Reviews: 9/2004

778 image 1

>>> Key

  • . Frozen In Time (10 Below)
  • . . On Thin Ice (Playable)
  • . . . Icebreaker (Solid)
  • . . . . Sonic Ice (Repeat)
  • . . . . .Avalanche (Classic)

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • TOSHIYA TSUNODA :: Scenery of Decalcomania
  • CD :: Naturestrip
  • . . .

    778 image 2 :: Melbourne’s latest purveyor of high quality sound experimentation is Naturestrip whose newest recording is the latest from Toshiya Tsunoda (Korm Plastics, SIRR). As Scenery of Decalcomania opens with the microgrinding on “Unstable Contact” one wonders if this is a cautionary tale, or if this will prep babies for future visits to their local DMD. A reoccurring, spinning, sandpaper to a blackboard drill works away at your rational patience, until taken over by a levitating orb fueled only by light. Tsunoda plays with the sound you can feel in your nerve endings and then surprises you by adding the fervor of the natural environment (“Wind Whistling”). His sound is geometric, full-bodied and in it he contains bird calls, the ocean and other natural phenomena that balance the equal purity of man’s machines in action. We participate in his sphere of sound in the boldly impenetrable “Cavity of Cylinder.” The sharp buzzing of “Filmy Feedback” is kind of intoxicating depending on where you turn your head as you listen. The sound is fleeting as you move, as it pulses with a neon brightness. It’s extreme music for sure. Nothing subtle about this torrent of psychic minimalism.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • VARIOUS ARTISTS :: Melatonin
  • CDx2 :: Room40
  • . . . .

    This is a whopper! Based on the meditations of sounds in sleep, it’s almost too multifarious to say some about. It makes me feel embarrassedly biased with such a well curated selection of artists from Janek Schaefer and Chris Watson to Scanner and David Toop. Dark late night owls and crickets, toys and gentle fairy tale harmonies, ethereal drifting oceanscapes –I just want to listen and relax and not dissect it all. I suggest you get yourself a copy and do the same. Pimmon does a lovely thing called “Elion” proving that he can make sounds that are just a tad less funky for a minute (please don’t stop!). “Arm Dormant” is a short by Marina Rosenfeld that prepares your R.E.M. for RAM in a live feed video-cam meets rusty see-saw in the still of the night. And Timeblind harnesses the wide ocean balancing its greatness with a scribbly sense of awe. Zane Trow’s “Night Bell” uses a Fairlight sounding synth that plays like a covert SOS pattern. Steinbruchel brings “Feder” which is more like the moment when shades of light become shades of dark as the moon elipses into night. It’s a big task, but anything can be done in slumber. Included here are also Martin Ng, Gail Priest, DJ Olive, Philip Samartzis and many others. Lawrence English has pulled something off that needs to find a forum to be repeated, or at least archived. Sacrifice your shuteye for a night soon, but know that I want the recipe.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • ELLENDE :: The ABC of Drowning
  • CD :: Mystery Sea
  • . . .

    778 image 3 :: The ABC of Drowning was recorded randomly over the course of sixteen years. It features something of a light-speed tunnel ride of partial sound surrounding you, and then it dissipates and repeats again. Like other records in their wake this is quite the oblique ride into a haunted void. Along the way what illustrates this are a series of bloated background reverberations that sound like repeated nightmares of ancient Rome and/or large creatures that no longer inhabit our planet. How can one record have so many disparate parallels without compromising its integrity? ‘The ABC of Drowning’ works more like a history book of sorts, with only a hinted glint of what was, and simply shapes the memories out of fragments. What the listener gets is an aerated version, quite filtered down from its original context. So it’s more like a digitized image from a photocopy than a page from any actual history. But its all done with the sleight of hand by way of a mystical cascade of sound effects that create their own atmosphere, one that billows with winds, shades light and otherwise keeps a heavy overcoat on at all times.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • VARIOUS ARTISTS :: Thinkbox Editions 02: Guitar
  • CD :: Thinkbox
  • . . .

