C A U T I O N
CYBER ZINE FOR AUDIO EXPERIMENTALISTS

AUDIO REVIEWS

scroll down or click to the review you seek..reviews in this issue of: Ainigma - Diluvium - CD
Amps For Christ - Songs From Mt. ION - CD
Big City Orchestra - Collected Works of Od McUb - CD
Bastard Noise/Spastic Colon - Split - CD
David Behrman - Wave Train - CD
Maurizio Bianchi - Colori - CD
Blues Creation - Demon and Eleven Children - CD
R.Chartier - Direct,Incidental,Consequential - CD
Crawl Unit - The Future In Reverse - CD
Fast-Forward - Co-Worker - 7"
Hairy Chapter - Cant Get Through/Eyes - CD
Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson - From South Africa to South Carolina - CD
Home Audience - I Want To Tell You - CASSETTE
John Hudak - Pond - CD
Mason Jones - Midnight In The Twilight Factory - CD
Kapotte Muziek - The Use of Recycling - CD
Larry Kucharz - Unit 28:Blue Motion- CD
Lucha Libre vs. Heavy Q Connection - CD
Eric Lunde - When You Wish Upon a Scar - CD
Maeror Tri - Hypnotikum I - LP
Pagoda Sound System - From Padoga Studios - CD
Ponga - Ponga - CD
Ramleh - Boeing - LP
rhBand - First Tone - CD
S*Core - Missing Volume - LP
Silverman - Silvermandalas - CD
Starfuckers - Infratumi - CD
Suran Song In Stag - Pure Agitator - CD
Asmus Tietchens/Achim Wollscheid - Repetitive Movement - CD
Tortoise + The Ex - In the Fishtank - CD
Total - Eternity's Beautiful Frontispiece - CD
Tristeza - Spine and Sensory - CD
Windsor For The Derby - Minnie Greutzfeldt - CD
Various Artists - Celebrities At Thier Worst Vol.2 - CD
Various Artists - Kormalities - 7"
AINIGMA - Diluvium - CD
(Little Wing)
What do you get when three German teenagers decide to pick up instruments, start a band and release an album? Well since we're talking about 1973 here, it doesn't sound like a kraut Hanson. These guys channeled their teenage angst toward the end of concocting an ultra raw-nerved take on the "progressive" sounds of the day, resembling something like a cross between King Crimson and the Seeds. Bass guitar is eschewed for electric organ to accompany long guitar and drums solos but believe it or not it sounds nothing like arena rock and for my money these guys had a firmer grasp on how to stretch out their primitive musical ability than any "punk" band I've heard in recent years. I can't imagine any typical band featured in Flipside being able to pull off a twenty-plus minute song and make it sound half as cool as there guys do. And you've got to love those world-weary lyrics. I'd like to hear Hanson sing lines like "All things are fading/and never beginning again.." Where are they now?! - [Ron K]
(Little Wing : Weinthal 1, 84556, Kasil Germany.)
[cover art] AMPS FOR CHRIST - Songs From Mt. ION - CD
(Total Annihilation Records)
This cd is limited to 1000 copies pressed, with hand-printed covers done by Thumbprint Press. On this 3rd release from AFC they assembled a collection of really swell live recordings. If you like your noise on the harsh side, with alot of high end and distorted feedback, you should check out AFC. This disc features guest appearances from members of BASTARD NOISE (Nelson & Barnes!), and also lots of what you have come to love from AFC the mimmicking of the sound of Bagpipes with synth-electronics for insanely new folk sounds of the next millienum.. traditional irish folk styles intermixed with chaotic electronic noise.. ya gotta love it. - [Lob]
(Total Annihilation Records,po Box 4174, Montebello, CA 90640, E:tarecords@hotmail.com)
[cover art] BIG CITY ORCHESTRA - The Collected Works of Od McUb;Sound Effect Library v.6 - CD
(Vinyl Communications)
This bay area collective are amazing. This time BCO headmaster DAS heads out to create a verbal, as well as audio, piece of disturbing music. Od McUb, we are told was an artist in the early 1900's who made a hobby of creating "cut-ups" of books. This release is made up of guest individuals reading the cut-up works of McUb over the sounds created by BCO. Guests reading include Legendary Pink Dot members Edward Ka-Spel and Silverman, as well as Monte Cazaza, A.M.K., Mr. Hate and others. Also joining in the BCO ensamble is Crash Worship founding member, Markus Wolff. I think this CD is a little long.. and kinda hard to swallow all in one sitting.. it reminded me at first of something that Bongwater would do.. and later it reminded me of the legendary 1980's record from Crispin Glover, really wierd and disturbingly hard to listen to.. a great release that will go un-noticed. -- [LOB]
