Premiere: VARSOVIE – Détruire Carthage

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Propaganda straight from Warsaw, with their telecommunications-station based out of France. Building on a concept that draws influences from concrete post-punk and stable new-wave, among other genres. The reason why they’re in any way related to Warsaw is because their band-name is VARSOVIE—the french word for “Warsaw“—capital of Poland. A debut-EP came out in 2006 titled “Neuf Milimètres” (Nine Millimeters), recorded in Grenoble 13eme Etage Studio and Chaosmic Studios. Here’s also where their aesthetic concept got set in motion by the photographer Lucas Rimbaud, which portrayed a woman lying on her back with her feet in the air—maybe relating to the title of the record—Nine millimeters bullet-type, and a gun. Their sound was virtually the same as it is now but a bit more unpolished and maybe also darker. It was also a whole other set-up when it comes to the band’s compound, different members and now there’s a whole other prerequisite for the band.

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They managed to self-release this EP which came out as a CD. Two years passed and there weren’t any new album or proper release during that time—not until September of 2008. A promo-CDr titled “Etat Civil” was released featuring an album with eleven tracks, featuring Nicolas St Morand (Hreidmarr) on backing vocals for “Etat D’Urgence” (State Of Emergency), outro music by the famous late composer Franz Schubert, for the closing song “Inertie” (Inertia). Everything was recorded at Drudenhaus Studio, located in Issé, France, the home of studio engineer Benoît Roux (Anorexia Nervosa). Now the aesthetics have suddenly changed, there’s a woman standing on train-tracks holding two bags—it almost feels like she’s moving away from somewhere, to anywhere. They used a different photographer, Manon Weiser, who’s also helped with his skills for the Velvet Condom box-set “Vanity And Revolt“. A year later a proper release of the same album came out, in December of 2009.

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Six years later their latest album “L’Heure Et La Trajectoire“, was also self-released by the band. Then something happened. A Black-Metal(!) label from France called Those Opposed Records began releasing both “Etat Civil” and their newest album “L’Heure Et La Trajectoire“, in limited editions on black vinyl and colored vinyl. It’s interesting how such a label would ever take interest in VARSOVIE, whilst mainly focusing within black metal. Good for the band. So here we are, they’ve just announced the release of their latest album and everything’s dandy. Well, everything actually is pretty dandy. Repartiseraren have gotten the opportunity to premiere “Détruire Carthage” (Destroy Carthage), a track we’re particularly fond of from the new album. It’s got a rather short running time of around roughly three minutes, but all the ingredients of this fierce post-punk band—all of the energy, the ambitious and dark conditions for a nicely crafted post-punk sound—for you as a listener to stream from here. Enjoy it as much as you can!

Spotlight [Compilation Special]: Not So Cold and White Circles [Part II]

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The newcomers from Eastern Europe called YusYus have proven themselves to be very efficient; both musically but also in other respects. Having released three singles since March of 2013—all of them have been dedicated to compilations. Their latest track “Proleter“, which is featured on the Not So Cold – A Warm Wave compilation, is adopted lyrically from Esad Babačić—front-man for a short-lived Yugoslavian punk-band called Via Ofensiva—that were active in the 1980’s. Re-modeled from post-punkish hardcore, but containing the same melodies sung by Esad, for the melodious run-around for the minimal synth outfit that represents YusYus. What’s most interesting is the gradual shift from the warmth of the synthesized baseline to the cold re-interpreted vocals. Combining electronic tenderness with a stale cold-wave suspension. Ambitiously crafted alongside the original influences, coming at you with a straight rhythm for a rocky appearance, chiseling out the prerequisite for a marvelous sculpture. Nothing is left for the coincidence—everything is carefully planned and staked out for their seemingly effortless implementation.

