\ / | ----- /\ | \ / |== |== | / | \ / Week 35
\ / | | / \ | \ /\ / | | |/ | \ / Number 189
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KARKOWSKI/V.D.HEIDE - DATASTREAM (CD-R by Or)
OR SOME COMPUTER MUSIC (CD by Or)
SPORE - BOBBLE CD(KIP 013/STAALPLAAT)
DACHISE - TWIN BAIRDS (CD by Assemblage Point)
LUXURY DISCREET SURROUNDINGS (CD-R by Intermission)
FRAGMENTED - THE EMOTION; FINALLY (CD-R by Transfixional)
PIERRE HENRY - REMIXE SA DIXIEME SYMPHONIE. (CD by Philips)
TAC - SOUND RECKONING (self released CDR)
ANNA PLANETA (2CD by Betley Welcomes Careful Drivers)
R. SUNDIN - LOREZ PLAZA/LIMP (Double CD on Bonbonrecords)
MICHEL BANABILA - VOIZNOIZ (CD on Steamin' Soundworks)
GUY KLUCEVSEK - TRANSYLVANIAN SOFTWEAR (cd on Starkland)
SEI MIGUEL - TOKEN (cd & cdsingle on AnananA)
AMY DENIO - GREATEST HITS (cd on Unit Circle)

 

KARKOWSKI/V.D.HEIDE - DATASTREAM (CD-R by Or)
OR SOME COMPUTER MUSIC (CD by Or)
Making mistakes is nothing but human, but of course should not happen. Last week we wrote that OR is a CDR label from Touch, but the well-informed know it's different. OR and Touch (and Ash International (RIP)) are just three different labels with different approaches and with one front door. So the good thing about making mistakes is that there is yet another opportunity to write again about the label. OR catches up with the latest technology of releasing CD recordable's. The first one was already released some time ago (last week's Hecker is the third), but it's a true jewel to be ignored. Zbigniew Karkowski and Edwin van der Heide - two-third of the Senzorband - love to develop a small concept, record one work and then move on to the next concept. The concepts are as effective as they are simple. They are derived from a question: now what will happen if...? If we use a simple text document, written in Microsoft Word, and have loaded into programms that deal with audio (sadly not mentioned on the cover). A word document contains no audio information, but let's see. Apart from the noisy introduction (which lasts just 2 minutes), it's long, stretched out drone sound. Slowly moving and evolving. Its that kind of dark ambient that we know from Side Effects, albeit a bit more static. While listening my mind wanders off - outside the sun shines - the wind blows gentle - a beautiful autumn to come. All of these things that don't seem to be connected to this music. I wonder what minimal text they have been using to create this. The sound gradually falls apart, like erosion of rocks. A strange CD. Most definitely not ambient, or new agey. Not as minimal as anything by the Guenter/Lopez posse, but for sure an intriguing electronic work.
Maybe an excerpt of Karkowski/Van der Heide's next CDR 'Voltage' (on Bake Records) can be used on the new compilation by OR. 'Voltage' is entirely made with sounds from a computer - rather then with a computer and would be something strange, but appropriate in the compilation. Ever since the invention of computers, they have been used in music. Cage used the calculator to set his random numbers for instance. Midi controllers came, samplers and now harddisc recording - in every form of modern music the computer is the main core of instrument (I'm sorry for those who like to believe that their rock band is strictly analog - wake up!). The 'OR Some Computer Music' is a compilation CD and booklet, but it's presented as a magazine. Well, that is disputable. The booklet gives nice biographies and information about the pieces, but is it a magazine? Not that it really matters. The old and young generations meet here. There is no hierarchy. They sit along side as friends. CD Slopper (a duo with Hecker) write their own software and represent the young ones. Trevor Wishart is some 30 years older and his long piece 'Fabulous Paris' is a more conventional work. Sounds roll over like we've heard from other work in this field, yet his work is quite nice. The hectic of a big city, actually compiled from a lot of sounds from big cities, is well captured. Aphex Twin is the big catch here and his piece is simply beautiful. Taking the serious avant-garde approach, but in a rather percussive way. The more noisy bits are from Kevin Drumm, but his collaged sounds stay on the good edge - it doesn't get out of control. General Magic speak with computer voice and hectic rhythms. Then there are five relatively short tracks by one Steven Travis Pope. They belong together and were started years ago, but apparently only recently finished. Very austere pieces of electronic (unrecognizable voices) and spoken word. Very nice. Ubik was not for me. Sampled rambling and improv things on a guitar - mmmm. Mister Karkowski is of course also present, here in collaboration with Kasper T. Toeplitz. Much like his work Datastream, everything glitches darky and is kinda (way too dark of course) ambient. The last noisy bit comes from Beautyon (whose claim to have recorded the loudest CD ever is not recognized by me) and is indeed very zero. In all a well succeeded compilation that could have been boring (given it's many serious successors), but now is a nice view. Hopefully something that lasts... (FdW)
Address: <or@touch.demon.co.uk>

