mercoledì 31 marzo 2010

lunedì 29 marzo 2010

Kevin Drumm / Martin Tétreault - "Particles and Smears"

Label: Erstwhile
Year: 2000

Chicago-based Kevin Drumm (guitar, electronics) and Montreal-based Martin Tétreault (turntables) traveled in separate musical circles, each unaware of the other's work, until a Chicago-based organization, Lampo, booked Tétreault for a concert with Drumm and the ubiquitous Jim O'Rourke in September of 1999. While Tétreault was in Chicago, he and Drumm spent some time in the studio, and this CD contains the results, as recorded by TV Pow's Todd Carter.

Drumm, best known for his two superb solo records on Perdition Plastics, and Tétreault, best known for his collaborative series of discs on Ambiances Magnetiques with the likes of Otomo Yoshihide and Ikue Mori, meld their techniques seamlessly to form a thoroughly integrated record. While both musicians are more than capable of playing solo sets filled with compelling ideas from beginning to end, here both seem to make a conscious effort to subsume their identities in order to create a greater work.


Anton Bruhin - "Rotormotor"

Label: Alga Marghen

The new compact disc by Anton Bruhin issued by Alga Marghen is titled r o t o m o t o r and covers two different areas of the artist's research. The first one is represented by a group of works including the short and mysterious environmental recording 'ORAX' as well as 'Lange Tone', 'VERSUCHPILZ 6' and 'Paul is 35', three excerpts from the epic 'MC-10 zyklus' created between 1976 and 1977 recording various layers of sound sources on two cassette recorders with loudspeakers. The complete zyklus consists of 12 different episodes (each one ten minutes long) which investigate the multi-layer ping-pong recording technique; the spatial illusion of the monoaural replay which moves away from the listener's ears into the depth of space. Far away sounds coming from a cosmic dimension or from an abyssal space, moving fore and back. The loss of sound quality considered as stoned space improvement. 'r o t o m o t o r: ein motorische Idiotikon', the title track, is a 28 minutes long reading, one of Bruhin's major works. Rotomotor is a poetic Idiotikon of the swiss-german dialect where, instead of the straight alphabetical order, the words are organised according to the similarities of their letters (each word differ from the previous one by just one letter). For this reading a delay equipment which repeated the signal after 0.6 seconds was used and each word is superimposed to the echo of the preceding one. On one hand this echo generates the rhythm of the performance, on the other it supports the acoustic metamorphosis of the words. Again, a very simple concept perfectly accomplished. What results from the whole program is maybe difficult to describe, maybe more easily perceivable in a state of alternate consciousness. But surely a quite unique sense of acoustics approach; so no surprise to see him mentioned in the mythical Nurse With Wound reference list. Chance meeting in an Alpine chalet of a roto-Bruhin and an AKRE.


sabato 27 marzo 2010

Steve Roden - "Speak no more about the leaves"

Label: Sirr
Year: 2003

This cd contains 3 pieces inspired by Arnold Schönberg's 'The Book of the Hanging Gardens' and in particular the poems by Stefan George that Schönberg used as lyrics. Track one uses Steve Roden's voice reading/singing part of the text as the only sound material. Track two uses the vowel structure from the text as a score for striking five tones on a small chime. Track three uses samples from the Schönberg work as well as Roden's voice singing the same text as track one.

"speak no more about the leaves thieved by the wind nor about ripebursting quinces nor the tread of winter's vandals down the year nor the trembling of the dragonflies when rain falls nor the candles flickering in the fickle air."

Steve Roden is a visual/sound artist from Los Angeles. His work, including painting, drawing, sculpture, film/video, and sound, combines conceptual strategies and intuitive movements; found structures and systems lifted from their original intentions and used as the basis for improvisation and abstraction.


Sheriff - "Sheriff"

Label: Hapna
Year: 2001

Deconstructing the music we know as rock, just leaving the essentials - a chord, a phrase, a simple drum figure - and repeating it till something else appears...

Swedish duo Sheriff works with limited material and creates a world of their own. The intimate recordings create a restrained atmosphere where every beat on the guitar strings and strike on the drums is heard and vital to the whole. Their use of repetition suggests a link to minimalist composition, but is totally outside the academic world. Comparisons could be made to Palace Brothers, Gastr del Sol and others working in the field of low-key rock, but Sheriff has a strong integrity of their own.

