Friday, October 5, 2018
12" / digital pre-order available here.
For the 100th release on Altered States Tapes, I wanted to do something celebratory. ‘From The Bottom Of The Earth To The Top Of The Wazir’ is a cumulative statement representing some of the artists who have been most vital in shaping the label over it’s life and who continue to keep me motivated in operating it. The experience of running AST has been as much about techno / experimental cassettes as it has been supporting and being involved in a marginalised community across Australia. It’s made me reevaluate my understanding of music and reinforced my initial impetus for wanting to be involved: its potency (like any art-form pursued with legitimate intention) as a unifying force that is capable of drawing people from different backgrounds and perspectives and forcing them into dialogue. Start at the bottom and work your way up.
Simon Scott, who is responsible for Opal Beau, is probably the most decisively low-key of the artists featured. His knowledge and taste with electronic music is immediately apparent in his own productions. Much of my own early foundations of electronic music were chiseled through spending time with him, so it’s fitting he opens the comp up.
Despite my usual feelings of self-deprecation about my own work, to not include a track of mine on this comp would be daft. On Feudal Step I’m playing with sounds I’d associate with ‘trip-hop’ (specifically Leslie Winer’s phenomenal ‘Witch’ album) for the first, and probably last, time.
Rory McPike (also of Rings Around Saturn / Turner Street Sound fame) straddles the line between palatable club music in these projects and experimental alienation with the 2200 name. For me it’ll always be the most interesting of his undertakings.
Despite my best objections, the only previously released track on here is by Trevor. Like the track itself, this move is wilfully contrary but effective in the end. Formerly as Nicky Crane, then as Trevor (now perhaps as The Cabbage Council) James Vinciguerra has made my favourite Australian electronic music of the last few years.
I released Tarquin’s first solo tape (as Static Cleaner Lost Reward) years ago before he went on to international stardom on the highly coveted Blackest Ever Black roster. In all seriousness, Tarquin is a phenomenal multi-instrumentalist and a rare genuine voice who often goes under-appreciated in Australia. His work with partner, Ying-Li Hooi evokes the dream-like quality of HTRK (a lazy comparison), but maintains their own subtle edges. Ying’s own solo work is similarly difficult to contain and I look forward to seeing where both their paths lead, together and individually.
Matt Spisbah’s Oil project is another one of those unsung battlers of the Aussie underground I am stoked to have been able to dredge up and switch a few people onto. The VIP Lounge is a space he’s minimally adorned with plush loops, in contrast to the usual, immediately slick surrounds of his other environs.
Including Lucy Cliché is a no-brainer; she has been and continues to be one of the most important live electronic artists in Australia. Featuring her is also a nod to a specific time and nucleus of artists who frequently played together in Sydney before I started doing the label that proved a formative influence for me. LC was deep in the mix, both as a performer and as an organiser.
Fjorn has been an ongoing force in Melbourne’s experimental / electronic underground in various ways. One of my own first legit releases was a split with her and I’ve played more shows with her various projects than I can remember. It’s been amazing to see her work mutate into what Papaphilia is today.
WRX is a perfect example of the direction the label has mostly tread the last few years; finely tuned techno / house that avoids easy categorisation. Just as importantly, the person making it is no-bullshit and I feel like it is reflected in his productions.
Monday, September 17, 2018
Returning after successful shows in Sydney and Melbourne in 2017, Obsidian again presents a unique experience outside of the standard conventions of electronic festival programming. The focus of Obsidian centres on live performances of Australian talent while simultaneously encouraging dialogue with overseas artists employing a likeminded approach.
This time Obsidian invites international guests JG Biberkopf (LIT) and Beau Wanzer (US) to the sunny climes offered at the bottom of the Earth. Joining them over two days in Melbourne and a sole night in Sydney (JGB not appearing) will be many of the most vital electronic and experimental acts currently operating domestically.
We recognise the original and enduring custodians of the land on which these events take place.
Friday 9th November / Gasometer Hotel
JG Biberkopf (LIT)
Rings Around Saturn
WDK (NSW / VIC)
Simon J. Karis
Saturday 10th November / John Curtin Bandroom
Beau Wanzer (US)
Loose-y Crunchè (NSW)
Trevor & Cabbage Council
Friday 16th November / Sydney Warehouse Venue TBA
Beau Wanzer (US)
Friday, September 14, 2018
Some out of print, some single / last copies, available now cheap as chips on the BIGCARTEL site. Releases from Sansibar, Beat Detectives, Loose-y Crunché, Opal Beau, Suburban Cracked Collective, Magnetizer, Oil, Bead + others.
More news on upcoming batch releases, a special treat for AST100, CB live sets and probably some other malarkey coming shortly.
Sunday, August 26, 2018
This is a combination of the two dominant kinds of music I’m really interested in these days: minimal ambient and downer country. On face value, you would assume they wouldn’t work together or compliment each other, but I think there is a shared melancholy and contemplation in both strands. The transcendental, other-worldliness of aetheric ambience and the firmly ground-rooted lyricism of country desperadoes meeting somewhere in the middle. I’ve included some relatively well-known country artists, like Townes Van Zandt and Gene Clark, but dug out lesser-known live recordings of them. The Townes track is culled from a live set he performed in 1990 in Brunswick (yeah, Sydney Road Brunswick). I’d been considering the mix on some recent solo hikes around kunanyi / Mt. Wellington, where the image was taken. The mountain and surrounding area has a storybook-like quality, but the terrain becomes harsh the deeper you become immersed and there are still reminders of its historical past littered throughout.
Saturday, August 25, 2018
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Here is a special, standalone release preceding the next upcoming batch courtesy of Frankston’s favourite sons, Sleep D. Maryos Syawish and Corey Kikos have been busy carving out their own sound and, in turn, an entire scene essentially via their Butter Sessions label, parties and live / DJ sets in Melbourne.
Erased is a soundtrack the duo were commissioned to play live accompanying David Lynch’s Eraserhead for the Cult Cinema pop-up series, Hear My Eyes last year. Listening to their soundtrack, even divorced from the film’s surreal visuals, successfully channels the same kind of unsettling dread and dark irreverence that has made Eraserhead such an enduring production.
While most would be more acclimatised to Kikos and Syawish’s floor-ready 4/4 productions and drifting ambient collabs with Albrecht La’Brooy, Erased sees them utilising their technical versatility to create a much more unsettling atmosphere. There are rhythmic moments, but this is otherwise a largely different Sleep D to the one you think you know. Obviously, it is fitting that these be committed to tape for Altered States.
PHYSICAL (Pre-Order / Shipping early August)
Monday, June 18, 2018
This week during Dark MOFO, Ryoji Ikeda will be launching a new iteration of his light-based work, Spectra, at MONA. I'll be doing two live / tape DJ sets at the opening and closing after parties on Thursday + Sunday at the Faro restaurant. Come down before the Berlin Atonal show if you happen to be in town.
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Loose-y Crunché is a spin-off multiplication of Lucy Cliche bringing you irritatingly raw pretty improvised relentless electronic crunch zone headache beats and disjointed noise.
Also one half of WDK, Laura Hunt produces noisy dance brain-hacks via improvisation.
Modded, lowered and reeking of kerosene fumes, Dizzy gets behind the wheel for a few laps of boot-rattling deep house and techno.
From the docks to the big smoke, Spisbah (aka Oil) will envelope you in a puddle of molasses-thick ambient effluent.
Monday, May 21, 2018
NM MIX 005: COOPER BOWMAN
Label boss and main staunch coordinator at treasured hive of contrarian electronic music activity Altered States Tapes bizarrely throws us a fantastic mix of rock heavy hitters at a nice price.
