Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Thursday, June 4, 2020
Pre-Order via bandcamp.
AST is finally making a t-shirt so you can show your support for strange Australian electronic music.
Killer design by Sydney artist Yuta Matsumura (Orion / Low Life / Oily Boys / et al) featuring the Newcastle skyline (before they knocked down the Penis Tower).
Available in either blue print on white shirt or orange print on black shirt.
Also available is a limited zine I just made called Universal Solvents.
The first issue features interviews w/ YL Hooi, Suburban Cracked Collective and Cube (US). Also included are two art-page contributions by funny person / punk drummer James Vinciguerra as well as some of my personal reflections on 90’s band This Mortal Coil and a small, but involved review section covering a few music and print curios of interest.
New Releases From Young Druid (UK), Petro & Crunché, Roman Nails, Sunset Flips + Compilations Available.
Big comp, lots of names, bargain value, good time. Opal Beau, Hitoshi Kojima, WRX, Foreign Beast (Sleep D), Rinpoche, LST, Orinokoflo, Impatiens, Beat Detectives, Sansibar, Beau Wanzer, Chino, Debris, Dyktando, Troth, Dwild & Cbow + Trevor.
After some fortuitous dot connecting n’ path-aligning last year, I was somehow able to convince John T. Gast that coming to the AST epicentre of Newcastle New South Wales, was a good idea. He was traipsing Australia’s big smokes on the company dime, but something about getting to dip his toe in the bogey hole and a home-cooked plate of dal must have appealed.
The night before in Sydney saw Gast pulverising a typically strobe’d and well-attended club show, the Sunday eve finding him in an all-but abandoned Croatian Club in Newcastle’s once grimy, now gentrifying ’inner city’. When he asked what sort of ‘vibe’ he should aim for in his performance, I said “whatever the fuck you want”. And ‘whatever the fuck’, he did in spades. This here is the document of it, recorded straight from the desk by Drillbit. His supports on the night were a star-studded array of the best that this town (and further south) has to offer: Troth (the homegrown dreamings of Amelia Besseny and myself), DPRK (a No Barbecuer, a formerly Severed Head, a Fauxbic and a man in a hat who’s name I don’t recall), Exmah (one of the Fisters) and The Mermaids (Newcastle noise menaces who share the same name as Cher’s 1990 dramedy film).
Under his usually preferred handle, Gast has spawned many releases that swiftly flit between dub, darkly minimal club music and ambience, but as the Druid, he instead channels a ‘Celtic pop’ sensibility. This set sees the concept throughly kneaded n’ stretched into an exclusively murked consistency. Following the set, Gast offered to bring a recorder to perform with the next time he visits Newcastle. Stay tuned for that (also, don’t).
This Roman Nails EP has been sitting on the shelf since it was recorded back in 2016, around the same time as the All Hardware No Tools 12”. There were a few unrealised plans to get it out there, but nothing eventuated so I thought it was better not to let it collect any more dust. I think most of the tracks have held up reasonably well, all things considered. New Terr retains the same blunt minimalism of the previous Roman Nails tapes on Where To Now, Night People, Future Archaic etc but ‘bangs’ a little harder at points, not necessarily a bad thing. Now that this is purged, there will possibly be some new RN tracks reared in the near future.
A new long-playing tape from the four hands and (at least) two heads of Petro and Crunch! Culled from their first half-dozen jams, these improvised experiments in beat desecration make for solid, tho’ fully varied listening. You can hear various forms of electronic pursuit; house, noise, tekkers, hip-hop (at least in pace) being minced into a wobbly slurry. Once (if) life returns to ‘normal’, I feel like Petro & Crunché would be one of the better things to encounter in a live setting. The way Chunks shifts between tracks and moods, it remains impossible to know where it will lead next. There’s the unease in entering the unknown, but also the excitement of experiencing something consistently fresh as it quickly mutates between evolution and de-evolution, often within a single track.
(OIL / LOOSEE CRUNCHE / WRX / IVORY WHIPS)
This was originally intended as a six-artist compilation I was asked to put together for an overseas label years back that never saw light. Here it is culled down to three of the six originally included, with the addition of a recent, locked-down side from Ivory Whips. Oil opens things up in his inimitably slick style after keeping things pretty damn quiet for awhile now. A slowburn open and quick escalation into full shuffle mode shortly thereafter, “life’s too short to fuck y’self over, y’know?”. Then comes the return of Crunché to AST with two severe cuts, one almost approaching a rhythm you can follow and the other rejecting the concept wholesale. Next up WRX dives even deeper into his deep bag of techniques for these three burners. Lastly, recently minted improv-electronics outliers Ivory Whips offer two beat-driven numbers ahead of another cassette release more in this vein than the comparatively narcotic, Meeting, released on AST a few months ago.
I’m not sure I’d really recommend this directly to anyone, or at least anyone who has grown used to what AST releases have largely been over the last few years. [The] Sunset Flips were one of the earliest groups to feature on the label, but it was a different time then, the free and liberated early 2010’s. But the SF’s too have changed, matured even some may say (unlikely). Rather than being a tape-loop and nois’d out affair, Jazz Powder and/or Disco Into Dust, finds them in the midst of lockdown laying down piano skronk and subtle electronic accompaniment (at a reasonable social distance of course, the shed it was recorded in is sizeable). Not sure how best to describe JPaoDID, but it’s definitely not ‘techno’ if that’s what you’re looking for. Maybe like The Necks if they didn’t know how to play and grew up watching ECW in various Western Suburbs of NSW. Yeah, that’ll work.
