Tapes like this showing up out of nowhere was always the best thing about running Foxy Digitalis. There were so many bands and projects and labels I’d never heard of until some random package dropped in our PO box that went on to become some of my favorites or at least the ones I tried to always keep track of. So even though FD is being eaten by worms, we still get stuff sent over every week and while so much of it is crap I have no interest in hearing, every so often something like Cube‘s Medium tape turns up.
I admittedly don’t know a lot about this project except that it’s the work of Oakland resident Adam Keith. Medium incorporates a lot of ideas and different sounds, but Keith’s got the skill to push and pull everything into cohesive shapes. Sometimes it doesn’t entirely make sense, but that is more of a compliment than a complaint. From the industrial-tinged opener “M.S.G.” to the ghostly-minimalism of the title track (I think, anyway – I tend to zone out when I’m listening to this tape and lose track of which song is playing), Keith is always in control. There’s a mournful aspect steeped in the synth leads on the latter that dig its claws in and never really lets go. “Ring Tone (Trial)” is the real stand-out, though. Vague acid elements are hinted at and destroyed while crunch rhythms spark new tendrils spiraling out into the ether. And that’s only Side 1!
On the flip we get into more crunch and 8-bit repetition before drifting off on aural lullaby clouds painted in a kaleidoscope of pastels on a track whose title is simply scratched out. I guess we’ll go with Untitled, which suits it’s deceptive simplicity. Elsewhere Keith’s work reminds me of a stripped-down Pye Corner Audio with “Lovers’ Theme” (it also calls back to those killer leads on “Medium”) whereas we get a heady dose of early electronic abstraction and tape manipulation in the form of “Regurgitator (Two Tapes).” Great stuff all around.
In all, Cube is one of my favorite new projects I’ve learned about in 2013 and “Medium” is one of my absolute favorite tapes (had it been released later (this came out in March), it would have certainly been in my new FACT column, but guidelines being what they are, I’m rambling about it here). I’ve listened to it a dozen times already and am still hearing new things. It’s all about those layers.
If you want to get a copy (and you should) they’re $6 – email Adam directly HERE.