Sunday, April 26, 2015

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Alphastare/Hal McGee Micro-Cassette Split Review

Following is a review of  a micro-cassette split I did with Hal McGee.
This is from Aural Innovations which is actually how I discovered Hal and his wonderful world of tape art/mail art. Check out the multitude of space/sound-exploration podcasts over at AURAL-INNOVATIONS.COM and read the full review of our split and a bunch of other micro-cassette splits from the same project.

Alphastare & Hal McGee – Microcasette Split

For his side of this split, San Francisco based audio artist Alphastare assembled a variety of incidental sounds and provides some fun descriptions of those sounds, including… I got a kick out of this one… “happened to be walking by a club on my way to the studio and heard this Filipino band soundchecking doing a Simon and Garfunkel cover”. Another interesting lo-fi assemblage of day in the life ephemera, much of it pretty cool musical bits that I assume is in the studio Alphastare was on his way to. I especially like the spacey UFO synth workout accompanying a simple repetitive melodic riff.
Hal picks up on the humor of Alphastare’s descriptions by listing his collage toolkit as “The usual stuff”, including Best Buy dumbfuck, I float the recorder in the toilet water, save the ta-tas… fun stuff indeed, and sure enough this is trademark Hal, who I’ll wind down this article by saying is in my opinion the master of the diarist audio collage. Hal goes about life in the ho hum way that most of us do, but manages to offer slices of his life, via audio art recordings, in ways that are both interesting and fun.
One of the standout aspects is Hal’s voice, which is very distinct. But he also interacts comfortably with others, and the exchanges, which range from banal to interesting, are often downright hilarious. Having heard a large number of these over the years, my favorite recurring conversations are those he has with a particular female co-worker, which can be hysterically funny. But at the end of the day it’s the characteristically Hal way it’s all stitched together that makes these the audio artifacts that they are.
For more information visit the Hal McGee web site at:

This is an information and history packed web site, covering 1982-present (plus other goodies… spend some time there)

Stream and download at Hal’s Bandcamp site:
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz