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  • Item:MER-1241

    The Spectrum Does, LP

    tracklist:

    A Explain Please (The Stars Are Listening) (24:07)

    B1 This Was The Only Spot That Was Green (3:16)

    B2 The Spectrum Does (18:28)



    Release Date: November, 2017

    Robbie Lee: flute, tarogato, melodica, great bass recorder, electronics, percussion

    Che Chen: violin, harmonium, bass recorder, tape machine, electronics, percussion

    Recorded & mixed by Robbie Lee

    Mastered by Jack Allett

    Design by Jeroen Wille




    On The Spectrum Does, New York avant-rock musicians Che Chen and Robbie Lee create three earthy and slow moving pieces, informed as much by various global folk traditions as they are by 20th century composition and improvisation. Their ‘anything goes’ approach to improvising leads to a sonic document that sounds raw, intense and freshly exciting. A wild and shambolic brew sounding like nothing else.



    Che Chen is musician and visual artist currently best known for his work with percussionist Rick Brown as 75 Dollar Bill. In the mid 2000s he formed this duo with composer and producer Robbie Lee, who at the time played with people like Baby Dee and Neil Hagerty. Their most concentrated period of activity is bookended by a first LP they self-released in 2008 called Begin & Continue! and this record, The Spectrum Does, which contains music recorded several years later. 



    On The Spectrum Does, both tackle a range of un­conven­tional instruments like bass recorders, Renaissance clarinet, glissando flute, tarogato, electrified violin, ultraslow recorders and custom modified tape machines. While their first LP documented their earliest, mostly acoustic improvisations, The Spectrum Does captures Che and Robbie after 5 or so years of meeting two or three times week and multiple tours around the country (a couple of times as a part of Jozef van Wissem’s band Heresy Of The Free Spirit). By now what was pulsing out of their little overdriven tube amps was even more electrified and warped. Sounds of unknown origin seem to bubble up to the surface, met by completely unique approaches to wind and string instruments.



    Much boundary pushing improvised music gets described as ‘outer limits’ but on The Spectrum Does, it seems much more right to say they explore the ‘inner limits’. It is deep listening music, but not minimalist; complex but not virtuosic. Dissonances intermingle with folk harmonies and rhythms. As with all of the music this duo made together, there’s a sort of shambolic-shamanic sensibility to it, but without a motive or explicit purpose. To be filed close to your Tony Conrad, Henry Flynt, Pelt, The Dead C records.



    Some words from the duo on The Spectrum Does



    Che Chen: The long improvisation that starts on the first side and spills onto the next was recorded live at a gig opening for Loren Connors and Suzanne Langille’s incredible band, Haunted House, at Issue Project Room in the Spring of 2011 (back when they were in the Can Factory space). I remembering it being a strong set, crashing out of the gate with Robbie’s tangled tarogato lines and my splintered violin stabs before careening onward with the kind of harnessed, intensity that one always hopes will appear when improvising… The recordings that make up the bulk of the second side were made in a dark and airless practice space in the back of the Glasslands, a now defunct DIY space in South Williamsburg. The sound is more insular, turned inward instead of exploding out like the live set, and is pretty representative of how single minded the explorations that made up our weekly “sessions” could be.



    Robbie Lee: These pieces have the feeling of field recording, capturing rehearsals in their best moments, so a sense of freedom is everywhere, the kind of freedom that can collapse at any moment. But they are also the result of years of a developing a very close language, specific to this duo alone. We originally began playing together as bass clarinet duos, and for a while as bass recorder duos. So even when we are playing radically different instruments, there’s still this very real feeling that neither of us know who’s generating which sound, in this floating cloud of vibration. This is partially because of Che’s use of tape machines, custom modified to loop and play at different speeds, to reiterate and regurgitate my sounds, and then his own as well. 



    Che Chen: Not long after the Issue show, things fell apart, as they often do, and I went off and spent a couple of years collaborating with people in the Japanese underground before woodshedding hard on the electric guitar and starting 75 Dollar Bill. Meanwhile, Robbie made another record of his idiosyncratic songs (this time as Creature Automatic) and seemed to be focusing his considerable knowledge and technique on getting really good at one of the more unassuming instruments in his toolbox, the open-holed flute. I didn’t listen to Spectrum during the 5 years it sat on the shelf, but hearing it now, I love the openness and spirit of adventure. All the angles we were working on seem well-represented. I hear the synthesis of all the hours we spent playing together, and of all the hours we spent listening to music, another important part of those times. I hear our commitment to creating a shared language, a framework for making music spontaneously in the moment. But most of all I hear two people finding their way, pushing and supporting each other in sound. 



    Biographies



    Visual artist and musician Che Chen lives and works in New York. Former music projects include True Primes, duos with Tetuzi Akiyama, Chie Mukai and Jozef van Wissem’s Heresy Of The Free Spirit (with Robbie Lee). Currently he plays with percussionist Rick Brown as 75 Dollar Bill.



    Robbie Lee is a musician, composer and producer also living in NYC. He has played with an eclectic group of improvisers and songwriters like Neil Hagerty & The Howling Hex, Baby Dee, Cass McCombs, Mary Halvorson and Talibam! He is also in Creature Automatic, Seaven Teares, and a new trio with Brian Chase and James Ilgenfritz. He runs the Telegraph Harp label with Elisha Wiesner.





