#7 (march 06 - september 06)
..strotter inst.:: live act At oblo (1000+1 Tilt) cd 12.98 We've said it a million times, but it bears repeating, we love turntables, and scratchy records, and the sounds of both, we even (especially) love the sound of both with the music removed. Or at least most of the music removed. Fuzz and crackle and buzz and pop and warble and whir. All the sounds people try desperately to remove from their listening experience is exactly what we want piled on top of ours. In fact, all the crackle and surface noise that audio nerds discard, well, they should save it all up and bequeath it to us to sprinkle, dollop, pour, douse all of our music with. So it was really a no brainer that the debut cd from Strotter Inst. would be record of the week here at AQ (as it was just a few weeks ago). Strotter is the work of one man, Swiss turntablist / sound artist Christoph Hess, who takes old turntables, augments them with various wires and elastic bands, pieces of metal and all sorts of found objects, and then creates gorgeously Spartan symphonies of rhythm and texture using just the turntable and the stylus, no records at all. No music. The turntable becomes an instrument capable of more than just playing other peoples' music, it is a sound making device, an instrument as viable as any other. Although with a truly unique palette of sounds, reminiscent of some strange minimal electronica, albeit with a much more organic feel.This disc captures a performance recorded live to minidisc at Oblo Cinema in Lausanne, Switzerland, in April of 2005. And is a gloriously hypnotic soundscape of glitchy beats, warm textural drones and strange low end strums, all locked into hypnotic loops, that slowly shift and drift in and out of sync as more turntables join the fray, or as the speeds of the turntables change, or as various implements shift. The set begins with a lush drone, difficult to imagine how it's produced, but it is warm and deep and quite organic sounding. Soon the sound of the reverberating bands are introduced, sounding a lot like some muted guitar, playing a simple low end figure, the notes coming faster and faster until the whole thing stumbles into a shambolic rhythm, a loping lurch, with occasional bursts of needle squelch, eventually settling into a dreamy motorik groove. The set seesaws back and forth between strange machinelike rhythms and stretches of drone and rumble. Right toward the end there is a burst of super distorted NOISE which slowly gives way to the final rhythmic groove, that slowly winds down, notes drifting off until all that is left is a single mechanical pulse. So nice.Comes packaged in a cool cardstock sleeve with a little diecut circle perfectly above the hole in the center of the cd. More nods to the record and its design. The picture of Christoph Hess on the inside of the booklet looks like some old faded textbook photo of Einstein Or Edison, hunched over his machines, modified turntables in this case, a study of a quirky inventor, Strotter as the sound of antiquated machinery, of objects reassigned to new tasks, the tireless pursuit of technology recontextualization, only adding to the whole vibe of Hess' music being some recently unearthed or discovered scratchy, crackly sonic artifact.
..kalorifeur:: within the hermitage This reminded me a lot of the amazing greek underground tape scene of mid80s-mid 90s, when all sorts of weird, home-made avant garde music was spread through mail. Starts with "everyday" noises and melodic synth lines and goes on smoothly and nicely, 'till the mid of the cdr (track 4) when human howling starts (in a cheap imitation, in my humble view, of wolf howling) and some reading which combined to the slight cheesiness of the howl and everything completely failed to catch me. it continues with the sound of bells and some high feedbacks and more words. well, not bad although it failed the high expectations of yr humble reviewer
|--cdr | released by absurd email@example.com
..mecha/orga:: holder Two tracks here, the first being the exact recording of mecha/orga's holder test (a medical recording of the patient's biorhythms). a low, whirred mechanic sound like a fart but less interesting, stayed in my cd for 5 minutes, then i fast forwarded, the same, so off it goes to the second track. which is the same recording but edited and -sounds like- processed with some granular tool, having the known and completely satisfactory mecha/orga signature. it remains very low and rather monotonous, but not as completely un-interesting as the first track. if you concentrate, some frequencies manage to escape the gravitational field of boredom of all whirring mechanical noises and give some few but hopeful signs of life and creativity before they are sucked back in the prolongued fart of a machine with serious digestive problems. i think when we are old, half rotten and ultimately content we will remember all these and laugh. but not now. nice packaging, as usual
|--cdr | released by absurd firstname.lastname@example.org
..peacefeather Free improvisation, the kind where guitars sound like tiny bells and sounds come and go, the kind of stuff you find yourself addicted when you first have a rehearsal place, lots of pot and a company of people with radical ideas about music. so, this sounds like something between sonic youth + hovercraft and the songs seem to be exceprts of improvisation, that is, i doubt if these guys could play them again. this lack of coherence can be a drawback, on the other hand the atmosphere it evolves takes a dreamy, maybe moody tinge. and you end up with a smile an evasive thought of spring in new york.
|--cdr | email@example.com
..junko&mattin:: pinknoise You see, the backyard of my house is opposite of a school. at the morning young brats of all ages (from 6 to 12 actually) run screaming in the schoolyard. one of them always talks, screams etc in a particularly irritating high-pitched, at-the-verge-of-nervous-breakdown and always complaining voice [which in my opinion is a proof that a) the parents of this kid are probably fucked up and b) the brat himself is gonna grow to be fucked up as well - but]. some mornings when i do my gardening his voice makes me absentmindedly ponder on the virtues of sterilisation among other things.
