Saturday, May 7, 2011

In Rotation #4

Got the first six tapes from Cory Card's new Cae-sur-a label. It's a varied bunch and there sure are some winners. Definitely the MPC (most played cassette) of the package is Tone Arm by Steve Baczkowski, saxophonist and motherfuckin' musical MacGyver. Baczkowski did a record with Bill Nace which I sadly haven't heard, and now that I've heard Baczkowski's work here I really bet that record was stellar. The tape is a year-old live recording in which Mr. Baczkowski takes on turntables, prepared records, tone arm, bells, implements, flutes, vibratube and baritone sax and improvises the shit out of them. Seriously though, the work here is remarkable, particularly on the second side where Baczkowski has a built a legitimately melodic composition out of his ragtag troupe. There is a killer video of Baczkowski demonstrating his DJ skills embedded below.
Cae-sur-a also dropped a tape recently by Velvet Elvis who draws heavily on 70s Hard Rock via late 80s grunginess. It's a swingin' little EP with a nearly a capella cover of "Nobody's Fool" at the end. York Factory Complaint wasted no time jumping down my throat again after the wreckage left in the wake of their House of Alchemy tape. Their cassette We Call it Prayer is another prickly envelope containing the nastiest poison pen letter seen round these parts in some time. They throw a curve though, at one point they approach melody. Though their "approach" is more akin to the way a stalker is tempted to break his restraining order and approach his victim. As if that isn't enough, later on they actually go all the way! There's a melody amidst all the rage! And that's just the first side. Sweet tape. Will hit up the other Cae-sur-a tapes at a future rotation.
Speaking of York Factory Complaint, Robert & Leopold sent over a couple tapes. Demons and Dances by Pipeline Alpha is thoroughly slammin'. I have a PA tape on DNT from a few years ago, and while I haven't listened to it in a while, I do not remember this guy covering this much territory. It is well known to some that I can be finicky when a release runs longer than 45 minutes but Mr. Alpha kept me engaged for a full 60 without breaking a sweat. The tape runs the gamut of psychedelic and experimental styles along with perfectly placed plunderphonic gems. Love it! Adam Richards's (House of Alchemy) Chapels project also delivers a great cassette with That Incorrigible Death's-Head (pictured). It seems like there's slightly more clarity here than is usual for a Chapels release, so my confusion stems from the bizarre display and not just general unintelligibility. There's still plenty o' murk but less fuzz. I'm all for it as I can hear all the strange intricacies of Richards's work much better now. I think this is probably the best Chapels tape I've heard since the one he dropped on Stunned a few years back.

Check out DJ Baczkowski:

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