MICROVIEW :: Volume 22 By TJ Norris

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>>> Key

  • . Frozen In Time (10 Below)
  • . . On Thin Ice (Playable)
  • . . . Icebreaker (Solid)
  • . . . . Sonic Ice (Repeat)
  • . . . . . Avalanche (Classic)


  • Mountains :: Mountains
  • CD :: Apestaartje
  • . . .

    1059 image 2 :: Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp make Mountains. Their four track debut is just over 1/2 hour and combines a bevy of field recordings with guitars and other acoustics. “Paper Windmill” sounds like a series of mono start-stop cassette loops of scraping wooden things and sucking wind. The piece breaks a few times to allow for a riveting volume of higher pitched rambling. It’s fidgety, irritating and edgy as the pedal hits the metal. Once the cacophony is circumvented a siphon-like gust of air is drawn openly. Since all the tracks are strewn together this may be where “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass” begins and ends. It’s just a long power passage of found sound – or was that “Blown Glass Typewriter”? The live “Sunday 07.25.04 at Tonic” is obvious as the friction of live sound is much less introverted than the previous track(s). It’s a confetti storm of celebratory angst and feedback frenzy that cuts the air in two –more scraping cellos and synthetic randomness to balance the lonesome voids and cuts. Towards the conclusion it’s as if they are sawing their instruments in pieces, or flying them.


  • David Kristian :: The Mariana Trench
  • CD :: Oral
  • . . . . .

    1059 image 3 :: David Kristian, who is rumored to be on his way to launching a career focusing on soundtrack work, serves himself well with this precursor on his latest The Mariana Trench. Recorded during the snowstorms of ’03 in Montreal, Kristian reprises much of his beloved ambient past through watery imagery and technology. As heard on “Pacifica” long sweeping drone-filled passages with gesticulating spikes of vivid growth blend unknowingly into “14 Islands”. It’s not until the dead zones of “The Abyssal Plain” that you start to get lost in the blatantly hypnotic qualities of this release. And once you submit, the senses are stolen leaving an inebriating effect that is quite generous and renders the body weak for the time being. Most of the rest is a big blur, a cerebral comet flying through the vortex of my vascular system via central brainwaves, the electrochemical abyss is something else! If this is the conclusion of the Kristian of yore, it’s imminently startling and a restless, brainwashing trip towards the future.


  • Like A Stuntman :: Fresh Air is not the Worst Thing in Town
  • CD :: Highpoint Lowlife
  • . . 1/2

    1059 image 4 :: Germany’s Like A Stuntman offer the latest in the spawn of Beck filtered sound-alike built up through a rough mesh of screens, just add water. Mastered by Twerk (is this the same guy from Mille Plateaux?) the fuzzy and whispered vocals get a bit lost on both “Park the Trailer in the Park” and “I was Shocked and you were Shocked” making for a more intimate record overall. It’s a clash between indie-pop (ala the Breeders, Soul Coughing) and lazy electronica with an edge of funky percussion on “Kingkongs.” A combo of cute miniature forestry cover art, shy un-poised vocals, and an absence of overt superstar power offers a disc that screams “little” at every turn. This is both charming and disarming. Fresh Air is not the Worst Thing in Town is one of those rare recordings that has a sense of serious humor where you can predict that the follow-up could be more tailored and focused, if they get that far. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, no static, no fame (for now).


  • Taylor Deupree + Kenneth Kirschner :: post_piano 2
  • CD :: 12K
  • . . . .

    1059 image 5 :: A dilemma from the start, building a collaborative piece with a built-in challenge, the overground subway sections of New York. Well, such is the case for the location of Kenneth Kirschner’s studio, where his very first piano that he learned from as a child still rests, though, just outside, the powerful acoustics of the ancient NY subway system reminds him of the velocity and pace the city moves at every five to ten minutes. Starting back in 2002 Kirschner and Taylor Deupree started the process of building post_piano with the intention of excerpting the acoustic experience of the studio, without the distractions. The end result heard on the minimalist composition “11.11.2003” is paced in gridded quadrants and lonely keystrokes. The piece is something of a collection of short haikus for piano all strung together quite harmoniously. The balance becomes something quite ambient and luminous on “08.09.2004” where a laptop keyboard has virtually erased any semblance of a piano keyboard. The brusque tonalities at the top of “01.09.2005” lead way to splintered piano samples and metered exploration with a grey zone of funky nuances. “09.15.2004” is Deupree’s blissful elongation of Kirschner’s playing as he sonicizes the very core of the actual gesture of stroking a key in ultra slow-mo, harkening back to the EM:T days of the mid 90s. Like bionic shreds flapping in a harbor breeze, the track hauntingly fades in and away.


