A Pyle PL5CSUB Cassette Tape Archiver and Digital Media Converter, which you may recall from the write up of Sky Stadium’s Freely Without. Calm down, a repeat was bound to happen eventually. I selected this player for the clarity of its playback and because its lack of fast forward, rewind, and stop buttons make it well suited to 20 plus minute long seamless tracks. More on that later.
Apart from his musical endeavors, which span from bedroom indie to tape-based experimentalism, Broderick Young is one of the strapping young brains behind Polydactyl Records. He’s currently based out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas. Electronic Meditation Program (EMP) is one Nicholas Fair of Corpus Christi, TX. He’s also responsible for maintaining the multimedia archive/label known as Gnosis Antiquarius. Their split tape is both artists’ first release on Teflon Beast Records. The track titles are esoteric: “The Mixtape” is the sole track for the Broderick Young side and Weltshmerz 1, Weltshmerz 2, and Weltshmerz 3 for the EMP side.
Broderick Young’s “The Mixtape” is a long-form audio collage that features media coverage of Tupac death, housey disco, hip hop, and interjections of classical music are distorted, filtered, reversed, and generally rendered into something familiar, though not necessarily recognizable. It’s unclear whether its title is commenting on the ability a mixtape has to tie together disparate themes, referencing the physical process of cutting and rearranging tape that Young used to create the piece, both, or both plus more is unclear up to interpretation. Have at it.
Electronic Meditation Program harnesses the power of cheap keyboards and quarter-inch tape loops to create sounds that are sometimes gently unhinged but never fully deranged. It’s a brand of homemade experimentalism that relies on tactful arrangements, rather than loads of gear. Cautious variations add more than they seem to, as they interact with fainter sounds creeping in from the edges.
How it sounds:
“The Mixtape” sounds at home on the medium in which it was created. The intense tape distortions may make you wonder if your deck is dying, but hang in there, it’s all for a good cause. Some of the cleaner digital sounds featured on Electronic Meditation Program’s side certainly benefit from the mid-range boost and subtle low pass filter the tape creates. The more subdued pieces lurking in the back take on a slightly darker tone, without getting too murky.
The full package:
My copy came in a paper bag filled with shards of destroyed tape. After I figured out that this was not, in fact, the tape that I was supposed to listen to and my panic subsided, I encountered an abstract water color and line drawing piece, featuring an owl confronting the fact that perhaps his tootsie roll is not as sexy as it used to be. The tape itself doesn’t have an A or B side, which is a nice touch for a split tape.
Try “The Mixtape” on for size.
The flickering synth arpeggios of “Weltshmerz 1” come and go in varying arrays, exploiting their cautious relationship with the unstable rhythmic churning of the tape loops.
The B.Young/EMP Split is now available on cassette and via streaming from Teflon Beast Records.