(Vinyl Communications, Po Box 8623, Chula Vista, CA 91912 usa)
BASTARD NOISE/SPASTIC COLON - Split - CD
(Pinch-a-Loaf)
Finally, the long anticipated (by me, anyway) split release by two well respected local So. Cal. noise mavens. Sadly, Bastard Noise don't do their "teach your parrot how to talk" piece but nevertheless turn in some pretty engaging, carefully-arranged noise tracks that make good use of both low-end rumble and high-end screeching, often at the same time. But I have to wonder about that supposed David Bowie cover with the grindcore vocals… As for Spastic Colon, …they're the kings f Noise as Mood Music. They do two long tracks that toss around and spew out unrecognizable samples into a droning stew of muck. Fantastic stuff. And I should mention that the CD has loud as hell, superior sound quality throughout and imaginative packaging, things to expect from Pinch-a-Loaf, a label whose name I happen to like a lot! - [Ron K]
(Pinch-a-Loaf Productions P.O. Box 4923 Downey, CA 90241)
DAVID BEHRMAN - Wave Train - CD
(Plana B)
Behrman is one of the many unsung pioneers from the early days of electronic music who seems to be pretty much unknown while people keep paying lip service to supposed "geniuses" like John "Mushroom Expert" Cage and Stockhausen the Modest One. . Well Behrman kept a much lower profile and only has some really innovative music to show for it. The first two tracks aren't really too exciting, unless you love experimental "classical" music, but after that things start getting really interesting. The high point are the title track, which uses feedback resonance from a piano (this was recorded over 30 years ago, mind you) and the brilliant "Run Through", which features some monstrous sounds made by hand-built synthesizers (displayed on the cover photo- I want one of those!). This is damn good stuff that has definitely stood the test of time. So don't pay 100- plus bucks to buy reissues of those over-praised "masterpieces" by that German whatshisname. Get this instead- you won't be sorry. - [Ron K]
(No address listed, but it's available from Other Music - www.othermusic.com)
MAURIZIO BIANCHI - Colori - CD
(some Italian label)
Talk about disappointing. Bianchi (MB to all noiseheads in the know) created some amazing, brooding industrial sounds back in the days when "industrial" wasn't a dirty word. Then he totally disappeared from sight some 14 years ago. I've heard from some sources that he joined the Sunday Morning Destroyers (a.k.a. Jehovah's Witnesses) but judging by the sound of this atrocious CD he spent the time studying at the knees of Mannheim Steamroller. This is muzak, folks, New Age music, stuff that wouldn't sound out of place on The Wave (if you're not from L.A. and you don't know what I'm talking about then I envy you ). Look, I expected that I wouldn't hear the same kind of stuff he was doing 14 years ago, that it would be something more low-key. But not this colorless (talk about an inappropriate title!) saccharine tripe, no way. - [Ron K]
BLUES CREATION - Demon and Eleven Children - CD
(Columbia Japan)
This is Japanese noise. Not in the sense of Merzzonabow, but, like, the real thing, man, early 70's hippies turning their amps up to 20 and doing their damnedest to make Sabbath and Deep Purple sound like wimps. There's even a hilarious ersatz "blues" number replete with harmonica that tries to capture that Mississippi feeling all the way from Tokyo. You've gotta hear it. If you'd give five years of your life to go back in time and have Blue Cheer pulverize your eardrums circa 1968, if the names High Rise and Mainliner mean anything to you, you have to get this! (No addreess for the label but just so you know, I ordered my copy from the very excellent Other Music Web site (www.othermusic.com). If you really love "noise" as much as you say you do, get this CD!!). - [Ron K]
R.CHARTIER - Direct, Incidental, Consequential - CD
(Intransitive Recordings)