    778 image 4 :: Windsor’s artful collective Thinkbox have gathered their consciousness on the old stringed instrument. And as the disc opens with the very silky smooth ambience of Christopher Bissonnette’s “Ciel de Velours Noir : Edit 01″ it appears that a streaky morph of lines and shapes just runs like watercolors on an open canvas. Chugging away like a train, it hints at the bridge of its invisible instrument; a quiet, twisted haiku. The harmonic fuzzy strings on “Mind Bend” by Steve Roy use sounds that I may have ever heard randomly strewn through an old Tangerine Dream record, but here it plays with the containment of an antique music box filled with a miniature carousel of amusing color. It’s trippy. Mark Laliberte’s “Strum” opens with the starkness of industrial drone, a muffled wind pattern that leads way to a collage of compound intricacies. In it he utilizes the field of sound to create a wonderful percussive sizzle that is quite tactile, like the reeds of a palm swaying in the calm before an impending monsoon. The strum of the guitar is deeply bass-like and grounds the track effectively. The soft wash of Rob Theakston’s “Insomnia” is in high contrast to his “verbose” performance at this year’s Mutek Festival in Montreal. The track is quite guarded and alien, a work of restricted sensitivity. It’s like a sine wave connecting dots in open space. “From Rich Soil” picks up the pace and shifts the tempo a bit. Bill Van Loo has a way with capturing a certain kind of angsty energy that is just restrained enough that it keeps its edge intact. It pops in and out with a warp that is infectious and a bit dizzying. Chris McNamara adds his craft to the mix with the mysterious “Chalmers & Outer Drive.” Whether it’s an actual address or just an imaginary space he plays on the tingly sensation that the source instrument gives you when its chords connect to the soulful side of the left-brain. This is a collection and group of guys to watch as they continue to risk the blurred lines of creative thinking

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • CLINKER :: Unloading
  • CDR :: Clinkersound Music
  • . . . .

    Clinker is Alberta’s sound craftsman and graphic artist Gary James Joynes whose latest self-release is packaged beautifully on the out/inside. Dedicated to his dad, the four tracks herein, comprised of approximately a half hour of engaging and cinematic drone (and other things that go bump in the night), is something of a surprise from last year’s self-titled release. Where he’s been pretty icy before, the thaw has mounted and the residual wash of more golden tones ring through the murkier side of Joynes’ aural spectrum. Speaking of music for airports, this is akin to sounds drifting outside an old abandoned rural jet hangar that’s open ended; the siren call of a lost civilization. There is something largely ephemeral here, as the tones develop at a lax and dreamy pace.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • GINTAS K. VS. DDN :: The Pulse and Click of Your Cyberheart is Melody to My Analogue to Digital Converter
  • CD (Ltd. to 77) :: Burning Emptiness
  • . . . . 1/2

    778 image 5 :: This is called a “random collection” of a collaboration by Lithuanian Gintas K Pasienieciu and Arles’ DDN that encompasses a variety of whip short tracks – samples sort of. From the start, though, its more than a simple sampler – its more of a belligerent set of pirated codes, channels of sound that take you to another level of consciousness. Playing on pitch and rhythm with a sense of staggered timing. This is where the phrase “ghost in the machine” came from, even after the fact, it makes perfect sense. All of the sources used here are live, all the sine waves, plugins, synths, theremin and other wired things. In moments where galloping quips meet sweet synth organs the two meet in harmonic curiosity. The percussion is high hat to blurring when apparent in these electronic haikus, each under two minutes in length. They tease a bit as each transition is gently different with a variety of gurgling to alarm sounds. With something akin to an open mic to a buzz saw, a volcanic growth build in the background and morphs the engine that this one flew in on until a cavern of technical difficulty is overcome by the shimmy of radio interference. What have I stumbled upon here?

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • CHRISTINA KUBISCH :: Twelve Signals
  • CD :: Semishigure
  • . . .

