To twist an internet meme, “I don’t alway like all of an musician’s work, but I always listen to all of their albums.” My teenage son would most likely tell me that I didn’t use the meme correctly, oh well.
Back in June, I tweeted a blind recommendation for Martin Rach‘s B SM (Modisti). After giving Rach’s noise filled album several listen, I just didn’t like it. That’s okay. I don’t think any musician would expect everyone to like all of their work except those pandering to the masses. My initial listens of B SM found it to be very difficult and none to pleasing. Overall I enjoy Rach’s work, so this little blip, for me (heck, you might enjoy it), doesn’t set me back at all in recommending any of Rack’s work. So without even listening to Rach’s lastest work, Ex XFSc on Haze, go download it, throw it on your portable listening device and enjoy . . . hopefully.
[mp3j flip=”y” track=”Black Silence of the Mouth@http://archive.org/download/modisti_45/modisti_45_Black_Silence_of_the_Mouth_64.mp3″]
Artist: Martin Rach
Title: B SM
Release Date: 16 June 2012
Download mp3: zip
I’m going to hazard a guess that the electronic project known as Mons Jacet and the experimental musician and visual artist Martin Rach are one in the same. Mons Jacet’s Alcoholics Go Melachonic (Clinical Archives) was one of my favorite netlabel releases back in 2008. So we fast forward several years and I should not be surprised that I’m a fast becoming a big fan of Rach’s experimental work. I quite enjoyed last year’s Trash Piano (Modisti) — read the review — and I am equally enjoying two new releases by Rach: To Flame the Light of Love (Modisti) and Year of the Goat (Editora do Porto).
As Rach’s recent work is very different from his work as Mons Jacet, these two releases are also vastly different. Year of the Goat is buy Martin Rach and his Imaginary Band. This Editora do Porto release is drunken orgy of jazz and other musical idiosyncrasies which shows the capability/incapability of score a band on a laptop as the music travels in a chaotic improvisational manner. (Incapability in the being used in the context of experimental music is always a positive, well, for me at least.)
[mp3j flip=”y” track=”Ex Minotaur@http://www.archive.org/download/edp046/3_Ex_Minotaur.mp3″]
The Modisti release, To Flame the Light of Love, alternates between two instruments — a piano and a tenor saxophone — played on different tracks though each combined with various other sound objects/software such a aluminum foil, glass, and speakers. To Flame the Light of Love is in its essence a true experimental work. Rach is not only pushing our limits as an audience, one can tell that Rach is pushing his own limits as well.
[mp3j flip=”y” track=”Sleepless Sonography@http://www.archive.org/download/modisti_34/modisti_34_2.Sleepless_Sonography.mp3″]
The image above is a detail of a visual artwork by Martin Rach. I believe this painting is called Virus.
What happens when you take a piano, crack it open and add an experimental artist? The good news is that I have two possible answers to that question.
The first listen is to Saffron Slumber’s Piano Drones 1 (Vuzh Music) which has Kevin Stephens aka Saffron Slumber turning the piano into a drone machine of sorts — apparently you can make a drone out of anything. As simple as it sounds, but the sounds are far from simple, the two tracks are comprised on Stephens running his fingers along the exposed strings of a piano. Stephens writes in the liner notes:
On touching the string with my fingertip, I found that it brought out all of the overtones of the string. The recording starts slightly after this discovery, and you can hear my using both the pad of my finger and my fingernail.
The drones build up quietly and somewhat singularly as the different waves begin to mesh with the degradation of other waves. What gives these drones a depth and a space carved out in sound is the resonance they gain from their source, the piano.
[mp3j flip=”y” track =”Saffron Slumber – Part I Drone 2@http://www.actsofsilence.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/02-Part-1-Drone-2.mp3″]
While Stephens extracts drones from the piano strings, nothing from a piano seems off limits in Martin Rach’s Trash Piano (Modisti). Not only are strings rubbed and strummed, but Rach uses parts of the piano percussively and even seems to reach for near by objects to add to the sound.
[mp3j flip=”y” track =”Martin Rach’s 1@http://www.archive.org/download/modisti_25/Modisti_25_1._trASh_piANo_1.mp3″]
Though quite dissimilar works, I believe they go together quite well.
Sandra Boss’ recent release on Modisti is a conglomeration of sounds that include field recordings, electromagnetic recordings and other sound motifs. The Danish composer has put together Seks Kompositioner (or “Six Compositions”) which is more than a mass of sound, rather it’s melding of various sound inputs that when crafted well together as they are on this 20-minute EP give the listener an opportunity to listen differently. It’s albums such as Boss’ that I wish I listened to music more on speakers than headphones. I think the spatial experience would stretch out the tension and not make the sound so immediate, you know, give the sound a chance to breathe. But that’s my problem, not Boss’.
Sandra Boss’ “Den modsatte kyst” or “The Opposite Coast” (mp3)
[audio http://www.actsofsilence.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/02_modisti_24_Den-modsatte-kyst.mp3 |artists=Sandra Boss|titles=Den modsatte kyst|animation=no]
As Marc Weidenbaum wrote about C. Reider last year in the Disquiet review of Steam Inspector (2009), Reider is a “deeply curious (and curiosity-inducing) musician”. Maybe it’s this curiosity for both musician and listener that makes C. Reider such a daring and admired experimental sound artist. On this blog, I’ve reviewed several works by Reider from his collaboration with Desohill, Falling Into Disrepair (2010); his recent solo work, Owning Extinctions (2011); his Crook’d Finger remixes (2000); and the community remix of C. Reider’s work (2011). But even if you listen to his other recent releases: Inconstant (2008), Linguism (2008), and the Electric Quintet series (2008-2009), one would experience an artist who doesn’t retread the same tired experimental hooks that were successful in previous releases. It is always something new. There are hundreds of electronic artists who call themselves “experimental” or “Avant-Garde”, but in reality they just are continuing in some sort of post-Commodore electronic noise genre that they are comfortable in. Reider does not do that. He produces work that always seems outside his comfort zone — something all experimental artists should being do. For his listeners the only thing we can expect from a C. Reider release is that it will be difference from the pervious C. Reider release.
Even though my dogs did not like is latest release on Modisti, Formerly Sine Drones, my curiosity as well as that of Reider’s makes this record a great addition to the musician’s discography. More than just tones and sound manipulations, Reider takes an atypical and almost deviant exploration into electronic frequencies.
C. Reider’s “333 Hz” (mp3)