While vinyl fetishists may have breathed new life into an old medium with their limited edition seven-inches and multicolored wax and what have you, a smaller subset of musicians continue to resurrect an even grainier format: the cassette tape. Tapes have long been the provenance of noise artists and their ilk, but Mikey Wehling's dedication to the form brings an appropriately retro and funky feel to tape culture. He recorded Galaxy Reverb, the second installment of his planned Reverb Trilogy, on his Tascam four-track tape recorder, and while this seven-song set is also available in digital form on his website, Wehling is planning a limited run of cassette tapes for his fellow analog purists. Best known as a guitarist and keyboardist for the adventurous instrumental outfit Messy Jiverson, Wehling uses antique preset drum machines, vintage keyboards and, as expected, barrels of reverb to craft his fun, slightly trippy tunes.
It's best not to think of this release as an album (or even an EP) in the strictest sense. Wehling's songs tend to set the mood for a minute or two before moving onto the next fixation. The string synth chords and wobbly bass on opening track "Willie McGee" feel light-years away from the simple, bucolic folk patterns of the largely acoustic title track that closes out Galaxy Reverb. In between, distorted and disorienting drum patterns, detuned keyboards and heavily processed vocals create a very '80s vision of what the future was supposed to be like. The white noise and booming low-end on "Blownspeakersolarsystem" sound like an Atari console programmed by Suicide. These tracks feel like they would be well suited as bumper music for Adult Swim's commercials or as the soundtrack for a discerning indie film. It's mood music for when you want to a take brief, funky trip to outer space. Just make sure your rocket ship has a cassette deck.Want your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, Missouri, 63130. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.