R.Chartier specializes in the kind of subtle, ow-frequency noisemaking meant to be listened to on headphones. If you're familiar with Berhard Gunter and the whole school of "sound as phenomenon" school you may know what I mean but if not let me put it to you this way: if you take pleasure in the fluctuating waves of TV or radio static or if you miss the test tones that the Emergency Broadcast System used to treat us to, you might dig this CD very much; but if you insist on screeching volume or some kind of tenable "context" then stay away. I happen to think it's great. On the new and very promising Intransitive label. - [Ron K]
(Intransitive: P.O. Box 12254, Gainsville, FL 32604 / www.visionload.com/intransitive)
CRAWL UNIT - The Future in Reverse - CD
(Povertech Industries)
Joe Colley (who unfortunately for some reason records as "Crawl Unit" -awful name!) returns with an excellent CD proving how far ahead of the game he is as far as experimental music goes. The Future in Reverse features some very distinctive-sounding tracks all exploring the potential of raw analog electronic sound taken to the limits. Particularly great is "Conecrack, Speaker Rot" which manages to show how electrical "errors" can be 1000 more interesting than "real" music. Fantastic sound quality as well, and good packaging. Now if only he would record under his real name. C'mon Joe, you deserve to have your music taken seriously. - [Ron K]
(Povertech Industries 1008 10th St. #277 Sacramento, CA 95814)
[cover art] FAST-FORWARD - Co-Worker - 7"
(Capillary Records)
A one-sided, 2 track single..limited to 330 hand numbered copies, on yellow vinyl, with artwork screened on the empty B-side...pretty nifty huh? And the sounds aint so bad either, lo-fi stuff, done with a 4-track, similar to early stuff from WEEN, but alot more spastic. Wild and psychotic punk edged geekrock, the Residents meet The Minutemen (now there's a picture!) This is something for those that like odd songs..the lyrics to both of these tracks are totally awsome. - [Lob]
(Capillary Records/Po Box 2055/Costa Mesa,CA 92627)
HAIRY CHAPTER - Can't Get Through/Eyes - CD
(Second Battle)
Loud, LOUD, endless, unsubtle acid-rock guitar solos accompanied by lyrics sung in broken English. Sound good to you? Well if it doesn't go back to listening to your damned techno doggerel. This here CD, a re-ish of two albums made in 1970-71 by a long-forgotten German band, will make you forget all about that drivel they call "classic rock". This is classic rock. . Not just because of the aforementioned guit solos, but also for the weird-ass twists and turns the songs take that confirm that some of the drugs that were taken in those days just don't exist anymore. And the lyrics…one couplet goes something like this: "I wanna see your twenty-seven fingers restored in my body/ You're my bourgeois [indecipherable]/ I wan ball you all night long!". Words cannot express how amazing this music is. - [Ron K]
(Second Battle c/o Pandora's Box, Stubenrauchstr. 70, 12161 Berlin (Friedenau). Available stateside from Forced Exposure- www.forcedexposure.com)
[cover art] GIL SCOTT-HERON & BRIAN JACKSON -From South Africa to South Carolina - CD
(Originally released 1975; reissued 1998 by TVT Records)
This CD really brings back memories. Unluckily, not necessarily good ones. When South Africa to South Carolina first came out, I was getting heavily into punk, and was nauseated by anything remotely jazz/funk. I fled from Gil Scott-Heron.
Now I’m older, my musical tastes have matured, or at least broadened, and I can, at least, tolerate his mellow jazz. Musically, it is quite pleasant. There are nice flute and piano jams, some funky call and response, and mellow, mellow tunes like “Beginnings” and “A Lovely Day,” which capture the sunshiney feel of a summer day’s promise.
Lyrically, S.A. to S.C. is a mixed bag. Since 1975 I have also become acquainted with Scott-Heron as a poet, and that truly shows on some of the tracks. The two songs just mentioned are also lovely poems. However, much of the CD consists of political songs, and here my bad flashbacks really kick in.Yes, I remember protesting baby formula. And nuclear power plants. Hell, I remember protesting (how many of you can say that?). While I still appreciate and agree with the general sentiments of these songs, the specifics sound terribly dated. A song about a nuclear power plant in South Carolina just doesn’t seem relevant to anything today.
