10TH GIFT: Brother Raven, Many Moons MICRO

The 10th micro cassette release, limited edition 50. The final micro cassette release I’ll be sharing over the blog. Like the last two recent posts, these are 320 kbps MP3s transferred from their original master tapes.

This album was the last free micro cassette gift of the series, and the last Gift Tapes release (in its original form). This tape and first Gift Tape/Brother Raven release seemed to serve as nice bookends to an era of Gift Tapes. Brother Raven is the duo synth project of Jamie Potter and myself. These tracks were entirely improvised and recorded to tape between 2009-2010, then mixed in 2012.

Brother Raven, Many Moons
Download: GT043 65 MB ZIP file, includes 320 kbps MP3s

MICRO CASSETTES… The wave of the future.
Inexpensive.  Miniature.  Mono.  Limited Frequency Response.

NOTE: Two of the ten micro cassettes we released are unavailable here. Concessionaires Mustang is missing because I haven’t been able to get artist permission, and Pulse Emitter has posted Mars Meadows on his Bandcamp here: https://pulseemitter.bandcamp.com/album/mars-meadows

9TH GIFT: 2 Hands on Knobs, Copper Medallion MICRO

The 7th micro cassette release, limited edition 50. One other from the collection will be posted very soon, so keep posted. As indicated in our last post, these transfers to 320 kbps MP3s are from their original master tapes.

This questionably questionable moniker I used to employ for synth experiments, which often took the form of ‘hard-to-listen-to’ sketches. For this one I patched my Moogs into one another, ran them through a delay pedal and when I landed on something I liked I hit record. I think I used a Multimoog, Micromoog, Moog CP-251 and a Boss DM-2 delay pedal. I can hear how I was attempting to stretch my gear, in anticipation of finally having enough savings to purchase a modular system. But honestly there’s not much else to say about this one. Let the sounds be sounds… and maybe be entertained by my description 🙂

Arrhythmic knob tweak fest; a drunkard tumbling down the stairs

2 Hands on Knobs, Copper Medallion
Download: GT031 72 MB ZIP file, includes 320 kbps MP3s

MICRO CASSETTES… The wave of the future.
Inexpensive.  Miniature.  Mono.  Limited Frequency Response.

8TH GIFT: Father Sound, Witch Doctor MICRO

The 6th micro cassette release, limited edition 50. Two others from the collection will be posted very soon, so please keep posted. As a bonus, these transfers to 320 kbps MP3s are from their original master tapes.

This is one of my favorite solo releases from Jamie Potter and I’m glad he was up for sharing this one… 10 years later. When I listen to it I am transported back to his Seattle apartment circa 2010, looking over his collection of cheapy Yamaha FM keyboards, while trying to ignore the musty smell of thrift store oozing out of all his things. I remember he had been sick and he was telling me that this tape was entirely recorded in bed, which was around the time of the H1N1 pandemic.

VSSified Rambo 3 VHS composed in bed; victorious action scene manipulation

In attempting to decode my original description, other details emerge. He used his Yamaha VSS-30 (which played an integral role in Brother Raven’s sound of the time) and sampled VHS tapes, likely Rambo 3. I don’t know if this was entirely VSS or not, because he often used a Roland SP-303 sampler and a Boss DD-20 Giga Delay pedal at the time, if only for effects. All of this, of course, was recorded to four track.

Listening back… this is a pretty bizarre piece of music, realized via sample manipulations of a mainstream movie’s soundtrack – dialog, sfx, music and all – molded into an unusual sound world. Choppy loops and layers are spliced into alternate story-lines, as a new narrative takes shape over the excellent reuse/remix of canned melodies. Simple, and beautifully warped.

Father Sound, witch doctor
Download: GT027 56MB ZIP file, includes 320 kbps MP3s

MICRO CASSETTES… The wave of the future.
Inexpensive.  Miniature.  Mono.  Limited Frequency Response.

