New Cassettes from Brave Mysteries

It's no big secret that I'm a huge fan of just about everything that comes out on Brave Mysteries; consistency is the name of the game with this label, as they continue to put out great releases, over and over and over again. The 5 newest cassette releases, just released within the last few days, are not surprising in their quality, but in the content. While anyone familiar with the label knows that there is nothing typical about their releases, I have to say this is one of the weirdest batches of tapes that they've put out. Listening to some of these repeatedly, I'm still scratching my head. (It should probably be noted that I mean this to be a very positive thing; I'm very much enjoying spending time with these albums.)

 The first one I'll mention is quite possibly the strangest musical (?) recording I've ever heard, and it is from a gentleman named Alaxis Andreas G., in this case know as Shiny Black Mater. I wish I knew what to say about this tape, other than the obligatory "this stuff is out there, man." The album is called Eat, Drink and Be Merry, but somehow that just doesn't seem... right. At all. I don't know how to classify it, except maybe to put it under the broad banner of "post-industrial." There's a heavy electronic element, I think, but there are all kinds of strange samples, field recordings, folk strumming, and a wide variety of ritualistic, perhaps even shamanistic sounds. I could call it psychedelic, but that doesn't begin to tell the story. A sample might be the best way to convey what you'll get with this, so enjoy:

I've been through this cassette about 15 times, and I'm still quite vexed. It's honestly quite uncomfortable and unfamiliar at times, but I think it's extraordinary. And I really think you should hear it. Love it or hate it, it needs to be heard, and in its entirety.

Moving on, we have the latest from Lens, and it is only slightly less vexing than the Shiny Black Mater tape. Again the quality is undeniable, but it's difficult to determine where to start talking about this Oneiricist Dubs album. There is something a bit more rhythmic about this one, an underlying pop sensibility, somehow, though I would never try to describe this as "poppy." It's spacey, psychedelic, noisy and ominous at times,  and again, quite "out there" but it's also magnificent. By the end of this rather long cassette, I find myself wanting more every time, if only to help myself to better understand what's going on. Or to prolong the trance the tape has me under...

Speaking of trance-inducing music, Burial Hex's Clay Ruby has mastered it, and this tape, titled On Beyond Yuggoth, which includes Ruby and Karen Eliot under the moniker Wedding, is no exception. Ritual noise rumblings and dense power electronics pervade this cassette, which is simultaneously chaotic and controlled, although never quite calculating. It's nervous without being tense, textured though not exactly rough, and cold without feeling murderous. Highly recommended, obviously.

And then there's the latest from Decimus, a self-titled tape that continues Pat Murano's electronic explorations and meditations. This tape begins quite meditatively, in fact, allowing time for introspection and loss of self before turning quite a bit more involved. The minimalist electronic sounds give way to tones and noises from all over the place, by the end of the second side utilizing a very different sonic palate. Leave this one on repeat for a couple hours, and you might just change your world view in one way or another.

Last but certainly not least is the latest offering from Pelt, the follow-up to last year's amazing Effigy 2xLP. We all miss Jack Rose in different ways I think, but Pelt carries on in a very respectful and honorable manner. I'm not sure what it is, but it's somehow not unthinkable to imagine Jack Rose still playing with these folks on these recordings. The aura of the unmistakable drone of Jack Rose's Pelt does not want to die, and these live recordings pay homage to that in a strange way. This tape is one of the more hypnotic drone releases I've heard in some time, and though I've never actually been in attendance for a Pelt show, I walk away from this tape feeling like I have. Don't miss this.

All of these releases get the highest possible recommendation from HSS, and the fact that you can get them all for $25 plus shipping is quite nice as well. There is something very coherent about this batch of tapes, some spirit that holds them all together, so I'm finding it hard to listen to one without playing the others. Get one or all of them now from our friends at Brave Mysteries.

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