    778 image 6 :: Based on signal charts built for miners in 19th century Germany, Kubisch derives historical sounds into a contemporary installation space (circa Y2K). With volume ascension, tonal clarity and timing, the bells can immediately remind the listener of school or church bells at recess or even those commemorating the dead for a funeral. It’s amazing how relevant and activating the immediacy of the sound of a bell is. The patterns had specific meanings (as they do in SOS signaling) but as it is lost in time, the romanticism of the past evokes another, almost meditative reaction. The bell calls some to duty, releases others from structure, and tolls for the spirit of homage. This is a graceful recording that teaches in tones.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • KLANGSTABIL :: Taking Nothing Seriously
  • CD :: Ant Zen
  • . . . 1/2

    I guess I am biased, or maybe not. These guys made a record a few years ago (Gioco Bambino) that was disturbingly dark in its earthy groundedness, and suddenly they make what some may hear as a pop-goth transparency. But this is much deeper than its pre-programmed beats. Taking Nothing Seriously does just that, it bleeds angst in its angry vocal and still metal cling clang. The concept heats a fever pitch that harkens back to the earlier days of the Chicago industrial scene. So, yes, the reliance on the leanings towards the 80s are more than hinted at here – BUT – they whisper like a magical Italian noir film in a rare semblance where the consonants of the German language are spoken out with a sensuality I have never known (just listen to the album version of “Gloomy Day”). And yes, there is gut wrenching screams, you can just imagine the veins popping out of his neck as the theme goes from quiet, sweet synths to razor sharp percussion tracks alongside a militaristic eye popping vocal. But the message here still does not float in the field of “we are gonna rock you!” there is a sensitive call to arms, a wake up call. In many ways Klangstabil remains an acquired taste, and rightfully so, as their larger message is not one of bloody consumerism, maybe just the opposite. Ant-Zen is a good home, a fitting place where music takes a risk, limbo sounds that say what they feel, without consequence or callous editing. The duo of Macaulay and Raschke have much more to say.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • MONDOMARC :: Sau Ra
  • CD :: Klang Krieg
  • . . . 1/2

    Upbeat flavors spill and bleed and dance gaily with a sense of resolute, pure, decadent fun! Berliner (native of Spain) Mondomarc (Marc Domenech Victorià Saura) turns it out on Sau Ra with a warm Euro-Western (“Pubertaris?”) with a hand clapping good time that sounds like a crazy car commercial (without the vapid sloganeering). This is an intentional patchwork of shoulder widening, popping dance music with all the quirks you grow accustomed to hearing from artists like Beck and Momus, to a sour, bent beat. This is a new kinda pop music, the kind being forged by Ladytron, T. Raumschmiere and the Fat Truckers. It has a kick-you-in-the-arse attitude that bakes in its own juices. He uses a series of static and well produced cycled rhythms that bounce like flares at an accident scene, brighter than white. A hybrid of randomized sketchy lines and voiceovers make this an atypical techno record, but its ripe to get a groove on and just spin “They Play To Win” with its hip-hop (er sorta late Clash) rhymes that hints at Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” while venting about possession consciousness. And then there’s “Century of Calm” which could easily be a collision between Philip Jeck and De La Soul speaking Bush/Cheneyisms about how the American Dream has been lost in the eyes of the larger international community. He scratches (literally) the itch.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • MAJA S.K. RATKJE and LASSE MARHAUG :: Music for Loving
  • CD :: Bottrop-Boy
  • . . . . .

    OK, I admit, I noticed the picture of Flipper (er, a dolphin) on the inside cover artwork before even sticking the disc into my PC for the full feature. It was to my surprise that the first thing I noticed about Music for Loving was what appeared to be only sounds that such creatures would understand when they speak amongst themselves. But seriously, “A Hymn, May Be Classified as Influenced by Baroque” is hardly a critical commentary of hard criticism; it’s like the second coming of Godzilla fighting an army of generically oversized Teletubbies armed with cans of Silly String. Oh my! Recorded in Oslo, my immediate reaction was a fat smile. It’s one of those recorded forms that just takes hazardous technical difficulties to the umpteenth level. This is the noise record of the year. Pixelated, muddy, awkward, fricticious, its all in there; like a mystery stew of aural delights. Chaos personified, remixed and served as an elixir alongside yodeling nonsense and random sky scraping air rides from Mars. What’s this about “Sliced Minimalist Meets Sheep”….etc? I am truly speechless; this is just fucked in half!

