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  Mass Transfer  
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This review is kinda "meta", so bear with me.

Mass Transfer is one of EvilSponge's peers. It is a little zine/website in which people really into music talk about the stuff they like. It's all about being a fan, being into the music, and wanting to share the experience with faceless strangers. The difference is that Mass Transfer spits out a paper testament to their fandom periodically, while we here at EvilSponge are confined to 1s and 0s electrically transmitted to you. As an added bonus for having physical output, Mass Transfer is capable of putting out a recorded CD as well.

It's the CD that first got me into the magazine. Specifically, way back in late 2000 i went to see Isobella at Lenny's. It was rainy and cold, and i knew no one there. So i bought a copy of Mass Transfer Issue # 4 that Isobella had for sale. It came with a CD featuring a new Isobella song, and there was a magazine for me to read during the long pauses while bands set up.

The next day, i put the free CD into my player in order to hear the new Isobella track. I listened to it (My Hue & Cry) and it was pretty good, but then i listened to the rest of the CD, and it ruled! Really -- this was a great CD. It featured tracks from bands i had only barely heard of (Experimental Aircraft, Meisha) and some great tracks by bands i had never heard of before (The Album Leaf, Charles Atlas). Wow! And the magazine had cool articles on Flying Saucer Attack, Accelera Deck, Isobella, etc. So i read the whole thing, and it was good.

A while later i went and ordered the other 3 issues of Mass Transfer from their website. And all of them came with a really cool CD and a neat magazine.

That was about 2 years ago at this point. In the meantime there has been no new Mass Transfer. The website has been mostly silent. I had feared that it was gone. But late last year MT guru Ryan Anderson posted some messages on various groups about the return on the magazine. I think he had been in a band for a while, and was too busy to write ... Something like that. (Readers fear not: my chances of ever being in a band are very very slim, so i will be here to entertain you for a while to come.)

At any rate, as of December the new issue of Mass Transfer is out! And it's another good one. The magazine features an interview with Windy & Carl that i found interesting, as well articles on Yellow 6, Landing, and Coastal. It's good interesting stuff about bands that fall into the avante-end of IDM or dreampop or drone or spacerock spectrums of music. It's diverse, and yet, there is a sort of sameness to the bands. Not that they sound alike, but rather they are all underground bands who seem to be making music because, well, that's what they do. They aren't preaching, or trying to make it big, they are just making music.

Which, when you get down to it, is what i respect. I like bands who are just going about, doing what they do, for the sake of doing it. Which makes all of those bands very similar to EvilSponge. I mean -- do you, the music reader, think that being a critic gets me anything? Aside from the occasional promo, the rewards are slim. We Minions do this because, well, it's what we do.

So Mass Transfer is all about the indie spirit, and i like that. That said, let me quickly go over the latest CD.

Installation:05 seems to be a little more electronic than previous installments in the Mass Transfer series. And there are some great electronic tunes here. I think one of my favorite song on the disc is Technicolor's Hello, How Are You?. This is a lovely little track of light drum n bass combined with a really interesting keyboard melody. It's fun and catchy. Another good one is the fuzzed-out IDM of Painted Doctor by Western Automatic.

My absolute favorite song on the disc is Blissfield by Au Revoir Borealis. This band makes interesting electro indie pop, and features a female singer with a great husky voice. This songs reminds me of what Heather Duby would sound making IDM, and i find that i really like it. Who is this band? I must find out more....

Another standout is The Final Piece (B) by Yellow 6, a tune exclusive to this compilation. This is yet another of Yellow 6's amazing tunes of droning guitar and faint beats. It's lovely.

But in fact, the whole thing is great. Really. There is not a song on here that bores me. The compilation goes from electronico (Andrew Duke) to drone (Yellow 6) to post-rock (Land Speed Record) to space rock (Surface of Eceon), and then back again! And it all works together, really. Mr. Anderson did a damned fine job of compiling an interesting mix. Of course, the fact that he used bands that are right up my alley was a good starting point.

So, my verdict on Mass Transfer is this: if you are interested in any of this stuff i rant about on EvilSponge, then check out Mass Transfer. It's only $6 for both the magazine and the CD, and you can buy it from the site. What a bargain, for some really cool music.

Related Links:, online home of Mass Transfer.


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