Month: March 2014

BLIND DATE #9

Name: Christopher SIENKO
Nationality: American
On the front line: since 1991
Activities: Associate Editor, “As Loud As Possible” magazine.
Contact: alap.usa@gmail.com

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. SHEIK HI-FI I Like To Touch
from V/A: NOVAYA SCENA (UNDERGROUND FROM UKRAINE) (What’s So Funny About 1993) CD

On first listen, with just the guitars raking, I thought, “Oh Christ…save me from ‘free rock.'” Freeform rock has a hell of a time maintaining my interest. But that’s a subject for a different date. The tom-heavy drums arrive and the guitar scraping starts to organize around the beat, it turns into a compelling, stumbling bit of songwriting. Once the French vocal arrives, I’ve pretty well signed on, and after the two vocals make an attempt to harmonize, or at least sing different parts, I’m fully invested. (I wish more rock acts [however loosely you wish to use that term] would attempt *any* form of vocal harmony, or at least dueling shrieks.) This was a surprising selection for this project. I was expecting all noise and industrial and power electronics fare. But this was good. A preemptive palette cleanser.

2. DARUIN Scum ‘N’ Database
from “Fake Professor Of Japanese Pipe” (The Locus Of Assemblage 2004) mCD-R

Wonderful composition, this one. The sounds are expertly arranged and layered. If this were an abstract painting, I’d say it has “great lines.” All the motion in this piece moves your ears toward specific focal points. It’s using a wide sound palette and, amazingly, doesn’t repeat its tricks that often, which is paradoxically harder to do when you have more sound elements rather than fewer. Because of the thick, syrupy digital delay, it doesn’t score high on the “sharp edges” register. It sounds to me like a modern, digital example of what people like RLW, Lionel Marchetti, or Christian Renou (Brume) do…it keeps one foot planted in classical musique concrete terrain, with its predetermined constructions and environmental cul de sacs, while still showing its claws like more modern noise music. It has a very specific atmosphere, which is impressive considering how much digital delay there is. Digital delay tends to make everything sound like digital delay.

3. LAUHKEAT LAMPAAT Teepii
from “Sylissäin Oot” (Qbico 2005) LP

I’m going to guess that this in nmperign. I love nmperign. I’ve seen them live at least a half-dozen times. Joel St. Germain recommended them to me as “like Runzenstirn & Gurgelstock, but with instruments,” which even after 15 years of evolution and refinement of sound still describes them pretty well. Just as R&G have honed and refined their sound, becoming more R&G than ever, so has nmperign. Both groups understand the impact of silence to contrast the brute force. The range of sounds the two have discovered in “conventional” instruments, and their ability to play against one another without stepping on the other’s good ideas is pretty mind-boggling. A performance by nmperign with Jason Lescalleet (Neon Marshmallow Fest, Chicago) was one of the five best experimental/noise performances I’ve ever seen, combining elements of AMM, Borbetomagus, and Hermann Nitsch. Dave Phillips and Neil Campbell were there too, and at the end of that 30 minutes, we all assisted each other in collecting our jaws from the floor. (There’s a video of the performance on Vimeo, but it doesn’t convey the impact of the live experience.)

4. John EVERALL / Mick HARRIS Mesmeric Enabling Device Part 1
from “Mesmeric Enabling Device” (Soleilmoon 1999) CD

This sounds to me like mid-period Crawl Unit, maybe a part from Vs. Silence or something. This does something I wish more noise/experimental music had the will to do: remain still. I mean, it does change throughout…there’s an ebb and flow, and the discrete pieces come and go and slightly different times, like planets criss-crossing in three different-sized orbits. But the piece has confidence in its minimal materials. It doesn’t introduce anything new during its long duration. It has chosen its palette, its three primary colors, and remains loyal to them the entire time. When you have confidence in your materials, and the pieces are set into motion audaciously, there’s little need to tinker. I’ve heard too many long-form pieces that, midway through, suddenly lost their nerve and felt the need to add new elements, or escalate the intensity, bringing the piece to a shattering, unnecessary climax. A piece like this, held in a focused, tight middle area of tension and (slight) release, can be so much more satisfying when done well than the usual march off the highest cliff.

5. The HAFLER TRIO Untitled
from “Fuck” (Touch 1992) CD

This sounds to me like Altar of Flies, specifically circa The Permanent Cavity. This might even be the final track from The Permanent Cavity. I’ve been on a massive Altar of Flies kick lately. It’s a project that has shown me a new way through the wilderness, tying together noise intensity/orthodoxy with more classical musique concrete techniques. I like that the track can stop to change gears in the middle while not drastically altering the mood or ruining the momentum. Subtle details are mixed farther back in the mix; it’s nice to see people who know not to foreground every single sound. Even when nearly all of the elements are pushed to the back, with just a few squeaks and ghostly voices punctuating the rhythmic BOOMs, the piece never loses its drama. Whoever this is, I was held rapt throughout.

