Split albums are an integral part of the cassette community. Not only do they make sense logistically — being that the Side A/Side B format lends itself perfectly to the concept — but they also speak to the overall ethos that defines the movement.
Yes, the spirit that drives a split is a transcendent one — in that an almost Buddhist sort of harmony is achieved when a cohesive album is produced by two artists (or even groups) who are not both forced, in their own respective ways, to skew their unique vision for the sake of the other.
That being said, eclectic and prolific cassette label Crash Symbols (operated by Dwight and Liz Pavlovic out of Morgantown, West Virginia since 2010) have taken it upon themselves to release a split I think you should know about : “Some Candy” by somesurprises and supercandy.
Considered as a whole, the music of “Some Candy” is ambient at heart — laden with ghostly soundscapes and enough mist-inducing reverb to obscure the view of an entire Pacific northwest coastline. However, there’s an unnameable pop sensibility present that could very well appeal to folks who are afraid of vast (in terms of atmosphere and general song structure) experimental compositions. It’s apparent when listening through this album that both artists called upon old gods of various genres (kraut-rock legends Faust or the queen of dream-pop sirens Elizabeth Fraser — to name a few) to guide them forth through this purgatorial space and into the reticent hearts of those who have no idea what they’ve been missing.
Natasha El-Sergany’s (somesurprises) tracks are downtempo and illusory for the most part (especially when compared to her lively and energetic Doom Trip release “Alt”)— saturated in an enveloping, shoe-gazing sort of warmth that treads a fine line between chamber pop and ambient soundtrack music. El-Sergany’s vocals often blend in with ever-present and soaring synth/string passages in such a way that whatever is being said lyrically is most definitely secondary to texture and feeling.
For his half of the split, Brenan Chambers (supercandy) builds on the soft and glimmering foundation laid forth by El Sergany by propelling his compositions into the same mesmerizing mass of sonic vapor. However, he manages to bring the split to a climactic conclusion with the final two tracks “Neon Wax Monsters From Planet April Showers” and “Huldigen Musk” — both of which possess (as mentioned before) Faustian, groove-centered qualities that really tie the entire split together in an unexpected way.
According to the Crash Symbols Bandcamp page, there are only 150 copies available. If I were you, I’d pick one up while they’re still around. I have a feeling this will be one of those tapes people will scour Discogs for in the not-too-distant future.