Come Organization's second anthology collection may not be as lengthy as the double CD first volume, but it is of equal importance. The material picks up where the last one left off, pulling music from 1981 and 1982 including Come's entire album 'I'm Jack,' most of the compilation, 'Für Ilse Koch,' as well as two pieces from Maurizio Bianchi's 'Weltanschauung' LP. Ironically enough, Come's contributions are the lowest fidelity portions of the disc. At the time, Come consisted of William Bennett and Jim Thirlwell. This album was recorded as the Whitehouse project was taking off and Come was coming to an end. The inclusion of each side of their album are presented for fans who don't want to pay the exhorbant prices to buy the limited LP on ebay. The music basically sees the two screaming and thumping on percussives and detuned bass guitars for over 15 minutes. The remastering of tracks from 'Für Ilse Koch,' is astounding however, but not all of the LP is included. Musique Concrete and Consumer Electronics both contribute cut-up tapework of tv and radio broadcasts combined with sound effects while Nurse with Wound's "Fashioned to a Device by a Tree" is a quite noticably different mix of the recording Steven Stapleton revisited for the 'Automating Volume One' LP and CD, presented here in its original form. The most impressive parts are from Maurizio Bianchi, whose symphonic noise movements alarmingly predate what a number of software junkies seem to have done by over a decade. Collections like these are a great way to both preserve the music which can easily be lost forever in time and introduce newbies to a time where noise was post academic musique concrete and pre critical acclaim. With any luck Steven Stapleton might eventually to do the same with the various United Dairies compilations. - Jon Whitney
Rob Mazurek, "Amorphic Winged"
As the title suggests, the direction of this disc is somewhat vague, yet still an interesting listen. Mr. Mazurek's electronic/laptop elements tend to be more experimental then that which we've come to know from the Chicago Underground Duo. After several listens to this disc, I've come to think of it as abstract audio painting as most of the tracks tend to have a lot of layering and overlappings happening (at times very subtle) with such elements as cornet, piano, guitar, voice, bass, synth patches and various sound manipulation. Several collaborators are featured bringing their angle to the mix. Sam Prekop appears on the opener "Time Coded Single" with prominent and repetitive guitar lines which flow nicely with a conversing, at times distant piano. Matthew Lux (bassist Isotope 217) appears on "Strange Logics" providing what at times feels like the percussive element of the track against layered cornet long tones and bursts. He again appears on "The Shaping Light" along with Ken Brown, Tania Bowers, Casey Rice and Michael Kandel. For me, this track has the most direction, perhaps due to the number of collaborators working together. John Herndon appears on the closing, title track providing background reverby drums against a subtle, sweeping, rapid tremolo sound, cornet stabs, various swells and creepy whispers. This disc definitely makes for some cool headphone listening. - Gord Fynes
RANDY GREIF, "WAR OF THE WORLD"
Having recently taken in the delightful "Alice in Wonderland" box set re-issue, my first (massive) taste of Greif's quarter century plus back catalog, I became eager for more. And just in time comes a new project using another classic as inspiration. Subtitled "An Emergency Broadcast", Greif specifically borrows from Orson Welles panic inducing radio broadcast version of H.G. Wells "The War of The Worlds". But the idea is expanded, metamorphosed into a metaphor for humanity's wars with ourselves (note the change to singular in Greif's title) and technology: disinformation, technological "advancements" and organic versus digital life. And ultimately, someone or something out there will receive the signals we project into deep space and come to dispatch of us with ease. The 55 minutes is conceptually divided into three 3 track parts - 'exhale', 'meeting' and 'aftermath' - but it flows as one continuous piece. Greif's approach here is similar to "Alice", only far less narrative and far more obscured as his sound collages characterize the data glut. Often fractured bits of reports, speech and Conet Project style number station transmissions are folded into found sounds, static interference and electronic textures. At times it's disorienting, frustrating and confusing for you, the listener, as if you were desperately trying to tune in a frequency to find out what the hell is going on. Other times it's soothingly ambient and carefree such as the culminating liquid gurgle fade, as though no matter what, even if they wipe us out or we wipe ourselves out, it won't much matter. Another great idea skillfully brought to fruition by Mr. Greif ... - Mark Weddle
Presentperfect, "dispelling the analog myth"
This is the first release from Text Records (not to be confused with Fridge's own UK-based label), a sub-label affiliated with Tinman Records, devoted to electronic experimental and ambient music. The albums released on Text heavily depart from the more straightforward industrial found on Tinman, such as early Crocodile Shop and I, Parasite. Presentperfect uses loops in order to illustrate the imperfections of analog. From the band's website: "Even the sine wave, and the seductive curvature of science, in its universe of ideals, can not be considered analog. For every complete cycle there is discontinuity and interruption. It is not the amount of something but the amount of nothing that distinguishes pitch." While the idea is intriguing and the music attempts to explore and express some of the science and mathematics behind electronic music, in the end, it's not focused enough on the music itself. I found little here to be emotionally, or intellectually, engaging. The first track, "Winters Tuesday," at about sixteen minutes, could easily have been pared down to half that time and managed to make it's pointthe drones become excessive and border on monotonous, the kiss-of-death for ambient music. The same can be said for many of the other tracks, whose excessive length create a sense of detachment, you wait for it to move on, hope it moves on, and it rarely does. But there are some great moments on this CD. It may be worth picking up solely for the unfortunately too short "Digital Bath," which actually moves toward a beat-oriented and noisier realm. It was enough to make me wonder how great a rhythmic Presentperfect album would sound. The surrounding tracks just do not sustain a momentum that propels me through the album as a listener. In the end I felt much like the drones on this CD: flat and distant. - Richard SanFilippo
