Bird People – Constellations

IMG_20150822_165432 From Vienna, Austria hails Ulrich Rois’ majestic Bird People project. Sometimes its just Ulrich and sometimes its a full band. For “Constellations” its a trio of Ulrich, Roy Culbertson III and Lucas Henao Serna. This time the drone harvest is one with a rich vein of Indian classical drone via the anticipation of Austrian spring. Ulrich, Roy and Lucas on this album use lap steel, singing bowls, mountain dulcimer, shruti box, bass, esraj, banjo, singing bowls, gong, accordion and electric organ to take you away to imaginary mountain retreats and impossible landscapes.

Easily the deepest, most blissed-out release yet to grace our spools. This one is a limited edition of 75 and comes on fluorescent green tapes with beautiful cover artwork by Sarah Coppen.

Out mid to late August, pre ordering now from HERE


Saturday, July 25th, 2015 Tape 4 Comments

Suzuki Junzo – If I Die Before I Wake

IMG_20150625_142242We’re very proud to have been putting Suzuki Junzo on in Hebden Bridge every year since 2010 and we’re even prouder to be releasing the next chapter in his recording career. How to describe Junzo’s work to the unitiated? He is a cosmic bluesman whose work ranges from skeltal laments to space-ripping walls of noise. His live shoes and records usually capture all these extremes. He’s in bands with Tabata Mitsuru of AMT/Zeni Geva, Koji Shimura of Mainliner

‘If I Die Before I Wake’ is another gem for his discography and takes an interesting new approach. Side one is all brand new studio work and sees Junzo accompanied by veteran drummer Takahashi Ikuro (High Rise, LSD March, Overhang Party and many more). Side two, meanwhile, is a live solo show from 2014 at the Fortress Callosum in San Francisco.

A: Studio 2015
1.Crossing the Valley of the Cosmic Death Demons [08:39]
2.Les Visiteurs du Soir [10:53]
3.If I Die Before I Wake [12:28]

B: Live at Fortress Callosum SF/CA, 21/11/2014
1.She Kissed Their Graves but They Hit Her with Their Ashes [04:38]
2.In the Lair of Norma Desmond / 4 Mosche di Velluto Grigio [22:49]

Limited edition of 70 copies, coming out July 13th. Pre orders now been taken from https://wasistdas.bigcartel.com

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Wednesday, June 10th, 2015 Tape 2 Comments

Ekca Liena – Lacia Is Joined

IMG_20150516_062138Its taken a while but I’ve finally got Daniel MacKenzie of Plurals to let me put out the first ever tape from his solo project Ekca Liena. How to describe this music? Its difficult to pin down but it is a kind of high-fidelity blend of electronic drones and intense waves of guitar noise. You might say if Natural Snow Buildings sound comes from rural France then Ekca Liena does a similar thing for decaying urban Britain. When I listen to it I imagine beautiful glowing sunsets over crumbling, derelict industrial estates.

You can listen for yourself right now as for this album we are selling it via bandcamp so you can stream it there right now and you will get a free download of it immediately when you buy it but I really can’t stress enough that this is an album that needs to be experienced as a whole not by dipping in for few seconds or skipping through the tracks on bandcamp while listening on rubbish laptop speakers. This is over 70 minutes of deep listening music and needs total immersion for maximum results.

It’s been mastered by Andrew Liles (Nurse With Wound/Current 93), sleeve design by Daniel himself and cover photo by me. We’re only doing 50 copies which means after artists copies and subscribers copies that we have less than 20 of these going on sale. Get it here while you still can.

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Monday, May 11th, 2015 Download, Tape No Comments

Daphne Oram – Pop Tryouts

IMG_20150324_184320 Introducing Mondo Hebden which is the name we are using for releasing archival music (as opposed to Was Ist Das? which is for new music). Our first release really is from the first lady of British electronic music and founder of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop – Daphne Oram.

