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.
Monday, April 16, 2018
Archaic Vaults is a new series curated by my mate in the UK, Sev. This is the first strictly electronic mix I've made. I tried to select some atypical stuff and, for some reason, most of the tracks ended up being from '91 / '92. I guess they were good years. More importantly, it features a track by Syndicate. This is the only music I actually know of to hail from the bleak suburbs I grew up in. Not only for this reason, I genuinely believe they are one of the best acts to emerge from the Bloody Fist sinkhole.
Saturday, March 31, 2018
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Physical - Bigcartel
Digital - Bandcamp
Per Bystrom is Compound, the year is 2018. Among the ruins of Moonee Ponds, one man wanders the debris using his keen senses to scour for electrical fodder. He assembles the detritus into relentlessly abrasive and incendiary rhythms that insidiously burrow themselves deep into the cortex. Few are able to cope with this cognitive torment, can you? This summer, prepare yourself for Psychic Withdrawal.
To be honest, this debut Opal Beau release is the culmination of Altered States for me. I have known Simon Scott, who is behind OB, for a relatively long time. Before moving to Melbourne, I’d ripped him off by selling him an overpriced / terrible punk record, only to find out he was my girlfriend at the time’s cousin upon moving here. Thankfully he was able to look past this and in the years following switched me on to so much excellent stuff, effectively shaping my taste in beat-driven music before it was par for the course for everyone to be into it. He has always supported the label and the least I can do is unleash these seven finely-tuned tracks, comprising a mix between what he describes as “industrial bossanova” and experimental forays into techno.
Sunny Seppa hails from Helsinki, I met him there in 2016 when he was nice enough to set up a show for me in a small gallery called Third Space at little notice. On that night he was conjuring high-res ambience under his then main concern, SPS. Since then, Sunny has seemed to let SPS rest in lieu of concentrating on an extensive DJ schedule, littered with occasional live outings as Sansibar. Last year he appeared alongside the equally excellent Draveng and Australia’s own shamanic synthesist par excellence, Matthew Brown on a 12” released by Berlin’s FreiTanzPlatten. The Quadra EP follows his debut as Sansibar in 2015. 4 tracks of well-manicured electro for the blissfully submerged heads.
Over the last few years, Japan’s CVN has released a slew of unpredictable sounds on consistently challenging labels such as Where To Now? (UK), Angoisse (Spain) and Orange Milk (US). On Kaisou, his sound is no less eclectic; pairing short ambient pieces with forays into futuristic club music and… trap? CVN’s scattershot approach also carries over to his low-key mix series, Grey Matter Archives, his curatorial direction giving another insight into his processes.
I have long been a fan of all of Lucy Phelan’s projects; the early distorted no-wave of Naked On The Vague, the uneasy dark ambience of Half High (who appeared on AST’s first vinyl release) and obviously her current occupation as club-maestro, Lucy Clichè. This new nom de plume sees Loose-y utilising a similar palette to her better known personality, but here all bets / beats are off.
This release by Japanese enigma, Hitoshi Kojima, is evidence that listening to demo’s you are sent is a worthwhile endeavour (as is not being an elitist asshole generally). These eight hardware-driven tracks SLAM and are exactly what I am looking for in modern electronic music. Industrial, off-kilter, but still maintaining a steady hook throughout. HK has previously released on excellent labels Seagrave (UK) and Always Human Tapes (US). Welcome to the family, Hitoshi.
Playing a live ambient set out the back of Lulu's in Melbourne tonight to launch the new batch.
Tracks from the Sansibar + Opal Beau tapes streaming on Inverted Audio now.
Sunday, February 25, 2018
Altered States Tapes is pleased to launch it's first six releases of the year, including tapes from Compound, Sansibar, Hitoshi Kojima, CVN, Opal Beau and Sydney's own, Loose-y Crunchè. These will be available on the night.
GAELIC CLUB / SLURRY HILLS
THURSDAY / MARCH 22ND
8PM / 5 BUCKS
LOOSE-Y CRUNCHÈ (tape launch)
COOPER BOWMAN (vic / tape launch)
Friday, February 16, 2018
Many years ago I came across an image of the cover of US synth-trio, the Nightcrawlers', second LP, Spacewalk, on obscure music mecca, The Growing Bin. The link to the files had long since expired and scant information was provided, but I for some unknown reason became determined to track down their music. Without sounding like some new age crackpot, I feel like something just magnetised me to them. Eventually I was able to secure rips of almost the entire Nightcrawlers discography from a mysterious Canadian fan and DJ who vanished not long after... Their ouvre over their 1979-1991 lifespan numbered 3 self-released LP's and more than 30 cassettes.
Although largely (and unapologetically) inspired by Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, the Nightcrawlers developed a sound wholly their own over their many releases. Not only touching on the sequencer driven propulsion oft-associated with the Berlin School, they also explored the outer reaches of experimental and ambient immersion.
