Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Imaginary Forces' most recent album, Maen Eglwys, is composed of electronic sounds. The dirty, noisy synths of early Cabaret Voltaire come to mind in a couple of the tracks; but the whole album has more of a clean, bright sound, with the synthesizers sounding like the group Cluster, without the melodies (at least on the melodic pieces). There are two distinct musical directions on this release: one tending towards synthetic washes, some pitched, some approaching filtered sound effects/natural sounds; the other direction being the more traditional electronica inspired techno beat oriented sound. My favorite pieces on the album fit into the beat type category, with Visitation and Chime being my favorites. I don't know how the drum beat on Visitation is accomplished without distortion, but it is one of the cleanest deep beats I have ever heard. It is a curious repetition that presents a somewhat dark mood. Chime is a rather pleasant ear tickler that builds gradually from a simple beat, adding elements (a chime being one of them), and then creates variations on the added elements. The t
hree pieces without a beat, create a kind of static background of anticipation...a waiting for something to happen that doesn't. I recall talking to someone a long time ago about songs that create a sort of static is-ness without reaching something like the climax of a story, but rather being itself for the time of its existence. I might go as far as to classify each piece as a little environment or background for thoughts.


Maen Eglwys, the words:

Maen Castle is the furthest west of all Castles in mainland England. It is within walking distance from Land's End, and is a very good example of a "Cliff" Castle, or Iron Age Promontory Fort. It is one of the oldest datable Cliff Castles in Cornwall, dating to around 500BC. Pottery shards have been found at Maen Castle covering the period 400BC to 400AD.The giant Myen Du was in legend believed to have lived here.

Eglwys means "a church" in Welsh.


Biographical Information: Imaginary Forces (a.k.a. Anthoney J Hart) is a London based electronic music composer. His electronic music trends towards noise music and is often self released digitally as well as on Ohm Resistance and his own label, Sleep Codes.

He is currently working on his second album for Ohm Resistance as well as several other releases and a conceptual sound art piece.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lubrication - The End Is Insight [wsr004]

Wet Saint Recordings 004
Wet Saint is a net.label dedicated to text-damaged improvisational music.

mIEKAL aND entered into my awareness in the mid-80s, through the medium of Mail Art. His and Elizabeth Was' work was dispersed through the US Mail in exchanges with other Mail Artists, and was shown in Mail Art shows around the world. I recall the early format was in the form of custom made ink stamps, with drawn additions. As time went on, Audio Cassette exchanges were added to the Mail Art genre, in which MIEKAL and Elizabeth also partook. There was a number of name imprints he was involved in creating: Xerox Sutra Edition, Xexoxical Endarchy, and now Xexoxial Editions (due to the Xerox company disliking the use of its name).

Out of a recent group of releases on the Wet Saint net.label, Lubrication: The End Is Insight is the fourth. All of the Wet Saint releases are available for free download from the Internet Archive's Audio section.

There are 24 sound pieces that make up this diverse release. As I listened to the various tracks, I found myself being attracted to the sounds that made up the pieces, as opposed to melodies, or lyrics (of which there are none, really). If I were to want to put a general label to the genre that the release fits into, I would say it would be closest to sound poetry. There is more than a bit of humor in the pieces, some of which might be better referred to as "transitional pieces," (i.e. sounds linking a longer piece to a longer piece) as some are as short as 4 seconds. A cinematic quality abounds, in the way that the pieces suggest an environment, in both the sound textures as well as their regular repetitiveness. My favorite track is Ghost factory, constructed from pleasantly repetitive mechanical sounds with just a bit of reverberation...similar to a slightly blurred photograph. If I had anything I wish I could change, it would be to lengthen some of the pieces a bit more; although when it comes to improvisation in general, brevity is sometimes unanimously welcome. Throughout, I sense hints of Musique Concrete, as well as the ghost of Jackson Mac Low wandering around in the background.

Biographical Information: mIEKAL aND is a longtime DIY cultural anarchist & the creator of an infoplex worth of visual-verbal lit, audio-art, performance ritual & hypermedia, all distributed by Xexoxial Editions. His hypermedia works reside at JOGLARS Crossmedia Broadcast (
http://www.joglars.org/). Recent work has focused on activating online collaborative workspaces where writers & media artists can create collective digital works in a real time environment. "Bystander: An Irreality" is a 'pataphysical post-apocalyptic novella just out from BlazeVOX. Recent books with Maria Damon include "eros/ion" (ntamo 2007), "pleasureTEXTpossession" (Zasterle 2004) & "Literature Nation" (Potes & Poets 2003). With Camille Bacos, he has produced a number of visual-poetry digital films including "...entré pyrobiblios..." and "The Samsara Laundry" which have been shown at festivals at Harvard & Notre Dame.

Since 1991, he has made his home at Dreamtime Village (http://www.dreamtimevillage.org/), a hypermedia / permaculture village project, located in the driftless bioregion of southwestern Wisconsin. And devotes much time to creating edible wilderness indoors & out, growing such things as figs, citrus, cherries, grapes & chestnuts (!). 1998 marked the creation of THE DRIFTLESS GROTTO OF WEST LIMA (http://www.dreamtimevillage.org/grotto), a permanent public grotto/park/installation which when finished will feature a bird-operated time machine in a 25 ft blue glass tower.