issue 23 :: June 2014
|These reviews were written for a magazine in 1998-9 that never came out. I should have put these into an earlier mmpp. Can’t explain why I didn’t. The links to record labels are current as time of this writing. Let’s applaud these small labels that at least still have a working web site. Most of these records are still in my collection and I would listen to any of them again. The music is still vital and worthwhile.|
Alial Straa, Oren Ambarchi & Robbie Avenaim, Augur, Augur & Birds of Tin, Autodidact, Ana-Maria Avram / Iancu Dumitrescu, Alain Basso, Paul Bowles, Brume, Co Caspar, Charalambides, Thanasis Chrondros & Alexandra Katsiani, Dafeldecker, Kurzmann, et al, Costis Drygianakis, Erratum #2, Milo Fine, Kenneth Gaburo, Orlando Jacinto Garcia, Philip Gayle, David Grubbs, Joane Hetu & Jean Derome, Francois Houle & Catriona Strang, Kozo Ikeno, Scot Jenerik / R.H.Y. Yau, Mason Jones, Greg Kelley, Tatsuya Nakatani & Curt Newton, Brandon LaBelle, Eric La Casa, Richard Lerman, Anna Lindal, Erik M, Annea Lockwood / Ruth Anderson, Machine for Making Sense, Roel Meelkop, Miss Murgatroid & Petra Haden, mnortham, Tatsuya Nakatani, Chris Newman, Steve peters, Psychogeographical Dip, Polwechsel, Michael Prime, Robert Reigle, Schams, Howard Skempton, Alexandre St-Onge, Olivier Toulemonde, Anna Wise,
|Alial Straa — The Lumbering Intransitive Dream of... (Alluvial Recordings) CD
A much needed reissue of this Austin experimental group’s last tape release. I feel privileged to have seen Seth Nehil and John Grzinich (and others, Olivia Block and Michael Northam) perform live, using simple, unpretentious methodologies to create wonderful, and (I’ve used this word to describe them before) magical events of cohesive, evocative sound. The remastering on this CD makes the music seem more entrancing than the cassette I remember. When books are written about the creative music scene of the ’90s that do not mention the intense evolving drones of the 25 minute track “Solace,” well, then you know that book is lacking. If you’ve not heard the handful of Alial Straa cassettes, I urge you to get this CD, a second chance that should be embraced by those who read this.
|Oren Ambarchi & Robbie Avenaim — The Alter Rebbe’s Nigun (Tzadic) CD
A ruthless smashing together of discordant abrasiveness would best describe this original recording by former members of the Australian punk band Phlegm. This new music, uncategorizable, channels the energy of noise music into a meditation upon the increasingly divine levels of existence in the Kabbalah writings of Rabbi Schneur Zalman, known as “The Alter Rebbe.” The music moves from heavy, thunderous guitar workouts, with finger-tapping solos, to tinnitus electro-acoustic tape pieces that, I swear, belong with the best of them. Stunning and invigorating in its power and, at times, beauty. “Radical Jewish Culture Music” indeed.
|Augur — Ephemera (?) CD
On the track called “Bone,” under a pulsing drone and what sounds like a cinder block being dragged on concrete, faint, very faint, voices can be heard. Most mysterious. What are they saying? What could they be saying? Then a faint groaning yawn periodically creeps in, as if a persona were trying to speak after forgetting every word in the dictionary. The mysterious use of voices delights me, especially presented so that they would be ignored if the volume wasn’t turned up. The rest of the pieces also present differing layers of electronically generated/processed sounds, and dense, complex acoustic sounds.
|Augur & Birds of Tin — Strange Seeds Come from Odd Flowers (Manifold) CD|
Two one-man groups contribute solo and collaboration (trade by mail?) pieces, each with their own particular focus. Birds of Tin provides synthesized drones and washes, and Augur scrapes up closely mic’ed scrunches and environmental sounds.
|Autodidact — Welcome to the Dissonance Engine (Monotrmata) CD
Ultra-repetitive industrial noise-guitar and drum machine workouts, although without any of the unintentional silliness or pretensions that such a description would usually evoke. Layers of guitars and effects form a nest of stentorian structure and despite the “dissonance” mentioned in the title, the pieces are coherent and thought-out. Gloomy, insistent, persistent.
