MARCUS SCHMICKLER / HAYDEN CHISHOLM
Amazing Daze

[Hapna, www.hapna.com]

ASMUS TIETCHENS / RICHARD CHARTIER
Fabrication

[Die Stadt, www.diestadtmusik.de]

RAFAEL TORAL
Space Solo 1

[Quecksilber, www.quecksilber-music.com]

BRION GYSIN
Live in London 1982

[Sub Rosa, www.subrosa.net]

SUPERMAYER
Supermayer Save the World

[Kompakt, www.kompakt-net.de]

VALGEIR SIGURDSSON
Ekvilibrium

[Bedroom Community, www.bedroomcommunity.net]

I've no idea what these albums all have in common? Musically, there are certain similarities [though not many]. Could it be the only thread that keeps these together is they all arrived in the same package?
German musical genre rapist Marcus Schmickler gets together with saxophonist/composer Hayden Chisholm for an interesting drone album. With a perfectly fitting title of "Amazing Daze", the duo purposefully move into the realm of the heavy drone. Two longish pieces feature Chisholm on bagpipes and sho [Japanese reed instrument], while Schmickler looks after electronic processing. What a wild ride this is. Title track is dedicated to Phill Niblock and rightly so. Its transcendent bagpipe melodious drone shifts and turns ever so slightly. The pitch and oscillation get tweaked here and there, while the piece sounds as if it were sitting still. The movement is done with no rush. Intensity grows in such proportions, you hear it bursting at the seems near its ending. Second piece "Infinity in the Shape of a Poodle (for Bjork Gudmundsdottir)" features equally intense drone, though it sounds somewhat more subdued in parts. Most interesting part is the complex conflict generated by Chisholm's sho and Schmickler's incessant high-pitched processing. Music itself brings to mind Pauline Oliveros in many bits [check out "The Root of the Moment"]. Highly satisfying in every sense of the word and an impressive duo to boot.
Ultra-minimalist Richard Chartier first worked with sound artist Asmus Tietchens back in 2003, during production of "Re-Post-Fabricated" CD, where a selected few artists were asked to re-mix and create new works from his 1998 CD "Postfabricated". This collaboration has now continued under the title "Fabrication" which features both artists work on equal terms. Ultra-quiet and ultra-sparse are closest descriptions of their work. Intense moments of tranquility and deathly quiet echoes, trickling pitches and other alien noises. The piece develops quite naturally, with an even flow. One word of caution, turn the volume as high up as you're willing to handle it. Otherwise, you're bound to miss the tiniest nuances of this grand occasion.
Music connoisseur Rafael Toral started a brave mission last year with his "Space" release. "Space Program" as he called it, would feature a great number of releases. Each one would focus on single sound event and on immediate space individual occupies. On the longish "Portable amplifier", Toral uses MS-2 portable amp feedback with light-controlled filter to amass a number of interesting bird-like calls [some of this stuff was already heard on the previous "Space" CD], lots of cooing. This is really stuff that I take to be quite playful. Sure, it's serious, but there's a certain unspeakable humour to it that can't be denied. Save for a couple of tracks - the unmistakable "Electrode Oscillator" [which uses some intensely rigid waves from a portable oscillator], and "Radio" [which uses a portable amplifier as its sole source to emulate some rapid Space Invaders shoot-em-up noises], this is more than electronic music. Toral's stuff is a soundtrack to a jungle. Space is where your mind is at. Perhaps Toral was vacationing deep in the heart of the Amazon last year when this CD was mixed.
Back in autumn of 1982, William Burroughs' close companion and collaborator Brion Gysin performed in London. Members of Rip, Rig and Panic, Penguin Café Orchestra, Slits and guitarist Ramuntcho Matta [who produced the session] also came along for the ride. Concert is a mixed bag, with some tracks being solo takes where Gysin recites some of his pieces, while others are collaborations between musicians and Gysin. The musical collaborations I find work only mildly at best. Rhythm section tries to force Gysin into a corner and he sounds like he's tied to one single beat as opposed to having total freedom to set the pace. Save for "Cut-Ups: 1960 (Bardo Hotel)" - where the vibe is rich and Gysin is forceful in delivering the message - other improvisations seem somewhat lackluster. Gysin is not signing, he's just reciting and that's at least right. When he's left alone [as on the brilliant story-telling of "Teaching"], Gysin shines. Pick this up for the rare occasion to hear the master preach his message. Supermayer is a new moniker made up especially for the collaboration between German DJ/producers Michael Mayer and Aksel Schaufler [aka Superpitcher]. I'm not sure whether this is a story telling opus, or whether the album is meant as a compilation of further 12" mixes, but whatever the case is, it works quite well. From the minimal but futuristic beats of "Superbrain Transmission", through to retro-fitting of "Us and Them" [which comes complete with heavily altered voices], to the break-beats on "Planet of the Sick", the duo has a lot of variety to offer at every turn. There's even a very sad ballad done in a nice pop overtone, called "The Lonesome King". Even the closing "Cocktails for Two" sounds more melancholic than dance-floor oriented. As they say, two heads are better than one, or in the words of my three year old son, who announces proudly, "Look daddy, it's superman. He's a super hero!"
Having produced albums by artists as varied as Bjork and Will Oldham, Icelandic musician Valgeir Sigur?sson decided to strike out and try things on his own terms. Only the third release on his own Bedroom Community imprint, "Ekvilibrium" is as delightful as it is confusing in every sense of that word. How do you make sense of Bonnie 'Prince' Billy providing vocals on two of the ten tracks, alongside lovely programmed passages, and an exalted string section that is cinematic in scope. J. Walker does some nice mumbling vocalizing on "Baby Architect", while Snorri Heimisson plays a bunch of tight bassoon passages and Sigur?sson plays a ton of tense Moog, Wurlitzer and programs the whole score. Two vocal numbers that feature Bonnie 'Prince' Billy ["Evolution of Waters" and "Kin"] are some of the saddest numbers I've ever heard from him. The ultra-subtle orchestration works wonders as it swivels and surrounds his vocal prowess. Besides the vocals, the album comes complete with a few scored instrumental arrangements. "Equilibrium is Restored" is one such toned down number where tenor, works side by side with the string section which is orchestrated in ethereal beauty by Sigur?sson himself. What the listener is treated to is a real masterpiece, underplayed and unassuming, yet breathtakingly dazzling.

