Recently I stumbled across the New York label, Rok Lok Records, and spent the better part of a gloriously slow eight hour shift checking out their diverse array of offerings. The above band, Little…
Raw Power Writings had some really nice things to say about Rok Lok and some even better things to say about LITTLE WHIRLS “Sedateness At the Movies” cassette
Listen to: Other Half/Bright Encounter by Cestine
Together, Dominic Coppola and Theodore Schafer form the experimental/ambient duo that is Cestine. Seemingly out of nowhere their 2013 digital only debut release, “Pressed” impressed me so with its minimal, drone compositions that I reached out to them to express my interest in their work. At some point I offered an interest to document Cestine’s work on Rok Lok and sometime later here we are with the duo’s latest work “Other Half/Bright Encounter”. This two song cassette showcases two lengthy tracks of minimal ambiance that is performed with such a mature sense of timing and restraint, where the natural dynamics of the compositions just flow. Cestine locks into warm sounds of droney waves and builds upon layers in such a subdued manner that one is enveloped in a calm of manipulated synth drones, and honed improvisation. Not a single sound ever feels rushed or cluttered-even the field recordings explored are done so in a manner that is not obtrusive to the overall aura of the work. The spaciousness achieved by Cestine reminds of the work of Widesky, R. Sawyer or Steve Reich. “Other Half/Bright Encounter” is an immersive, introspective experience that commands a listener’s attention to fully appreciate but at the same time doesn’t give into the lure of lengthy, self indulgent forays sound experimentation but rather a more focused and refined sense of minimal composition. “Other Half/Bright Encounter” is limited to an edition of 40 cassettes (home dubbed in real time) packaged in full color, numbered j-cards and stamped labels.
Listen to: Let It Ride by Jan
As someone who has been doing this label for as long as I have seventeen years to be exact I honestly can’t recall a period of time that has excited me as much as the last few years have. And that excitement is in large part to the sheer breadth of “home recorders” and bedroom musicians. So many interesting and daring creative ideas have been documented and shared with the world. As much as I always speak my love of the 90s lo-fi and home recording tape movement I have to speak as highly of how through the ease of home recording technology (heck many of us walk around with a personal studio of sorts on our smartphones) and how the internet has allowed like-minded creative folks-artists, labels and zines and listeners network with one another to share their niche oriented music. What does all of this have to do with the music Dayton, OH’s Jan you might ask? Well, through the lo-fi and cassette forums of the Reddit community I was introduced to the music created by John Rademaker, the creative force behind Jan. “Let It Ride” is a diverse collection of home recorded sounds that finds the project alternating through personas that are more ambient and bedroom guitar folk oriented while other tracks delve into forays that are more electronic, chill-wave tinged. Rademaker tastefully meshes together found sound with well placed drones and swells, which creates a sound that sounds very organic and not contrived at all. “Let It Ride” ebbs and flows and hosts a variety of sounds-guitar, keyboard, treated vocals, field recordings and electronic triggered percussion but never crowds the listening space rather creates lush environments for the songs to roam around in. “Let It Ride” is a 7 song mini album that is limited to an edition of 40 home dubbed cassettes (in real time) with full color, numbered cardstock j-cards and stamped labels.
Modern Vinyl did a little write up about SNOW WHAT “So Far So Good” 12 inch
SNOW WHAT “So Far So Good” 12 inch out now!!
For fans of Guided By Voices, Sebadoh and Chisel!
Five new releases on Rok Lok Records. Check em out!
(l to r)
-LITTLE WHIRLS “Sedateness At the Movies” cassette
-LOVE LETTER “Gentle Memories” cassette
-STARS ARE INSANE/MORGUE TOAD “split” cassette
-STARS ARE INSANE “Anonymously Yours” cassette
-SNOW WHAT “So Far So Good” 12 inch
EUREKA CALIFORNIA/GOOD GRIEF east coast tour
EUREKA CALIFORNIA/GOOD GRIEF east coast tour starts Saturday
July 19: Alexandria, VA @ The Lab w/Soundtrack to Sleep
July 20: Arlington, VA @ Galaxy Hut
July 21: Philadelphia, PA @ Golden Tea House w/Joe Jack Talcum, humanshapes
July 22: Lindenwold, NJ @ The Sex Dungeon w/Brick Mower
July 23: NYC @ Shea Stadium w/Crow Bait, Deep Pockets
July 24: Salem, VA @ Billy’s Barn w/Bastards of Fate
July 25: Athens, GA @ Slopfest
July 27: Atlanta, GA @ The Music Room w/Muuy Biien, Hip to Death
July 28: Chapel Hill, NC @ Night Light w/Wichita Falls
July 29: Charlottesville, VA @ Tea Bazaar w/International Friendly