    REVIEWS



    Enola

    Een transmissie uit de vruchtbare New Yorkse ondergrond die belandt op een Gents label. Negen jaar na hun debuutalbum Begin & Continue! laten multi-instrumentalisten Che Chen en Robbie Lee nog eens van zich horen met liveopnames van een tijd geleden. Beide muzikanten zijn veelzijdige doe-het-zelvers die het niet houden bij één stiel. Che Chen, intussen vooral bekend als gitarist van duo 75 Dollar Bill, is ook een visueel artiest en tekende voor het artwork, terwijl Lee niet alleen bezig is als muzikant-componist, maar ook als studiotechnicus-producer. Hun kring van verwanten reikt van Mary Halvorson en Jozef van Wissem tot Neil Hagerty, Talibam! en Tetuzi Akiyama. Deze opnames dateren van een aantal jaren geleden, toen het duo al even in de weer was met muziek die weerstaat aan een simpele labeling. Door het gebruik van – even inademen – basblokfluiten, tarogato, viool, harmonium, melodica, elektronica, tape machine en percussie zijn de mogelijkheden natuurlijk schier eindeloos, en het resultaat is dan ook een excentrieke aanranding van de oren, die zowel flirt met noise en minimale muziek als met pastorale folk, hedendaagse gecomponeerde muziek, vrije improvisatie en drones. Bij het begin van “Explain Please (The Stars Are Listening)”, dat de A-kant van het vinyl inpalmt, is het zelfs even twijfelen tussen een solo-opname van Peter Brötzmann of het verhakkelde geschal van een muezzin. Het nasale gereutel van de tarogato mist nooit z’n effect. De repetitieve aanzet wordt meteen gecontrasteerd met krassend vioolgeweld, waarmee de toon gezet is. Vervolgens zijn de twee meer dan twintig minuten onderweg met bewegingen die al dan niet naadloos in elkaar overgaan en waarbij het ganse arsenaal binnenstebuiten gekeerd wordt. Nu eens met een bijna aandoenlijke gaafheid en lichtheid, waarin tintelende percussie voor de kleinste, rinkelende details zorgt, maar even later kan dat omslaan naar een dissonante klankenparade waar geen conventioneel geluid aan te pas komt. Industriële werkplaats, fluitende feedback en oosters ritualisme in een. Vooral het gebruik van de kloeke blokfluiten levert een bijzonder effect op dat zowel onaards als antiek klinkt, en in combinatie met een snerpende viool al helemaal over de rooie gaat. Is de eerste albumhelft op papier het meest excentriek, dan is het door haar speelsheid en energie eigenlijk nog het meest toegankelijk. Op de B-kant is het korte “This Was The Only Spot That Was Green” vooral in de weer met gerekte klanken, met een combinatie van twee basblokfluiten die iets heeft van een uit de hand gelopen feestje in een afgelegen oerwoud. Het lange titelnummer is al net zo dissonant en ongrijpbaar als de A-kant, maar klinkt donkerder, claustrofobischer. Vervormde fluit en viool blijven hier minutenlang op elkaar inwerken met een haast vijandige afstandelijkheid, aanhoudend gefluit en een (vermoedelijk) tape machine die bijdraagt aan die sinistere sfeer. Tegelijkertijd blijf je je wel bewust van het feit dat je nooit helemaal zeker bent van wat er gaande is. Het is misschien muziek die je pas ten volle kan appreciëren als het zich voor je ogen afspeelt. The Spectrum Does is niettemin een fascinerende oefening in musiceren op de tast, een oefening die door haar overduidelijke spontaniteit de bal ook naar de luisteraar kaatst. Veeleisend? Misschien. Maar vooral op maat van gretige, nieuwsgierige oren. Met een ontvankelijke luisterhouding geraak je minstens halfweg. (Guy Peters, Enola, October 2017)



    Gonzo Circus

    "Sissende fluisteringen en zachte slagen op een diep resonerende lijsttrommel doorsnijden de rijke samenklanken, die van samenstelling veranderen als een langzaam draaiende caleidoscoop. Van melodieën is geen sprake, en de verglijdende akkoorden bieden nergens houvast. Het enige dat je als luisteraar kunt doen, is achterover leunen en je overgeven aan de velden van geluid waar Capelle je in laat baden. In muzikale paden zijn slechtere bestemmingen denkbaar.” (Gonzo Circus #143, january 2018)