Yet, Gil Scott-Heron does manage to have the last word on even this. The chorus of “South Carolina” goes “Whatever happened to the protests and the rage?/ Whatever happened to the voices of the sane?/ Whatever happened to the people who gave a damn?/ Or did that just apply to dying in the jungles of Viet Nam?” Even in 1975, he saw the whole notion of protest fading. Now it’s just as nostalgic as the jazz of this album. -- [GMT]
(TVT Records, 23 E. 4th St., New York, NY 10003)
[cover art] HOME AUDIENCE - I Want To Tell You - CASSETTE
(Tape from Home Audience)
Rockin’ robotics. This is true electronica. That is, it sounds like the absolute sound of electricity, without being modulated or interfered with by instruments. I guess the key to noise like this is to at least create interesting noise, something which grabs and holds the attention. I Want to Tell You partially succeeds at this. It takes a while, but once this tape gets going, once it establishes a beat, it is quite listenable, in its own distorted way.
It starts out with a long, pulsing sine wave. Gradually other noises move in, the tempo picks up, and it seriously starts to rock. Distorted vocals mention something about children. Then it starts grinding out heavy doses of feedback and low toned static. And that’s just side one.
Side two continues with much of the same. At which point my interest was waning. Not that the tape didn’t continue to produce curious and rhythmic variations on the theme of static, but I guess I’m not not enough of a noise addict to take this much in a single dose.
If you’re a noise fan, you’ll probably find this tape worthwhile. If you, like myself, can only enjoy noise in mid-sized doses, you’ll find it an interesting curio. The rest of you... I’m sure you figured out by now what your interest level will be. -- [GMT]
(Home Audience, 4519 Tobias Ave., Sherman Oaks, CA 91403)
JOHN HUDAK - Pond - CD
(Meme)
This Hudak guy, who is I think from somewhere in the Northwest, has had much praised heaped on him from the avant-music crowd but the comp tracks I heard didn't do much for me so I figured he was either over-rated or over my head. Well I'm glad I gave him another chance cause this CD is really worth hearing. It's one long track, with the sounds apparently derived from nature but sounding more like you own neurons talking back to you . Very high-end, slowly evolving sonicisms guaranteed to leave an aural aftereffect if you listen to this on headphones. - [Ron K]
(Meme c/o HEADZ 19-5 Udagawacho, Shiubya, Tokyo, Japan 1500042).
[cover art] MASON JONES - Midnight In The Twilight Factory - CD
(Monotremata Records)
well.. besides being part of the staff of this 'zine, MASON JONES is a damn fine guitar player. In his past "solo" effort TRANCE, Jones was focussed more on the heavy noise exploration..with this new release he drops the name of TRANCE and goes for some REALLY trance inducing sound layering.. Midnight in the Twilight Factory is a very relaxing release.. almost soothing to hear.. the guitar work that Jones does on this release reminds me of really minimal and ambient works by Robert Fripp..but with that same raw power delivery that i expect from Mason Jones. This disc contains 2 solo pieces recorded at home, and 2 live pieces..one with former SAS band member Jason Stein, and the other, a trio, with Bill Horist & Kevin Goldsmith. If you like good ambient music to zone out to, dont let this pass you by.. -- [LOB]
(Monotremata Records, 815-A Brazos St. #515, Austin,TX 78701 usa)
KAPOTTE MUZIEK - The Use of Recycling - CD
(Intransitive)
KM is the long-running project of one Frans De Waard, also known for his work in the excellent ambient duo Beequeen and as the head of Staalplatt Records. The title of this CD says it all: every KM piece is based on a previous piece, and so on and so on (no wonder he has a jillion releases out). Soundwise, this runs the gamut from the pure noise of "Source to" to the more subtle atmospheric pieces like "Enhanced Room Acoustics". Other tracks make good use of repetitive loops. Another high-quality release from Intransitive. - [Ron K]
(Intransitive: P.O. Box 12254, Gainsville, FL 32604 www.visionload.com/intransitive)
[cover art] LARRY KUCHARZ - Unit 28:Blue Motion - CD
(International Audiochrome)
