I'm usually very good about providing write-ups for virtually every disc that makes its way to my desk. Lately, I've been deluged by them, however, and a number of items manage to combine being not very good with supplying me with almost nothing to write about. So I've decided to just give them a pass, something I feel a little guilty about.
Generally, if the recording is from a "name" individual, that is someone fairly well known within this tiny corner of the world, it's almost automatically of some interest to a reviewer, even if it sucks eggs. You can place it within some context, try to analyze why it fails, etc. But when something arrives out of the blue, as it were, from someone who, though they may be well known in their own neck o' the woods, is an unknow quality to you and when the music is....bland, there may not be too much to say short of a simple, episodic description of sounds. I received to discs from the Australian Room40 recently, a fine one from the duo of Greg Davis and Jeph Jerman, "Ku" (review posted at Bags today) and one from Lloyd Barrett, "Mise en Scene". I admit, the title put me off a bit, bearing something of an effete air, maybe. But the music, electronically oriented washes of generally tonal stuff, less beautifully melodic than Fennesz but in the same ballpark, albeit without a shred of grit, left me unmoved. Also left me with nothing but gauze to talk about, so I didn't.
A little more troubling were the three new releases from Gunter Muller's For 4 Ears label out of Switzerland. Now I like Gunter a lot, both musically and personally, but his label has a nagging tendency (not always, by any means) of releasing things that are OK, but ephemeral. Recordings that are pleasant enough but which you forget about almost as soon as they're over. These three (Masahiko Okura/Ami Yoshida/Muller - Tanker; Norbert Moslang/Muller - wild_suzuki; Moslang - burst_log) all more or less fall into that category. The first is fine in a way, just unremarkable. There's a point been reached for a while now in eai where a lot of people are readily capable of releasing "good" recordings, the way Campbell's makes "good" soup. Fine but not memorable. There's really nothing to say about it; it's not really much different than any dozen other releases over the last year. "wild_suzuki" (and yes, I'm getting a little tired of the inevitable underscore in titles from these folk!) is even blander, really baffling why it was chosen for release. I have to give the solo Moslang another listen, but my initial impression was the worst of the three.
Now, all these musicians have a bit of a name so on the one hand, I feel somewhat compelled to alert their vast (read: meager) fanbase as to the nonessentiality of these discs. On the other, what's to say other than they're not very good? Parsing them out would be extremely tedious but a three or four line review might be worthless. It's not like they're offering any real (rotten) meat to chew on. Arggh.....