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • ONETHEMA :: Sticks for Bits
  • 12″ EP :: Underscan Records
  • . . . .

    “Route-Veen 26″ bubbles to the bridge with a sideline percussive beat that moves like a spider under siege. Ticking, backing up, popping and cocooning. Onethema creates an almost dance record with start/stops and sci-fi bellows that are serious fun. Well, a bit more serious than fun, actually, but not quite didactic. It’s more like you lost a quarter in a machine and you are trying to wrench it from the evil beast so you can make that almighty purchase behind the glass of the vending system. Granted, there is a tad bit of the old skool Squarepusher stuck in its craw, it doesn’t succumb to the faults of the carbon copy, no residue, just a faded memory chip. Sticks for Bits should be out on shelves soon, but most likely won’t last too too long as Mr. Simon Petre has concocted a true original, something that is as imaginative as anatomical, especially on the sumptuously playful “Rutaceae” (What does that mean? Is that a fungus?). It’s childlike at times (“Windon”) and can also act as a electronic decoder slash scanning system for treated sound diagrams that are only secretly unlocked via infrared (“Splanchnic”). Whatever the guise – this is more a heady trip through new electronica tongues on fire than something to get your ya yas out to. Save the high kicks for later, you’ll need the boost.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • KONTAKT DER JUNGLINGE :: N & Frühruin
  • CD (Ltd. to 500) and 3″ CD (Ltd. to 100) :: Die Stadt
  • . . . . .

    Asmus Tietchens and Thomas Koner gather once again for their fourth collaboration as Kontakt der Jünglinge on the magnificent n. Together, all of these four parts “1,” “0″ “-1″ and n can be boxed (100 only) with the special, limited edition 3″ CD. The four recordings represent a sort of cycle that is completed with “n” and is a spacey, serene mix of high tonal drone that functions in a way that actively generates a feeling that you are floating above the ecosphere in a floorless craft. Koner and Tietchens conjure images of flying through brilliantly bright light, with only the abyss of the ocean in view, and the curvature of the edge of earth. Twinkling, crystalline tweaks provide a clean, mythic doorway into which pours a continuous rush of multiple open streams of white water noise alongside a locomotive of sorts. As the engine fades out the atmosphere is still, drifting, like fine floating particles in white light just pulsing at organic intervals.

    The limited 3″ Frühruin starts with something windy and forbidden. Koner’s eerily dense field recordings alongside Titchens’ well-worn oscillator knobs and variants draw from a centerpoint outwardly. At first the tension is more akin to a technical drawing on glass, but as they dig their dirt deeper, they fill it with a haunted presence. Running just over 15 minutes, this palm-sized piece of music is the mapping of unknown territories in the far North. It lightly traipses over fields of barren wind that stride on a single plain for miles.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • THOMAS BRINKMANN :: Tokyo +1
  • CD :: Max Ernst
  • . . . .

    Every once in a while a record comes along that pricks up your ears in a way that would cause you to imagine that either you haven’t cleaned the soap out from your last shower, or are you really listening to the artist whose CD you just dropped into the player. Thomas Brinkmann has become synonymous with a stunning repertoire of beats of perfection. Though Tokyo + 1 makes you think. Is the process of thinking the cogent thing to do when it comes to what you expect? Well, I am a thinker, so, I guess I will let my assumptions just slide away. “Mit Sugar” reminds me of a Grandmaster Flash jam, done Euro style, but with overlays from the street, keeping the jam going live and long. The filed recordings seem to come from Japanese arcades and other loud spaces where people congregate and these are supermixed into something much funnier than work of yore. It’s a take on how Eastern culture has cheesily absorbed Western (ala US) culture and whipped it into a frothy mess. Brinkmann hypothesizes by strapping on something of a machine gun rhythm track on “109 Competition.” There’s something about lack of instantaneous tolerance here. But it all goes down quite well once you are deep into the mix.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • MENU:EXIT :: Vool
  • 12″ EP :: Underscan Records
  • . . .