GIFT: Home Office split

Recording 2HOK Home Office B side in The Box, 2010 Seattle WA

Little did I know what the future would hold in 2010 when my label Gift Tapes released Home Office, an audio cassette split release featuring 2 Hands On Knobs (yes, my questionable “intentionally-questionable” moniker for scrambly synth experiments) and Studio SS (Karlskrona, Sweden-based Jan Svennson experimental synth solo moniker – also head of Borft/UFO Mongo label, member of Frak and Alvars Orkester, and electronic dance solo project Villa Abo). Here we are, 10 years later, living in a world where a virus has forced many of us, fortunate enough to still be employed, to work from home. Even my stock one-line label description from back then seems as if it could describe the current situation:

on-edge claustrophobic terror state | an awkward birth of an android.

Paranoia, claustrophobia, and anxiety are obvious side effects to isolation, but the second part of that description is a bit more terrifyingly thought-provoking. Wikipedia defines android as a ‘humanoid robot or synthetic organism designed to imitate a human’. Synthetic, organism, imitation of a human… I suggest you use your imagination to think about how these words apply to our current situation.

For me, its a bit of a warning and maybe a reminder. As you peer out into the virtual world to attempt to understand the current events in the world around you, remember that we are participating in this synthetic imitation, an organism whose consciousness is primarily created and driven by money and power. It is increasingly important to become and/or remain critical, to consider who is benefiting from all this, and who are its victims. This situation of virus and quarantine is new, but there has always been continuously evolving structures that allow some to benefit at the expense of others.

And with that, Home Office… Enjoy the tape:

GIFT/DRAFT’s second 2017 performance, March 18

Gift Tapes logo Gift Tapes / DRAFTpresents:
Matt Carlson, Jeff Witscher, Jason E Anderson

Matt Carlson. Photo: Valerie Calano

Our second show of 2017 could prove to be one of this series’ least ‘accessible’ presentations, but that didn’t seem to deter people; there were many new faces and really large turnout!  I was extremely happy about this, as the quad setup and video projection made this one of my more complex setups at the Chapel.

Jason E Anderson. Video: Emily Pothast

After announcing the performance, I began my set (Jason E Anderson), mostly hidden behind a ridiculous amount of hardware hear, which was driven by a computer running Supercollider programmed to generate control voltages to automate a modular synth and send MIDI notes to Roland MKS-70 (which is the Twin Peaks synth in a box).  I won’t speak to how this was received, but it wasn’t as much of a train wreck as I thought it’d be!

Jeff Witscher’s performance probably hit the hardest, pushing the volume to the limits of what the space will allow.  His set contained both 100% synthetic tones and enhanced field recordings/foley sounds edging towards the artificial, played back via computer. What struck me the most was his use of space–dynamic gestures made of noisy textures and clean tones, but punctuated with varying moments of silence.  His accompanying video was very much coming out of Witscher’s visual repertoire: a sort of autobiographical view into his world through a collage of symbols captured to video from a phone… an odd blend of comedic and beautiful.

Matt Carlson. Video: Emily Pothast

Matt Carlson’s performance was a bewildering assault of a seemingly unlimited set of modular synth patches, punctuated by word fragments and presented in 4-channel quad surround sound.  This was synthetic maximalism taken to the next level.  Carlson performed his piece using a mic and a sampling keyboard setup (NI Kontakt, computer, midi keyboard), mapping each key to a massive array of custom modular synth patches and voice recordings.  Each of these sounds were then assigned to different locations throughout the speaker array.  Sounds glided and jumped from one place to the next, occasionally colliding in such a way that sentences seemed to form around you. It was impressive to listen to such large assortment of sounds and witness how they could form a specific logic together.

A special shoutout to: James Watkins for again running video and lights, to Robert (RM) Francis for managing the door and merch, to Steve Peters/Wayward Music Series for making the show possible, and to audience for pitching in on the cleanup!


