Reviews: 12/30/2002


Beequeen :: A Touch of Brimstone (CD by Korm Plastics)

Beequeen (Frans de Waard and Freek Kinkelaar) have released A Touch of Brimstone the newest stealth recording from a powerfully growing discography. Comprised of ten tracks this collection includes never before released recordings from their vaults dated from 1989 through 1996. The din is enterprising, the pacing is primordial. The immediate impact of the overall work is stunningly thought-provoking. The tracks slow the body while listening, paving a sense of raw comatose. The voice on “Rainhas des Abelhas”, one of their very first constructed pieces for 4-track, is Dennis Cooper, sounding like a lecturer from a 1940s instructional radio broadcast. Several of the “Meta Phase” tracks here were noise experiments created for a photo installation piece by Erik van Wesserloo back in 1991. Look for Beequeen’s inclusion on the Tribryd Installation Soundtracks due in the Spring on Beta-lactam Ring Records. The title track is somewhat of a cross between sine waves and feedback, with a plotting background and seething high-pitched center. On Suite 31-28 the sounds are based on concepts of warmth and temperature. Its defiance of literalness makes it a more watchful listen. The experiment is in our mind, the perfectly blended sonic weave of protection is a figment of our imagination A Touch of Brimstone presents a language all its own, on par with SOS or artificial intelligence. The art of noise is clear.

  • Staalplaat

    Cordell Klier :: Apparitions (CD by Ad Noiseam)Ghostly slow-wave clicks filtered and smooth, like a mid summer campfire with just the faint crackle of the elements, or snowflakes melting in mid air. This is the new disc by Codell Klier. Complete with low cadence cling-clang this recording represents the full-on richness of what can be developed within the realm of microsound. Chilly, staged observances of minute sounds amplified for to bracing effect. This reminds me of a monitoring satellite, far beyond the solar reaches, powered and static. This sounds like a field recording from some interplanetary cosmos, absorbing your attention through atomic discourse. Klier steeps your ears and ferments your mind.

  • Adnoiseam

    Stephan Mathieu :: Gigue, Live @ A-Musik (CD by Fällt)Why did Muskrat Love pop into my head upon listening to this disc? Maybe it is the north pole to its south? Who knows. Upon first listen to this impeccably live recording I was a bit distracted by the huge windstorm that blew a tree over in front of my studio, cracked from its roots. The marriage between the live elements in my life and those on this disc had a certain resonance. The crackly palette of whirring buzz rounded the edges of my afternoon. Fällt, the year old Irish label has made such a jump start in the world of curating the highest quality electronic noise, I am ever mused by their take on the future of sound. This disc, in particular, has big, wide definition, it clears your head and opens new pathways by incorporating a genuinely beat free contemporary whitewall symphony. At just about one half hour Gigue, Live takes its listener into ominous crevices, lifts them higher and channels a stream of unyielding din that releases you in its finality. This two-track disc has a necessary silence in between the dissonance of
    track one. Left with a low hum Variation the ears have a respite from the spontaneous sound ride we had just gotten off. I still feel me skin vibrating. Since these are all limited to 500 copies I recommend making your inquiry early on.

  • Fällt

    eM :: Outward (CDEP by Foundry/Hypnos)The second in a new EP series by Foundry is a 3-track atmospheric gem by label director eM (Michael Bentley). This exploratory disc has so much compact conceptualism housed in its short 21 minute format. As it opens a haunting “From The Earth” smirks back at Eno’s classic Music for Airports, in its open range, free flight – or in this case its more float. Harmonically based in sci-fi premise, the quietly engaging “Across the Milky Way” guides its passengers on a galactic joy ride. Though this ride is measured and gaged and monitored. I can’t help getting the feeling of surveillance. Or having that physical experience of knowing there is another human in your living space when the television is on. There is something about breaking in and out of electrical signal here. As the disc closes with “Beyond the Magellanic Clouds” the miniscule pops seem amplified to 10000 times their size. The piece draws to an end as these tiny spheres collect as a pool of electrons, break free and vanish.

  • Foundry Site

    Janek Schaefer :: His Master’s Voice(CD by audiOh!)

