> Archive > Music Review 69

1 July 2003

Hans Appelqvist: Att Möta Verkligheten
Aidan Baker: At the Fountain of Thirst
William Basinski: A Red Score In Tile
John Butcher: Invisible Ear
Én: op.10218 v1.2
David First: Dave's Waves
Pietro Grossi: Battimenti
The Hafler Trio / Ditterich Von Euler-Donnersberg / Kontakt Der Jünglinge: Untitled
John Hegre: A Nice Place to Leave
David Jackman: Flak
Christof Kurzmann: The Air Between
Kuwayama - Kijima: 02.08.23
Ilya Monosov: Vinyl Document #1
Normal Music: Brev
Jim O'Rourke: Scend
Joel Ongthorne & Melissa Rockmoore: Half Man Half Owl
Robin Rimbaud: The Garden is Full of Metal [reissue]
Scanner: Publicphono
Scanner: Sound for Spaces [reissue]
David Toop: Black Chamber
Toshiya Tsunoda: O Respirar da Paisagem
Un Caddie Renversé Dans l'Herbe: Now there's a weird taste in my mouth
Violet: Green
Violet Shifts: Resita Mold
Various: Tape 10

Live Pages
Mutek 2003
Brigitte Poulin plays Morton Feldman


HANS APPELQVIST: Att Möta Verkligheten
Häpna | H-11 | 3"CD

Att Möta Verkligheten is a new release from the Häpna label, and from Swedish artist Hans Appelqvist. These three tracks combine a very informal style of music with voices, conversations, monologues. Each track features one or two voices: two young girls in the first track, a young woman in the second, and older woman in the third. The voices and the songs are in Swedish, English, Chinese and German, and the music is mostly performed on piano, mandolin, flute and percussion. Appelqvist combines music with text in a very natural, informal way; the voices are speaking openly, and they are probably singing songs that are meaningful to them, perhaps even chosen for these meanings. The music too, surfaces suddenly, informally, as if in an improvised session, a small, spontaneous living room recording, but we also have the impression that all of these elements have been arranged after the fact, with careful precision. Not having the benefit of understanding very much Swedish, Chinese or German, the words are mostly lost on me, and I have had to fall back on other impressions in addition to my imagination, to the arrangements themselves, their tone and structure. Listening, you can feel the stories passing through you, from one age to the next, from one language to the next. These are all individual (female) voices, and there is something sad here, lurking just beneath the surface (the weight of life, history, the stories of the past), but there's also a great joy, inherent in the innocence of children, the melodies of song, the delicate instrumentation, a celebration of life, of the very joy of music, of the singer and the song. Filled with inspiration and insight, this is living music. [Richard di Santo]



AIDAN BAKER: At the Fountain of Thirst
Mystery Sea | MS06 | CDR

Toronto based musician and writer Aidan Baker has had a flurry of recent releases (on Dreamland, DTA and Mecanoise, among others), exploring his mostly guitar-based ambient recordings. At the Fountain of Thirst is probably his most traditionally ambient record yet, presenting four long tracks of deep, drifting soundscapes in which to dream, to submerge oneself for a while. Reminiscent in places of, say, Biosphere, or much of the Hypnos catalogue, with its smooth surfaces, its suggestions of a slow, seemingly endless voyage in the arctic sea, of an empty landscape and the wind on your face... In short, it's a very cold, lonely sort of music, while being strangely comforting at the same time, well suited for quiet nights, or for drifting off to sleep. So it's not the most challenging music out there, nor is Baker showing his more experimental side; he seems content here to provide simply some deep, calming sounds, and has certainly done a nice job of it. These deep resonances, ambient washes (they sound like synths but he is performing almost exclusively on guitar) and slow, sleepy rhythms are combined, looped and rearranged to transform your living space into an impressively calming environment. [Richard di Santo]



Three Poplars | 10 | LP

William Basinski's A Red Score in Tile is a tape composition from 1979, here brought to light in an attractive vinyl edition by the Three Poplars label, run by Christoph Heemann and Andrew Chalk. Inspired by James Elaine's painting of the same title, Basinski created this extremely minimal composition. The piece takes up both sides of the record, and since it is comprised of a single loop repeated for the entire duration, my first thought is that it might have been better suited for release on CD. But perhaps having that second side—dividing the listener's attention by insisting on an interlude—is deliberate, serving a specific purpose. The piece is quiet, muted, mysterious; a few chords on piano, a slow tape loop, repeated from start to finish. Perhaps nothing happens during the duration of the piece, or perhaps there are slight shifts, disintegrations, changes. If there are, they happen so subtly and so gradually that I didn't notice as I listened, even though my thoughts were captivated all the way through. The entire recording, sounding quite shaky and distorted, is marked by a certain fragility, as if the tape itself is going to break apart at any moment. After listening, you resurface to a world that still seems to sound like this bewitching composition, resounding off the walls, suspended quietly in the air, in the very air you breathe. [Richard di Santo]