Gift Tapes/DRAFT Presents:
March 18, 2017
Chapel Performance Space
4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, Seattle
$5-15 sliding scale



Gift Tapes/DRAFT presents a night of experimental electronic music featuring Matt Carlson, Jeff Witscher, and Jason E Anderson – for the second installment of its 2017 program at the Chapel Performance Space, in association with the Wayward Music Series. Making his first Seattle appearance since the release of The View from Nowhere (Shelter Press), Portland’s Matt Carlson will perform a 4-channel piece for modular, synth and voice. Jeff Witscher (Rene Hell) will perform a computer music composition set to video. Local sound artist and Gift Tapes/DRAFT head Jason E Anderson will perform computer-controlled synthesizer.

Matt Carlson is an electronic music composer from Portland, Oregon. He works with analog modular synthesis, voice, computer, field recordings, and improvisation to construct dense clouds of surrealistic electroacoustic sound phenomena. His most recent work includes “The View from Nowhere”, a text-sound LP for the French label Shelter Press, and “Aakash”, a collaborative LP with vocalist Michael Stirling and guitarist Doug Theriault. He also performs with bass clarinetist Jonathan Sielaff as Thrill Jockey artists Golden Retriever.

Jeff Witscher was born in 1983 in Long Beach, California and currently manages his own cleaning company Vincent’s Expert Cleaners in Portland, Or. He has recorded under a few different names, Rene Hell perhaps being the most known. He is an avid chess player & spends most of his time working, cleaning & reading. He focuses on sound composition utilizing his computer attempting strong narratives with accompanying videos for his live performances. He’s currently working on Cob Music & reclaiming his position atop fantasy basketball. Recent solo recordings include Bifurcating a Resounding No!, 2014; Meclu, 2013; Vanilla Call Option, 2013.

Jason E Anderson is an artist from Seattle whose work includes performance, recorded works, video, installation, and music for dance. He creates sound using synthesis, acoustic recordings, programming and text. His work emerges from the traditions of experimental music and sound art. Anderson performs and records music under his own name, as Spare Death Icon, and in performance art / music / film hybrid LIMITS with dancer / choreographer Corrie Befort. He is an active performer, an organizer/producer of performance events in the Pacific Northwest, and he publishes the recorded work of his contemporaries on his experimental music record labels Gift Tapes and DRAFT. Anderson’s recorded work can be found on these labels, as well as Locust, Digitalis, Aguirre (Belgium), SicSic (Germany), Börft (Sweden) and many others.
# # #
2017 Performers: Million Mists, Jonathan Sielaff, Norm Chambers, Matt Carlson, Jason E Anderson, Seth Nehil, RM Francis, Cameron Shafii, Jarrad Powell, Pulse Emitter, Seattle Phonographers Union, Mesh Collaborative

DEBACLE FEST 2011! August 18-21, Seattle

Debacle Festival 2011

This year’s Debacle Festival is looking to be an amazing lineup, spanning four days and three venues—Sam has outdone himself!  Also, take note: two of our favorite bands are on board this year, both making their debut Seattle performances—Portland-based Operative and Golden Retriever! Put this on your calendars and we’ll see you mid-August.

Thursday, Aug 18th
The Josephine
Doors 8:30

Hive Mind
Thunder Grey Pilgrim

Friday, Aug 19th
The Black Lodge
Doors 7:30

Tiny Vipers
The Slaves
This Blinding Light
Garrincha & The Stolen Elk
The Polyps
Crystal Hell Pool
Mind Alien

Saturday, August 20th
The Black Lodge
Day show
Doors 2:30

Big Spider’s Back
Secret Colors

Saturday, August 20th
The Lo Fi
Evening show
Doors 8:30

Brain Fruit
Golden Retriever
Brother Raven
Plankton Wat

Garek Druss
DJ Slow

Sunday, August 21st
The Josephine
Doors 8:00

Blue Sabbath Black Cheer
Demian Johnston & Mink Stolen
Summon Thrull
Karnak Temples
LA Lungs
Paintings For Animals
Wind Swept Plains