Having just released a second album, Italian post-punk, darkwave, shoegaze duo Schonwald pick and choose from a range of influences. Their contribution for the compilation is “Gemini“, a track originally featured on their double-single “Mercury / Gemini“, put out on 7¨-vinyl by the American label Hozac Records, in 2013. When it comes to their sound, thoughtfulness are their strongest key to combining these different genres. A hugely sounding bass-drum that pushes everything forward, together with suggestive vocals that solicit our inner feelings—using metaphors in their lyrics to provoke an emotional reaction. Most of it seems to be somewhere in between minimal synth and those sub-genres, but that doesn’t explain the multifaceted deliverance which their darkwave vein conjure in the atmosphere for them. This is from a time where they were in between having released a first album in 2008—experimental as hell—searching for a new sound. We think it was a good situation for them to be in, because this certainly stitch everything together, from beginning to end. Both for the individual track, but also in a larger perspective.

Now here’s a newcomer (at least for us) we forgot about, namely: Tiers. Actualized once again whilst searching for music to write about, as they had been put up digitally on Artificial Records some days ago—for their sophomore release “Winter“—which had been released a year ago from now, on vinyl. Their song “Vignette” is a new one featured on this compilation. What I like about Tiers is how their atonal sound makes for a harsh cold-induced venture into depths of a snow-ridden landscape—much like the title for their release. That’s also one of the reasons I don’t really like their sound, although the vocals are OK, some of their otherwise conceptually interesting sound shows itself to be sloppy. Most of it drifts away into nothingness without leaving you with any reflections on whether you’ve just been snowed in, or if what you heard had any bearing at all—leaving a mark? It starts off good but the more you get into it the more you want to get away from it. The repetitiveness doesn’t give or take anything from the atmosphere as such, nor’ does the instrumentation at any point—it just goes into a mish-mash of… what ever one could call it. We must give them appraisal for their ambitions, because the sloppiness isn’t derived out of them not trying anything at all and just going where they feel like—but rather for trying too hard. We get nowhere and we’re going to suffer from hypothermia if we stay here.

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Staying true to the concept—Hungarian artist Adam Berces have named his track “Hőhullám” (Heatwave). His own journey began with the compilation “A Classical Collection: 2006-2011” on the label Hard Body Sounds, in 2012. Two years later his album “Posztapokaliptikus Almanach” came out in two versions on SINCRONICA. Now he’s gracing us with a completely new song, where he goes ballistic on electronic body music fused with electro and minimal synth-pop. Though his vocals are enhanced and his robotic coolness shines throughout, it merely comes off as a cheap throw-down of 1980’s synth-pop versus a re-imagined minimalistic sound—allowing no ambivalent contrasts or synchronized, swell bombardments of imaginative sounds. No, this is a primitive ravishment that leaves little to your own imagination. Be it for better or worse, things can’t get more straight-forward than this. So the negative annotations to what we feel his musical achievement delivers with this track, can be turned upside down and be used as positive remarks. It depends whether you like it this way or not, and we must admit that we like it when there’s a transcendental feeling, an enchanting vision that cannot be grasped. Another thing which saves him a little bit is the general catchiness he manages to pull off between dark layers of electro, with the minimalistic drums and triggered sounds that come crashing in.

The flagship from Tacuara Records are now entering the mix. Yes, we’re talking about Vólkova—a project that is pleasurable to be introduced to for the first time. César Canali who runs the label is a part of this duo together with Paula Lazzarino. With their song for this compilation, “Come and See“—we’re flabbergasted immediately. It’s a completely new song and it alludes to the general purpose of their project, a melancholic vibe which is blended with ambient music and a film noir touch, occasional flirts with deranged noise and on bordering from darkwave into industrial for moments—quickly replaced with a piano and the continual mesmerizing beat—suddenly entering a breakbeat outbreak which flips the atmosphere entirely.  We must say that it’s one of the more interesting songs on this release so far, unfortunately some of the atmospheric and sullen sound-scape is ruined by the accentuation in the vocals. An exotic touch at first which actually blends into everything else very well, like a subversive message being uttered now and again—but it falls short in its repetitious nagging. Whenever nothing too chaotic is happening it fits, but the further in you get the more tired you are of hearing broken English and his willful dialect. Despite that—we’re more then pleased about their contribution.

Songs from “White Circle Compilation” will also be included into this article, you’ll just have to wait until it’s updated.