    Mark Wagner and Ralf Pytlik are Berlin’s Menu:Exit and the new 12″ Vool is an enchanting affair. Harmonic and fleeting, the electronic vibe(s) make for a graceful attempt at making a crafty set of tracks that use guitar and the physical sounds of tactile analogisms fun. The title track is almost something of a Christian folk record spiked up and filtered with a useful subtraction of needless vocals. The repetitive rhythm falls just shy of becoming unwelcome until it slides into “Cherlisc” which reminds me of the work of John Twells as Xela. Raspy, crisp static meeting wavy melody head on, with a slight hint of hip-hop without going there (thank you)! The house favorite is the Gary Numanesque “IYF” that uses a great staccato vocoder technique where the vocal is distorted and stretched and chopped beyond recognition, only aiding in a quirky percussion. It’s sci-fi ’04 style! These boys have a long and wilding (er post Bauhausian) road ahead, the one less traveled. Will they take it high or low –we’ll see.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • JANEK SCHAEFER :: Cold Storage
  • CD :: DSP Recordings
  • . . . .

    778 image 7 :: Cold Storage was recorded for and inspired by an abandoned cold storage cellar in Rome as part of a site-specific residency piece and concert. The work is austere from the start, including the sounds of a large chamber door being opened/closed, the distance of a train and the dance of rain on metal siding and lots of airy open space where wind travels quite freely. Schaefer traveled to Switzerland, Portugal and Australia to capture some of the field recordings used in the final piece. Akin somewhat to the work of Dan Burke, the din of the dark storage space is certainly a central theme that breaks through sound barriers (recommended: listen to this one loud!). Using a contact microphone to capture the velocity of refrigeration units and other industrial matter, Schaefer breathes his own visceral reality into an already dense underground space. The recording draws you into the space, almost lures you hypnotically. At one moment you are tied to the bow of a ship, the next you are blindfolded in a candy factory. In between there is something of a time machine transporting you back and forth between diverse environments. Grainy scribbles of sparse white noise fill my head in soft pearlescent hues. This is a methodical powerwash of soundscaping.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • JOHN HUDAK ::Room With Sky
  • CD :: Spekk
  • . . . . 1/2

    778 image 8 :: Exactly one hour, this new piece by John Hudak, mastered by Stephan Mathieu, began with the words from his mouth first thing upon waking and looking to the views from his bedroom at both New York City and the Hudson River. The result speaks for itself, without tongues, actually. It more so glistens than anything else. Streaming, like the light into his room, upon his face, into his mind, heart and arteries, Hudak generates this light gently. The ambience captured is like a stream, simple, with cropped edges, a bit cragged and erratic, but just a dapple of faded color, the hint of a seasonal change. As Room With Sky develops it is almost something of a silencing, a protective layer of fragileness. It’s an inverted voice, speaking with bare, broken consonants that are soft edged, no lips, no subtitles. It takes you somewhere and drifts away on its own.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • *PORTUGAL
  • BJORGULFSSON/PIMMON/THORSSON :: Still Important Somekind Not Normally Seen (Always Not Unfinished)
  • CD :: Cronica
  • . . . .