JOHN BUTCHER: Invisible Ear
Fringes Recordings | 12 | CD

John Butcher's career has certainly been an exciting one, with a diverse and ever-growing catalogue of performances, collaborations and releases to his name (see his recent work with Andy Moore and Thomas Lehn, Polwechsel and Fennesz, to name a few), pushing his improvisational work and performance techniques in new directions. Released on the Italian Fringes label, Invisible Ear features twelve pieces for close-miked soprano sax, amplified/feedback tenor and soprano sax and multitrack saxophones. Each track explores its own technique and reveals something new of his work, from the solo voice of close-miked wheezing to an intense multitracked drone, from carefully arranged, delicate sounds, touching lightly upon the silence, to a more abrasive, aggressive sound. Listening to these recordings over the past few weeks, I would notice new details, be challenged by something that seemed to just come to the surface in those moments, as if they were hidden before. Butcher is definitely showing his strengths in exploring new facets to his instrument and different recording techniques to great effect. [Richard di Santo]



ÉN: op.10218 v1.2
sirr.ecords | 2011 | CD

Pal Toth, aka én, is a sound artist and radio producer from Hungary, living in Budapest and broadcasting a radio show of experimental music called No Wave. Within the frame of his broadcast, he presents what he calls "ether concerts," his own electroacoustic compositions that last for over an hour, integrated in some seamless way into his tracklist. Here we have three pieces, released on the Lisbon-based sirr.ecords. Perhaps these too are his ether concerts, edited down to shorter time frames (33, 15 and 24 minutes each, respectively). The pieces shift from offering an extremely minimal, muted soundtrack to sudden waves of intense sound, progressing slowly, often repeating elements, interruptions, dissonances, with slight, subtle changes and fluctuations. Sometimes the pieces are immersive and engaging, at others I felt my interest waning, so I would get up, pour another cup of coffee, leaf through this magazine, or that book of recipes, when suddenly another burst of sound, or a soft, subtle transition, pulls me back in. This music is truly immersive, filling every crack of your environment, sometimes without you even knowing it. It is something which you might sometimes be able to ignore, or occasionally get bored with if you're paying too much attention to it, but at others, you couldn't possibly divert your attention from this, the commanding sounds of ether. [Richard di Santo]



DAVID FIRST: Dave's Waves
Ants | 09 | CDR

Dave's Waves is a document of a sound installation of the same name that took place in Lier, Belgium. Described on the cover (as well as the liner notes that are better ignored if you want to take this project at all seriously) as a "sonic restaurant," the sound on this CD has been designed to emulate and/or stimulate certain brainwave activity. Four long tracks, each just under 20 minutes, all of which work with sine waves, harmonics, minimal pulses and Schumann resonance frequencies. Each track takes its own set, or pairings off, of frequencies, pulse rates, and so on, all of which remain comparatively static for the duration of the piece, with a little phase shifting mixed in for good measure. The effect is either strangely comforting, or just not very interesting, depending on one's mood and temperament. Certainly not the most groundbreaking work being done with sine waves, but an interesting experiment nonetheless. [Richard di Santo]



Ants | AG03 | CD

Italian composer Pietro Grossi (1917–2002) discovered electronic music in the early sixties. He founded the S 2F M (Studio de Fonologia Musicale di Firenze) in 1963 in order to experiment with electronic sound and composition, basing his work on explorations of very reduced material (described in the liner notes as "the successions and groupings derived from the combinatorial analysis of a limited set of elements"). The recordings of Battimenti, recorded between 1964 and 1966 and re-released here for the first time in nearly 40 years, collects 94 sets of sine wave "beats" in four groupings, combinations of 2, 3, 4 and 5 frequencies respectively. Each set of beats is about 30 seconds long, with a short pause separating one from another. Listening to the entire length of the CD, at a low volume, these pulsing tones have an almost hypnotic effect (if not for the breaks every thirty seconds); the progression of frequency combinations from simple to complex provides an evolving framework in which we are listening, quickly becoming aware of Grossi's rather mathematical approach to creating these sounds. Grossi was quick to point out that these are not compositions, but are rather sound events ("eventi fonici") that are meant to be used for "various compositional purposes," integrated into other compositions. Few took up his suggestion at the time this material was first released. However, there might be enough interest in Grossi's work today, given an ever-growing interest in exploring the compositional uses of sine waves, that might inspire a follow-up disc, where artists would have taken him up on his invitation and created new compositions integrating the ideas and combinations explored here. [Richard di Santo]



