domenica 27 novembre 2011

Maurizio Bianchi - "Genocidio 20"

This is a real puzzler, as there's practically no information whatsoever about it on the wmo/r website, which leads me to guess that it dates from the early 80s, Bianchi's "nasty" period, before he became a Jehovah's Witness.. see Marcelo Aguirre's Bianchi roundup from a couple of months ago. But further enquiries by Marcelo, who's hard at work on an extended interview with MB for these pages (I'm told), prompted a response from Bianchi – curiously enough in Spanish – to the effect that the archive sound recordings from Nazi Germany (who's speaking? Rudolf Hess?) are nothing at all to do with him and have been grafted on to the music by someone else. Curiouser and curiouser. Marcelo also reminds me of a quotation from Nigel "Nocturnal Emissions" Ayers: "[Whitehouse's] William Bennett told me, in 81, the first and last time I met him, that Steve Stapleton drew up a 'joke' contract for him [Bianchi] giving Maurizio absolutely no rights to the recording in any way whatever ever, which Maurizio happily signed. Bennett added overdubs of Hitler speeches, Nazi martial music etc. from one of those tapes they used to sell at the lunatic right wing shops." Frans de Waard over at Vital Weekly speculates that this might also be Bianchi's Weltanschauung album (maybe someone could confirm this?) but Bianchi has neither confirmed nor denied that rumour. In any case, whoever did it and whenever it was done, it's pretty unpleasant stuff, even without the speeches and military music (which only feature on the first – and longest – track). I can understand that some folk might still get some kind of perverse kick out of Nazi imagery, even a quarter of a century down the line, but it's hard to imagine anyone saying they actually enjoy the rest of this miserable, sludgy mess. And that presumably includes Maurizio himself, now that he's found GOD – the Supreme Being, that is, not the group of the same name. DW

lunedì 21 novembre 2011

Lionel Marchetti - "Knud Un Nom de Serpent"

The name of this disc and much of its liner notes are in French, but, on Knud Un Nom de Serpent, Marchetti’s compositional language is far more exotic than his native tongue. In a novel application of Marchetti’s usual musique concrete approach, Knud Un Nom de Serpent relies heavily on field recordings of ethnic music, creating a mystifying mélange that continually confounds listener expectations. Birthed, in part, from Marchetti’s fascination with shamans and medicine men, Knud Un Nom de Serpent aims high, with Marchetti shooting for a manner of transcendental effect through collage. The cliché of music as journey is, by now, limp from overuse, but if this disc takes the listener on a trip, it’s not one that some will want to take more than once.
Knud Un Nom de Serpent was originally released in 1999, and, 10 years later, it seems no easier to get a handle on. This reissue brings together gamelan, the female orgasm and the lonely sounds of crickets into an amalgam that dispels with any predictability, save for the 10-second silences that separate its tracks. The exploration of human expression dissolves the borders between countries and environments, a roughly cobbled-together Pangea of sound in which throat singing and chanson are next door neighbors, and previously disparate musical forms are thrust upon (and into) one another with vigor. It’s not simply the disc’s volatility that can make it so unsettling, though; within a seemingly random series of sounds, Marchetti creates an atmosphere that can be rather chilling. He avoids the obvious hallmarks of aural evil, but through the power of the unfamiliar, unidentifiable and unexpected, Marchetti puts the listener in an uncomfortable place.
There are many ways in which Knud Un Nom de Serpent is a difficult listen, and it’s not wholly unlikely that even dedicated fans of demanding music may find the disc somewhat impenetrable. Marchetti’s ideas comparing composers to medicine men are interesting, but this disc may be too jarring to elicit the effect he intended. Still, Knud Un Nom de Serpent will strike a chord with some as more than a curiosity: like nearly any challenging artwork, this disc will turn off far more than it seduces, but those who fall under its spell may find it to be quite entrancing.

By Adam Strohm (Dusted Magazine)