taxonomy review Archives
December 21, 2016 5:05 pm
We will go back in time. We are in a garden, in Düsseldorf, Germany, 26 June 1983, surrounded by some guests. A garden party was organised by Erik Andersch, in honour of the American artist Joe Jones, known for his association with Fluxus anti-art movement. From 2 pm Joe Jones started constructing a Solar panel orchestra. The setup included acoustic instruments like zither, glockenspiel, mandolin, small drums, ukulele etc and custom machines made by Solar panel and umbrellas, that were giving kinetic energy to metal strings and drum sticks, that were playing / hitting the instruments randomly. There was no need of a player although, some of the guests, like Takako Saito, improvised with it. As Joe Jones mention “The solar music returned where it belonged, with people who were not afraid to touch the objects and play”. At the end of the day, the sun went down, the music stoped and the event came to an end.
This is how the story goes, through the pages of the book, that it was originally released by Jones in 1987 in an edition of 15 copies. The recording of the “A Garden Party” event was previously unreleased, until October of 2016. The Edition Telemark released it as a lmt LP of 200 copies, in a gate-fold PVC sleeve (This is a minus) that also included the book, a poster and a postcard. This fabulous edition, documents another mythical event by the Fluxus movement, re-introduces us to Joe Jones work and his rhythmic music machines. The 45 minutes of the recording are flowing in a loose unobstructed manner. The randomness of the rough sounds are creating a drone piece that reminded me of the magnetic sculptures by Takis Vassilakis. This repetitive amalgama of metallic sounds, construct a meditative and a deep acousmatic feeling, that finally sounds natural. As Joe Jones writes about this project “Hang a solar music machine in every tree it will make trees happy”. I have to say that sonically and conceptually I am absolutely amazed of this already sold out edition. It is already one of my favourite albums of 2016. Keep an eye on it.
December 5, 2016 8:05 pm
The poet and guitarist Graham Lambkin, from the early 90s, attracts listener’s attention, as he and Darren Harris formed in Cheriton, of Kent, England “The Shadow Ring”, a group that is a heir of a musical tradition that it was shaped in the 80s, from groups like Throbbing Gristle. From 1993 to 2005 they released eight fabulous full length albums. Some years later, the “Guardians” newspaper, list their work as some of the strangest records on Spotify, a tragic irony for a group, which their analog sound influenced a generation of musicians, that still releasing their work on Vinyl and Cassette tapes.
Beyond the myth of The Shadow Ring, Graham Lambkin never stopped being active musically and from 2001, he started to release new material under his name and running also his own Key records. “Community” is his 9th solo album, comes to confirm his unconventional music career. The eight tracks, that can be found here, recorded in Empty Stage, in New York, during the period 2015 – 2016. This is a highly poetic work, digging into an narrative imaginary microcosm of lousy frequencies and deliberate sounds. The music consists of interwoven field recordings, speaking words, electronic sounds, and played instruments, contributed by Sean McCann on violin, Troy Schafer on saxophone and Judith Hamann on Cello. This is a quite complex work that really fascinate me with the so carefully chosen sounds and the poetic sense, especially on track “Sculpture”.
The “Community” has been already sold out as a vinyl album, released on Key records, but it is still available as a double CD by ErstSolo. CD version is also including “I Vs. Air (Austin-Stuttgart-Turku)”, a 40 min bonus track, that make this version a little bit more attractive to me, as this composition really matters, doubling the duration of the whole release. Probably one of the very best albums of the year. Highly recommended.
October 22, 2016 9:34 pm
I never heard of Videobasic before, but I have to say that I am always curious on new stuff from the experimental artists and labels from Italy, as I believe that they have a quite interesting noise and electronic local scene.
Videobasic is the new project by Michele Mazzani (drones) & Gabriele Gotini (electronics). Previously, the group released a bunch of tapes on Lonktaar, Mazzani’s label, with silkscreen artworks, sprayed tapes etc, most of them released in a very limited number of copies, that most of them were sold on their live shows.
This “untitled” C40 is probably their first widely circulated work, which come out on Canti Magnetici label, based in South Italy. The release includes three untitled tracks, all of them recorded using manual electronics and tape loops. Sonically, Videobasic manages to present us a trippy psychedelic experience, constructing a hypnotic moody environment. They structure their music with chill-mode minimal drones and layers of junk electronics, made by circuit bended instruments. Untitled I & III use as a base monotonous drone rhythms, while the tape loops and the electronics layering textures of a more genuine sense of exploration. “Untitled I”I is more abstract and adventures, making a collage of tape manipulation and absurd sounds.
I really enjoy of this release and that sound pretty exciting. I will defiantly keep an eye to these guys!