    The Hum

    It’s strange what lodges itself in memory, but, roughly 15 years later, Che Chen drifting through the door of the loft I shared with a couple of friends in Bushwick, feels like yesterday. It wasn’t a particularly dynamic meeting, nor the seeds for the close friendship we would subsequently form, just a casual hello between two ships passing for the first time. Recently, through his ecstatic guitar lines, making up half of 75 Dollar Bill – his project with Rick Brown, Che has fallen into the international spotlight, with that band often cited as among the best working today. While entirely deserving of the praise – it’s possible that I’ve seen 75 Dollar Bill more than any other person on the planet, I’ve also secretly worried that it might overshadow the breadth, diversity, and dynamics of Che’s larger body of work. Over the years that I have known him, he has remained one the most fiercely principled and adventurous experimental musicians in the landscape. A true believer and advocate for all of the potential avant-garde approaches to sound hold. Part of the difficulty in capturing a glimpse of Che’s larger practice, is that it has been largely shackled to NY – as a member of the Tony Conrad ensemble, or countless pick-up improvisational groups. Che works in the moment, with only a small number of his efforts – the most rewarding and reoccurring relationships, committed to tape – beyond 75 Dollar Bill, those with Rolyn Hu (as True Primes), Tetuzi Akiyama, Chie Mukai, his recently formed trio with Aki Onda and Tashi Dorji, and, among a small handful of others, his long standing collaboration with Robbie Lee – one product of which stands before us now. Che and Robbie began collaborating somewhere around the middle of the 2000’s, the first recorded output of which came within a series of CD-R releases and then an LP entitled Begin and Continue!, which was self-issued in 2008 – the product of a rigorous period of collaboration, which saw the pair meeting and playing multiple times a week. The recordings which make up The Spectrum Does were made a few years later, and despite their brilliance, have sadly remained shelved in the years since, appearing now for the first time with none of the power diminished. I often cite a distinction made by Mike Watt, where he notes that there are two primary kinds of musicians – those who come to their instrument because of their love of music, and those who come to music because of their love for their instrument. Che and Robbie are exceptions to this norm. While both are arguably members of the first trope, their deep love of instruments – a great many of them, with the sounds they generate and the practices which surround them, verges on obsession and trumps all preexisting relationships. The Spectrum Does is a perfect crystallization of this anomaly, darting around the edges of a diverse number of sonic traditions from across the globe, while entirely singular, internal, and the product of a deep sensitivity between each player and the instruments on which it was made – Che making contributions on  violin, harmonium, bass recorder, tape machine, electronics, and percussion, and Robbie on flute, tarogato, melodica, great bass recorder, electronics, and percussion. Like its predecessor Begin and Continue!The Spectrum Does is comprised of freely improvised explorations of sound and timbre – what the duo refer to as sonic foraging or shambolic folk minimalism – a responsive patchwork which assembles references to free jazz, the musics of north Africa, the Middle East, Java, Tibet, with explicit noise and drone, into a totality which resembles little else. In the simplest and most direct terms, the LP is stunning – a brutal, jarring, and ecstatic celebration through organizations of sound. As raw as it is sensitive and delicate, it stands as a reminder of the possibilities which can be reached when music is led by the ear, and through improvisation at large. A recorded moment which stands as a testament to the fact that there is as much visionary, groundbreaking, and exciting music being made today as any era before, The Spectrum Does is an incredible installment from a duo we haven’t heard enough from. Let’s hope there is more to come. Once again, hats off to my dear old friend. Check it out below, and pick it up from Che’s Bandcamp page, SoundOhm, Experimedia, Forced Exposure, or a record store near you. (Bradford Bailey, The Hum, November 2017)



    Dusted

    Familiarity, novelty and antiquity entwine to make something rare on The Spectrum Does. You have probably already heard Robbie Lee and Che Chen in other settings. Lee co-runs Telegraph Harp records and writes/plays/sings in Creative Automatic; he’s also a utility player who has joined the bands of Baby Dee, Neil Hagerty, Brightblack Morning Light, Cass McCombs and Talibam! Chen, of course, plays guitar in 75 Dollar Bill, but has also made records on his own and with Tetuzi Akiyama and Chie Mukai. And for about five years, Chen and Lee had a partnership that encompassed intense wood shedding, a bit of playing out, one prior LP and a tour and record with Jozef Van Wissem under the banner Heresy of the Free Spirit. Chen and Lee first got together to play bass clarinet duos. That early practice of playing the same instrument probably has something to do with the ego-less cohesion of their music, but there was no way they’d stick to just one instrument. Lee collects ancient instruments and Chen is also a multi-instrumentalist; no doubt Van Wissem was drawn to them because they not only played portative organ, bass recorder and harmonium, but improvised non-idiomatically with those instruments. The Spectrum Does is drawn from two performances that took place in 2011, one at Issue Project Room and the other at Glasslands. On side one Lee comes out swinging, blowing his taragato like Peter Brötzmann (the Eastern European reed instrument’s main contemporary proponent) was looking over his shoulder. Chen responds to his tough, tunneling lines with coarse, choppy fiddle scrapes that sound like Tony Conrad playing the way a traffic cop talks until their abraded timbres fall together and then subside into a machine-like whir. Next, delay-distorted sounds rise and retreat from a carpet of harmonium, turning the vibe both prayerful and apprehensive. Then the violin returns, still Conrad-like, but Lee counters with a slow, pastoral melody played on a great bass recorder. Some improvisers might keep duking it out, but Chen switches to bass recorder himself. Whether they relate aggressively or passively, even when you can tell who is playing what, that seems to matter less than the consonance of mood and uncertainty of century that they create together — there are passages where it sounds like some Hungarian goat herder from the 1760s is playing with some turtlenecked freaks in a 1960s NYC art loft via a time portal held open by vibrantly fluttering magnetic tape.  There’s really nothing else around that sounds like this stuff, and it’s a shame that the duo is done, but we have another piece of analog magic to tell you what they sounded like — this fine record. (Bill Meyer, Dusted, January 2018)



    Toneshift

    Limited to 300 copies, the latest collaboration by New Yorkers artist/musician Che Chen (he also painted the striking, mountainous psychedelic cover-art) and composer Robbie Lee compiles a trio of sketchy, meandering tracks. Recently released on audioMER. the genre-defying improvisation on The Spectrum Does is a wash of discordant layers presented in a post-industrial sound structure and produced through a multitude of instruments: harmonium, electronics, flute, violin and much more. Explain Please (The Stars Are Listening) is the first track here clocking in over 18 minutes. It’s like a contorted conversation between unknown entities, wailing and serrated, filled with alarms, pauses, ghostly howls. There’s a squelching imbalance between the left and right sides of the larger brain here. It’s about conundrum, about conflict, perhaps with nature in the balance with all eyes (as stars) watching the turmoil below. A moody, brooding and dramatic work. After flipping the vinyl to the b-side the shortest track here is revealed, This Was The Only Spot That Was Green instantly invokes a sense of memory, perhaps of loss. The dull sigh of the wind instruments here create a great outdoors feel, becoming playful and airy towards the tail-end. Finally the title track takes us by surprise, wriggling horns and strings are cyclically entangled kickstarting a complex track that weaves sweet sounds with raw energy. It’s a long-playing piece at over 24 minutes. Oddly there’s a harmony behind the cacophony, it’s a play on which instrument moves from rear to center, and still, like a bee-hive of a traffic jam we are left with a certain breather that is earned as if someone has earned their respectful right to the open road. Towards the central part of the track things get more disorienting and stretched out as the players find their personal sweet spot. Here the uneasy-listening aspect sheds itself somewhat to a more mysterious drone of sorts, reverberating as if they were underground. It’s as if the sound space is percolating as to caution what’s to come. A traditional Japanese sounding arrangement smooths over the hot coals left from earlier, though the tranquil repetition then leaves way to a new friction of frustrated strings. In the end pockets of soundwaves, as if made by the call of a marine mammal protrude in and out of recognition, leaving a wake of distant ringing alarms and light agitation slowly fading. (TJ Norris, Toneshift, March 2018)


