number 357
week 5



NATASHA BARRET - ISOSTASIE (CD by Empreintes Digitales)
STEPHAN DUNKELMAN - RHIZOMES (CD by Empreintes Digitales)
JIM O'ROURKE - HE WHO LAUGHS (LP by Neon Gallery Records)
KAR - P.02 (CDR)
AAL - IN LUCE (CDR by S'Agita Recordings)
BLINK (CDR by S'Agita Recordings)
PLASTICS (CDR by S'Agita Recordings)
PAINTED BLACK (CD compilation by Tumult)





One may know Geoff Dugan for the two compilation CDs he has put with
'geographical' sounds on his GD Stereo label, but maybe also you know
him from the Freebass monniker. Here however, under his own name, he
takes us to a park in Oporto, Portugal. It's not very clear why this
park, what's so special about it (I've never been there, so I can't
tell you). From the call of the animals, I might think it's a pretty
big park, including farms or a farmyard. This is however not a pure
registration of sounds, Geoff actually composed using the recordings.
Small layers of sound, like people talking in 'Percepcao', who get a
tour around something (a musuem maybe), or animals om 'Derivar'.
Dugan calls this 'psychogeography', but I find it hard to discover
the nature of the park or the people in there by judging just these
recordings, or the Portugese titles. But what I do know, is that the
recordings are very nice and are brought to us in a highly
intelligent way (it almost makes me wanting to go there and gaze some
sun!) (FdW)
Address: GD Stereo - P.O.box 1546 - New York, NY 10276 - USA

Alku is a small CDR label which never cease to surprise the listener
with new ideas. '10 Citas A Ciegas' means '10 Blind Dates'. Twenty
artists were invited to send in a track of exactely two minutes,
which was coupled to another one of two minutes. Alku made the
selection for this combinations, so nobody knew what the final result
would be. X+Y=XY indeed. It turned out to be strange combinations,
like Needle & Thomas Dimuzio or Plank and Kubin & Garland. One of the
great advantages of laptop musics is of course that the possibilities
are unlimited and in the realms of digital sound anything sounds
digital and most of the time good. If you ever saw some people
improvising on a laptop, you know what I mean. Here the laptop
crackles work in various directions, from technoid lounge
(Beige/Mainpal) to noise (Errorsmith/Opopop) and a most curious piece
between Kevin Drumm and Francisco Lopez - who incorporate the most of
noise and a bit of silence... and Wobbly and Time's Up going for the
real feedback noise. Curious meetings here in the world of blind
dates. Worth checking out! (FdW)
Address: http://personal.ilimit.es/principio

NATASHA BARRET - ISOSTASIE (CD by Empreintes Digitales)
STEPHAN DUNKELMAN - RHIZOMES (CD by Empreintes Digitales)
It has been some time that I listened to a new release of
electroacoustic music, so imagine I was anxious to hear some new ones
that I found on my doormat. Empreintes Digitales releases the music
of mostly classically trained electroacoustic composers. The music is
well-produced, sounds perfect. The music is also well-documented and
the sleeves are artful as well as tasteful. Very well balanced
releases. Let's get on to the first release, Natasha Barrett's
Isostasie. Of the three cd's reviewed here this cd breathes the most
human atmosphere. Unlike a lot of acousmatic compositions there is
room for rest here. Many acousmatic composers tend to create dense
layers of complex sounds that whirl around each other like inside a
maelstrom. Barrett allows for calmth to get a place in the
composition and we even hear a human voice. Sometimes she too uses
the cliché of filtered basses to counteract with high pitched
fluttering and her structures are not very original. Yet, in the best
compositions (like Three Fictions, Industrial Revelations) a very
personal style appears and I'd really like to hear more of that. In
other compositions (like in Viva La Selva!) the mimicry of the real
world is too obvious, though. I would advise against that. (as if my
opinion matters..)
Stephan Dunkelman's Rhizomes plays heavily with sound and speed. His
sounds seem to flee away from the speakers turned acoustically into
large halls (through loads of reverb). Only seldomly does a sound
remain at its place. Dunkelman must be a restless person. The
acousmatic aspect of his music is according to the book (I think;
there must be a book of some sort...I always hear the same sounds and
techniques applied to edit them.) but it fails to keep my attention.
The soundsources, the treatments, the structure.. it's all too much
of the same.
Next Arturro Parra: this is a guitarist's view on acousmatic music. I
really think that this is the most adventurous of the three releases.
The coöperation between musical instrument and tape/computer is
difficult because you can identify the instrument from the other
sounds, which so easily results in a relation instrument-backdrop.
And in a live setting there is the discrepancy between the sound
source of the acoustic instrument and the sound from the speakers
which separates the two even more. Parra somehow managed to create a
very nice balance, though. Parra commissioned works from five
composers: Gobeil, Roy, Dhomont, Bejarano and Normandeau. These
compositions were each the basis for a composition of Parra. So the
acousmatic composers didn't know what Parra was going to do with
their piece
and Parra composed the guitar on top of what was already there. That
is interesting because the guitar is the least versatile instrument
here and yet it has to interact with the most versatile abstract
noises. Also interesting to know is that the guitar was recorded
without any overdubs. In some cases the guitar is tormented and
played in extraordinary way but you can also hear melodies, which is
quite unusual in an ED-release. The result is a very dynamic and
intense cooperation, very much worth listening to. I most liked the
Dhomont cooperation. This eminence grise of the acousmatic society
never misses a beat.(IS)
Address: www.electrocd.com