Die Stadt | DS59 | 2x7"

This double 7-inch release from Die Stadt was released in conjunction with a live concert in May, 2003 at the Lagerhaus in Bremen. The first disc features two new tracks by The Hafler Trio and Ditterich von Euler-Donnersperg respectively. The Hafler Trio's track, "Episode 2 (Water)," is a piece for spoken word, except the voice is so burdened by filters (or perhaps it is just the way it was recorded, sounding rather like a very old, damaged tape recording), rendering much of what is being said to seem at first undecipherable. Still, a strangely quiet yet hypnotic piece, drawing me closer to the speakers, repeating rotations until I think I can understand the entire text. Donnersberg's track on the second side, "Die Klagegesänge des kleinen Fritz," is a dizzying collage of sounds, culminating in a kaleidoscopic flurry before it subsides into silence, only to return with a reprise with a full-on tremolo effect. The second disc is something of a bonus, packaged only with the first 200 copies, and contains two reworkings of The Hafler Trio's track by each of the two halves of Kontakt der Jünglinge, Thomas Köner and Asmus Tietchens. Köner's mix is surprisingly rhythmical, not at all like his former life as Porter Ricks, but something new; a darker, industrial bass, a mechanical beat and the fragments of voice coming through and choking in strange signals throughout. Tietchens does something entirely different, erasing the distinct elements of the voice so that only the filtered distortion remains. Intriguing, original work here from everyone involved. [Richard di Santo]



JOHN HEGRE: A Nice Place to Leave
Dekorder | 003 | 3"CD

John Hegre might be better known for his work with Jazzkammer, Kaptein Kaliber and Der Brief, but here he strikes out on his own for a short solo release on the relatively new label Dekorder. Using small electronic devices, computer and guitar, Hegre has constructed three tracks of dynamic sounds, digital crunches, slow transitions, quiet passageways and sudden bursts of noise. Despite its constantly shifting qualities, the sudden shocks and transitions, the release still manages to maintain its course and preserve a sense of unity throughout. It will keep you guessing from start to finish, as your interest grows with each new turn; and that makes for an exciting release.



Die Stadt | DS53 | 10"

The first of four 10 inch records from David Jackman to be released on Die Stadt this year, Flak features two vastly different tracks. The text on the sleeve gives an account of an aircraft (or a series of aircraft) being shot down above the skies of Bremen. Side A is a heavy, densely layered drone piece comprised of harsh, grating sounds all over the sound field, but sliding from start to finish with remarkable constancy. It's a truly beautiful noise, rather like some of his earlier work as Organum. Side B is a field recording, untreated, unfiltered, recorded outdoors, with a great hiss that is very much present in the mix. This second track seems to comment on the drone piece in a way, acting as an alternative exploration of its theme. With the drone piece, you imagine the aircraft under fire, the ensuing descent, the unbearable noise as it hits the ground, the intensity of emotions. With the field recording, which remains by contrast quite peaceful, you can distinctly hear the sound of aircraft overhead. The moments before the attack? a premonition? a warning? [Richard di Santo]