Sparks - Something For The Girl With Everything (Live, 1974 / Introduced by Keith Moon)
Steve Miller Band - Threshold / Jet-Airliner
Karen Marks - You Bring These Things
The Moffs - Another Day In The Sun
Spectrum - I'll Be Gone
Spectral Display - It Takes A Muscle To Fall In Love
Shoes - Tomorrow Night
Australian Crawl - Downhearted (1982 7" Version)
Stevie Nicks - 24 Karat Gold (Unreleased Demo Version)
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Effigy
Roxy Music - Take A Chance With Me
This Mortal Coil - You And Your Sister
"One man's treasure is everyone else's trash".
Indulge my bullshit for a second: yes, I love techno and ambient as much as the next soundcloud DJ, but I also grew up listening to punk, radio rock and every other kind of weirdness I could access via Limewire. I don't really listen to mixes regularly and personally find the whole approach as a dominant way of ingesting music slightly strange. The last mix I listened to more than once was Molly Water's Sanpo Disco one. I refuse to classify these tracks as 'guilty pleasures'. They are just songs that I genuinely enjoy and listen to regularly without any trace of irony. I would have also included 'Klepto Rackz', but I feel that this would be pushing it and people would maybe not believe me (although I do encourage you listen to it). If anyone is interested in a NWOBH or Memphis rap mix, I'd be more than happy to chop you out those as well.
Move to trash and empty the recycle bin on this one.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Physical - Bigcartel
Digital - Bandcamp
This a double reissue of Oakland-based artist, Adam Keith’s long-running Cube project. I was initially switched on to his stuff by Ren Schofield about five years ago. Fade To Beige and (803) 206-0028 originally appeared as self-released cassettes in 2015 and 2016 respectively. This gives some indication as to how long I’ve been sitting on this material, waiting for the right time. Since then, Keith has released an excellent LP on Left Hand Path and a tape on LA’s Nostilevo, as well as (weirdly enough) being featured on Fact Magazine. On listening to any of these releases, it becomes immediately apparent that Cube is a 100% distinctive and varied project. Keith takes chops honed playing in punk band, Mansion and applies it to elements of industrial, techno, ambient and musique concrete.
My man in Taipei, Simon (Opal Beau), recommended Lujiachi as one of the best artists currently operating in the burgeoning Taiwanese electronic scene and suggested I offer him a release. Here it is, a mangled, replete assault of club-ready workouts. It’s possible he will be making his way down unda in the not-too-distant future, so sample his wares now in preparation.
This one comes courtesy of the Ren mentioned above in the Cube blurb, who you may know better from his madcap techno project, Container. Form A Log sees him in trio formation with similarly entrenched US DIY / experimental mainstays, Noah Anthony (Profligate) and Rick Weaver. Following a slew of excellently baffling LP’s and tapes over the last eight or so years, welcome the Log as they float to Australian shores. Even by Ren’s own admission, Bird Time is ‘demented’. These days this statement doesn’t usually mean much, but being well-versed in their previous output I wasn’t sure what insanity to expect from these recordings. Via densely piled tape loops, the three succeed in outdoing themselves in freakdom. Another triumph for the human race.
Strangely enough, despite being separated by a large body of water, NY’s Beat Detectives have appeared on many of the same labels I’ve worked with over the years: namely Beat Concern, Not Not Fun, Where To Now and Night People. So I guess it wasn’t surprising that once I eventually dug into their jams, I was heavily into what I heard. Their sounds are largely sample-based, taking in mangled plunderphonic excursions and demented beat music on a trip entirely their own. I feel like this release might be a jab by the D’s at my desire for them to do a release that was more on the “rhythmic side”. Rhythms & Edits is, as the name implies, a varied collection of beats stitched together into a long-form mix. Regardless of their intentions, this tape is a phenomenal home listening experience, as well as a perfect low-key party soundtrack. R&E Vol.1 appears to be able to warp linear progression, it’s seemingly extended 68 minute length possessing the ability to satisfyingly erode time like nothing else.