SPORE - BOBBLE CD(KIP 013/STAALPLAAT)
This is the first release in the Korm Plastics Introductionary Paperback series since it's re-appearance with a different design. The hand stamp and the old typewriter font have been replaced by a colorful silly design with old pictures of food and snack decorations, for what reason I can't understand. I really can't see the connection between old food pictures and the releasing of new unheard music, but I guess the designer saw it. But like many people excuse their drinking behavior: "...it seemed reasonable at that moment". Perhaps that is the case?
The music on this CD is one big mixture of all kinds of different sounds, sampled, recorded and generated, combined into flowing tracks, sometimes a bit hypno trancy like Muslimgauze and Rapoon. We get hi-fi combined with lo-fi in an interesting way. Though all the variety of sounds are here the whole CD is very much in the same structure through every track, lots of backwards, delays etc. etc... like there is the same formula for putting together every track, very nice at moments but it gets too much the same. English bloke Tim Rabjohns is the mastermind behind the project Spore, and on the sleeve notes he describes his high leveled ideas and reasons for why he is doing what he is doing. Quoting: "...we can seep insidiously into the semi-conscious", and "all together to create hypnotic sounds capes of immense beauty". Well oh well, I really think he overdoes it a bit, just a bit too far up in the clouds. I mean there is nothing new about this CD, it is not badly done at all but you get his pretentious idea about it immediately after reading the sleeve's text. Maybe that is the whole idea, at least I hope so.(HB)
<mailorder@staalplaat.com>

DACHISE - TWIN BAIRDS (CD by Assemblage Point)
LUXURY DISCREET SURROUNDINGS (CD-R by Intermission)
'Beware Of Adults', we read in the booklet. Being one myself, I am of course puzzled by it. Is it because the noise Dachise puts on is of a worn-out nature, and us, the adults may say 'now look here young man, this is all said and done before'? Or to speak with Psychic TV 'Those Who Do Not Remember the Past Are condemned to repeat'? (To this I also do not agree - but that between us historians). All of these considerations aside, the CD is indeed not new or innovative, but certainly not a bad CD. Dachise uses a somewhat broader palette of sounds: prepared guitar (which sounds as a prepared guitar), turntables to create up-tempo beats and of course those lovely small boxes to create the real power. It's not a shockingly new thing, as said, but still it's quite allergist.
Loosely connected to Dachise is Luxury Discreet Surroundings - the latest school of power electronicians from Europe. They take their trade from old school noise, techno/gabber aswell as Lopez et al. The first track opens with a barely audible, yet irritating high pitch tone which gradually goes down to a very low end sound - likewise soft. Machine like bursts - or rumbling in the backyard - two associations in second piece. Here it's reversed: the high pitches return - louder now - at the end. The third track is just pitches - but again louder, and more recognizable as feedback. The fourth and final piece seems the only one with sampling.
Although more controlled then Dachise, the choice of material is also more austere - environment recordings and feedback. Yet this CD-R is shorter, so it's monochromnes is not disturbing. Of the two I preferred the LDS because of it's apparent minimal character. (FdW)
Address: <assemblagepoint@hotmail.com>
Address: <entracte@mayfair2.demon.co.uk>