These seven quiet and skeletal pieces, with the setting of just guitar, drums and sometimes piano and vocals, together provide an insight into these two uncompromising musician’s minds. Drummer Henrik Olsson is one third of Swedish improvising trio Gul 3 (debut album “Soul” on the Crazy Wisdom label) while Magnus Granberg has a background as a sax player. Both of them are living in Gothenburg, Sweden.


giovedì 25 marzo 2010

Pietro Grossi - "Musicautomatica"

Label: Die Schachtel
Year: 2008

The long awaited CD edition of our first vinyl release ever (2003), will finally give a wider audience the opportunity to listen to some of the most intense compositions of this visionary and uncompromising composer.
Minimalist before the Minimalists, pioneer of Computer Music, founder of the Studio of Phonology of Florence, visual artist and hacker ahead of his time. This was Pietro Grossi, a larger-than-life Italian composer who questioned the concept of musical authorship and the idea of personal artistic expression: “A piece is not only a work (of art), but also one of the many “works” one can freely transform: everything is temporary, everything can change at any time”. “Ideas are not personal anymore, they are open to every solution, everybody could use them"


Billy Bao - "Accumulation Ep"

Label: Xerox Music
Year: 2008

It's been a few years since I heard this Nigerian expat guitarist's debut and, checking out his Website, it looks as though he's been pretty busy.
From the sound of this session, it seems he hasn't moved too far from his original artistic impulse, except in terms of refinement. The basic drive here is still fairly brutarian - a distillation of The Stooges noisiest essence into an aggressive, experimental perfume. There are ten one-minute tracks, each of howling slab of nada-hunch. Some seem to be sundered chunks of something bigger, others fester like boils. Either way, the screams are liberatory rather than oppressive, and this feels like a kind of genius. Byron Coley (The Wire)


Valerio Tricoli - "Did They? Did I?"

Label: Bowindo
Year: 2003

Who’s Valerio Tricoli?... an enigma of italian electronic music.
What’s “Did They? Did I?” after an unobteinable tape on Freedom Form documenting years of his activity, this is a record made up of flesh, blood and spirit solving at last the mystery that has been wrapping his true essence.
“Did They?”: 1999, the room of a motel... voices echoing in the corridors... a few contact microphones applied on a door... external world.
“Did I?” sensibility and sensations expressed through sounds... internal world.
The inner surface superimposes the outer one like a colour image on a black and white background.
“Did They? Did I?” is a record in which the contrasts, like those provoked by the impulses of inner and outer ego, are defty worked by violating any physical and biological rule, for the outer impulses - here sounding muffled and unreal- would in fact prevail if the real features were respected. The inner impulses appear clean both in tones and in presence, elements that are reflected in the sharpness of details and in the structural depth. Thus, sound sculpture is the appropriate definition to refer to the brightness of single sounds that increasingly become transparent, and to the use of a prominent perspective.
The structure of “Did They?Did I?” is so plastic as to touch light and shade, while other components interact creating lines, spaces, and light effects: presence and absence, long and short sounds, reality and imagination…
Probably this music finds its place between imagination and reality just where internal and external world meet each other.
Is my interpratation of his work correct? Don’t know yet, for Valerio Tricoli still foments the mystery that has wrapped him for years by including a ghost track where inner ego is kept silent apart when investigating memory.
Am I? I not?...were I?... what we have in the end is a blurred black and white background.


LIbrary Tapes - "Höstluft"

Label: Make Mine Music
Year: 2007

Library Tapes, the fitting pseudonym of Swedish feller David Wenngren, has over his last two albums crafted a distinctive sound that's won him a sizeable and dedicated audience. Although he's lost the able talents of previous member Per Jardsall, he still manages to craft a record which will no doubt please his followers. Once again we return to the sounds of aged creaking and clicking piano keys, recorded to tape or set against crackling, hissing field recordings to give the illusion of age, the illusion that you're hearing something that was discovered deep in a forgotten basement somewhere. It might sound rather clichéd now with solo piano recordings coming like machinegun fire, but Wenngren has a distinctive touch taking influence from Erik Satie, Goldmund and William Basinski ('Melancholia' to be exact...) and then re-casting the pieces to make them totally his own. In fact the crumbling background noise which is so apparent in his works becomes just as important to the tracks as the piano, and the more you get absorbed into this fizzing and hissing the more you see what Wenngren is attempting to achieve. What he has done with 'Hostluft' is create a small window into another world, a short story or a discarded film reel, and for the duration (a meagre 34 minutes) you are transported there absolutely. Lovely stuff.


