Twenty three releases, twenty two tracks, two discs, a recent festival, all
created without the use of digital devices - oh my!
The set is launched with a scrawling old banjo in heat provided by Birchville Cat Motel on “Endless Cassette” which triumphantly flows freely into “3:45” by Berlin-based saxophone contortionist Thomas Ankersmit. Breathing circular life into his instrument the crisp hiss is minimal and transcendent. What follows is the cavalcade of frenzy, a brightly distorted underground shell game by players Das Synthetische Mischgewebe on “Leisure Time for Max in the Arteries of his Past Dominion.” A cryptic metal gate gaping slightly ajar swings from its hinges and illustrates the story far better than I could.
Taking the metal revel one step further Hideaki Shimada, who seems to be taking a fragile bow to some heavy metal and defying gravity in the process. Milano Giuseppe Ielasi (Sedimental, Absurd, Fringes) is one of those artists who is just now bursting into his own, with a sound that is full and pretty maximal. On his “Two Chords” a drone of friction baits and switches with a channel of icy naturalism. Hapna’s Ronnie Sundin offers “Seismo 3” which harkens back about a half dozen years to minimalist tactics taken on by John Duncan or Francisco Lopez. His quiet vinylisms are like fine raindrops. The year, 1980, the place, Prague --and so we have the warming buzz of Artificial Memory Trace. “Blue Reverie/Fragment” is a reverberating, manipulated metallic clang, with all the fixins; Deep, dark and brooding all the way. Frans de Waard (Korm Plastics, Plinkity Plonk) presents “Balloon” – airy humor, to the point, a bit gaseous and somewhat twisted, the track expands and contracts into something of a broken down engine in a winterized garage somewhere in a higher altitude. Up, up and away! “AKS21” is the piece by Sensorband’s Atau Tanaka. It’s a sound assemblage, real physical sound, layers, so thick, like lost telephone signals and meteorites appearing at the bottom of your cereal box. I think it scared my cat. Olivia Block’s “Untitled Piece for Analog 4-track, Tapes” is like a romantic rain shower, a mic’d umbrella. Its restless fiction undulates below the translucence of the skin’s top layer. “Interlace of Life” by Nerve Net Noise (Meme, Intransitive, Zero Gravity) is the symphony for the end of the life of a mosquito. The Japanese duo’s cryptic style for mixing wildly curvaceous playfulness with poker-faced pitch makes them two of a kind. French sound artist Eric La Casa keeps his ears open and his mind free from debris. On “Ici 1” the clear and distant blur of industrial concave pluralism stagnates the air, but like a slow moving virus. (Bernhard) Gal’s “In Fusion” is a split screen asthmatic wheeze at a rural construction site. The whistle is pretty down to earth, the overlapping of foreground and background seems inadvertent, though there is a tension between the two between the silences.
Montrealer sound sculptor Alexandre St. Onge creates a tearing, pouring, moving set of sound on “Ma Contrebasse Ou L’Invention de la Machine A Ecrire.” The delusional “Theremin Radio 00” comes from Japanese improv artists Haco/View Masters. This may define a space age love song. Canadian Magali Babin, recently seen live at Mutek, offers her homemade, creaking “Thermidor”. For fear of tipping, top heavy, this craft keeps mindful the dangers of not mixing metaphors with physical realities. The whisper of Jonathan Coleclough and Colin Potter’s “Leaves on the Track” brings to mind essential purity of basic colors in sound. Their slowly shaped work is drenched in isolated atmosphere and unknown. The simple, subtle elegance of Nmperign’s “Mhere’d” leaves a lot of room for interpretation, a full breath of continuity only tampered with slightly to futz with wind briefly. Even a sneezy grunt seems quite fitting in the full flow of this centered mix.
In conclusion, Francisco Lopez’s “Untitled #134” seems appropriate. It strikes the ear as a Kubrickian styled epic, in light of the fact that we have, as a civilization, surpassed “2001”.
TJ Norris, 2004, Igloo