Mirror to Mirror ‘Rerest’ on Jugular Forest

Mirror to Mirror, Rerest 2009

Mirror to Mirror, a new project from Jugular Forest’s founder Alex Twomey, melds mystery with new age ambient virtues.  Minimalist atmospheres are packed with emotive intensities so powerful, they tend to feel more like noise pieces.  Rerest is the first release of this new project, conceived in February of 2009.  It’s a departure from his work as Persimmons Pomegranate, a noise-based project where the music jumps from strange drones to ecstatic spaces  (also excellent work–check out Window).

With the press of the play button the sound begins to accumulate, forming yellow-tinged shadows that pass beneath every breath.  In the corner of the darkly lit room, a distant light reflects upon a pool of blood.  You notice that the air is stagnant, but then someone opens the door.  This transition causes the walls to disintegrate.  Emotional, uplifting, inspiring, meditative, and underneath it there is an attractive darkness. Rerest excels at activating the imagination.  I find it particularly amazing that a short tape (c20) can have such an effect; this music will transport the attentive listener.

Jugular Forest is proving itself to be an up and coming label.  This is my 4th cassette from them and everything I’ve received so far has been great.  I highly recommend picking up some of these tapes before this label is discovered.

Meditative Music 3 – Synth Tones that Heal

Pulse Emitter - Meditative Music 3

A few weeks back I was completely surprised by a little package I received in the mail.  Upon opening the gift, I cracked a smile- followed by a few cuss words (this dude is kicking my ass).  It was another Pulse Emitter new age disc: Meditative Music 3.  If releasing current new age music was a competition, then Daryl is the champion.  Take the packaging for instance: the pastel-tinted nature photos, the CD case itself, the one-line description on each disc… it all lends itself so perfectly to being something you’d find at a yoga studio’s gift shop.  On top of that, these discs are totally self-released and the music is comprised of minimal synth tones that truly have healing qualities.  These CDs are totally legit.

Meditative Music 3 couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.  I’m totally excited about this series, but since I had reviewed the other installments (see this post) a few months back, I felt like I needed a new approach to writing about this one.  The stars must have been aligned because I injured my back and decided to make an appointment with a massage therapist.  This provided me with the perfect opportunity to give this music the kind of listening it deserves.  The masseuse was super cool and allowed me to play the disc in her boom box after reading the one-line description on the back of the case: placid waves for reflective times.

A slow fade from silence gives way to the rising tones that transform your consciousness into a dense underwater cloud of plankton.  Families of micro-organisms lie static and hovering just beneath the surface.  They harness the power of the sun, soaking up the solar energy, contributing to the natural cycle of life.  Dense analog vibrations are contrasted by crisp, digital metallics.  These bell-like FM synthesis tones encapsulate the piece in crystals.  “Does this feel tender?”  Those were the words that brought me back from my oceanic dreamworld, and they really couldn’t have been better put.

Clocking in at exactly 60 minutes, this is the perfect music for massage.  It was so perfect in fact, that the masseuse inquired about how she might purchase a copy of it.  You can buy them from him directly here: synthnoise.com or from Tomentosa.  If you are a fan of synth music, of new age or of anything P.E.-related… all three of these CDs are highly recommended.

In Portland on Thursday, April 30th, I highly recommend checking out Pulse Emitter perform at Dunes.  Brother Raven will be one of the opening acts, alongside Weird Fiction (live video), Sean Ongley & Regosphere.

Rest in Peace Klaus Wiese

Klaus Wiese RIP

I recently found out that German-based ambient musician Klaus Wiese passed away on January 27th.  From what I was able to gather, he passed away in his sleep at his girlfriend’s house at the age of  67 in Ulm, Germany.  Sad news indeed, but when it’s time to embark on a journey to the spirit world, that is the way to do it.  His legacy as an experimental composer will live on.

Wiese’s music fits into the minimalist ambient spectrum of experimental music.  Inspired by both Sufism and Mysticism, his works often take the form of dense, spiritual dronescapes; they’re peaceful, but they emit an open heaviness that allows the linkage of the earthbound listener’s own soul and the eternal heavens.  His solo discography is overwhelming – just one glance at his Discogs entry will have you reeling – but his collaborative work is also impressive.  In addition to appearing on two Popul Vuh releases (Hosianna Mantra & Seligpreisung), he has regularly worked with Al Gromer Khan, Mathias Grassow & Oöphoi.

I’m amazed by how similar a lot of contemporary works in the noise/new age/experimental scene sound to Klaus Wiese’s work.  Take the Emerald’s for instance, three young musicians at the top of their game, making super minimal drone music with mostly vintage synths.  You could probably take a Wiese track, run it through a filter and distortion pedal and you’d have something sounding very similar to the Emeralds.

I acquired a copy of Klaus Wiese’s Alhambra on cassette for the purpose of reviewing one of his works (you might notice that I only review releases I have a physical copy of).  I’m more familiar with his later work, so I chose something closer to the beginning stages of his solo work (not to mention, you can still buy it on cassette), a release from 1986.  I believe one of his regular collaborators, Mathias Grassow, is now operating the store on www.klaus-wiese.com.