It came about because I’ve spent the past 10 months working on a book about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and ended up at Goldsmiths University going through Daphne’s papers. While I was there I was given the opportunity to listen to her archives and the contents of tape number 037, marked “Pop Tryouts” really struck me.

It seems to be various different arrangements and takes of the same track, a very melodic part of the “Birds Of Parralax” suite featured on the excellent “Oramics” compilation. Daphne tackles it in a variety of ways including acapella and proto-techno. It was probably made around 1972/1973 as it was for the ballet “Xallaraparallax” which Daphne which Daphne’s paperwork refers to as being worked on in that period.

It gives a fascinating glimpse into her working methods and gets the melody very firmly lodged into your memory! Its been gently remastered but the two acoustic tracks have some inevitable room hiss on them. Thank you to the Daphne Oram Trust for making this all possible.

The tape will be shipping mid-March and the book, “An Electric Storm” will be out in Autumn. You can pre-order the book fromObverse Books


Limited edition of 150 copies, pre-order from http://wasistdas.bigcartel.com/


Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 Download, Mondo Hebden, Tape 3 Comments

Kawabata Makoto – In the Lodge of Prince Frederick

IMG_20150114_104506nearly 50 minutes of Makoto exploring the possibilities of his guitar in Hebden Bridge’s Masonic Hall. Makoto’s solo output away from Acid Mothers Temple is always far more way-out there and here he creates a wide-ranging cosmic adventure that goes from heaven to hell and back again. Limited edition of 130 copies on orange cassettes.

Out now! Order from https://wasistdas.bigcartel.com

Kawabata Makoto manages to channel the distilled spirit of Hebden Bridge in this solo set of electric guitar and what sounds like a slew of pitch shifter, ring modulator and delay pedals. As with most of his solo recordings, here Makoto eschews the prog/psych excesses of his various groups in favour of a starker, more introverted approach that ranges from isolationist ambience and shimmering waves of silvery chords to alien plumes of twisting feedback, motion sickness glissando and melancholy cello-like resonances. He moves across the various sections of the set with seamless grace, conjuring up a similar atmosphere of cosmic wonder seen in some of Keiji Haino’s more meditative moments or KK Null’s early solo guitar work. I’m not sure when this was recorded but I’m guessing it was winter as there’s a frosty, almost glacial feel to the music that’s perfect for theses dark months.” – Jim at Norman Records

What a title, eh? Like The Incredible String Band jamming in the background of some lost Twin Peaks episode … or something. Anybody who’s followed the solo guitar explorations of Acid Mothers Temple’s spiritual leader Kawabata Makoto knows he well and truly eschews his “Speed Guru” nickname for what usually constitutes lengthy, minimal, often improvised and often ambient pieces. This outing recorded at the Masonic Hall in Hebden Bridge manages to stand out though, with a gradually aging Kawabata plunging even deeper into the recesses of the cosmos than usual. There came a point during the 2000s (when the Acid Mothers Temple camp were seemingly releasing albums on a weekly basis) that Makoto’s improvisations for solo guitar became somewhat predictable, though admittedly far from stale. Lines of loop drones and impressionistic glissandi would wash over the listener, with Makoto occasionally breaking into sparse lush plucking, or dropping back into some variation of his eternal riff from ‘Pink Lady Lemonade’. Anybody who’s seen more recent solo live sets from Kawabata knows he’s changed as a solo improviser, drinking in the atmosphere of his venues, and often eschewing any semblance of melody or the user-friendly wash of ambient chords in favour of atonality, and timbral experimentation. A series of bizarre passages strewn together by stream of consciousness fill up both sides of this 50-minute tape, with Makoto spending plenty of time scraping his strings furiously with a bow, warping tones through a ring modulator, and generally making drones almost unrecognisable as having first come from a guitar. Some way into the second side, we’re treated to some very pretty noodling akin to Kawabata favourite Jerry Garcia reaching ultra deep into space on some harsh-acid-trip reading of ‘Dark Star’. Kawabata soon disintegrates the pretty shapes of his noodling, quickly disseminating everything into whistling wails of lingering glissandi underpinned by folksy picking, and vocals!!. It’s not quite “The Speed Guru Sings”, but his mumbled intonations make the penultimate passage of the tape some of the tenderest music the man’s recorded since his utterly gorgeous collaboration with Richard Youngs back in 2001 – admittedly he soon destroys the sweetness with a blast of red raw amp-exploding feedback. Kawabata Makoto continues to develop as an improviser, and his focus here on riding wave after wave of non sequiturs into the cosmos makes In The Black Lodge Of Prince Frederick one of his most revealing and rawest solo recordings.” – Tristan Bath, The Quietus



