Mental Anguish - "The Tapegerm Mixes" (Harsh Reality, HRCD010)
Mental Anguish - "The Tapegerm Mixes Volume Two" (Harsh Reality, HRCD013)
Mental Anguish - "The Tapegerm Mixes Volume 3" (Harsh Reality, HRCD019)
Mental Anguish - "The Tapegerm Mixes Volume 4" (Harsh Reality, HRCD020)
Mental Anguish - "The Tapegerm Mixes Volume 5" (Harsh Reality, HRCD021)

Uploaded to Aural Innovations: July 2004

What is Tapegerm? Quoting from the FAQ at Tapegerm is a group of musicians and sound artists dedicated to making loop based music. We contribute loops to a pool that can be used by other Tapegerm artists to create new mixes based on these loops and conversely create our own new mixes from the loops provided by other Tapegerm artists. Essentially, we share bits of sound, and the end results of what we do with each others sounds.

Chris "Mental Anguish" Phinney has been a Tapegerm member since its inception, and the 5 volume Tapegerm Mixes offers up several hours of his mixes of the works of fellow members of the Tapegerm community. There's a tremendous amount of variety across these 5 discs and I won't dissect each volume, but will tell you that all serve up a wild assortment of music. We've got alien space dance tunes, Tangerine Dreamy explorations with an experimental edge, quirky spaced out avant-progressive rock, rhythmic industrial mish-mashes, whimsical electro ditties, melodic songs and 80's styled electro-pop enhanced and colored by quirky efx, experimental sound-art pieces, spacey chill-out grooves, and all manner of collage works that bring together a grab-bag of freaky sounds and styles, all done with the ear of a craftsman who has been creating electronic music for over 2 decades and still going strong. The influences are all over the map, but if you like The Residents, Kraftwerk, Faust, F/i, Chrome, Art Bears, Hawkwind, Techno, Industrial and Polka... all occurring simultaneously, then step right this way. (Residents fans will get a kick out of "My Baby Loves My Fantastic Strawberry Hand" from volume 4.) Of course that's just touching the surface, but anyone who is into completely strange and spaced out experimental electronic music, but prefers something more on the accessible end of the spectrum rather than abstract, is pretty well guaranteed to enjoy these discs. Freakiness abounds, and the attentive listener will surely appreciate the creative blending of music, sound and stylistic elements into totally cool slabs of electronic fun. Start with any one of these volumes and you'll hit the mark. And for more on Mr. Anguish, read the Planet Zero, Mental Anguish/Nomuzic, and other Mental Anguish reviews in this issue.

For more information you can visit the Harsh Reality web site at:
Email at:
Visit the Tapegerm web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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