Charhizma | cha021 | CD

Invited by the organizers of the Donaufestival in Krems to create a piece on a theme titled The Deep Tone, sound artist and improviser Christof Kurzmann began to compose song-like miniatures following the unusual parameters (for him, anyway) of melody and rhythm. His progress was halted by a sudden change in world affairs: the war on Iraq affected him dramatically (as it has affected so many), feeling quite helpless and resigned, his faith in any kind of justice in the world quickly disappearing. The focus of his work changed in those days, those weeks, as the events in Iraq unfolded and Kurzmann continued to compose his music, no longer in a state of ease and relaxation but one of tension and resignation. The sounds of The Air Between are dark, focusing on mostly low-pitched sounds, deep and resonant, pulsing with force, rumbling deeply through the floorboards. Rhythms form and disappear, however uneasily; tensions rise and fall as the piece goes through a series of changes, developments, unfolding in slow, carefully constructed movements. Kurzmann has created a stunning sound work, however dark or unsettling, with an undeniably dense and heavy atmosphere, revealing its secrets slowly and enriched through repeating. Incidentally, the liner notes contain a letter to George W. Bush, an angry post-9/11 diatribe on American imperialism reputedly written by Gabriel García Márquez, having circulated the web for some time in both Spanish and English versions, but which has since been repudiated by him as being a hoax, a piece of mal escrito. [Richard di Santo]



Trente Oiseaux | TOC032 | CD

A new collaboration between Kuwayama Kiyoharu (cello) and Kijima Rina (violin), featuring recordings made late August 2002 at a warehouse on the port of Nagoya. As with their other recordings (see, for example, 01.06.16, also on Trente Oiseaux, reviewed in Issue 054), location plays a big part in the performance, the sounds of their performance environment finding their way into the recording, as the two players perform around them, sensitive to their various qualities, their appearances and disappearances, their fluid nature. Here, especially in the opening pieces, the sounds of water, dripping, falling in uneven movements, clusters of droplets, are heard as the cello and violin sound their tense, delicate tones. Later, it's just the echoes of the warehouse; one imagines it's vast spaces, probably abandoned, with high ceilings and concrete walls. The music itself is sometimes tranquil, sometimes tense and uneasy; the first 3 tracks being the most intriguing for me, the pieces that seemed like they were exploring more ideas, the interactions with the natural sounds becoming more immediate, each strike commenting on the last, anticipating the next. At other times, listening to the latter pieces on the disc, it seemed that not much is going on, as if the two players just kept on going, appearing to lack any defining structure to anchor their progress. This music still manages to capture a unique energy, however, a careful cooperation of elements, sensitivities, tonalities. The unique aspects of this performance space brings something new to their work and has drawn out some new ideas and strange tensions, although my feeling is that in this case a full length might not have been necessary to explore them. [Richard di Santo]



ILYA MONOSOV: Vinyl Document #1
Elevator Bath | eeaoa010 | LP

Believing that everything in the world, in everyday life, in the operations of things, carries an inherent musical quality, Ilya Monosov has decided to give something back; music to be used as an element of change, of energy, a kid of broken music that is "breaking away from the surreal and the intellectual in order to gain physical characteristics," according to his liner notes. Looking at his Vinyl Document #1 in greater detail, one notices the curious text on the label: "Use this sound to light your room, use it to power your electric toothbrush," and so on. The first side features two tracks. The first, "Music for 2 Glitching Organs," uses, I would imagine, two broken organs, dysfunctional, malfunctioning in some way, unable to be used in their original, intended fashion. Still, something rather beautiful and unique has been made of them; this long droning piece contains two elements that, when placed together, create a wonderful friction, like combining two identically charged magnets, and the discovering the momentum that combination creates. The second piece is for broken music boxes, and is much more spacious, delicate, resting softly on your years, travelling lightly through the air around the room. The second side contains a single track, a remix by Andrew Deutsch of another piece by Monosov titled "Music for Everyone." Paying particular attention to the elision of musical events (defined here as "the transitional element that carries one musical moment into another"), a lesson Deutsch has learned from Pauline Oliveros (who, incidentally, also appears on this track, performing on accordion), he has heavily processed Monosov's piece into something sounding almost entirely digital, and intensely abstract, if not for the occasional grounding presence of accordion drones incorporated into the piece. Not as strong or as focused as Monosov's alluring work on the flip side, but carrying some intriguing combinations all the same. [Richard di Santo]



Zeromoon | 006 | 3"CDR

Zeromoon | 005 | CDR

Zeromoon | 009 | 3"CDR

Three recent CDRs reveal three very different sides of Zeromoon, a label based in Maryland, and revealing at the same time three very different sides of Jeff Surak, who runs things there.