  • Monolake :: Polygon_Cities
  • CD :: Imbalance Computer Music
  • . . . .

    1059 image 6 :: Robert Henke has totally re-envisioned, and sumptuously repackaged his mission. Polygon_Cities is overtly futuristic dance music, not an area where Monolake has yet traveled, but only here it seems rectified by its simple purity of crystal clear sound and structural emphasis on the beat. It helps being a software guru who has to experiment less with the end product, and he most certainly shows off his wares on the funky opener “Pipeline.” These days Monolake is again touring as a duo with a new partner at the helm who goes by the moniker T++ and their live sound has more of a wide-bodied club appeal, as referenced heavily here on “CCTV” (guess touring Mutek and all things Canadian has staying power). When I first held the disc in my hand the glint of the super-gloss chemical structure against a matte coated black backdrop really caught my eye, it is by far the most ingenious cover design this year, as this polygon structure creates a highly optical map that pops and follows from front to back. “North” is a bit of a lazy track with some fade effects and repetitive percussion that are somewhat lost in the mix. The sounds of Henke’s Thunder Studies are hinted at towards the opening of what becomes the lab-induced dance-fest of “Invisible.” With handclaps and tribal beat rhythms that add new clever layers every 20 seconds or less, this makes something lucent yet dark. Henke is in control, shaping his cityscape.


  • Mitchell Akiyama :: Small Explosions That Are Yours To Keep
  • CD :: Sub Rosa
  • . . . . 1/2

    1059 image 7 :: Montreal’s multi-instrumentalist Mitchell Akiyama sculpts something of a melancholy game on “Strategies for Combatting Invisibility” with its long strings and sea bells and bouncy things streaming into all forthcoming tracks. There are certain moments when this sounds like a lazy afternoon expanse of desert (“Your Distance Kept”) rendered as a beautiful reminder to lock yourself safely inside once in a while, to just dream of traveling circuses and tune-ups (listen closely to the title track from more details). The dripping percussion of “Contrapuntal Lung Apparatus” vs. the serene, indirectness of its lilting drone creates a lethargic space to crawl into. There is so much variety on this record, and the addition of saxophone by Vitaminsforyou is a great touch. What makes Small Explosions That Are Yours To Keep most intriguing is its launch from anything else going on in the world of electronica in the moment, it’s earthy and serious, even with false starts and fumbling improvisation, there is a direction in harmony and concept that is clear. Time is slowly dripping away in the closer “Ghost Storms” as birds brightly chirp a sleepy, discordant vibe comes to light. The overall pulsing android factor is mind numbing on what I would consider Akiyama’s most successfully rendered effort to date.


  • Violet/Alexei Borisov/Michael Gendreau :: Bogatiri
  • CD :: Zeromoon
  • . . . .

    1059 image 8 :: Three live recordings made in December of ’03 in Russia by three different artists. Starting with Michael Gendreau’s recording “noceur” (live at DOM, Moscow) there’s a purring bass drone that shakes the floor and emits finite tones that cut through the air. The built tones then splay themselves outwardly to fill the immediate sound space in all their muted abrasiveness. The pitch revolves to reveal blunt and strapped signals. About fourteen minutes in the open air drone fuzzes out largely for a few moments until a silence is produced. Alexei Borisov’s “Extra-kt” relives some of the glory days of Cabaret Voltaire with his spoken dialogue in his native Russian alongside a quik-bred pitter-patter intense beat aligned with a motorized pressure chamber. Taken from a live set performed at the Jaroslavl Museum, Borisov slices and dices the bare space with reverberating groundedness and anxious girth. The track harkens to a time when darker music was invented in the making, rather than produced, and after seeing him live this year, I know he is capable of a whole lot more. Organic and sensual, raw and bent. Finally, Violet offers his “Demonstration of Decay @ GEZ-21” originally heard at the Gallery of Experimental Sound in St. Petersburg. In what could only be described as rhythmic noise, this demo is evocative of the holiday season, quieted by the hush of reverence to others. Until he blends a staccato hiss into open air percussion play that flares and disappears.


