Following up its first release by Moonflare, young Portuguese label Cubic Pyramid offers these tapes by Lace Bows and Melted Glass.
Lisbon-based project Lace Bows offers much to be excited about. Galvanized distorted frequencies jump out of the gate twisting and turning before cutting to a brilliant stuttering synth line. Really subtle but incredibly evocative, potent and catchy. There's this great sharpness to the sounds that belies the smooth melody beneath. Finely carved, square-wave tremolo gives the illusion of more of a beat than there actually is creating a lot of complexity to the piece. It's so thoroughly fragmented that it reads like a blunt, psyche-induced dancefloor groove for the unbalanced mind. Filtered sweeps of keyboard melodies play nicely with the stuttering synth line, softening the rough edges. For awhile the keys are on their own until the serrated synth returns. Upon a hearty pulse, an oscillator wigs out in step with the beat. The side ends suitably with a sampled, real life dance song and Lace Bows adds in a heavy, shuddering percussion loop which eventually gets eclipsed by noise. Killer jam, all the way through. The first of two pieces on the second side starts with a brittle two note synth figure. It's backed by a synth loop and another stuttering synth is given free reign to go off on its own solo tangent. A very melodic piece somewhat obscured by the harshness of the tones (though this is not harsh noise.) Another stuttering synth joins rank and the two prickle and please in stereo. After the piece wilts slowly away on the two note loop and the final piece starts up. Beginning with a spacey, isolated arpeggio, the piece uses thick delay to its advantage whipping up all sorts of polyphonies. I particularly like watching the keyboard morph into a percussive shell of its former self at the end. All in all, it's a great tape! I'm sure we'll be hearing more from this project in the future.
Fluorescent Swamp is the first release by east coaster Trevor Long (you may know his excellent blog Jellyfish Altar). It's a totally pleasant listen if perhaps a little underdeveloped. The first side "Ascent" grooves on a great reversed sample of some song I do not know. From there, there is some effects manipulation, maybe some vocals or keys too? I like that Long is able to match the vibe of the sample, his resonations seem fitting rather than wedged in. Ending in slo-mo entropy the tape clicks over to the next side. "Resemblance" features looped groans, static and unintelligible samples all hanging in a weird stasis. Moving at a slower pace than the previous side, the piece starts to get moving when a quick loop emerges causing me to think that those catchy, rhythmic fragments are Long's bread and butter. The jam ultimately goes out like it came in with a fog of static and mindless chatter.
Both releases are still available but very limited, Melted Glass to 40 copies, Lace Bows to 35. They each have cool artwork but I'm really feeling the whole aesthetic of Ana Fialho's art on the Melted Glass tape. Cubic Pyramid looks to be up and coming, get in on the ground floor.