Friday, February 25, 2011

Funny Review of Brombron 16

We have heard from the American tape-artist Jason Zeh before, and I seem to recall he was muchly preoccupied with taking cassettes to pieces and obsessively working what sound he could from the discombobulated components, exposing the mechanics of the process and resuscitating sound from near-dead materials. On Dots (BROMBRON 16), he's doing similar process-based actions with a collaborator Ben Gwilliams, and for nearly 50 minutes they offer a collection of aural events produced from tape and "related machinery", which may refer to capstans and other moving parts of tape decks, while the magnetic tape itself is bombarded with nine types of Merry Heck - punctured, heated, frozen and anything else that might tend to damage or degrade the sensitive surface. I'm probably making it sound a bit too violent, because what you actually hear on the disk is mostly very gentle - a muffled and unobtrusive series of non-musical bumps and judders, assembled with no apparent structure or order. That said, there are a couple of eventful noisy squeals in the middle, and the work peters out with a nondescript ambient drone for its final fifteen minutes. I am slow to see the appeal of this work, I must admit, but hard-core fans of minimal process art should find it satisfying on some level.
Ed Pinsent

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Startless Write-up from the Chicago Reader

STARTLESS The current cassette revolution is, for the most part, a nostalgic exercise in fetishizing old crap, and as such it's worth sitting out. If you want downgraded sound that fits in your coat pocket, there's got to be some kid on your block with an outmoded MP3 player he doesn't want anymore. But Jason Zeh of Bowling Green, Ohio, has found a way to make music out of the cassette's destruction. Live, Zeh stretches tapes, runs handheld demagnetizers over them while they play, and even uses candles to melt both cassettes and players, yielding a rich variety of squelching, clicking, and scraping sounds. Startless is Zeh's project with local noise magnate Blake Edwards (best known as Vertonen), who in this context sets aside his usual electronics to work with playback media, including turntables, tapes, and shortwave radios. The 36-minute piece from their forthcoming debut CD-R, Circulation Decay (C.I.P./Eye Wish Arts), consists of sounds you might call noise, but it's never particularly harsh or noisy. Instead the duo uses remorselessly looped static and cartridge bumps to create a meditative backdrop for a leisurely conversation between shuddering tape flutters and dry, fuzzy hisses. Robert Turman headlines; Olivia Block & Lou Mallozzi, Startless, and Karl J. Paloucek open.9 PM, Enemy, 1550 N. Milwaukee, third floor,, donation requested. —Bill Meyer

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dots Review


The Brombron project itself is work a true work of art and a good reason to the fact that the Netherlands is one of the world's leading countries in field of sound art. The conceptual idea behind Brombron was originally established as a co-production between legendary Dutch label Staalplaat and the venue for experimental music, Extrapool. Two or more musicians become artists in the residence of Extrapool. Equipped with the recording studio of Extrapool, the artists can work on a collaborative project that will be released in the Brombron-series. Fifteen releases from year 2000 forward is the result of the Brombron project, and now the time has come for the 16th and 17th edition in the series.

16th release is the result of the joint venture between U.S artist Jason Zeh and U.K. artist Ben Gwilliam. Jason Zeh is a magnetic cassette tape specialist from Bowling Green Ohio, who creates music in a combination between drone, electro-accoustics and noise. Ben Gwilliam (b. 1980) is a sound artist active in the fields of sound installation and also working as a curator with a number of interesting art exhibitions around the U.K. During their days in at the Extrapool, the two artists developed the materials for present album titled "Dots". The materials are built of sounds derived from prepared tape, related machinery, and other magnetic sourcing including posting, heating, freezing, and puncturing tape. The expression is first of all subdued approaching the almost inaudible level. Subtle high frequency sound drones winds meanwhile discreet noise patterns buzzes from underneath. The result is quite elegant and very intense. Ambient music pushed to the extremes.

Next and 17th album in the Brombron-series is an interesting collaboration between two legends of the noise and industrial-scene. Z'EV (aka Stefan Joel Weisser) has been around in the experimental music scene for a long time already. His brand of scrap-metal and found object percussion originates back to the early seventies. Creating his own instruments from various metals and plastics, he has placed himself at the forefront of the movement that became known as "industrial". He was among others one of the described forefront industrial pioneers in the legendary "Industrial Culture Handbook" (1983). In the more recent years, he has returned to working with electro-acoustic manipulations. Fellow artist at the extrapool studios is one of the top composer's of Japanese noise scene. Starting his career in the early 80's by performing guitar improvisations in the clubs and streets of Tokyo, Kazuyuki Kishino a.k.a. K.K. Null continued by collaborating with among others Merzbow and others from the extreme noise scene of Tokyo. The two quite different noise artists has come out with a very interesting album as the result of their studio-days at the Extrapool. The expression on the album "Extra space, extra time" seems like a very nice combination of the style of both artists. Percussion patterns derived from metal materials and other sorts of acoustic banging circulates hand in hand with rumbling noises changing between full throttle and subtle. What makes this release certainly interesting is the way that the twosome manage to blend noisy textures with handmade percussive patterns. Hordes of noise drones and pulses moves alongside the intense tribal drum patterns of Z'EV. The main parts of the six works of the album carrying the title "Extra space, extra time", opens slowly with distant sounds that builds over time until powerful drum patterns set in to create a trancelike atmosphere. Thus despite the abrasive nature of the album, the works has a great appeal thanks to the excellent rhythm textures created by one of Industrial music most steady-going percussion artists, Z'EV. A masterful collaboration on this one! (Niels Mark)