|Audio w/Charles Uzzel Edwards and Daimon Beail||C O L L A B O R A T I O N S|
I've just recently received the latest Tetsu Inoue project, a collaboration effort with Charles Uzzell Edwards and Daimon Beail. This album acts as a well-behaved, albeit obviously psychedelic, tour guide. Audio's preliminary recordings originate all the way back to the period that is commonly referred to as Fax's 'Golden Years' of 1994-95. Environmental recordings, naturally saturated with many sound sources and audible illusions, were first collected in various locations around San Francisco. They were then brought into the studio for further processing and musical integration. What I like about this disc is the brisk pace it keeps, with new sounds almost constantly channeled into the mix, there is little 'waiting' and a whole lot of complex sound field collage going on. Audio contains mostly shorter 4-minute pieces instead of the long-duration epics often associated with Faxlabel releases.
While preserving this multidimensional approach, the creators of Audio 'keep it moving' without sacrificing subtlety. It remains an accessible Environmental Ambient presentation even as totally unfamiliar sounds keep you guessing at what it is you're hearing. With all this said, I can confidently recommend this healthy release and I've immediately placed it on my list of Top 10 ambient releases of 2000 so far. This is the first Inoue disc to come out on the Faxlabel in years, and needless to say fans of releases such as Slow and Low or Ambiant Otaku are in for a special treat. These are songs within songs....
SFO Downtown - A piece that gives us an overview of the downtown area. An airport intercom broadcasts a final boarding call while the hustle and bustle of travelers saturates the listening area. The next segment in this short series of field recordings features some vocals from a street musician sounding like an exquisite cross between Popeye and a Tuvan throat singer. The music plays and he continues on with a somewhat subdued exuberance that tells a story all its own. Following this, we proceed to a beach where children are playing in the sand and squealing with delight while the waves are washing up on shore with their incessant natural rhythms.
Tenderloin - A slowly dribbling synth weave and a pulsating bass chunk provide the first 2 minutes or so before descending into a murky monochrome soundscape. If you're an enthusiast of the nebulous Cymatic Scan this mouth-watering selection is for you.
Church and Market - This time it sounds like we're deep in the bowels of some industrial district. The track develops from a thin sound reminiscent of Aerial Service Area's intro segment overlaid with a quiet field recording from Church and Market. A humming, spacey tapestry of noise launches you into a full-on monochrome session. Being significantly longer then all of the other tracks on the disc, this track could introduce even the headphonautical newbie to the merits of monitoring the quiet evolution of darkambient veneers. A spacious bass layer spread across the soundfield keeps the track clouded in an ashen smog.
6th and Market - This song happens to be my favorite track on the disc so far. A social dialog, an incidental rapper, a middle eastern vocalist in the distance. These sounds meld various contexts, bringing you through several disparate environmental stages as if you're floating disembodied through the vicinity. A little over halfway through this 10-minute song, an automated monologue from a switchboard phone machine spouts "information about conditional lawful permanent residence status based upon a marriage which took place less than 2 years before immigration or adjustment..." One imagines a foreigner struggling to make any sense of such an ugly bureaucratic quagmire. This one finishes off with an extended monochromatic lull.
and California - Eerie and cavelike in tone, it seems Polk and California
is not the place to go to cheer up. A few similarities in this one
to the opening portion of Rich and Lustmord's "Stalker," maintaining
the delicate balance between the dark and light qualities of the album
as a whole. A nonlinear exposure of shadowed surroundings.
15th and Church - This one seems to be the most heavily DSP'd track of the bunch. Bells or chimes of dubious origin reveal mutated envelope profiles and unnatural-sounding (electro) harmonics. These merge into a more glossy ensemble of blurred gong imagery which eventually fades out gradually as the DSP glitchery moves into focus.
- This one here really hits home almost immediately. Starting out
with some traffic site recordings, I am almost at once reminded of
the lovely opening passage of Green Paste from Second Nature. The
quality of noise here reminds me of some of Rapoon's themes, thickly
layered chords beaming through cracked glass with a dusty radiance,
or perhaps a Gas track minus the bassey pulsations. The ambience here
sinks into a thick haze of midrange monochrome droning which will
make your ears melt. Enjoy it while it lasts, you've only got 3 minutes