Sunday, May 3, 2020
DRY MOUTH - 20 TERRY FUNK GREATS
DRY MOUTH - 20 TERRY FUNK GREATS
DRY MOUTH - 20 TERRY FUNK GREATS
The final recording from Melbourne nitwits, Dry Mouth (Dr. Sean McMorrow and Cooper Bowman) dating from the way back, simpler times of July 2015. Possibly the best thing we ever did (whatever that means). Important side note: the woman choking me out in the insert is now a really famous wrestler in the WWE (hence the thematic subtext later added to the release) that we briefly met in the deep suburbs of Burwood, Vic in 2013. I kinda look like Eric Cartman in the photo. Quality stuff.
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
The final full-length Kneeling Knave release has been out for the last month or so via Chondritic Sound. Although recorded not long after 2017's debut, Compliance, it's taken some time to appear. Although I couldn't feel more distanced from the project now, I think these recordings mostly achieved what I was trying to via KK, sound-wise and also thematically. I was doing my best to convey a complicated narrative concerned with personal experiences of mental health and it's treatment, in which nothing is clear-cut. The release ends on an appropriate note of transition and what I suggest could be interpreted as hope. There is also a limited version with a 7" that has two earlier tracks.
The below review of it also appeared on reputable source for all things static-filled and churning, Night Science.
Thursday, March 19, 2020
I’m not entirely sure how I came to be aware of Grotesque Circular Dance, but it’s proven to be one of the weirder / more interesting stories to result from the label.
I do know that I came across some videos of the experimental synth duo from Newcastle (my hometown) playing live at the local university in the early 80’s and needed to know more. Long story short, I was able to contact one of the parties responsible, Colum, and to have some dialogue with him about the band he shared with other member, ‘Bo’. I learned that they had never released anything while they existed, but that some recordings had been made and stored away. I somehow also later found out that Colum had attended the same high school and art school as my dad in Newcastle.
Not surprisingly, GCD and their other satellite groups, Ghosty & The Skeletons and Two Village Dinosaurs, were not especially well-received by Newcastle audiences at the time of their birth. It is something of a feat they were able to even access synths at the time, let alone master them, create excellent songs and torture the residents of Newcastle live. These recordings have aged remarkably well. Not only are they examples of perfectly executed minimal-wave / synth-pop songs, they are delivered with an inimitably Novocastrian sense of humour and absurdity. If there is any single release to be considered the legacy and convergence of paths I’ve tried to achieve through AST, I feel like this is it.
Limited release, includes booklet of archival photos, flyers and liner notes.
Troth (rhymes with oath) is a Newcastle-based duo comprising Amelia Besseny and Cooper Bowman. Nothing Still In The Stone Garden are the first considered recordings made together, although we have released two tapes (recorded later) via Moontown and Essential Minerals and a limited release of live recordings on AST since.
NSITSG was an installation in a Newcastle gallery in September 2019 featuring a video work by Greg Perano and a sound component made up of reel-to-reel and hand-cut cassette loops. We played our first show inside the loops for the event’s opening, a rehearsal of which makes up the A-side (we failed to record the set itself). The B-side is a collage of interventions made occasionally in the gallery during the exhibition’s duration. We have moved into increasingly more structured modes since these recordings (we have actual ‘songs’ now!), but have continued reflecting on the same themes of flux, chaos and beauty found in natural environments first touched on here.
After a debut cassette on Berlin’s Total Black last year, Tsap come crawling over to Altered States for their first sitting in its wonked halls. Tsap is a Sydney / Newcastle duo made up of Chris Colla and Cooper Bowman.
EAT was originally conceived as an ambient / longform listen based around some late night jams we had and loosely themed on an ascetic Buddhist practice of self-immolation. While the liminal tracks, titled Lacq I-IV, underpin the release, there are other distractions along the ascent. The Saint Of Rice Excrement vaguely calls to mind two of our great loves, Robert Turman and Nick Blinko, in one of the stranger compatibility-matches imaginable. Chant Reduction continues the chaotic, mutated house of our first tape and Crumbling Stupa features an eviscerated beat along with someone warbling as if they heard Scott Walker, took peyote and were left to their own (unplugged) devices in the mountains.
Expect the first Tsap LP, Flickering Lyghte In Campsite, later in the year sometime. At the very least, it makes more sense than Eating A Tree.
Completely improvised, loose spiral jams from the AST house band. No names given (or required), just an open pair of ears needed to enjoy.
Two songs by Newcastle duo, Troth, made up of Amelia Besseny and Cooper Bowman. Both take song-based structures and mulch them, sculpt them, into new forms. ‘Garland And Gauze’ does so via a densely layered hallucination of Besseny’s ethereal vocals drifting at the forefront of piano, drum machine, guitar and other wired implements. ‘On The Door’ is centred on a rudimentary harp and bass drum loop, with an actual dream recounted over the top by Bowman and some other clues sprinkled around.
Some “FFO” touchstones could include The Shadow Ring, Julee Cruise, This Mortal Coil and/or Gareth Williams & Mary Currie.
Locally produced and hand-assembled 7", limited to 50 copies.
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Ivory Whips first show. Loose spirals from malleable collective associated with the Altered States Tapes school of thought.
Tape coming shortly.
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
To celebrate ten years of operation as a label (and also doing its best to support underground electronic music in Australia more generally), Altered States Tapes welcomes you to join some friends who have been involved over the past decade.
There will be further shows in Melbourne and Sydney later in the year with details announced soon.
Marrickville Golf Club
The Lock-Up Gallery
Sunday, January 12, 2020
Friday, December 20, 2019
Out the back of the Hamo, where you would otherwise find me, Mycle and the guy who sits on his phone watching the horse racing on Free Pool Mondays.
2020 marks ten years of Altered States Tapes. Will be doing some shows in the usual zones to celebrate, more info as it eventuates.