Kobra Audio Labs – Two Blue Towers (Bandcamp/Cassette)



Cassette tapes are very much part of my youth, having no money to buy music I would tape from the John Peel show, copy cassettes of Joy Division and The Birthday Party my sister would bring home from high school. Over the years they have been discarded, bar a few, some not available on any other format, like the early 80′ cassette release of Einsturzende Neubauten live, somewhere. The Technics double tape deck packed away long ago, I just have to find it now, with this and a previous Son Of A Bricklayer tape, my recently rediscovered car tape play has been bumping this cassette pretty much constantly for the last month.

Beautiful minimal spray painted packaging, always makes an unusual format way more enticing, and in all its DIY splendor, the music contained is out of this world. What starts off as the bastard son of a 2step Boards Of Canada, with spoken word rant and undulating synth drones, “Two Blue Towers” (side 1…) launches the listener to another future, not necessarily very nice, but we have the whole side of a tape to work with here… Morphing into what could be Gescom after two expresso’, continuing this idea for the next section. KAL crank up the weirdness, and the bass drops, mellowing into summer instrumental hip hop flavour. The robots return with electroid beats and well placed spoken word, before a rhodes driven dark and menacing twisted hip hop beat brings it all back to earth. The final sections delve into some heavyweight dubbed out electronics of the highest order.

The flip side of the tape is far more psychedelic, “Wishae Psychadelic” delivers everything I had hoped, 25 minutes of tripped out sonic experiments. With a percussive intro, not unlike early Fax releases, it lures you in, ambient washes engulf your ears, sound’ degenerate in the process, ghostly voices litter the sound-scape. Backwards masking and unsettling tones seep into the next section, as good as any Demdike Stare creep out, before Warp-esque electronic beats bleed uneasily back into the mix, detuned, deranged. The Mississippi backwater spoken word is just gold, an everyday tale of life on the river, sounding so menacing with the wash of electronics and acoustic guitar, and maybe a banjo too… Electronic pop unexpectedly seeps into the mix, not unlike the melancholy of The XX, disintegrating into a wash of drone and feedback. Psych folk experimentation further unfolds to more folk meanderings, with vocal stylings similar to The Beta Band, wraps up the tape nicely. This is pure soundtrack, to what, it doesn’ matter, your own mind will do that for you.

A tape release with download code, a mixed CD of influences, a CDR with extra’ such as the amazing Bobby Corridor remix, its most definitely worth the ticket price. I’m officially back into tapes, next stop, dust off your DAT players, the next big thing. Get KAL at his bandcamp.

Wayne Stronell


About Author