Name: Mikko ASPA
On the front line: since 1993
Activities: inter alia: solo acts: GRUNT, ALCHEMY OF THE 20th CENTURY, NICOLE 12, CLINIC OF TURTURE; runs the Freak Animal Records and Northern Heritage labels and distribution; owner and editor of “Special Interests” (earlier “Freak Animal” and “Degenerate”)
Contact: MAGAZINE: http://www.special-interests.net
LABEL / DISTRIBUTION: FREAK ANIMAL http://www.cfprod.com/fa
My ‘date’ receives anonymous 6 compositions picked by me at random. He/She is supposed to discuss their artistic merits, including strengths and weaknesses of applied means of bruitist expression, structure and composing techniques.
1. BERSERKER Untitled
from “Electronic Improvisations” (Berserker 1982) cassette
I have often said that I’m not such a big fan of “synthesizers”. While I sometimes use them myself and I do listen a lot of material made with them, this kind of typical sounds I don’t get much out. I realize that some of my favorite old bands may have very similar tracks and perhaps even works of some current artists like IRON FIST OF THE SUN occasionally rely on highly minimalistic electronic sound and effect processed vocals. But the best ones can find something innovative from electronic signals. I couldn’t find it here. As part of bigger coherent album it may reveal potential. As single track, not so much.
2. CRAWLING WITH TARTS 8.27
from “Bled Es Siba” (Audiofile Tapes 1988) 2 x cassette
At the same time it sounds “old”, but also timeless. I like the hand made feel, that it doesn’t sound like too mathematically created with help of computer looping. Flows like real session performed. Backbone of long track remains always strong bounding sound, but small bell-like metal sounds and droning instruments create relaxing feel.
3. EEYOW KAROOM Untitled
from “Aggro Stations Volume 1” (Verato Project 2002) CD-R
This belongs to category of music which I feel was done better in old times? It is not very technical, but style of sound somehow feels little too full, but never overdriven. Noises appear as being processed digitally (by multieffect boxes or computer). Distorting keyboard sounds and those nearly “groovebox” sounding electronics don’t give me much.
4. RLW Restless Occlusion
from “Acht” (Selektion 1992) CD
Much more interesting piece again. It blends together good elements of contemporary “art music” and something what reeks of… ehm.. underground. There are very few people I have heard, who do well sounds of prepared piano. Theoretically should be easy. But I have heard very little works that really impress me. This piece avoids having pretentious elements. Calm, but obscure sounds are much more menacing than generally. To me also appears very curious that contemporary musicians rarely appear to escape traps of “normal music recording”. They may experiment, but still within range of classical music stage or studio. Here using tape manipulation (I assume) as additional element increases level much more. Of course some of old masters have done it too, but I think there is great unexplored area between the so called “academic” art music and “home recording noise”. Perhaps best piece of all these!
5. Jacques TREMBLAY L’Intrus Au Chapeau De Spleen
from “Alibi” (Empreintes DIGITALes 1998) CD
Perhaps 2nd best track of these. It has some of the same dislikes I had on 1st track. Concerning the “toyful” electronics which I don’t like too much. But as artists uses it very well in composition, it works. There is very good timing, very good dynamics and ability to move from near silence to rich sonic textures and various moods tells me this must be someone who’s been doing this quite long? But also I think this must be post-analogue age? Production style of digital age of electro-acoustic music has its advantages, but also something that allowed artists to go to direction what could be big mistake. Good things of early methods of cutting & assembling appears sometimes too easy. Old days digital works still were limited by technology. Current works appear sometimes that technology leads before true craftsmanship. This work is still done by someone who really knows his business.
6. ALIO DIE Still Here!
from “Il Tempo Magico Di Saturnia Pavonia” (Hic Sunt Leones 2003) CD
This type of “glacial ambient” is something that I always associate with new age or kind of stuff what could be heard from experimental music programs in radio (in Finland). Even if I would consider piece decent, relaxing and even trance inducing, I feel almost total void of personality. I can’t hear artists sound in material like this. I hear generic melody, I hear echoing tones. It could be Robert Rich works for example. Rain/forest sounds and soothing ambient. But it could be… ehm.. “anyone else” too. It’s good for what it is, but for me this is muzak. It appears to me as music without personality. Just same slow keyboard tones and nature sounds.