Roy K. Felps performing as Korperschwache,
at the Yeast By Sweet Beast festival, March 2014
|Ana-Maria Avram / Iancu Dumitrescu — EDMN 1014 (Editions Modern) CD
4 long ensemble pieces, 2 by each of these ultra-modern Romanian composers, and 1 long “computer assisted” piece by Dumitrescu. The pieces evolve moment by moment, as if continually fishing the complex sonorities and timbres out from a lake of pure power. Their “acousmatic” specialty willfully obscures the instrumental source of the music, operating almost on another level of existence; you can either accept the sound, or attempt to decode it. Tim Hodgkinson and Chris Cutler join the Hyperion Ensemble on 2 of the tracks, integrating fully into what must surely be an insular community. The former’s bass clarinet provides the deep metallic rumble usually associated with this music. If you haven’t heard any music from Avram and Dumitrescu, I cannot stress enough the inspiring worlds that await you. For those that have heard their music, this CD offers a paradoxical familiarity of constant surprise.
|Alain Basso — Ab Irato (Collectif & Cie) CD|
A retrospective of Basso’s work with synthesizers and computers from 1986 to 1997. Many different models and programs are used to create the pieces for dances and events that are listed, but sadly never described in the liner notes. Hi-tech, lo-fi, sophisticated, noisy, bubbling, gurgling, sequenced, freeform.
|Paul Bowles — A Hundred Camels in the Courtyard (Cadmus Editions/DOM America) 2xCD|
Bowles reads 4 texts related in their method of combining stories of Moroccan life in cannabis-inspired juxtapositions. The stories are simple, full of rich description of people’s daily lives and the petty antagonisms that develop between them. Bowles’ steady and deep voice is slightly hypnotic, and the superstitions and local customs that form much of the stories are interesting to say the least.
|Brume — Krieg (Intransitive) CD
I usually think of Brume as a “drone” artist, someone who works in static, synthesized textures. Krieg is a mixed-bag of mixed sources, environments, spoken voices, closely mic’ed objects, electronic effects and even a few drones, rapidly stirred in a cauldron, boiled to an antagonizing chaos.
|C.O. Caspar — Thus Long Lights Light (Kaon) CD
This CD places Caspar’s work in an industrialized range of soundscapes, drones and machines lumbering in vast, warehouse-like spaces. Blowing through tubes sounds like factory engines in the distance. “The acoustic world is finite, broken, irreversible,” he writes in the liner notes (just like me). Shawn Caton intones his morbid poetry (“your heart, my amulet, dangles from my breast, oversize bauble of carrion, loves’ tumour transported”) over two of the tracks. Fantastic, creepy, image-provoking work.
|Charalambides — Internal External (Wholly Other) CD|
8 beautiful pieces for mostly acoustic guitars, the melodies and timbres at times sounding more like they were made in India or North Africa than in Austin. Intense, brooding, entrancing, the two guitars weave drones and chords, plucks and bowed buzzes around each other like few other records in my collection.
|Thanasis Chrondros & Alexandra Katsiani — O+ (EDO) CD
Two artists perform in the same room every Saturday for a year, combining noise, objects, movement, paint, string, and... 9 excerpts from that year form this intriguing CD, which along with the few photos in the booklet (and the two related publications documenting each day) make me wish I could have witnessed these events. The pieces on the CD I liked best were the ones featuring their (I assume) insect-like lalalala’s over simple loops. Costis Drygianakis helped with these and 3 other tracks.
