e a r p e a c e

  • (various artists) you're all over the map...putting flesh on the bones of the dirty work cdr (bai mei guei wang 2oo2)

    ...YOU'RE ALL OVER THE MAP Compilation: With eighteen contributors coming from all over the globe, this compilation of experimental music casts a wide net. The first few tracks, from the likes of Kim Cascone, Horror Media, and Matthew Meli, are largely cut up and noise pieces that call to mind the kind of material you'd find on old underground cassettes back in the day. They're nice enough, each in their own way, but give you that slightly queasy feeling as only old samples and analogue sounds can. Things begin to really pick up with the Ukrainian Nihil est Excellence, whose "am-e-dr-s" features a fairly high-pitched and ever-so-slightly decayed wave, over which a few additional sounds are delicately overlaid in a wonderfully understated piece. Belgium's Formatt follow with a minimally titled piece (it's called "--") that begins with a bed of sounds, largely played, at least to my ears, on Fruityloops, against which darker waves of sound rise up to provide more depth. Chaos As Shelter provide probably the purest dark ambient moment of the compilation with "Ruins 2", which does all the right things: droning dark ambient tones, clattering metallic percussion, and deep down in the mix (or off in the distance, depending on your perspective) a wind instrument plays in an Indian or Arabic mode. Destructive Genius with "Bombay Duck" begins with field recordings of, naturally enough, Bombay, against which electronic squelches are placed, while the sounds of car horns are abstracted to suggest the duck of the title. Gydja's "Borderlands" is suitably placed in this company, with similar electronic squelches and sharp squeaks against occasionally thickening tone waves. It's a good introduction to the abstracted style in which Gydja is heading, but modesty prevents me from saying anything more.

    The peace of the preceding tracks is disturbed by the South African Patient Zero, who "I know why Kafka wanted it all burned" uses noisy percussion (or percussive noise) as its focus, with speaker-crumpling levels of distortion. Melted Lego Band, from the Island of Misfit Toys in Antarctica, would you believe, also have their fair share of speaker distortion, but as part of a far more subtle piece, which, as their location suggests, recalls the toys and noisemaker works of, say, Nurse With Wound and zoviet*france. Still more crunchy speaker abuse follows with Amoux, while the mood takes a rather different turn with the Korean Chengod, whose "10+2" represents perhaps the most structured work on the whole compilation, with mutated beats built around a robotic sample declaring "my brain is bigger than yours." Still in Asia, Japan's Surgical Mental Klinik presents an imaginary garden of rising waves of slightly processed bird sounds, tainted with the sound of volume clipping, which, if intentional, doesn't sound it. The Welsh Stereo Minus One take an electronic beep, part car alarm, part computer game, loop in constantly, gradually adding more processing and effects in a quite wonderful sensation of information overload. And finally, Mutant Press again use electronic beeps in a rougher Autechre type vein, with loops that bubble along it a rather jiggy type fashion.

    Overall, this is a well put together compilation, with a mahvellously conceived track order that begins with the noisy lo-fi material, merging into the ambient moments of Chaos as Shelter and Gydja, before ending with the more beepy and obviously electronic material. Definitely experimental, but by no means inaccessible (at least for my admittedly broad accessibility range). The first 100 copies of the compilation come in a neat little Biohazard specimen bag. More info is available here http://white-rose.net/wrn-59.html with ordering instructions here: http://white-rose.net/distr.html

     ~ gydja
       (originally published in gydja news on the shadowlight yahoo group 2 april, 2oo2)

    contact: b.wildered@white-rose.net
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