Separate from the normal review section we published these record reviews by DJ Ambidextrous in Alien Underground 0.1 (spring 1995)
The Anti Group
Musica Maxima Magnetica ITA.
The Anterior Research Project as it had become known to many a discerning industrialist over the past years has moved out to Italy and here it is that Musica Maxima Magnetica,the label, has released the first T.A.G. product in several years.The ad blurb prior to release said that this would be the extended offering that we had all become used to.A pamphlet of esoteric,eclectic notes was always a useful insight into T.A.G.’s particular concerns and added to the view that here was something going on that was credible and beyond the normal bollocks that prevailed in the established pop world.With new product on the horizon you could imagine the kind of state the awaiting ‘Tifosi’ were getting in.I was certainly one of those few,dedicated fans that still had some hope in the idea that ‘Industrial‘ could still offer something valid beyond the pathetic theatrical diorama that it had become and in surviving cases still is.
The C.D. itself was a minor disappointment.The pamphlet even more so.A collection of ancient poems and the odd anecdote hardly adds up to what you would call ‘research‘.An initial impression was one of a hastily slapped together bunch of recordings shifted out to entice the fans.It contains some of the least crafted tracks/samples this side of a cheap ‘n nasty “ardcaw u no va skaw“ remould.Samples repeated in unimaginative loops,synths in preset mode…‘Ethereal Choir’.But unlike the remoulds it retains a measure of roadholding and one saving grace the track ‘Psychophonophilia’.This is a darker more unsettled piece that shifts its references around a central meandering,murky drone.
It all makes you wonder why they shipped out.Here there is little support for anything wayward,a stagnant,motionless pond,with dams of readymade audio waste impeding the flow of well crafted works or is it just simply creative block,stasis?It has to be said that this C.D. is not rubbish,it is just a diluted version which could be interpreted as creative weakening,a lack of sonic concentration,given the time taken to release new material.To produce something monumental,which ‘Teste Tones‘ or ‘Digitaria’ was requires a great deal of time,effort,isolation and concentration and to my mind that is just not evident here.Their previous works were not something you could churn out a la FAX,the musical equivalent of Warhol’s ‘Factory’ aesthetic..‘Faxtory‘,this was sirius stuff.
Although the negativity of this review would lead you to believe this C.D. is worthless it is a darn sight better than the majority of what is currently available on the ‘Ambient‘ pond.Here’s awaiting the new ‘Meontological‘ recordings yet to be released.
(Kling Klang) 7″ white label
I am a confessed hater of all things guitar because it has been flogged to death with all its encumbant Rock ‘n Roll images continually lauded by the ill informed rags + the perpetually self-referential T.V.
When something drops through the door quite unexpectedly and subsequently contraverts your belief that there are no aliens out there it has got to be good.This is alien stuff.If you make a concern out of listening then this is for you.
Fripp proved that if you bang a load of time domain effects on the end of your axe you could transform it beyond its former mechanistic posed squiggles.
Main’s preoccupation is with control and measure above chord structure and rhythm.This organic approach to production parallels abstraction in painting and could be likened to Rothko’s colourfield meditative works as opposed to the intricacies of a Pollock.The guitars allow for a type of expression that is hard to achieve with computers and synths and only Eno has ever managed this using non-keyboard continuous analogue controllers and a deal of insight (Check Fripp + Eno’s collaborative effort for further reference).‘Liquid Reflective’ is a Quadraverbed swathe of slow rising attacks,bell or chime like in timbre that deserves a longer rendition than the 7” allows.‘Core‘ on the other hand is more industrial in its approach.The sounds are more aggressive and a hint of very early Cabaret Voltaire in a background guitar is memorable in its execution.Overall this is a very abstract single that confirms a radically different set of concerns that oppose the mass indulgence in rock ‘n roll poised antics.There is a vision here that is very personal and difficult to assess and that is an endearing quality of this outfit.Time will tell if they can sustain the unusual against the pressure of conformity.