Canti Magnetici site
April 22, 2016 7:45 pm
DMZ is Jo Tanz, the founder of [tanzprocesz] music label from France. Carex Boréal is his latest album that comes out as a cassette. The most of the tracks here are no longer than 3 min and all together could be seen as a 36 min long composition. Carex Boréal includes 8 parts which sonically sounds very similar. Jo Tanz uses synthesisers, sound generators,etc constructing a DIY sonic chaos. He approaches of the material with an experimental point of view, uniting and mixing noise surfaces, rhythms and synth sounds. Each track is based on a music idea, a main sound or rhythm. While I was listening to it I couldn’t understand when a track ends. Very often the musical plot was interrupted something completely new, which made me face this release as a texture music collage. Αs time passed listening to DMZ new cassette, the music manages to intrigue me and finally to enjoy this album a lot.
December 19, 2015 1:57 pm
For years, I am a consistent listener of the Finnish music scene, as it hosts one of the most exciting folk-psych music community. Jani Hirvonen (aka Uton) is an active member of the local scene from 2001. Being a very productive musician, he has produced a great number of solo releases. I noticed his work in 2006 when I received a copy of Mutantea’s “Sleepy Sounds Electric” cdr, a project formed with Anla Courtis and Kulkija. On 2013 I had the opportunity to work with him, reissuing his Kahe+ on moremars. His new album “Ummet ja Lammet” just come out on Ikuisuus, one of the most respectful labels in Finland, that has already released works by local pioneer heroes like Avarus, Tsembla, Antti Tolvi, Keijo etc.
This new, very limited edition cassette, includes 8 tracks with a total time of 50.05 min. From the very first minute, I had the sense that this new album would be more electronic rather than drone, comparison with previous releases. Uton experiments more with loops, cosmic sounds, synthesisers and electronic sounds, mixing them with various live session recordings. What I found most exciting on this album is the first Elaman Kudoksia track, a 20-minute long composition, which presenting us a very interesting music collage of smaller trippy parts. The Kehitys and Tahan Asti’s electronic abstract grooves that gradually lead us to a more psychedelic organic parts. The good guitar vibes of Elossa Edelleen and the last enigmatic Siirto with its artful mess and the unexpected ending. Uton, with his maximalist approach to music, is managing to embrace heterogeneity, giving us multiple colliding sonic themes that are combined very carefully, structuring, at last, a very inspired psychedelic mosaic. Nice piece of music, as always!
December 11, 2015 5:59 pm
Two tracks is the count for this 5” cd-r release which is a collaboration between Vyazkiy Sharab from Novosibirsk, Russia and Resonan from Leeuwarden, Netherlands. The release is the result of the exchange of recordings between the two contributors that evolved in “Tension / Friction”. According to the press release the starting point of this project was a mutual interest in minimal static, droning sounds and exactly that’s the name of the game in the first track “Tension”.
“Tension” starts abruptly and is built on static buzz that is composed from two separate layers. The first layer is static noise while the second is the result of heavy delay and feedback effects. Gradually the pitch of the first layer becomes higher and its presence fades somewhere in the back in a subtle way. Only a few events disrupt this continuous turn that after the first half of the track takes the reverse route till the end of the track when static noise overwhelms the track. As abruptly as it starts “Tension”ends. No fade ins = No fade outs. The title of the track defines it absolutely. The second track is a lot different.
“Friction” is some 5 minutes shorter. Space is a lot more prominent here and this fact creates an eerie atmosphere. Sharab’s bowl comes to forth along slowly pulsating reverb drone from resonan. The artist contributions are more apparent in this track that sounds a lot like a discussion in contrast to “Tension”’s almost parallel monologues. “Friction” in the background eventually forms a sparse organic breathing-like entity that sounds like a controlled menace.
The pairing of the two artists sounds quite promising. Their chemistry extends even in the overall presentation / packaging of the release as Shara provided the photos (landscapes shot probably from a moving car) that Resonan turned into a cover design. Even though I don’t understand the connection of the covers to the music (should there be one? Probably not) it really adds to the atmosphere. Personally I feel lot more inclined sonically to the second track that brought to forth almost improvisational aspects to the music as if everything was done in real time. I guess that “Tension” was like a meeting point, a shared interest but definitely (in my ears) it was the easiest thing to do. “friction” challenges the stereotypes of “Tension” it is more stoic and thoughtful, it promises more which is really great. I would definitely listen again to “Friction” which is not something that commonly happens to me with noise nowadays. It is one of the first times lately to be sincere that I didn’t use the excuse of “it would have been better live”. Take care boys and I would love to hear from u in the future.