Listen: Halvtrak – Dust Under Bridges (Appendix I/​II)

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You shouldn’t be afraid of house and techno. That is the message that Don’t Be Afraid sends, a label that is based out of the UK whose specialization lies within leftfield house and techno. Having released their first 12¨ vinyl with Semtek‘s (Benjamin Roth) mini-album “Bells / Tower / Key” in 2010 – continuing with the single “Idiotland“, the mini-album “Lotos Eaters” – finishing the streak with him when “West Acyd Shelter” came out. After that, Mr. Beatnik (Nick Wilson) got his mini-album “Synthetes” released, following up with yet another Semtek-release – which ended 2011. In 2010, they only released Semtek. Since then, they’ve put out releases with everyone from MGUN, Alis, Claws For? to Kelpe, four different compilations as Spargel Trax Vol. 1-4, Disco Nihilist and Neville Watson. Now we’re suddenly in 2013. Since then, there haven’t really been anything released by Don’t Be Afraid. We’re about to change that perception and so are they, as Halvtrak returned since his first and only EP titled “Dust Under Bridges EP“. Basically a nostalgic follow-up whose post-mortem got re-released.

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His newly released “Dust Under Bridges (Appendix I/II)” on Don’t Be Afraid, are nine tracks that serve as an appendage for his EP that was released last year. These tracks are basically the remnants of what that was recorded back then, nine tracks which Henri Puolitaival (Halvtrak) deemed to not be worthy of release. They had previously been recorded onto tape by himself, but had never been officially released. Since they originally were released on cassette, Don’t Be Afraid set their mission straight, and released it as a limited edition cassette two days ago. I believe that when I hear these tracks, I can not help but bob my head to the wondrous melodies, the clingy atmosphere and the continually aggressive tempo. Some tracks are more timid, whilst others bring an almost acidic mixture to his technotic house. You’ll be hypnotized by the string of beats that are dragged along by a spaced out landscape of sound. It’s calling for you, calling you to your homeland – in the sky. Sometimes the sheer primitiveness haunt these tracks, as they begin to evolve into something bigger than thou, finalizing the fine atmospheres that is his creation. You can stream and listen to the whole release down below, and you can buy the cassette from Don’t Be Afraid.

Spotlight: Various Artists – W A V E C O R E 2!

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This is a compilation released last year that I meant to cover, but never had the time to cover. W A V E C O R E is essentially a compilation that features artists and groups that have any connection with the label releasing it, namely Anywave, or artists and groups of their liking. It’s a compilation that last year on the seventeenth of December got released in its second edition. The first edition of this compilation was released earlier that year, but I simply scrolled by it and didn’t mention it at all – which is a shame, really. Both compilations feature artists and groups from far and away, all the way from Mexico to Kiev, from Montreal to Poland. Essentially, they haven’t really gotten that much in common, except the fact that they each represent a genre that is virtually unrepresented in the mainstream. Such genres as cold wave, “post wave”, minimal electronics, and the like – have rarely (if ever) struck a chord with the mainstream. Much can be said about that, but most of it is also only represented by alternatives – if they’re trendy, or fit the construed mold of the month.

Anyway, less blabbering about what’s bound to happen, and more about what isn’t. There are a lot of artists and groups on this compilation that I didn’t even know existed, before. Like for example Défecit Budgétaire, Amalaise, Минск, Supahmoonmoon and Jari Pitkänen. The others, I know a bit about, or know a little more then that. Brusque Twins were one of my more obvious finds last year. Whilst I only know a little bit about Psychic Hearts, L’Avenir, Blablarism, Prairie, Jaqueline Sauvage, Kindest Cuts, Mareux, How To Disappear Completely and Seventeen At This Time. All these artists and groups are featured on this compilation, which is seventeen tracks long, spanning on a time that clocks in at roughly seventy minutes. The wonderfully constructed artwork was created by Myriam Barchetat, printed by Atelier OASP, songs were carefully selected by Half Summer – and the whole she-bang was mastered at Anywave Studio – which is basically their own studio.

