Music Reviews



Massimo: Mort Aux Vaches

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 22 2002
Artist: Massimo (@)
Title: Mort Aux Vaches
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat (NL), Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
Hey hey hey, Mort Aux Vaches is back, and so is the Italian experimental noiser Massimo Sapienza (remember him from the 1999 releases "Massimo" and "Minimo", which mean maximum and minimum, respectively? - cmp older issues of Chain D.L.K.). The 27 year old computer nerd became part of the laptop-musicians league and moved away from microwave music to step into the brighter (or darker?) light of "industrielectronoisics" (I just came up with that all by myself, aren't you proud? ;-). His "Mort Aux Vaches" contains live performances at VPro Radio 5 which tend to be willing to move toward an insane and illogical all-noise rawness but instead actually maintain a pretty astonishing balance between hard core power electronics and industrial noise... Even though there are no percussive element, there is a quite definite rhythmical soul to this sound and I like that a lot better than just plain distorted static distortion. The guy's deeply involved with musicians of the like and has already released several things for you to look for (don't look too far!). The VPro sleeve this time is cardboard with perforated lettering, quite smart.

Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson: This One Comes Highly Recommended

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 22 2002
Artist: Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson
Title: This One Comes Highly Recommended
Format: CD
Label: Fire.inc (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat (NL), Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
With a name like that how can you not think of Stilluppsteypa right away? Of course it's them! Or at least one of them, who recorded his second solo CD after a CD on Trente Oiseaux and an LP on ERS.
Abstract rumbling noises over a thin line of looped high pitched coil sound, deeper drones, electrical noises (but not classical statics), almost inaudible very distant sounds looped and made increasingly louder over time, murky and sinister sounds, distortion, detuned and detuning sources, progressivly madness-inducing ear aching mid frequency loops... All packed into a CD whose booklet, front cover and inlay card has pictures of the inside of a room, fridge, living room, whose track titles are funny and whose volume knob you'll always have to retouch to make sure you are not missing some absurdly low and far away thing or you are not damaging your hearing (nevermind, it ain't that bad after all); I guess it's done on purpose as this has been mastered by Johann Joannson in Reykjavik in 2001... Not anybody's cup of tea!

Mark Bain: Vibrasonics

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 17 2002
Artist: Mark Bain (@)
Title: Vibrasonics
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat (NL), Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
I love Staalplaat because they are the one label that pushes the envelope every day! If you thought you heard it all, think again! Mark Bain is here to prove you that buildings live, breath, move and produce sounds. His task is to record these sounds and let humanity hear what the structures we live in sound like. He achieves this using sensitive devices normally used for earthquake recording and geologic surveying, such as geophonic sensors, vibration sensors, mechanical oscillators (exciters), accelerometers, low frequency microphones contained in a battery operated kit, vibration transducers and audio conversion equipment. By tapping into the sound world contained within the material makeup of a site, Mark Bain rings the architecture with vibro-acoustic energy, breathes life into it and eventually records the vibro-sonic infrasound of the amplified framework and its occupants along with micro-disturbances resident in the living architecture machine. This 3 tracks 3" CD of tectonic proportions transcribe the sonic events resident within a bridge, a still transient vehicle and a laboratorium of petrochemicals arriving by ship into the Antwerp port.
Just one more proof that there is absolutely no limit to imagination, science and music. My only concern is that because of the ultra-low-frequency information we're dealing with (generated waveforms range between 10 and 30Hz, well into the subsonic range with harmonics dipping below that), the fact that digital CDs are not as accurate as analog tape when it comes to low's, the fact that human ear can only "hear" from 20Hz above (the body can "feel" lower frequencies though) and the fact that many people don't even have a sub woofer in their systems yet, makes the truthfulness, or maybe I should say the accuracy and degree of experience of this audio material questionable.

Gen Ken Montgomery: Icebreaker

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 17 2002
Artist: Gen Ken Montgomery (@)
Title: Icebreaker
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat (NL), Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
Originally recorded in NYC in 1991 and presented as octophonic sound installation in total darkness at the Generator Sound Art Gallery in NYC one year later, Staalplaat's "Icebreaker" release is a 3" CD version of the full length 4CD set, originally released as 4 tapes (you are supposed to play all four together in absolute darkness, starting approximately at the same time and placing your 8 speakers around you to recreate the octophonic experience). Award winning European artist Gen Ken Montgomery (one of the founders of labels Generation Unlimited and Pogus Productions, as well as founder of Generator, NYC's first sound art gallery, established in 1989) draws inspiration from Conrad Schnitzler (whom this record is dedicated to) and has always been into audio, video, film and visual arts and experimentation. His attitude is to confront limitations by utilizing them, striving to overcome the fear of producing something stupid or boring in pursuit of a spontaneous creative idea. This laid the grounds for his idea to enhance the pre-existing sounds of objects whose primary function is seemingly unrelated to the sounds they produce, which lead him to "Icebreaker", an audio performance whose only sound-making device is the Ice-O-Matic vintage ice crushing machine, fed through 8 speakers so that the sounds moves in the room over, through, around, aside, inside you. Montgomery says that, even though you might detect sounds of ice being crushed or the hum of the engine, you could possibly hear other things too, which «might remind you of memories or inspire fantasies, or you might get bored, and that's ok too».

M'Lumbo: The Nine Billion Names of God

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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May 17 2002
Artist: M'Lumbo (@)
Title: The Nine Billion Names of God
Format: CD
Label: Multimood (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat (NL), Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
I've been in NYC for almost three years but I still haven't got to catch these highly acclaimed M'Lumbo, who I read play live a lot at the Knitting Factory... Hell, I even worked as an engineer/live sound-manipulator with Jojo Meyer's Nerve, whom they played with, but I guess it wasn't meant to be... I'll be definitely looking forward to one of their shows, 'cause this collective of six musicians, four film-makers and one sound-guy is supposed to be a really hot act, especially on stage!! Try to image what six great free-jazz cats can achieve when they mix their insanity/improvisation/moods with drum'b'bass/techno/electronic/weird beat patterns, bits of sounds, found noises, vocal and non-vocal samples! A true no-wave-state-of-the-art album is what they did, but I don't even wanna think about what I am missing when they do this stuff live with four film-makers that surely do some crazy visuals as well! The jazz element seems to be very present in the instrumentation (lots of brasses); the compositions are fairly free-form, ranging from free-jazz/no-wave to experimentalism, shaped around an orderly chaos of trance-inducing orgiastic improvisarama that hits you like a truck and involves you like an enthralling vortex. This record contains eight tracks of layers of things, hell you might even find a layer of speeches over a layer of noises over a layer of a rock music loop... Possibilities are endless... Press and fans have often compared them to Miles Davis, Sun Ra, The Orb but please let's add John Zorn and his players to the party, I can't image how they could not mention them crazy dudes! M'Lumbo is celebrating their 12th anniversary, and so is their very good label Multimood.


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