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:

New Gift Tapes, Summer 2012 Batch

It’s been a little over a year since Gift Tapes’ last set of releases.  This past year I’ve been focused on the DRAFT label, but I thought it was high time for some pure analog recordings.  I am especially excited about the diversity of sounds in this batch and pleased to offer up works from Weirding Module (head of Senseless Empire), Baronic Wall (of Compass Rose) and German-based Guenter Schlienz.

Weirding Module
GT040: Weirding Module, no bells here, C44 tape
Periodic automations of buzzing synth; polyphase alternator reality

Guenter Schlienz
GT041: Guenter Schlienz, through music to the self, C54 tape
Cooling drift over soft terrain; smooth modular ambient for inner voyages (Inspired by the book of Peter Michael Hamel.)

Baronic Wall
GT042: Baronic Wall, the mind of roses, C32 tape
Freakish melodies and banging pulsations; fully cracked poetics

USA $7 / CANADA $8 / WORLD $11
Purchase at gifttapes.com/tapes/

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!

Wintertime News & Updates


I was pleased to see DRAFT (Gift Tapes sub-label) get some reviews in The Wire, thanks to Nick Richardson.  Joel Brindefalk’s A Rough Patch and Atlantic Triangular Trade’s Velvet Satellite made it into the Outer Limits review section. We’ve posted samples of all the DRAFT tapes – check them out on the site: draftrecords.com You can find the review below.

Turns out Brother Raven’s diving into the pineapple portal LP in The Wire as well, from last month (thanks to Keith Moliné). Dave Segal posted it here on The Stranger Line Out music blog. Many thanks to Aguirre Records for making that re-release possible! Check out their newly re-designed website: www.aguirrecords.com to see all the killer jams Pieter has in store for us!

NEW Gift Tapes are coming soon. My thought is they’ll be ready sometime in late February… a little later than expected, but that’s not too far off. This batch includes solo projects from both members of Brother Raven, as well as the new solo tape by Matt Carlson (synth player in Golden Retriever). Since this will be Gift Tapes 2nd year in business, we’ve planned some pretty crazy surprises for this set of releases. You won’t want to miss out, so get in on the action as soon as these drop. I’ll post the release date and related info to the blog when the time comes. Keep posted!

Last week we received exciting news that one of our favorite Gift Tapes releases, Bee Mask‘s Canzoni dal Laboratorio del Silenzio Cosmico, will see a LP re-release on  Edition Mego‘s new sub-label Spectrum Spools.   EM’s releases are always top-notch, and this one will be cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering (meaning this LP will sound amazing!).  It’s a limited edition of 500, due out April 4th – pre-order while you can!  Congratulations Chris Madak!

6TH GIFT: Charlatan, Exercises MICRO

Charlatan, Excercises MICRO

Last Spring I posed a challenge to a fellow label-head/musician friend of mine (based in Tulsa, OK), to get revenge of sorts because of a massive 85 minute tape he asked me to do in an edition of 22!   So in response, this is what I requested: Super experimental & non-musical & synthy, but not noisey & not too droney using only the pro-one & recorded to tape of course. I guess my challenge was more specific… but I tried to think of everything that that dude does exceptionally well, then ask him to do the opposite!  His approach to the challenge is especially interesting to listen to; it’s improvised synth music that consciously attempts to avoid musical spaces.  And it’s in that avoidance of musical spaces that hints of musical ideas occur.  They seem to play on the creativity of the listener, providing a palette for which to connect the dots, link ideas and create our own music through interpretation.  Please except this gift; a prized edition of the MICRO collection.

Next month: New tapes by Matt Carlson, Million Mists & Spare Death Icon.

Charlatan, exercises
Download: GT020 59 MB ZIP file, includes 320 kbps MP3s

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

5TH Gift: Knit Prism, Coral Mediations MICRO

Knit Prism - Coral Meditations

Last January we snuck this MICRO in more than a few packages; now it’s high time this is available to the masses.  One of the lovely things about micro cassettes is the fidelity, a shadow of a recording allowing a hazy glimpse of what was there.  These mysterious artifacts, buried in tape hiss, offer the essence of an artist’s creation, while the listener fills in the blanks.  3 more in the cue that I’ll post in the coming months — so stay tuned!  Also, coming in this Winter, Gift Tapes will release new tapes by Matt Carlson, Million Mists & Spare Death Icon.

Knit Prism, coral mediations
Download: GT016 53MB ZIP file, includes 320 kbps MP3s

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