As the title suggests, this is volume 6 in Electroshock's anthology album series featuring musicians on the extreme cutting edge of electronica. What makes this series so intriguing is that the musicians come from all around the world, so on this new CD musicians from Italy, Lithuania, the UK, Spain, Brazil and Finland are all represented. Track one is Francesco Galante's "El Mio Prese e La Notte", an interesting selection of industrial-type sounds mixed and organized in such a way that it hints of organic life but barely makes it as music to these ears. "H3Oraj" by Antanas Jasenka is thankfully more musical, much more ambient, with drones, percussion and chimes - but bizarrely about halfway through you get a quick burst of The Stripper! "Peel", by Pete Stollery, seems to be a collage of assorted sound effects, all electronically treated and run through various bits of technology - again it doesn't scan as music but puts me in mind of sound installations or a modern ballet. Adolfo Nunez' "Noche Castellana" is another piece of gentle ambience, a voyage over a very strange ocean viewing its alien denizens. "Rituals Do Matter", by Carey Nutman, continues the strange voyage concept, again over a very alien sea or perhaps its cyberspace, a collision of beeps, bubbles, swishes and muffled voices. For some reason a mind picture of being lost deep in the heart of a multi-story carpark came to mind while listening to this! Jorge Antunes' "Hombres Tristes..." lulls with a some gentle droning only to be shaken by assorted crashing chords and screechy violin scrapings. Not really my taste. Finally, Jukka Rudhomaki's "Homage a Winston Smith" is simply an incremental selection of drones and other noises that end up in cacaphony. Have to admit that this album is perhaps a bit too cutting edge for my tastes - there's little here that I would want to listen to again.
John Peters ("The Borderland")
The Russian label "Electroshock Records" releases one or two electroacoustic compilations per year. "Electroshock Presents Electroacoustic Music. Vol. VI" contains works from around the world: Brazil, Great Britain, Lithuania, Spain, Italy and Finland. Each of the seven pieces relate to electroacoustic aesthetics, although some are more on the "musique concrete" side, others on the electronics side. Three works stand out: Pete Stollery's "Peel", the piece truest to "musique concrete", a dizzying aural sculpture; Carey Nutman's "Rituals Do Matter", more atmospheric and textural; finally "Hombres Tristes y Sin Titulo Rodeados de Pajaros en Noche Amarilla, Violeta y Naranja" by Brazilian composer Jorge Antunes, a strange piece blending retro electronics and electroacoustic manipulations. Other composers included are Francesco Galante, Antanas Jasenka, Adolfo Nunez and Jukka Ruohomaki. When considering the whole series, this sixth installment appears weaker: most of the pieces are good, but there is nothing outstanding.
Francois Couture ("All-Music Guide")
The Electroshock label's use of the term "electroacoustic" is extremely wide-ranging and liberal, so much so that almost anything that involves acoustic sound manipulation, electronics or synthesizers is fair game. On to Volume VI. This new collection comprises of seven artists, all unknown to me except for Carey Nutman. The disc opens quite sedately with Italian Francesco Galante's "El Mio Paese e la Notte" with its sound clusters, electronic gabble, and suspended slabs of sound. From Lithuania we have one Antanas Jasenka, whose "H3Oraj" amounts to a messed-up crunchy slow techno and sound slabs - when the cabaret music enters, though, I immediately loose interest! Pete Stollery (again) takes us to much more abstract "real electroacoustic" realms with his "Peel", starting with what sounds like marbles running around wooden trays, onto machines, small sounds, voices, and something about bees being yellow and green? Rodolfo Nunez's "Noche Castellana" amounts to little more than abstract clatterings and echoed jangles, and Nutman's "Rituals Do Matter" is basically an atmospheric fuzz of industry, both good stuff. Totally out of character is track 6, from Brazilian Jorge Antunes (with a really long title) which is all classical stabs and twirls, a little like a cheap man's version of Morton Subotnick's "Key To Songs". Then, in contrast again is Jukka Rudhomaki from Finland, with a track called "Hommage to Winston Smith" which is basically a nice swelling sonic ooze, misty swirled vocal effects.