Friday, January 2nd, 2015 Tape No Comments

Various Artists – Mistletoe & Cold Winter Skies

mistletoeNot quite the Was Ist Das? Christmas album, this is none the less, a mid-Winter themed compilation which can include Christmas…and for some of the songs, it does.


Side A

1.The Lamp – intro
just a brief scene-setter with the voice of Stuart Davison and some synth

2.Magpahi – Winter Solstice Night
Magpahi is the solo project of Alison Cooper [Samandtheplants, N.Racker] who has recorded for such fine labels as Twisted Nerve, Bird Records and Library Tapes. She has contributed a beautiful instrumental piece which makes me want to go to an Elizabethan frost fair.

3.Sophie Cooper – Rack Up The Bintang, it’s Christmas Day sleigh bells by Dale Cornish
The Queen of Stoke has played many a fine gig for us and this year raised the bar very high with her spell-binding album “Our Aquarius”. For us, she’s gone all wild and anti-folk and deviously catchy.

4.Bewilderness – The Muffled King
Bewilderness is a new collaboration between Jeff Stonehouse and Sanja Ivkov. Crawley resident Jeff started out making experimental music in Organs of Battle but went on to make techno in the 90s under the name Spiralhead. Since then he has made deep pastoral ambience as Listening Mirror (Hibernate Recordings) and more experimental electronics as jffstnhs. His recent collaborations include Le Moors with Wil Bolton and Snoqualmie Falls with Alicia Merz (aka Birds Of Passage). Sanja Ivkov is a singer, painter & tattoo artist from Sombor, Serbia. She is the lead singer in Mesta and was previously in Syphil.

5.Nick Hudson – A Dogbed’s View of Christmas
L’enfant terrible of the Brighton music scene, Nick’s beautiful voice and arrangements at first sound like they are crying out for prominent playlisting on daytime Radio 2 and 6 until you actually stop and listen to the lyrics. Witty but exceedingly dark it is no surprise he has earnt high praise from David Tibet and a cold shoulder from Broadcasting House but its their loss. His Christmas song is every bit as lovely, funny and horrifying as you would expect.
Side B

1.The Psychogeographical Commission – Antenociticus Awakens
Antenociticus, spelt wrongly on the tape sleeve just like the band are, is a mysterious Roman god who seems to have only been worshipped up by Hadrian’s Wall. The remains of his temple are now found on a housing estate in Tyne and Wear. This powerful and mysterious music really does suggest him awakening and being a very bad neighbour. I know many things about The Psychogeographical Commission but if I told you, I’d have to kill you. All of you.

2.Jake Blanchard – Erithacus Rubecula
Jake Blanchard first made his name with his remarkable illustration work and his label Tor Press (you MUST check out their Menagerie compilations which are all amazing). However, in recent years he has been releasing a steady stream of exotic drone releases, each one completely unlike the previous ones. Here, he lays on some extraordinary electronics in honour of our Winter friend, the Robin.

3.Gena Netherwood – Life Is A Bug You Step On
Although she has collaborated with Andrew Liles (Nurse With Wound, Current 93), this is Gena’s first ever official solo release. Its actually over ten years old and has been shared around the internet. She’s picked it up, given it a digital dusting off and kindly donated it to this compilation. Thanks

4.Bird People – The Holly King and The Oak King
Bird People is the musical project of Mr.Feathered Coyote himself, Vienna’s leading light Ulrich Rois. This epic ritualistic psychedelic folk track will make you want to dance in the snowy woods wearing nothing but berries. Please don’t, though, as this is illegal except in Sweden.