martedì 23 marzo 2010

Giuseppe Ielasi - "Plans"

Label: Sedimental
Year: 2003

A year and a half in the making, this remarkably dense and subtly musical effort marks a rupture/diversion in Ielasi’s creative output. The intersection of electro-acoustic sonogrophies infused with fragments of melancholic melodies creates a near dizzying disorientation. In 1998 Iealasi founded the well-respected Fringes label, in order to document his own work as well as that of other artists. In addition to his work on Fringes, he has recorded for such labels as Leo and Sonoris, Erstwhile and Absurd. He has performed live with Taku Sugimoto, Jerome Noetinger, Dean Roberts, Thomas Lehn, Michel Doneda and Brandon LaBelle, Domenico Sciajno among many others.


Luciano Cilio - "Dell'Universo Assente"

Label: Die Schachtel

These recordings sound as they feel self contained, introspective, and determined, you can feel in the music a sort of necessity that can be rarely found, as in Bill Fay's "Time of the Last Persecution", or in Nick Drake's "Pink Moon": this enormous weight that is bearing on it's creators, the absolute need to exorcize it from their lives, a moment in time where you are invited to hear artists truly in contact with their existence. Luciano Cilio holds that moment in time, an authentic emotional testament, something to be cherished (...) from Jim O'Rourke liner notes

born in Naples in 1950, Luciano Cilio has joined the universitarian studies in architecture and scenography to music, collaborating in the ‘60 and ‘70 with several non-conventional musicians (as Alan Sorrenti and Shawn Phillips) developing surprising intuitions about the relationship between gesture, words and music. Sitar and guitar virtuoso, excellent pianist, Luciano Cilio "essentially self-taught concerning the music composition" focused his research on long sustained sounds, on the sound in its primary and ‘internal’ meaning, at the outset on the melodic, rhythmic and harmonic entities, to "re-enter in the sound, to hold it, to hold it... then to leave it to go”.
His career officially begins in 1977 with the publication of a full-length album titled "Dialoghi del presente" (entirely included in this release along with several extra tracks) composed between the end of the '60 and early '70. In this record Luciano Cilio plays as a multi-instrumentalist, performing on piano, guitar, flute, bass and mandola, also joined by musicians coming from different experiences and areas. Unexpected, in 1983, the dead in suicide, at crest of his career, but also at crest of a production shuddering into silence. This edition presents his entire recordings, curated by Girolamo De Simone


lunedì 22 marzo 2010

Stefano Pilia - "Last Days Vol. III"

Label: Tulip

Year: 2009


Atlantic City

Directly Inspired by the Original Bruce Springsteen Song

Arranged and Performed By Stefano Pilia

Recorded in Palesio in August 2008


3/4HadBeenEliminated - "S/t"