The first project, Normal Music, is the trio of Surak, Raphael Irisarri and Thomas Ekelund. With an illustration showing two sweet little kids on a farm, the girl with daisies in her hands, the boy with a baseball cap and trumpet, the disc seems innocent enough. Look closely, though, and the boy is also brandishing a whip, no doubt meant for the cows grazing in the background. Well then! Normal Music is all about rhythms and beats, with a distinctive, darker edge, where rich electronic textures, surface noise from vinyl and various unidentifiable sources, looped or seemingly random, form these five tracks of blissful beats and minimal rhythms. Nothing so outlandish or unheard of, the elements are all very familiar, but with a few new ideas and combinations mixed in for good measure. In all, very nicely done.

Violet is Jeff Surak's solo project, and the three long tracks on this release were recorded live, presenting music for sine wave, guitar and turntable. Hypnotic, occasionally abrasive pulses, mostly in the mid to high frequency range, are spread out over generous timelines, phasing, shifting, intriguing to my attention and suspending my thoughts as if in midair, awaiting a release from the tensions their tones produce. Indeed, there are a few breaks within the tracks to ease the strain of listening, and as well, the third and final track is quite calming, the blaring pulses taking a backseat to more a more tranquil, calming drone.

Violet Shifts, as one might imagine, is a collaboration between Surak's Violet and Frans de Waard's Shifts, his guitar drone project that has enjoyed a series of excellent short releases, in addition to a double CD of "recyclings" by Asmus Tietchens and Vidna Obmana. Surak performs on an autoharp while de Waard plays guitar, each being heavily treated by effects, transformed into pulses, long drones, or left as is, or at least somewhat recognizable, all beautifully mixed together into two tracks. When the first begins, you have this strange feeling that it had started without you, seconds, even minutes before you hit play, as it goes straight into the apex of the piece, with all the elements fully present. You then experience a series of variations, subtle changes, slight shifts in intensity, until it comes to an end, opening a passage of silence to be broken by the second track, which follows similar patterns, all of which are quite calming, inspiring relaxation, contemplation, even sleep if you're not careful. But who am I to say how this music is best appreciated? Go ahead, sleep if you like; here's a pillow for your head; let me close the door to the next room so you won't hear the conversation, the television, the computer; follow the sounds and your thoughts until they lead you someplace exotic, or someplace deep inside of you. Perhaps in the end, you'll find yourself sitting in that room next to yours, taking part in that conversation, watching a program on television, or sitting at the computer... it's all about how you arrive in these places anyway, so hopefully you'll discover some interesting sensations, the effects of these carefully arranged soporific sounds, along the way. [Richard di Santo]



Three Poplars | 8 | LP

Also from the Three Poplars label comes this revised reissue by Jim O'Rourke, a tape composition from 1992. Using field recordings and found sounds, O'Rourke weaves a rich, diverse tapestry of highs and lows, dramatic shifts and dynamic changes, all the while keeping the dominant flow of the piece intact. The sides are not numbered, so I wasn't quite sure which side to play first. On one side, muted low frequency tones flirt with soft hiss that breaks in occasionally, silence follows, children's cries, a piercing, droning blast which arrives as a much-needed catharsis. On the other, metallic scrapings, passing traffic, rich, roaring waves of sound, the ebb and flow of the world's noises. I'm unfamiliar with the original release (long since out of print), so I can't comment on how much revision was done to the original recordings. Whether it's a remix or a replica, Scend is still something very exciting, an excellent, engaging release from an ever-evolving, almost always surprising artist. [Richard di Santo]



Aesova | aecdr020 | 3"CDR

This is actually a threefold collaboration: while Joel Ongthorne and Melissa Rockmoore (two names that until now have been unknown to me) composed the music on this CD, Klaus Oldanburg produced an animation loop accessible from data files on the disc. Of course, on first receiving the CD I didn't know about the animation component (which, after seeing it, didn't strike me as being terribly interesting anyway), so I just put it in my player as I poured myself a glass of orange juice, found my favourite spot on the sofa and pressed play. My player registers two tracks, but the first one is blank, 10 seconds of silence that in hindsight I think might contain the data files for the animation. The second track is just over 17 minutes long. One might imagine that the piece was assembled using radios channelling soft, yet densely layered blankets of hiss and microphones capturing live events, objects being moved, something more distinct in the foreground, or maybe other, more ambient, noises in the background. The music progresses gradually, its transitions are more gentle than sharp, its mood one of sensitivity rather than aggressiveness, moving from one scene to the next, as a camera slowly pans its way through various rooms in a house, where each room contains different features yet still one notices a certain continuity there, maybe in the lighting, or in a certain way of decorating, a colour scheme, an architectural thread running through the rooms, just as a thread of sounds, tones, hiss, finds its way throughout this piece, runs along a thin but long line from start to finish. And you leave that place, the music comes to an end and you're left with your own familiar environment, but it was an interesting experience just now, of listening, seeing, your mind filled with clusters of new thoughts, impressions. [Richard di Santo]