FRAGMENTED - THE EMOTION; FINALLY (CD-R by Transfixional)
Somewhere I lost the information on Fragmented, so I can't say much more then this is a US band. Their music is of a rather melancholic nature. Dark at times, with instruments to be recognized, like guitars, drums/cymbals and violins. They sit along with synthesizers and the whole electronical trickery. All of these gadgets create a dense, a closed atmosphere. Words mumble, are wrapped around the electronic and do not seem to bear the necessity of being heard. Fragmented recommend that their music should be heard with the lights out and I can see a point why - however I never follow these instructions. It's well-put together, yet a bit too somber and dark for my taste. (FdW)
Address: <transfixional@t-online.de>

PIERRE HENRY - REMIXE SA DIXIEME SYMPHONIE. (CD by Philips)
Imagine this: a whirlwind of a good deal of Beethoven-symphonies and synthetic beats and radio noise and loops and Giorgio Moroder (I feel love-theme). Now, THAT's what I call cheesy. But we are dealing here with 72 year old. One of the founding fathers of electroacoustic music, already active in the field of electronics since 1948. Remixing a composition dating from 1972. In the accompanying booklet with some clarifying notes Henry states that he admires Beethoven because he invented 'the melody-with-a-small-number-of-notes'. And contemporary popular music is based on just that. Which explains the combination. He's just a poor man, whose intentions are good. But I'm afraid that the result of this brilliant thinking is not what the world is waiting for in 1999. I can imagine that in 1972 this music came across. Somehow it must have been received as a nouveaute. Nowadays we are all blasé and all you get then is a big yawn.
Henry constantly mixes modern rhythms and loops with ostinato's and repetitions of Beethoven. He mixes concrete sounds (the snapping of branches) with threatening waves of violins and cello's. Okay, I get the point now. But then that's all there is to it. Rather disappointing for a man of this stature. I think the magic is gone with this man. Sadly. You'd better listen to the rereleases on the French Mantra label. His old work is much more exciting.

TAC - SOUND RECKONING (self released CDR)
I know Tom Cox, AKA TAC, for a long time. He used to send me strange little packages with cassettes packed in magnetic tapes, loose reels and all that. The typical Do It Yourself guy with open invitations to collaborate (which I did and somebody at a small label called Suitcase Recordings sits on some of these recordings - hello out there? - but this is a different story). Tom now sends me another lovely package: a CD-R packed in a cut-up painting cloth. The CD-R contains 26 relatively short pieces that were recorded for installations at various locations, using various objects. From the 26 tracks, 12 have titles, and the others are indicated by numbers. Together these 'number' tracks form a group of short bits of a for me unknown nature. The pieces with a title are just apt descriptions of what's going on: 'Clothes Plus', 'Glashum' or 'Plastic Bits'. If you read my pieces before, I like this sort of down to earth attitude a lot. There is no meaning, just a kind off research, a dip in the world of plastic bits and glashum. And the total is a very convincing journey into these sounds. The sort of lo-fi electro-acoustica you hear from people like Hands To, Small Cruel Party or Kapotte Muziek. TAC is sort of guy that needs your attention! So get in contact: (FdW)
Address: <tac@tricon.net>

ANNA PLANETA (2CD by Betley Welcomes Careful Drivers)
Somebody who also needs your urgent attention is Phil Todd from the Betly Welcomes Careful Drivers. In his presssheet he claims to stop his label if nobody shows up to distribute his releases. Oh dear. If I say something nasty I'm co-responsible? I have no clue who Anna Planeta is - one person, a group? The press sheet speaks of 'a lady', but hey I have seen mysterious before. This lengthy two CD set (over 150 minutes) was recorded in an abandoned catholic school - I'm stating the 'catholic' thing, because of the natural reverb used here that may or may not be part of catholic schools. Anna Planeta throw around sheets of metal, wood and small battery operated instruments (good ol' Bontempi I guess). There is a certain slowness in these six pieces, as everything seems to be moving at a slow pace. Non-rhythmical, but with percussive sounds, scraping ala The New Blockaders did almost two decades ago and flute sounds is there was never a Metgumnerbone. Oh well, all of that old stuff was so obscure, that's long forgotten by now. I laid back on the bench and took this dive into an endless wash of sounds. Support y'r small labels, goddammit. (FdW)
Address: <ptodd@tesco.net>