Maenad, "a thousand petals"
Maenad is the second release on Text Records (http://www.tinmanrex.com/text.html), and favors dark drones, ghostly singing and subtle atmospherics. Samples and found sounds perfectly blend and eventually any distinction between them becomes unimportant, such as when rain almost imperceptibly turns into the crackle of fire. "a thousand petals" is not an album about dichotomies though, it is an album about transmutation. All of the album's elements work in unison to create an evolving aural landscape. Even things one would think to be cliché, such as the thunderstorm on "in within" and the speech from the crazed Satanist on "pigs my fly," sound fresh as they're complimented with washes of sound and mood-altering rumbles. Vocal samples, if not shrewdly buried, are processed, slowed, and distorted to become unrecognizable and camouflaged in this bleak terrain. At times the production sounds a bit muddy, as if too much noise is layered upon a track, but in the end the great moments of clarity illustrate glimpses of brilliance. "a thousand petals" is evocative and compelling. Seek it out. - Richard SanFilippo
Mirza, "Last Clouds"
It seems that anger and post-rock go hand-in-hand with a lot of bands. The power of Mogwai, menace of godspeed you black emperor! and raw destructive force of Explosions In The Sky all suggest some kind of frustration and anger with the systems and forces in place. And they should be angry about that. But San Francisco's Mirza took it to a whole new level. Raised from the ashes of Ursa Minor by that group's Steven R. Smith, Mirza drew positive notices for their last record, 1999's "Iron Compass Flux," but eventually called it quits. Ba Da Bing! brought this collection of their hard-to-find 12" EP release on Autopia, as well as unreleased tracks, in 2001, and it's an amazing glimpse of their early work as well as some of their best music ever. All the unreleased tracks are captured on 4-track cassette save the EP recorded on 8-track, so all of these tracks are very gritty-sounding. And the music is purely punishing. And yet strangely delicate. Nicely placed horns and odd sounds bring out a variety seldom heard on other releases, and despite the lo fi recording the music never sounds bland or cacaphonous. Instead, it's some of the most melodic and structured music Mirza ever did. As always, the playful bass makes for a great anchor as the wild and destructive guitars play above it, and the drums urge and drive the music faster and harder. At just over 64 minutes, "Last Clouds" is a spectacular posthumous nod to an underappreciated and dynamic band. - Rob Devlin
christian kleine, "valis"
The multi-talented German instrumentalist has followed-up last year's 'Beyond Repair' LP with this somewhat dull EP on Morr. Once again, organic bass guitar and guitar riffs are looped alongside somewhat slow-driving 4/4 instrumental electronics. Kleine is almost too reserved in his approach to music, however, working more on repeatable riffs and atmospheric percussion and treated keyboard sounds than a rock solid driving melody. While his music is quite pleasant and would be a major hit with Boards of Canada fans, the lack of a lead instrument on nearly all tracks leaves me thinking there's something missing. Slow, instrumental electronic music is becoming to get a little overdone, and the volumes of different artists are beginning to pile up and sort of blend together. Even the middle song, "Several," with its delicately treated guitars could easily pass for a fantastic Notwist-esque number, yet it's completely missing the all-important lead voice, however. Perhaps it's time for Kleine to stop working with other nerdy gearhounds and find himself a trumpet player, violinist or singer. - Jon Whitney
Donna Regina, "Northern Classic"
From our friends at Karaoke Kalk (a label that has begun to make a name for itself in the land of lush electronic music) comes German duo Donna Regina's equally lovely (if not somewhat stylistically different) follow-up to their 1999 release 'A Quiet Week in the House_. 'Northern Classic', as its title suggests, gives its listener the sonic equivalent of a wintery landscape view through snow-dusted eyelashes. Regina Janssen's fragile, whispered vocals are a shiver amongst the largely electronic backdrop. "Let's Get Slow" makes for a strong start to the album, with its low bass throbs and twangy guitar, the latter of which featured heavily on their previous release. The other tracks on the album take a more subtle approach, and tend to be not nearly as engaging. "Favourite Human" is the notable exception to this, throwing polished record scratches and vibraphone into the mix, to create what is one of the poppiest songs the band has done in recent years. My only complaint is in regards to the uninspiring lyrics: much of the band's early material was sung in French, and it is in those songs that they are lyrically much more effective. 'Northern Classic', sung entriely in English, lacks sophistication in this department, and unfortunately partially suffers for it. For the most part, however, the album is well-produced and will likely delight fans of charming, uncomplicated electronic music who can overlook banal lyrics.
