El Sonido de La Carretera is the much anticipated latest installment from record label Masstropicas, slated to be released on May 28th.
Carretera Central is a compilation featuring 12 tracks from several bands that created music alongside Teo Laura Amao, dubbed “the guitar king of carterra central”. From 1973 to 1985 these bands composed songs that were mainstays in the neighborhood known as NaNa as well as other working class barrios in Lima and have all become synonymous with Peru’s chicha music.
Chicha, which shares its name with a popular Peruvian corn-based liquor made from a mixture of fermented maize, is another kind of amalgam of the musical sort. Chicha music is a much smoother blend of the Cumbia, pentatonic scales of Andean melodies, combined with psychadelic sounds of surf guitars, wah-wah pedals, farfisa organs and moog synthesizers. Primarily a youth movement of young people in shanty towns, Chicha music was a way for a relocated people to express their combined rural and urban heritages and new frustrations. As 1960’s and 1970’s rock music came into popularity in Peru via North America and England, the instrumentation of Chicha took on a different edge. The people at Barbès records express this through a clever musical analogy when they write, “[Chicha music] like Jamaican ska, is western-influenced indigenous music geared toward the new urban masses who wholly identified with the new hybrid”.
Taken from various 45, LP and cassette releases, El Sonido de La Carretera Central is not only a testament to the talents of Teo Laura Amao and his collaborators, but is music that is made to be danced to, preferably while drinking chicha well into the night and early morning.
El Sonido de la Carretera Central is available from Masstropicas via Light in the Attic
Written by Anna Rushford
German Army is an Los Angeles based post-punk duo whose members apparently go by the names Chin Genie and Meatball Maker (seriously). While the duo has released music on Kanye West’s favorite Danish noise label SKROT UP and Shawn Reed’s excellent Night-People, for its new tape Burushaski – named after a dialect spoken in Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan – the band has turned to Swedish label Beläten, whose focus on “post avantgarde pop for a pre-apocalyptic world” seems right in line with the act’s often ominous sound.
Referred to by Beläten as “29 odd minutes of Cabaret Voltairesque post-punk,” the release may be dark, but fragments of catchy, even danceable, melody often emerge from the murk. While the band has thrown in dub affectations in the past, Burushaski tends toward Throbbing Gristle-leaning industrial with the addition of Suicide’s minimalist streak. (The occasional found-sound radio recordings on the record give further weight the album’s post-nuclear vibe.) Album standout “Stone Walls,” does a great job showing German Army’s strengths with its blend of baritone vocals and coldwave synths. For a band where gloom and grit is such a large part of its personae, the spacious compositions are testament to the band’s confident songwriting – these guys clearly know when to agitate and when to lay off. While German Army obviously enjoy abrasive tones (see the also excellent “Clan Bride”), just because “Stone Walls” is atramental doesn’t mean it’s inaccessibility. Instead, pop songwriting glimmers through the band’s chillingly bleak take on coldwave. Take a listen to the whole tape though. It’s certainly worth your time.
Written by Nathan Reese
São Paulo’s Babe, Terror has created a fresh enigma with College Clash, a complex array of downtempo beats that approach from all directions, stop in mid-air, and fold back into tape hiss without so much as a wave of a wink. The elusive loops of “Tokyo Famicom MVPs” hint at a larger structure that, as with all good conspiracies, might only be there, and if it is, could be completely different from the narrative that seems the most essential. Is it the lizard people or the mole people pulling the strings? The are no firm answers here, other than our suggestion that you experience this music in the moment and avoid attempting to stitch together a composite end result, at least until your 3rd or 4th listen. After that you’re officially a 33rd degree Lizard King and can do whatever you want.
You can stram and download the entirety of College Clash on Bandcamp
Written by Luke Carrell
It’s rarer than you’d think that a split EP contains two artists who truly complement each other, but Noah x SELA., a collaboration between Nogaya-based singer/producer Noah and nineteen-year-old California beatmaker SELA. does a great job uniting two like-minded voices from disparate corners of the globe. And hey, at International Tapes, that’s basically our bread and butter.
Noah’s contribution to the EP, including standout track “You’ll Come,” shows off the talented Japanese artist’s range as both a producer and vocalist. Using her own voice as a key element to her tracks, Noah mixes subtle piano, southern hip-hop, static loops, and dream-pop melodies, weaving her sonic threads into a delicately gorgeous tapestry of sound. As with her excellent contribution to Cokiyu’s Your Thorn Remixes, the first six tracks on Noah x SELA. offer a comforting entreaty to her pillowy world.
SELA.’s contributions to the EP feel right at home following Noah. While the Vallejo-based artist is probably best known for his production on tumblr-wave rapper Kitty’s D.A.I.S.Y. Rage EP, his work on the second half of the split sees his music tending toward more abstract, less hip-hop oriented compositions. Freed the constraints of beats meant for an MC to ostensibly rap over, SELA. creates ambient compositions whose cavernous, patient aesthetic contains only hints of the codeine haze he brought to D.A.I.S.Y. Rage. Off-kilter, often surprising samples color his tracks with splashes of brightnes and his use of repeated phrasing recalls The Field’s circuitous looping clogged with molasses. Together, both sides offer an immediately pleasing half hour of bedtime-ready soundscapes.