JIM O'ROURKE - HE WHO LAUGHS (LP by Neon Gallery Records)
Jim O'Rourke is of course a busy bee, being a full time member of
Sonic Youth, must asked producer and solo performer, which all leave
very little time to create solo music. And when at that he may not
produce the kind of thing you experimentalists want. Jim never likes
to bet on the same horse, I guess. But every now and then he comes up
with something experimental, like this. The soundtrack to a silent
film, "He Who Laughs" by Herbert Brenon. I don't know when this film
was made, but it was a long time ago. Brenon was born in 1880 and
died in 1958, after retiring from filmmaking in 1940. He was known as
one of the better filmmakers in the silent period, but me no
coinnesseur, I can't judge.
So I don't know know what "He Who Laughs" is about and if it's as
long as this record (one side of music, around 20 minutes). Jim
shifts through various passages, so it's most likely they run in
order of the scenes. Here we find Jim in his more experimental days,
like a totally screwed version of his latest effort in these realms,
the Mego CD. One recognizes the use of found sound (wind
instruments), which all get a max/msp (or maybe something alike
that, who am I to tell about software) treatment. At one point a
whole fanfare moves by and things seem to get out of control. But
right after that follows a moment of quietness, a contemplative
moment, may you call it like that. It turned out to be a strange
record, one that is rapid in it's changes and movements, which is at
one point totally like Jim O'Rourke, but on the other, maybe also
quite a new thing. Surely one that pleases the old fans more then the
new ones, but also one that will be hard to get: there are only 500
copies around. (FdW)
Address: <musicart@neongallery.nu>

