I’m starting to get more and more into the cassette thing, which is cause for concern because our house is only so large, so I can only “be into” so much stuff. One of the beauties of the new school cassette culture is how much of it is tied to putting out a relatively inexpensive product. I’ve bought new releases all over the place (and all over the world), and most cost less than $10. In fact a lot of them are in the $5 range. Limited print run cassettes are good ways for relatively little-known bands to get their music into people’s hands, because let’s be honest – physical media still have a certain cache, and anything that gets more music in front of people is a win in my book.
Holly found this split cassette featuring Alexandra Atnif and Constable Flavour at Amoeba Music on our recent trip to LA, and yes it was in fact $5. Someone at the store had taken a minute to hand-write a little tag letting us know this was some cool industrial, so for five bucks how could we say no? And now that we have a new (used) tape deck hooked up to the stereo in the living room… let’s play that sucker!
Alexandra Atnif originally hails from Bucharest, but today she lives in Los Angeles making some pretty killer, beat-driven industrial techno. As Holly and I were listening to this tape today we were discussing the seeming lack of women in the electronica genre in general, but specifically in industrial, and we didn’t have any good thoughts on why that is. It seems like it should be a DIY medium and open to everyone. Alexandra certainly embraces it, and we’re all the better for it.
Right from the opening seconds of “Pillars of Insanity” it’s apparent that Atnif is going to come at me relentlessly (in fact she tags her songs on Soundcloud with # rhythmic brutalism, which is 100% apt). The repetition and power of the beat makes the segments that vary stand out even more… thought that beat remains… pulsating… driving… never letting up. The beat on “Fear Shall Be My Guide” is like a heartbeat, but one that changes as the song progresses… more nervous in the face of sounds later in the song that are like gunshots. This is the pounding you would hear in your ears if you found yourself caught in the middle of a very bad situation. I’m not sure if that was Atnif’s intent, but that’s the vibe I got straight out of the gate, and it stuck with me all the way through. It was emotionally relentless. “Systemic Failure of Basic Sanitation” carries it’s beat with a high pitched sound instead of a deep bass, standing apart from her other two tracks and giving it a unique, more mechanical character. I strongly encourage you to check out her music for free HERE. I love what she’s doing and will be scouring her other tracks on Soundcloud.
Constable Flavour is, as near as I can tell, from Wichita. His style is a bit more diverse in that he is working lots of different sounds into his tunes. Whereas Atnif’s songs had that consistent beat that could certain track some dance, Flavour is more old school industrial, using a broad palette of sounds, most of them “unmusical” and mechanical-like in a way that makes you feel like you’re working in a dystopian factory. While I couldn’t find the three songs he contributed to this tape online, you can check out some of his other stuff for free on Soundcloud HERE.
Keep putting out those tapes everyone!