ROBIN RIMBAUD: The Garden is Full of Metal [reissue]
Sub Rosa | SR104 | CD

SCANNER: Sound for Spaces [reissue]
Sub Rosa | SR119 | CD

SCANNER: Publicphono
Mr. Mutt | Mlive01 | CDR

Something old, something new, something even older. Robin Rimbaud, aka Scanner, hardly needs an introduction at this point. This prolific sound artist has enjoyed an immensely successful career, both from his CD releases and his installation work. Sub Rosa has recently reissued two releases from his back catalogue. The first, The Garden is Full of Metal, was originally released in 1997, and is an homage to the British filmmaker Derek Jarman, who died in 1994. Using recordings of interviews and field recordings (from locations that Jarman inhabited throughout his life), Rimbaud weaves Jarman's strong, articulate and sometimes deliberately provoking voice with an ever-expanding palette of electronic sounds, washes, melodies, rhythms. Listening to it again, after a handful of years have passed since I first listened to it, I'm still quite fond of this disc, of its mercurial qualities, of how it manifests its personal resonance for Rimbaud, of the sounds, the voices, the perceived spaces, a resonating monument to an artist he greatly admires, to say the very least.

Sound for Spaces, originally released in 1998, documents a survey of Scanner's sound installation work from 1984 through to 1997. These pieces represent a broad cross-section of his work, saturated with memories, captured broadcasts, voices, stories, rhythms, ambience, the spectre of early electronic music, the approximation of space via sound. The most striking track for me, then as it is now, is "A Piece of Monologue," which features spoken text written by Samuel Beckett in 1980, a circular, monotonous, hypnotic narrative that speaks "of nothingness and the inability to move forward," in Scanner's words. A remarkable piece, and worth revisiting. As with The Garden, I enjoyed rediscovering these recordings, admittedly some much more than others, but here my interest wavered, being reminded of the qualities I dislike in Scanner's work as much as those I admire, and I found myself wanting to listen to something entirely new. My wish was answered in Publicphono; even if the recording is already nearly three years old, at least it presented a piece that I had never heard before.

Publicphono is the first release for a new label run by Rossano Polidoro and Emiliano Romanelli of tu m'. It was recorded live in 2000 as part of the 52nd annual Prix Italia, a longstanding international, and interdisciplinary, competition. Scanner's performance took place using the public speaker system spread out over 20 kilometres of beach in Rimini. For this piece, Scanner decided to pay homage to radio, from which the Prix Italia was born, using their vast archive of recordings as source material. What we get is a 40 minute piece of shifting ambient electronic music, permeated throughout by voices from radio broadcasts now long past (with subjects, all spoken in Italian, ranging from the liturgical to the profane), musical interludes, cut up, processed, time-stretched, manipulated in any number of ways, or sometimes left alone. A mood of historical mystery informs the work as a whole, as if, in the very act of listening, we are uncovering lost documents, revealing secrets, uncovering conspiracies. But it also sounds quite dated; the time-stretching, the electronic manipulations, tones and timbres sound so much like what we have heard on Scanner's previous works, that I began to wonder just how far he has been pushing himself lately, to discover new ground, to take his musical ideas and innovations, his transformations of, and commentaries on, the signals and voices travelling throughout our everyday spaces, and pursue them still further. And yet Publicphono is still a nice work; it just failed to bring anything significantly new to the table for me to consider. Or maybe I'm just bitter at not having been there on the beach to experience the broadcast first hand, with the rays of the sun, the sound of the sea, sand under the feet, all blending with what must have seemed like an apocryphal broadcast, a ghost performance, from no one to the unknowing. [Richard di Santo]