R. SUNDIN - LOREZ PLAZA/LIMP (Double CD on Bonbonrecords)
Knowing that Sundin is the main man behind Bad Kharma, this work may come as somewhat of a surprise. With very low volume pieces, this is very different from Bad Kharma. His solo debut on Bake Records already gave an indication of the direction that his solo work takes, and that indication seems to hold partly true. The first piece on Lorez Plaza basically consists of a couple of pulses, one in the mid frequencies and one in the low, with a soft screeching sound added. Later another pulse takes over from the screeching. Sounds simple and yes, it is. But the way the stereo spectrum is used makes it a pretty unnerving affair, especially on the headphones. In all its simplicity, this is a strong piece. The second piece starts with an 8-bit sample embedded in an environmental soundscape and creates a paradoxical atmosphere: very close and very distant at the same time. Later tiny bleeps are added, which really invade this spatial tension and also function as a bridge to part two of the piece, in which a soft, distorted loop takes over. Again a very sober, but effective piece. Track three is of a similar character, starting off with a repetitive sound, again sounding as 8-bit. And again there is something almost imperceptible in the background: some space, disconnected from the sound in the foreground, but gradually gaining more presence. After some time all sounds become louder and more intense, not all at once, but each individually. But we're still talking low volume here. During the piece the emphasis shifts very slightly from one sound to another and then it suddenly ends. The next track starts with an environmental recording and some samples to which later a very low and pulsing drone is added and also a very soft high tone. These ingredients alternate during the piece, until they all stop at once, to be followed by one more high whine. The fifth and last track on the first CD begins with an almost inaudible stereo rumble, to which a hiss is added very slowly. Later more sounds are added, all in very low volume, that seem to creep through the head, from one ear to the other. These sounds are left to play alone in the end. This stuff really requires attention, not unlike the music of Francisco Lopez or Bernhard Guenter. These references may seem obvious with this sort of music, but Sundin has defenitely got his own style and his own sound.
The second CD, Limp, contains 22 tracks, and is of a different nature. It seems that most of the tracks are based on dance music, that has been deformed, cut up, looped and randomized. Additional sounds and samples are used to create breaks and intro's. Most tracks are about two to three minutes in length. The sound is pretty weird and, if I may say so, quite nordic. This disc has a bolder character than the first one, which is quite gentle. It took me a while to get used to, but when I got the hang of it, I really enjoyed it. In a sense, both CD's have the same strange and somewhat alienated atmosphere. Defenitely not easy listening and therefore recommended.(MR)
Adress: http://bonbonrecords.cjb.net

MICHEL BANABILA - VOIZNOIZ (CD on Steamin' Soundworks)
Banabila came out of nowhere when he in 1983 debuted with his solo-lp 'Marilli', a convincing mix of ambient and ethno, in a time when the outburst of ambient music still had to come. After 'Marilli' Banabila further developed his ambient style in the 'Des traces retrouvees'- series. The third and last release in this series dates from 1987. The last solo-effort of Banabila for a long time. Banabila participated (and still participates I suppose!) in diverse Rotterdam-based projects. For example, the CHI-project (1983-1986). Having good memories of one of their concerts, I was very happy when in 1996 (!) some of their material was released. A welcome, but very late release (Staalplaat ). Banabila also was member of the world-dance band East Meets West, and made two cd's with Yasar Saka (ethno-ambient). Very recent is his cooperation with Hanyo van Oosterom (from CHI) and under the name of Byzantium. With 'Voiznoiz' Banabila returns at last with another solo-effort. For this record he started with collecting diverse voicematerial. He manipulated these voices beyond recognition and then constructed the music around these voices. The result is a sort of ambient music not heard before from Banabila. No ethno-ambient, but more of a 'slowmotion dance ambient music' (sorry). Sometimes it reminds me - as earlier work of Banabila - of the work of Cluster, Moebius and Plank from the seventies. Assisted by several other musicians (for example: singer Tanar Catalpinar [East Meets West], Hanyo van Oosterom [Byzantium, Flying Dutchman], Chris Grem [Cobraz], Hans Greeve [Banabila/Saka, Rick de Vito] and Remko Deyl [Omar Ka], Banabila delivers with 'Voiznoiz' a very enjoyable cd of a high standard as we are used to from his former work (DM).
Address:
http://www.xs4all.nl/~steam.