5.The Lamp – outro
the end.

A very limited edition of 50 on yellow tapes and, for the first time, comes with a download. Cover picture by me. Tape is sold out but download only for pay what you can from https://wasistdas.bandcamp.com/album/mistletoe-cold-winter-skies


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Saturday, December 6th, 2014 Download, Tape No Comments

Natural Snow Buildings – Live At Cragg Vale

natural snow buildings live at cragg valeOh boy, this is a complete live set from Natural Snow Buildings European tour earlier this year. We took two recordings, one from the mixing desk and one room recording, and took them to Andrew Liles (Nurse With Wound, Current 93 and many more) to mix together and master. The results are VERY satisfying.

For about a year or two, I had been hoping Natural Snow Buildings would tour again because this time I had a much more atmospheric and appropriate venue for them than the one I put them on at before. Cragg Vale is a beautiful, wooded valley steeped in macabre history. The Tour De France took advantage of it having England’s longest continuous gradient just a couple of weeks after the gig. It reaches from the bottom of the Calder Valley up to the bleak moorlands, going up 968 feet in just over 5.5 miles.

The Robin Hood pub has been in business since around 1800 and has a strange little function room round at the back. With its low roof it creates an intimate feeling and focuses the sound right through the audience. We got a nice, deep sounding P.A. in there and set up the band in front of two large windows looking out across the valley. With the gig being so close to midsummer’s night, I turned out all the lights for the gig and the band played as the light slowly died behind them, reducing them finally to silhouettes in front of the green.

It was my third Natural Snow Buildings gig and the best. It felt like the perfect location, the perfect time, the perfect sound. Just perfect. So glad we have this auditory snapshop of the night to offer to you. I was entranced by both the atmospheric room recording that John Miller made and the detailed desk recording by Gareth Babb. Liles has seamlssly blended them together to create the best of both worlds, not to mention some quality mastering.

This is over an hour of Natural Snow Buildings playing live. Limited edition of 160


“a more tactile, extended side of the duo with swooning slow motion string drones that flit between Popol Vuh-styled swarms of broken occult melodies and the eerie future/ancient music of Nijiumu/Toho Sara et al.” – Volcanic Tongue

sold out

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Saturday, October 25th, 2014 Tape No Comments

Wooden Wand – Ogre 99: Live in Fort Collins

Just can’t believe how the tape label is going, been getting all my favourite artists to do releases for me. Wooden Wand is another regular on our home stereo. Is he the greatest songwriter of our times? I think so, and so do many others.

Captured during his 2014 living room tour, its an intimate solo set that suddenly morphs into a trio show two-thirds of the way through. Featuring some choice picks from the back catalogue plus brand new song “Dear Joan”, which can hold its head up there with the rest of them. Only 100 copies and the artwork is by Jake Blanchard so its definitely not to be missed…

1. Spitting At The Cameras
2. LA Manna
3. Dear Joan
4. Tiny Confessions
5. Winter in Kentucky
6. Passin’ Thru
7. Eagle Claw
8. Days This Long
9. Mother Midnight

Tracks 7-9 feature Meagan Siebe and Kevin Donahue
Artwork by Jake Blanchard
Data Processing by Ned Netherwood
Thanks to Host Jimmy, Simon Joyner & The Ghosts, and the beautiful state of Colorado for Ogre 99.

Volcanic Tongue said “Magical/dazed live in a living room recording of James Toth aka Wooden Wand: Ogre 99 presents a classic stripped down/Basement Tapes-style re-think of some of Toth’s greatest big band compositions, with six solo, straight from the void broadcasts and three trio jams. As much as I love the big band jams there has always been something particularly special about Toth’s solo blats and the high, distant sound of this recordings sits perfectly….Some great between song gassing too – highly recommended!