|Dafeldecker, Kurzmann, Fennesz, O’Rourke, Drumm and Siewert — (Charhizma) CD|
Unlike the confused jumble of pop samples I thought this would be, these recordings of Mac laptops, electronics, clarinet and guitars produce a fairly crunchy, diverse set of soundscapes that are fairly coherent for being (I assume) largely improvised. Beats aren’t entirely avoided here, but when they occur, they sound like loops of noises rather than thoughtless drum loops. The group is a quartet on all 5 pieces on the CD, the first three guys listed are common to all tracks, conjuring a dark, rich underworld of creeping expectation.
|Costis Drygianakis — Post-Optical Landscape (EDO) CD|
Amazing record that fell from the sky into my CD player. A collage of numerous recordings, insectish electronic buzzing, crowd noises, interviews, violins and other chamber instruments. The 31 contributors listed in the credits merge into an unpredictable flowing experience. I think I have listened to this CD the most of all that is listed in this issue. Each time I pick up more and more little details that slip by on initial listenings. Sections of quiet drones link mysterious clanking and sudden explosions of environmental recordings. Record of the year.
|Erratum #2 (Erratum) CD
Obviously the first track I play on this elegant, artful comp is Eric Cordier’s “Hierre;” hearing hive of distant lawnmowers, at once sentimental and horrifying. Next is “Gongs” by Philip Corner, an apt description for 14 minutes of gongs being lightly and arrhythmically struck, hypnotically soothing. Manon Anne Gillis delivers a brief recording of a small music box, whose haunting melody is continuously interrupted and repeated. Jerome Noetinger, somewhat surprisingly, manipulates 6 minutes of digital static and piercing whines. Bernard Heidsieck presents 2 channels of looping soprano voice, as if caught in the middle of a vowel, and slowly (thru a digital delay) altered in pitch. Jerome Joy, Paul Panhuysen, Jacques Donguy, Eleeonore Bak and Michel Collet also provide sonic effervesents. An illustrated booklet provides background on each artist in English and in French.
|Milo Fine — Frequency Etchings (Fusetron) LP
The subtitle “Ongoing Celebrations of Insignificance,” of Fine’s latest LP appears to be deliberately poking fun of the 330 lucky people who will possess this record. His solo clarinet playing is a barrage of squeaks and ear-piercing multiphonics, I assume improvised before a live audience. Another overlooked master waiting for you to discover him. One last reason to track down this LP (or any of his other ones): he is a fan of Thomas Bernhard’s writings.
|Kenneth Gaburo — Tape Play (Pogus Productions) CD
It is about time that someone had the sense to release Gaburo’s creative and well-crafted electronic work on CD. Tape Play collects 10 of his electronic, electro-acoustic, tape and collage pieces, composed from 1964 to 1992, only two of which I have on LP. From the sped-up jazz records on “The Wasting of Lucrecetzia” to the depressing spoken story of a family who did not speak to each other at a restaurant in “Mouthpiece II,” to his “jam” with Henri Chopin on “Few,” Gaburo’s reach and focus is boundless. Gaburo was a mastermind of sound and performance, always exploring and expanding, creating, teaching and paving the way for others.”
|Kenneth Gaburo — Winded (Innova Recordings) CD
A set of three organ pieces written by and written for Gaburo. Reading about other people’s opinions of Gaburo, I am struck at how much he could have offered me, and at the loss that I will never meet him. Warren Burt and Philip Blackman compose long pieces for Gary Verkade’s organ that utilize recordings or Gaburo’s voice. Gaburo’s own “Antiphony X” for organ and tape is presented.
|Orlando Jacinto Garcia — Celestial Voices (0O Discs) CD
Garcia’s “Music for Berlin,” for flute and piano, beautifully evokes memories of the floating and haunting melody fragments of Morton Feldman’s later works (i.e. “Crippled Symmetry”). Beautiful. The four other no less deserving pieces on here, for solo bass, bass and tape, piano and tape, and a long piece for 2 basses and orchestra, all point to an enlightened command of compositional technique.
