Free with The Wire June 2004 issue 244
01 TO ROCOCO ROT MISS YOU
TRR are brothers Robert and Ronald Lippok and Mapstation's Stefan Schneider. Their fifth album, Hotel Morgen, is also their first for Domino. It draws on nine years of expanding and refining their experimental drifting electronica, propelled by forceful fluent beats. "Miss You" is To Rococo Rot at their most elegant and imperturbable, borne along by a languid, chugging groove over which claptrap rhythms clatter and accumulate.
02 ICARUS ANTZ NEZ
Ollie Bown and Sam Britton, aka Icarus, honed their musical style during a two year period of touring their live improvisations. They demonstrate both wit and intelligence in their Improv electronics, blending real and freshly generated sound. "Antz Netz" morphs from extremist IDM/drum 'n' bass into more abstract realms, before its dense smattering of tiny beats recrudesce in a deadly build up signified by stressed squeaks and groans. It's taken from their album I Tweet The Birdy Electric, a reference to the famous Walt Whitman poem and an early LP by Weather Report.
03 JUANA MOLINA MARTíN FIERRO
This Argentinian singer, songwriter and producer has an extraordinary past. She was a famous comic with her own hit TV show, which she unexpectedly quit in the mid-90s to focus her energies on her own, highly idiosyncratic music. Although Molina's vocals are soothing and mesmeric and her songs guitar based, the backdrops are endlessly lurching and shapeshifting. "Martín Fierro" is a case in point, its lilting progress undercut by choppy rhythms and a wavering synthesizer pulse, matching the turbulent emotion of the lyric, a paean to Argentina's fictional Gaucho hero. The song is taken from Segundo, her second album originally released in Argentina in 2000.
04 WIBUTEE 1-800-SKAUEN
Wibutee are another product of the burgeoning Norwegian jazz and electronica underground. They formed in 1996 and two years later signed to Bugge Wesseltoft's Jazzland Recordings. The group feature Håkon Kornstad (flute, flutonet, electronics), Wetle Holte (drums, electronics), Per Zanussi (bass) and Rune Brøndbo (keys, electronics), all of them prominent in the Scandinavian jazz world. On Playmachine, their forthcoming third album on Jazzland, they meld avant jazz, post-rock Ambience and electronics, seamlessly deploying both looped and live sounds. The results, as on "1-800-SKAUEN", are formidable in their scope and shading.
05 PHILIP CLEMO DEPTH (EDIT)
Taken from Clemo's new album Ambiguous Dialogues on Metier Jazz, the title "Depth" provides a clue to the workings of his music. Instruments, atmospheres and musical forms constantly interchange, loom in and out of focus, obliquely converse. Featured musicians include numerous UK Improv dignitaries such as Clive Bell, Tom Chant and Maritza Bulcock. Also a film maker, Clemo uses location sound recordings to evoke complex moods, which he goes on to develop through the process of composition and improvisation. "Depth" evolves from ethereal beginnings to a crescendo of free jazz.
06 ALBERT AYLER UNTITLED BLUES
Albert Ayler (1936-70) was one of the prime movers in defining the sound of the tenor sax in free jazz. "Untitled Blues" is taken from Holy Ghost (Rare And Unissued Recordings, 1962-70), a nine CD Box slated for release later this year containing previously unissued music from all stages of his career. Made in New York in 1968 as part of the New Grass demo, this was the first 12-bar blues performance Ayler had recorded since 1962. Though not released at the time, it captures him in typically roiling and impassioned mode.
07 CHRIS MCGREGOR'S BROTHERHOOD OF BREATH THE
Brotherhood Of Breath combined the rhythms of African music with those of American big band jazz and the free play of British Improv. Unfortunately their recorded output was extremely restricted. This track is from the Cuneiform CD Bremen To Bridgewater, previously unreleased live recordings made in Germany and England during two very different periods of their career. The English recordings were made at the Bridgewater Arts Centre, during two tours in February and November of 1975, featuring the likes of Mongezi Feza, Alan Skidmore and Harry Beckett. But "The Bride", written by Dudu Pukwana, comes from a German radio recording of a performance in 1971 in Bremen.
08 MATTHEW DEAR TIDE ON IT
Texas born, Detroit based Matthew Dear's status as a Techno/House phenomenon has grown through his live performances, DJ sets and a prodigious catalogue of releases under his own name and pseudonyms such as False, Jabberjaw and Audion (6.1). His work ranges from edgy, burbling Techno to funkier lighter fare. "Tide On It", from his forthcoming Ghostly album Backstroke, matches an enervated but eloquent lyric with a menacingly strident backbeat.
