In March, right before VOID were preparing to transform your lives with our latest issue, Lou Ottens, the inventor of the cassette tape, died at age 94. The Dutch inventor’s goal in revolutionizing magnetic tape recording and gear was based on simplicity and portability. In that concise vision alone, Ottens inadvertently helped co-create the template of much DIY music of the past 40-plus years.
Fittingly, we have before us the debut limited-edition cassette release from Animal Clinic, the solo project from James Scott Rubia of Kairos Creature Club.
While Year of the Bore is also available via download, the song length and sequence are perfectly framed in cassette consciousness. The title track is an instrumental, glacial synth piece evoking mid-70s Popol Vuh, a fitting prelude to what follows. While “The Red Line” finds kinship with contemporary bedroom pop, the follow-up “Afghan Express” and its cathedral-echoed blips-and-beats energy is aligned with UK post-punker-art-attackers the Swell Maps and This Heat. Rubia has quite a few tasty tricks up his sleeve: notably the gliding, supine funk of “Pale Design”; the reluctant-sounding anthem of “Social Club,” and the funeral-via-oscillation of “Forgetting to Set the Alarm.”
It’s apparent that Rubia spent much time tweaking synth patches and a miscellany of gear to produce Year of the Bore. His efforts paid off. The irony that he probably recorded the album digitally, and subsequent decision to release it in tactile form in a wholly analog format; another example of the Ouroboros, the proverbial snake eating its own tail, cloaked in quality music.
Year of the Bore on cassette is available for presale beginning Friday, April 16 via winterlandpresents.com. Cassettes ship April 30.
This article originally appeared in the “Void Recommends” local music section of the magazine’s April issue.