Hausu Mountain is a legendary Chicago-based experimental label (owned and operated by duo Max Allison and Doug Kaplan) that has been churning out quality noises and transmissions since 2012.
Unlike many labels, the Hausu dudes go out of their way to restock tapes (for two years after the album release date) when they get low – ensuring that the albums are available to as many cassette collectors as possible.
I figured I would talk about a few of my favorites and gently implore you to buy them while they’re still around. Though they aren’t as elusive and fleeting as other limited run tapes, they’re still physical ephemera.
“Multiple Hallucinations” by Brett Naucke (released November 17, 2017) — Beneath it all, this album is simple; it’s a collection of sonic passages courtesy of Naucke’s modular synth setup. There is no overarching narrative or theme that paints any one singular story in the listener’s mind. I don’t believe this is what he’s going for. However, “Multiple Hallucinations” is immense in the most inward of ways — like any quality psychedelic journey is. A kaleidoscope of sounds and textures fluctuate geometrically as if speaking in the secret language of the universe — you know, the stuff that we can’t see but nonetheless holds everything together. The songs — or sections, rather— bleed into each other naturally, rendering the grand scope of the album obscured until the noise subsides. In this, the album is something to remember, an experience to think of and use to assign meaning to other future experiences. Naucke is a sound artist who’s obviously both very comfortable with his setup and very willing to breach his comfort zone, relinquish control and let his machines lead the way into the unknown.
“Join The Fucking Drum Circle” by Dos Pa O (released August 25, 2017) — Despite the aggressive title, the album is actually pretty accommodating. Dos Pa O (also known in the real world as Peter Negroponte) first lays forth rather simple loops (yes, a lot of them consist of cool drum patterns — some not too unlike those one might hear in a drum circle led by competent percussionists) and then builds upon them with stellar guitar-driven melodies. Here and there throughout the album, I’m often reminded of kraut-rock greats (such as Can or Faust) — being that a number of the songs are pushed forward with an expertly crafted hybrid of repetition and free noodling that both hypnotizes and demands close attention. What sets this apart from classic kraut-rock, though, is the fact that “Join The Fucking Drum Circle” is a one-man bedroom project —where Negroponte has somehow been able to capture the essence of honed group improvisation all by his lonesome.
“Tiger Village VI: Effective Living” by Tiger Village (released September 16, 2016) — Cleveland, Ohio sound artist and label owner Tim Thornton — who releases music as Tiger Village and runs Suite 309 — almost produces too much music for me to keep track of. In addition to releasing Effective Living AND Tiger Village V on Hausu, he has also released a concept album entitled “The Argument” on Patient Sounds (May 2018) and numerous others on his own label. There are probably more. As prolific as Thornton is, his musical vision remains — for the most part — intact. His compositions are built around chance and variety — a large portion of the sounds consisting of shimmery synthetic samples and familiar MIDI drum machine hits that tumble around in the speakers like a bunch of futuristic toys bouncing around in a washing machine. This may sound like one of those “anybody could do this” sort of approaches to experimental electronic music — but I assure you there’s quite a bit more to it than just assigning some samples to a few pads and allowing an automated randomizer to have its way. There’s a playful sense of control behind Thornton’s music — if you listen hard enough. He’s kind of like a watchful yet relaxed father allowing his kids to run around in the park — keeping a close eye, but letting them have their fun and wear themselves out on their own.