    This three way live collaboration between multimedia artists Heimir Björgúlfsson (Staalplaat, Bottrop-Boy), Pimmon (Fallt, Meme, Tiln) and visual artist Helgi Thorsson. Recorded live at the Melkfabriek in Den Bosch the recording was then treated to careful constructive editing by London’s Robert Hampson at Thirst. With nine individual unnamed tracks that chatter and slide into one another the listener, familiar with their individual work, will delight in the meandering mesh of pitched fireworks that careen and flare, sputter and fizzle. It’s like a constant motor that restarts with new meaning each time a silence is induced. There is a fair share of gibberish sonics, a gassy backing drone and a stylized fermentation at the four corners of their traversed canvas. While pretty playful, the connectivity of the three artists points of view here appears serious, almost competitive. They have obviously all listened to a great deal of John Cage in their time, having grasped the need to steer far away from fading into the general public consciousness of turgid acceptability. The percussion is muted, steely and drops in and out fluidly. Samples of spacey strings gallantly swoop across the room and play on the left and right channels of sound. For a moment you are imaging Audrey Hepburn in some classic 50s flick and next you are strapped into an uber contemporary starship and you are captain of this light speed module. While this has its moments of solitude where sound and imagination suspends with aural gravity, there is not an instant of dead space. This trio fills you with a discerning heap of suspense.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • *SCOTLAND
  • PAUL BRADLEY :: Immure
  • CD3 (Ltd. to 200) :: The Locus of Assemblage
  • . . .

    This is haunting. Immure is the latest by Paul Bradley that starts off really quiet and slow moving and jumps out suddenly as if disturbed and shackled. Perhaps the soundtrack for 42nd Street around 3:30AM, creeping darkly home, a scope of the night air, with only the ora of the people passing and the subtle reflection of neon from a few late night delis channeling late night denizens. Bradley gives this tiny disc a big pulsing heart (no this ain’t no love song) that embellishes a drift of 1000 city souls in its trail. The drone vibrates and creates a partially hypnotic effect that is curbed only by an undercurrent of sinister energy.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • POIRE_Z + PHIL MINTON :: Q
  • CD :: For4Ears
  • . . . .

    778 image 9 :: The wired quartet Poire_Z (Gunter Muller, Norbert Moslang, Erikm, Andy Guhl) along with Phil Minton on (corrupted) voice create a sound that is many leagues above the sea. Compositions based on the coming together of hyper minidisk players, ipods and other random digits, the sparseness of the 39 minute “W oder q” are scratches on the surface that go under the skin. Made up of two tracks (one short, one long) that sound laundered, detailed, detached and otherwise presented pristinely untouched. This live recording is pure, technical electroacoustic sound, with only a suggestion of something resembling a mired beat. Minton’s voice is helium induced to a fault during one short passage, while others play with a research style of imprinting their instruments with a wide open mind of free flow improv. Gargling, spitting, wacky, daffy doodles of delightfully encrypted soundgasms come together and fall apart. There is a hint of natural sound, though this is strictly digital so don’t be fooled by how the gadgets can at times sound a bit feathered. As they chip, crack, cut away at the core of this growing lava pit of burning and dodging, the whining voice spills full throttle into a choking gurgle. The thump of repetitive booming percussion calls on the demons conjured formerly by Diamanda Galas perhaps. Tilt! In the kinder, gentler end result of “Q oder z” electronic crickets ease the ear with a generic slumber.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • RABOUD MENS :: Pulse
  • CD :: Staalplaat
  • . . . .

    778 image 10 :: From its dizzying op-art cover art screened right onto the jewel box, Raboud Mens’ Pulse takes its title seriously as it pulsates with a cavernous bass and some minor, cryptic percussion. Broken into six individual pieces, the work reveals itself really slowly, it fades in and out of drifting ambient drone with sparks of sharp extended clicks and muted marbleized beats that are pretty minimal. Although quite machine-like “Pulse” wouldn’t really be considered an industrial work; it only plays on the way in which machines do their work, and almost courts the processing of these sounds in a distinctive course of beat management (track 3 just gives me goose bumps). There are inconsistent growling snores, belly-like grumbling and a whole host of reworked sound samples that almost slow down nature’s course without revealing her secrets. A stark work of art.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • SI_COMM :: Four Acoustic Solids
  • CD :: PulseData
  • . . . .