now this 30 minutes cd starts with junko screaming some japanese words. and you guessed it: he has very similar tone. the accompanying noise performed by mattin starts with a whitehouse style high frequency feedback and moves on in some modulating noises. by the point that after 25 or so minutes a sonar mayhem is blissfully created the guy has not yet stoped screaming. i wonder if this was a live take or maybe they looped his voice? but i think it was a"real" take. deary deary me.
i think i would love to see this live but (as is common in most noise releases) i am not sure i am gonna play this often. but then again you can call me prejudiced and you'd be right
|--cd | released by mattin
..yuria comp. A live compilation with all 10 music projects that played in yuria festival which is an annual athenian festival in vinyl record shop. so all 10 groups are from the avant garde scene of athens. first and last tarck are a joke. free piece of tape have a nice melodic and somehow catchy track which reminded me of the swiss g.las then there are some general electronic acts which failed to really garb my attention but bombie baumann's one did: bass and drum loops, nice, clear sound (too much like pan sonic though). drog_A_tek offer us the usual pice of melody, melancholy and noise improvisation, a nice track, you feel the need to feel nostalgic even when there is nothing to feel nostalgic for, then there is also some piano-trumpet improvistaion by minimaximum improvisation and a wild, noise drumming and shouting track by trypanosoma. there's also a track by my humble self but don't expect me to review it. all in all a worthy listening
|--cd | released by vinylmicrostore
..f.n.s I listened to this over and over again. norwegian frenderik ness sevendal blends acoustic and mechanical instruments like synths and guitars and noises. when i first listened to it i thought of early psychic tv and although i changed my mind it shares with psychic tv the psychedelic element. the music ranges form post-folk to the plain weird and from there on to something like post-industrial? thing is it makes your mind float and your feelings move so yes, thumbs up on this one
|--cdr | released through firstname.lastname@example.org
..anti-loss A collaboration between various people and music projects form slovenia, poland, denmark and france. electronic noises, soundtrack like sounds (maybe also audio parts form movies?) clicks and field recordings, interact smoothly with each other, resulting in sometimes rhythmic or other times abstract soundscapes.the improvised character is present but both tracks keep their consistency along with the listener's interest. really nice one! rel. by the new and promising polish label
|--mini cdr | released by sqrt-label
..vanessa van basten Two guys from italy using guitars, electronics,bass and drum machine, creating post-rockish soundscapes. The influence of bands like isis or godflesh is easily noticed, still the guitar drones are nice, the drum machine is also used good and these six songs are a nice listen (with the only drawback, some words in italian from movie soundtracks i guess, which in my opinion sound a bit out of place). as i gather this is their first recordings so, i guess it sounds promising, if nothing else
|--cdr | released through vanessavanbasten
..taku sugimoto, yasuo totsuka, mattin:: training thoughts I put this in the cd player in my room and sat in the living room. after a while my housemate asks "why don't you put some music?" i reply that i did. we eat and smoke, suddenly there is a sound. here we go, i thought. but then again silence making this sound almost an accident. after half an hour you start to think about maybe a situation of extreme embarassment maybe a result of the friction between different cultures, when 3 musicians are seated together but none dares to really play something fearing he will insult the others. there was some promising rumbles towards the end though but these also proved a false alarm after 65 minutes and an enjoyable meal the cd just ended. we had to theorise on the unecological habbit of wasting precious recording space when so many poor musicians can even print a 3" cd.
BUT, i am not one to give up easily. next day here i go again. this time in my room with the volume full open. The situation is better as once in a while you can distinguish some sounds and frequencies but one is usually aware is the absence of them. i have no idea how this would feel on a live performance, maybe it would be really nice and thought provoking , but as Korzybski once stated the map is not the territory and a live recording is not the live, so a cd should be able to stand on its own.I am listening to this once again as i write these lines and the only thing i listen is some nice rhythms but it's throbbing gristle from my housemate's room. so..
|--cd | released by mattin
..billy bao:: r'n'r granulator 4 songs by x. ekizia, billy bao, mattin, a.lopez, pablo reche and alan courtis.1st song is a r'n'r mayhem, where everything is going faster and nastiest. 2nd is along the same line only that at points the whole sound is heavily granulated sounding liek your cd has problems. these were the two shortest tracks, mind you. third one starts with a sole bass kick which is repeated every 2-3 seconds and gradually sounds are filling the space in between. frequencies, mic sounds, feedbacks and the build up comes abruptly again in the form of fast garage, rock and roll. which dies after one minute leaving behind a nice frequency drone which is actually the 4th track. more sounds come, a guitar is tormented, mechanical sounds come and go, resulting in a nice and rich music environment. sure, a strange mix but i feel it will start growing on me. besides, uneasy sounds are always good
|--cd | released by mattin