    €17.00
  • Item:MER-1020

    Howard, LP

    tracklist:

    A1. Howard (3:42)

    A2. Burn (6:57)

    A3. Dream (6:08)

    B. Relax (18:22)



    Release Date: April 7, 2014

    Limited edition of 350 copies



    The Tenses is a duo comprised of Ju Suk Reet Meate and Jackie Oblivia, two veterans of the weirdo art collective that is known as theLos Angeles Free Music Society. They also form the core of legendary experimental juggernaut Smegma

    The LAFMS have been a singular force in DIY culture ever since the early seventies and encapsuled an endless string of projects and bands that married a sort of proto-punk with trashy guitars, avant-garde music, tape manipulations, free jazz, improv and absurd vocalizations into a hyper original and singular form of music. They're seen by many as the originators of noise music, and have been an immense influence on bands like Sun City Girls, Merzbow, Wolf Eyes, No Neck Blues Band, etc…

    The Tenses is one of the latest vessels for Ju Suk and Jackie to explore the outer realms of sound and space. Compared to the mothership that is Smegma, it is a more compact and intimate project where turntables, tape collages, distorted surf guitar and coronet are used to create elaborate, haunted atmospheres.

    After releases on Harbinger Sound and their own Pigface Records, The Tenses now add another chapter to their history with 'Howard', their new LP on Belgian imprint audioMER. 'Howard' is a mind expanding tour de force that scrambles spoken word deconstructions and spontaneous freak outs into a musical non-sequitur; a strange and disorienting trip.

    Loops of voices from long lost instruction movies, shortwave radio dramas that get overrun with sirens, various non-instrumental sounds, and an bewildering stretch of Link Wray-like guitar riffs; 'Howard' is a record that oozes paranoia, the perfect soundtrack for making explosives in your basement.



    Some technical information about this release can be found here










    REVIEWS



    Kindamuzik

    Schijnbaar willekeurig op een rek geplaatste glazen ogen uit de Eerste Wereldoorlog staren je aan. Het hoesontwerp is een gepaste metafoor voor de muzikale avonturen van The Tenses, ofwel het duo Ju Suk Reet Meate en Oblivia (Jackie Stewart). Beiden bepalen al sinds de jaren zeventig de hoofdlijnen mee in het experimentele muzikale landschap aan de Noord-Amerikaanse westkust, eerst als onderdeel van de Los Angeles Free Music Society (ofwel LAFMS) en vervolgens met Smegma. Naast deze aanzienlijke palmares blijven The Tenses vernieuwend omgaan met improvisatie en perceptie, wat van Howard weerom een dolle luistertrip maakt.

    Gedurende vier episodes bouwt het duo geluidscollages op, af en om. Radiosignalen, stemmen, samples en instrumenten gaan in interactie en zorgen voor een rijk klankenpallet dat door The Tenses steeds een andere richting uitgestuurd wordt. Collages en cut up-technieken leiden tot de vermenging van tekstuele absurditeiten en bizarre klanken en ritmes om zo een heel eigen sonisch universum te scheppen dat aanleunt tegen Smegma's wereld, maar zuiniger samengesteld is.

    'Burn' is bijvoorbeeld een verknipte audiohandleiding over hoe je het best geld verbrandt. 'Read' lijkt op zijn beurt dan weer op een sprookje waarin een moordverhaal geanalyseerd wordt. Maar uiteraard is niets wat het lijkt en worden narratieve verhaallijnen overhoop gehaald. Howard sluit met het hoogtepunt 'Relax' af. Ruim achttien minuten lang leidt het gekende recept tot een kakofonie van organisch gestructureerde klanken waarbij een aanzwellende gitaarriff, trompetgeschal en vage gezangen voor extra narratieve lijnen zorgen.

    The Tenses bewijzen met Howard nog maar eens dat degelijk muzikaal experiment tijdloos is, net zoals een glazen ogen uit lang vervlogen tijden. – Hans van der Linden (Kindamuzik, April 2014)



    Moremars

    The Tenses is a duo comprised of Ju Suk Reet Meate and Jackie Oblivia, known most for their participation in Smegma, the American experimental noise group formed in Pasadena, California in 1973. Howard includes three compositions that it was made in Smegma’s studio in Portland, Oregon in 2011 and a live concert recording. This new project is exploring sound and space, using turntables, reel-to-reel machines, electronics, distorted surf guitar, coronet etc. It’s a bit unclear what you listen about, a pretty chaotic collage of sounds, radio signals, looped voices, sound effects and instruments that creates a real obscure atmosphere. What we’ve got here is a unique cacophony in terms of psychedelic free-jazz noise and avant garde. This is a great sound experience of a multi-textured pattern of a distinctly idiosyncratic idiom of music. – Moremars



