Label: Mystery Circles
Release: Where Substance Meets Emptiness
Date: January 30th, 2024
Mastered By: Taylor Deupree
Artwork By: Michael Tasselmyer
More often than not, a respected label introduces me to a new artist or a project. Sometimes, a rare instance occurs in reverse, where a favourite artist appears on a previously unknown [to me] label. This is the case with the Philadelphia-based Andrew Tasselmyer, whom I’ve been a fan of for his solo ambient releases on imprints such as Shimmering Moods, Constellation Tatsu, Polar Seas, Eilean, Home Normal, and laaps, among the many, but also as a member of Hotel Neon, which I’ve been following via Past Inside the Present, Thesis, Archives, Sound in Silence, and Fluid Audio. All of those are very familiar to me – in fact, you can find most of them in my Labels Directory, but the Las Vegas-based Mystery Circles is definitely new, and I only recognise a few names on its roster. So, more for me to hear! Now, back to the release! Titled Where Substance Meets Emptiness, this 8-piece album features more than just Tasselmyer’s beautiful ambience, with some piano keys and field recordings. There are lots of sparkling and shuffling beats and percussive elements reminiscent of the early IDM era, where harmony met rhythm. The track I am premiering for you today, “Flowers in a Storm”, reminds me of those days when I would listen to Arovane, Dabrye, Deaf Center, and Secede. This makes me want to revisit my very own liftmuziek sessions!
Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop. And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard.
— Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)
Taking in the magical surrealism of the celebrated Japanese author, Tasselmyer composes music that fades in and out of reality, bridging the atmospheric world of dreams and the present moment, where we find ourselves floating and merging with all the beautiful vibrations. Featuring some sonic postcards from his friends (Steven Kemner, Dave Mantel, and Sean Galloway), Tesselymyer paints a new world to traverse – one that is as imaginary as it is real, where “ordinary methods and immediate results are ditched along with their traditional maps in order to reach uncharted places of the imagination.” It’s an absolute pleasure to wander within this open space, and I find myself pleasantly lost among its many turns and expansive pastures.
Where Substance Meets Emptiness has been in the works for nearly a year, and it represents a major shift in technique and style for me. There is a far greater emphasis on rhythmic and percussive elements than anything else I’ve done to date. “Flowers in a Storm” was one of the first tracks I wrote for this album. It features heavily processed, re-sampled, and time-stretched drums. I was actively trying to make them feel as if they are constantly shifting and bending around the melodic textures, adding texture as much as rhythm.
— Andrew Tasselmyer
The full album is out tomorrow, January 30th, 2024, on Mystery Circles. Mastered by Taylor Deupree, it is available as a digital, CD, or cassette edition. Beautiful album cover by Andrew’s brother, Michael Tasselmyer.