Tags: alex drool, eran sachs, ezio piermattei, f. ampism, ilan volkov, joe murray, maya dunietz, the custodians, tom white, tr/, triple heater, tutore burlato
Triple Heater – Aurochs (tape, Tutore Burlato, #15)
Tom White – Commemoratives (tape, Tutore Burlato, #14)
TR/ – Amici di Filippo (tape, Tutore Burlato, #13)
The Custodians – Moribund Mules and Musket Fire (tape, Tutore Burlato, #12)
Usurper with Alex Drool, Maya Dunietz, Eran Sachs and Ilan Volkov – untitled (tape, Tutore Burlato, #16)
Triple Heater – Aurochs
Not a three-o but a two-oh! This new pairing from Tutore Burlato High Priest, Ezio Piermattei and the supple-limbed-totem-pole F Ampism flaps at the ears like a leather duck.
Students of the WTF scene can already imagine the smooth Tiki-delic jungle vibes and Red City grit yeah? But what this charming tape does so well is place the scribble-scrabble gently in a perfumed mango’s peppery slickness.
So a bagpipe meshes seamlessly with egg-slicer, a warped tape workout wetly dribbles into a pink sponge. Those robot-voice toys are underpinned with a twisted groaning and wrenched knot work.
Voices; children’s voices, male and female voices are a recurring warble that change the emotional resonance of every rattle and honk. Each piece remains human as a result, the occasional frenetic crackle an umlaut or other such punctuation. YEAH… I’m picking up a master’s hand in the edit suite ensuring each piece is a perfect mix of wet and dry, organic and man-made.
But it’s not all high-octane, fingers-on-triggers yucks. These gents are not afraid to whip out a haunting beauty-jam. ‘Telamoni Curiosi’ has a rich drawn-out slowness; the kind that floods through your body like hot opium immediately before you have an accident. You’re powerless to stop the door crunch the finger, the heel slip on the banana peel but in that moment of submission you taste the bitter tang of true happiness.
The perfect music to accompany images of Oscar Niemeyer’s Brasilia dream.
Tom White – Commemoratives
As 2016 continues to be that damn Tom White’s year this cassette might just be the best one yet readers.
The nosey will know the drill already; a reel-to-reel tape recorder is used to manually manipulate a loop of innocent brown tape; possibly a few pedals get pressed. Sounds easy enough, eh?
But on Commemoratives Tom’s gritty palms are transferring some kind of magnetic-manna to the slowly looping sound resulting in remarkable acrobatic leaps and whorls absolutely RIPPING out of the speakers like a sweet baklava bullet.
There’s a depth, a real colon-churning depth, to how these sounds roll bilious and tight. And just when you’re feeling fit to burst a cow-bell ‘K-LUNG’ bouncing between the speakers rattles you back into the world of flat stomachs and healthy greens.
The excellent side-long ‘Evoke a Yes’ drives Alpine cattle from their lush pasture through granular hair-pin bends; a single brassy ‘donk’ becomes the repeated motif lurching drunkenly on the local firewater until a chrome trebuchet hurls great gassy grenades into the steaming tar pits . But at the same time I’m minded of an early tape music boffin, wrapped up in labcoat and thick Clark Kents, dancing to this in his cluttered broom cupboard.
Performance-wise there is nothing held back and at times I’m pretty sure a block of particularly hectic loopery has sent me back in time a couple of seconds… a couple of seconds… a…
A powerful and heady brew that even when it’s doing nothing in particular is re-calibrating your brain-pod with subtly shifting patterns – a sly parquet interlocking those lazy synapses.
TR/ – Amici di Filippo
A right beanfeast this one – comforting and creamy.
‘Sabato’ starts with thick slapback-echo riffles over electronic-sand, creating waves of
Pietro La Rocca’s lumpy canvas to paint up with Patrycja Stefaneck’s wonderful smeared voices.
Things progress at a wrecked snail’s pace: the canvas becomes laced ribbons of liquorice empowered with a mystic charge; the voice gobbles and mutters, wriggles and stutters slathered like golden butter.
Side two opens with something akin to a song but in this instance the campfire we are sitting around has been built of oleander creating choking, hallucinogenic fumes. Urgently strummed guitars stretch their steel strings to the horizon, shimmering like a Fripp-mirage while gentle disembodied voices float overhead.
The closer, ‘Digitale Terrestre’ pulls all these elements together in a light sketch, an open doodle of huffing and mithering. Innocent squeaks escape and fly between the massed mouth-chunter. This time it’s the guitar that floats overhead, darting in and out of the weft like a stickleback – silvery but sharp enough to draw blood. These enhanced throat and lips have a Residents-style quality and I’m half expecting to launch into an Infant Tango before long.
You want some sweet to go with that gravy? Look no further than duo TR/.
The Custodians – Moribund Mules and Musket Fire
R’aid-eeeeee-oh oh oh oh oh fuh, fuh, fuh Or?