16 tracks.. each named after a shade of the color blue.. a concept disc? Larry Kucharz is an Ambient/New Age composer. On this release, he attempts to break out of the ambient groove and uses short clipping and quick electronic sampling loops to create what he calls "techo lite".. as it IS fast paced and moves very quickly.. but there are no beats, no bass, no drums. What occurs is a fluid release.. one that reminds one of early Phillip Glass or something similar. After listening to this disc for 20 minutes it begins to become very repeative.. maybe this release should have been not so many tracks, as it loses the listener before in finishes. -- [LOB]
(International Audiochrome,Inc, PO Box 1068, Rye,NY 10580 USA)
[cover art] LUCHA LIBRE vs. HEAVY Q CONNECTION - CD
(Tiny Superhero Recordings)
A split/collaboration cd from 2 Japanese bands, on a label from the UK, that i saw recently in So. California..how do the Japanese do it? This disc starts out with a long theme song that could be the soundtrack for a foriegn spy thriller. Then it progresses into wierd jazz pop intrumentals lead by the awsome saxaphone of Akifumi Minamimoto..filled with odd eletronics and incredible accuracy this disc soon becomes hot thick and jazzy.. almost with a zydeco feel to some of it. Heavy Q Connection's sound is similar to Lucha Libre but without the Sax.. more on the electronics ..and a little more quirky.. but just as fun.. great stuff .. hope to hear more.. - [Lob]
(Tiny Superhero, 26 Orchardson House, Orchardson St., London NW8 8NN UK E:tinysuperhero@clara.net)
ERIC LUNDE - When You Wish Upon a Scar - CD
(Povertech Industries)
Here's something a little different- a reissue of impossible to hear mainly cassette recordings by a serious weirdo from the 80's. I've had a feeling that there's some great stuff to be heard from that "cassette culture" era (no, I wasn't cool enough to really be into that scene at the time.) Well here it is. Lunde was I suppose as much of a conceptualist as he was a "sound artist" (it's probably a mistake to even draw such a distinction here since the latter term is something that stated being used fairly recently) and some of the tracks do sound like an accompaniment a performance art piece that was probably pretty interesting to see, judging by the photos enclosed. Without going into all the ideas behind the works - the enclosed booklet goes into plenty of detail - I should just say that this CD is well worth hearing. Lunde was no doubt a singular individual committed to carrying out his ideas to the fullest extreme- and the raw, disturbing give evidence of that.. Another superior release from Povertech. - [Ron K]
(Povertech Industries, 1008 10th St. #277, Sacramento, CA 95814)
MAEROR TRI - Hymnotikum I - LP
(Solielmoon)
Maeror Tri are/were a trio from the Netherlands who put out a handful of releases than in my book were just about the tops in that whole dark ambient/isolationist/drift/whateverthehellyouwanncallit genre. It's hard to describe they did without resorting to cliches (which I've already done) but they specialized in long, drawn-out, slowly, developing pieces that aimed right splat at yr subconscious. All of their releases are worth hearing but this one is particularly special because it's on vinyl and vinyl is the way that any worthwhile music/sound ought to be heard. - [Ron K]
(Staalplatt/Solielmoon P.O. Box 83296 Portland, OR 97783)
[cover art] PAGODA SOUND SYSTEM - From Pagoda Studios - CD
(Hot Plate Records)
When I first popped this one in, I really liked it. DJ Shadow meets Jah Wobble, I thought. However, on the one hand I am sort of a sucker for sound collage, and on the other, I don't really listen to all that much of it. So I'm not sure if my appreciation was based on ignorance or inspiration.
My problem is, how to judge such constructions? Is merely interesting good enough, or should I be looking for more traditional standards, such as meaning, emotional resonance, or even catchiness?
Pagoda Sound System certainly passes the interesting test. The samples and sounds are blended into intriguing constructs. Some of these bear repeated listenings, although others do not. On the other tests, it is only a partial success, though.
Some of the cuts, like "Out of Control" and "Aggro Dub Version" approach being something like standard songs. By this, I mean the vocal samples function as lyrics, and, more important, the music complements and amplifies the sentiments of the words. These cuts I can listen to repeatedly, and continue to enjoy.
Other cuts, however, never raise above the level of experiments. Worse, after a few spins, the most blatant samples ("I'm sure the animal psychologists will want to save this one for experiments") begin to just sound repetitious; and music tends towards the flat and emotionless.
