Review: Mt. Tjhris / Fallen Axe - Split (Jozik Records, 2012)
Without a doubt the packaging for the two cassettes I’ve received from the Helsinki based label Jozik Records is some of the most ingenious and original I’ve ever seen: instead of plain plastic cases the cassettes arrived in handmade cloth sheaths with colorful graphics: in case of Ross Baker’s “The Blackbirds’ Revenge” it was a floral pattern which fit the calm folky nature of that cassette, here it’s more abstract and modern, which fits the psychedelic guitar/synth emanation recorded on both sides.
Side A contains Mt. Tjhris’ “Fogous”, a series of watery, delicately bubbling synth journeys steeped in lo-fi New New New Age tape hiss in a manner similar to the style of the early “born again cassette god” musicians like Josh Burke or the Danish crystal explorer Dreamers Cloth. Simple, relaxing melodies weave in an out of the barely audible drones and noisy warbles to blend into an ephemeric ocean spray that permeates the entire side of the tape.
Side B belongs to Frank Ouelette (the Canadian mastermind behind the Hobo Cubes and the Hobo Cult label), who takes over the turns the mood around 180 degrees with haunting, estranged guitar-based soundscapes which immerse in distant, reverbed noodling recalling the darkest moments of Super Minerals. Don’t expect any sort of melody to appear here, Fallen Axe’s “Storm Session” is abstract and seemingly chaotic, snaking its way with dissonant strums through the fog of sinister synthesizer drones. If the first side of the cassette was the optimistic, hippie vision of music, then the second side is the punk, mercilessly deconstructing the happy myth with fear and negativity.