a couple lame reviews
- thought i'd post this. there's always that oft-mentioned 'delete' button.
Dur Noyau Dur
(contact info: 4580 avenue de Lorimier, Montreal (Quebec) H2H 2B5,
Dur Noyau Dur consists of Rene Lussier on guitar and Martin Tetrault on
turntables. Tetrault does very little 'scratching'; instead he exploits the
mechanics of the turntable, and successfully manages to extract every
possible sound he can from it. Lussier provides the perfect accompaniment
to his strategy by examining all of the guitar's physical possibilities.
Together, they've made one of the finest records of the year - hands down.
At times, Lussier attacks the guitar in Derek Bailey fashion, sending a
blitzkrieg storm of notes across the canvas. Other times he remains
reserved and calm, only lightly, and sparingly offering small phrasings.
Tetrault responds with the repetitive iterations of the needle smacking the
center pole, and bouncing back (only to begin the process once again). This
is only skimming the epidermis of Tetrault's arsenal. The records he
chooses are unrecognizable, but there are plenty of background grumblings,
and ambient storm waves. Crackling frequencies bubble and spew while
Lussier provides mood via spare notes. Their timing is amazing. A
climactic situation involves Lussier repetitively striking the same note
sequence, while Tetrault builds a tremendous roar involving actual
mechanical turntable sounds in conjunction with the 'out-there' selections
he's manipulating on the mat. Tetrault has even managed to record what
sounds like the internal gears 'whirring'. The listener gets to experience
firsthand the trials and tribulations of the turntable as Tetrault abuses
every single aspect of it. Brilliant.
Imbalance Computer Music [ML/I]
(contact info: none)
Listening to Interstate, the first assumption made is that the walls are
made of some newly developed material which resonates sound continually.
The sounds emanate from everywhere.
On top of that, there are so many sound components that make up
a whole song, it is a dizzying experience trying to process them all as they
are reflected from all surfaces. On top of that even still, the timing
Monolake employs is multi-layered, making the whole listening process
almost too complicated to bear. This would be true if it weren't for the
type of sounds that Monolake uses: soft bass thumps, high-treble snare
snaps, bubbling digital water, soothing synth washes... The final product
is entirely relaxing, but it also serves the dual function of making you
think about processing at the same time. This whole album is almost based
around the algorithm of a decelerating bouncing ball. Sure, Aphex Twin,
Autechre, etc. have explored this, but with Monolake, the algorithm is
looping, and the 3-Dimensional audio they've layered throughout make it
sound so rich, full, and complicated that it stands in its own category.
Underneath this matrix is a typical Chain Reaction album. The thumping 2/4
bass is almost always present, along with the soft synth repetitions that
slowly synch in and out of time. The complicated mixture of the final
product, though, makes Interstate a dizzying, worthwhile mind-fuck.
The Lonesome Organist
Thrill Jockey Records
(contact info: PO Box 476794, Chicago, IL 60647, lonesome@...)
The Circus is back in town. The Lonesome Organist, once again playing
Ring-Master in a tent of crazy performers all played by himself. One can't
help recalling old Looney Tunes cartoons where they pulled out the
one-man-band contraption and lit up the decibel meter. His second outing
doesn't stray too far from his first, except that he's mastered some new
instruments (bowed & struck saw, saxophone, samples). On top of that, his
arsenal includes any number of guitars, pianos, organs, steel drums, tap
shoes, harmonica, and percussion instruments. Cavalcade is about half
instrumental, involving these bizarre musical "ditties" that sound like
background ambience at a Freakshow. Melodica and chime piano waltz along to
gypsy patterns, and occasionally he feels the urge to yodel all the hell
over it. On
"Flew Out My Window", he plays a sort of southwestern country-rock riff on
the guitar, and sings through a distortion pedal; all the while, the bowed
saw eerily wafts over the top. I'm completely stumped at this point,
because the Lonesome Organist vows to play all instruments simultaneously.
How anyone can play the guitar and the bowed saw at the same time is beyond
me. His live show should explain everything. Having witnessed it once, I
was a believer, but Cavalcade has posed some new challenges which I await to
Illegal Art / Seeland
(contact info: www.negativland.com , www.detritus.net/illegalart )
This is the second installment in the IllegalArt series. The first brought
"Deconstructing Beck", a compilation of sound manipulators whose only
limitation was using popular music icon 'Beck' as their primary source for a
musical canvas. Extracted Celluloid is constructed entirely from film
samples (hence, title..), and it's better than its Beck counterpart.
