Phaserprone :: Back from the Dead, Part 2

As expected I present to you part 2 of this vastly incomplete label profile, the music in question, of which, I've greatly enjoyed deconstructing. Sitting here at my dimly lit desk looking out at the drabness that is typical to Vancouver this time of year, I brood over the near and distant future of the Scrapyard Forecast. Overdue reviews of stray tapes and cds from 2011 will see the light of day in January, along with the irresistible year-end feature (something I prefer to leave until early January even though most of us are sick of lists by then). I'm still working on the details of the year end thing, though I've recently narrowed things down to 20 or so albums. Keep an eye out. As far as the distant future goes, I have no plans on stopping, so all I can say is, time will tell...

Thought Broadcast - Up-Maker 7"

First I've heard from Ravi Binning's eccentric post-punk Thought Broadcast outfit, this 7" marking the project's third official release after two cassettes on Darren Ho's Gel and Hierodule labels. I've recently been delving into some 80's minimal synth from Japan, namely Sympathy Nervous and releases on Vanity Records, and I'm definitely hearing some similarities, mostly in TB's use of calculated percussion and inertia-driven mechanics. The format renders this an all too brief window into Thought Broadcast's dystopian sound world, the A side opening with the hyper-rhythmic "Noted Guerillas" before settling into the cantankerous "Pocket Planetaria". The flip sees a cracked ragtime missive coupled with the closer "Satisfiers of Alpha Blue" that's stuck in a middle eastern-tinged feedback loop. Great all around, impeccable packaging.

Ampax Catalog - Dsr.Slit C40

The most recent of Phaserprone's releases comes by way of the virtually unknown Ampax Catalog. Dsr.Slit marks AC's debut release, though frankly, on a blind listen I would have pinned this as at least a sophomore record by any of a handful of contemporary stalwarts exercising their respective minimal-synth aesthetics, be it Christopher Forgues, Jeff Witscher or even Carlos Giffoni (his arbor ep from two years ago came to mind).

Using an array of retrograde electronic gear such as a mono synth, tape delay and rhythm box, Dsr.Slit manages to achieve a sound that a heavy percentage of underground acts are striving for, all the while sounding distinctly modern despite its backward leanings. The tracks here are succinct, unmuddied and poised in their terseness, yet never shy away from making a statement; alien synthlines become grounded in simplistic rhythms throughout, holding their structures through the bulk of these works. "Identification Card", with its amassing and all encompassing analog buzz and Godspeed-esque megaphone vocalizations is up there as my jam of the year (Listen to the sound sample), while the rest of the tape follows very nicely in suite.

A brilliant release, and definitely one of the best cassettes of the year. Wonderfully presented in a two coloured letter pressed j-card and cool black and white schematic-type cover art.

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