The split cassette is a tradition as old as the split LP (citation needed). Young Tapes ups the ante with an impeccably packaged double split full of cozy jams.
It starts with Treetops, the experimental solo project of Arbor label's Mike Pollard prior to his experiments with Pale Blue Sky. Here, he ushers in the affair with gooey, barely-there ambient minimalism slowly trampled over by increasingly high tempo synth chirps.
On the B-side is Abelar Scout, another side project of Jeff Witscher (Roman Torment, Impregnable, Secret Abuse etc.). His noisy sound collages paint futuristic (not to be confused with nostalgic futurism) that range from utopian to dystopian, with a horde of electronics and garbled vocals pushing the sound toward crescendo.
Switch to the second tape and you get Evan Miller (whose Transfigurations On Lap-Steel Guitar LP on Arbor was a highlight of my year) working in a lush, draping and trickling ambient soundscape of long drones accentuated by flickering synth fuzz. Then it all ends with Taterbug's mash up of ghostly voices, damaged Americana riffs and smoked-out atmospheres. It's a great music sampling of the beautiful fuzz and twisted folk coming out of America's heartland at the moment.
Now, did I mention the packaging? It took me back to the days when you (that is, I) went to libraries to rent cassette or VHS and they came in those thick plastic packages. Young Tapes brings that back with a professionally packaged double plastic case that makes the format feel new again.