Download Reviews

Wednesday 18th August

August 18, 2010

palacky_13_filip_blechmannSo my hopefully weekly review of a freely downloadable piece then- tonight a recent(ish) release on Tim Blechmann’s Moka Bar net label, the catalogue of which can be found here. before discussing the music, one thing I like about Moka Bar- similar to Homophoni, Blechmann doesn’t overdo the number of releases available just because the overheads are low. In the four or five years that have passed since the net label began, there have only been six releases. While maybe this could show a degree of apathy towards the venture it more likely shows a healthy restraint, particularly as Blechmann himself appears on a good percentage of the recordings. The music also comes with a pdf file which can be printed off and folded up to make a sleeve for the disc you make from the audio files. This last detail I like a lot, it shows that degree of care and attention I have mentioned before in discussions about downloadable music.

The music I have been listening to tonight then consists to two tracks by the quartet of Blechmann, Klaus Filip, and Dieb13 all from Vienna, where the music was recorded back in 2006, plus Ivan Palacky, visiting from the Czech Republic. For this recording Palacky played his amplified knitting machine, Dieb13 a set of turntables, and Filip and Blechmann a laptop apiece. I like the work of all of these four improvisers, and so was eager to listen to these studio pieces when I downloaded them a few weeks back, but you know the story, too much music, too little time etc, glad to have burnt them to a CD to play out loud on the stereo now however.

There is a half an hour of music here, the first of the two pieces lasting twelve and a half minutes, the second five minutes more. Generally speaking the music is a blend of textural, grainy interference laid over softer tones and warm rumbles. Its really hard to tell who is doing what, though in places Filip’s familiar use of sinetones  is clear, and Blechmann’s deep, brooding buzzes are identifiable. On top of these, Palacky and 13 lay smaller, more incidental sounds, gritty amplified contact between metallic objects and rough, edgy little shards of distortion caused by who knows what. Generally speaking the first track is slow and broody, building into little arcs of dense activity before the individual layers are stripped back to let thing settle back down into near silence. The sounds are all very inviting, their mix of gently burning embers and dramatically popping and cracking surface drama is very appealing.

The second track is the real gem here though. Opening with a heavy sinetone and what sounds like a fly with prosthetic wings trapped in a broken jamjar, an immediate sense of urgency is formed, that pulls the music into a spiralling rush of distortion for a few minutes until, from deep underneath a strange wobbly rhythmic patterns appears, slowly fading away, leaving the track to flounder around on odd, vaguely synthesized burblings for a few minutes before embarking on a strange passage of odd whooshing and buzzing sounds over sine tones until, suddenly, twelve minutes in a fast rhythmic session kicks in, presumably coming from Dieb13’s spinning turntables. Normally I would not enjoy this turn of events in music like this, but here, after the rhythms, which seem made up of a tiny snatch of something melodic and other more distorted sounds settles into place, it is soon taken apart again by the other musicians. Other pulsing sounds, at different speeds appear (from Blechmann?) and a great sounding series of clicks and groans, a kind of drunken clockwork (from Palacky?) all builds together to form a sort of wildly chaotic music that all tumbles around in ill-fitting circles before it collapses completely and the music comes to an end.

This second piece is a real joy, really very different to much else I have heard in this area of improvisation, rich in different textures and approaches and not short of a degree of humour and playfulness. I really recommend taking a listen, and for once I feel no guilt in doing this, as it will cost you nothing to go and get the music, and it will only require an investment of time to get the most out of it.

Completely unrelated, This is for Julie. 😉

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