Various Artists – multiple cassettes

Los Discos Enfantasmes

Montreal cassette label Los Discos Enfantasmes launched like a bat out of hell in 2011 with enough releases to keep even the thirstiest noise vampires satisfied. On top of solo tapes and collaborations from label heads J.S. Truchy Riccardo Lucchessi and Bernardino Femminielli its first year included highlights from Robert AA Lowe Drainolith JLK and many more all typified by LDE’s trademark die-cut designs.

This year has seen the label slow down somewhat but it closes out strong with this batch of stunners. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma founder of the Root Strata label offers an eerie collection of alternate mixes from his Visiting This World LP. Equipped with only a guitar and synth he finds a universe of sound within the two instruments. From shards of feedback to Fennesz-style washes it’s a constantly engaging listen.

Les Momies de Palerme contributes a similar release with this collection of outtakes from the previous Constellation LP Brûlez Ce Coeur . At 22 minutes it may seem slight yet provides a fine introduction to the spellbinding Montreal duo. With only the subtlest of electronic flourishes Marie Davidson and Xarah Dion layer wordless chants overdubbed incantations and acoustic tinkering to create a sound world far more sacred than profane.

Course of Empire is a face-off between masters of modular synth. Portland’s Josh Hanson travels the space-ways with shorter passages ranging from sparse to chaotic to sounds that can only be described as squishy. This sets the tone for Riccardo Lucchessi’s sidelong blast-off “The Blood of Empire (Black as Coal).” The Red Mass member-turned-circuit-jacking warlock delivers a restrained piece compared to what he’s capable of yet panning between headphones still feels incredibly screwy.

Rochester New York’s Pengo get the final entry here with a double cassette of nearly unclassifiable sounds. Once again warped electronics are at the forefront yet they come complete with meditative guitar rambles and softly clattering percussion like Six Organs of Admittance jamming too close to the vortex. By the time you reach the 23-minute finale you may be sucked in for good.