Forgive my brief extrapolation but these Custodians (just plain Custodians on this tape – not ‘of the Realm’ as on the previous outings I’ve heard) serve up a classy dish that breaks apart that British institution of cosy improv and spoken word like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, leaving 12 dense segments splayed and easily snackable.
Their M.O. involves occasional multi-tracked speaking parts weaving between Adam Bohman’s carefully curated sonic-detritus, Adrian Northover’s saxes and synth and Sue Lynch’s tenor sax and lyrical reeds.
It’s a truly wonderful listen; light, airy and unhurried. You just can’t fake the love and respect in this playing. It’s clearly defined yet ego-less, economical but happy to gild the occasional corner.
Each player, a standout in their own right, dons the collective cap with aplomb so shimmering brass sings and croons, often swooping in the wake of a wagtail’s gentle undulations. The ‘objects’ (large glasses bowed and combs teeth pinged with a thumb for example) add just exactly the right level of clutter and stroking to keep things tasty.
The text pieces seem to follow Adam Bohman’s ‘instructional/institutional’ approach with medical terms dropping from three mouths like ripe plumbs.
It couldn’t be more English if it wore a bowler hat.
Usurper with Alex Drool, Maya Dunietz, Eran Sachs and Ilan Volkov – untitled
Here the brothers Duff & Robertson are joined by Tel Aviv’s finest for some surprisingly tender hap, grapple and schooshh.
I guess the temptation with such a big-band is go the full Ellington and honk it up outta each loud hole. But on this occasion, and I’m not sure if it’s the brothers instructions or our host’s impeccable manners, these side-long pieces balloon like parachute silk and float with nowt but a gentle ripple.
Side one. I’m getting a tingle in my loins that suggests method. Old bronze coins dropped with arthritic fingers, cold marbles rolled across the wooden floor, straw flutes blown listlessly, burbling electric soup (sans batteries), rocking chairs rough squall, soft mouths chanting under flannel vests and knitting needles wrapped in sellotape tapped against the kitchen table. These bare-bones are constantly reinvented and realigned.
I’m getting signals in my lugs that indicate structure. A gentle moraine, its gritty interconnectedness based on Turkish carpet patterns. Twelve hands reaching out and six brains sparking with damp electricity. A bustling village of gossip coming to rest at the end of a particularly busy day.
The nervous rustle of bodies and fingers has an ingrained tension, of course, because (SPOILER ALERT) the moneyshot never arrives! If you’re waiting to see who’s going to crack first and ‘blah’ out forget it Bub, this is one saucy tease yeah?
Side two is hardly any more physical but wears its influences proudly in a collective throat-jam.
Dry coughs and sighs and huffs are double-bubbled to form a bivalve experience: left and right unite in slurpy kisses on stubbly cheeks. I picture our sacred six stretched out on roman loungers dripping sweet grape cheek-parps and wet gonzo hawks. The odd spare hand languorously rattling a tin fig or ripping off an elastoplast completes a decadent sound-image.
I riff on the chorus of grunts. I goof on the collective harmonic gasp. We follow the da-dada-dada-da-da conversation; until ‘uh uh errr…’ it descends into laugher as a Pangolin snuffles for truffles.
The real true joy yeah!
fruit smoke: joe murray’s tutore burlato special: acrid lactations & jointhee, flocculi, final seed, dylan nyoukis, i placcaJune 9, 2016 at 11:11 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: acrid lactations, dylan nyoukis, ezio piermattei, final seed, flocculi, i placca, joe murray, joincey, jointhee, tutore burlato
Acrid Lactations & Jointhee – Chest (tape, Tutore Burlato, #10)
Flocculi – Gara delle facce (tape, Tutore Burlato, #09)
Final Seed / Dylan Nyoukis – split (tape, Tutore Burlato, #08)
I PLACCA – la la vitea (tape, Tutore Burlato, #11)
O sweet Bologna! That most beautiful and learned of jewels; famous for world-renowned sauces and stunningly practical porticos.
But Bologna is swiftly becoming the epicentre of new movement, some audacious No Audience activity; a nerve centre of excellence named TUTORE BURLATO. And when this sticky spider’s web converges it does so onto a man. A man strong of arm and handsome of chin.
His name? Signore e signori… allow me to introduce Ezio Piermattei.
Ezio’s tape label has been documenting the N-AU as it stands and as it hopes to be. Giving airtime to the old faithfuls and thrusting new gushers alike. And this recent batch of tapes from BURLATO mixes the new and the old, the Anglo and the Italian, the after-dinner cigarillo and the hastily burned spice mix.
My old hands go snatch up the Acrid Lactations & Jointhee jams to play first. Spying the body positive title, Chest, my mind spins back to their 2013 (?) release Toe where I honked on about: semi-improv, pre jazz hornings and Joincey dueting with coyotes.
