Review in No-Wave: Hannya White

Andrew O’Keefe reviews Hannya White’s release ‘Who put the flowers in the garden’ and concludes that Hannya White offers a call to action; a koan instructing participation in the world. No matter how shadowed things are, we can still bring the everyday and the discarded generously under our gaze. Start with this innocuous little tape—who knows where it will take you.

Read the complete review here.  Andrew’s webzine offers also reviews of the latest films and interviews.

Hannya White’s tape can be ordered here.

Review in Snare Rush Zine: Hannya White’s C30

review by Snare Rush Zine  (Andrew Fletcher)

I was excited to receive the tracks for Hannya White’s debut tape, soon to be released by Staaltape in Berlin. Hannya the artist has intrigued me since I discovered her work on Radio-ON Berlin in 2019, and I have been keen to follow her progress since.

If you listen closely there are often field recordings layered into the substance of these tracks.  The background (or indeed foreground) layer of noise often associated with living in a city like London is laid bare. Barely susceptible whispering, bird song… this is a very personal sound collage with common themes of love, destruction and daily occurrence. Emotions are often placed front and centre, such as in the track “No Preview”.

Percussion and rhythm are an important feature of the 8 songs / situations presented here, weaved together across a neatly defined sound palette. There is deep bass (or is it extremely pitched down vocals?), neon lasers, arpeggio synths, strings and manipulated noises.  A blend of raw acoustic instrumentation (reminiscent of free jazz in places, drums and guitar), chopped and blended with queasy electronic processing. Whilst that sounds like a lot, it is all presented in a very minimalist sense in just 29 minutes. Elements are placed uneasily side by side as if sound-tracking a day in the life of a character from Twin Peaks. And that is damn fine by my ears.

For a debut release, this is a well defined creative art piece where the worlds of sound and vision merge. If you are listening to the tape or the digital copy then I also urge you to seek out the accompanying videos online that take this work to a whole new level.  Thank you for the chaos, the whistling, the humming and telling your dog to wait.

 

Get the tape at the staaltape shop

Hanny cover

 

Review in The Quietus: Hannya White’s C30

Tristan Bath listened to Hannya White’s Who put the flowers in the garden and wrote about it in the Quietus. He concludes (spoiler alert) that it is “an odd tape well-suited to being pored over.”

Find the tape here

 

review of kantoor and a short explanation of the kantoor series

kantoor: (Dutch) archaic word for office
Cantor, Kantor: first singer
Canto: (song; to sing a) long poem.

Focus on one definition and the other one blurs.

The kantoor series break the shell created by conditioned listening patterns.

“Conversations in foreign languages, unseen events; what is going on? Some of the recordings are so banal it’s beyond belief; I’m just not feeling the sublimation, if there’s any to be had.” – Ed Pinsent

full review

Review of Dear Concerned Employees

Ed Pinsent listened and found out what Dear Concerned Employees was all about:

Muzak, new age relaxation tapes, talks about dolphins, corporate pep talk messages, inaudible spoken word – these are among the contents, everything segued so it’s hard to know where one thing starts and another ends. It’s both comforting and slightly disturbing; nothing is really explained. The music episodes would probably be bland and innocuous in any other context, but here they become quite surreal and almost transcendent. The muzak is oddly warm, not sterile; I often had the impression of being in a friendly hotel, where the TV is constantly beaming up-beat messages.

full review

staalplaat shop

staaltape shop

 

Review of Kylie 1 and June Crawford’s What that says about me

Ed Pinsent always writes a longer essay on staaltape releases.

Two quotes,

Kylie 1: “these tapes are great fun to listen to,”

June’s release: “This is a profoundly touching item and it stayed with me for some hours after hearing it.”

Read the complete review on Ed’s The Sound Projector.

Review of Dear Concerned Employees and Kantoor

Published on No-Wave, written by Andrew O’Keefe

Staaltape’s releases deliberately engineer a personal experience. Handmade packaging, which must be destroyed to be opened, and messages both personal and cryptic, adorn their tapes. Before even putting the tape into the deck, there is a suggestion to savour the moment; be attentive, and be present. In an age of streaming, Staaltape’s presentation attempts to re-teach the value of pricked ears.

The tapes themselves are unique enough to fit the bill. Dear Concerned Employees rises from a murky bog of lo-fi noise, shifting into warped, muzak-style sketches; mutated and muggy pop hits, and some spoken word passages whose words are indefinable.

The tape never takes form, but never feels insubstantial. Instead, it offers a feeling of something bubbling under the surface, a sort of paranoid energy which carries its quieter moments through effortlessly.

The tape’s aim: to calm the nerves of employees of the Duke Energy Building, who found a strange package in late 2018. The package later turned out to be a Journey cassette. While sending a tape to these people might seem arch, the letter accompanying ‘Dear Concerned Employees’ clarifies its intent.

“Not so long ago a tape brought a message of fear…this tape should transmit a message of hope and care.”

kantoor

Also released on Staaltape is Kantoor, a tape and accompanying zine. The zine, which draws on an array of contributors is by turns informative, allusory, poetic and humorous. Each contributor to the tape attempts either to explain or complement their section of audio. Some attractive context is added to content which otherwise may require knowledge of a fair few languages.

There is enough content here to carry through even the most staunch single-language listeners, though. We open on a cockerel, and some mysterious bowls and chimes, and this mystery is a throughrun of the tape. Even the speech itself is fascinating to listen to, shrouded in format-fog. And it never seems to run on very long before music interrupts.

The sounds are drawn from a wide pool of sources — some immediately recognisable, some mystical, vague and puzzling. Their incorporation feels invariably natural. We are treated to choirs, solo vocalists, the sounds of vehicles, animals, instruments. All combined to suggest a vast world in constant motion.

Kantoor has that unsettling, ghostly quality that appealed to, and was repurposed by, the likes of Boards of Canada. It even features some eerie analogue synthesiser work. Its sounds have more clarity than those on Dear Concerned Employees, but no less intrigue.

These packages feel delightful, unique and homegrown. The urge to track down all their samples and sources is irresistible. But they stand alone, too, woven lovingly together into coherent, fascinating wholes.

Dear Concerned Employees and Kantoor are available at the staaltape shop