    778 image 11 :: When it comes to the alchemy of DNA, Four Acoustic Solids by Si_COMM (and reformulated by friends) may certainly be nominated as the forensic record of the year; but since there is no such honor I will try to pay a certain portrait of what you will find inside. If you fused a toaster with a sonograph you might get an initial picture. Especially when it comes to the piece constructed by Achim Wollscheid, that is like the drama of a bullet lost in space. With every movement oxygen is lost, gravity is erratic and the whole balance is in flux. The open-air static generated by Si_COMM with the aid of Akio Sona speaks of cavernous space, fore and background merging with a serious or primary gestures. Linden Hale (ECM:323) braids the power of the sound source. In what could only be the lovechild of a tap dancer and a meteorologist catching their babies in a rainstorm, the pitter-patter of this ecstatic, digital heart beats on and on. S.E.T.I. (Andrew Lagowski) adds his bent to the acoustic solids herein by offering something of a “mutation” of breeds as they mention in the liner notes. It reminds me of floating, pod like incubators tethered to cables like umbilical chords. These motherless beings are stem cells of lost civilizations, and Lagowski’s reprocessing is as breathy as it is crunchy. It’s a motor in the wind, a ward for undeveloped sound systems that are being tapped into, bred and left to process. The concept is ingenious and effective.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • VARIOUS ARTISTS :: Archiv 1
  • CD :: Touch/Raster-Noton
  • . . . . .

    In an archive of mostly unreleased tracks circa 1997 to the present, from Raster-Noton, the people of UK’s Touch teams up with the micro-groovy gentleman from Germany. The selections come from the Clear, Raster Post, 20′ to 2000, Limited, Kangaroo and the latest Transvision series. Ranging from those sounds that are outright wavy and melodic like 0 + Noto’s “Mikro Makro to where funk meets the post minimalism of Pixel’s “Scrapple from the Apple” the set is a great look inside a label that has truly evolved in less than a decade. Some of these pieces have only been spun on wax, so it’s great to have a handful of rarities on my CD-based collection. A stand out is Senking’s reclusive, and somewhat hungover “Lift” (2000) which plays hide n’ seek like a pastoral egg hunt. You can hear drip drop amplified to the level of a certain Crayola rain. COH’s “Silence is Golden” adds a harsher edge to the usual competition of primordial chilly vs. warm beats by stretching the volumic drama with noir speak that sound like airport PSAs. From the clear vinyl side of Robert Lippok’s “Close” is a jumpy, permutation of anxiety that is hell-bent on keeping it all introspective. Its like a vat of molten lava just percolating at the edge. “Lines” is the under one minute detour by Signal (aka Nicolai, Bretschneider and Bender) that is more like an interlude to futuristic shopping mall music than a full track. Then comes Cyclo with heavy emphasis on watery statics that push and pull plugs and wires in and out, plaing with wattage and ending with a quite a rhythmical mix of dot-to-dot. Two very short pieces from Ryoji Ikeda’s ’20 to 2000′ effort that use sine waves as beats like a heart monitor – gone in a flash. These are synched directly to another short interlude called “Waves” by the three aforementioned who make up Signal, only to open further to Byetone’s (Olaf Bender) microfunk on “Oacis” (2000). From the first few releases on Raster Post came Mitchell Akiyama’s contribution “Arteial” which plays out like the lapping of a digital wave on the frosty coast of the Pacific Northwest. Montreal’s Akiyama fits well into the fold of neo-minimalism as his piece is as clean as spring water, then he adds his own fizz and flavor, concocting a colorful network of branched sound alchemy. Noto’s “Time Dot” is the type of track that put Raster-Noton on the map in the first place. It’s like the tap dance of water on open circuits, lil’ sparks fly and fry in compound directions but uphold the containment of an unyielding groove. Collectively conscious, undisputedly luscious.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • IRR.APP.(EXT.) :: Ozeanische Gefühle
  • CD :: Helen Scarsdale Agency
  • Alternate Site :: www.holocenesound.org/irr
  • . . . . .