Label: Bowindo
Year: 2004

This awkwardly named ensemble is the collaboration between three of Bowindo's central players and co-founders, Stefano Pilia, Claudio Rocchetti, and Valerio Tricoli. The latter's Did They Did I? is one of the young label's best releases so far, and his comrades are no strangers within the budding Italian scene, Pilia with a CDR of beautiful droning guitar pieces on the Last Visible Dog label and Rocchetti with at least one lauded recording as Kitano. And while it might not be appropriate to call this disc the work of a "supergroup," as the sixth and latest Bowindo release it feels, at least, like the label's first truly essential product, the trio matching each other's talents to create a seven-part cycle of radiant acoustic imagery. 3/4HadBeenEliminated's 45 minutes unfurl in a graceful, gripping sweep that combines the Italians' tendencies towards lyrical improvisation and colorful electroacoustics, with a grounding in the kind of baroque assemblage techniques championed by people like Dean Roberts and Jim O'Rourke. It is a roomy collage of found sounds, entranced piano and strings, featherweight percussion, and the small-yet-tactile electronic manipulations most Bowindos manage with the such grace. Whole tracks are swallowed within drones of unquenchable warmth, carryovers from Pilia's Healing Memories record but without as grand a presentation, suggesting rather the distant, saturated golds of a Klimt painting. As with previous Bowindo releases, field recordings get incorporated in such a way that they guide or introduce certain portions of the piece rather than float along as surface filler, a subtle but effective way of carving an environment from the work itself. The result is the same kind of unreal ambience labelmate Guiseppe Ielasi regularly produces, an unpredictable landscape that reveals, only in afterthought (or aftershock), the rigorous method of its creation. At points during the disc a beautiful chamber ensemble emerges, picking apart minimal, plaintive lines, as if at the cue of a particular broken glass or cheap electronic whine. The effect of this invented troupe of players, slinking ghostly between so many golden guitar drones, sheets of harmonium haze, and assorted earthen resonance, only to appear with the arbitrary quickness of a twig snapping underfoot, is simply breathtaking, many listens over. "Bedrock" travels from a tender, big-band shuffle sounding almost like the Bad Seeds at their most sublime, to a lengthy area of abrasive shatter and pop, garage ambience that still manages to feel like just another station along the disc's narrative. When the associative strains of guitar and percussive foundations disappear, more discrete patterning of electrical hums, engine turnovers, and minor tape treatments become attempts at maintaining the momentum and sonic density of a particular moment, a method aimed at continuity rather than clash, and one that helps to create an incredibly fluid sound-world, full of juxtapositions, but ones which provide an indecisive magical middle passage. It's rare that works this complex also succeed in feeling as direct, regardless of particular directives changing with each listen, a compliment that can be paid to most of the Bowindo/Fringes releases I've heard. Discovering this label has been a joy, and both of its 2004 releases will rank among my favorites for the year. -( Andrew Culler,


domenica 21 marzo 2010

Claudio Rocchetti - "The Work Called Kitano"

Definitely one of the most interesting and mature releases to have come out of the Italian experimental electronic scene this year, "The work called Kitano" is a rich and tasty cd which could equally enthrall fans of impro-jazz, electroacoustics and turntablism. Rocchetti (with a background in straight edge hardcore and in digital terrorism dj'ing as a member of the Sonic Belligeranza collective) manipulates clusters of upright bass improvisations ("Existenz"), samples loops and cd skips ("Burned"), concrete noises ("eleven AM"), quiet piano passages, merging them in complex collages which seems to be run through by some strange fever. I believe the main strength of this work lies - besides its show of taste and compositional ability - in its evocative power, passing from nostalgia ("Petra von Kant") to all-out paranoia ("Lovesong") to subcutaneous anxiety ("eleven AM", "my love was sitting on the mortician's knees"), more often than not within the same track. There's often a sense of dusty past, of things forgotten suddenly re-vitalized but in a kind of ambiguous "detournement" - something I often feel when listening to Jeck's or Schaefer's turntablism tours-de-force. This ability to suggest atmospheres and emotional views prevents the experiments to become dull and self-assured, the state of tension is permanently kept. Even in its quietest moments, a sudden, concrete intervention - even minimal - comes like an unexpected crack to suggest that even that peace was a façade. And memory is like the main, uncredited instrument of this work.


Art Fleury - I Luoghi del Potere

Art Fleury's “I luoghi del Potere” is another gem that we excavated from the past, which makes us wonder once again on how intense and creative the Italian avant scene of the seventies was, and how much we have forgotten about it. This is timeless music that redefines the borders of our experience and perception, and urges us to reconsider the impact of an Idea, when it functions as the soul and the engine of an artistic work. Coupled with powerful illustrations (especially created for this project) that function as a bittersweet comment on the Power of music, this edition will hopefully create an impact that goes beyond the simple act of buying a CD and consummate it.

Art Fleury was born in Brescia, Northern Italy, in the mid-seventies. They were still in their teens when they had the opportunity to open the concert of the group Area at the famous Parco Lambro Festival in Milan (1976), in front of fifty thousands people. In the following years they extensively toured and played with Henry Cow, and in 1980 they were finally able to produce and release their first record, “I luoghi del potere” (The places of power), which they started recording in 1977.