Only partial success is inherent in the nature of experiments. When one r eaches the point where everything works, the experiment is over. I hope Pagoda continues to experiment, taking the successes here into even newer territory. - [GMT]
(Hot Plate Records, Box 1265, Lakewood, CA 90714)
PONGA - Ponga - CD
(LooseGroove Records)
The promo notes I got for this said it was like Hawkwind meets Herbie Hancock's Headhunters....what they didnt mention was the splash of King Crimson..or the smidgen of (and obvious influence of) John Zorn. This disc is a "supergroup" (i hate that term) made up of Skerik (from Tuatara & Critters Buggin), Bobby Previte (who has worked with Zorn), Wayne Horvitz (from Zony Mash, and also has worked with Zorn), & Dave Palmer (from MC 900ft Jesus)..it was recorded live in 2 days in Seattle and some re-mixing was done, but no overdubs were added.. the result is very jazzy and hot and sticky rock mixed to a sweet ear candy..fans of jazz fusion GET THIS.. if you like Phish.. you might dig this too.. - [LOB]
(LooseGrooves Records www.loosegrooves.com)
RAMLEH - Boeing - LP
(Majora Records)
Ramleh are a band from the UK who have some affiliation with the late, great Skullflower and have a few releases to their name which are almost as good- like the Homeless CD on Freek Records and now this, a live LP that really does it for me. Long, apparently improvised tracks that combine elements of space rock (as in early Hawkwind and lesser-known folks like Agitation Free) and psychedelic drone to good effect. If that means anything to you, pick this one up. - [Ron K]
(Majora P.O Box 78418 Seattle, WA 98178)
rhBAND - First Tone - CD
(Drunken Fish)
rhBand, purveyors of sound textures via analog drones, return for their second full-length release. Four long pieces that slowly evolve and pile electronic waves one on top of the other while still remaining somewhat static and still. I'd call it "ambient" but that might imply that it's meant to be played in background and ignored. If you try to "bliss out" to this stuff the louder sections will most certainly screw up your meditation and give you the heart attack that you deserve. I heard somewhere that these guys hail from my hometown of Venice, California. It's about time we had a decent band! - [Ron K]
(Drunken Fish: P.O Box 460640 San Francisco, CA 94146 www.sirius.com/~dfr)
S*CORE - Missing Volume - LP
(Zabraskie Point)
S*CORE is from Japan, is possibly a one-person project, and that's about all I know biography-wise. But who cares about that. This thick slab of vinyl, like the CD before it, is a mass of mind-numbing, disturbing sound that can only be characterized by the fact that that it's hard to characterize (hey, I never said that I was a good writer!). No, it's not "harsh noise"- it's a lot more challenging and rewarding than that someone screaming into a distortion pedal for 75 minutes. - [Ron K]
(Zabraskie Point P.O. Box 3006 Colorado Springs, CO 80934-3006)
[cover art] SILVERMAN - Silvermandalas - CD
(Soleilmoon Recordings)

The Silverman has been playing keyboards and electronics for The Legendary Pink Dots for a LONG TIME.. this is only his 2nd solo release, and unfortunatly it isnt too surprizing. Silvermandalas sounds like it could very well be the foundation of a LPD release..at anytime one expects the voice of Edward Ka-Spel to com trickling out of the aural experience. This release is an ambient release of sound layers, sweet trance inducing, "take you away" type soundscapes from the Silverman, once again showing that he is a grand wizard when it comes to this style of playing...i just would like to hear him do something different sometime.. -- Soleilmoon Recordings, PO Box 83296, Portland,OR 92783 USA)
STARFUCKERS - Infratumi - CD
(Drunken Fish)
The next time someone tells you that "rock music" is dead in terms of innovation, have them listen to this CD. Italy's Starfuckers use r'n'r instrumentation to produce a sound that in no way resembles anything in said genre and is about a billion times more challenging than any of that electronica crap.. Tightly-structured sound patterns, accompanied whispered or mumbled lyrics (in Italian), totally devoid of rhythm. This is not a bunch of "free music" mindless bashing. It's so deliberate, air-tight and claustrophobic that it's guaranteed to terrify music-loving dance-happy party-goers of all varieties. I want to see these guys headline the next Ozzfest.. - [Ron K]
(Drunken Fish: P.O Box 460640 San Francisco, CA 94146 www.sirius.com/~dfr)
[cover art] SURAN SONG IN STAG - Pure Agitator - CD
(Suran Song In Stag)
As the performance poetry phenomenon matures, we are being rewarded with some intriguing poetry/music hybrids. Poets are honing their performance chops, and looking for the most appropriate format to present their words, often experimenting with musical backing. This CD is a welcome addition to the list.
Pure Agitator presents the words of poet Suran Song, augmented by (primarily) bass guitar from William Weis III. They manage to produce a lot of noise and power for such simple instrumentation, and they really push the limits of the format, coaxing all sort of expression and emotion out of the bass backing. Still, those limits are readily apparent by the end of the CD. There is still a certain sameness of sound to many of the pieces. Nonetheless, cut by cut the bass adds power and directness to the words.