December 11, 2015 4:51 pm
The recording starts with really thick sounding static-like noise. To put it poetically/metaphorically, persistent middle spectrum frequencies fade in along with heavily distorted echoes of really distant beats and crashes on otherworldly surfaces. And this is what popped in mind a few minutes into it. It sounds like something is happening in the presence of a machine, maybe a household one. It could be a vacuum cleaner or it could be a jet plane. There is no scale in sound, there is space but space can be deceiving. There is so much activity in the background that I can not really identify the source (I later read that this is probably detuned radio). After almost eight ear pounding minutes it becomes even more violent as it is enriched with one more layer followed by low frequency noise after a few minutes white/brown noise whatever. The track fades out in the end. This description evolved into a kind of objective approach or something, maybe more than necessary.
This release from the resdatcom label comes as a 3 inch cdr in folded and glued paper in the same size that for my reading of this untitled album supplements the concept of the album by one-man noise project RU/ST. RU/ST comes from Zaporozhie in East-Ukraine and he is also the owner of HMF Graphics.
I was lucky enough to receive one of the first 15 copies in which the cover is a fullcolour print with blockprinted logo stenciled on the front panel and that was really important as i will try to explain in demystifying or even more mystifying this release.
The cover has been methodically treated to remind the texture of rust on metal. I don’t really care that this is not real rust. I believe that this is exactly the wrong path to follow in order to understand this work. Maybe you don’t have to understand this work and just enjoy or something but then you don’t need to read a review, go find the thing, scroll down and visit the resonan site. I believe that the way that the cover is treated as a simulation is conceptually intended to be like that. Its not a accident of sorts. It is the point punctuated with the project’s name. That of the use of metaphors in trying to communicate a specific feeling. And words are nothing closer to feelings but rust to metal. Feelings could be understood as irrational reflexes on situations that are too complicated to rationalise. Feelings effect in going beyond the stillness of time that comes with rationalisations and allow us to respond, to transcend our inertia which is stillness. Rust is the only natural becoming of metal, a reaction to specific environmental conditions. It can’t exist on its own, it corrupts the element but at the same time functions as a testimony of its substance. I understood the recording in the same manner. Not as distorted but as corruptive of the sources, noise is not the point, the point is the process, this work focuses in its making but not a procedural way, a hands on, realtime, time-ful making that vibrated the body, that makes the ears bled.
Personally I consider reviewing limited edition releases a heavy responsibility. Sometimes I believe that these words could be a more far reaching testimony than the recordings themselves. It’s an honour for me but they kind of bring to mind eulogies.
more info at resonan.wordpress.com
December 11, 2015 4:41 pm
Ethnological music or what we call today “world music” is a quite generic musical gem. If you are interested in it you will probably have noticed that it is very easy to be lost in all these long lists of releases that finally it may not be so interesting. Sometimes the “authenticity” of the sound material depends on various factors such as the date of the recording, the location and conditions that took place, as well as the taste of the ethnomusicologist.
Kink Gong is the sound project of Laurent Jeanneau, most known as a specialist for documenting and recording ethnic minority music, as well as for the documentary “Small Path Music” by David Harris. Till now, he has contributed recordings for labels as Musiques du Monde, Sublime Frequencies e.t.c., giving as an original taste of the folkloric musical tradition and the soundscape itself from places like China, Laos and Tibet.
Under the name Kink Gong, Laurent Jeanneau is present us his original catalogue of rare minority music but also his own music utilizing remixes of the recording that he has made during his travels. “Voices” is his last work, using unreleased recordings from southern regions of Yunnan and Guizhou in China as well as in Sapa, North Vietnam and Phongsaly, Northern Laos. For this album he mixed voices and instruments recorded on location and computer modified parts, creating a very interesting sound collage. “Voices” aesthetic is closed to his previous and already sold out LP “Xinjiang”, proving once again his very good taste on the sound samples which he used and his compositional abilities.
December 11, 2015 4:19 pm
A great music story begins with a wonderful intriguing sleeve. High Hopes artwork is one of the most brilliant covers I have ever seen, a great piece of art that make this LP very attractive at first sight. A quite weird sketch collage with such a beautiful aesthetic!
What about music? High Hopes may be the first album that I would definitely include it to the very best ones for the year 2013. It could be considered as a soundtrack of a lo-fi dream. Mat Krefting uses cassette recordings of a piano, vocals, orchestra, noises e.t.g constructing an unclear ambient environment with a distinctly old-timey feel. The 2 long run tracks included here could be one as the sounds that be used reappear and recomposed to a drony loop with no end. This is the best work of his that could stand very close to Dylan Nyoukis and Dusa aesthetic. I enjoy it a lot. Play it on repeat!