"Microcassette Quatrains" CD
Genres: lo-fi, diy pop, experimental
PO Box 2192
Bloomington, IN 47402
Oct 27 - Nov 2 2003
Microcassette Quatrains opens with a ten minute introduction
that perfectly sets the stage for what ensues. It's a distorted
sound sculpture presumably recorded on microcassette that is either
irritating or mesmerizing, depending on your frame of reference.
For those who can appreciate lo-fi experimental pseudo-pop
music, it will be all you could ever ask for.
The first fifteen songs of [Minmae]'s epic are concerned with
the a-side and b-side of his 1998-1999 recorded album, while the last
two are culled from his Poltergeist over England 7" that
was originally released on DIY label Airborne Virus Records.
[Minmae]'s most successful tracks are those that blend tape
machine distortion with pop melodies. The clashing of the
guitars (and their pedals) with the microcassette recording's sound
limits is eerily dreamy and almost shoegazer-esque. A fine
example is instrumental piece "Minmae Opens Novella," which
is a pile of slipping beats and dreamy guitar soloing.
"Wantonness," meanwhile, is a spacey pop number, complete
with a beautiful guitar part and mysteriously unintelligible
vocals. He could be singing about any number of devious (and
deviant) things and there'd be no way the listener could understand what he
was saying - which is either good or bad, depending on how you look at
Other notable songs include the beautifully melodic "The
Bastard", the long, droning "Long Wave," and the
keyboard-based number "How Union and Beech Used to
Be." Lo-fi, acoustic pop tune "The Understatement of
the Month" is another highlight. The tracks from [Minmae]'s old 7" are
much sparser, more electronic affairs, although "Macros Dub" is a
really pleasant piece of semi-ambient music.
Overall, this is a very good disc from a very talented and
well-respected lo-fi musician. Although definitely recommended for
fans of the genre, Microcassette Quatrains will probably have a
tough time appealing to those not already acquainted with the world of
DIY experimental pop.
[Vitals: 17 tracks, distributed by the
label, released 2003]