Monday, 23 February, 2009

Escaping From Color - Rapoon Recomposed & Remixed (2007)

"Again Quasi Pop Label hits the target, with one of the most interesting compilation CDs coming lately to my hands. So, this is at my eyes a kind of tribute to British ethnic ambient industrial solo project known as RAPOON, which has been developing all its talent through the years. Through “escaping from color: Rapoon recomposed & remixed” album. We swim in an experimental sea of creativity, originality and dynamism. This time Quasi Pop Label in the shape of Edward.S has gathered a selection of one of the most representative projects inside experimental/ambient scene to escape from reality and to enter in a no colors world, when Rapoon is the only tangible reality. A reality based in 15 compositions, all of them bringing the necessary essence to represent in a concrete way the nature of an act such as Rapoon.

FRANCISCO LOPEZ, with more a high quantity of releases, and having traveled the world developing electro acoustic performances, is opening this album with a minimalistic ambient composition, floating slowly from start to finish. TV POW, surprises this time with an excellent track, full of dense percussive sounds and effects surrounding the whole track. Really one of the best tracks here. The german duo of Baraka (H) and Glit(S)ch known as TROUM,one of the most representative acts nowadays comes with a tribal ethnic composition with impressive percussive elements which moulds perfectly with the structure of the track in general.

The sound & Media explorer from Portugal, PAULO RAPOSO, makes its presence in this album with an interesting track, in the hands of drone sounds mutating into dense ambient atmospheres, creating architectural spaces through such musical vortex, as only Mr. Raposo could create. AIDAN BAKER, devour us with a magnificent convergence of drone elements, mixed with dense eerie percussive sounds floating between each atmosphere, to create an hypnotic voyage to the most hidden realms of Rapoon. FAMILY UNDERGROUND is a Danish trio, adapting its track into psychedelic drone/noise invasion full of madness. Another artist to mention is Swedish RONNIE SUDIN, creating hypnologic states, covering a wide range of styles as experimental and electronics. This time he develops a provocative ambient piece with vibrating elements, abrasive atmospheres and subliminal vociferations at the core of this track.

CISFINITUM, the Russian ambient act, develops a perfect emotive live track which was recorded 29.10.2006 at “Lkra” Club in Moscow, together with RAPOON, in which the percussive elements and atmospheres are the predominant patterns marked here. Limited to 500 copies, and coming in a kind of digipack with abstract drawings and general art, which reflects in part the material included on this excellent release."
  1. Francisco Lopez “Untitled #193”
  2. TV Pow “Ladder Friends Remix”
  3. Machinefabriek “Drijfzand”
  4. Troum “Farawer”
  5. Steve Roden “Colorscape Forming”
  6. Jorge Castro “Depths”
  7. Paulo Raposo “Tidal Winds”
  8. Aidan Baker “Percussive Drone”
  9. Anla Courtis “Rapooned Rapunga”
  10. Gert-Jan Prins “Raponsje”
  11. Heimir Bjorgulfsson “Obmam Ognom”
  12. Mike Shiflet “Version Belize”
  13. Family Underground “Tube”
  14. Ronnie Sundin “Distant Demons”
  15. Cisfinitum & Rapoon “Live in Ikra, Moscow 2006”
+limited edition of 500 copies*


Saturday, 21 February, 2009

Werner Durand - The Art of Buzzing (2004)

WERNER DURAND: The Art of Buzzing (Excuse the Delay Vol. 1)

