BOT: Compositions Continuums des Machines
FRANCE FIBRR RECORDS fibrr011 CD (2013)
There always seems to be those out there who shamelessly choose to flout convention. When presented with review CDs like Compositions Continuums des Machines, I always like to know just who exactly is responsible for the sonorities on offer, and, dear reader, in this case, all is not as it seems. After looking at the rather impenetrable crib sheet a few times, I now realise that I just might have the measure of things. Y’see it transpires that BOT isn’t the name of the artist or collective, but is the name of a series of listening posts that are active in the Nantes, St. Nazaire and St. Sebastian districts of France. And… scanning the sleeve’s small print can reveal that Julien Ottavi, Romain Papion, Jenny Pickett and Jean-Francois Rolez (aka APO33) are the obscured/blurry figures behind the processing of audio data for this rather unusual entry in the field recordings canon. And rather fine it is too.
Coming from Fibrr Records (“a copyleft label since 2000”), this 48-minute plunge into certain aspects of the livelong day is a busy collage of bell-tones, nature sounds, urban bustle and shortwave transmissions. A certain composerly ear hovers over the proceedings too, as colour, shade, presence and at times, industrially-voiced dynamics are all in full evidence. I’m reminded of a couple of late seventies U.K. bedroom experimentalists, where a Dada-informed imprint of Bizarro world laced with a warped sense of humour were integral and telling ingredients. So…advance Bladder Flask and early N.W.W. offshoot, Hastings of Malawi. Their non-linear scalpel-meets-tape reel constructions seem to have some foundation within the BOT universe. That same “seat of your pants” approach seems very much an attribute of shadowy foursome. Perhaps it’s the toot of factory (?) klaxons that’s pitched alongside a plethora of birdsong? The latter sound source having distant echoes of Jim Fassett’s extraordinary Symphony of the Birds album of yore (reissued on EM Records of Japan). Though in this case, this avian broadside soon appears to take on a shrill mechanized edge, much like the massed chirpage of a roomful of nineteenth century caged automata. Bless their tiny metal beaks…