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Thursday, September 18th, 2014 Tape No Comments

Various Artists – La Psicotropia

la psicotropia

Pakapi Records & Was Ist Das? present…. La Psicotropia

“La Psciotropia” is a compilation album exploring the new high-tech psychedelic sounds of South America.  The last couple of years have seen me falling under the spell of new South American bands Ø+yn, Montibus Communitas [represented on here by Brayan on his own] and GMC. I had been thinking of asking Guillermo M. Cerredo [aka GMC and Panchasila] if he would help me put together something like this when he told me about this project and how he was wanted to get it released not just on digital but on tape as well. Needless to say, I told him right away that I would do it. His own label, Pakapi Records are handling the digital release.

As I suspected, there’s a lot going on down there. Unifying a lot of different musical styles, the sounds are unmistakably South American. Its there in the rhythm, the mood and the atmosphere but all distorted through the prism of experimentation and higher states of mind. We have beats a plenty, we have psychedelic fogs, we equatorial futurism, we have deep production and we have the soundtrack to what remains of your Summer.

Side A

False Sir Nicholas – Octarine Pathways
Efrain Rozas – That’s Right Bitch
Tomas Tello – Cumbia de Yuko
Titanik – Null 21
Panchasila – Cumbia Hindú

Side B

Efrain Rozas – Alkali
Los Siquicos Litoraleños – Cumbia Cyborg
Chico Tropico – Leo´n cruza el desierto
Diego Bodego – Juanechoe y su planta magica
Ø+yn – Una Pipa Con Esencia De Rosas
Brayan – Los caminos ya se abren a tu encuentro

By its end, La Psicotropia seems like something of an actual landmark compilation; a real coming together of this hugely appealing, thriving and undersung scene. Perhaps most vitally, these South American experimentalists aren’t afraid to commit to both danceability and psychedelic musical anarchy, and the results are pretty damn special.” – The Quietus

Excellent new compilation from the people who brought us the recent Isengrind cassette that surveys the sounds of the new psychedelic music coming out of South America: this is blast from out of nowhere, with a bunch of groups, working in relative isolation but channelling the ghosts of precursors like the sainted Traffic Sound and Los Parajos via contemporary technology and DIY garage band formulas. Much of the music seems to connect at a tangent with the experiments of James Ferraro, Spencer Clark and Jan Anderzen, with small instruments, druggy/dubbed beats, extended cultic nod-out jams and an overall nocturnal 3am vibe but there’s also a heady bedroom Krautrock vibe, with an endless, open space feel and the kinda fidelity that makes it feel like it is being broadcast via massed third eyes.” – Volcanic Tongue

8/10 A cassette compilation here of contemporary psychedelic electronic music from the South American underground. There’s been increasing exposure over recent years of the region’s incredibly rich musical culture and even a few ‘breakthrough’ acts working at the more outré end of the spectrum (Columbia’s Las Malas Amistades and Meridian Brothers spring to mind), but this release feels like an invigorating taster of a scene that thrives beneath the radar of commercial interests.

As the compilation covers a vast geographical and cultural expanse, the tracks are quite varied but what seems to unite them is the combination of unmistakable latin rhythms with some properly wigged out sound manipulation- you’re very unlikely to have anything in your music collection that sounds like much of this stuff. Listening through the tracks, you can’t help get drawn in by the infectious rhythms and the freewheeling and at times almost random sounding sound shapes getting thrown out. One example is Diego Bodego’s track ‘Juanecho Y Su Planta Mágica’, which runs a hypnotic groove underneath a kaleidoscopic tapestry of shifting samples; bizarrely amusing one second, deep and slightly disturbing the next. Elsewhere you get unhinged cumbia (Efraín Rozas), exotic sample-based motorik psych (False Sir Nicholas) and all-out freeform weirdness (Ø+yn). ¡Chévere!” – Jim at Norman Records


Edition of 100 on Plum purple cassettes in grey shells


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Friday, July 4th, 2014 Tape 3 Comments