  • Yuichiro Fujimoto :: Kinoe
  • CD :: Audio Dregs
  • . . . .

    1059 image 9 :: Kinoe starts off as a quiet with guitar and a few objects, some feedback on “Drawing of Stars” and a few bells chime the launch of “Afterrain.” These lighter tones ostensibly act as a bubbly xylophone of sorts. The 22 year old Japanese artist has a cute website, where he presents photos, drawings and general background on his work. This second full-length disc for Fujimoto takes its sweet time, especially on the stretched out strings of “Morning Dance.” Kinoe shows off plenty of playful tinkering around with objects (toy piano), lil’ segues into slackerobics (brushing teeth, pencil drawing) and other meaningless generalities that add up to storytelling. There are some parts that seem to reference family in a romantic way (“Listen to Grandpa’s Youth” and “Kid Play, Mom Nap”) where the blog of his life is laid out in acoustics. Some basic references to traditional Japanese music are faded into “Harmony” while “An Octave of Shells” sounds like something reminiscent of a seagull hitched to a tracking device flying out of Coney Island. Speaking of which, his closer “Old Bird Tape” sets the listener somewhere by a lake for a lazy folktale with strings and harmonica. It’s pretty and vintage.


  • Loren Chasse :: The Air in the Sand
  • CD :: Naturestrip
  • . . . . 1/2

    1059 image 10 :: Loren Chasse has traveled extensively to piece together this amazonic breath of free consciousness. The Air in the Sand includes six field recording collages, tracks recorded in multiple outdoor locations, along the ocean and through mountains, then remixed in the studio. It’s a calming brew with sprouts of grey areas throughout. The title track illustrates a meditational calm before the storm. Varietals of punctuated textures float in and out as layers build on both “Drawing Dirt” and “A Tree on the Sky.” Muted underwater sounds perturb and delight, as fate would have it. Chasse realigns and manipulate stactile elements, with a horizon line of crosshatching drips and contained echoes. Its heavy rain, or a roaring fire, or simple raking multiplied 10x on “The Air Inside the Rain.” The familiar sounds of chirping birds (a staple in the world of so many field recorders) do their own kinetic thing as it’s entwined here. Using air as a formula Chasse preoccupies our immediate surroundings, our private space. But he does it with the passionate power of listening, documenting and giving back excerpts of his private experience.


  • jgrzinich :: Insular Regions
  • CD :: Sirr
  • . . . 1/2

    * PORTUGAL :: The domineering, eerie particles of sound on “.e 27 : n 58” were recorded between 2003-04 in Estonia. John Grzinich inebriates the acoustic field with a sensual, subdued drone that is as mysterious as black ice, yet begs to be confronted. The minimalist one-tone lining builds with a fierce babbling brook of crackling tempered hatchings that scratch for the surface. The work is weighty and thick. The cover art shows dried flowers rising up through densely packed snow, looking more like scratchy lines on a blue-white canvas. “..second portal” is the other side of this diptych of the lengthy pieces here (44 mins). Deep, dark, grey ambient tones with a nearly invisible second layer of Pop-Rock(TM) sounding campfire snap-crackle-pop. But this is only ear candy for those suiting up for a funeral pyre, as it’s rather spare and gloomy. Through the impenetrable fortress of sinister hues the listener may feel as if they are getting sleepy, but at the same time the bass drone hits the pit of your G.I. system like lead. It’s a long trek through this vast forest, and I am not sure if granny would be awaiting anyone with pie of any kind.


    Essential Links ::

  • Apestaartje
  • Oral
  • Highpoint Lowlife
  • 12K
  • Imbalance Computer Music
  • Sub Rosa
  • Zeromoon
  • Audio Dregs
  • Naturestrip
  • Sirr

  • ARCSINE (Microview Logo + Graphics)


    Read more Microview’s ::

  • 22, 21, 20b, 20a, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14
  • 13, 12,
    11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1


    * Country icon not available at time of publication.


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