    Japanese Review

    このアルバムは audioMER という新興レーベルから出版されたザ・テンセズの新しい LP である。

    テンセズとはスメグマのジュ・スク・リート・ミートとジャッキー・スチュワートから成るデュオなのだ。

    彼らはロサンジェルス・フリー・ミュージック・ソサエティ (LAFMS) において非常にアクティヴな存在と言えるだろう。

    オレゴン州ポートランドに在住しているが何処に棲んでいても彼らのスピリットは常に LAFMS とシンクロしている。

    新作はタイトルを "Howard" と言うが驚くほどクリアな音にまず驚かされる。

    「スメグマのメンバーである彼らが創生するのだから」 という先入観はまず効力を持たない。

    つい 「ロー・ファイ」 などと言う言葉で表現してしまいそうな彼らの音楽と "Howard" は表層が余りにも違う。

    でもじっくり聴いてみるならばそれらは何れも非常に的を得て構成された 『野生の実験音楽』 と言って良いだろう。

    そして彼ら独特の佇まいに照合すれば奇妙な位に本作はまとまり過ぎているという印象を与えるかも知れない。

    だがやたらクリアに聞こえるこの作品においても彼らが放射する奔放さは相変わらずだ。

    「ロー・ファイ」 だろうが 「クリア」 だろうがそんな事情はもう彼らの音楽にとって大したことでは無い。

    かつて音の表層に現れた 「ロー・ファイ」 らしさは独特のダイナミズムが生まれる間際の副産物だった。

    "Howard" と彼ら過去の作品を聴き比べてみればそのことを驚くほど良く理解することが出来る。

    このアルバムにはテンセズそしてスメグマの音楽骨格像が明確に投影されていると想う。

    そして "Howard" の後でスメグマの音楽に接すればその周囲に漂流する電子雲の妙を堪能することが出来る。

    でもそれは勿論そんな楽しみ方も在るというだけの話だ。

    "Howard" 自体が持つ透明なサイケデアリアは周辺知識の有無には全く依存しない。

    あるいはサイケデリアなどと言う言葉もここでは最早必要無いだろう。

    実験音楽の最も望ましい姿がこの作品には刻印されている。– Takuya Sakaguchi



    De subjectivisten

    Het duo The Tenses bestaat uit Ju Suk Reet Meate en Jackie Oblivia, dat vanwege hun connectie met de Los Angeles Free Music Society en het net zo legendarische Smegma natuurlijk al direct de interesse wekt. Toch boeiden ze mij live maar mondjesmaat, twee jaar terug in Brussel. Misschien is dat ook omdat de muziek nou niet bepaald makkelijk te behappen is, zo ook het geval op het zoveelste album Howard, waarover het Belgische audioMER zich heeft ontfermd. Met draaitafels, tape collages, in distortion gedrenkte gitaar en een trompet is het klankpalet al aan de experimentele kant, maar met wild knip-en-plak werk, samples van instructievideo’s en radioprogramma’s die bewust alle kanten op worden gestuurd, gaat Howard richting het absurde. De spontaniteit en de relatieve ingetogenheid waarmee het gebracht wordt, maakt het uiteindelijk een uitermate interessant album om de schizofrene muziekgeest mee te voeden. – Justin Faase


    €16.00
  • Item:MER-703

    Daydream, LP

    tracklist:

    A1. Twilight Part 1 (2:07)

    A2. Twilight Part 2 (6:44)

    A3. Citylights (6:06)

    A4. Haze (1:45)

    B1. Blazer (2:55)

    B2. Daydream (7:03)

    B3. Untitled (2:14)

    B4. Unreal City (5:36)



    Release Date: 4 March 2013

    Limited edition of 500 copies





    These last few years Rome based producer Egisto Sopor has been turning heads with a steady stream of most excellent releases. A cdr on Legowelt’s Strange Life Records, a tape on 100 % Silk, a double LP on Planet Mu and an evergrowing series of jams that are put on soundcloud or on his youtube channel. All of which offer atmospheric acid tinged techno laced with idiosyncratic touches. He has thus developed quite a cult following among lovers of lo fi electronic music who eagerly await his next grainy video, that feel like lost transmissions from an early nineties MTV broadcast. Polysick doesn’t get out much and keeps a low profile which adds to his rather enigmatic standing.

    With his new LP Daydream, Egisto has created the perfect soundtrack to a midnight trip through darkened cityscapes. Starting out like a confused jam session it slowly takes off and twists into uncanny shapes conjuring up images of a futuristic nightlife that plays out under neon lights, with a feeling of dread constantly lurking in the shadows. This is techno that tells a tale; a storyboard that comes pushing through in muffled flashes. A chase scene through deserted back alleys, executed while hunter and prey are both in a half-awake state, stuck in an infinite loop. And when the ambient synth twirls unravel and a 4/4 pulse kicks in and tears through the dreamy state of conciousness, it never signals a reassuring release of tension. You might dance to it, but not without anxiously looking over your shoulder.