- Jessica Tibbits
Pierre Bastien, "Mecanoid"
Along with playing various instruments and contributing organic sounds, Bastien builds Meccano machine robots to "play" instruments to build his soundscapes on. He calls it both "acoustica" and "mechanica," and gives each song a palindromic title, as the robots "understand" this music the same forwards and backwards. It may seem a bit pretentious, but the music is phenomenal. It's simple, as his robot orchestra (the "Mecanium") play simple loops that Bastien adds flavors to, but it's an amazing listen considering the concept. The robots play real instruments: castanets, marimba, and the clearly favored "discs." (They're on 8 out of 10 tracks) Bastien's background is in composing music for ballet and string quartet. It's wasy to picture a ballet to the music he creates now, as it encourages movement and choreography. Plus, since it is mechanic in nature, steady rhythms abound. Bastien also uses non-standard instruments, making for interesting colors on an already oddly charming canvas. The music is groovy, it is jazzy, and it is covered in earth tones, which is especially ironic considering its genesis. Ultimately, the music takes on a life of its own, eclipsing the author's and robots' intentions, changing directions and rhythms on the fly. I cannot describe this music and do it any justice. Listen for yourself and you'll get a taste for how truly original and stupefying it all is. - Rob Devlin
UK-based label Vertical Form have failed on a number of planes with this compilation. First off, I don't ever want to see another promo CD show up in my mailbox without a cover, artwork, a tracklisting, or notes to go along with it. This compilation has received a ton of spins on my players at home, work and inbetween, but up until now I haven't had a goddamned clue as to who's on it. Vertical Form failed again with their nondescript website. I also don't want to see another record label website which "isn't done." Take it from me that a web site for a record label should serve more function than form. When I want to find out about any release, all the information like, say, tracklisting, would be beneficial. Thankfully there are some other places on the net which published the information Vertical Form was sending out. My findings: some of my fave modern instrumental electronic software hackers collected together - including Mum, Isan, Kid 606 and Funkstörung. Ten tracks, which according to press releases are "built from the foundations over 30 years of electronic music." In all honesty, that particular claim is a load of pretentious bullshit if I ever read it. If it is any inclination to the music, it can be said that all this type of stuff has been done before. 'Vertical Forms' has some great tunes but it could easily be a dead ringer for a follow-up to the legendary 'Artifical Intelligence' compilations released from Warp ten years ago. The songs are very basic, but consistent with each other on the slower tempo, repetitious digital basslines and a whitewashed dub content. Most of the tracks sound like throwaway Warp tributes, like Funkstörung's attempt at a Tri-Repetae song "Lolita," Isan's Boards of Canada tribute, "Dirno, Nanno, Keel" and even Mum's "Hufeland" which effectively mimics 'I Care Because You Do'-era Aphex Twin. The genital-impersonating bass sounds on Smyglyssna's "Hintergedanke" are a warm welcome differentiation from the rest, but it really doesn't save this compilation from being much more than theme music in a chill-out room circa 1993. Thanks guys, but try harder next time, however. I'm beginning to think that if I see another compilation CD of artists like this I'll scream. - Jon Whitney
We know that sometimes these CDs are somewhat challenging to find, which is why we have a community section which can be used to obtain nearly everything available on this site.
Abfahrt Hinwil - Links Berge Rechts Seen CD [anthology of previous singles plus new material] (Toytronic, UK)
Cornershop - Lessons Learned From Rocky I To Rocky III two 7"/two CDEPs (Wiiija, UK)
Decal - 404 Not Found CD (Planet µ, UK)
Koushik - Battle Rhymes 7" (Text, UK)
Limp - Orion CD/LP (Morr Music, Germany)
Req - Sketchbook CD/LP (Warp, UK)
Sandoz - Sandoz In Dub: Chant To Jah CD/LP (Soul Jazz, UK)
Adult. - Run Run Crying 7" (Ersatz Audio, US)
Adult. - Misinterpreted 12" [mixes by Solvent, Phoenecia and Alder & Elius] (Ersatz Audio, US)
Ben Watt and Jay Hannan - Lazy Dog Volume 2 CD (Astralwerks, US)
Lazyfish/Mewark - Lazyfish/Mewark CD (K2O, Germany)
Playgroup - Playgroup CD (Astralwerks, US)
Req - Sketchbook CD/LP (Warp, US)
Pete Shelley & Howard Devoto - buzzkunst CD (spinART, US)
Various - My House In Montmartre CD (Astralwerks, US)
Various - Tangent 2002: Disco Nouveau CD/3x12" [with I-F, Solvent, Adult., Ectomorph, Lowfish, DMX Krew, Susumu Yokota, Mat-101 and more] (Ghostly International, US)
VNV Nation - Futureperfect CD (Metropolis, US)
Various - Whitney Biennial CD [with Richard Chartier, Stephen Vitiello, DJ Olive, Meredith Monk and more] (Whitney Museum of American Art, US)
This is simply this week's highlights from the NEW RELEASES provided by Greg and Feedback Monitor.
Various - Kitty-Yo Compilation 2002 CD (Kitty Yo, Germany)
For a more detailed schedule stretching into the future, please check out the site,
since release dates can and will often change.