Tape Hiss
#020: Autonomous Environments

By: Bryan Berge

Posted 02/16/2007 - 11:48:24 AM by meatbreak:
 Thanks Bryan, these all sound really interesting. In your review of The Rome Cell though, you say that there is only the recorders perspective, but then say you can image moving round the tunnel - if the sounds didn't give you the impression of the 3D space, then you wouldn't really be able to do that. Can I take the liberty of ignoring the bit about 'Single perspective' because your reaction betrays those words. In terms of ambience created by the natural world, you should check out the Chiku'Yu trilogy (I think i spelled that right). It's a Japanese record of soundscapes created by recording things like earthquakes and river beds with electrodes, running them through effects, amping them up and messing about with them. The one of dripping water in a cave gets seriously intense though you are constantly aware of the enormity of space the echos travel through - and because there's recording equipment all over the sceneery you get your desired multiple perspectives - or certainly some of the most convincing representations of 3D space I've ever heard.
Posted 02/16/2007 - 01:40:22 PM by bberge:
 Hey meatbreak, the tape certainly conveyed a three-dimensional sound space, but only that space captured at a single point if that makes sense. The actual space would have been much more fluid and subject to change. In that respect, when I say "imagine," I mean more like a fantasy of being in the space moving around and hearing the nuances of it, rather than an actual mental reconstruction of that experience.
Posted 02/16/2007 - 01:41:02 PM by bberge:
 please tell me where I can find the trilogy you speak of. It sounds great.
Posted 02/16/2007 - 03:54:36 PM by grandbanks:
 Yeah, I gotta say that recording of Meat's sounds pretty fascinating (at least for anyone bothering to read the tape reviews section). A lot of the bands making these kinds of releases suffer from trying to capture the dynamics of their sound on any recording medium. When you add a specific "location" recording it is always nice to imagine having been able to be there, especially if the band's sound takes advantage of the space. Live is the way to go, basically, but in line with the praise of tapes and other cheap recordings here are a couple of thoughts. Firstly, David Keenan said something along this line and I agree with it, but all of these CDRs and tapes and limited releases are great as documents of an experience, often a real time event caught right to tape. It might seem like a waste of time to most of you out there, or worse like these bands are just releasing anything they do with no thought to quality control etc., and of course that is a somewhat valid opinion, but there is another way to look at it. I feel that these types of releases are a much more humane proposition than most "proper" releases, and as a fan of hand-made stuff, this is the musician's version and is quite charming and relevant, to me. Keep up the good work on the section. Anyone new here enjoying this make sure you check out the Volcanic Tongue page, as they have a ton of reviews/copies of this type of stuff, as well as Aquarius Records, Foxy Digitalis and more, if you look. Of course, much of it just has to be found at a show, random site, or by word of mouth. Good fun.
Posted 02/17/2007 - 03:47:52 PM by meatbreak:
 Grandbanks knows Volcanic Tongue - I might have known. Good tips, essential even, I can’t thank those stores enough for the music they’ve unearthed – to that I’ll add Chocolate Monk Records, Curor Recordings and Not Not Fun – just 3 labels of a multitude that are well worth checking out, but people should search for themselves because that’s half the fun of this kind of music. I agree with ‘Banks philosophy, that the abundance of releases by noise artists is a kind of relic in the wake of how mobile this kind of music is. It takes your regular rock & etc. bands a hell of a lot of preparation and organization not to mention equipment to get tours on the road, then they’ve got to write new material which they spend months refining until they think they’re satisfied then spend weeks in a studio re-re-re-recording everything until the producer gives them the nod. While many people would assume this means that more care is being taken and the end result should be refined to such a high quality that it will immediately ignite peoples imaginations, the vast mountain of transient, underwhelming albums suggest this isn’t the case. Not only that, as Grandbanks says, this is a very sterile way of creating ‘art’. Far better for it to be spontaneous and viral, risking the odd minor aberration, than expending all this effort on just a few songs. Noise artists seem to be able to pack their bags and shoot off to gig after gig in country after country with all their equipment is a suitcase, staying at peoples houses, decimating a few venues in each town, hooking up with other artists blasting a few decibels with the microphones on, releasing it then moving on to the next town to do it all again with a whole new set of people and influences – environmental and musical. That sounds to me like a far healthier, natural, instinctive, infectious method of channeling creative energy than the aforementioned traditional formula.

I guess this is just my way of saying I agree with Grandbanks, but for the benefit of anyone stumbling across this section and not quite getting Bryan’s reviews, I wanted to add a bit by way of example of how much this scene enthuses me and hope it convinced some to go out and forage.

That record I mentioned is called Chiky(u)u. The other two in the series are called Scatter and Decay. The first was released on Ash International through Touch Music, who still seem to stock it and Scatter – I don’t know anything about Delay, not sure it was even released. Here’s the link to the Touch shop:

http://touchshop.org/product_info.php?cPath=37&products;_id=105 and one for some more info:

Posted 02/18/2007 - 09:44:04 PM by bberge:
 Thanks for the music tip and the comments! Good to know people are reading...