    Some technical information about this release can be found here





    REVIEWS



    Tiny Mix Tapes

    In-depth-review of Daydream HERE

    Quote: "The title speaks to the intent of the album, an acid flashback to the rave era; Polysick immerses the listener in the memory of it. The experiences of the self are not singular, but multifarious, with several different components. UnlikeDigital Native, Daydream has a much less sterile quality about it. It is quite warbly, stressing the human, subjective center, making Daydream less of a commentary like Digital Native. Polysick has spoken many times about the notion of a journey or inhabiting a place. His use of spacious qualities allows him room to expand as much spatially as he does temporally (the latter speaking to his own expressive growth). The internet age, an inescapable influence on Digital Native, appears to be a priori, hypertextual for Daydream; this album is a direct result of the information age. Through the internet, one can quite literally return to a time as this album does. The contextual evidence is more in the head space than it was in the signifier of retro-futurism. Where Digital Native seemed like a meditation on its singular qualities, Daydream is the experiential whole. Speaking to this idea, Daydream seems to be consistent with Digital Native instrumentally, only angled more towards a “warehouse” orientation to, once again, evoke the origins of the sounds with the use of the 909/303." By Tiny Mix Tapes, March 2013



    Fact Magazine

    Egisto Sopor has been a firm fixture on the dance-not-dance underground for a few years now. The Rome-based producer known as Polysick first emerged in 2010 with an album for Legowelt’s Strange Life imprint. That was followed by a split EP with LA’s SFV Acid – a canny pairing, as both share a taste for woozy bedroom synth music grounded in acid house. Sopor’s remit, though, has since revealed itself to be broader, and he has a pleasing tendency to lapse into verdant, weightless synthscapes. The producer’s early career came to a head last year with an album for Planet Mu, Digital Native, that brought together many of his concerns up that point. The record didn’t make much of a splash, which is a crying shame: its brand of humid pan-global exotica – like a hypnagogic updating of John Hassell’s Fourth World concept – was singular and charming, and it was certainly one of the stronger album-length statements to come from that world.

    The comparatively slight Daydream - eight tracks totaling just over half an hour – is its follow-up, released through Belgian label AudioMER. Many of Sopor’s sonic signatures are, thankfully, intact. Those gorgeous spongy, soured synth tones make an appearance in  the seductive one-two of ‘Haze’ and ‘Blazer’. They also feature in the untitled seventh track, though there, combined with the plangent melody turning pirouettes in the foreground, they take on an icy quality reminiscent of early Autechre. Elsewhere, Sopor’s dancier tendencies are brought to the fore – indeed, it’s this side of the producer’s personality that comes to define the album. At points a familiar steamy tropicalia is invoked, particularly in the excellent ‘Twilight Part 2’, whose smudged atmospherics partly conceal an acid line that flickers out of the murk like the tail of some exotic lizard. But in all cases Daydream is darker and more forbidding than its predecessor, and tends to evoke a grander sense of space. ‘Citylights’ is gaseous, unsettled; the title track is far sunnier but carries a hint of paranoia, aided by its deadpan mnml-esque monologue.

    Much of this album explores house music in a fairly straightforward sense – measured, slow-build structures rather than the crystalline sketches Sopor has often worked with – and the execution is excellent. But a question remains – is the producer really playing to his strengths here? Closer ‘Unreal City’ gets to the crux of the issue. It’s a cityscape in the Bladerunner mold, dank, desolate but shot through with an eerie beauty. The techniques deployed are all familiar from Sopor’s past work – the animated synth doodles, the middle-distance fog of delay – but in mood it’s situated somewhere rather different. Daydream feels transitional, clearly intent on making a break with the past but not quite weighty enough to set out its stall completely. Still, Sopor is evidently moving on, and that’s to his credit. – Fact Magazine, March 2013



    Fact Magazine

    Recent interview with Polysick for FACT Magazine, where the audioMER. record is mentioned: Fact Magazine, March 2013



    Boomkat

    Polysick follows the hyperdelic dream techno of 'Digital Native' for Planet Mu with the glinting wormhole groove refractions of 'Daydream' for Belgium's audioMER. It's a engrossing sci-fi fantasy episode of sleek 4/4 house and techno grooves immersed in vivid yet slightly surreal synthscapes. From the two part 'Twilight' there's a strange sense of unease that makes this album quite compelling, percolating through the Tin Man-like acid squirms and cyber-noir synth flutters of 'Citylights' to the red-light district stalk mode of 'Daydream', but the bets parts for us are those trippy wormholes and interzone shortcuts such as 'Haze' or the warmly evocative 'Untitled' and his vivid vision of 'Unreal City'. – Boomkat, March 2013



    Rif Raf

    Met 'Daydream', het derde album van Polysick, tekent het Gentse audioMER.-label voor een behoorlijk unieke flashback richting begin jaren negentig van de vorige eeuw – tegelijk één van de beruchste episodes uit de moderne uitgaansgeschiedenis. De 'Daydream'-lp – inclusief het monochrome hoesontwerp – van het Italiaanse Polysick is een archeologische vondst van jewelste, rechtstreeks en quasi-intact overgeflitst uit een ander elektronisch tijdperk. Geen digitale of artificieel opgepompte effecten voor Polysick, maar eerlijke, eenvoudige en analoge keyboardjams. Dat lijkt wat anachronistisch van insteek, maar de man gaat op hoogst originele en psychdedelische wijze aan de slag met vervlogen tijden, toen acid, ambient en donkere Detroit-techno de plak zwaaiden in de internationale clubcharts. Creatief-nostalgisch verantwoorde trip. (fp) – RifRaf 243, Maart 2013



    A Closer Listen

    Digital Native, Polysick‘s album on Planet Mu last year was, for me, one of 2012′s sleeper hits, a record I found myself coming back to from time to time, or being pleasantly surprised when a track bubbled up to the top on shuffle mode. So, with that album still fresh on the player, here comes Daydream with what seems like almost indecent haste – although it’s probably nine months on that, frankly, is peanuts in comparison with some more prolific friends of the site. The Rephlex-y analogue synth burbles are well to the fore here, along with the sounds that seem to echo library music of the 70s and the occasional techno beat to underpin proceedings, basically all the influences presented on his mixtapes whipped into a cohesive whole. It’s no secret that Polysick is a man with retro leanings – the cover of Digital Native was presented with the vinyl scuff marks printed on – but Daydream is no backward-looking museum piece and the tracks have enough of the ‘new’ about them to not feel like an exercise solely in nostalgia. The bangs and clatters of the opening track and the fractured arrangement of “Unreal City” are enough to attest to the contemporary nature of the album; the tracks between are more cohesive and overall the album works very well as a whole piece. Is it as good as Digital Native? Ask me again in six months. – A Closer Listen, March 2013



