Alphastare/Hal McGee Micro-cassette split review

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Below is a review of a microcassette split I did with Hal McGee from Florida. Hal has been a prolific artist in the outsider cassette tape and mail art scene since the early 80’s. Aural Innovations is actually how I discovered Hal 5 or so years ago. I appreciated his work so much that I sent him  message and from there he invited me to take part in a couple of projects. The first one I took part in was The Museum of Microcassette Art or “MOMA” my release was #28 out of 122 releases. Also available via Bandcamp:

I was later approached to take part in this split project Hal initiated by purchasing a bulk amount of microcassettes and sending them out to anyone that wanted to be involved. Here is that release and the review below. Read the entire review of other microcassette split releases from this project at Aural Innovations.



Kassette Kult Tapes
click image to view releases!

Follow the links below to Hal’s sites for a staggering amount of underground outsider experimental releases, many can be had for free via bandcamp but know that any donations will be put back into current and future projects. So do drop a quarter in the bucket!


Alphastare & Hal McGee – Microcasette Split (excerpt from Aural Innovations review)

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

of Aural Innovations

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