And some of this would still float. Yeah… it’s ‘song’ based for sure, but these three pulsating brains have stretched the idea of what a song can be and on Chest serve up unconscious narratives with brittle dream accompaniment.
Brittle? Yeah… brittle is most definitely the word as there is a delicious fragility to these tunes; a fluttering of three tiny hearts in a cage of hollow bones. They stand up (only just) on stick-thin Bambi legs, all a quiver and vulnerable.
But stand they shall, for there is some other force that holds this three-ness with powerful limb-locked poise. Study the archaeo-acoustic cranks and they will tell you the ancients moved giant blocks with similar tones and chants. The trick is (I propose) to melt the ego, to drain it out of your heel, and relent.
And because the general speed is set to stately (there’s not any of that ‘itch & scratch’ haste to the improvisations) Chest presents some red-hot moments:
- Bubbling synth/keys, birdsong bubbles, mung-voice choirs and frankly horny Dictaphonics.
- “How do you identify lazily?” The unknowable mumbles in a rare moment of call and response. An underlying ur-tone of jaxx-babble frames the question.
- Depeche Mode B-Side moogs paired with drunkenly whispered threats into a green parrot’s ear (or whatever it is parrots have)
- Short mbira plunks as Jointhee sings like a cactus would – free of convention, pure with antiseptic pulp.
- The Free Jazz is dealt like a wildcard, at the optimum moment of strategic value. And these chops are paper-cut sharp and drone precise.
- Crossed frequencies on radio-weird. Damp-eyed with pride, accented words and phrases patter like fresh baby feet.
It’s so precious I’m holding my breath as I listen – a glorious submission – I tap out.
It’s the next day. I’m up early, guiltily hungover while the house still sleeps. I slap on Flocculi’s Gara Delle Facce to help re-build my soul.
Like a broth strong with lentils and kale this kind of junk really nourishes me good.
Another trio: Devid Ciamplini, David Lucchesi and Ezio Piermattei take a bunch of ‘objects’, vocoder, percussive fixings and rattle on like those old guys swigging their tiny coffees.
It’s all about the gesture and aplomb. Rustles and dry clicks snap me back into last night’s tamed debauchery.
A stone floor is brushed with a stiff brush, copper bowls are wiped out with a sponge. Once tight strings are slackened till they flap like a clown’s waistband. Sloppy electronics hum and splutter over graven images. The pace is the busy, busy, busy of a market stall; conversations are started with a warm meatiness and broken off in chaotic order. Is that a fumble for loose change or a heavy finger on the scales? A half-dozen blood oranges get popped in a paper bag, the ends twisted with a practiced flourish.
Then a creaking of door-hinges bookends Ezio’s patented pigeon impression and punctuates the rubbery throbbing. A glassy glissandi on prepared guitar shimmers like the ice in my Campari. My only critique would be these jams are too damn short!
On a bit of a roll I un-wrap the Final Seed / Dylan Nyoukis tape; a shy, blushing pink it brightens my wobbly mood further.
First some biog-jizz. Final Seed is the very Jameson Sweiger from mysterious US-based folk Maths Balance Volumes. I talk like I know all this shit but, truth to tell, this is all new information for me that I just Googled [Editor’s note: good man, exactly the kind of journalistic thoroughness our readers have come to expect]. But boy… have I been napping! Investigations reveal some sweet-weird going on in Minnesota.
Seed’s untitled side is a match-head; bulbous and explosive with all that energy fizzing and bright phosphorus boiling from the very first strike.
Ukulele plucks/strums and reconstructed vocal-hawks & blither (aka cunk-singing!) are layered like thick acoustic plasters creating a Rauschenberg sound-collage. And for a while it veers between this flexible ‘boing’ and gristly rattle.
But it’s the long drawn-out synth coda that’s the soothing balm my aching neck craves. A two note ‘ooohh…ahhhh’ tolling like soft bells. A gentle relentlessness, a rolling muscle stretch that slides easily over damaged cartilage. I can. I can feel. I can feel myself slipping under…
*GASP* <EYES BLINK OPEN WIDE, DROOL WIPED ON BACK OF HAND> *GASP*
Achem! Dylan Nyoukis has kindly recycled elements of his hen’s-teeth Encephalon Cracks series to create a mega-mix for retirement homes.
one of the kids mutters as they roll out of bed and cram with cereal. Of course the innocence of youth belies cosmic wisdom. There really is an electric-tang to this side. I imagine the guts of an old casio-tronic are ripped out and refilled with warm candy. So, pressing the keys now releases rainbow-scented blurs and fruit smoke.
Voices and domestic tape interjections keep things frisky but about halfway through this piece a seam of organ meditations begins to glitter distantly like coal dust. It has a melancholic non-congruent shine, like a shrugged shoulder coupled with eye-contact held for a fraction too long; never less than lovely, deeper than delightful.