KAR - P.02 (CDR)
AAL - IN LUCE (CDR by S'Agita Recordings)
BLINK (CDR by S'Agita Recordings)
PLASTICS (CDR by S'Agita Recordings)
Here are a bunch of new releases by the Italian S'Agita Recordings
and some from the Italian underground which are currentely being
distributed by them. They all come in that lovely explorer format of
Anofele and Maath are Adriano Scerna, who is mainly a field recordist
and Maath is Marco Ramassotto, who released many things before on his
own label. For the work 'Zyklus', which holds four tracks, they
deleved the field recording archives of Scerna and added acoustic
toys such as bull roarer and percussion. They load the sound with an
large dose of reverb and every inch of this CD starts to vibrate.
Especially in 'Sporesfecundground' there is a strong Organum
influence apparent. Many layers of sound tumble over eachother in a
scraping mood. Another lenghty piece 'Onanexudingfluid' is much more
open and focusses on the use of small sounds. It shows the various
possibilities of working with environmental sounds in a very nice way.
Adriano Scerna is also part of Kar, another duo from Rome. I assume
'P.02' is their second release. Here too the use of field recordings
is most present, but it seems to me that Kar use more cut up styled
techniques and maybe the addition of computer sounds (or computer
processed sounds might be a better word) in their work. This means
that it's more open then the Anofele and Maath release and the works
here shift back and forth between pure scraping metallic sounds and
processed feedback hummings. An eerie, atmospheric release with
interesting counterpoints.
Punck is one Adriano Zanni from Ravenna, who also produces a webzine
(Spectrum) and runs a MP3 label. From all of these releases, he might
the most computerized person among the lot. Using synthesized sound
and processing via software, he creates rhythmical, yet not danceable
music. Short loops are created from say the sound of a xerox machine,
but in general the digital area prevails and in a much more cut up
style (this to avoid the rhythmical character I assume). The short CD
(twenty minutes) is depsite it's brevity however is quite nice. Those
who buy it from S'Agita get a free CDR with remixes of this release
by Paolo Ippoliti. He opens in a true Lopezian style of silence and
after a minute of six he starts slowly building up the piece by using
samples of the original, which grow and grow layer-wise over the
course of the piece. Quite an intense mix.
Behind Aal we find Davide Valecchi, who presents his third release on
S'agita (Vital Weekly 310 and 330). More then before Davide uses
synthesizers and percussion to create his ambient inspired music.
Like before he seems mostly interested in playing on the darker edge
of sound, with droning synths and sound processing via the use of
sound effects. The addition of concrete sound elements are kept to a
minimum here. Maybe this kind of ambient has become too much of a
cliche these days, and Aal doesn't necessarily add something entirely
new to the roster, but it's a nice entertaining release anyway.
S'agita Recordings started a sublabel, or a series of releases called
'A La Verticale De L'ete', which come in a black cover with a burned
photograph. The first one is Paolo Ippoliti, Laura Lovreglio and
Davide Valecchi. More from the world of field recordings. Five
lenghty pieces of rain sounds, children playing, bird calls and on
top a piano that improvises. The piano sounds like not a top notch
recording, but rather with a cheap microphone in a different room
then were they had the piano. I must admit it's not the best thing in
the world, but the whole thing breaths an air of naivety, which is
The final disc is by Paolo Ippoliti, the guy that runs S'Agita
Recordings. His 'Libere Una Falena Capodoglio Intappolata Nella
Plastica' is quite a personal work, dealing with his social life. His
day job until now was all about pushing heavy objects, until his body
protested and his doctor advised him to stop the work. On this CD
you'll find eight pieces of simple scrapings with contact microphones
upon surfaces of objects. It's unclear to me wether these objects
were to be found in his work, or wether they are found objects for
the recording of this release. The result is a strongely conceptual
work that fits the best traditions of L. Chasse, Steve Roden or
Brandon Labelle. (FdW)
Address: http://sagitarecordings.vze.com

Of course you know Brent Gutzeit. He is one third of TV Pow and runs
the Boxmedia label. besides that he is also an active composer of
solo works. These two CDrs are in a limited edition of 50, which by
no means it is said that they aren't worthy to be heard. Two lost
works. 'Freedom From The Grey City' has a cassette (two tracks) and a
two compilation tracks for Freedom From label, which may have or have
not released them - Brent never saw a copy. 'Soul Music' was to be
his first major solo release on the Japanese Meme label, but that
label seemed to stop out of the blue (and that was a great pity,
since they had some very fine releases). Now both, archival works are
The works on 'Freedom From The Grey City' were recorded in January
2000, plus a lenghty live cut from 1998. The main focuss in all these
four pieces is minimalism. "Waning Cycle' for instance evolves around
a spiralling loop that only gets a little bit shorter over the course
it runs. 'Piano Motor Skills' is of equal length (twenty six minutes)
and has the hasty sounds of small motor driven devices that play the
strings of a piano. A jarring piece of disorienting sounds. Minimal
at one point, but also quite complex on the other hand.
'Soul Music' has works that date from 1996 up to 2001 and contains
for the bigger part high pitched tones and only in the fifth track
'Rice' low end bass sounds pop up. There is just middle for these
sounds, it's either all the way up or all the way down. Together with
the cut 'n paste method of laptop techniques, it's certainly not an
easy work. One has to listen very carefully and preferable in
considerable volume to catch the finer parts of this work, and the
louder parts work like fragmenting bombs. Good to see it out,
finally. (FdW)
Address: www.boxmedia.com