Alan Freeman ("Audion")
Remember those early pioneering days of "Tangerine Dream", when they were nought but a name, with a few albums under their belt? Well, those early exciting days of electronic pioneering seem to be one of the mainstays of the "Electroshock Records" label. There's five newish releases out on Electroshock that underline the fact that this label is one of the leading ones when it comes to originality. I know there's some great labels out there who've moved on from these early soundscapes, but I like this stuff, and the more there is, the better. The last of their current'2000 release is Electroshock Presents: "Electroacoustic Music. Volume VI". This series of Electroacoustic Music are simply all must haves. Not only do they allow you to hear what Electroshock are all about, but they offer up an astounding array of soundscapes, experimental, structured and even sequenced electronic music from a variety of artists. The albums simply represent an education on both music and the artists. Not only that, but the artists featured on these releases are from all around the globe. This particular release kicks off with Francesco Galante's "El Mio Paese e la Notte". The man is, obviously, Italian, and with a name like Franceso, would it surprise you to learn that some of the sections on this track reminded me of Zappa on his more adventurous days? It's also an incredibly frightening and disturbing piece with an abundance of intrusive sound samples. There's seven tracks in all, with artists from Scotland, Finland, Great Britain, Spain and Brazil. The unfair thing here is that I really shouldn't pick out any tracks as they're all superb and offer up some insights into the world wide web of electronic minds.
David W. Hughes ("Modern Dance")
The latest entry in the "Electroshock" Electroacoustic series features seven artists from different parts of the world. As usual, the contributions focus on varied sound creations and their incorporation into a musical context. Here's a brief rundown...
Italian artist, Francesco Galante's entry is a combination of avant-garde sound experimentation and ambient space. The 10 minute track consists of a few different segments that have clear beginnings and endings. One section sounds like a symphony of manic raking over pipes and/or strings, including swiftly pulsating space tones that fly from left to right, right to left. Suddenly a door slams, the last thing I expected and having the volume up high with headphones on I just about jumped out of my seat. Great use of sound and the mixing job is a big part of what makes the track interesting. From Lithuania, Antanas Jasenka's track could be sub-titled Music for Wind Tunnels. I dig the howling tones and female chorus of mechanical space whispers. There's also a bizarre, distorted hip-hoppy rhythm. Kind of like a rave party launched into a time warp that slows time to a near standstill. But that's not nearly as odd as the brief moments of burlesque music. The music doesn't so much develop as it does segue through various sound and tone themes. Interesting. Pete Stollery is from the UK, and listening to his piece I wondered if he works in film sound efx. He certainly could. Experimental sound patterns, from balls falling down a slide, various subtle percussives, conversations, and a banquet of efx, both jarring and spacey, makes his contribution an interesting, if less than coherent, collage of electro-acoustic sounds. Spain's representative, Rodolfo Nunez, contributes a track that at times made me feel like I was underwater, and at others like I was in a forest with the crickets chirping and other animal sounds. In the last minute, however, the volume shoots up and the intensity level rises for the rush to the finale. Also from the UK, Carey Nutman's track has a similar underwater theme, this time like being in a submarine and experiencing Nutman's interpretation of all the incumbent sounds. Like the other contributors, Nutman's track focuses on pure sound exploration and development, but feels more linear and goal-oriented than the other more collage-like tracks, which often feel like several experiments glommed into one. Also more focused is Brazilian artist Jorge Antunes' entry, which is an intense, somewhat whimsical, avant-classical symphony of freaky space sounds and trippy motifs. High-pitched tones entrance the listener as pounding waves of synth melodies come crashing down. And finally, Finland's Jukka Ruohomaki contributes a nice piece of ambient space with lots of cool freaky sounds to keep things interesting. In summary, an excellent set of electroacoustic explorations that combine the ambient, noise, and the avant-garde. And taken from this perspective, even the tracks I felt lacked a clear sense of direction are still impressive examples of the artists' sound experiments.
Jerry Kranitz ("Aural Innovations")