Random Noize Sessions, Vol. 1

[Shitkatapult, www.shitkatapult.com]


[OR, www.itsaor.net]

A Few Empty Chairs

[Buro / City Centre Offices, www.city-centre-offices.de]

Electronic music wears a thousand and one hats. These three releases only scratch the surface of what's possible when you head into that direction.
Marco Haas or T. Raumschmiere [as he's known to fans world-wide] continues to surprise with his latest offering. "Random Noize Sessions, Vol. 1" is a collection of "lost" [where did he loose them in the first place?] studio tracks, along with live recordings. Spanning a period between 1999 and 2005, the record is not something a DJ would consciously want to put onto the turntable at a club that features dance music. Raumschmiere's music here is full of nuances and dark shadows. His music is one of "beatless" beats - something that has to be carefully listened to, paying special attention to delicate changes in tempo and rhythm. The transition from one track to the next is absolutely seamless. Much of his stuff reminds me of imaginary soundtracks that Holger Czukay used to put out during the early 80's. Put whatever picture you want to these sounds - they're yours and yours alone. At time industrial and mostly eerie, a tiny sound is worth a thousand images and this collection is a perfect example of just that.
Sean Booth and Rob Brown of Autechre assembled Gescom sometime during the mid 90's. Honestly, this was one of the stranger production teams ever assembled. Originally released back in 1998 only on MiniDisc, "MiniDisc" release was actually meant to showcase the true wonders of the new format. So revolutionary was this release that it was touted as being "the first ever MiniDisc only release". Gescom run the gamut during the disc's 67 minute duration. Spread over 88 short snippets, they manipulate and fold sounds to show the possibilities of easily indexed sounds. The purpose of this whole experiment was to disassemble, mix and shuffle all short tracks into a listener's unique set list. From haunting, moody sounds of "Cranusberg", the modem-connecting glitch sounds of "mc", through to the hip-hop beats of "Cut begin", the sounds are spread over a wide variety of fields. Cuts are abrasively edited, so the fun with the record is putting your CD into shuffle mode to enhance and alter your listening experience each and every time.
What is vibraphonist Karl Berger doing in the world of electronics? Answer is simple. Since the beginning of time, people have seen it as necessary to mix one ingredient with another. You mix peanut butter with chocolate and you get a peanut butter cup. You mix gasoline and fire and you've got yourself an explosion. You mix a bunch of people in one room and you've got yourself a great party. Conjoint is a quartet that mixes one seasoned jazz vibraphonist [Karl Berger], together with digital music freak [Jamie Hodge], along with guitarist Gunter Ruit Kraus and techno legend Move D or David Moufang. Put them together in one room and you've got yourself something that is more akin to a quieter Miles Davis' "In a Silent Way" session than anything taken from the electronic world. Karl Berger is the star of the show. His wickedly innovative sensibility leaves the others toiling in the dust much of the time. With due respect, his tender but firm styling reminds me of Walt Dickerson's vibe session with Sun Ra from the late 70's. Guitarist Kraus plays some appropriately mellow counterpoints, while Jamie Hodge and Move D create a slowly shifting, though pleasantly still aural landscape. Rather than beats, the band offers up atmospherics that are pleasantly fitting to what Berger and Kraus offer up on their instruments. Polarity between the vibraphone, guitar and electronics is never really felt like a head-to-head assault. Much in the same way last year's fine Dell + Flugel album "Superstructure", the marriage of electronic and traditional elements fits like a well worn-in glove. Here's raising my glass in the hope that more cross-pollination projects such as the one Conjoint has proposed will be forthcoming.

- Tom Sekowski

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