steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
info opinion


"Microcassette Quatrains" CD


Genres: lo-fi, diy pop, experimental

PO Box 2192
Bloomington, IN 47402

Oct 27 - Nov 2 2003

[Minmae]'s 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 it.

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.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 17 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]