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.
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!
When you pop in a CD and you suddenly find out you are listening to its last song, you know it was a good record 'cause you got so much into it that you lost track of time and just enjoyed the listening experience... This happened to me several times with "Beneath the Surface" the debut album of Canadian producer/composer Garret Schwartz, aka Balligomingo, due for release a month from now, on June 11th 2002. Drawing upon many influences, including Front Line Assembly member Bill Leeb's project Delerium, Enigma, Enya, Massive Attack, the most electro-ethereal Madonna, Deep Forest and other eclectic artists spicing up beautiful electronica with pop, ethereal soundscapes with alternative trip-hop, Schwartz's offering includes lush layers of orchestral strings and synth-pads, acoustic world blends, fluctuating ambient soundscapes, intense bass lines and classically electronic textures... Co-producer guitar-player Vic Levak, strings arrangers and directors Graeme Coleman and Mark Ferris (and his orchestra), drummer James Kaufmann and engineer Greg Reely are just some of the many people who contributed to this record, in fact what makes the record a pop record really are the seven beautiful seductive female vocals by Delerium singer Kristy Thirsk and other upcoming talents from US and Canada (Camille Miller, Jody Quine, Jennifer Baldwin, Collen Coadic, Jennifer Hershman, Beverly Staunton). 11 tracks and one hidden bonus track (this hidden track thing is so over-done by now that it ain't hidden no more). When it hits the streets on June 11th you should give it this a listen.
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.
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».