Writing about the RAGS 2016 release, “Cipher of the Infinite Moment”
“Unsettling, yet innocuous drones mix like smoke with light on the stand alone A side track ‘A Long Corridor’, taken from RAGS recent cassette Cipher of the Infinite Moment on ((Cave)) Recordings. Distant rattles, climbing timbers, long delayed string strums, and tape rewind squeals and churns float in and out of each other during the longform track. Then, the smoke settles as dawn creeps closer. And finally, blissed out and battle tested guitars fly overtop the tape with blinding triumph and eventual descent.”
-Bort from Tiny Mix Tapes
“The 37th release from San Mateo, California’s ((Cave)) Recordings, Rags’ “Cipher of the Infinite Moment”, is James Seevers’ experimental journey through time and space. With each side-long, 16-minute track, it’s easy to put this on and get enveloped in the otherworldly echoes and reverberation.
Aptly titled “A Long Corridor,” the track is a long journey to the deep unknown and back to the surface. The track hums open with a buzzing guitar and underwater sounds swishing around, then moves to feature what sounds like the voice of the devil himself. Slow, low, and barely decipherable, it’s joined by a chorus of cave dwellers in an unsettling concert. Rattling bells follow, with clacking drumsticks and rolling thunder building to a swell. Around 5:30 in, simple guitar-picking echoes to near-silence while clacking and clanging continue. A pleasant electric guitar tune picks up midway through the song, with the disembodied and distorted voice coming in to strike fear in the lone listener. One can faintly make out “what are you doing?” or at least that is what I personally heard while keeping a panic attack at bay. With six minutes left of the song, Rags relapses underwater and comes up for air again. Bursting forth at almost 12 minutes in, bright reverberation screams forward, ebbing and flowing over the silence. Hurried, frantic guitar strumming comes in and suddenly Rags has the listener in a punk song. A beat of silence gives way to a clear, melancholy tune that plays the song out, ending abruptly in peace.
Where side A featured the devil, side B, “A Flickering Light,” opens with a chorus of angels, a litany of light voices finding a harmony together, soon petering out to the ramblings of a madman about movement, connection and energy, a frantic TedTalk from underground. With a buzzing behind it, the one-sided conversation continues, mentioning cosmic waves, motion, and information. By three minutes in, the track reaches sci-fi synths that then dissolve into a flamenco-inspired guitar stream. Faint voices weave in and out of the music, with reverb competing with the mysterious lecturer, this time going on about imagination and black holes. With about five minutes to go, the song is a melodic and thoughtful guitar track, with the faint choir joining in one more time. The preacher joins again, urging belief, but in what? A deep cello sound eventually ends the song, leaving the listener buzzing with existential questions.”
-Kat Harding from tabsout.com
Writing about the RAGS 2014 release, “Belief in an Order of Meaning”:
“Shades of grey and black, light and dark from Rags, with Belief In An Order Of Meaning, on ((cave)). Grinding ethereal scrape. Suffocating riffage juxtaposed against massive wailing guitar. Noise elements that coil around the soundscape, forcing you to recontextualize everything. Two side long tracks, the front a more traditional and expertly developed take on tape scene guitar (backed by a field recording of train tracks, yeah that’s perfect curation), the later, an overwhelming torrent forming something that feels like Indian’s Unquiet Sky and old Expo 70 stuff. I won’t spoil the surprise waiting for you on the flip, but it will absolutely bury your mind. I physically got out of my chair to rewind and hear the impact again. This is music for spiritual cleansing. Go make yourself clean.
Edition of 50, full color double sided inserts, B&W labels on clear shells. As of right now this is still available, and it’ really shouldn’t be.”
-Brian from Guide Me Little Tape
“The only track on side A, “Canopy of Veiled Quantum”, fills nearly 16 minutes of tape with what I’d guess a Sutekh Hexen record would sound like if steadily dragged under the needle at 17rpm; a guitar based drone/noise lamentation on being uncomfortably stable, heavy as pulse-less can be. The slow dynamic builds of mid-range noise are just a few notches short of what a general consensus on “harsh” could be agreed upon, while washes of feedback & warped, organic field recordings fade in and out. Just barely underneath, not quite competing for utmost attention, are the converse tones of what just escapes being called “soothing” drones. This multi-disciplined SF Bay Area native has tension’s charms clearly commanded here, continuously shifting a feedback riff either too slow or fast to be catchy enough for whistling. By the time a tone of familiar guitar riffery sets in, an organ pipe reminds us that this James Seever is no one trick pony, but a classical minded composer, experimenting well with sinking his teeth into this looser, louder, boundless forum.
Side B, “Galactic Superstructure”, also about 16 minutes, keeps the distortion and constant permutations of guitar textures in the middle-ground; slow piping washes of choral tones meld seemlessly with alternating synth lines. This is nothing to operate heavy machinery to, or sit down and have a nice, hap-hap-happy, self-check in; it’s eerily, beautiful, get-lost-edly hypnotic, for just long enough…’til a schizophrenic run of atmospheric black metal runs almost dark electro-ambient runs outright six-organs-of-admittance-style acoustic meditation…and done damn well…which dumps into field recording of underpass-ish reverb percussion, then Buddhist monk-chanting, then back, again, to the opening vocalist (James’ wife or sister? Someone with a shared surname is credited!) swelling, in layers, trumpeted throughout many a pedal’d effect. A very dynamic journey, rife with subtext and potential for interpretation. Perfect for a creative writing exercise, or forced interpretive dance party. Farcical war-paint optional.”
-Jacob An Keittenplan from Casette Gods Blog