Saturday, November 19, 2011

Razzle Dazzle

Glue Pour - Telepathy Shots/Preslav Literary School - Sonuna
Split LP. RzDz15. 300 Copies

Rouse Poussin - The Christmas Shots
CD. RzDz16. 80 Copies

Rubén Patiño - Eleven Stereo Moments
Cassette. RzDz17. 40 Copies

Michael Barthel - Noch Mehr Hölen
Cassette. RzDz18. 40 Copies


I told Johnny Scar that I wasn’t going to mention Darksmith’s performance at this years Colour Out of Space fest but then my hurried answer was just as petulant as the performance we’d just seen. How could I not mention the fact that Darksmith, [Friday nights headline act] threw the teddy out of the cot five minutes into his set and spent the next twenty minutes or so exchanging ‘fuck you’s with the audience? Whilst stamping his feet, throwing his equipment about and drinking from a 2 liter plastic bottle of industrial strength cider he ranted, tore at his t-shirt, threw his chair about and generally behaved like a stroppy teenager whose just been grounded for a month. As acts of petulance go it was up there with the best John McEnroe moments but to see it unfold before my very eyes on the first night of a weekend of experimental music took some taking in. Some people said they enjoyed it but not for the sounds produced of course, which were intermittently interesting but on the whole so obviously chaotic.

And then there was the salad. I have this theory that the further south you go in England the more prevalent the green stuff on your plate. By the time you hit Brighton you need a machete to get through it. There must be thousands of rabbits starving to death due to the fact that the eateries of Brighton deem it compulsory to heap five handfuls of the stuff onto everything you order. I’m surprised its not used as a garnish with coffee. It was what probably pushed Darksmith over the edge to start with.

Colour Out of Space put me in the mood for Razzle Dazzle and a series of releases that cover electronica, tape experimentation, sound poetry and lap top bleep. I did play some of this to Phil T when he was here two weeks ago. It arrived on the same weekend of the Ramleh show. We sat and listened to Rose Poussin and what emerged from the speakers was a panning throb disguising various conversations. ‘Illusion of Safety’ said I. ‘Throbbing Gristle’ said Phil. ‘I bet the voices coming from beneath that panning throb are serial killers and sadists’ said I. But they weren’t. We were tricked into thinking this was homage to old school Industrial but when the voices became clear they talked about chess and the best way to hang a mirror. Disappointed we headed to the next track, another live one, this time a drone built on amp buzz and hiss. French voices appear. It ended. We left for Leeds.

Fortunately for me things improved in remarkable fashion when I played Michale Barthel’s Noch Mehr Hölen. Its a short trip but during it I heard voices as quiet as a mouses trot play with Clanger like voices, vocals mimic the exploding of a dirty bomb and a farmers field at five in the morning. On one track it sounds like they’ve gone down to the local Mental Institution and told everybody within mic reach to make daft noises. Some of it is so quiet that you really have to strain to make the most of it but that only adds to its surreal charm. Wonderful.

Rubén Patiño’s release is subtitled ‘stereo movements for a concert without performer’ and there is a certain air of detachment to these sounds. Most are single notes, test, tones, panned and pitched. Theres an air of 50’s electronic avant-gardism about it all giving the work a nostalgic feel which the format certainly benefits from. The two seconds of mock applause at its end shows that Patiño isn’t bereft of a sense of humour either.

Razzle Dazzle is a Berlin based label. Berlin becoming the emerging capital of experimental music. With the apartments of old East Berlin providing cheap rent for aspiring experimenters its no wonder that theres a plethora of artists and labels emerging from there. New York and London may have its fans but its to Berlin we head first. Preslav Literary School’s Adam Thomas and Glue Pours Benjamin l. Aman are both emigré sound artists working in Berlin. PLS’s work is cassette based, on Sonuna a pure church organ drone provides the basis for a layering of sounds that include child like voices, bird song and massed choirs. Such is the skill in mixing all this degraded sound that the end result becomes one amorphous globule of ghostly ethereal delight. Glue Pour’s end results lie in the same area but I guess that they arrive there via a different route. Telepathy Shots drone is one of electric current, held in check fizz, lost in space wilderness and while it didn't engage me as fully as PSL it still has enough depth to hold its own.

To Berlin then and no salad when we get there please.

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