But oldey-timey listeners need not fear! The Nyoukis jaxx-vocals still warp and stutter, freeing strict-language from its unnecessary shackles.
In short… it’s a trip and your ticket is well and truly clipped pal!
It’s much later now. The sun has done its work and snuck back leaving all surfaces pleasantly warm. I type into the fading light as I PLACCA’s offering, the mysterious la la vitea plays massaging my tired old brain.
A classic tape collage work, this beast moves from knockabout to spooky in super-quick time. There is a wonderful joy at play here. The sounds/recordings/interventions are really allowed to breathe, to grow and sprout wings.
Side one starts with leaky plumbing and ends in a JUNK MASS with golden voices going all ‘halleluiah’ while mountain goats bleat. It’s a tingler for sure! On the way though this knotty terrain we’re served up buzzing flies like some eccentric lord in a sauce of wobbling naughtiness. The double-loop reverb of a strain-station [Editor’s note: I think ‘strain-station’ may be a typo but it is too glorious to correct] Tannoy goes all tape-ga-ga across a Stooges-esque riff. Result? It’s like being stuck on fast forward for a year and a day.
Side two guffs the voice track with a mouthful of slow pebbles – it’s a Babel tower baby with ramps for Davros. Soon a static blanket is draped over a clarinet and guitar in a cheeky seaside manner; a nudge and a wink if you will. But the movement is forward, ever forward… plastic buttons may get pressed and un-pressed but it’s the lusty crying that keeps me riveted to the spot.
More wonderful wet-coffs for the Dental Tourist; a gem of a sensible tape resourcing!
Tags: dan melchior, eugenio sanna, ezio piermattei, joe murray, lovely honkey, luke poot, sindre bjerga, tutore burlato
Eugenio Sanna – La porta stretta (tape, Tutore Burlato, #04)
Lovely Honkey – Sharp Intake of Breadth (tape, Tutore Burlato, #07)
Dan Melchior – Human of Stow (tape, Tutore Burlato, #05)
Sindre Bjerga – Attractive Amplification (tape, Tutore Burlato, #06)
When Alexander Graham Bell released The Noble Four, his treatise on early electronic sounds, he could not have imagined how electricity and sound would become ubiquitously meshed to a point where one is almost unimaginable without the other.
How he’d pinkly-blush at Luke Poot’s menacing audience participation and twirl his beard to Sindre Bjerga’s Technicolor throat spasms. I can picture a neatly-booted foot tapping to Eugenio Sanna’s trustworthy improvisations and the watercolours cracked out to better capture Dan Melchior’s solo rumblings.
In the spirit of electronic experimentations Ezio Piermattei has released his own Noble Four on the charming Tutore Burlato tape label straight-outta-Bologna. Packaged in smart plastic cases with intelligent and sensitive artwork the dreich professor could easily slip all four into his waistcoat without bothering his pocket watch.
For you, my dearest of all known and possible readers, you get a head full of gonzo-text and a couple of blue links to send you on your voyage of discovery. God speed gentle ones!
Eugenio Sanna – La Porta Stretta
Konked-out solo-guitar rottings from Italy.
Side One presents a suite of tight head-stock ‘pings’ aping the sarcastic hizz of cold milk dripped on glowing barbeque coals. These metallic pickles (reassuringly sour) rattle my pegs real good especially when the few good moo-cow moans let loose. It’s a sparse affair but full of Charles Atlas’ DYNAMIC TENSION therefore giving me and the whole family assembled space to throw in a stray cough.
When things get a bit more hectic in ‘Agosto in campagna (parte prima)’ Eugenio’s 5 supple fingers ripple unconsciously over 6 strings and a fine distortive mist descends reminding my old brain of mice pattering quickly across amplified tinfoil. You dig? A zinc rustling that’s both pacey and pink-footed.
I’m sucking on some Kendal Mint Cake when Side Two slots into place and the thin metallic scratching merges perfectly with my mouthful of sharp menthol. My nose-hairs stand to attention as similarly stiff strings are plucked with a leathery thumb. It’s simply beautiful.
Then all at once the improvisation feels less improvised and more like a slowly revealing pattern I was just too dull to recognise. If you could complete a crossword with simple silvery tones it might, after forty minutes or so of head-scratching, lock into this bedazzled lotus flower.
The final short track ‘Agosto in campagna (parte seconda)’ leaves us in no doubt of Eugenio’s experience and skill – he’s been playing improvised stuff since the 70’s with beards as grey as Phil Minton, Eddie Prevost, Derek Bailey and Roger Turner – by making his guitar sound exactly like clam shells rustling in a salt-encrusted keep net.
Lovely Honkey – Sharp Intake of Breadth
For such an active collaborator and vital live jaxxon them Lovely Honkey solo tapes are thin on the ground, eh? But Huzzah! Ezio Piermattei’s clear eye spotted Luke Poot’s theatre-whoop all the way from Bologna to let us in on this felt-tipped ritual.
