What we have here is an interesting case of “tape splitting”. It’s fronted by Apple Snails and The Mighty Acts of God brings up the rear and despite not really sounding a whole lot like each other they actually complement each other pretty well. I don’t know a whole lot about Apple Snails other than they had a nice track on Not Not Fun’s Free Beasts compilation and they have a recently released cd-r on Foxglove. I tried the internet but wading through all the real Apple Snails sites is kinda taking too long. Oh well. TMAoG is Vanessa Niwi Rossetto, Foxy Digitalis contributor, painter and, um, musician. She has put two other releases out this year, one on the excellent Music Your Mind Will Love You label and the other on the also excellent Ruralfaune label. I also spoke to her briefly on soulseek about a James Ferraro tape… I can tell this intro isn’t really going anywhere special, heh, so I’m gonna get to the music now.
The Snails go first as previously mentioned, and hit you with an odd amalgam of creepy drones and slide guitar and organ-type sounds. The track, “Wind Presses Against Stubborn Beams”, is kind of like sleepwalking through a haunted house. The atmosphere, though pretty placid and drowsy, is also that of unease. There is a real nice part at the end where the slide guitar becomes clearly revealed and takes the song out on a brief solo. “Blood Rain Falls No Matter” follows, indulging itself in the drone before it’s broken up by an electric guitar. The elements introduced in the previous tracks cohere in “Ten Mile Circle of Fog and Thundr”, guitar and drones are more seamlessly integrated in a peculiar but pretty piece of music. It moves at a nice steady pace, ambling along through eternity. I kinda wish it was a bit longer, though I suppose that's a good thing. Lastly we have the most Cormac McCarthyish titled “Death’s Seed Runs From Her Thighs”. It is the longest and features the broadest arrangement, organ and piano show up along with a host scattered sounds, including, what sounds like, a ‘voice’ patch on a keyboard. The track’s quiet chaos is actually really intricately woven. Like the soundtrack to some fucked up psychedelic western where the anti-hero is wandering through desert deliriously, hallucinating and probably high on mescaline and eventually curling up in the shadow of a craggy rock formation. I don’t know, that’s what it makes me think of anyway. I really like how each track gets better/more refined as the side rolls along.
Going second is The Mighty Acts of God, and it’s quite a change of pace. Where Apple Snails were really heavy on the drone dread, TMAoG is, well, not. The first track “Song of the South” is loops of various strummed and plucked instruments, it also sounds like there is some sort of chord organ/harmonium in there too but maybe it’s just a keyboard. While at first the elements sound pretty disparate by the end they coalesce into a lightly churning quilt. “Words are Spelled” follows much more minimally. Again it’s a stringed instrument(s?) of some sort. But there is only one track (perhaps two), so the result is a starkly beautiful bit of playing and nothing else to distract you from that. “Vegetable Lamb of Tartary” (hmm, wonder what that is) is the longest and builds very slowly. A good portion of it is mostly autoharp but with some casio-type sounds and whatnot in there too. At some point the track goes nuts with looped vocal babble and a flute and bells and new age keyboards and percussive loops. Definitely the weirdest most abstract track on the side, pretty interesting as well. “This Toiler in Light” is similar to “Words are Spelled” in that it is short and sounds like it’s coming from one instrument. Though, instead of the starkness, there is lots of looping and manipulating and so on, creating a real nicely cascading shimmer for the original instrument to work it’s magic against. Maybe my favorite track on the side.
DNT did a pretty nice job putting the release together (except the tape was dubbed pretty quietly). There is some really rad psychedelic b-ball hoop artwork on a foldout paper insert by Jeremy Earl of the Fuck It Tapes crew (how many are in that crew anyway? 1?). The music comes on red cassettes with neat, though sloppily applied, graph labels too. So pats on the back all around. The tape is sold out at source but plenty of distros still got a handle on ‘em. Try here or here.