Obviously, things are in flux and development around here. Oh, but it’s building fast behind the scenes. Without giving too much away, here’s how things are shaping up.
The artists of Tape Life Records are the various projects and aliases of Karl Mohr.
- Karl Mohr Audio-Yo – electronic music madness, experiments, industrial bombast, murky ambient, unique soundtracks
- Blue Visions – straight-ahead chill house good times music; ambient, tech house, electro house, dub techno
- Jurgen Charge – schranz, noise, hardcore, acid house, abnormally high tempo, heavy loopy dance tracks
- Dead Red Velvet – dark electronic, industrial, gothic rock and high-octane thrills
- Midway Ghost – cabaret & art song; mystery; musicality
- Inner Space Voyage – relaxation music for the overstressed, using tempo and timbre to help people unwind
Continuum Sounds is also an ongoing venture for Tape Life – sample packs for Kontakt format – to be released as Continuum Sounds and Tape Life Sample Packs. This is still in-work.
The Short Version
In essence, Karl Mohr Audio-Yo rode the line between DJ culture and the alternative (industrial/goth) genre, as it was then called. After the electronic round-up album The Heck, Karl Mohr shifted into serious songwriting with some vague idea of the spotlight which resulted his 2000 release, The End Of The Line. Mohr had always wanted a working artist title, and didn’t find one he was comfortable with until 2010, with Dead Red Velvet. In many ways, the 2000 release already was this shift to Dead Red Velvet and so, in this spirit, the older albums are being re-released under that name. What started out as a work opportunity, brought Mohr’s house/techno side to bear on the Blue Visions project which turned out to be quite successful.
When Gabriel Teran started to talk about a complex music video for Mohr’s song “These Fine Feathers”, the idea to write/organize an album focused on this type of music started to emerge. Already underway was a project to create short poppy dark industrial tracks under four minutes. The album Full Moon Film marked the shift into Dead Red Velvet, which had been a shifting splinter dynamic dating back to the 1988 beginnings.
As a relief from all the goth seriousness, Mohr jerked off his project Droid Charge, which was specifically designed to be abrasive, unlistenable art cack, just for the fun of it. In many ways, Droid Charge was the natural successor to Karl Mohr Audio-Yo, renamed Spannhaken in 2009(?) due to the Samsung Droid Charge decision, and then renamed again to Jurgen Charge.
Karl Mohr Audio-Yo has been put to bed finally after a full survey revealed in an eight-release set. Jurgen Charge lives on to test the edges of fast tempos and high octane mash techno. Dead Red Velvet is Mohr’s flagship darkwave project which is, at present, heading away from guitar-goth (hates the term post-punk, which doesn’t mean anything) and leaning towards dark electro dance pop; his vocals very much at the centre. As his wine becomes fine, he is flirting with the Johnny Hollow, Caretaker and 4AD dark ambient piano-based feels on his Midway Ghost project; vocals also central on this atmospheric cinematika. Whereas he still thrills to the electronic sounds, he trusts in the acoustic and sampled sounds – Midway Ghost represents a way to explore more sensitive and musical terrain. (2016/09/03)
An explanation of what happened, what is happening, and what may happen to these projects…
Karl Mohr Audio-Yo was the primary artist name used by Canadian composer/producer Karl Mohr from roughly 1987 – 2010. With a high volume of recorded output – some 35 cassette releases even before the CD releases, curating and genre-consistency were not at all the focus, and albums often included whiplash dialing between disparate musical genres. As pure creative output, this was impressive and interesting, but lacking focus and overall vision. Of the genres that emerged, the primary drives turned out to be:
- song-oriented dark rock and sad ballads and piano/vocal extemporizing often called ‘cabaret’ or ‘melodramatic’ or ‘art song’ these days (see Midway Ghost below)
- dark/industrial/electronic tracks with vocals (see Dead Red Velvet below)
- manic intense overdriven techno and DJ culture and mixing such as that referred to as ‘remixing’ or ‘mashups’, acid house, schranz, hardcore (see Jurgen Charge below)
- dark ambient, slow, dreamy, washed out music (see Inner Space Voyage below)
- melancholic mutant house music and dub-flavored techno (see Blue Visions below)
In order of chronological development, the following side-projects grew into legitimate pursuits in their own right.
Blue Visions – far and above Mohr’s most commercially successful project despite having only one album and one double-single of instrumental electronic dance music, typically called chill house or chillout with notes of tech house and dub techno. This was the first time Mohr recorded under a name that wasn’t his default Audio-Yo moniker. This project is dormant at the time of this writing.
Jurgen Charge – started as an outlet for soulless abstract art techno, it grew into a monstrous robotic hardcore project. But the Samsung company released a mobile phone called the Droid Charge, which sent the name to the trash compactor. Thus, there was an attempt to rebrand the project as Spannhaken, which was abandoned; one album resulted under that name. Finally, all of the Droid Charge/Spannhaken material was moved under the new name Jurgen Charge. This is the continuity of the psychotic Droid Charge legacy, as of 2015. This project is still active and generating new material.
Midway Ghost – in 2010, Mohr released the goth/darkwave epic album, Full Moon Film, and changed the name of his main songwriting continuity from Karl Mohr Audio-Yo to Dead Red Velvet. One can already hear this transition as far back as such songs “Waiters” (1997) and “End Of The Line” (2000). Mohr’s dark songs, the alternative musical spaces, cabaret piano, song expressions are all part of the Dead Red Velvet universe. His output that focuses on lyrics, vocals, songs and musicality are explored in this project, which is very active. There are many upcoming songs and albums waiting in the wings; this material that was slated as Dead Red Velvet will be released as Midway Ghost. Confusing, to be sure.
Dead Red Velvet – because Dead Red Velvet suffered from the same personality duality inherent in Karl Mohr Audio-Yo, there needed to be an extraction of the dark techno, electro-darkwave, EBM, horror disco, vocal industrial, hard and edgy and loud material from the more organic and song-oriented material: Dead Red Velvet remains focused on this material. Trimming down to the electro-industrial/dark-techno genres, it allowed for an electronic-oriented, repetitive (dancefloor) song-space between the sprawling art ballads of Midway Ghost and the torrential bitstorm of Jurgen Charge. This project is very active with many songs in development.
Inner Space Voyage – to exercise the longtime pursuit of using tempo and timbre manipulations as relaxation therapy along a sonic voyage, the name Inner Space Voyage was chosen for all of Mohr’s ambient/sonic journey/therapeutic recordings and explorations. As a gentler musical area, Inner Space Voyage separates from the rest, with only marginal crossover with Blue Visions. This project is currently dormant while work on the Karl Mohr Audio-Yo back catalog is underway.
In summary, Mohr has three projects in progress currently accumulating releases – Dead Red Velvet, Midway Ghost and Jurgen Charge – which are to be addressed after the eight albums of the Karl Mohr Audio-Yo legacy have been remastered, repackaged and released. Curation and remastering of the Tape Life Records catalog is currently underway.
*Pre-release artist names have been changed in some cases.