    This is Schaefer’s first ever recording using the completely live process of the Tri-Phonic Turntable dated back to 1997. I opened the
    hand numbered, very limited edition, hand lathed vinyl which comes with an additional CD-r to delight. Subtle sophistication, black on black printing, the packaging is artfully subdued. The sound ranges from electronic ocean waves and open static electricity to the title track which is a Plunderphonic collage, Schaefer’s first in this style. We hear T.S. Elliot reading from a mono-based extract of a mid 1940s poem as Schaefer manipulates the tone arms, plays with speeds and other sound differentials. The finished piece is stunningly open and warm, almost like a scientific technician explaining his process to a class. It’s hard to easily capture the larger sonicism on this recording, but it is a perfect example in some real basic audio differences between vinyl and CD. The warmth, the crackle, the hiss, all seem more cozied up in bed with you here as the translucent grooves spin. We are treated to sci-fi anthems and warped, “woodpeckery” perky percussion. Steamy, filtered blasts of fine hosed air, billowing out and sucking in. It’s so crisp and clean. Sounds like a lab at the edge of an island. Schaefer himself has painstakingly put the package together and to lustrous effect. Get ‘em while there hot (off the press)!

  • audiOh!

    Various Artists :: Clicks & Cuts 3(CDx2 by Mille Plateaux)German label Mille Plateaux, the powerhouse of mimimal experimental electronica, has unveiled its new Clicks & Cuts 3, becoming the latest in a continuum of its series dedicated to all the smaller, finite, mini sounds around. Included here is a veritable who’s who of the genre. No called anything from click/cut to microsound to techno redux to my preferred, beatless, this collection of buzz, hiss and static has a delicious creamy center. Tracks are included by Alva Noto, Michel Stavöstrand, Swayzak, Tim Hecker, Atom Heart’s Geeez N’ Gosh and many others. From what is evidenced herein the sounds are expanding and exploding. Funkier, deeper beats this time around. There is a concentration on breath and voice in tracks from artists like SND to
    Luomo. Claudia Bonarelli’s contribution “Disarm The Police” has a
    pulse-pace, slow-slow-quick-quick-slow. This double disc has street
    smarts and attitude, unlike its colder, sharper predecessors. But with
    this new found freedom there may be a certain rejection of what was
    previously built into differentiating this series from others. Or maybe
    the dialogue has just opened up wide and said AHHHHH! A nice surprise
    is a piece by Boris Polonski which just takes formula and screws around
    with it. Having fun with a Mouse on Mars vs. Wurlitzer aesthetic, a
    happy lil’ theme peeps up behind all the sporadicism. I find this
    blending finely right into the always startling and fun sound-art work
    of DAT Politics’ on ‘Bubble Queen’ with its compu-voices stretched and
    tweaked ala Richard James and/or V/VM. Deru (Benjamin Wynn) re-enacts
    what could seemingly be a full functioning lung in his big bellowing
    “Migrade” which has a tender thematic approach. Frankfurt-based
    composer and educator, Ekkehard Ehlers offers a nice surprise, an
    abstract and droned-out wash of dulled pastel sounds, with a recycled
    feel, an end of the day stressed out letting go, a Nyquil-infused hybrid
    of sound noise. The theme, if there is one, is lighter-on-your-feet
    fractured techno beats with well oiled heels planted firmly in a time
    machine destined to strut somewhere in the future.

    Clicks & Cuts 3 is a unique experiment in equivalents, making a universal association of artists based on several continents. It’s post-disco, post language barrier. This recording seems to blend “old skool” clicks/cuts with a sultry beat of divine rhythms as clearly evidenced in the warm down tempo ‘Lovers Inn’ by Antonelli Electr. Tim Hecker’s “Brownwedding” weaves sonic sewing machines and a trail of suppressed voice with a peculiarly micro-hidden dance beat. Though many tracks paraphrase what Berlin producer Pole (Stefan Betke) has been doing for several years, the “sound of right now” is just all warm and fuzzy – perfect for these
    winter months!

  • Mille-Plateaux

    Warmdesk :: The Pride of the South Side, Live @ WHPK(CD by Fällt)Another marvel in the Fällt line (ltd ed 500 from Fällt Live Series).
    Chicago’s Warmdesk (Bill Selman) addresses concerns on both sides of the
    new millennium’s abstract dance floor. He resorts to keeping the themes
    multi-tiered, with a few stylistic things going on simultaneously. You
    are treated to the sensual warmth of low pulse beats while hearing
    someone rummaging in your junk drawer, or toy chest. “Non-Profit, 100
    Watts” imposes repetitive beats that are emphasized and invigorated by
    playful liquids and what could be industrial staplers and other found
    sounds. There seems to be no particular stipulation to the overt
    freeform nature where aural meets textural on this disc. On “Non
    Commercial, 88.5 FM” these various channels reflect our speed culture and
    emphasize that people keep moving when we don’t, action occurs by way of
    both improvisation and restraint. This is a perky, quirky river of
    static play with many spectral streams.

