Review Roundup: Worriedaboutsatan/Stefan Bachmeier (Tapes)

News / December 15, 2017

For Cassette Store Day, UK label Spun Out of Control released two new tapes —  Worriedaboutsatan’s Blank Tapes and Stefan Bachmeier’s Anomaly on Meadow Lane — and while both are based in electronic sounds, they couldn’t be more different. And that range is one of the reasons Spun Out of Control’s output has been so excellent over the course of their existence: while the label is an “electronic label,” it’s not all bleeps and bloops.

Now, to be fair, Anomaly on Meadow Lane is pretty bleepy and bloopy. Per the tape’s liner notes, “The shadowy Stefan Bachmeier was (or is?) both an author of short science-fiction stories and an electronic musician, who, in a short space of time, recorded a rumoured 50 concept albums to accompany his writing.”

The Bachmeier tapes sound as if they were created by a “reclusive and paranoid” musician who listened to an awful lot of BBC Radiophonic Workshop as a youngster, and then tried to recreate it without having heard it in decades. It’s brilliant and disconcerting, possessing a very shadowy sort of mystique, while having been “painstakingly restored and re-mastered” by Polpore’s Stephen Buckley.

Worriedaboutsatan will appeal to anyone who’s found joy in the work of Survive or the work by that act’s Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon on Stranger Things. The Yorkshire duo’s music is dark and mysterious, but they keep it readily danceable by throwing in some really excellent grooves. Blank Tape isn’t entirely instrumental, however, with a couple tracks using guest vocalists: “This Restless Wing” features Vincent Cavanagh, and Bristol’s Face + Heel appear on “Lament.”

Both vocal cuts take a turn for the territory of the XX, and are a little more swirly and ambient than the instrumental-only cuts, which tend toward the darker end of the spectrum. It’s all very moody, whether musical vibe is more positive or negative, and any Goth worth their stripes would be honored to throw this on at their next party.

If you can get your hands on either Anomaly on Meadow Lane or Blank Tape — or, really, anything released from Spun Out of Control — snatch them up. Whether you like Bachmeier’s sounds — fit to soundtrack an eldritch invasion from beyond the mountains of madness — or Worriedaboutsatan’s tunes — cool and aloof, yet absolutely intense pulses of darkness — you’ll be set for a headphone-worthy blast.

That’s the real indicator of what Spun Out of Control is doing so well, actually — the headphone test. There’s no wow, hiss, or flutter in these cassettes. They have as strong a sonic fidelity as most mass-market digital-to-vinyl releases, and certainly, quite a bit more warmth.

The Bachmeier album comes on a limited edition tape with a translucent tentacle orange shell, and Blank Tape is available in a blue and white colour split cassette with chrome silver pad printing. The J-card artwork and layout for Anomaly on Meadow Lane is by Eric Adrian Lee, who also did the layout for Worriedaboutsatan’s release, although the band did the art. Both include a download code.

Both are available for purchase, here.

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Nick Spacek
Nick Spacek was once a punk, but realized you can’t be hardcore and use the word “adorable” as often as he does. Nick is a self-described “rock star journalist,” which is strange, considering he’s married with four cats and usually goes to bed by 9. This is just further proof that you can’t trust anyone online.

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