Sound-wize the fidelity is fairly non-existent making this feel like you’ve carefully inserted a hosepipe into Poot’s ear and you can hear the festival of whirs and clunks direct from the old-grey-thistle.
Squeaky toys, rubber dogs, old tape glutch and office stationery get used to whip up a gentle Intonarumori. In fact you could bring a smarty-pants Futurist round for tea, jab this tape on and they could check off the officially required…
- Roars, Thunderings, Explosions, Bangs and Booms
- Whistling, Hissing, Farting, Puffing
- Whispers, Murmurs, Mumbling, Muttered Hip-Hop Oaths, Gurgling
- Screeching, Skanking, Creaking, Rustling, Humming, Crackling
- Noises obtained by beating on metals, woods, skins, stones, pottery and half-melted Sindy Dolls etc.
- Voices of animals and people, Shouts, Screams, Shrieks, Wails, Hoots, Howls, Death rattles, Sobs. Oh yes, especially the sobs.
That is of course until it all degenerates into Superman (and I don’t mean the Laurie Anderson version) which I don’t think no Russolo would ever, ever approve of. Sweet.
Poot’s Circus of Shame rolls lustily into side two in a sad convoy, wheels dropping off the primary coloured cart. We bear witness to a hidden ritual. A music box plays, a small appreciative crowd moan like ghosts and Poot’s seemingly loose hand on the helm belies the firm fingertip control. He’s got us trussed up and basted in hot butter, baby.
As the ritual continues he huffs up: tape grot, Stereophonics, (more) dog toys and frenzied choking. All component parts slide together like currents meeting round a sooty headland. Sure they gash and churn but the fluid mechanics could be scribbled on a blackboard and studied by grey beards and goofs all night. He’s got the math right you dig?
So don’t listen to the chaos, listen to the patterns beyond the chaos. Leave your expectations at home and tune in deeply and surrender. Wake the town and tell the people…there’s an inventiveness and joyful release shattering that snotty ego on this tape; a freedom that few ‘plinkerty-plonk’ merchants dare to reveal.
Dan Melchior – Human of Stow
The bottom-dwelling mud flapper attaches itself to my face and starts to pump creamy fluid into eyes, ears, nose and mouth. I’m surprised I’m not choking as pints of liquid fill up my head-holes but I’m too distracted by the fanciful visuals and audio-hallucinations.
Soft boulders shuffle slowly across a ploughed field leaving zen-streaks in their wake. The Town Mayor proclaims the moral victory in an Obese Antiques Roadshow. I blow the dust from a pair of old sneakers and hop backwards at the sight of an HO-scale field hospital nestled inside. The plane I’m on descends, descends, descends but the ground fails to appear. Super-lamb-banana melts into a shallow yellow lake – the La’s lick it into the shape of Chad.
Loaves of bread are kept in gilded cages. My once beautiful nails are chipped and grimy. Elastic muscles snap back into place more slowly now. I wake up suddenly remembering why the magic markers were left in the outhouse. A slow frog begins his chorus.
All these thoughts and more float across my soft-human-cinema as Dan’s new tape wriggles out of the stereo. The working method is important. Dan randomly fills a tape full of these evocative sounds which, in fairness, are probably sourced from field recordings, accidental damage, damp organ and domestic tape huss. They are layered and woven together without no mastering hand making it clear “that the whole idea of form is pretty elastic.”
Hey…that’s in direct contrast to the Honkey tape above. Don’t we just cover the whole field of dreams readers?
To my tin-ears this all sounds pretty dandy as drones start up then stop suddenly, dismal beats lose the will to live and conversations become one-eared affairs. It’s well documented that our brains love order and strive to overlay a regular grid on anything haphazard or irregular. The connections on Human of Stow are no-less random than a fat, black raindrop collage on a dry pavement but seem ordered like the suits in a pack of cards. The bully-boy clubs versus bleeding hearts, the razor sharp diamonds outfoxing the slow spades. And like cards this tape gives me side-eyes, never quite letting me relax.
After a flutter of sonic dry heaves things unsettle further like an early Fucking Amateurs CD-r where it’s unclear what is performance, what it added random mayhem (or in-joke) and if that regular ‘whomp’ is the sound of the broken recording equipment?
The folk next door, possibly alerted by my frantic ‘clickerty-clack’ typing, have just put their bin out and I’m convinced this is Dan’s master-stoke. Unconscious collaboration hits our collective driveway… Melchior versus Newcastle City Council!
Sindre Bjerga – Attractive Amplification
Regular readers know Sindre Bjerga’s modus operandi by now; ‘prolific-as-fuck’ yeah? And this wonderful release delivers superbly on his other well-known calling card: super-dense tape work.