Alhambra is a suiting title for the work.  Wikipedia translates it to “the red one” or the “red fortress” and describes it as “a palace and fortress complex of the Moorish rulers of Granada in southern Spain”.   It is a fortress.  Two deep drone works comprised of synthesized strings and voice, filtered vocals, reverberations, organ and mandolin make up the whole of the tape.  The first, The Violet Rose, is a slowly oscillating drone whose instrumentation hovers around a single note.  It is reminiscent of David Parsons’ Sounds of the Mothership, but seems to access another side of the spirit world, among the dense dark forests hidden in the shadows.   The other piece is titled The Moorish Princess.  It has a similar vibe, but with the addition of passionate female vocals in parts – remember, this is ’86 (this is some serious new f’ing age).  I highly recommend the purchase of this album.  It’s relaxing, meditative and emotional all wrapped into a nice new age package.  Did I mention that you can still purchase this on cassette?

I found some of his more recent music posted online – these two are pretty good: Perfume (2006) & Gnosis (2004)

The Stairwell is Long Gone

Steve Hauschildt, The Stairwell is Long Gone, Deception Island, Cass

Steve Hauschildt, The Stairwell is Long Gone, Deception Island, Cass (di19)

Listening to this tape reminds me of the slow days fishing with my pops as a kid… staring intently at the red and white float at the end of the fishing line as it bobs up and down on the surface of the calm forest lake.  If you were to imagine you as the bobber, half-submerged, not knowing what lies beneath you… you’re getting closer to what listening to this feels like.

This cassette is layers of thick melodies, constructed with analog synthesizers and probably some sort of looper pedal.  Steve Hauschildt has a knack for the thick sounds.  If you’ve heard any of the Emeralds stuff, you already know this and I’m preaching to the choir.  In fact, all three members of the group have released excellent solo and side project releases.  I’ve heard Mark McGuire’s solo guitar works and John Elliot’s projects: Lilypad, Hot Air Balloon Ride and Outer Space.  All of it I highly recommend.

Steve Hauschildt’s stuff tends to be fairly minimal, mostly drone-based (but not boring), it’s a bit on the heavy side, and it ususally emits positive vibes.  This release is no exception.  It’s ambient energy field music that unlocks the expansive landscapes of the mind.  Excellent stuff.  This was available from  deception-island.com (now it’s sold out).

Dreamers Cloth heals

Here is a tiny track from Danish musician Dreamers Cloth. It was released by Relax With Nature on a cassette titled A Bamboo Dream. This feeds me the necessary energies and inspirations I need to cancel out the bad shit. Excellent healing pleasure. As far as I know, he’s got 4-5 releases under that name… all sold out though – super limited edition. Though I do believe there is a blog out there that one might be able to find his stuff on (that is an assignment).

*Look out for a new release on Stenze Quo called ‘positive theme music’. Where you can find that label or purchase that tape – I have yet to find out… Let me know if you know. This shit kicks my ass.


Arthur C Clarke, Space Music & Descriptions

Books by Arthur C Clark

The Future is where Arthur C Clarke seemed to spend quite a bit of his time… both the future in his head and ultimately, in his books. He made quite a few predictions about the future with regard to science and technology, many of which came true. He was quite the visionary.

I’ve been thinking a lot about time travel these days and I was reminded of his book Rendezvous with Rama. It happens in the future. An abandoned alien starship that enters the solar system. The ship is explored by humans for a few weeks until it gets too close to the sun. Ultimately, the ship uses the power of the sun to shoot itself off into deep space. The book is mind-bending, mysterious, spiritual, totally sci-fi and pretty new age.

And that leads me to the idea of Space Music. Is this really a genre? Supposedly, this is a subcategory of New Age. Could be I guess, I don’t know.  I understand genre category names like New Age, Noise, Experimental, Minimal… They’re all pretty straight forward. Past that though, it gets a little dorkville – in my opinion. What I do like though, is good descriptions.

I’ve been ordering tapes lately. A bunch of them. Most of them are coming from small labels or small distributors of small labels. All of them are super limited edition (minus the David Parsons tape in the last entry). Sometimes I read about something and want a copy. Sometimes it’s word of mouth, sometimes i want a legit copy of something I’ve downloaded. Lately, I’ve been into reading descriptions of the tapes. You should check out tomentosa. I don’t know if these descriptions are written by the artists or by the dude that runs the place, but they’ve really been helping me find new stuff I like. Check out this one (via tomentosa):

Caboladies, waterslide mines

caboladies – waterslide mines – arbor – cass –6$ sold out

Kentucky’s Caboladies recreate the cosmic birth of droning stars. Dense, psychedelic synth compositions, building to the point of electro-ecstatic infinity. Sliding through the crystallized air, shining with beauty. Uplifting, transcendental spells stuck in the newness and awe of the atmosphere. The young trio have released stellar cdrs on Students Of Decay and Mountaain. Limited to 100 tapes with full color art and labels.

This tape is pretty good by the way, but you can probably tell from that description.  This is what I’m talking about.

And with that, I leave you with my favorite track from Hans-Joachim Roedelius‘ record Durch Die Wüste (the title track).  If there is such a thing as Space Music, this is probably a good example of it.

Welcome to the Gift Tapes blog

Welcome to Gift Tapes of Seattle, WA. On this blog you’ll be able to find out what’s new with Gift Tapes, in addition to posts focused on both old & new new age, noise, & experimental music.  Designing the blog will take us a bit of time, so please bare with us.


Our first limited-edition cassettes will be released in January 2009!
2 releases are for-sure, but we hope to have 3.  Spare Death Icon, Jason E Anderson‘s new age project and Jamie Potter’s (of Bonus) currently unnamed project.  Both Anderson & Potter are also working on an electronics duo project, so we hope to see some material from that soon.  In the meantime, we’ll leave you with our first bit of sound from the Spare Death Icon cassette!