After several futile years of searching the back-alleys of synth forums, in 2015 I chanced upon a friend of the band who had posted about the untimely passing of member, Tom Gulch. Through him I was able to contact the surviving members, Pete Gulch and Dave Lunt and interview them. I have never had a more enthusiastic response to something I have written; a label that had been attempting to contact them to provide royalties got in touch, as did someone who was trying to secure a reissue of their work (I'd be more than happy to discuss the nature of this in more detail on the night).
February 2018 sees the release of 'The Biophonic Boombox Recordings' on Mexican Summer subsidiary, Anthology Records. Limited copies of the ornately packaged, double LP + booklet will be available on the night.
Join me as we celebrate the legacy of Tom Gulch and of one of the greatest electronic acts to emerge during our time on planet Earth.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
A stack of out of print AST releases are available from Australia's finest underground hustlers, Lulu's:
Tapes from German Army, Chino, Oil, me and others.
After multiple screwups on my part, the Kendall Cahan tape from the last batch is finally available:
First batch of 2018 available in the next few weeks. Peace be with you.
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Damn good interview w/ one of my oldest Melburnian mates, FJ on her approach to making phenomenal and progressive electronic music. A refreshingly genuine read, in contrast to the usual pap that serves only for the purpose of promotion in most Australian music journalism. Fjorn appeared under her former guise on the label many years ago, maybe I'll do another tape of her current project (Papaphilia) at some stage, haven't asked yet tho...
Somehow my favourite skate company, Sydney's Pass~Port, decided to do a limited run of tapes of the mix featured below + make some Roman Nails shirts. 2018 is a weird place to be.
Available direct from The Portal:
SHIRT + TAPE BUNDLE
Free shipping Australia wide.
Friday, February 2, 2018
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
A chat I had with Michael from Abstract Paradigms last week is now available for consumption. I get on a soapbox about my opinions on operating in the underground and play some new material from the forthcoming AST batch / some of my own stuff that will creep out this year. Photo taken by Jas after a game of doubles in Broken Hill last year. The topic of pool is briefly discussed in the interview, some would say too briefly.
Friday, January 26, 2018
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Come down for an afternoon of live electronics at one of Melbourne's best kept secrets, The Brunswick Bowling Club. $5 tinnies, $1 pool, what else do you need.
DJ Laila Sakini
Brunswick Bowling Club 104-106 Victoria St, East Brunswick 4pm / $10
Flyer by the consistently amazing Molly Dyson.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Altered States Tapes and Pass~Port present a night of eclectic sonics for the benefit of you, the punter.
"Inspired by the murky backstreets of every pub, club, backyard & basement throughout Australia's metropolis"
"After some brief online communication and exchanging of ideas/pleasantries, I for whatever reason decided to make a cooked mix with Pass~Port's sensibilities in mind. Created on a sweltering day with too many tinnies under my belt, the mix is comprised entirely of cassette tapes mixed live. The same approach will be applied live at this event for the first (and probably last) time.
"I grew up skating, never achieving anything of note apart from making myself a social pariah in high school (Newcastle was largely a surf/rugby league town at this point, not the cultural mecca it is known as today). Regardless, my time spent skating exposed me to music and ideas I otherwise wouldn't have been, as well as validating my feelings about being a perennial outsider. What attracted me to Pass~Port was not only their unwavering support for Australian skateboarding/larrikinism, but Trent's open-mindedness to art and music generally. This reminded me of what interested me in skateboarding to begin with, not the industry-driven, Olympic-sport-to-be it currently exists as today (in some capacities), but the pure, good shit". - CB / Roman Nails
Limited copies of the mix will be available on cassette on the night.
Lucy Cliche (LIVE / NSW) is an ever evolving project exploring intersections between techno, industrial and electro. Using an all hardware set-up her music delivers a hard bitten exploration of how physicality and the ethereal can interact in music - heavy bass rhythms lock into pounding drums, washed over with synth chords and acid bleeps.
Orion (NSW) "Through a programmed drum machine, flange-laden guitars and bass hooks as infectious as their vocal melodies, Orion pair restless anxieties with surges of emotion. Songs of insecurity and desperation swing from the celebratory to the tragic with one shift in intonation, and the band connect to those sentiments with vigor" - Max Easton.
Primo are Xanthe Waite, Violetta DelConte Race and Suzanne Walker, plus occasionally Amy Hill plays bass. Their collaboration on guitars, bass, drums and singing have led to a set of rock songs with group vocals and an emphasis on exploring guitar sounds and effects. Their lyrics have subject matter referencing the 40 hour working week, the city, bureaucracy, a mirage and a ghost in NYC, amongst other things.
Roman Nails (DJ) To open proceedings, local hardware-techno luddite, Cooper Bowman will be playing a 'live' DJ set comprised solely of cassettes sourced from years of unnecessary hoarding. This will be the first outing for the concept. In 2017, Roman Nails released his debut 12", All Hardware No Tools on UK-based Beat Concern and contributed to the Butter Sessions / Noise In My Head compilation Domestic Documents Vol. 2 following a string of earlier cassette releases on Where To Now? (UK), Night People (US) + Rhythm Works (AU) amongst others.
Doors 7.00pm. Tickets $20.00 + bf.