    Ele King (JP)

    Ele King, February 2013



    De Subjectivisten (NL)

    Ondanks releases op onder andere Planet Mu en 100% Silk is dit album op het Belgische audioMER mijn eerste kennismaking met deze producer uit Rome. En geen slechte moet ik zeggen: Polysick weet op een creatieve manier het redelijk uitgemolken genre “retro elektronica” toch een beetje spannend te maken. Met donkere ambient, analoge synths en een dikke knipoog naar de acid cultuur van de begin jaren ’90 liggen de vergelijkingen al na het tweede nummer op het puntje van de tong, maar zeker wanneer hij zonder echte beats Daydream naar sci-fi soundtrack hoogten probeert te tillen, straalt de kwaliteit ervan af. – Subjectivisten, March 2013




    €15.00
  • Item:MER-497

    Asphalt and Delay, LP

    tracklist:



    A1. Fragment D

    A2. Daughter Of The Mind

    B1. Möbius Strip

    B2. White Devil Black Heart

    B3. True Mad North



    Release Date: November 2011

    Limited edition of 350 copies



    More info about this release you can find here



    reviews:



    THE WIRE

    I'm always a sucker for a demonstration of how less van be more, and this New York duo deliver such a demonstration with this, only their fifth studio outing in 15 years. It's the first release in which they have not brought in any accomplices, relying instead on their highly developed instincts for collective improvisation, and their phenomenal ability to wring the most varied and surprising sonorities form their basic synthesiser and drums set-up. The result is a wild ride for the ears through spaceways both outer and inner, and quite possibly their best work yet.

    Tom Surgal and Lin Culbertson are downtown people by birth. Their locale is important to what they do, as they have internalised the NYC tradition to the point that whatever they do has both a jazz attitude and a beatnik vibe that is fully innate and thus also fully realised. So when I say that this record sounds like both Sun Ra jamming with a brigade of organ-grinder's monkeys, and the unreleased second part of Leave The City by the Coaquette faction of MEV, these are both good things.

    There is space here, as well as compressed narrative concentration. The key track is “Daughter Of The Mind”, where Culbertson's wordless vocalising floats across drifts of precussive tinkering as a buzzing synthesiser desultorily duels with occasional blurts of autoharp. Gradually the synth becomes more demanding as the percussion sharpens its forward momentum and the vocal becomes an insistent but wordless supplication to some unnamed deity.

    The breadth of texture and timbre deployed here is staggering, the sheer freedom of construction is exhilarating, and the economy of means with which it is realised radically defines the level of expertise and taste on display. Surgal is one of the under-recognised greats of free drumming, and Culbertson's daring instrumental freefalling without a parachute is without peer. In the field of free improvisation, where dilettante tinkering is distressingly common these days, White Out have planted their freak flag proudly in the midst of battle, daring all comers.

    By Bruce Russell, THE WIRE 336, February 2012







    Foxy Digitalis

    A set of loose, twitchy improvisation from this New York duo, combining constant undulating rhythms, tumbling drum fills reminiscent of Corsano or Kotche but always responsive to the improvisation, and varied counterpoint, juggling everything from Fragment D‘s taut strings and amplifier processing, to the manipulated textures of Möbius Strip.

    The pair feel very present and exposed in their performance, always in distinct roles creating a gloriously physical recording right from the start, things only getting better as the synthesizer looming in the background of the opening furious twenty minutes comes to prominence in Möbius Strip and White Devil Black Heart; all jagged cyclical patterns, abrupt flutters and pitch shift abuse. The record is marked by these unexpected and evocative figures, the wordless female vocals echoed in Daughter of the Wind or the increasingly ragged and mechanical sounds spat out by the opening track (the space constricting as the notes pull together into a dense haze); figures that vividly detach themselves from surroundings already expanding and contracting in bizarre ways. Throughout the electronic and acoustic are carefully distinguished, sometimes seemingly conflicted (True Mad North‘s abrasive riffing) and at others unified (Möbius Strip).

    Structured without compromising their relentless aggression and control, White Out have produced a refreshing and unsettling record with all the charm, physicality and unpredictability of really great improvised music. – By Chris Trowell, Foxy Digitalis





    Kwadratuur

    Het New Yorkse duo White Out is al zo’n vijftien jaar actief in de vrije improvisatie scene. In deze tijdsspanne trad het tweetal voornamelijk op met muzikanten zoals Nels Cline, Carlos Giffoni, Thurston Moore (van Sonic Youth) en Jim O’Rourke. Om deze reden waren Lin Culbertson en Tom Surgal slechts te horen op uitgaven van voorgaande artiesten. Het Belgische label AudioMer brengt daar nu verandering in: ‘Asphalt and Delay’ verzamelt vijf stukken van het duo, opgenomen in hun thuisbasis, hoog boven het straatniveau in hartje Manhattan. Deze gelimiteerde vinyloplage introduceert de luisteraar in het aparte klankuniversum van White Out.