|Philip Gayle — Solo Live ’98 (Yabyum Productions) CD
Gayle’s acoustic guitar snaps, creaks, plinks like nothing less than an invigorating grasp upon the flowing of time and sound. Derek Bailey is an obvious reference point, but Gayle’s approach subtly infuses an opaque melodic tinge to the noise. Maybe you should judge yourself, or better yet, just accept the man’s barrage.
|David Grubbs — The Spectrum Between (Drag City) CD
One thing I adore about David’s singing, is how he refuses to adapt his singing or lyrics to any common perception of a song. Instead we are offered unique song creations, here with help of John McEntire (of course), Noel Akchote, Dan Brown, Daniel Carter, Mats Gustafsson and others, each playing on a couple of tracks, each adding what they can to David’s somewhat obtuse (but wonderfully so!) lyrics: “Scarab, seedpod, serpentine, shaded, spruce, siamese.”
|Joane Hetu & Jean Derome — Nous perçons les oreilles (Ambiances Magnétiques) CD|
Two performers armed with their voices, their alto saxophones and a number of small instruments, create whimsical rackets. They bounce melodies and squeaks off each other, engage in French word games, and generally go wherever their creative wills lead them.
|Francois Houle & Catriona Strang — The Clamourous Alphabet (Periplum) CD|
Houle’s wavering clarinet and Strang’s sharp, fragmented poetry intertwine into grassy ropes of melody shards and strings of words. Mysterious and vibrant, the duo travels through 26 tracks of collision that brings to my eye what these pieces would look like live, with costumes and dark-lit set, the poet’s voice evoking the music like a spell or seance.
|Kozo Ikeno — Trumpet & Electronics (?) CD|
A strange mix of slow, jazzy trumpet lines to synth and drum machine backings. The accompaniment is at times funky and soulful, forming unusual mood music. As ludicrous as I have described it, the CD works, although I continually expect a radio DJ calling himself Captain Midnight to cut in and preach about brotherly love.
|Kozo Ikeno — DA2 (?) CD|
offers a set of real-time performances for Ikeno’s trumpet and self-manipulated electronic effects. The trumpet’s sound is altered in various ways, then looped or made to echo to provide a backing for sinewy trumpet lines. Managing to escape the seemingly inherent laziness of electronic effects, he creates inventive, evocative soundscapes.
|Scot Jenerik / R.H.Y. Yau — Meat (Auscultare) CD |
And in this corner: from San Francisco, Scot Jenerik and his cacophonous loops of percussion and processed sound, industrializing any room it is played in. And in this corner: Randy Yau, also from The State Over On The End, with his unpredictable eruptions of vocal and kinetic energy. That can’t be good for his microphone, folks. We’re looking at close match, and the winner gets a pile of metallic-flavored meat.
|Mason Jones — Midnight in the Twilight Factory (Monotrmata) CD
“Solo” guitar performances that seem to actually be a chorus of separate instruments, a chamber orchestra tuning up down the street, pouring out ambiance for a section of a movie where the protagonist realizes he has been defeated and left to wallow in his sorrow. Two of the pieces here were recorded live with other players, and these generally were less cohesive than the solo pieces, I am assuming the it was the guests who brought recognizable gestures, an arpeggio (Good God!), a sudden detuning of digital echo, into the picture, spoiling the accumulated mood.
|Greg Kelley, Tatsuya Nakatani & Curt Newton — Field Recordings Vol 1: The Birthday (Intransitive) CD|
These “field” recordings, taken from the inside of some club, surely someone’s (or something’s) natural habitat, bring to light an energetic, boisterous romp through high-energy jazz-ish percussion-heavy material as heard in a huge cavernous space. Similarities with Kelley’s and Nakatani’s nmperigen project are few, at least in terms of atmosphere.