The first solo release by sound artist Werner Durand, The Art of Buzzing was released recently on Podewil's new label X-Tract. Even if this is his debut CD, Durand has a long history (going on nearly 20 years) of integrating the use of resonators and buzzers with various instruments, either solo or in an ensemble (flutes, percussion, guitars, etc.). The first five tracks on this new CD were recorded between 1998 and 2000 in Berlin. For these recordings, Durand performs on superimposed PVC-Clarinets prepared with buzzing resonators, and an Iranian ney flute.
The results are stunning: dense drones with pulsing, buzzing, dizzying movements swarm with an intoxicating cadence. Recorded in multi-track, the sounds are sometimes treated with loops and delays, although the characteristics of the sounds themselves are not altered by filters and additional effects. In the track "Honey", which contains noisier, more machine-like drones than the other pieces, flower pots were used as resonators and tin-foil plates for the buzzing effects. Durand takes the concept of the "drone" and runs with it, his track titles implying the association of drones with bees, and indeed, the incessant buzzing of these pieces suggests the relentless activity in an immense hive. The sixth and final track was recorded between 1990 and 1995, and was mixed in collaboration with Ralf Wehowsky (RLW). This is perhaps the most varied of all the pieces, with a more noticeable presence of the ney flute, and carefully arranged layers of shifting, dynamic drones and strange resonating sounds. Durand's techniques are truly fascinating, his music even more so. Highly recommended. [Richard di Santo]

Werner Durand: Superimposed PVC-Clarinets with Buzzing Resonators & Iranian Ney
All tracks composed & recorded by Durand except #6, by W. Durand & Ralf Wehowsky
Recorded in 1998-2000 in Berlin
Released by X-Tract in 2004


Wednesday, 11 February, 2009

Joane Hétu - Castor et Compagnie (1995)

Joane Hétu - Castor et Compagnie (1995)
Cycle de Chansons d'amour

Joane Hétu signs here a first CD of her own music and texts, Castor et compagnie, with longtime accomplices Jean Derome, Diane Labrosse and Pierre Tanguay.

Castor et compagnie is a cycle of songs for lovers of senses, sense and sounds, noise and lyricism, pleasure and erotism. The lyrics were inspired by the vocabulary of Hindu erotic books, Arabic love games and a few saucy songs. The music is daring and energetic, made of turbulent atmospheres, evocative lullabies and even love songs.
Joane Hétu is best known as a member of early AM female supergroups Justine, Wondeur Brass and Les Poules. An inventive composer, improviser and saxophonist, Hétu has always been exploring and developing a musical style of her own: a harsh, guttural voice flirting with a modern lyricism tainted with original textures, strident sounds and atonal harmonies. She is at her best with this difficult, yet sensuous expression of poetry that has the intelligence of its music.
in Hollow Ear (USA), June 1, 1997

Joane Hétu, wondeur-brasser and composer has released another jarring adventure, Castor et Compagnie. This is her first “solo” recording, although she is joined by AM regulars Diane Labrosse (keys and accordion), Jean Derome (brass, woodwinds, percussion and effects), Pierre Tanguay (percussion) and some bass tracks from Luc Bonin. The beauty of all the music Hétu makes is its refusal to be described by genre or comparison: jazz, new classical, punk-funk, experimental noise; Stockhausen, Glass, Beefheart and Zappa all seem vaguely appropriate until you really listen. Castor et Compagnie adds another element, one of erotic romance. The texts that inspire these pieces come from Hindi love recipes, Arabic sex-play games and old ribald folk songs, and the music created around them is a rich mix of lush and lustful, one moment a Brazilian cliché, the next a raw revel or a scream. Her edgy, acidic voice plays hard against all of this, and she takes the most obvious themes and makes them her own in surprising ways.

Joane Hétu: sax alto, voice
Diane Labrosse: keyboards and accordion
Jean Derome: brass, woodwinds, percussion, tape
Pierre Tanguay: percussion

1. Pourquoi s’affoler
2. Capitaine
3. Ah! Les beaux jours
4. Histoire à dormir
5. Papillons de nuit
6. Chanson de l’oreiller
7. Fleurs éclatantes
8. Les épices
9. La rouquine

An early Valentine Juju gift.
Released by Ambiances Magnétiques in 1995.