Structurally we’ve got two live performances from both of the Dams – Amster and Rotter, recorded in 2015 and preserved in fine rubbery clarity.
Things start with ‘Flicker and Burst’ and it fairly slaps me across the noggin quick sharp. Jeezus…this is very, very heavy tape manipulation that thumbs a lift from Henri Chopin playing Henry Rollins.
The splutters are thick with phlegm; glottis-deep and curdled. After a time of fairly violent honks a deep perfumed-drone sets up while Sindre clatters shit-smeared chicken cages with a naked foot. You can relax into grey calm for a moment or two but don’t get too comfy because that distinctive condenser-mic jaxx starts to build and build into a full-spittin’ and bitin’ tantrum. Oof!
After a little lie down I gingerly press play on ‘Reverse Energy’. Where Sindre went wet and wild on side one this is dry, measured and sparse. In places I’m picturing the maudlin decay of Gilbert & George’s Dusty Corners, all abandoned hope and unfinished business. Sure, the tapes get mangled and strangled with that erotic ‘whurrr’ but it’s more of an internal sound, like the last sickly pulse of a tension headache.
When the volume and complexity is pitched down (a symptom of the reverse energy perhaps) it encourages a welcome introversion. The super-sad ending (some 70’s AM classic sung in pure innocent sunlight) rattles among the hiss-canyon like a lost Lambkin jam. Amber-glass perfection.
Tags: ezio piermattei, grip casino, intonema, joe murray, tutore burlato, va aa lr
Grip Casino & Ezio Piermattei – Holo Orbita (tape, Tutore Burlato, #02, edition of 50)
VA AA LR – Polis (CD, Intonema, int014, edition of 200)
Grip Casino & Ezio Piermattei – Holo Orbita
Lighter than air music-collage/focus-group jam from residents of those fine city jewels Bologna and Rome!
Tweaked to the pitch of a moth’s wing, this is a delightfully delicate murmur. The equipment list, as ever, gives us a clue. I’ve grouped the guff-orchestra for ease:
- mouth-puff – ocarina, saxophone, flute, voice, trumpet and harmonica
- wrist-twist – viola, Dictaphone, xylophone, guitar, accordion, percussions, piano and viola
- brain-crinkle – electronics, editing, tapes, turntable and field recordings
There’s a whole bunch more channels opened but I’m sticking to this deft weaving of mouth/wrist/brain responsible for the guttering flicker of sounds, neatly folding along worn logic-lines like a large map of Easter Island.
But what does it sound like? Looking closely you can see the micro-view through your gimlet eyes:
Dusty reeds draw gritty smog across their hungry mouth parts, ducks smacking bills excitedly, frenzied sucking, distant fireworks/fluff removed from cardigan (amplified), goats doing goaty business, UFO take off, ubiquitous birds, hissing of door-frames.
Chinese electronics/traffic in Bologna cut-up via Dictaphone, bamboo pipe ritual induce Gnostic trance (but aping them ducks!).
Exorcist out-take on thin copper wire and congealed music box. A Joycean setting: the Dublin pub, the craic gets out of hand when the old boys drag out a modular synth and castrated violin. Old songs are sung, the seals join in on radio interference and novelty glass bells.
Dented gong attacks dolphin, its CIA brain implant tuning into world radio. The undersea kingdom kinks under great pressure and the steel domes buckle with a deafening ‘ping’. As bubbles rush upwards mermen struggle in the fizzing maelstrom.
Ruler p-w-o-n-g. A Boards of Canada-style rusty ident.
Standing back, up a ladder, it all falls into a wonderful pattern. The monkey with a spiral tail!
VA AA LR – Polis
Super-classy trio of movements designed for nervous boy racers with those massive sub-woofer systems in their peach fiestas (probably)*
I’ve always had a soft spot for VA AA LR. Some of it must be their sound palette. Like Martin Klapper or Voice Crack they are taking non-musical objects and breathing sweet sound into them. Where VA AA LR differ is with the range of non-musical instruments used. Some of this is well documented (the flares of Newhaven for example) but here we have a mystery set of oddments from the past, present and future: aerosols, scaffolding, de-tuned wood and things unknown and unknowable. Add to this the occasional voice and this warms up the effect like bubbling soda – less cold machine slick and more pink, rosy glow.
In movement one gritty loops of escaping gas click into place neatly with an ice-cube crackle and a louche, off-hand bass tone. It’s like sonic lego; small units that are cute enough on their own but transformed when snapped tightly together to create a blocky Taj Mahal. What could be terribly austere becomes playful as field recordings of voices, seagulls and windows rattling add an emotional heft to the crackle and pop of this strictly downtown funk. Yeah…watch out Ronson!