So, what can be found here? Anything that would interest you if you’re into more obscure music. Everything from post-punk with harsher electronica, to minimal electronics throwing a hizzy fit, together with the most weird and out-there ambient you can find. But that’s not all, as you’ll stumble upon some concrete synth-pop, magical future-pop and utterly brilliant experimental electronics. Well, this is obviously not everything that can be depicted, but it’s a taste of what you can hear there. If you want to buy this compilation, it comes in various forms. A limited DIY digipack for 12 dollars, both compilations digitally for 20 dollars, both compilations physically on CD – together with “Onlooker” by Avgvst, for 25 dollars. Also, the compilation itself can be bought digitally for 7 dollars. So you make up your mind, but listen to and stream it down below – it will be well worth it if you tune in.

Some questions for Michael Thiel from Weyrd Son Records!

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Michael Thiel is the son of the man that was Snowy Red, whose name was Marcel Thiel. With the first release coming out from his newly started label, Weyrd Son Records, which was a tribute to Snowy Red by a multitude of synth-artists – his label became a part of what might be a future legacy. This son of Belgium is the sole proprietor of the label, and he makes everything work. Since he shaped the idea for the label back in 2012, it started to become a real label when the compilation “_ever Alive – a tribute to Snowy Red” was released in May, 2013. Which had the catalog-number WyS-001. I’m all about this label, so I sent Michael some questions about it, hinting on future releases, the symbolic nature of the first compilation, the artists featured on his label – and much more. Tune in for another questionnaire, that is simply too great to be overlooked. At least if you ask me, but I hope you’ll enjoy reading it.

Your label is pretty new, since it’s only been around since the late December of 2012, from what I’ve noticed. The first release, the tribute to Snowy Red, seems to have been a huge success. What was it like in the process of starting your label?

– Indeed. I officially announced the creation of Weyrd Son Records around late December 2012. A full tribute album to Snowy Red already crossed into my mind a while ago, but it was in the morning of a day in April that I clearly stated; that from that day on, I would work seriously on that first release. I had a few band names in mind, but for some reason I thought it would be quite hard to find a record label that might be interested to release a records with so many “new bands”. I didn’t want anyone to impose any bands or artists I wouldn’t work with, so I immediately thought I would do everything by myself and create my own brand to have a full control of that project.

How hard was it to gather all these artists for this huge compilation?

– I would be lying to say it was a piece of cake doing this. The most difficult part was to be sure I would receive all the tracks on time, which didn’t happen. It takes a lot of energy to give everyone the same motivation that you have yourself. They were of course motivated, but as long as the project is not 100% theirs, you can’t really expect for them to be involved in it – as much as you are. I mean, from that morning of April 2012, I decided to dedicate the biggest part of my time to everything related to the compilation. All those great artists have their own life, their own music and duty, it’s a normal thing – that they would put me on hold for some days. Plus, I didn’t want to push them too much, because I wanted them to take the time they would need to do what they do, in the best of ways. I guess I was just too confident about the deadline. Now I know what it’s like, for the forthcoming releases.

I’m just guessing that you are the brother of Marcel Thiel, so it seems pretty obvious why a tribute to Snowy Red was the first release. Was this a symbolic act for you in honor of his memory?

– Micky Mike was my dad.

It’s true, I didn’t want anything else to come out first on the label. It was at first pretty symbolic, indeed. I had already experienced such a workload three years ago when I was in charge with the art direction of the 5 LP boxset of Snowy Red that got released on Onderstroom. I insisted to do the artwork, and write the text for the whole booklet, so what I did was to get in touch with everyone who was close to my dad and worked with him; photographers, musicians, make-up artists, film makers, sound engineers, friends, etc. I then started to interview them all and my whole work was based on what I’ve learned about him. It was my way to get closer to my dad and to his music, I guess. I was only 4 when the first Snowy Red record came out. Of course I knew all the records by heart already, but I needed to have another approach towards the music and the artist himself. I used to listen to the whole discography while working on the designs and texts. It was pretty inspiring and I did exactly the same thing this time, with the tribute album. Every time I discovered a new facet of Snowy Red, and even more now when other people are playing it.

You’ve got a lot of artists featured on your “roster”, which is pretty weird since the label is very new. Since you aim on giving them total artistic freedom, would that be why they’ve joined up with Weyrd Son Records?