Noah x SELA EP will be released on April 15th via the consistently wonerful flau
Written by Nathan Reese
The music comes from the middle of America but it aims for the middle of space. Cosmic Fidelity (Lillerne Tapes) is the latest album from Chicago’s Potions and his “one man and a synth” approach to composition is at a peak on this release. The chord clusters and warm fluttering tone whirls make us plain feel good. The final cut is titled “Optimistic Goodbye” and while that could be taken as one spaceman’s death note, we think of it as a big smiley face staring into the clouds before a 2001-esque odyssey. Potions’ music is simple on the surface, but what makes it successful is the dynamics and pacing employed one what could’ve been one dude wanking his keys. Instead we are treated to a real trip into the heavens.
Cosmic Fidelity is now available on cassette and digitally from Lillerne Tapes
Written by Jeff Daily
Over his lengthy career, guitar experimentalist Mike Cooper has made elevating “folk” music to the levels of creativity and freewheeling expressionism that originally propelled the the genre beyond its out of the way roots and the heady cellar cafe circle echo chambers his trademark. It definitely helps that he was around and making that magic happen, in situ. When Cooper applies a similar creative tact to the very embodiment of classic exotica, the Hawaiian guitar, the result is “White Shadows Of The South Seas,” a beautifully shambolic melange that more effectively captures the solar powered crawl of beach life than many of it’s glossed over and out cultural touchpoints. Taken as a semi-sequel up to Cooper’s own Rayon Hula, it’s a satisfying expansion of the dream pop infused exotica of its predecessor. Taken on its own merits, well it’s a big, hazy, semi-super 8 and thoroughly post-colonial world out there, so take it one guitar lick at a time.
Written by Luke Carrell
Rarely has a wild audio ride been so full of twists and turns as the one we undertake with the latest music by Femminielli. Shanghai, C’est Beau is a beautiful, spooky, and lysergic trip of a record. Evoking Serge Gainsbourg with his French-Canadian whisper vocal style, while putting that influence through instrumental passages of noir-disco and new age synth tone colors, Femminielli’s created a work of real depth and something that can be listened to on repeat for hours. Throughout the experience of time spent deciphering his compositions, we were never clear if the darkness inside the music is meant to terrify because it is almost as equally gorgeous. When beats do pop out of the haze they don’t invite us to dance so much as to sit upright, look straight ahead, and pay close attention. One of the better releases thus far this year.
Shanghai, C’est Beau is now available from Clan Destine Records
Written by Jeff Daily
‘If two people dream the same dream it ceases to be an illusion.’ -PKD
This video and song might be a good case of that statement. Utilizing the chroma neon t.v. frequencies of the fantastic vid art duo of Vidkidz with their VCR drowning along the beach and analog video mixer driving down the roads of the NES videogame world of Rad Racer; base this high up in a mountain of Colorado and ear churned by the static electricity dripping dub pop of Austin TX based v^v. We have a flavor of ocean drifting, dreaming state of time and space casually reserved in a quiet place among the under-stasis of listening groups for new worlds. File under: Psychedelic awesomeness on the edge of sleep and wild energy. Warning: Does endorse the consumption of LSD and driving a car into another dimension.
You can download v^v’s Orgone Tones on Bandcamp. And here’s a stream of the album, just because
Written by Logan Owlbeemoth
NYC producer Lamin Fofana creates electronic music using a wide array of synths and analog samples, assembling his inspirations into a often unnerving take on traditional dance music. His newest production – the colorfully titled “Like White Lightning Up A Black Snake’s Ass” – is the latest release from his newly formed SCI-FI & FANTASY imprint following two singles from NYC’s Max McFerren and the Berlin-based Lotic. From the track’s beginning, Fofana ratchets up its brooding intensity with every passing measure, combining tremulous percussion with bleakly atmospheric synth arrangements. What begins as an exercise in rising tension culminates in the apocalyptic sounds of a dystopian future where Giallo-horror and glossy techno go hand in hand. Not a bad combination, if you ask us.
Like White Lightning Up A Black Snake’s Ass drops April 2 on SCI-FI & FANTASY
Written by Nathan Reese
Can electronic pulse-beats be organic? Well no, not really, but they ARE on Moon Wheel’s “The Weather.” The track is from his new eponymous cassette released by Not Not Fun and, easy grooves notwithstanding, it asks a lot of questions. His synth lines approximate clouds, rain, wind, sunlight, people, dirt, phones, earbuds, birds, bugs, etc., etc, but they also stop us (in the midst of good hip wiggling) and ask us to open our eyes to life spinning around our human forms. The “weather” can imply more than nature too, our “social climate” perhaps? Are we mildly blissing out to decent beats while also absorbing political discourse? Are we engaged in the issues of the here and now? Our thoughts start wiggin’ out with the blur of Moon Wheel’s ripples and fuzzed waves. We need to find the good times to spite the bad and enjoy time, second to second, come rain or shine because who knows what’s around the next bend.
Written by Jeff Daily