Movement two continues with the bass science as a 2 x 4 plank is twanged all flubbery. The builders are in next door banging away on pig iron with meaty pork mallets. The nail-bar whirr of micro-dryers pepper the proceedings like correct grammar, making perfect sense but unseen (or heard) until you tune in. The voices, this time a trifle menacing, are sometimes front and centre in the mix but occasionally sneak left and right with crude Portuguese curses.
Movement three is like a man or woman patiently undertaking a tough physical job, fence-posting for instance. The rhythm of the task gets into your bones; you become the act of lift, drop, secure. Ropes are bound tightly round this track adding a nylon bounce above the fly-tippers percussion and dry Perspex rattle.
Strangely enough the overall effect of listening to Polis is that I feel a little smarter than I did 33 minutes ago. Like when anxious parents play baby Mozart to pump up their grey matter. VA AA LR are the official brain gym for the mid-life dropout.
*if you are a details freak you can read about the real genesis of Polis here. Until then… you can imagine what you want!
Tags: ali robertson, alien passengers, battery humans, claus poulsen, collage, dictaphonics, drone, electronica, ezio piermattei, field recording, fuckin' amateurs, giant tank, guy warnes, improv, joe murray, jon marshall, new music, no audience underground, no thumbs, noise, pascal ansell, psychic mule records, punk, scurge, skrat records, tapes, tom white, tutore burlato, uk hardcore, Waz Hoola, winter family
[Editor’s note: Joe Murray, our resident beat prophet, has convinced his skeptical editor to temporarily abandon the usual formatting for reasons that will soon be apparent. Thus there are no release details up front, pictures will follow reviews and links will be found where they lay.]
Like all my RFM comrades I have a teetering bunch of tapes to review. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. It’s a privilege and an honour to hear so many dispatches from the No-Audience Underground.
But sometimes I feel I’m doing you a disservice my friends. It’s the same old, same old format: slot tape in, listen thrice, make notes, look at any other internet gubbins, write up final copy, post to Rob and await his judgement a’ tremble.
But today I want to spice things up baby. I’m going 50 shades on this shit.
So, in order to make things (hopefully) more entertaining and experimental in spirit for you, my dear reader, I chucked all my review tapes into a drawstring bag and will pull them out, randomly, sight-unseen ready to slap into the cheap-o hi-fi. No prior knowledge, no prejudice etc.
Mystery Tape One. The first thing I notice is an ambient hiss, growing and forming, covering all the other electronic ‘chunk-ka-kuh’ like Spanish moss. Things get less rhythmic and more drawn out (elongated gong strikes / trapdoor creak) creating a soundtrack feel with some floating voices chattering. There’s a synth or something humming giving this a very European feel… a dark Froese perhaps? Now there’s electricity in the air as the test tubes fizz and pop; a scientist twitches and mugs singing snatches of opera in a cracked voice. Somehow the radio picks up their brain waves: forgotten memories of the seaside and music hall? An Anthony Caro sculpture comes to life with deep space moans. Blimey. Who’s this? I pop out the tape and check it. Bless my soul. It’s the ever lovely Claus Poulsen with Collected Dreams on Skrat Records.
Mystery Tape Two. OK…so far so good. I fumble in my bag and pluck out the next offering. It drops neatly into the wide-mouth slot and kicks off some dark rubbery knockings, slurm residue and spurks-thumb. Oh yeah man…this is tremendous stuff! There’s a treacle-like bubbling and whomping, like some living salt-water lake throbbing dangerously, searching out new tributaries with its briny fingers. This is pure sound abstraction that builds layers of thick, dark sound-paint until a giant glove smears the oily pickle. The noxious mixture spreads thin, lightening the hue and spreading the sticky mixture over frame, wall, floor and ceiling until we are all covered with the stuff – a burnt Rothko orange. Side two opens up with a fling of ducks all ecstatically hawking and honking. These sounds are passed though some electronic doo-hickery that seems to split and repeat certain quacking frequencies so sections of the greasy reverberations get plucked for presentation with a sheen and glimmer. The water fowl retreat to roost as we dip our ears below the slick surface of water to luxuriate in music for rowing boat hulls; wooden creak and swollen pop. Gosh, this tape is really hitting the spot. Who do I have to thank? I should have known…it’s ‘The Ambassador’ Tom White with his Reconstruction on Alien Passengers.
Mystery Tape Three. This tape starts off with some nice tape gunk that moves unhurriedly between half-tunes played on fuzzed-out organ. A female voice with the smoky cadence of William Burroughs tells a tale about some sci-fi travel (or something) while Working Men’s Club beats (tiss-be-be-bon-tiss…) flit in and out of the organ tunes. And then found sound and field recordings get thrown into the mix. Not in a haphazard manner, no sir, this is finely tuned and tweaked like the exact halfway point between a Radiophonic performance scored by the late great Broadcast and waking up from a particularly vivid dream. I have to be honest with you readers… I’m stumped here; I have no idea what or who or when this is. It’s certainly more lyrical than the usual shimmy but the narrative and structure are all over the shop giving this a delightfully Victorian psychedelic edge. I can’t wait any longer; I crack under the pressure of not knowing and check the cover. Ahhhhh….it’s that beautiful and wonderfully eccentric duo Winter Family who are playing here with their How Does Time tape on Psychic Mule Records. It is indeed a play, a play designed to be listened to on a very particular train journey between Besançon in France and La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland for very particular watch makers. The ultimate commuter listen.