Greg Kelley at 2008 No Idea Festival, Austin, TX
|Brandon LaBelle — The Book of Disquiet & aroseisaroseisarose (Unique Ancient Tavern) CS & CS
One half of id battery explores the relationships between text, voice and recording. The first tape toys with the notion of writing, by recording the sounds of a pencil and typewriter copying specific texts. The latter tape brings forth short texts of Gertrude Stein being read in unconventional ways (like setting the microphone inside the mouth). The refreshing simplicity of both tapes would have been trampled if any of these ideas were smuggled into the academy. John Cage would approve, and Aunts Gertrude and Alice would scold for making a racket.
|Eric La Casa — The Stones of the Threshold (Ground Fault) CD
Environmental sounds -water, fire, wind, crowds-ebb and flow into elegant layers directed by this one-time member of Syllyk. Perfect music for playing quietly from a speaker in the far corner while you read, or on headphones while you nap. The numerous sources and source locations detailed in the insert evoke mental films should you need them.
|Richard Lerman — A Matter of Scale and other pieces (Anomalous Records) CD|
A collection of four live performances by Lerman and his cohorts from 1981 to 1997. From the Houston Astrodome (!) utilizing 5 performers on “plinkies” (a contact mic with spines), to a studio performance at Arizona State University involving “metal microphones played with a butane torch,” the results are, just as expected, diverse and usually engaging. I think this is only Lerman’s 3rd album. Thankfully, he has other sounds and videos on his website at www.west.asu.edu/rlerman/ [2012 update: it’s still active! -ed.]
|Anna Lindal — Violin Alone (Content) CD
Pieces for solo violin including John Cage’s beautiful “One10” (sadly Mineko Frimmer’s melting ice sculpture is not heard here) and his painfully grating “Chorals.” Christian Wolff and Gyorgy Kutag are represented by their tributes to Cage, and Nicolaus Huber wrote six one-note melodies, more Fluxus than Scelsi. The pieces of Aldo Clementi and Lars Hallnas both play with melodic variations in ways that try to reclaim Melody from the craziness of the 1960s. “The Death of Mother Jones” is Wolff’s set of variations on the old protest song. Lindal deftly scrapes these melodies and faint harmonics into existence, presenting the first recordings of four of the pieces. Another intriguing and exact Content release.
|Annea Lockwood / Ruth Anderson — Sinopah (XI) CD
Lockwood’s “World Rhythms” is a 1975 tape collage piece of natural rhythms including bubbling volcanoes, spinning neutron stars, frogs, fire, moving water. Over this collage of momentum a single performer, Lockwood, strikes a tam-tam drum at her will, i.e. not linked to the mass of rhythmic material. Anderson’s “I come out of your sleep” strings together whispered vowels, each vowel stretched out, into what sounds more like wind than any manner of speaking or singing. A few times the piece seems like the dead are mouthing your unconscious thoughts — spooky.
|Erik M Frame (Metamkine) 3” CD|
What does one call musique concrete made from musique concrete? The twenty-sixth in the “cinema pour l’oreille” series is comprised of bits of the first twenty-two mini CDs. The diversity of sounds/textures gently propels you down an electronic rain forest.
|Machine for Making Sense Consciousness (SplitRec) CD
I would love to hear MfMS team up with AMM. They could call it aMfMs. Sonically, I can imagine the two collectives fitting together in the sense that they both can seemingly quench any thirst of their imaginations, and both groups seem to thrive on new comrades at arms (and lips). This CD contains pieces used in a four hour “multi-staged” performance. Vocalists Amanda Stewart and Chris Mann dominate my hearing of these pieces. Their superb elevations of voice over syntax distinguishes this group over those with somewhat similar vibrant approaches. That isn’t to say that Stevie Wishart, Rik Rue, Jim Denley and three occasional guests don’t help to generate a powerful whole of instrumental and electronic means.