– I can’t really speak for them, but it’s true that I to give the artists 100% control of what they work on for Weyrd Son Records. I really think giving everyone the space they need is the best way to get great things in return. I would never tell anyone “hey, you should sound more like this or that”, or: “that voice part should better be done this way instead”. Who am I to pretend that I know better than themselves, in what their true musical personality is?

Are you the only guy working with the label, and how much time does it consume from your everyday life?

– I’m officially the only person involved, as I’m the only one making the decisions in the end. But there are a few people around me like friends, my sister and my girlfriend, who are giving their opinion – or simply giving me advice. But there’s always one person that is constantly around that I speak a lot with. I would say that it helps me to understand what people are waiting for, what kind of things they would expect from a label. I don’t really buy everything he’s saying, but at least it’s really interesting to hear someone else’s point of view.

Since you’ve already revealed what you’re going to release on your label, both for me and Radio Campus, I was wondering if there’s something you’d like to cover about these releases that haven’t already been said?

– So far, I haven’t really been talking about the fifth release, which I know is some kind of event. It’s about a fresh new band out of the LA-scene. Their name is High-Functioning Flesh, consisting of the duo Susan Subtract (Branes), and Gregory Fronczak. They released a four-tracked tape four months ago and the whole synth-scene in LA went into a mini-blast. I immediately fell in love with them, and I’m counting them in amongst my future projects, which is truly my biggest pride.

Have there been any other labels that you’ve taken influence from, when you decided to start up your label?

– I guess that every single label that has a true and strong personality has or had an influence on me. They are most of the time pretty different, musically speaking, to what I tend to work on – but things like visual communication or artistic coherence are always good lessons to get influenced by. Sometimes I listen to every single artist or record that the label is showing to the world. My interest for a label is sometimes as strong as for music itself. To speak more about the ones that impacted me greatly, I would say that the following three, were those responsible of influencing me: Ideologic Organ (a sublabel of Mego), Sacred Bones Records and Sige. I truly love their artists, but I’d say that it’s pretty far from what I’m working with, musically. But I admire how coherent they are, and the quality of their products, design and inventiveness.

What kind of artists and bands have gotten in contact with you, besides those that are already confirmed?

– Actually, Marburg, the Polish band that is on the tribute to Snowy Red, have gotten in contact with me. There have been a few, mostly doing synth music, of course. But the one I got the biggest interest for was a band doing some true rock’n’roll music. It kinda reminded me of POP 1280, which I ‘m quite a big fan of. I hope I won’t sound like an asshole, but I don’t really like the exercise of being contacted by bands. The reason is that most of the time people aren’t really fitting my vision of what I want to work on. But if I like their stuff, I’m always ready to help.

As a celebratory gesture, you also released the mixtape “The Weyrd Dig Nasty” – celebrating the release of your label. Did it live up to your objective of the label?

– That mixtape was a way for me to put something out that was related to the label, with almost all the artists involved in the tribute, being featured on it. I wanted to give an overview of what Weyrd Son Records was all about, at least for the next few months of action.

When thinking about the label itself, how much response have you gotten from people since the start?

– I got lots of great response so far. Both from the artists I’m working with and people who have heard about Weyrd Son Records, that purchased the first release. Those great comments are making me thinking this was definitely the right move, and certainly the best thing I’ve ever started.

If you got to pick for yourself, what kind of artists or bands would you like to have on your label as a complement?

– Oh, wow. There are so many. There are awesome new bands that I really love, like BOAN, Ssleeperhold and Keluar..They’re all releasing their first record this year on great labels. But if I had to pick some names among confirmed artists, I would say Mushy, Lebanon Hanover and Scorpion Violente. Also, if we were to speak of other music that can’t be fitted into what kind of genres I deal with, I’d say that Chelsea Wolfe, who’s become my biggest musical crush since a decade ago. Or, if we move in the periphery, Eyvind Kang, if we’re going to speak of someone who blew my mind for the last two years.

Since your label is an independent one, are you going to expand in any direction or keep it smaller?

– I’m really not thinking about the possibility to expand. Plus, I think that it would be a mistake. I don’t want to loose a dimension that works, which makes me so happy right now. What I like here is that I have a privileged relationship with everyone, and with the bands. I also try to have a great contact with the customers by replying to every single request or remark. It takes time, but it gives me a really strong feeling to read that someone’s happy, from having a nice reply in the mail. I guess that only I will do for now. As long as I can do everything by myself, I will.

