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.
Madwreck | Future Systems | fonetap
Madwreck’s a veteran producer from North Carolina with a soft spot for lo-fi nostalgia. The Future Systems EP is a trek into that world, fusing samples that are clear and refined for a mix that retaliates against modernization. Its five tracks are smooth and tasteful, with an overarching theme of early hip hop groove and minimal—but plentiful—house music. Things get edgy with “Planet Krylon,” dangling synths and layered vocals for a futuristic take on the past, something like Jack Kirby meets Grandmaster Flash via French New Wave. The whole is a perfect mixtape, a journey through the mind, body, and soul. You can dance, revisit past journeys, float into the netherworlds and concentrate. It’s a nice excursion into the beauty of an analog mindset. There is much grace in old machinery.
Various Artists | Tijuana – Music From the Other Side | Fresh Pots!
A compilation of contemporary Tijuana-based artists, Music From the Other Side showcases the immense diversity of one of Mexico’s largest cities. It’s a mixtape for the times. Artists like Maura Rosa and Entre Desiertos forge traditional Mexican folk with club sensibilities, DFMK bring the punk, and grinders Violencia offer powerviolence with sharp wit. Delta Sine are avant-techno with circle beats and gamer formation, and tulengua morph hip hop with the country’s distinct yet varied cultural aura. Spurs And Rockets are edgy, indie post-rock, and Korbukow are hardcore rage, their breakdowns maddening and real. Astral Azif carry psych-doom from the plains to the city, while Mountain Bridge prove pop can still have some bite. This is such a great experience. ¡Viva México!
somn | ラジオ ナイフ radio knife | Feedback Snake
There’s not much information out there about somn, but we do know that radio knife was recorded directly to cassette via improvised guitar noise and feedback manipulations. The songs are amazing, conjuring a life all their own. “broken hands that grip” is madness with calm and order, while “breathing dragon” is inspired chaos, noise of the uber-tasteful. You can feel the painting being forged while in the midst of this total recording, the hands and forearms of the artist straining and moving toward connection. radio knife is psychical; it is harshness with beauty. You can sense a human form in each track, which in turn is a universal metaphor: the oneness of pain and joy. Album closer “to cut/to sever” is perhaps the most flamboyant, its mini-solos stacked on top of each other. The whole song feels like an angry screwdriver to the temple but in a good way.
Itzel | Basalt | New York Haunted
New York Haunted is an experimental and techno label out of Tilburg, Netherlands, with a wide array of confident artists. Itzel are one of the most intense. The sounds on Basalt have a lightness to them that is hard to describe. The compositions have the tendency to drift into your subconscious. Like clouds, they float around the perimeter, and you can’t help but make shapes out of them. Opener “Ginsin” is shadow techno, never committed to one constant, always battling itself triumphantly. “Mutiny” is shallow ambience with a distant-sounding beat in the foreground; the space it travels is pristine and beckoning. “Softspine” is equal parts EDM and avant-garde, confusing and intriguing, like a dream you can’t escape from, waking up over and over again. Basalt is a foggy landscape, a trip down the rainy coastline. It is abstract and totally fulfilling.