Saturday, April 30, 2016

Nuen Recs + Bruces's Fingers

Manfried Wender - 2015³
Nueni Recs #006.  CD

Kulakantu - Oier Iruretagoiena
Nueni Recs #005.  CD

Hession/Stefani - Concretes
Bruce’s Fingers. BF 128. CD

Thanks to the Bearded Wonder over at RFM I now have two releases from Nuen Recs to listen to. Or not as the case may be. Two releases that were deemed unsuitable for dissemination at RFM due to the fact that the Bearded Wonder declines to put the boot in anymore, something to do with positivism and preservation of the id. No fear, where Beardy fears to tread I done my welders clogs and start jumping around in broken bottle glass. Fortunately for me the Campbell bunged me a Hession/Stefani release that did more than enough to reverse the damage.

Things didn't start well with cursory listens revealing most of the Wender release to be nothing but silence.  Not absolute silence as recorded in an anechoic chamber of course. No, no no, that would be too easy. But I'm an attentive listener these days and with the new hi-if still tickling my eardrums I decided to put aside a precious Saturday afternoon to get to the bottom of what was actually going on here. Now I'm no stranger to silence in the area of recorded music and have great affection for people like Bernhard Günter and Francisco López, musicians who have chosen to work at the very bottom of the audible scale [my eternal memory of Gunter is a picture of him cupping a dried leaf to his ear as if listening intently to his slow desiccation, but I digress]. 2015³ is a work by the Swiss minimalist composer Manfred Werder as interpreted by the Swedish duo Regler. Something to do with Werder giving them a line of text by Walter Benjamin and telling them to get on with it. The results are a 40 minute track that for the first ten minutes sounds like someone setting up a drum kit and for the next thirty minutes is nothing but virtual silence. The inside cover shows someone asleep at the drum kit and someone asleep on the floor in front of an industrial lamp [all part of the interpretation kiddoes]. I can only assume that the recording is that of the drummer setting up his kit so as not to awaken his partner before turning on the lights at 40.00 resulting in this conversation:

‘I tried not to wake you during the recording’
‘It's ok I'm a heavy sleeper’
‘We've done. I’ve pressed stop’
‘Did it work?’
‘I think so’

Things aren’t much better in Kulakantu land where silence also exists but in my opinion not in nowhere near enough quantities. Four tracks of electronic cerebral cak that is cold and detached and exists for the kind of person who sits at home wanking over their Milton Babbitt vinyl. One track sounds like a toy airplane going overhead its engine cutting out intermittently, another is electronic cicadas and then silence, electronic cicadas, silence, electronic cicadas, silence. And so it goes. 

Sweeping away this depressing mix of chin stroking intellectualism is ‘Concretes’; a collaboration between the percussionist Paul Hession and Ewan Stefani. With Stefani processing via his own software and synthesising whatever it is that Hession has created. The results are a never ending panoply of sounds as brought to us by Hession’s drums, sampler, ring modulator, echo machine and Hubback gongs. For 56 minutes and eight gloriously individual tracks I delighted in all manner of rattles, riffs, prods, bumps, burbles, scrapes and samples of old films. First track ‘Rindade Insult’ is a whirr of quick edits, each one chopped into its own tiny epic of improv heaven, ‘Vermeer Kankare’ is more subdued, a glass orchestra, ‘Nja’ at almost fifteen minutes is the longest and most rewarding outing with the sounds slowed down to almost drone like proportions as beebling electronica wheedles away in the undergrowth before mutating into drum and bass like structures.

Simon H Fell's production is of such a quality that listening to this eternally spewing forth mass of sounds is like manna from heaven. I could ravish this release for the next ten pages, run my tongue over its fold out cover and around the edges of the disc itself all the while reveling in the fact that it was recorded in West Yorkshire and that Simon H Fell’s initials are the same as Milovan Srdenovic’s Stinky Horse Fuckers label. That and the fact that the only silence that exists on this release are the two seconds between each track.

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