Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Taming Power / Early Morning Records

Taming Power - Selected Works 2000
Early Morning Records. EMR 007. 10”. 200 copies

Taming Power - For Electric Guitar and Cassette Recorders
Early Morning Records. EMR 010. 10”. 220 copies

Taming Power - For Electric Guitar, Cassette Recorders and Tape Recorders
Early Morning Records. EMR 011. 10”. 220 copies

Taming Power - Twelve Pieces
Early Morning Records. EMR 017. 10”. 525 copies

The story so far: Neil Campbell sends some Vibracathedral Orchestra records to Bruce Russell for trades and in return receives several Taming Power releases. Campbell is so blown away by what he hears that he gets in touch with Taming Power who turns out to be the solo project of Askild Haugland a Norwegian, who to the complete indifference of seemingly everybody except Bruce Russell, has been recording and releasing his work since the late 80’s, mainly on vinyl. Via his Early Morning Records label Haugland has compiled quite a list of recorded work and when Campbell asks him, ‘What you got left?’ Haugland says ‘all of it’.

Campbell raves to Hayler. Campbell bungs me a Taming Power CDR comp that's an unlimited Early Morning Records promo tool designed to whet your appetite but when I see its a slimline CDR with dodgy Gerhard Richter cover art my heart sinks a little. But you don’t dismiss Campbell recommendations lightly. Its when the vinyl arrived that the enormity of it all hit me.

Its not just that Haugland has been sat on this motherlode of abstract, drone and noise for so long, its the whole thing, everything; the hand drawn labels, the hand written track titles that are always the date on which they were recorded, the mundane photo’s for cover art which on early releases are simply glued to the sleeve [apologies for the scans by the way] and then the sounds themselves, the sometimes caterwauling howl of tape recorder feedback, the staggering intensity of a guitar going head to head with reel to reels’, the bleakness, the darkness, the emptiness, the feeling that you’ve stumbled across an entire genre of music that you never thought existed before. I’m still stunned as to just how esoteric, far out, weird and mind-boggling this all is and all the time Haugland just keeps on doing what he’s always done, recording  and releasing. To little fanfare. I’m pretty certain that all that's about to change. The West Yorkshire No Audience mob has picked up on it and the word is beginning to spread. If I was you I’d get in touch before all those low numbered runs disappear for ever.

You can read about that first Taming Power delivery here. You can read Campbell’s proselytizing letter to Hayler here, you can read Hayler’s thoughts on the matter here.

And one release at a time we have:

For Electric Guitar, Cassette Recorders and Tape Recorders: Filigrees of fluttering, distorted electric guitar notes put through a tornado. An unfurling blast of static and degradation which envelops both cassette and tape recorder until it eventually plateaus out into a blissful coda, the ringing guitar notes eventually appearing at its end.

Selected Works 2000: Tape recorder feedback. Painful stabs of dueling analogue equipment capable of disorientation and imbalance.

For Electric Guitar and Cassette Recorders: An electric guitar ringing like an old clock that's chiming wild hours. The B-side twists the form into more surreal shapes. A slowed down Terry Riley taffied into strained drones.

Twelve Pieces: Here Haugland lists all the equipment used; electric guitar, Casiotone MT-36, zither, drilbu, drilbus, dingsha, singing bowls, harmonica, metallophone, voice, tape recorder, cassette recorder/s and like the similar double 'LP Twenty One Pieces' the mood moves from an analogue church organ sparse [the Casiotone] to soporific gamelan, a Largactil infused tubular bell.

Everything here feels as if its been ingrained by dust, muck in the grooves, a film of dirt that covers everything creating a patina that gives Haugland's compositions a sound that makes them his own.

earlymrecords [at]

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