6. Alvin LUCIER Music For Solo Performer
from “Music For Solo Performer” (Lovely Music 1982) LP

This is another style that I can’t get enough of — a piece that sounds like it was built out of several repetitive (but unrelated) sounds, giving the impression that we’re listening to the inner workings of some giant, incomprehensible machine, like Picabia’s paintings of devices that would grind themselves to death if they were ever activated. The sound of useless machines. As AMM said, “What is there in uselessness to cause you distress?” This sounds like it could have been created by an algorithm that was created to generate these endlessly asymmetric lines, a product of futurist automation rather than performers kicking out non-associative ruckus via an exacting score. It has that alchemy that’s very hard to explain to non-believers: there are no repeating patterns, it doesn’t progress, it doesn’t resolve, and it goes on for a very long time. And yet, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Blind Date #9

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BLIND DATE #8

Name: Turgut KOCER
Nationality: German
On the front line: since 1998
Activities: ambient-/drone-project WARDROBE MEMORIES; label manager vinyl-label SHHHH; label manager experiemntal tape-label VOLUNTARY WHORES; German translation help for Terre Thaemlitz’ “Soulnessless”; scolopendromorph research, collecting interesting music on physical format.
Contact: betty@voluntarywhores.de or shhhh@shhhh.eu

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. K2 / GRUNT Untitled (K2 With Grunt Contributions)
from “Gears And Shafts” (Freak Animal Records / Kinky Music Institute 1997) LP

This sounds to me like a symmetry of post-war and the interim time frame between death and afterlife. If there is any ascending to something unnatural without the necessity to morally judge on what happens after death (not the established way of thinking about heaven and hell like many other listeners would associate) this could work as a soundtrack to a twin world and travelling between two worlds. It feels like sitting in an empty room and craving for an item being located in the other room, separated by a wall and an easy accessible not locked door. if you take the door, the item disappears – hence you are thinking about a way to enter a different time frame or dimension of the strange room you desire. The most obvious way to enter a room would be going through the wall. This implies a certain way to get rid of your physical capsule and ascend to something which is not bound to meat, flesh or material. The disadvantage is too obvious: you could enter the room after your death – at least you would be able to see the item (without it disappearing after you entered the room), but still you need to be in a physical capsule to take it in your hands. Mislead and discrepancy galore.

2. TERROR AGAINST TERROR By Any Means Necessary
from “Psychological Warfare Technology Systems” (Paragoric 1992) CD

What I find the most impressive thing about commercial rhythmic industrial is the fact that it always sounds like german schlager, disco or foxtrot-music if artists don’t vomit on the production. Isn’t it funny that commercial rhythmic industrial music can only be separated from their hostile counterfeits by smell? The bassdrum thing is mean: In past I always thought that first recording of this kind of thin bassdrum was established by a guy (who obviously had a bad day), spit on the floor, recorded that spit, equalized it (hence turned on the bass) and voila: perfection of dirt! After a while the track feels like a gangster hip hop side project with a police siren coming to surface (and fast driving cars in the bronx?). But the most awkward thing about this piece of music is the fact that it’s still pussy enough to establish a kind of pseudo-groove. Maybe that’s the thing I hated most in the 80s.

3. GENETIC TRANSMISSION Untitled
from “Spójrzcie Пожалуйста, Jakie Piękne Macie Gęby” (Die Schöne Blumen Musik Werk 2002) CD-R

Maybe this is Rudolf Eb.Er, who knows? Interesting cut up stuff that only exists to make people nervous and commit suicide. I like the esthetics of committing suicide, so I deliberately listen to all those amplified farts, speech fragments, crunchy rapes and metal object manipulations in a nihilist context. Though this kind of style always felt like drum ‘n’ bass to me: Focus on production, not the black lodge in our inner self. If there is a fitness center in experimental music, these kind of cut ups would be the soundtrack to unloved muscle assholes like Arnold Schwarzenegger pretends himself to be. The first few minutes are pleasant – until a stupid march enters the acoustic abuse I really don’t like the comfy aspect – too funny. Though I would love to meet those creaming ghouls in person. By the way: The most interesting part of this piece of music is the first seconds

4. PSEUDO CODE Le Gange
fromV/A: 4 IN 1 (Grafika Airlines 1983) cassette

True ghost music – sounds very balkan peninsula-esque. I really wonder about the desperation and nihilism some people can add to emotional ambient music. This sounds to me like a masterpiece. Impossible to classify – vast and demure at least. I have never joined a satanistic ritual, but I can imagine this music could be effectively played after the ritual is over – and only the night and stars are falling down on earth. If Tyrannosaurus Rex would have ever used lipstick, I could imagine it looked like the sounds of this howling guy in delirium. I am quite sure the sweat of the artist smells like root beer.

