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