Zone Tripper is Hal Harmon and Ry Sikora crafting futuristic tunes, aptly named for their style – it reminds me of an ’80s sci-fi movie about robots and giant overheating computers. Gentleman Ringworm is a project I’m unfamiliar with, led by Clint Payne and David Hanch (as the liner notes state, he weighs in at 4 lbs). Both get a side around 14 minutes on this split.
Zone Tripper starts with two tracks simply titled “Transmission III” and “Transmission IV (Plasma Grenade.” Both are warped sounds of beeping, squealing, and feedback, with “Transmission III” using a high-pitched tone in the background and a lot of bleeps and boops as one might expect for such a themed project. The two tracks do feature some harsher noise overtones as they move into crunchy, walled-in territory; “Transmission IV (Plasma Grenade)” is mostly a track of Merzbow-ish scrapes and malfunctioning ancient computers. If you dig the theme of these guys, their tracks won’t disappoint.
Gentleman Ringworm is a little different. Weird samples, spoken word, and assortments of audio clips are the norm for the project’s three tracks. “Rodents in Vegas” features a lo-fi sample of some Asian loop, low tones of cats meowing, and a synth drone as voices exclaim, “I keep finding these bugs in my bed!” The tracks don’t get much more normal than that; “Saigon Stilts” is quiet with random synth notes, humming, and that’s pretty much about it. “Caverns and Taverns” has a pulse to it that’s pretty interesting, along with some whirring, cicada-inspired layers that adds a hypnotic effect. Ultimately, though, the Gentleman Ringworm tracks seem to be mixed rather low on this tape, leaving it a difficult side to listen to.
However, it’s overall a good tape of weird synth sounds and sci-fi futurism. There is certainly much to like about Gentleman Ringworm’s odd choice of samples and sounds, and Zone Tripper adds two tracks to their repertoire that absolutely bring back memories of watching Blade Runner or reading Kurt Vonnegut. Check it out.