When you package things, they seem luxurious. Do you devote a lot of time to make it unique?

– I don’t think they’re so luxurious right now. But I guess what you could say is that I want them to be more and more luxurious. I’d like to make even more beautiful packages. But that takes so much time, because mostly I have to ship forty copies in a day.

The general aesthetics of Weyrd Son Records seem to be somewhat  industrially influenced, but also minimalistic. Where do you seek your inspiration for that?

– Graphic design is one of my biggest passions. I studied fine arts at school and I used to be really inspired by ancient Japanese art and paintings. Mostly because they use space and “visual silence” as a dialogue with forms and colors. The purity of a line, and of a shape is important to me, as they’re much like a signature. It’s also true that there’s something “industrial” about it, like the logo I created, and the colors I use. I want it to be something in between old fashioned and contemporary – but always classy.

Alright, it’s time to wrap up. What’s going to happen in the coming months?

– The next six months will be pretty busy, filled with lots of surprises. I just sent the artwork and mastering for the second release to the pressing plant, which is the Mushy/Meddicine split EP. It is a re-release on vinyl of the split tape that got released a year ago on Meddicine’s own label Sixsixsixties Records. Then there will be another reissue that will see the light of day around September. Which is the Linea Aspera 3-tracked EP. They released the amazing tape “II” right before they split up. It got sold out almost immediately and I was so pissed off that I missed it. The artwork of that one will be pretty special, but I won’t say too much about it now. The fourth release, that will actually have the catalog number WyS-003 is a three-EP boxset of White Horse. It’s the solo project of Ben Chisholm, who’s a full time member of Chelsea Wolfe’s band. He recently changed the name of White Horse into Revelator, but since he created all that music under the name of White Horse, we both agreed it was better to keep it under that name. This masterpiece in three volumes is titled “The Revenant Gospels”. Haunting and haunted.

I’ve know this music for two years now. I’ve been waiting for someone to release it, and for me to have the chance to hold a copy of it in my hands. But for some reasons that puzzles me, regarding the so outstanding quality of it, it never happened. But I’m ultimately happy that no-one did, because I’m so proud being part of this. And the fifth release will be a six-tracked EP from High-Functioning Flesh. The band that I was talking about earlier.

Listen to the tribute compilation for Snowy Red, that was released by Weyrd Son Records some time ago, down below.

Interview with Jeff Southard of Swoon Records!

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Swoon Records is an independent record label located in Tacoma, Washington. It was founded back in 2010 by the recording, mixing and mastering engineer Jeff Southard. It’s the home of several artists and bands, like Makeup Monsters, Santee and their latest addition Tangerine, just to count a few. But it’s not your regular independent label, because he’s got a lot of tricks up his sleeve. Amongst one of the benefits for artists and bands that are hosted on his roster, is that they get to use the Swoon Records studio for free – meaning that they’ll also have unlimited access to the studio and its equipment. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also got a 50/50 policy when it comes to sales. He takes fifty and the artists take fifty, fair and square. I decided to contact him and interview him, so I asked him about his label, the history of it, the music industry and much more. You can read it in whole, down below.

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Spotlight: Function Operate – Volume II

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I stumbled upon this majestic piece of work, released by the label Function Operate. It’s a collectivized form of enjoyment, gathering the bright minds, sorting under different aliases. This ten-track long compilation of different enjoyable genres will take you for a ride through atmospheric cold wave, sincere shoegaze, dark and dampened minimal synth, tar-coated post-punk, or even to the width of magnificent synth-pop. Artists and bands that are featured on it are the following: Koban, Some Ember, Victoriana, The Harrow, Warmline, Claps, Tiers, Pretty Bleak, Ortrotasce and Redredred. It was mastered by Jimmy Derr and the wonderfully minimalistic cover was made by Jude Pierre. For the mere sake of purchasing it, you’ll only have to give 6 dollars for this great compilation. It is limited to 200 C60 cassettes, so you should get yours. Make up your own mind by listening through it down below.