That ol’ spirit and image of SF has meant a lot of things loved and lost over the past couple centuries—but the most recent golden age is still cooling in the hearts and minds of many nu music enthusiasts, god bless ’em! In truth, it’s already hardened into fact and myth—or in the case of this fantabulous GOD? release, into retrospective compilation, with the far-flung fascinations of the Folding Cassettes label repping the time and place for our dew-eyed purposes.
Folding Cassettes—yup, a cassette label—was pretty much done and sorted when the new era of peak cassette improbably broke wide in the early twenty-teens. Back in 2001, when founded by Mike Donovan, it was more representative of the exclusive confines of the urban underground, well represented as always around the Bay area. Mike had been jitter-bugging through the scene for several years, playing with this group and that, starting a label and releasing some ACTUAL LPs and CDs (to no avail)—and with notoriety fronting Sic Alps still several years hence, he had the time and energy to reach out and tap the shoulder of his fave local talents, not to mention legends, resulting in a sequence of dozens of delightfully EFFED SF-ite releases on Folding Cassettes.
The gambit? Run. The various musics curated included everything from lo-fi to free-form to metal (so far as rock was concerned), with further genre distinctions including abstract electronics, laptop noise, contempo-jazz-fusion, country-folk and even comedy,
all of it delivered with a highly demanding, archly punk sensibility. The players? Hailing from names you might recognise today—members of OCS (multiple ones!), Gang Gang Dance, Child Abuse, Krallice, Lightning Bolt and Comets on Fire, all of them getting down
with the freedom and some truly head-cleaning sounds. Plus Kit Clayton (as himself)! Mikey Wild! A slice of (the now-defunct style of (now impossible)) anonymous crank call comedy! And even a little number from curator Mike D. himself! All burned into vinyl for the first time literally EVER. Wanna know more? You can. Sit with the LP, and while it’s literally pounding your skull and hooking into your cochlea, dig the back cover. Old-school! The liner notes there unpack whats, whos and wheres for us, bringing other aspects of The Way It Was in those DIY days back into visceral life in all their manually-type-written glory. No details skimped! Personal memoir touched upon! And of course, a discographical list of all 44 Folding Cassettes releases, including the unreleased Tits2 single (FC CEO, what are the odds of finally getting that one out there?!).
Folding Cassettes Greatest Hits is a wild night on the old town and an earful that’s awful too—one of the bravest, most inTENSE records you’re gonna hear this year—or what the hell, next year and last year too.
1. Patrick Michael Mullins - Please Recycle (Edit)
2. Bear Klawz - Untitled
3. Kit Clayton - It's Not About Space
4. Netmen - Untitled 13 (Edit)
5. Big Techno Werewolves - Birthday Party
6. Freedom Jazz - Song One from Session Two of Freedom Jazz (Edit)
7. Nam - Trading N's for J's
8. NVH/Chasny - ...No Refund (Edit)
9. Skeletor - Take Yr $ & Bash Yr Skull
10. ABK - Untitled
11. Mike Donovan - Xmas Pie
12. Unknown - Cocaineville
13. Bananas - Hippocleides Doesn't Care
14. Mikey Wild - Fucked Up Wilson (Edit)
15. No Boss - No Boss Theme