Lieutenant Caramel - Überschallknall
SPAM 15. Edition of 60
Posset - Standard
SPAM 13. Edition of 50
Nils Quak – In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni
SPAM 14. Edition of 40
I’m quite sure Frans de Waard is as happy as a pig in shit rolling around in all those releases he gets sent every week, but just imagine opening the door to a postie armed with piles of jiffy bags every day, all of them containing the same kind of music. All those JLIAT releases that go on for hours and hours? All that indescribable nonsense thats gets just the one listen and off to Oxfam or eBay. Maybe he has more time than me. Maybe he likes listening to nothing but discordant skronk and JLIAT everyday of his life, for hours on end, day after day, week in month out. Until one day, he says to himself ‘I cant take this anymore’ and he torches his house and runs away to join a transgender ABBA tribute band based in Luxembourg. FDW as Benny and a promise to himself to listen to nothing but the top 40 for the rest of his life. That’s what would happen to me if I had to listen to JLIAT all the time.
My biggest fear is that I end up getting sent the same kind music as FDW ad infinitum. A never ending lifetime of coming home from work and picking up jiffy bags with 60 minutes of the same old same old on it. A living hell. Maybe FDW chills out with some Texas or Prefab Sprout on his nights off, or maybe a spin of the Grease soundtrack? Who knows. When it comes to listening to music I prefer plenty of variety and that doesn’t just mean swapping Adam Bohman for Jonothan Bohamn. Variety it has to be and while I’d quite happily rave on all day about Adam Bohman I’d be slitting my wrists if I had to listen to nothing else for two weeks solid. If all I wrote about was Adam Bohman I’m pretty sure that soon enough the only people reading this blog would be me and Adam Bohman. It doesn’t work like that.
But back to me and these words of mine which are but a sideshow, a peccadillo, something I like to do when the urge strikes, when the muse is upon me, when I’m gripped by a certain piece of music or a release and the need to put words on screen and click post descends upon me with a fervor I find impossible to ignore. Its why people who get good reviews on these pages immediately send me everything they’ve ever done and then wonder where there isn’t another equally as magnanimous rave review the day after. It doesn’t work like that.
So the day comes when three tapes arrive. Each of them containing sounds created by two people I know nothing of and one whom I’ve heard of but not heard. My heart flutters a moment and I put aside my recent qualms about tapes not being loved here any more and insert the rather ridiculously named Lieutenant Caramel into the machine. Judging by the name, Lieutenant Caramel could be anything except maybe an Adam Bohman side project. What I wasn’t expecting to unearth were the workings of Phillipe Blanchard, a French composer born in 1961 who judging from this all too short ‘Überschallknall’ release is a master of the studio, his own studio and genres with French graves accents in them; Musique Concrète for example. How his name has passed me by all these years [according to Discogs his first release appeared in 1986] is worrying me somewhat. As this tape slowly spooled further on my jaw fell further with each passing inch, after numerous repeats I just shook my head and thanked Joe Murray Posset for sending me them.
From his studio in France Blanchard mixes and edits sounds resulting in a kaleidoscope that encompasses the radio chatter of Mexican drug cops [I’m guessing], a group of people trying to pull a cow out of a well in India [I’m guessing], atonal string quartets, footsteps as accompaniment to Kagel like toy compositions, the rubbing of bass strings and randomly struck piano notes. Using sound sources as taken from his travels through Syria, Rome, Samarkand and no doubt plenty of other places along the way you also get plenty of spoken word in foreign tongues which when coupled to the sparse sounds of those wires being rubbed and the bass notes of a very deep bass being plucked give rise to what can only be described as sheer ear delight. Special mention must also be given to the sound quality here, perhaps the best I’ve ever come across on cassette tape, the result of Mr Blanchard’s studio and a high fidelity cassette. Life’s full of surprises. What was that about the longest journey beginning with a single footstep? I feel like I’ve been on this journey for years and have only just got over the threshold. What a wonderful world we live in.
The aforementioned Joe Posset and the sender of these items of delight is where we pitch up next. His name has been familiar to me for a while now, mainly due to various reviews of his releases on the Hayler RFM site and later, through his own idiosyncratic writing in the same place. He’s not Adam Bohman or the Filthy Turd or the tourettes affected YOL or THF Drenching but he does like to wander around with a dictaphone, probably mainly in the North East where I think he hails from.
What struck me is that his work [based on this release] is very low key, relaxing in certain instances, whereas Adam Bohman can be fairly frantic in his approach, at times appearing to have just got off the bus with the square wheels, [reciting menus and flyers stuck to walls] and the Filthy Turd is, well … the Filthy Turd. Posset appears as if through a veil of mist, revealing himself in parts as a creature of mystery with gently plucked acoustic guitars, the sounds of rummaging, stand alone sounds of dogs barking and groups of Sri Lankan’s impersonating strange animals on windy moors. The overall sound quality is certainly lo-fi and thats a benefit here of course, those murky sounds are all part of the aesthetic, they’re the ones that add to the mystery, the sound of someone playing Candy Crush Saga while eating a red hot meat and tatie pie and getting beaten up at the same time, the Phil Minton bit, the pagan ritual in a forest clearing knee deep in crunchy leaves or is that the tape rubbing against the capstan, slowing things down, stretching things to snapping point. The beginning of one side contains an exquisite bucolic loop with masses of tape swirl slathered across it. Short but beautifully perfect. A beguiling sound and one to wallow in. Posset reveals himself as a collector of sounds be they from gob or fumbled guitar or forest floor. Lets all buy dictaphones and put our boots on.
Which leaves us with Nils Quak and some modular synth workouts via Germany. Which for the most part are eminently listenable with nods to Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works II, Chris & Cosey and some full on noise/drone, finger prod squeals/farts for good measure. This came with bits of tin foil stuffed into the case for reasons which remain unexplained while the title is a Latin palindrome known as the devil’s verse. The things you get sent eh?