These Records P.O Box 4412 SW8 2XJ
I have not come across Barbed before and may be wrong in thinking that this is their first outing on a PRO format (what bollocks PRO!)This C.D. contains 17 tracks of varying lengths no greater than 6 mins,and this is a pointer to the complexity of each of the tracks.This is complete mastery of collaging in which the methods used whether achieved by tape or by sampler,disc or whatever are superbly executed and would make the early Musique Concrete pioneers affirm their belief in its creative potential.There is an eclectic mix of sources and a wide variety of expressions.Musically it compasses atmospheric moods to metropolean confusion all in one take.Collage runs the risk of banality in the use of badly extrapolated sources in a confused mix of disparate elements but ‘Barbed‘ manage to take the seemingly benign and inject their own brand of cut-up malevolence.This is not Ambient though it has ambience.I have no comparisons to make things easier to crack save an obscure german outfit called ‘Die Zwei‘,somebody may have heard of their 80’s Hip Hop ish 12“s.‘Barbed‘ do have a tendency to sound like white boy middle class intellectuals in attempting Hip Hop breaks on some of the tracks which could be considered right off.For my money this is their downfall as that displays its state of musical conclusion.It is not visionary but well honed.One thing a lot of Techno could learn from this is how to inject dynamism into the use of individual sounds as is demonstrated here in model fashion.
Not my bag except that it carries well and the leather is good quality.
Legion is Andrew Lagowski of LAGOWSKI fame currently releasing his own brand of Techno cuts on GPR.This is the second release as ‘Legion‘,previously we had the colossal ‘False Dawn’ which had been released at the point when the specialist press were signalling the death of Industrial as we had known it.’False Dawn‘ charged into no man’s land under heavy fire from the press initiated flanking manouver of the ‘Ambient’ brigade,bursting through with no supporting fire it emerged the other side leaving behined it a trail of carnage and picking up on its way a few stalwart Industrial partisans that had been sniping ‘Ambient’ H.Q’s.Backup has arrived with a supply of new ammo in the form of this new release.
’Die Datenschleuder’ scans the nether regions of sonic possibilities,every sound carefully poised within an inimitable structure.A mixture of analogue (not a 303 in sight) and digital processing,there is no allegience to either as both are skillfully worked and reworked interdependantly.It is a complex mesh of aggressive and calmed tones the likes of which are nowhere else to be found.There are no presets here as sonic machines are forced to their processing limits culminating in an expansive soundscape of heaving textures that requires a good deal of time investment from the listener.If a tight P.A. is available in your Lounge then turn the dB’s up to get the max audio/power transfer.Lagowski has a fascination with machinery that has a measure of latent power over its operators as expressed in the track ‘Killzone’.This track is a requiem to a robot plant worker that did not observe some crucial safety rules and was subsequently killed by the robot.The latent power of Lagowski‘s sonic machines are evident in the tracks presented and underline his ability in discovering new methods against the tide of commercial pastiche.
I first heard this at the electronic lounge ,a once monthly cafe soc’ meeting at the highly suspect,corporate sponsored art supermarket,purveyor of leading edge Techno-logical thoughts, the ICA.The timetable stated that Manning would be live at 23.45.The night was such that it was difficult to hear what was being played,voices had the night in control as Bose couldn’t deliver the max sonic transfer required.What I heard of Manning be it live or record was the striking fact that it sounded all the same in this situation.Could it be that boring?Surely not,this was Akim’s night.My assessment of the situation was that it was due to the lack of max sonic transfer required of the Bose setup.I subsequently got a copy and proceeded to check the molecular level of info available on vinyl to hear what I may have missed.Visualising what was on disc via an oscilloscope and listening through a rare set of class A valve monoblocks,what could I hear?There was not much that I could detect that was vastly different from the live performance.Structuraly this had a subtle complexity that was not evident live,but that did not really alter my general impression.Overall the tracks do sound very similar,almost Gamelan in both scale,sound and meter,it would appear that a random generator was used somewhere to come up with all the sequences but this may be entirely wrong and it was played by some alien virtuoso on a chaotic mission.The sounds are all the same based on pure waves,ring modulated in parts and the odd splash of noise/reverse drum envelopes,the palette remarkably limited but not minimal.This is electronics that in someways emulates the classical experimenters like Tenney or Eimert but which does not come with the necessary baggage, the reams of paper=vision.There are a couple of tracks on here that if played by hand do have an impressionist,even soulful,feel to them!The tendency is to over state the ideas/sounds and in most tracs leaves you waiting for change.Manning has had a previous release on irdial but I have not had a chance to check this,who knows there maybe some method in his madness!