Tim Olive + Alfredo Costa Monteiro - 33 Bays
845 Audio. CD.
Kikuchi Yukinori + Tim Olive - Base Material
TestToneMusic. TTM-011. CD
Before we all decamp to Bristol for the Schimpers Fest theres the small matter of the review pile. I’ve not been ignoring it honest but these last few weeks have been turbulent to say the least and my mind has wandered. But I have been listening. Take these two releases that came my way via Tim Olive, a Canadian now resident in Kobe, Japan whose electro-acoustic diversions have recently provided me with much aural entertainment. It wasn’t until I checked one of my alternative email addresses the other day that I cast my eyes over one of FdW’s ‘Vital Weekly’ columns to find these two releases garnered less than glowing reviews. Which I found a little unjust and only half half right - if you see what I mean.
33 Bays is one of those delightfully erudite electro-acoustic experiences that has the listener nodding their head in approval as the sounds make their way from 00.00 to end. Its a collaboration that works perfectly; Tim Olive making good use of a one stringed guitar whilst Monteiro plays ‘electro-acoustic devices’, results being plenty of those ear tickling moments where you’re not sure if a wire brush has been gently plucked whilst an amplified cat purrs close up to your ear drums or the backs come off the telly and the dust is burning or there’s an army of a thousand Airfix soldiers making their way across the Axminster or someone’s trying to eat tinfoil. Press release mentions ‘sharp transitions and gradual transformations’ which is fair enough but I prefer scrape and buzz, small silences, jack socket static, steel bars rolling across an empty foundry floor at midnight. The depth and quality of sounds on offer here is quite exceptional and after numerous plays I’m still being rewarded. Compare this to a fine French wine, not exactly a Paulliac but certainly better than a three for a tenner offer from the corner shop and a ringing hangover come the morning.
The collaboration with Kikuchi Yukinori is a different beast altogether. Upon first entering this release you may be forgiven that you have strayed into Industrial Ambient territory. Deep rumbles more closely associated with Dieter Müh or Archon Sartini fill the void and its pretty murky from there on in which comes as a surprise considering Olive is using guitar pick ups and analogue electronics. My only assumption is that this collaboration has been commandeered by Yukinori and his computer electronics, which doesn’t necessarily make for a poor listen just a baffling one after what has gone before. Taken at face value this is a decent enough excursion into some black and gloomy atmospheres but it sounds too much like one artist stifling another. Eight tracks coming in at a jaunty 27 minutes also means that these are relatively short-ish excursions most of which end abruptly suggesting edits of larger pieces cut at salient points for the editors [Yukinori’s] satisfaction.
Anyhow, Bristol. See you there.