Sunday, December 21, 2008
Iida Katsuaki/Ryu Hankil - Selected poems with Clockworks (Manual)
Operating at a huge disadvantage here, as I don't understand Japanese (the enclosed booklet does provide translations), but I do like what I hear. Katsuaki speaks his works in relative deadpan and, for the first several out of the 20 shortish tracks, the result is rather nondescript. But things pick up almost imperceptibly, Hankil's mechanical rhythms and whirs becoming more and more aggressive, several of the pieces achieving an exquisite balance between the voice and clockwork devices. Good, unusual recording, even if I get the feeling I'd like it less were the words spoken in English.
Available stateside from erstdist
Gunter Müller/Jason Kahn/Norbert Möslang - mkm_msa (For4Ears)
I've given up trying to understand what Müller and company have been on about the last few years. Here we have more of the same, richly textured, yes but maybe overly so in a sickly sweet sense, almost always weighted down with vacuous beats and throbs. I imagine that if you were wandering around nearby one of the six events from which the tracks here were excerpted (that's another thing--excerpts?) and had some interest in what passes for experimental rock these days (or, better, of a Laswellian persuasion), you might be intrigued enough to pop in. If that's the motivation, fine, I guess. But for those of us who thought Müller, earlier in the decade, was one of the strongest, most vital creators out there, recordings like this one are a bitter pill.
Alfred 23 Harth/Hans Joachim Irmler/Gunter Müller - Taste Tribes (For4Ears)
Though by no means great, this offering has far more going for it, if only because it surprises a fair amount. Cobbled together by Harth from duo recordings he'd done with Muller and Irmler (of Faust), there's much greater breadth of sounds (including breathy saxophonics), interesting match-up of sonic blocks, etc. and best of all, no leaden beats! There are some loopy, overly spacey moments, yes, but it's pretty listenable throughout and solid at its best.