|Roel Meelkop 6 (Mailcop Rules) (Intransitive) CD|
Noises, tones, crowd noises, what sounds like a snoring pig, clocks, and who knows what else, are mixed, combined, altered, amplified. Collected from 1985 to 1995, there’s something for just about everyone here, from loud noise to loomig silence.
|Miss Murgatroid & Petra Haden Bella Neurox (WIN) CD
Ten short pieces for accordion, violin and wordless voices from members of Big City Orchestra and That Dog, very weird, like Amy Denio’s puzzles or Anthony Coleman’s startling assimilations. Odd melodies worm their way through the air, forming aural seashells where you least expect them.
|mnortham Many Rivers Move Along the Surface of the Magnet (ERS) LP
These beautifully intense drones seem never to begin or end, as if looking beyond the veneer of reality into the throbbing, humming machines that propel the universe. The title, perhaps a more apt metaphor, links the use of acoustic recording with the electronic mixing that is at the heart of these worlds. The reissue of a 1995 cassette doesn’t seem like it was made so long ago. [2012 update: these two tracks can now be downloaded from here. -ed.]
|Tatsuya Nakatani Green Report 5 CS
Nakatani is sometimes drummer for the inventive improv group nmperign, and Green Report is a series of 12 tapes documenting his work alone and with others. #5 is a tour-de-force of solo percussion, from cymbal bowing (I assume) to full trap kit workouts, to tactile scrapings. Each piece showcases a distinct technique. This tape is work searching out. Green Report 7 CS is a rather unusual live performance of Nakatani on bowed gong and Vic Rawlings on cello. What is unusual is the fact that the performance took place in a subway station, with occasional trains drowning out our duo’s haunting drones.
|Chris Newman Compassion (Content) CD|
A hypnotic (or madness-inducing depending on how you look at it) extended piece for violin and piano that repeats, with ever so slight variations, the same few measures of notes. One section is a childlike upward melody, and another section is an extended chord. Between the sections are parts that almost sound improvised, sometimes becoming very dissonant before the return of the thematic material.
|Steve Peters Emanations (0O Discs) CD|
A series of faint tones made from the feedback of a microphone through a graphic EQ. Long stretches of silence separate each tone, allowing one to forget that one is listening to music, only to be pleasantly surprised when a new tone creeps up. The subtle intensities are as worth observing as the ghostly white on white image that adorns the cover.
|Psychogeographical Dip (GD Stereo) CD
8 environmental recordings, sometimes heavy processed, of an abandoned community swimming pool in New York. Chop Shop’s droney landscape is a standout, also John Hudak’s wind-blown processing, completely oculting the original recording into a mysterious shadow.
|Polwechsel 2 (Hat (now) Hut) CD
John Butcher (saxophone) joins three string players including the seemingly invincible bassist (“& electronics”) Werner Dafeldecker to form an interdimensional music composed from numerous interdimensional impulses. Hidden by a cross patch of buzzes and drones, a restraint simmers that I usually don’t hear when I think of “European” “improv.” Not that this is “improv,” three of the four pieces are “by” individual people, and the final track is authored by the group. Art Lange, instead of clarifying matters for us, contributes a long, fragmented prose poem. In the end, the music speaks for itself, untranslatable to words.
|Michael Prime “Priory Gardens” / “Skeet Hill” (Povertech) 7”|
Want to hear fluttering bat wings? No? Then ignore this record. Joining the Post-Industrial Nature Watchers Society, Prime presents ten minutes of two identified species bats flying about. An interesting and worthwhile listen, but how many (of this audience) would ignore this if it were a flexi in National Geographic?