    778 image 12 :: Irr. App. (ext.) (aka Matt Waldron) has teamed up with the Bay Area’s new sound central hub, the Helen Scarsdale Agency, to bring to light about an hour’s worth of new sound that is pretty dense, indeed. This work is something of an enigma, caught between organic and angelic worlds battling for a cross section of oxygen, embellished with thick drone and silhouetted drama. The 42 minute title track uses sounds that are low to earth. Ozeanische Gefühle zones in closely to irregular beat intervals, like those separations heard when crossing a drawbridge. There’s an alluring thing about the deep sensation of sounds that induce fear, but without the visuals it is the theater of your imagination, and that is what Waldron has set up quite perfectly here. If I were lost in space this is probably the sound I would hear, even if there were no sound at all. It’s a peaceful internal irrigation, wetting down all your inner demons for a breathtaking period of time. This is a new drug. The second track is something of an epilogue called “The Demiurge’s Presumption” is more predominantly a playful experiment taking apart some creeky percussion that drags and scrapes and otherwise goes bump. The drone of a bell is distant, but constant as Waldron tinkers away on rubber-band sounding strings and the vertigo trance of an evolving sound energy that pulls to front and center virtually eradicating the toy-box hi-jinx. Props to the Agency for finding the spirit to don its beautiful cover work that uses a clear overlay atop a matt stock, making for a cloudy sky embossed with vague tattoo-like imagery.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • STEVE BRAND & JONATHAN BENHAM :: [One Hour As The One Who Watches]
  • CDR :: www.stevebrand.net
  • . . .

    At just over an hour Steve Brand and Jonathan Benham are working together again after last year’s On The Shoulders of Giants release. Including sounds made by Jeph Jerman, we enter a village with conversations in foreign dialects, field recordings or crickets and percussive work on metals, all blending quite fluidly. Drier than most of Brand’s solo work this attempts to capture the blank slate of wilderness and does just that quite well. It’s quiet and a lil’ bit strange, but mare airy than eerie. The brushed, swirly percussion starts to find a niche, though drifts off too soon; a lot of stillness, a lot of patience, almost a meditation if it weren’t for a tiny rattle here and a nervous movement there. [One Hour As The One Who Watches] rationalizes the language of obscurity to a fault. Note: This disk was solicited by,
    created for, and aired on, Ben Green’s “…as…” radio show in London at Resonance 104 FM, which also goes out over the internet, and has featured the likes of John Duncan, John Hudak, G*Park, Beequeen, Danie Menche, and others.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • BNSF :: Object 6
  • CD :: Locust Music
  • . . .

    The trio BNSF is made up of sax player Adam Diller (also on timbales and mic), percussionist Matt Crane and Jason E. Anderson on guitar, harmonica and various electronics. They do not waste much time in creating an unyielding free improv cacophony on the opener “grandson of the Italian liberator” that streams into another track with an even longer title. And Diller’s sax is mostly to blame here, with its fluttering brevity that jams coarsely in your face. These guys know how to bring it down so you can experience the low rave subtleties as well, but it’s the squeaky wheel jazz set that has become so prevalent on the edge of live performance that can be heard here. These three scale the walls with wild abandon – its an earful of reverie that is like a fat rodeo with a bitter backbite. On the forensically antivivisectionist (?) track “These had essentially the same effect on guinea pigs as live BCG” Crane plays his instruments as if he grew up on a farm, the cowbells, wooden things and clicking, clunking organic qualities are plentiful and seemingly real time even when he slows to 10BPM. Throughout there is a sense of getting lost in the music, styled in a way that gives a free range bite in the ass to much of the schmaltz available via radio or even per $.99 download. And that harmonica is damn pretty! This is as raw as it gets.

    ::..:::…..:..::….:::::..:::..:::::::……:::…::.:::….::::..:..:::…::…….::::

  • JOHN WIESE + DANIEL MENCHE :: Behold the Scathing Light
  • CDEP :: Helicopter
  • . . .

    Recorded by mail, sunny California’s John Wiese and gray skied Portland Oregon’s Daniel Menche decided to take to the task of challenging nature on the twenty-three minute Behold the Scathing Light. As the piece cracks the listening field widens quickly, a horizontal drone just grows as wide as possible until it slips a disk, falls below the surface and gravitates below your feet. Though a duo, they conduct something of enormity, a sort of post chamber music for hackers that slices thin air in half.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s