(2014 Memorials of Distinction)
Recycling old tapes isn't a completely new concept. Since the dawn of cassette culture, fledgling garage punk bands and avant-garde experimentalists alike have, in true lo-fi fashion, engaged in the act of auditory hubris, blotting out hit singles, mixtapes and old sermons in favor of their own vibrations. It's a stark act of post-consumerism, and at times, I'm weak-willed enough to feel a twinge of guilt when I come in contact with such a product of iconoclasm. While How To Organize Your Life and Get Rid of Clutter, the first tape compilation released by British label Memorials of Distinction, is pressed onto a self-help cassette of the same name, it's extremely inventive in that in incorporates spoken word selections from the original audio into the album itself. Musically, the compilation is a cohesive mix of artists that share the same dreamy sonic pallet, yet no two bands apply them to the canvas in the same way.
Opening the tape's A-side is Sophia Deville's "Hidden", a spacey track that isolates tender vocals in a vast, empty expanse of shoegazey warble paired with a slinking, exotic drum machine loop. Between it and its successor is the foreword to the self-help book, complete with canned applause. This sort of footage is not just used as an accessory though; it is what glues the compilation together and helps it flow, incorporating itself into the opening drone of "Lame" by Smiling Disease and is sucked into the tornado of noise that is sAtAnic rituAl Abuse's "Above Calvary". Sampling aside though, my favorite moments on the tape include Lizzard Bleach's surfy avant-punk and Mewlips' growly noise rock, which at times seems to be influenced by experimental hip-hop. Compilations can often feel a bit confusing and overly diverse in texture, but this particular one is perfectly cohesive.