When it comes to physical releases, some companies just mail it in. Not so Geweih Ritual Documents, whose attention to detail is astonishing. The limited edition of the label’s latest cassette glows in the dark. And that cover art! Metallic inks, handmade packaging and eco-friendly ingredients combine to make this company great. But of course it’s not just about the packaging. From the Insect Ark vinyl reviewed earlier this year to the Viewmaster edition of Global Cuts Vol. 1, Geweih Ritual Documents is coming up aces every turn. Latest signee Neg-Fi (comprised of two touring members of the Glenn Branca Ensemble) bring noise to the masses, honoring the label with another appealing set.
Ryan Walsh and Evelyne Buhler play guitar and bass, then they play bass and guitar. Whether switching off, handing off, or tossing their instruments to each other in the air, they handle their duties with great aplomb. The tunes retain a beat despite the absence of drums, and are filled with energetic chords. A stray handclap or two appears at the end of “Istria”; one can imagine filling the spaces with even more. The sequences are dramatic and forward – no subtlety here – and insist on being heard. On occasion, the instruments even sound like other instruments. And yet, the dark violin tones on “Auto Correct” are simply the work of a versatile bass. Despite their ensemble work, the duo makes the case for not having an ensemble, filling every sonic cranny with pattern and reverb. This being said, when it comes to the largesse of album closer “Sonar”, one wonders how it might be interpreted by a band such as Pelican or Russian Circles, who possess the tools necessary to cause a cacophony.
Those who collect cassettes (as opposed to simply appreciating cassette culture, but preferring the downloads) are directed to the label’s back catalog as well. Apart from the aforementioned Global Cuts Vol. 1, a wide range of wondrous physical and aural objects awaits. In terms of art, the wrapped hands of Jah Connery’s Killa Tape and wraparound cover of the Palo Verde/Cinder Cone split are my personal favorites, but where the music is concerned, I tip my hat to the fuzz, bells, beats and guitar of Knalpot’s mixographic Sauce and the retro plunderphonics of Jah Connery (a winner on both fronts). From metal to electronics, there’s something for everyone found under the label’s umbrella; everything is still available, but not for long! It’s time to start the collection. (Richard Allen)