Monday, 2 February, 2009

Ellery Eskelin & Han Bennink - Dissonant Characters (1999)

**That is the game in a nutshell, judging from these 10 innings. In the course of what sounds like chasing and being chased, each dives through a wide variety of sonic, textural and dynamic choices. But is is on the level of rhythm that the dance becomes more frenzied... Maybe it helps to know that Han and Ellery are both good chess players. Bennink favors an offensive game for sure. But Eskelin is conspicuously untraumatized, knowing that with Bennink the idea is not to steer the bull but to keep from being thrown. And Han, to his audible pleasure, discovers a rare, fully equipped improviser he can't scare off, wear out, bury or give the slip. Kevin Whitehead

**Given Han Bennink's reputation and no-nonsense attitude when it comes to improvising in a duet situation, most of his performances with American musicians lacked something. It's easy to see now what that something was: the full technical and/or soulful presence of the other player. In this duet with New Yorker Ellery Eskelin, Bennink has found as formidable an opponent in an American as he did in Sonny Rollins some years back. Over the course of ten improvisations, Eskelin and Bennink dig deeply into their basic-level knowledge about jazz and bring to the cutting room, where they slip around and chase each other through rhythmic, harmonic, and timbral rabbit holes. The title track, which serves in a way as a backdrop, or hinge, for the entire proceeding is a plethora of contradictions: consonance and dissonance, inside versus outside, to swing or not to swing, to play the blues or blow as freely as possible, and how often to shift gears. Bennink's slickness as a drummer makes him a huge obstacle for some as a duet partner because he never looks to do the same thing twice, and goes far out of his way to avoid any traps that might hem him in. Eskelin grew up and learned to swing first and then improvise. He has a deft sense of timing for a saxophonist. His own playing, whether in screeching arpeggios in a free mode ("Incontrario") or shifting gears and engaging the more pastoral side of melodic improvisation that roots itself in the blues ("Alias"), is rubbery, mutable, bendable, which makes him the perfect "singing" voice for Bennink -- witness this on the Monk contributions ("Sights Unseen/Brilliant Corners" and "Let's Cool One"). This is a lighthearted disc with heavy-duty jams on it. The playing is among Eskelin's finest -- which is saying a lot -- and is easily the finest of the recorded duets between Bennink and the Americans. A necessary addition to the duet library, or the fans of either man; this is one hot, smoking, gorgeous platter. Thom Jurek, AMG

**Tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin has always demanded a lot from his drummers. Having worked with some of the most virtuostic drummers alive, including Joey Baron and Jim Black, Eskelin has high standards for the rhythm section—because his unpredictable, angular phrasing demands immediate attention and a lightning response. Dutch master drummer Han Bennink, of course, has long been one of the most in-demand players on the European free improvisation scene. Bennink played on a number of wildly successful duet recordings, as well as a string of five inspired Clusone Trio records. Eskelin and Bennink got together in NYC in January 1997, almost by accident, as part of a series of Bennink duets with American improvisors. They liked the results of this meeting so much that they decided to get together again. So Eskelin and Bennink went to Switzerland last December to play together in the Kulak recording studio.The resulting product, Dissonant Characters, documents the sympathetic vibrations of two master improvisors who both thrive on the excitement of the unexpected. Outside the context of his usual composition-heavy trio, Eskelin appears to freely allow his muse to dictate the changes during play. Bennink moves from sporadic free tinkles to marching band drum beats in milliseconds, pushing and prodding Eskelin;s dry tenor throughout the hour of improvisation. A welcome addition to the growing heap of Eskelin material, Dissonant Characters presents two mature voices in active conversation at the peak of their powers. Nils Jacobson

1. Flutter
2. Dissonant Characters
3. Incontrario
4. Oloraz = (Barolo)
5. Alias
6. Bud + Shake
7. Sight Unseen/Brilliant Corners
8. No Pyrrhula, Pyrrhula (= Bullfinch)
9. Let's Cool One
10. Pro Tanto

All by Eskelin & Bennink except #7 & #9, by Monk
Recorded in Dec 1998 in Benkon, Switzerland.
Released in 1999 by Hat Hut Records in a limited edition of 3000 copies.