DAVID TOOP: Black Chamber
Sub Rosa | SR205 | CD

Eloquent music scribe secondly, and improviser of some collaboratorial note first, David Toop has called upon a curious collection of his closest friends, including the mighty Lol Coxhill and founding LAFMS member Tom Recchion for the recordings on Black Chamber. Toop is still doing most of the work on guitar and whatnot, collecting dark and wispy tapes of atmosphere and field recordings of crepuscular creatures, but there are gentle drifts of bamboo flute and tape loops that round out the ambient sounds. The sampled Japanese erotica of “Apartment Thunder (Eros + Sacrifice)” gives off a very eerie and overwhelming sense of drifting dread. “Gored Fig Sacs,” recorded as-is in Toop’s garden, is a satisfying minute of grackle croaks and airplane engine drones. The closing title track is a slow soundtrack stomp through parched dust plains, somehow having Duane Eddy’s twang, enormous John Barry skeletal orchestra gestures (courtesy of Recchion), and Faust-like tape thuds, building into an escallating feedback conclusion. [Andy Beta]



TOSHIYA TSUNODA: O Respirar da Paisagem
sirr.ecords | 012 | CD

We last heard Toshiya Tsunoda on Solid Vibration, a joint release from Intransitive and Fringes Recordings (reviewed in Issue 060) released last year. For that release he took a close look at the vibrations of objects which are more or less inaudible on their own. Using a "piezo ceramic sensor" (or contact mic), he renders these vibrations as something audible, in rich combinations of sonic details. With O Respirar da Paisagem (The Breathing of the Landscape), Tsunoda continues his exploration of vibrations, compiling various recordings from 1994 through to 2000. The recordings are divided into three themes as they relate to vibration: boundary lines (vibrations between spaces, objects), space (vibrations through air and solids) and the act of observation itself. Using either contact or omni-directional microphones, Tsunoda records spaces and objects, capturing and rendering as audible the unique vibrations of each location, of each moment in time. Listening, the world seems to open up, becoming a place of infinite depth and possibility, at least where sound is concerned. You lean in close and discover a unique world in each track, echoes, environmental sounds, the vibrations caused by wind or incidental sounds peculiar to each location, to each moment (the chirping of cicadas causing vibrations in a window pane, the sound of a cargo ship in the distance, faraway bird cries, the resonance of an airplane coursing through the sky, the vibrations of a thin iron sheet. Tsunoda asks us to pause and explore the often hidden sonic details of the world around us, of the objects in our living space, in the spaces of our cities and harbours, of the air we breathe, the very air that touches our eardrums as we move from room to room, street to street, from one space to another. [Richard di Santo]



UN CADDIE RENVERSÉ DANS L'HERBE: Now there's a weird taste in my mouth
Dekorder | 001 | 3"CD

The debut release for the Hamburg-based Dekorder label is a 6-track EP from Dídac P. Lagarriga, aka Un Caddie Renversé Dans L'Herbe, who has had a handful of recent releases on the ooze.bâp label. His latest, titled Now there's a weird taste in my mouth, could be seen as an extension of what we heard on his last LP, Some Nenu Songs, but I would argue he takes a different approach this time, although he's still using a similar combination of computer gear with diverse instrumentation (balaphon, mbira, kalimba, chimes, cello, guitar). These six songs show a more focused approach to their composition, featuring some beautiful arrangements, a striking mix of acoustic and electronic sounds (resonating chimes coupled with a piano loop, a skipping digital sample and a slow, minimal melody on mbira). The music is quiet and subtle, with minimal melodies and simple rhythms juxtaposing a wealth of different sound elements hidden in the folds. An excellent new release, and one of his finest achievements so far. [Richard di Santo]



VARIOUS: Tape 10
Ware | 10 | CD

Is it a gallery catalogue for contemporary photography or a compiling of different techno washes conspiring as background? Uh, it’s both, as the lush pamphlet insert attests. Up and comers from labels like Playhouse, Kompakt, and Force Inc. reflect the photographs of folks like Kai Peters, Adrian Bischoff, and others. “Bangkok,” by Laub, conveys the sterile linoleum steps, droning showroom lights, and echoing hallways of the covered carts in a Bangkok warehouse, captured by Jens Görlich. The flammable crackles of Decomposed Subsonic’s “Aqua” (photograph of an aquarium by Thomas Balzar) mesh with crunching snow as it becomes more like its title, with deep sloshes of water, creaking submerged lumber, and rain tapping on the surface. The austere office ambience of Till Melchior’s “Radio” hardly belies the warm crackling levitation that Midinovela pulls from the airwaves. An intriguing exhibit. [Andy Beta]





The Incursion Music Review was published and edited by Richard di Santo from 2000 to 2004. All 75 issues can be accessed in the archive. Please note that we are no longer accepting submissions or promotional material for review.

Please credit and the author when quoting from any content on this site.