Name: Phil JULIAN
On the front line: since the mid 1990’s
Activities: CHEAPMACHINES, Authorised Version label, group/duo/solo improviser, sound artist, composer.
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. Bruce GILBERT Ogkr
from “Ab Ovo” (Mute Records 1996) CD
Modulating drone with what sounds like improvised delay sweeps. Could be an older electronic/computer piece or someone deliberately going for a slightly primitive feel. Some nice background detail and the main drone section moves in an interesting way for the most part. Some of the adjustments seem a little ham fisted but could be a result of whatever device is being tweaked rather than anything else. Seems nicely unedited.
2. HERMIT Untitled
from “Ashes Of An Ancient Civilization” (Pulp Mill Records 1995) cassette
Bit of everything here. Found environmental news reports, raw electronic feedback, noise improv that seems to feature a sax at one point, oil drum percussion… this kind of anti-compositional tape edit sequence track is fairly difficult to do while retaining any kind of interesting “whole” but this is haphazard enough to hold up.
3. SUJOY Vulture
from “Brand New Day?” (Far From Showbiz 2007) CD-R
Overloaded filter sweeps which thankfully jump to something more interesting around 1:22 which saves it. An odd, distorted ice cream truck melody that somehow manages to be subtle and ear-rinsing at the same time. Disorientating once it gets going.
4. COLUMN ONE Bruit
from “No One” (Nefryt / 90% Wasser 2011) 3 x CD + 3 x LP
Droning strings and bowed/struck metal percussion or objects. Organum / Jackman / NWW related perhaps… nice spatial recording, lots of great detail and overtones. Slight whiff of the thighbone trumpet at the end which does little for it. Does a really good job of inhabiting the space its given (up to the “reed” section at the end) which is what good “drone” music should do.
5. PRAYING FOR OBLIVION Runefilledmind
from “Turm Schweigen” (Obscurex 2010) CD
Decent bass-heavy gritty loops that get broken down before they get too tedious… I’ve never done much with short, repeating loops as it’s a tricky one to pull off and keep interesting, plus for a while in the late 90’s when I started up it was an overused trick. This is good though. Slightly disappointing “collapse” ending perhaps considering the tracks momentum and general visceral quality. That said, “It’s big and it moves” which is pretty much all I want from music.
6. Tom RECCHION The Real Strungaphone
from “Freak Show” (Pinakotheca 1982) cassette
Echo chamber guitar(?) drones… There’s a strumming/chugging detail throughout which detracts a little and the track starts to feel slightly on the long side as a result. From a boring, technical standpoint the reverb sounds quite artificial on the whole. This played in a large, naturally reverberant space would sound fairly amazing I’d imagine. Nice detail throughout and some subtle momentum build-ups keep it interesting enough. Cold and monotonous, in a good way.