- Tom Sekowski


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RECENZJE

+ Quio - Phiu
+ Vs_Price - Song06.txt.
+ Gebrüder Teichmann - The Number Of The Beat
+ Swod - Sekunden
+ Rework - Pleasure Is Pretty
+ Various Punks Vol_A
+ Modeselektor - Happy Birthday!
+ Genaro La Fosse - Focus Factor
+ Bunny Lake - The Church Of Bunny Lake
+ bpmf - Parousia Fallacy
+ Basteroid - Upsets Ducks
+ Louie Austen - Summer Love EP
+ Anthill - Love

- - - - - - - - -

+ EDDY MEETS YANNAH - Once in a While
+ DON CHERRY QUINTET - Live at Café Montmartre 1966
+ F.S. BLUMM MEETS LUCA FADDA - F.S. Blumm meets Luca Fadda
+ GOSTA RUNDQVIST / ANDREAZ HEDEN - If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS - Motel Lovers
+ GRAND NATIONAL - A Drink & A Quick Decision
+ DIMENSION X - Dimension X
+ FOR BARRY RAY - New Days
+ EYES LIKE SAUCERS - Still Living in the Desert (and mostly inside my own head)
+ WILDBIRDS & PEACEDRUMS - Heartcore
+ COLD BLEAK HEAT - Simitu
+ THE BEAUTIFUL SCHIZOPHONIC - Musicamorosa
+ WILLIAM BASINSKI - El Camino Real
+ HANS KENNEL MYTHA - How It All Started
+ SIX TWILIGHTS - Six Twilights CD/DVD
+ PAOLO ANGELI - Tessuti
+ NELS CLINE, ANDREA PARKINS, TOM RAINEY - Downpour
+ BLOSSOM TOES - We Are Ever So Clean - If Only for a Moment
+ SINEAD O'CONNOR - Theology
+ CHICAGO UNDERGROUND TRIO - Chronicle CD/DVD / TIGERSMILK - Android Love Cry
+ SUN RA & HIS ASTRO-INFINITY ARKESTRA - Strange Strings / SUN RA & HIS INTERGALACTIC-INFINITY ARKESTRA - The Night of the Purple Moon
+ PJUSK - Sart / JODI CAVE - For Myria
>> MARCUS SCHMICKLER / HAYDEN CHISHOLM - Amazing Daze / ASMUS TIETCHENS / RICHARD CHARTIER - Fabrication / RAFAEL TORAL - Space Solo 1 / BRION GYSIN - Live in London 1982 / SUPERMAYER - Supermayer Save the World / VALGEIR SIGURDSSON - Ekvilibrium
+ WOLFMANGLER - Cooking with Wolves
+ BORBETOMAGUS & HIJOKAIDAN - Both Noises End Burning / PETER BROTZMANN OCTET - The Complete Machine Gun Sessions / KEVIN DRUMM & DANIEL MENCHE - Gauntlet
+ TIMELESS PULSE - Quintet
+ SKALLANDER - Skallander
+ THE OSCILLATION - Out of Phase
+ MATT McCORMICK - Very Stereo
+ PUMICE - Pebbles
+ MICHIO KURIHARA - Sunset Notes
+ BLAINE L. REININGER - Glossolalia
+ VOLUME - Aeter

- - - - - - - - -

WYWIADY / RELACJE

+ A source of energy - rozmowa z duo Modeselektor
+ A mixture of things - rozmowa z Quio