I’ve been winding up with a lot of really nifty tapes and CD-Rs via trades, since getting this tape-label thing going. Of particular interest at the present time are the stuff I’ve gotten from Bob Bucko Jr and his label Personal Archives, run out of Dubuque, Iowa.
One of my favorites so far has been Cowboy Funeral by Bob and two other guys collectively calling themselves Implied Consent. The tape cases are hand-painted and the tape itself is hand-markered with the band name and title showing through the unpainted parts of the case. Brief “songs” (no individual titles listed) of philosophical hilarious freestyle stream-of-consciousness lyrics with “fuckin’” used as punctuation, sometimes reminding me of Rock’s Chosen Warrior (don’t worry if you don’t catch the reference, it’s pretty local), over crude noisy semi-improvised accompaniment done on seemingly whatever instrumentation was lying around, maybe a few overdubs done later and definitely edited and fucked with as postproduction. This stuff is insanely fun. It’s what Black Cum wishes they could be if they were good.
The split between Bob’s solo incarnation “BBJr” and someone called Aisle begins with Aisle’s side, Narcotica. “crest, fallen” is a found-sound and field recording collage piece. Unrecognizable manipulated sounds, sped-up conversation, video game space sound effects, a small dog barking, various bits of music, some synthesizer playing, stitched together in a warm/cold sonic quilt. “Narcotica” starts similarly before working itself into a neat groove of soft steam engine violins and delay pedal rhythms with electronic toy rocket launches before burying them in a 4-track feedback attack in a parking garage. Bob’s side is the five-part suite Sex Funeral where each part is a short series of lone electronic sounds given pan delay and plenty of space to stretch out in, and each movement exploring a different tonal color space — distortion/feedbacky at first, then glassy spaceship synths through staticky radio, then metallic, and so on, seemingly working from harsher to mellower. It reminds me of some of those classic electronic music records from the 1960s.
Floating Cave is the name denoting yet another group made up of Bob and two other persons, and Strip the Lights was recorded live as part of the Nash Gallery opening late this April. Four improvised soundtrack-like synth and feedbacky electric guitar pieces with audible audience presence, all very atmospheric and pretty and a touch ominous besides.
You can order any of this stuff on tape via the Personal Archives Bandcamp site. Or, I acquired a few extra copies of Floating Cave and a couple other Personal Archives items for distro from Bob in trade when I was up in Dubuque with Fetal Pig last week, so if you get something from me you might end up with a bit of it. I intend to write a little something here about the rest of them soon, especially, and this is one I’m really excited about obviously, Personal Archives now has this out:
That’s right it’s a Distant Trains/BBJr split tape. Right on!
From Captcha Records comes the very nice “How to Fuck All Your Co-Workers in One Sitting” cassette released last year. The tape is a pro job with printing on the cassette shell and the whole works and sounds great. I think side A collects some of Bob’s 4-track home recordings from the 1990s. Exploratory instrumentals (“Too Long for This World” kinda feels like a “my first lap steel” exercise but it sets a great mood) with lots of direct-lined distorted guitar, skronkiness, and that great afternoon nap with the window open feel that so much great 1990s bedroom lo-fi has. The B side is more recent recordings, seemingly made for something caled Nitetrotter, that show Bob’s folk/jazz side, free-improvising off “Over the Rainbow” and “Amazing Grace” around a couple more straightforward folk numbers.
The Devin Dart/Bob Bucko Jr split tape from Felt Cat Tapes I’m not even going to tell you much about because it’s out of print already but it’s pretty special. Since you have the link there, you should probably explore the Felt Cat label a bit.