I hate to use a hackneyed term like “empowerment” to describe such intelligent lyrics, but most of these songs concern finding new sources of strength for women. Songs such as “Female Rape Jury”, with its chorus of “For wearing skin/ Here’s your just dessert”, and “Ubergrrl”, dedicated to Naomi Wolf, and “Red Riding Hood’s Basket” all explore the continued victimization of women in these post-feminist times. Yet the overall feeling is not one of submission or defeat, but rather self-assertion. This is due as much to the confidence and aggression of the delivery as to the actual words. The words may say “This is the mess we are in” but the music says “I’m not going to take it.”
The disc is framed by two covers. It opens with Fugazi’s “Blue Print” (“Never mind what’s selling/ It’s what you’re buying”) and closes with a fun rewrite of Bowie’s “Star” (“Ani tried to change the nation/ Madonna wants to rule the world/ Well, she can tell you that she tried!”), both of which comment on the role of the performer in our society.
Overall, this CD takes limitations (musical, lyrical and societal) and makes stunning art out of them. - [GMT]
(Suran Song in Stag (4C Yorkshire Court, Lakehurst, NJ 08733)
ASMUS TIETCHENS/ACHIM WOLLSCHEID - Repetitive Movement - CD
(Staalplaat)
This one is a collaboration of sorts but it's also one of those rare occasions when a "remix" (or however you want to deem it) far surpasses the original. Sections of Wollscheid's deathly boring "moves" CD were taken to task by Tietchens, an underappreciated master of abstract sound. Like everything Mr. T touches, it stands a thousand steps removed from the (in this case useless) original. Alright, maybe I'm biased against Herr W. cause of those sickeningly pretentious liner notes on the Interference compilation, or because the two times I saw him perform he left me totally underwhelmed…oh, and that headachey collaboration he did with that Akita guy. But the point that matters is that everything Asmus Tiechens does is worth hearing. Enough said. - [Ron K]
(Staalplatt/Solielmoon P.O. Box 83296 Portland, OR 97783)
[cover art] TORTOISE + THE EX - In The Fishtank - CD
(Konkurrent Independant Music/Touch & Go Records)
this is the 5th release in the "Fishtank" series from Konkurrent Onathankelijk Muziekbedrijf in Amsterdam. They allow touring bands into thier studio for 2 days to do about 30 mins worth of whatever they want.. so this collaboration isnt really something that was planned.. it just sorta happened..and what an intresting collaboration it is. Tortoise play really ambient jazz.. and The Ex are like out of a time warp and seem to be directly birthed from the 1980's ROUGH TRADE scene..the combonation makes for a few really awsome cuts the rely mostly on The Ex.. while the pieces that Tortoise leads the way into end up drifting into escapades of chaos and whitenoise ambience.. not too surpizing. This disc sounds exactly like you'd expect a collaboration of these to groups to sound.. is that good or bad? -- [LOB]
(Konkurrent/Touch & Go Records, Po Box 25520, Chicago,IL 60625 usa)
TOTAL - Eternity's Beautiful Frontispiece - CD
(VHF)
Here's where I lose all objectivity. As for as I'm concerned, Matthew Bower (the main man in Total and the late, very-lamented Skullflower) is THE absolute master of experimental/sound/noise/what-have-you, and there's no way I'm gonna budge from that. Everything he has ever done just oozes this otherworldly intensity that makes you glad that such people exist who can make this usually crappy miserable piece of matter were stuck on partially bearable. Enough gushing…this CD (one of the many Total releases but let me tell you, they're all worth having) is quite varied, having some traces of Eastern music but for the most part sounding like nothing else except Total. Always low-fi to the hilt, Total proves once again that you don't need 1000 dollars worth of MIDI shit to create incredible sounds. One song title on this CD says it all- "Nodding Out". This stuff will put you in another zone….. - [Ron K]
(VHF P.O Box 7365 Fairfax Station, VA 22039)
[cover art] TRISTEZA - Spine and Sensory - CD
(MakotoRecordings)
this disc is sweet.. it starts out on a really energetic, almost poppy guitar riff, sorta sounding like maybe an upbeat song from The Smiths or maybe the Dave Matthews Band.. and then, just when you think its gonna be ruined by some whinning singer complaining about thier love life.. it continues.. no singer.. no vocals at all..in fact the poppy guitar riff becomes sorta jazzy..and then they start to groove on it.. with some serious heavy groove.. like Pink Floyd meets Stereolab.. really really sweet and soothing.. great music to just relax to. The whole disc continues to trip its way thru a fine cosmic embryonic aural experience.. Heavy Pink Floyd influence is ever apparent.. I am told this band is from San Diego. If you get a chance to see them, we would love a review for this zine. - [Lob]
