. One assumes Shredded Nerve are ultimately about extension and breaking through the chains and barriers that hold humans in place. That’s why noise is really cool, because it really makes use of your imagination. The viewer and the artist must work equally hard to make sense of this stuff. You will probably never find any answers, but it’s the journey that counts.
Mr. Transylvania: Young Master In Love With Himself: Already Dead Tapes And Records
Mr. Transylvania is intense. Live, he’s one of the most disturbing and enlightening things you’re likely to experience. A spoken word, madman-storyteller, the Count—I’m thinking that’s a good nickname—is one part avant-visionary and two parts complete schizophrenic. On this soon-to-be classic recording, side A is the studio portion, and it’s wacked: all ghoulish freak-outs and infinite regurgitation. Side B is live and showcases Mr. Transylvania in his true element, a diverse and resourceful performer with surreal aspirations and direct confrontation. If you haven’t checked this guy out, you should. Already Dead should be commended infinitely for this analog dream. “Mondo Transylvania” and “Fuck Fuck Fuck” will have you balling and thinking hard. This is cutting edge.
Mourning: Demo: Caligari Records
Mourning’s debut is short—three songs of crusty old-school hardcore—but it packs a punch. This is some lean and mean death metal-inspired punk rock, complete with film soundtrack intros, thick bass, and thrashing grooves. The aura is ‘80s and early ‘90s, with barrel riffs, big and fast drums, and vocals that soar and conceptualize angst and fury—and fun. This demo is a good time, first and foremost, and you’ll be flipping it from side to side over and over like you’re in the 1997 Molly’s Balloon dish pit—complete with the sweat, the stink, and the realization that monsters run the world, and it’s your journey to find inner-truth and justice in a corrupt society. Twenty years later, things have only gotten infinitely worse on the outside: all the more reason to give yourself some internal therapy with a tape like this.
GRID (Nelson, Dahl, Podgurski): GRID: NNA Tapes
Offering New York City free jazz that delves into the dark, gritty corners of the subway and beyond, GRID are Matt Nelson on sax, Tim Dahl on bass, and Nick Podgurski on drums—and the trio rip it hard. Their debut self-titled record is four tracks of edgy Last Exit, Naked City-inspired dark jazz, but it formulates as its own singular expression, with carefully manipulated effects and slow and maddening timing. Nelson plays a mountainous sax that builds glacially: widening, then suffocating when you least expect it. Dahl’s bass is low, low, low: covering each song like a musty gel that sticks and dampens. Podgurski is modern art on the skins: cubistic, then flowing, accentuating evenly and then diverting. This is a great cassette from a really cool Burlington, Vermont-based label.