GUY KLUCEVSEK - TRANSYLVANIAN SOFTWEAR (cd on Starkland)
Starkland - known to me for their Tod Dockstader and Paul Dreshter releases - is not the label you expect to release the new Klucevsek-cd. But they did. It takes some courage to do so, as this is a solo cd by Klucevsek, which means listening to the accordion for about one hour. Isn't that boring? Fortunately Klucevsek is a very capable player and composer and delivers an excellent cd with 'Transylvanian Softwear'. Klucevsek is known for his many cooperarions with musicians from downtown New York: John Zorn, David Garland, Elliot Sharp, etc. He is one of those few artists that succeeded to give the accordion a new life in the new music scene. But Klucevsek never forgets his roots lay somewhere in Eastern Europe. References to polka music and other world music are obvious on many of his output. This makes his 'new music' very listenable and accessible. This is also the case with 'Transylvanian Softwear'. Most compositions are from Klucevsek himself, others are from John Zorn, Fred Frith, William Duckworth. Most compositions are known from earlier cds, but presented here for the first time in a solo-version. So this one is for fans only I guess (DM).
Address: http://wwwstarkland.com

SEI MIGUEL - TOKEN (cd & cdsingle on AnananA)
Born in Paris, Miguel lives in Portugal since the early eighties. He toured the country with Moeda Noise playing an "ambient-like rock-jazz". Since 1986 Miguel works under his own name in diverse projects. With 'Token' Miguel presents his 6th cd. Miguel is a composer, arranger, director and trumpeter, and considers himself as a jazzman.
'Token' is my first encounter with the music of Miguel. It is a sparse, clean and intimate kind of music that tries to get attention not by being very extravert and loud but by being very silent and introvert, simple. In each track their is a different - and unusual - combination of instruments: cello and voice, trumpet and electronic bass drum, trombone, trumpet and electronic drum set, etc.,etc. The music breathes the atmosphere of a new music, more than of jazz. All in all a very interesting release. This Miguel is really an original talent (DM).
Address: http://www.ananana.pt

AMY DENIO - GREATEST HITS (cd on Unit Circle)
If you are unfamiliar with the music of Amy Denio, this 'Greatet Hits' is a good starting point. This release gives a representative overview of her work from the beginning of her career (1987-1998). Many of the cooperations she was involved in are included: Tone Dogs, The Knodel, Curlew, Fomoflo, The Pale Nudes, The Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet. Also several solo works can be found on this release.
Denio operates on the more poppy and funky side of the avantgarde: most tracks are melodic and are structured as 'songs'. We hear here singing, playing sax and accordion and many other instruments. Sometimes you would wish the music would be more far out as it sometimes comes dangerously close to superficial poppy music. Denio who is from Seattle started here career there in 1987 with the Tonedogs (Fred Chalenor & Matt Cameron). Their debut was produced by Fred Frith. This gave her probably a good introduction to related musical scenes in other parts of the world. Why find her with European bands (Pale Nudes, Die Knodel), American bands (Curlew, The B.T.M.S.Quartet) and the Japanese outfit Fomoflo. Denio views her worldwide orientation as follows: "In this chaotic time, musicians weave the web which holds this world together"(DM).
Address: http://www.unitcircle.com/