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obs * 040 cd v/a



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International V/A obs. ‎{ author's archaic vision and real lo-fi aesthetics }  Non compressed mastering by Denis Shapovalov.



RICHARD GARET  ‘R.O.U / Tristán Narvaja - Villa Biarritz’


CHRIS WHITEHEAD  ‘Eve of Ascension’


JIM HAYNES  ‘Iodine’

RADIOSON  ‘Life of Neron’

GREGORY BÜTTNER  ‘Tonarm, p.s. Papier’

BEN OWEN  ‘20100507-05’

FRANCISCO MEIRINO  ’What Remains of All That Misery?’

DASEIN  ‘Gardarica’




fragment arch_mix_va.mp3

V/A Archaic Variations : Localization (Obs / Observatoire) cd 12.98
An impressive survey of the curatorial aesthetic from the Russian imprint Observatoire, which has grown in leaps and bounds over the past couple of years with some great releases of cracked dronology and mangled field recordings. The concepts on Archaic Variations slant toward crude electro-acoustics, psychogeography, obsolete technologies, and improbable strategies all mapping out tactile soundfields with variable degrees of manipulation and deconstruction. The first handful of tracks (Emmanuel Mieville, Richard Garet, and Takanobu Noshino) are relatively hushed compositions of shadowy drones, distant vocalizations, and raw field recordings lending an air of clinical detachment. Chris Whitehead's elegaic piano and field recording piece addresses a rural British ceremony that dates back to the 12th Century, recalling the piano laced impressionism of Andrew Chalk and Cindytalk. The latter half of the disc tends toward claustrophobia and decay, introduced by none other than our own Jim Haynes, whose chainsaw drones and swarming radio bursts transmit through thickets of scabrous noise dialing up comparisons to Kevin Drumm's more noxious facets. The Russian artist Radioson maintains the shortwave theme with an paranoiac set of hypnotic melodies revolving around repeating beacon tones and gray masses of static. Gonna have to dig into this project more for sure. The compilation concludes on a very bleak note with a track from Francisco Meirino, the brilliant, if under-recognized electro-acoustic tactician here jettisoning razor-sharp errata of EMF interference across pierced feedback shards, and the finale from another Russian artist Dasein, compacting distorted synths and tortured vocals into a more nuanced take on the early Whitehouse / Ramleh axis. 300 copies, only.


Best V/A Collection

"Archaic Variations – Localization” (Obs)

I dug so many albums of field recordings in 2012 – it was ‘my ting’ – and Obs (formerly Observatory) issued one of the finest examples in Emmanuel Mieville’s Buddha-Anima-Asia. Further exploration into the Russian label turned up a whole load of incredible small-run CDs (some as few as 3!), including Archaic Variations – Localization, a compilation of concrète, collage and clicks featuring Mieville, Richard Garet, Ben Owen and others. Chris Whitehead’s eerie, piano-plonking ‘Eve of Ascension’ and Francisco Merino’s ghost in the machine ‘What Remains of All That Misery’ were particular highlights. Deep listening.

Foxy Digitalis


In a recent essay published in the Field Reporter, John Grzinich reported this thought from the mid-90′s,

‘In the mid-90s we were saying ‘I guess we’ll call what we’re doing "experimental music” ‘

This sentence relates very well to this compilation released on the Obs label, providing an overview of artists whose styles range from electro-acoustic composition to drones, through field recording, … thus experimental music.

Here is my feedback on the listening, the listenings I should say, as the quality of this disc appeals for being back to it often.

With the first pieces, one stands in memory, Emmanuel Miéville and Richard Garet grace our ears with fragmented voices haloed with throbbing drones, remote echo of a forgotten world. There is randomness, breakings, pieces are of the highest quality, every new listening unveils other facets depending on one’s ear focus, either on the field recordings or on the buzz, the harmonics.

The piece by Takanobu Hoshino moves to acoustics, brings us inside from outside, and with great talent focuses as well on the almost silent outside brook as on the amplified inside sounds, an equilibrated approach.

Chris Whitehead adopts a documentary composition, questions the memory of it’s living place, walks back to the roots of ancestrial ceremonies, all being illuminated by a strange piano.

Zero Centigrade uses some untuned instrument, shares a close by listening, rubs it, makes it slide, and gets totally embodied in it.

Jim Haynes composes an electromagnetic piece, extracts from it’s surroundings these perturbations that one considers spooky, but acknowledges that they are under control… Then one totally relies upon him.

With Radioson occurs a paradigm shift in listening, radio becomes a memory space, listening is intimate, between two frequencies, remote voices try to deliver us a last message.

Gregory Buttner works with the mechanism of repetition, the same sound source in various conditions, a bewitching piece.

With Ben Owen, spatialization gets radical, listening being almost autonomous whether one approaches from left or right channel, creating an area where people can balance themselves the sounds that grace their ears, becoming some sort of Cartesian devil in the meanders of a radio.

Fully different is the piece by Francisco Merino, which, although keeping the hertzian interference as a vague skeleton, ventures in field accident, frank rupture, restlessness as modus vivendi.

The final track by Dasein is noticeable for his white, distorsions and voices whose perception of violence shall be definitely enhanced by a live performance.

To put it in a nutshell, this compilation successfully bets to create an homogeneity despite the different composition approach of each artist, thus Denis Shapovalov, boss of Obs label, highly pertinently selected and arranged these tracks.


Ecco a voi due compilation estrapolate da una massa informe di materiali simili, due compilation che magari non rappresentano il meglio del settore ma offrono comunque numerosi motivi d'interesse. La prima, curata dall'olandese residente negli USA Jozef Van Wissem, è una raccolta a tema, autenticamente concept. 'Vecchi' strumenti, ma non sempre antichi, utilizzati per produrre 'nuova' musica, questo il concetto che sta alla base del disco. Preparazioni e manipolazioni, quindi, a delineare nuovi territori di ricerca. Alcune nostre conoscenze - Keiji Haino, Jon Mueller, C Spencer Yeh (cioè Burning Star Core), Sharron Krauss, Stephan Matthieu... - più alcuni nomi nuovi per sands-zine (ma non nuovi per gli appassionati di musica) interpretano al meglio il tema proposto. Piace molto un Haino che presenta il suo lato vocale più onirico, piace la nenia noise di Mueller, Lee e Van Wissem, piacciono le svisature sulla pedal steel guitar di Susan Alcorn e sulla viola di C Spencer Yeh, piace il bordone creato da Matthieu sull’organo farfisa, piacciono le dissonanze sulle chitarre… insomma, piace un po’ tutto questo disco di stranianti atipicità.
Se la partecipazione a "New Music...” è concentrata sugli USA, con qualche escursione in Irlanda, Regno Unito, Belgio, Germania e Giappone, "Archaic Variations...” contrappone una natura molto più globalizzata, con una provenienza allargata a Russia, Portogallo, Uruguay e Italia (un brano degli splendidi Zero Centigrade). Il nocciolo del CD è molto più legato alla paesaggistica sonora, con conseguente utilizzo di registrazioni d'ambiente, manipolate comunque in direzione elettroacustica, in quasi tutti i brani. Di nuovo devo parlare d’alta qualità, con una vetta di assoluta eccellenza raggiunta, oltre che narco-blues dell’accoppiata De Luce / Taiuti, nello stupendo quadro psycho-minimalista di Chris Whitehead (Eve Of Ascension).
Buon ascolto.Sinds zine



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