Leading off with the "Titanic" theme, Rudjak Manigz (most of the
participatory artists are layered deep with pseudonames) has stretched out
the original voice and echoed it, at the same time providing the song's
rhythm with what sounds like the sounds of the ship actually breaking. It's
funny, this song has more power than the whole film itself. It sounds like
Julee Cruise being sent through a thousand processors. Huk Don Phun follows
with "3 Kung Fu Pieces". He/She has managed to sampled the best bits of
Kung Fu movie action effects, including the scratchy 'swish' involved when
the fighters wave their arms through the air. The difference here is that
effects swim violently in and out of existence with a sawtooth synth
algorithm. Track 3, "Manic", by Joseph Hyde is one of the more powerful
pieces. The source material is difficult to pin down, but the song
explodes in your face with immediacy. It runs six minutes through a number
of suspense / action theme cliches. One of the more impressive pieces,
contributed by Wet Gate, is a musique concrete lover's dream. The sound of
a creaking ship slums along, but by the end of the song it resembles more of
a tinny train engine. Equally tinny-sounding thunder blasts in at random
moments, and an announcer interrupts each momentary lapse of reason with,
"Does you brain now tell you what's making this sound?.......Of course."
Later on, 'EC' offers deconstructions of Ennio Morricone, incestuous Wizard
interpretations, and plastic surgery disasters. Like the Beck project,
Extracted Celluloid works less on a song front, and more on an experimental
sound experience. Snippets of familiar films will flash by, only to be
completely destroyed and manipulated into something unexpected.
Compilations of this caliber are few and far between.
(contact info: 4580 avenue de Lorimier, Montreal (Quebec) H2H 2B5,
Derome, 1/6 of the live band performing on Torticolis, is primarily a
saxophone player who dabbles on flute. By no means is this a free jazz
outfit. What they accomplish on Torticolis is more akin to the noodling you
might find on one of Zappa's "You Can't Do That On Stage.." performances.
Previously outlined chord generations have been defined, with great lee-way
allowed for improvisational events. However, there's less squawking, and
more of a communicative passing off of solo variations on the main theme.
Even given that, no one has center stage, as evidenced on Track 5 (I'll
spare the lengthy French title) when lead guitarist Rene Lussier begins
journeying and drummer Pierre Tanguay changes tempos midway through. A solo
turns into two simultaneous solos, and eventually the horns kick back in
with the lead theme. It isn't uncommon for the whole band to be soloing all
at once, eventually melding back into what they started with. It would be
easy to cite Zorn as a contemporary, but there is no trace of the klesmerish
jazz you might find with Masada. Instead, the themes are more along the
lines of Zappa's attempts at complicated song structures. This isn't a bad
thing, in fact this band really blazes with the intensity and emotion that
seems to be missing from most of Zappa's 'forced' compositions. There are
few disappointments on Torticolis; the main one being missing the live
performance of the recording.
(contact info: www.force-inc.com , ac@... )
Vaporous condensation slowly being pulsed out of the speakers - stretched
out Wagnerian symphonic samples panning from left and right - subtle
crackling of vinyl - and finally, a deep, subdued bass resonating it's tone
rhythmically throughout. That's the Gas formula. On the third full-length
release, it works again. Eerie, and beautiful; subtle, but powerful;
Konigsforst offers little new to the formula other than some melodic sampled
guitar tones. Wolfgang Voigt (Gas) has an incredibly peculiar sense of
timing. There does seem to be a method to his madness. He'll take a
droning string sample and create a song out of a few chord changes,
accentuated by the sampled guitar previously mentioned. All the while
running at a moderate 200bpm. In the middle of Track 2 (all tracks are
untitled), he repeats what might be considered the prelude to the chorus,
over and over again...anticipating the return to major-chord harmony. It
holds out for a good minute or two until finally returning on a beat shifted
up from the previous rhythm. None of this is really heard directly, because
Gas is subconscious music existing in the back of the mind. Paying
attention to it only serves to discover these strange timing sequences.
It's much nicer just letting your head do it on its own schedule without
forcing it. Good night.
Little Pork Chop
Welcome To Little Pork Chop
Sympathy For The Record Industry
(contact info: PO Box 20637, NY, NY 10009)
Back from the dead, Jerry Teel has teamed up once again with Lisa Jayne of
the former once-great Honeymoon Killers. This time around, their age shows
a little: less trash, more country. Little Pork Chop mix it up with greasy
diner-rock (the insert even has them photoed at a greasy spoon); a blend of
covers (Gram Parsons, Carter Family, etc.) and originals. Nothing's really
been lost over the years, though. They still know how to burn through a
dirty blues cover. Lisa sings half, and Jerry counterparts. Little
Porkchop mix it up with old-time country, gritty-shit blues, 50's garage,
and Detroit soul. I don't care how old these people get, their records are
magnets. I'm gone.