5. CTEPHIN & GX JUPITTER – LARSEN The Shards Of Turin – The Second Coming
from “The Shards Of Turin – Second Coming” (Roil Noise 2006) mCD-R

Oh – quality noise ambient. Reminds me on a possible collab of Kevin Drumm and Daniel Menche. I know lots of noise records – and the most annoying thing about noise music is the fact that every fucking retard thinks that noise production is easy to make. That leads to a market overflooding of really shitty noise. This one is different. It seems that the artist is really capable of what effective noise means. Very rich sound, absolutely intense “suck my sould into the void” atmosphere and transitional-world-atmosphere. Probably I’d buy it.

6. NOOSFERA Black Cloud
from “Jungian Epiphanies” (Oktagon Records 2001) CD

Sounds like a cheap atmospheric hybrid of Labradford and Sophia. Overall a very interesting outcome and production, but the song quality is missing. Remember you suicide-prone gothic zombies: Committing suicide is much more exciting than a whiny singer exhaling the obvious. Death is not romantic. Well – at least the electric guitar has a cool sound. More than I could ever expect.

Blind Date #8

BLIND DATE #7

Name: Jason B. BERNARD
Nationality: British
On the front line: since 1998
Activities: inter alia: solo act SKULL:AXIS; runs the Peripheral Records / Peripheral Minimal labels and distribution.
Contact: http://www.peripheralrecords.co.uk

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. BIRCHVILLE CAT MOTEL Slow Vehicle Bay
from “We Count These Prayers…” (Corpus Hermeticum ‎2001) CD

This track starts off with a clanging metallic sound that continues into a fairly constant drone, at first only punctuated with the occasional creeping echoes of icy synth, other sounds slowly seep in, a whirling ambient sound heavily reverbed alters the atmospherics, becoming more lucid, a dreamscape perhaps. Further along, more disturbing sounds filter in and the metallic scraping slowly fades, to reveal something a little more sinister, a ritual or a rite of passage. It’s a beautifully understated piece of droning ambience with obvious comparisons, but stands alone against other perpetrators of drone or dark ambient.

2. Bob OSTERTAG Getting A Head
from “Getting A Head” (ReR Megacorp ‎1980/2000) CD

What initially starts as an almost ‘Kraut-Rock’ intro., quickly becomes a surreal melange of sounds, akin to Nurse With Wound’s distinctive early free improvisations. Then the sounds become more fragmented, with speeded up and slowed down tape noises / loops, followed swiftly by bizarre and absurdist acoustic sounds that penetrate the chaos, before string scrapes and random noises finalise the proceedings. Unfortunately I find this piece to be overly long winded and it soon becomes a little tedious!

3. SMEGMA Semi-Incongruous Morass
from “Nattering Naybobs Of Negativity” (Harbinger Sound 1988/2007) CD

An all together peculiar intro., creepy animal sounds and a random selection of ‘traditional’ instruments open the track, then slowly alter and oscillate, before becoming almost cacophonous! Again it has the elements of an NWW track, an ambivalent piece of improvisation, that thankfully keeps itself to a reasonable length.

4. WILL TO LIVE Lying In Bed
from “Will To Live” (FLESH Records 1986) 12″ EP

This in my opinion has a more interestingly developed intro. Detuned shortwave radio sounds that flitter around, but ultimately don’t seem completely random, there is thought and technique involved, that reminds me of a covert cold war recording. Besides that a creepy vocal intonation is injected into the wall of sound, almost gasping sinisterly. The ‘Conet Project’ springs to mind immediately, an historic set of recordings from another era. Ultimately an accomplished piece of sound-art.

5. WINQUIST VIRTANEN Dead Last
from “Dead Last” (Soulworm Editions 2002) CD-R

The track opens with an almost inaudible drone, that even at the half-way point doesn’t develop much. Eventually a slightly more tangible sound creeps in, metallic tonal washes soon penetrate the silence and give the piece an almost transcendental atmosphere, or conversely the sound of a distant factory that reverberates across a distinctly urban landscape. Perhaps a piece of work destined to be background music, unless the volume is turned up to the maximum, possibly the best way to fully appreciate the ambience.

6. KEMIALLISET YSTÄVÄT Sata Salamaa Iskee Tulta Ja Koko Elämä Räjähtää
from “Alkuhärkä” (Fonal 2004) CD

The opening chords of this track begin with a rhythmic metallic drum sound combined with spacey analogue synth whooshing and what sounds like a distressed feline, that quickly descends into another piece of random surrealist improvisation, it has all the de-constructed hallmarks of free-jazz. Perhaps something more for the ‘art’ sound crowd.

Blind Date #7