|Robert Reigle The Marriage of Heaven and Earth (Acoustic Levitation) CD
I am disgusted by those who claim influence of the “great masters” in their liner notes or piece titles to simply attract attention or imaginary prestige to themselves, devoid of any intellectual or sonic connection to those they cite. Recently, [we] received a CD from a “noise guitarist” (no names will be mentioned), who wrote how influenced his plebeian guitar-noise was by Xenakis, Xenakis! If I were Xenakis, I would be insulted to be linked with this music in any way. I wonder if those flagrant citers ever think of this? Robert Reigle does. When observing a similarity in tone clusters between the title work on this disk, and a belatedly recorded piece by Giacinto Scelsi, Reigle presented his work to the infamous Italian recluse, who called the sound beautiful. Reigle’s 10 piece ensemble performs “The Marriage...” (named after the Max Ernst painting reproduced on the cover) and a movement of Scelsi’s piece on the CD so that we may compare for ourselves. “The Marriage...” has, in general, a nervous, kinetic quality running through it. Speaking of grand masters, a different 15 member group launches into an elongated version of Albert Ayler’s “Bells.” The under appreciated saxophonist Wally Shoup is on here, and drummer Ken Morrison must be congratulated for keeping the 15 minute piece at a proper momentum throughout. Other pieces on here are for Reigle’s solo saxophone, a piece for dance with the superb Ed Pias and Stuart Dempster, a long piece for voice and ensemble, plus a version of the title piece for overdubbed saxophones. Obviously running through many different coincident currents, Reigle shows off his diverse talents as composer, performer and integrator.
|Schams Erres (Shambala) CD
Rawkish free-jazz explosions from a trio of saxophone, drums and hurdy-gurdy (the last played by Eric Cordier). Firmly entrenched in the overpowering noise of Borbetomagus, William Hooker or Peter Bröztmann, hardly the usual fare for delicate ears like mine, but I must say they were thoroughly cleaned out afterwards.
|Howard Skempton Home and Abroad (Content) CD|
Skempton’s 32 pieces for predominately solo accordion roll out like old folk songs being played on a long bus ride or in an arty film about sinister but lovable circus miscreants. Perhaps influences combining the Scratch Orchestra, Bartok and the Beatles are not for everyone, and the melodies, Irish? Italian?, evoke many pleasing, film-like images in my mind of life in the Old Country.
|Alexandre St-Onge Une machoire et deux trous (Namskeio Records) CD |
Perhaps it is best to quote directly from the liner notes: “The source material for this record consists of various field recordings of my mouth, as well as audio documentation of having a microphone in my mouth while sleeping in front of my apartment building.” While that may seem ludicrous, the recordings are in fact austere, reminding me of electronically sythnesized rain, or a super-sensitive contact mic on a can of soda pop. Who would have imagined reading reviews of two “mic-in-the-mouth” recordings (see Brandon LaBelle’s tape)?
|Olivier Toulemonde Eclats de Memoire (Collectif & Cie) CD
Composer/musician Toulemond assembles interviews and radio broadcasts about Haute-Savoie, which was active against the Nazi and Vichy regime in the Second World War. Most of the text is in French and probably has emotional significance for native speakers. Sound effects of carnival music, twinkling, alarm clocks, and processed electronic sounds of the present add up to: ? This would make excelent sampling material.
|Anna Wise High Performance Mind (Relaxation Company) 4xCD
An amazingly convincing parody of relaxation tapes by a media-prankster on the level of Negitivland, the Evolution Control Committee or Adbusters. A sinister hint of the Hafler Trio sneaks through the sedated, calm female voice used throughout all four CDs, especially in the surreal trajectory of the text. Actual line: “remember what it feels like to let go of your beta brain waves.” If only the narrator was Willem de Ridder! The silly X-Files dream sequence music flowing underneath cynically displays the emptiness of New Age consumerism. But ultimately, the goal is humor (if not overkill: 4 CDs!) and you only have to look at the joke on the cover: a red brain wave gets turned into a yellow brain wave! One of the funniest parts occurs during the twenty-one minutes of “The Bubble,” where one is given “an experience of the expansion and contraction of the ’delta radar’” by putting people in and out of your “bubble.” I couldn’t do this: my bubble was popped by my bright aura.
Reviews by Josh Ronsen