Pop Surgery Synth show 7/29: Stacian, Stella Haze…

seattle july 29 2011

Upcoming Seattle show featuring Milwaukee-based  synth popper Stacian and other locals, including Gift Tapes’ Stella Haze, Acinonyx, and Jabon. The night is curated by local Medical Records’ Pop Surgery Synth (see last week’s Stranger article).  Still haven’t met the guy behind this label, but I’ll be sure to say what’s up that night— seems like he’s on his game, especially considering his efforts in trying to re-release Novels for the Moon by Axxess!  I’ve checked out some of the jams by each of the artists and it’s looking to be an excellent night, so be sure to put this on your calendar.

Friday, July 29th //  The Rendezvous // 2322 2nd Ave // 9 PM

Gecko Dream Levels review in The Wire

The Wire, June p63


Just got word this morning that Matt Carlson’s recent Gift Tapes release has been reviewed in the June issue of The Wire magazine.  I’ve seen a few reviews of Gecko Dream Levels out there in cyberspace, and most of them basically warn people that it’s SO WEIRD you may have difficulty listening to it.  Check this one out from OMG Vinyl:

You may have a little harder time wrapping your ears around Matt Carlson’s offering for the newest Gift Tape batch. It is a far, far gone piece of electronic experimentation.

You’ll notice that The Wire pretty much follows suit.

For me, the weirder the record, the better… and the more I want to listen to it.  As a listener, I’m attracted to work that is challenging and hard to figure out—this is what I think distinguishes art from craft.  I am a true fan of Carlson’s bizarro world.  This tape has become my gateway to enter the deep waters of creative meditation, in search of the big, deep fish (deep-diving David Lynch fans will know what I’m talking about).

For those of you that are ready and waiting for more, keep your eyes peeled on the DRAFT website.  We’ll be issuing our first LP for Matt in the coming months, and let me tell you: this one ups it a notch on the weirdo-scale!  And for those of you in Seattle this Friday, May 13th, come check out Matt’s solo modular set at the Chapel Performance Space in Wallingford.


Gift Tapes Winter 2011

New GIFT TAPES coming to you March 8th!  We just posted them and are available now for preorder.  I’d recommend getting in on this action early because I expect them to go quickly.  This is Gift Tapes first special art edition batch – with art by Brenna Murphy.  She’s also crafted some amazing preview videos – check them out!

Matt Carlson, Gecko Dream Levels :: GT032

Matt Carlson, gecko dream levels :: GT032

C40 audio cassette, edition of 200
Description: side-scrolling kingdom in gecko-vision; perplexed power-up modular rippage
SPECIAL ART EDITION – Art by Brenna Murphy
Music by Matt Carlson
Purchase here

Spare Death Icon, Survival :: GT033

Spare Death Icon, survival :: GT033

C30 audio cassette, edition of 200
Description: hunted by an uninvited visitor from a dystopic futureworld; digitally sequenced vengeance
SPECIAL ART EDITION – Art by Brenna Murphy
Music by JEA
Purchase here

Million Mists, Original Motion :: GT034

Million Mists, original motion :: GT034

C60 audio cassette, edition of 200
Description: perma-flow blade runner of the jungle; karaoke synth solos navigating snail trails
SPECIAL ART EDITION – Art by Brenna Murphy
Music by Jamie Potter
Purchase here

The following titles are also available:
Mi Or And The Pedestals, Eos – Gift Tapes GT028
Frak, Dry Vanadis/Tournament City – DRAFT D001
A. Diller, Still Life -  DRAFT D003
KPLR, Voltaic Fits – DRAFT D004
Joel Brindefalk, A Rough Patch – DRAFT D005
Atlantic Triangular Trade, Velvet Satellite – DRAFT D006
J. Hanson, New Ruined Maps – DRAFT D007

Tapes are $7 USA/$8 Can-Mex/$10 World.  Pre-orders will be shipped on March 8th.  Thanks for your support!