  • Fällt

    Bob Bellerue :: Threat Level Charlie(CD by Anarchymoon Recordings)Out of nowhere comes a dramatically empowered recording by LA-based
    sound artist and performer Bob Bellerue. Using glass, metal and other
    electronics as the sound sources Bellerue is a physical performer with
    no regrets. His work here is akin to other such experimenters as Aube,
    Knurl and a touch of Brume. Sounds like an evil potion – but this is
    far from evil. Its magic recipe is in its sporadic sense of
    improvisation and drama. The composition is blindly organic and
    freeform truly made of ingredients, formulated through its base
    structure and all its singular elements coming together, clashing at
    times. There are mind numbing screeches and quieting intervals of
    solace. He has used broadband noise developed from speeches by George
    Bush and Osama bin Laden and distorted them beyond recognition into the
    overall final mix. Winning top honors at this year’s Centre de Cultura
    Contemporànea de Barcelona Bellerue’s sound collage of homemade
    instruments and noise have a big presence. The final piece is made of
    four interlocking tracks, clocking in at about 45 minutes, that are raw
    and capture a live sound. He calls it “poetic terrorism” and I call it
    an aural mind bomb. For fans of Nocturnal Emissions and Illusion of

  • Half Normal

    Various Artists :: Lowercase-Sound 2002 (CD by Bremsstrahlung Recordings)A deluxe package these boys have boxed for us. Not only do you get a
    2xCD set but you get a duplicate set (just like their 1st edition of
    this series) to give away to the bud of your choice. This would
    ordinarily be a good thing – but here it is pretty amazing. Why do I
    say this? Because you would be exposing the unexposed to the sounds of
    the moment with artists like Dan Abrams, Carl Stone, Francisco Lopez,
    Tetsu Inoue, Taylor Deupree, Reynols, Kim Cascone and John Hudak
    included here among others. The finished package comes in a nicely
    designed box with delicate transparent sheets, each supplying
    information and quips about the tracks. Like 12Ks intimate Line Series
    disc one (subtitled 789 breaths) is a real headphone listen. The quiet
    atmospheres from Gal and Josh Russell simply merge into one another
    fluidly. It’s not until Dale Lloyd’s “Fleeting Recollections of the
    Snow Plain” that a certain static is generated that, in barely audible
    tonalities, nudges the dome of silence. Seattle’s Matt Shoemaker
    contributes the super subtle “Charm”, with the resonance of the halo of
    a sulfuric asteroid. In its low whistling drone its cinema is defined
    through its mid-track emergence and fizz, weighted and searching. On
    “m” Electric Company (Brad Laner) takes all that Los Angeles attitude
    for granted in its subversion of the beat. This completely ambient
    track has a vaguely organic and endless horizon line. Closing disc one
    is Hudak’s “Radio Past” in which the source is an unknown wax cylinder
    recording, maybe filtered, deliberately translucent – like a marching
    band in a can! As disc two (194,415,960 samples) emerges from the
    silence of Francisco Lopez and Otaku Yakuza we are instantaneously rapt
    by Akira Rabelais’ “Disjectimembrapoetaeeatelich” a vernacular is built
    from static electricity. Its mini rumblings are harmonized and
    multiplied, dissected and set free. Saarbrücken-based Stephan Mathieu
    serves the infectious and repetitive duplicative “Flake” made up of
    millions of teeny tiny particles of sound. Diapason Gallery director
    and New York-based composer Michael Schumacher’s “Still” is anything but
    what the title infers. This quirky track sends numerous ecstatic sound
    bubbles into the environment to implode, retract, multiply and move
    rapidly about. The symphonic chamber of Japan-based Carl Stone rings on
    the laptop created “Tefu”. The completely digital track has an organic
    core and a shifting modality of happenstance. Taylor Deupree’s “Inharmil”
    breathes by way of timed apparatus. In its construction there is the
    low fidelity rumble of what cautiously sounds like a distant factory
    with a flat bed engine and conveyor belt on auto-run. There are subtle
    sharp flashes of fizzling sparks, and the rest is atmosphere. Kim
    Cascone, the man who coined the term ‘microsound’ searches and finds the
    convex and concave on “Edge Boundry #1″. What sounds like an electronic
    jungle way past midnight seems to undress itself with an awkward
    precision, a known conclusion. Sensuous glitch for the masses.

    The fullest track here is “Groundwater” by Sweden’s Jonas Lingren based on
    the dramatic floods and breaking dams in Sundsvall 2001. Here he has
    truly captured a live entity and embellished its roaring nature. This
    set may scare some, and may induce others to sleep – but by far it is
    one of the highest quality collections of the year, taking needed risks
    with a developing genre.

  • Lowercase Sound

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