It's a bit hard to review this, because I already wrote a review,
less than six months ago. Somebody once said that you can review
anything at anytime, because your perception changes over the course
of time. He might be right. But in this case, he is also right
because of another reason. This CD was previously available as a
limited picture disc set. That looked great, like picture discs
usually do. But Die Stadt found out, and I assume much to their
regret, the sound quality of a picture disc is not that great. So
maybe after all it's a wise thing to re-issue that LP on CD, because
the work of Thomas Koner is, me humbly thinks, better off on CD then
on vinyl. The two lengthy cuts from the LP are presented here in an
unclicked, unscratched warm (and digital! - I am no vinyl fetishist)
beauty. More so then on the vinyl, the music reveals depth beneath
the rumbles of icy landmasses, moving slowly foreward. Apperentely
the sound source Thomas uses on these two pieces was a dusty blank
16mm film played in a film projector - I couldn't tell really. As a
bonus there is 'an extended soundtrack' for a video presentation by
Karen Vanderborght. This piece is a very unlike Koner piece. We know
his isolationist drones and his dance music, but here he incorporates
a female voice inside his ambient works, and that works really fine.
She sounds far away (and to be honest: I didn't pay that much
attention to what she said), like a voice on the intercom in the room
next to you. Although different then the Unerfroschtes Gebiet, I
think it this new piece, may call it new direction, fit well
together. It has a great radioplay like feeling to it, so it would be
good to see the video that comes along with it. (FdW)
Address: www.diestadtmusik.de

PAINTED BLACK (CD compilation by Tumult)
Of course I would never say this in public, but I think the Rolling
Stones are a bunch of overrated, over-aged money grabbers and their
entire discography should be trashed immediately. But of course I
would never say this in public, because of all their hidious music,
there is one song I always like, which is 'Painted It Black'. But
maybe because of the 7" by The Mo-Dettes from 1980 (I believe), an
all female group who did a nice New Wavey version of it. Sadly that
is not included on this compilation, which is an all cover thing of
just 'Paint It Black'. Or maybe an all remix thing. Or maybe an all
tribute thing. The original is not always recognizable so that
certainly adds to the fun of it - at least if you like the Stones as
much as I do. It's hard not to think that the idea for this was given
by Fennesz, whose 'Play' 7" had a version of this song and which is
now included also on this compilation. Maybe he started it all off,
who knows? The range of artists on this compilation is quite diverse.
I couldn't wait until the end of Acid Mother's Temple whose spacerock
of ten or so minutes failed to keep my interest for very long. It's
hard to say wether I like the ones that incoporate parts of the
originals, like Stillupsteypa or Troum or the totally alienated ones
like Kit Clayton's rather funky piece or Fennesz cable rumble. The
ones that incorporate the original I liked Hrvatski's acoustic guitar
playing with psyched out noise and Troum slowed down doodlings on the
synth didn't catch me at all. Things like this always leave me with
puzzled feelings. Some of these tracks are ok, but one may wonder if
they are a 'Paint It Black' cover, and some that do sound like the
originals aren't so my thing I guess. And the winner still is:
Fennesz. (FdW)
Address: www.tumult.net

It's good to see the return of a highly respectable label that
brought us so many noise and related records, tapes and cd's.
RRRecords are back! And they stepped into doing CDRRR's. One of the
first is a lovely lovely recording of Jason Talbot and Howard
Stelzer, taped during their April 2001 tour in the USA. Jason Talbot
plays a turntable, sometimes conventionally spinning a record,
scratching it, but he also uses the pick up to amplify a balloon or
screwdrivers. Howard is also on the analogue music side playing
cassettes through a whole bunch of old walkmans, upon sheets of metal
and through a distortion pedal. Maybe you except a whole bunch of
noise, but not so. Occassionally there are bursts of noise, oh yes,
but these two guys play very well the dynamic card. Soft parts, loud
parts, noise bursts and occassional sounds are presented here in this
excellent live recording. I happen to see a couple of their shows,
and everything they do is planned, these are real songs (despite the
silly titles). I heard someone calling this analog glitch, might be
so. I think it's musique concrete in a very pure form. And europeans
around: they play on january 31st at Extrapool in Nijmegen, The
Netherlands. (FdW)
Address: www.rrrecords.com



correction: KK Null's 'Helium Flash' is not released by Deison but by
the label Loud! Deison is the name of the band behind the label. The
e-mail address is the same.