09 JAH WOBBLE ELEVATOR MUSIC 3
Former PiL bassist Jah Wobble suggests that to fully benefit from his new 30 Hertz CD Elevator Music 1A, the listener should re-enact the experience of lift travel, in order to experience a feeling that is "uncomfortable, disconcerting, mildly irritating, vacuous and devoid of meaning". Thankfully, "Elevator Music 3" itself is none of these things, featuring waves of warm synthesizer undulating over Wobble's trademark bass vibrations, with Harry Beckett's wistful trumpet peals and Chris Cookson on guitar.
10 ARTHUR RUSSELL YOU DID THE RIGHT THING WHEN
YOU PUT THAT SKYLIGHT IN
Arthur Russell (1951-92) was a prominent player on the New York leftfield music scene, responsible for underground club classics under pseudonyms like Dinosaur L, as well as creating singular Ambient cello soundscapes, of which 1986's The World Of Echo, to be reissued later this year on Audika, is a magnificent example. This exclusive track from the previously unreleased 1985 album Corn is a seemingly banal tribute to close friend and collaborator Ernie Brooks who had recently installed a home skylight. "It makes your place, your pad, a nicer place to be, and that's a good thing", he said. However, with its trademark, distorted cello and Russell's liquid, lethargically soulful vocals, "You Did The Right Thing" is strangely moving. The right stuff indeed.
11 HENRIK RYLANDER FORCED LAUGH
Sound artist, musician and photographer Henrik Rylander was formerly with the wildly theatrical Swedish garage combo Union Carbide Productions. Based on the improvised manipulation of feedbacking effects and audio mixers recorded live, his solo music is reminiscent of the electro-brutalism of Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire. Taken from his third solo album, Traditional Arrangements Of Feedback (Ideal), "Forced Laugh" is created entirely from the feedback of FX units fed into a G4 computer. The results are startling, not least for being at once rhythmically precise and accessible.
12 GREEN MILK FROM THE PLANET ORANGE SWEET 5 AM
Emerging from the Tokyo grindcore scene but also soaked in psychedelic influences, Green Milk From The Planet Orange were formed by 'A' (drums, analogue synthesizer, conga, vocals) and 'K' (piano, Gibson SG, lead vocal), with 'M' on bass joining later. Their releases include 2002's Birth Of The Neo Trip. Taken from their latest CD/double LP He's Crying "Look", "Sweet 5 AM" is measured, stately post-rock backed with a distant menagerie of spacerock and psychedelic effects.
13 MOUNTAINS MOUNTAINS (EDIT)
"Mountains" is a document of an ongoing collaborative performance between the two owners of Brooklyn based label Apestaartje. Having worked in the parallel and often overlapping contexts of their respective solo projects, this is their debut recording as a duo. This edit captures the final five minutes of Mountains – Part 2, recorded live in 2003, which will be released this summer on Apestaartje, to be followed, perversely, by Mountains – Part 1. Here, infinite sheets of grainy sound build and renew themselves to immensely pleasing effect.
14 SLOWBLOW CARDBOARD BOX
Icelandic duo Slowblow (Orri Jónsson and Dagur Kári Pétursson) both have backgrounds in film and photography, interests apparent in their music, in which a sense of geography and location is paramount. Taken from the forthcoming Mobilé album Slowblow, "Cardboard Box" is a perfect example. A recording of fireworks contributes to the ambient setting for the vocals of Mum's Kristin Anna Valtysdóttir, sung in Orri's mother's closet-size bathroom, and Dagur's handrail solo, performed on the staircase under which the bathroom was located. Over a backdrop of bumps, creaks, footsteps, domestic activity and lo-fi analogue, "Cardboard Box" emerges as a personal and precious home-made offering.
15 UN CADDIE RENVERSÉ DANS L'HERBE
Un Caddie Renversé Dans L'Herbe is Dídac P Lagarriga. Originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil and now based in Barcelona, he divides his time between recording and running his own label Oozebap. Lagarriga utilises a diverse array of instruments (balaphon, mbira, kalimba, melodica, chimes), working them into unique compositions with computer software, while avoiding the pratfalls of aping 'global' music styles. This typically well-judged track, taken from the Dekorder CD/LP Like a packed cupboard but quite..., features Lagarriga's processed ethnology, accompanied by the double bass of Geraldo Márquez.
16 POIRE_Z + PHIL MINTON Q ODER Z
Taken from the For 4 Ears album Q, "q oder z, was recorded live in May 2002 at the Musique Action Festival in Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy (France) by the electronic improvising quartet of Günter Müller, erikm, Norbert Möslang and Andy Guhl, with Phil Minton as guest vocalist. This 4'40" track evolves from a pulsing electronic canopy, beneath which vocalist Minton delivers a cumulative series of vocal exclamations suggestive of animal life in the jungle.