    Een breed arsenaal aan instrumenten zoals analoge synthesizers, autoharp, fluit, gongs en bellen biedt de muzikanten alle mogelijkheden om hun improvisaties uit te bouwen. Het muzikaal spectrum wordt vanaf de eerste minuut afgetast met gefriemel en getokkel. De atonale structuren van de harp geven het openingsnummer een Oosterse uitstraling. Met zachtaardige en variabele ritmes navigeert Surgal de luisteraar door de mysterieuze klanken van de harp en synths. Zijn rommelige en instinctieve percussie schept een passende omgeving voor Culbertson’s expressieve toonzetting.

    In elk improvisatie trachten de muzikanten naar een bepaalde sfeer te werken. Die is doorgaans psychedelisch van aard en trekt de luisteraar mee in een onbekende, primaire wereld. De stemuitdrukkingen van Culbertson in “Daughter of The Wind” klinken behoorlijk sjamanistisch en onverfijnd vergeleken met bijvoorbeeld Julianna Barwick’s stemgeluid. Toch mist het zijn effect niet. De hijgende, krijsende en jankende stem steekt goed af tegen het synthesizergeborrel en werkt geestverruimend.

    Op ‘Möbius Strip’ wordt de belevenis nog een pak intenser. Het gebruik van slepende klankbundels vol dissonanten doet iedere aanhoorder grondig desoriënteren. De muziek wisselt tussen voorwaarts en achterwaarts zodat de richting niet meer duidelijk is. Het album sluit uiteindelijk af met twee soortgelijke, hypnotiserende nummers waarin spacey synthpartijen worden begeleid door Sugal’s getokkel. Deze stukken worden niet afgewerkt en kennen geen definitief einde. Het zijn momentopnames die deel uitmaken van een groter, onbekend geheel. Dat is niet echt een minpunt, aangezien de muzikale wereld van White Out zich steeds instinctmatig vormt. Perfect spul voor esoterische ervaringen. — Vincent Welleman voor Kwadratuur





    Ruis

    Op AudioMER. verschijnt het nieuwe album van het New Yorkse duo White Out dat onder andere in de schijnwerpers kwam door samenwerkingen met Carlos Giffoni, Jim O’ Rourke en Thurston Moore. Asphalt and Delay is het eerste album dat enkel duo-improvisaties verzamelt en met succes. Gemaakt met een breed spectrum aan instrumenten, maar een blijvende focus op synths en percussie. Een boeiend album op de lijn tussen hedendaagse free improv, eai en heavy trip. Wellicht een van de betere releases in het genre dit jaar. - Ruis 73, November 2011



    Kindamuzik

    White Out is reeds vijftien jaar actief en werkte in deze periode samen met prima volk zoals Thurston Moore, Carlos Giffoni, Nels Cline, William Winant en Jim O'Rourke. Dit resulteerde reeds in een zestal releases op labels als No Fun, Ecstatic Peace en ATP. AudioMER brengt met Asphalt and Delay de eerste (vinyl-only) release uit waarop White Out als duo te horen is.

    White Out bestaat uit Tom Surgal en Lin Culbertson, de eerste houdt zich bezig met (verschillende vormen van) percussie en Culbertson behelpt zich met elektronica, synthesizer, vervormde stemmen en ander fraais. Deze elementen komen op Asphalt and Delay op een explosieve manier samen en leveren een resultaat af dat meer is dan de som der delen.

    De vijf nummers op Asphalt and Delay schipperen tussen freejazz, improvisatie en psychedelica. De balans tussen deze verschillende componenten, de onvoorspelbaarheid waarmee passages in elkaar overgaan en vooral de manier waarop Surgal en Culbertson op elkaar reageren, maken van Asphalt and Delay een exploratieve luistertrip. In plaats van een uitgebreide lijst met referenties aan te voeren, is het interessanter om de uniciteit van White Out te onderstrepen. De manier waarop het duo erin slaagt om een veelheid aan uiteenlopende aspecten in een spannende synthese samen te brengen, pleit voor de aanpak van White Out. - Kindamuzik, november 2011



    Mr Bungle

    Het in Gent gevestigde label audioMER. is sinds 2008 actief op het gebied van vinyl releases, gericht op experimentele muziek met bijzonder artwork van hedendaagse visuele artiesten. Vorige maand zagen twee releases het levenslicht: Hieroglyphic Being en White Out. Dat dit nummer zeven en acht betreft in de discografie van het label, geeft aan dat het hier niet gaat om kwantiteit, maar om uitgaven die de luisteraar voor langere tijd blijven boeien. Ik neem graag de proef op de som.

    White Out bestaat reeds een jaar of vijftien, gevormd door Lin Culbertson en Tom Surgal. Hun creativiteit is in die jaren niet onopgemerkt gebleven, samenwerkingen met Thurston Moore, Jim O’Rourke en Carlos Giffoni onder andere, tot gevolg. Asphalt And Delay is eigenlijk het eerste album van het duo waarop ze zonder muzikanten van buiten opereren.

    Asphalt And Delay is een indrukwekkend samenspel tussen de percussie van Surgal en de diverse instrumenten en effecten van Culbertson, waarbij ook wordt geschermd met de tegenstellingen tussen elektronisch en akoestisch. Incidenteel duikt het gefilterde stemgeluid van Culbertson op, doch alleen wanneer dit past in het palet van free jazz en elektro-psychedelica. De vijf composities zijn uitdagend, avontuurlijk, veelal druk, op sommige momenten rustgevend, maar nergens voorspelbaar. De samensmelting van al die elementen wordt gelukkig niet tot het uiterste gedreven, zodat dit album een prachtig gesmeed geheel genoemd mag worden. Een dikke aanrader dus voor diegenen die van geïmproviseerde elektroakoestische muziek houden. – Mr Bungle


    €16.00

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