Merz Tapes has a couple of cassettes out that you need to know about and pick up ASAP. The first is from Ural Umbo, whom you may know of from the releases they've put out on Utech Records. The tape is called II, and it is a trip and a half. The duo that makes up Ural Umbo - Reto Mäder and Steven Hess - are fairly well known in certain circles for other projects, but I've always felt that this is where it all really comes together. To try and categorize Ural Umbo's music is foolish, but most will call it ambient, or dark ambient, or maybe drone. I feel something is lost in a one-word description, so the best way I can describe their music is to tell you that you ought be prepared to explore the deep, dark recesses of the mind and heart, and be prepared to face what you find there. Ural Umbo will show you the dark and the light, the grotesque and the beautiful - they shy away from neither. Check out a sample of this tape below, I think many of you will be intrigued.
Trepaneringsritualen. It borders on criminal that so few people know about TPR, for they are truly great. In their words, they "explore themes of religion, magick and the occult realms of
consciousness, taking [their] musical cues from the CMI/Tesco school of
ritual ambient & death industrial." After a bunch of releases on labels like Small Doses, Aaron Dilloway's Hanson Records, and one of the final releases of the now-defunct Swedish label Release the Bats - the Deathward, to the Womb 10", which is fucking phenomenal - this cassette edition of that release drops on Merz, hopefully gaining them some more exposure on American shores. I seriously recommend that if you don't have any of their releases, work on tracking them all down, because they're all amazing. For now, check out a sample of this tape, and pick it up now. I hope you're as blown away as I am.
Both of these tapes are shipping out now, for a very reasonable price, from the terrific Merz Tapes.