(Makoto Recordings, po Box 50403, Kalamazoo, MI 49005 USA)
www.makotorecordings.com
[cover art] WINDSOR FOR THE DERBY - Minnie Greutzfeldt - CD
(Trance Syndicate)
totally soothing trance release.. drum and bass, but REAL drums and a REAL bass..no techno.. melodic creamy soft and lofty compositions, with occasional minimalistic vocals and keyboards for a very full sound.. compares to Cocteau Twins or Portishead, but minus the vocals..stuff i also think this is similar to is Angelo Baldementti compositions, but with a twist of Phillip Glass-esque repetition in the groove. Tortise and Stereolab fans should RUN to get this release. - [Lob]
(Trance Syndicate, po box 49771, Austin, Tx 78765)
[cover art] VARIOUS ARTISTS - Celebrities...At Their Worst (Volume 2) - CD
produced by Nick Bougas
(Mad Deadly Worldwide Communist Gangster Computer God)
Celebrities say “fuck.” A lot. That’s not only a description of what’s on this CD, but it seems that, to the minds of the people who put it together, it’s a great revelation. “Wow! Even Barbra Streisand swears! Amazing! The people must be informed!” And so we get a string of people like Streisand, William Shatner, Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley uttering words we may not have heard in their voices before, and not much else.
If you’re the sort of person who creates mix tapes to share with your friends, you might have use for this. In the right context, Hank Williams Jr. telling Garth Brooks to suck his dick could be funny. But just by itself, it’s rather pathetic.
Actually, there are a couple of entertaining moments on here. One is a mix of Wings singing “Hey Jude” in which Linda McCartney’s voice is brought to the forefront, proving that John Lennon was not the only Beatle with a tone deaf wife who insisted on sharing the stage. And the second disc, a collection of roasts from the Friars’ Club tributes does contain some very entertaining monologues from some top comedians, although the primary joke is still saying “fuck” or, in a disturbing number of cases, making blatantly racist jokes (Flip Wilson being a common victim).
Mildly amusing overall, but even the funny parts will only be funny through a couple of listens. Except for the aforementioned taping possibilities, I cannot recommend actually adding this to your collection. - [GMT]
(Mad Deadly Worldwide Communist Gangster Computer God, Box 420464, San Francisco, CA 94142)
[cover art] VARIOUS ARTISTS - KNORMALITIES - 7"
(Dephine Knormal Musik)
This is an intresting compilation of really "rock n roll" influenced noise and punk music. First cut is from Vacuum Tree Head from San Jose,CA and is a noisey off balance version of Black Sabbath's Electric Funeral..but not quite.. lots of horns and wierd percussion give this cut some great moments. Next cut is from the Flying Luttenbachers from Chicago. Thier cut is done with mostly traditional string instruments (cello,violin,ect) but used to create gritty chaos with no real composition to it. Next up, my favorite on this record is Mono Pause with a quirky odd sound that combines tribal percussion like early Swans with something that reminds me of The Residents..Brief Lallation is a great tune. On the second side of this record we find a visit from Japan's Melt-Banana doing what they do well, fast grind punk with someone sreaming in Japanese over it. followed by The Molecules with a song called Blah, which fits it perfectly, it almost blended into the Melt-Banana track..next up is bay area percussive composer Moe! Staiano with a great track called Chased by Bats in Vats, that climbs and falls, and travels one thru a very well executed composition for metal drums and bottles and things..this is an awsome example of what Moe! does. The last cut also comes from Japan.. The Ruins take a moment to run thru at least 15 different traditional rock anthems from Aerosmith to Led Zeppelin to In a Gadda Da Vida.. all in under 2 minutes.. it rules pretty hard dude.. All in all a really fun 15 minutes of music, pressed in a limted edition of only 1000 hand numbered copies.. i can see it getting hard to find this one later on.. -- [LOB]
(Dephine Knormal Musik, 1557 Pete Court, Manteca,CA 95337-9479 USA, E:knormal@juno.com)



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