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 Updated: 7/02/14 | © 1999 - 2014 Cool Bunny Media | Da Cool Bunny sez 'Spank that Plank, Baby!'

In these days of CDs, CD-R's and minidiscs [not forgetting the rising wave of downloadable mp3 music files] it is easy to think that the humble tape cassette has become passé and old technology. Yet there is still life in the format, and in the world of independent and underground distributed music it is still the most cost effective way for musicians to pass their work around. There are many tape distribution services out there, bringing cost effective music to the masses, and more importantly, allowing a forum for musicians who the major labels deem to be uncommercial. Of course the majors have a very narrow view of what is commercial and there is a lot of good music being produced by musicians using their back bedroom as a recording studio.

While CDs will continue to be reviewed on the MusicWatch pages, this section will focus on music only available on tape. Contact addresses, web site and email links will also be included here - but I would suggest contacting the labels and artists first before sending any money to confirm addresses and costs. People move and the Post Office are good but not that good at tracing duff addresses.


Kev Trundley, 20 Eden St, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Cleveland, TS12 1JZ, UK.


The Purple Better One - Human Vortex

The Purple Better One - Human VortexIt's amazing what you can get up to in your spare bedroom, the airing cupboard or a deep dank cellar. A tape deck or two, some assorted bits of electronical noise making equipment, some tapes and a lot of attitude and you might just come up with Human Vortex. This cassette album is noisy from the first second to the last, full of industrial and electronic noise, and voices, all mixed together to create a series of soundscapes that are barely on nodding acquaintance with the concept of structure let alone melody and rhythm. These soundscapes do vary, and some sections are more approachable than others, but altogether this is very much experimental stuff, and I think you need to be a sonic explorer to get the full benefit. The Purple Better One is Kev Trundley, one half of AcidFuck, and a new Daddy, so lord knows what sort of lullabies he'll be singing his new baby!

Now I have to admit a sense of failure on my part in connecting with the sounds on this tape. It was just too industrial, too monolithic for my tastes. Perhaps in a different setting, a warehouse art gallery with an equally wild visual setting it would make sense. Me, I just feel old and go searching for my Tangerine Dream™ security blanket.



Direction Music, 28 Nant Y Felin, Pentraeth, Anglesey, Gwynedd, LL75 8UY, Wales, UK.

N. R. Hills - The Triumph of Death
(Direction Music DMC 14)

Death, if you believe this interpretation of it is a noisy existence. N.R. Hills' album is an electronic depiction of death ruling over all of us, I assume, and it ain't a pretty sound. An album of electronic music, spoken word samples and sound effects, this is extremely industrial sounding - huge shards of sound like lightning bolts roll across the soundstage, and from my terms of reference the whole thing is very unmusical indeed. Sharks Lungs in Plastic Pt 1 opens the album with a series of jagged, disconnected chords that are guaranteed to set the teeth on edge right from the start. Appreciating this album really depends on your musical point of view - I favour melody and rhythm and there is precious little of that to be found here, so I didn't really enjoy this album. However, if all things industrial, post-melodic and avant-garde are to your taste then you will find much to interest you when you investigate Mr Hill's unique take on the grim reaper. The tracks on this tape sound as if they should bse part of some installation on view at the new Tate Modern.


Music & Elsewhere Audiozine Spring 2000 (M&E 562)

Music & Elsewhere is one of the tape distributors I mentioned in my introduction, and periodically they release a sampler with tracks drawn from all their recent releases. This tape contains 16 tracks from a variety of musicians and groups located around our ever-shrinking world, though Austria is well represented. Space only allows me to mention my favourites, so here goes: side one starts with a bit of electronic fluff by the Cheapo Card Company, The Magi Crap, followed by the goth sounding Sister Sinister and Gazer. La Luna by Sabotage appealed with its driving synth pulsations and the ethereal vocals, this segues into Werk's Warp For, a more airy, dubby sounding affair. The grungey sounding Silverspoon rock it out with the heads down and rocking Presence, while Higher Than I by Gurus of the New Millennium has a strong proggy vibe to it.

Side two begins with a very cosmic sounding Caulphorquats by Magic Moments at Twilight, included on the tape as a tribute to a group member who died recently. This is followed by some very good electronica from Toshiyuki Hiraoka - T *1, and from Ras.Al.Ghul, Flea Induction. Next up is some trancey beats from Motion Control, Spirit Chant, followed by the deeply cozmic Star Pyramid by Captain's Log. Finally, Artemiy Artemiev's Pictures of I. Bosch & P. Breugel dominates this side of the tape with its arctic cool ambience. Altogether this compilation is a good one and well worth the £3.99 price that M&E ask for it.

Various Artists - The United World Underground
Audiozine: New Year 2001
(M&E 574)

With a new nom de guerre that conjures up images of the Men from U.N.C.L.E. fighting a new criminal mastermind [Mick Magic - World Dictator & taxi driver extraordinaire - "There's something of the night about him" - Ann Widdicombe], it's time for another sampler tape from those slightly crepuscular people at Music & Elsewhere - just what is the Mickster brewing up in those underground missile silos deep in the bowels of Surrey?

Anyway, as before the c90 tape continues to purvey a wide range of musical delights and riches. This time there are tracks from Lord Litter, The Conspiracy* [local boys based just outside The Borderland's home turf of Plymouth], Mr Quimby's Beard*, Gurus of the New Millennium*, Ras.Al Ghul*, Delphium*, Vocabularinist, Eye*, Don Campu & Achim Treu, Blaine Jones, Blacklight Braille, Karda Estra*, Idiom, Solanaceae Tau, The Stinking Badger of Java* [this has to be the best name of any group ever!], Terri B, Tutsis, Acidfuck and the M-ster's own Cheapo Card Company.

All told there are twenty tracks of audio gold on this tape, and the hit ratio is [for me] better than 75%, so lots of goodies to savour. Anyone with an * after their name is highly rated by me. Musical styles vary: pure electronica, industrial, acoustic, old fashioned rock, tape loops and ambience. Just about anything goes, and at just £3.99 [UK Sterling] a tape, gotta be the bargain of the last five minutes.


AcidFuck - Songs of the Succulent Beatnik (M&E570)

AcidFuck - Songs of the Succulent BeatnikAcidFuck are the duo Dave Johnson and Kev Trundley, and Songs of the Succulent Beatnik [a lubricious title if ever I heard one] is their latest tape album released through M&E. Essentially we have nine slabs of industrial ambience, each one a melange of sampled sounds, soundbites and beats that interweave and interact in intriguing ways. As these tracks tend to slide into each other picking definitive highlights is difficult, so I'll just list some of the more colourful track titles to give you a flavour: All Sex is Potentially Dangerous, Bhang From the Mosque, Time For Tiffin, Mo This is Earth Calling and Toad Tapper. To be honest I'm not sure this album fits in with my musical tastes but it is interesting and certainly has some original ideas that take it well above the usual dance/trance sounds.


For more info on M&E click here

United World Underground/ Music & Elsewhere, Mick Magic, 6 Farm Court, Frimley, Surrey, GU16 5TJ, UK.

Cheques payable to S.J. Taylor.

Tel: +44 (0)1276 502706

E-mail: agic@uwunderground.



United World Underground (as above)...

or direct to AcidFuck: Kev Trundley, 20 Eden Street, Saltburn-on-Sea, Cleveland, TS12 1JZ, UK.



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