Mystery Tape Four. Your typical Northern pub chatter sets the scene with clattering bottles and knowing laughter. An on-stage introduction welcomes you and says, ‘This is for d boon’ before a proper guitar riff chugga-chuggas. OK…that’s a reference to the wonderful Minutemen – I get that; are we jamming econo? Is this gonna be some tour spiel dude? But, at the same time I’m expecting some tape collage work to start up, a wonk-move or gurgled gob etc. Some music concrete shit and all that doings. But no…this is pure UK hardcore, recorded very, very live, possibly from some archive with guitar/bass/drums and an angry attitude. Think Heresy or something but with a bit more of ‘baseball bat to the face and neck’ feel. The songs come in short, sharp blasts. Three or four in a row – chunka – chunka – cheer – crowd babble – chunka- chunka. It’s invigorating stuff and seems to get looser and more chaotic as the tape goes on (always a bonus for me). I’m totally lost here. No idea who it is or even how it crept into my review pile. Shall we look readers? OK…it all comes flooding back. This is Battery Humans on Fuckin’ Amateurs with their For D Boon tape. It is recorded live and recently: 6th September 2014 to be precise and features one Guy Warnes AKA Waz Hoola, the unsung hero of the northern drone scene, on drums. The usual F#A! standards of presentation apply with anarchy inserts, random gaffer tape sculpture and art fliched from Viz Comic. Side B is another live recording but this time from Scurge in 1991. You want rage? You got it.
Mystery Tape Five. I press ‘play’ and an undulating, chemically insistent, flute trills with the sort of chaotic abandon that pins Old God MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI into a restful slumber. A thousand chaffed lips puff noxious gas through human thighbone pipes while the jester dances merrily on (like he’s posing for a Marillion album or something). Gosh…this is pretty intense. The next track saunters by sounding like that crap ‘pre-computer’ computer game Simon hooking up to Terminator’s Skynet and crashing civilisation as we know it into a frosty digital sludge. Blimey…there’s a hard stop as I turn the tape over but as soon as I click things into life the holy racket starts again. This time I’m getting something like a rouge Funkadelic jam; real cosmic slop rejected by Mr Clinton for being too out-there as layers of keyboard fuzz and squealing huff pile up and up and up. A brief moment of calm (the keys ape Vangelis in blade runner tights) lets me breathe again before I’m pushed out a 30 storey window (metaphorically, dude – don’t panic, man) and, as I tumble, I catch snippets of Mexican TV, Concrete Noise, psychic experiments and terrible quiz shows as I hurtle past the apartments spinning dangerously out of control. An uneven gravity pocket spares me a sticky end and I land, gracefully and precisely, into a pair of oxblood Doctor Martins – the world’s kindest bootboy. Crows cackle around me, applauding with electric beaks. I check the details, no wiser of this tapes provenance but washed clean by its synesthetic high, to find out it’s my old Papal Bull buddy Jon Marshall and noise-nudist Pascal Ansell cavorting under the No Thumbs banner. This beauty’s called Slug Birth and is available from the brand-spanking-new Tutore Burlato label. If TB is a new name on your radar the quality hallmark of its founder, one Ezio Piermattei, should seal the deal.
Mystery Tape Six. A hawking ceilidh – all X-ray gingham and a skilful cheek-slapping solo. Reet…now there’s some ‘brum-t-t-tuh’ ursonating richly, fupping my sonics. Gosh…this is a tasty oyster to be gulped down whole. A general Scottishness takes hold with gristle and blum; stiff wire wool scraping and beautifully played Dictaphone garble. I almost trip over my big feet in my rush to turn it over as I’m aching for side two. And that’s where my experiment has to end. No system is perfect. It’s darn near impossible to ignore the fact a voice immediately states…
I’m Ali Robertson
…in Ali Robertson’s voice, soon to be joined by a variety of other familiar burrs. This side is one long ‘game’ of read personal biographies all overlapping (stop-starting) set to strict rules that our cuddly despot is keen to enforce. Waves of casual voice and chatter settle into strange rhythms – probably some mathematical fractal shit, interlocking as neat as a Rubik’s satisfying ‘click’. So yeah…durrrr…it’s Ali Robertson and his handily titled Ali Robertson & Friends tape on the always brilliant Giant Tank label.
So my excellent friends, I hope that worked for you? Me? I’m refreshed and re-born! My ears are prickling with cleansing static and expectation.
But tell me: how are you doing?