Static Tree and Elephant Kitchen

We received a large bundle of goodies from the ABSURD RECORDS label in Greece, run by the very devoted Nicolas Malevitsis. This arrived around late August…some of the packaging on offer here is extremely imaginative. Tasos Stamou‘s Infant CDR (EDITIONS_ZERO#15) arrives housed in an uncompleted needlepoint sampler replete with images of a happy clown and a childish nursery train set. His compositions thereon use some kiddy instruments and refer extensively to toys, playtime, and infantility. In like manner, the new CD by Un Caddie Renverse dans l’Herbe is wrapped in an elaborate, fold-out card package that seems to have been created from a child’s slightly warped picture book. The Reversed Supermarket Trolley Flies Towards The Rainbow (LALIA RECORDS LA 01) involves its purchaser having to unclip said rainbow (and movable trolley) to get to the single-track 50-minute recording therein. Music-box chimes combine with the reassuring purr of distant friendly voices to convey an idyllic childhood vista.

Absurd #33 refuses to yield its title. Housed in an octagonal card gatefold is a little seven-inch single, credited to those reliable American weird-mutts Emil Beaulieu and Jason Lescalleet. Not yet spun in this house, but at least it doesn’t have lock-grooves. Traditional family values are evoked by yet another image of childhood innocence on the cover (two kids with balloons), only to be strangely subverted by a cartoon drawing of a nuclear family living under the sea dressed in diving suits. Absurd #65 is performed by Yiorgis Sakellariou and may or may not be a single track titled ‘mecha/orga’. Here, the sleeve photos take a blank and anonymous look at modern shopping malls and empty rooms, sometimes populated by lonely old people. The steely and harsh drone on the grooves appears to grow menacingly for best part of one hour. In all, not quite the sort of upbeat tourist vision of Athens you might expect!

Loukia Katsimeri has made lively field recordings in the village of Sohos (EDITIONS_ZERO#12) – or rather, said recordings have been ‘accidentally discovered’ in the Editions_zero archives. Subjected to a mild collage action, we’ve got 31 minutes of indifferent clanking and indistinct voices to while away our time. One is more intrigued by the blurry cover photo which depicts two rustic charmers bedecked with many bells and chimes hanging at their belts; presumably shepherds, suggesting that what we hear is simply a random and spontaneous concert of ovis and capra-related music. I’m feeling on slightly more familiar turf with Loops Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (EDITIONS_ZERO#11), an insane concoction of sharp-edged spinning constructs and ugly voice mutations from the bizarre Panagiotis Spoulos. The unsettling erotic cover art that accompanies his eight tracks, and titles like ‘Afrirampo Spitting Hell’, confirm his status as a determined surrealist nutcase trying to trump every single release on United Dairies.

Kiwako Kaneda returns us to the theme of the joys of infancy with Cake Of Sea (ECLIPSIS#02 / ABSURD#60), a record housed in one of Nicolas’ distinctive circular-card fold-outs and decorated with optimistic images of happy smiling children. So far this is the most conventionally musical of the batch on offer in the jiffybag, and the gifted Japanese creator’s devotion to simplicity and honesty gives this record real charm as well as beauty. (ad)VANCE(d) is the performing name of one Mars F Wellink, and he made poem#red128dot (ABSURD#RED_DOT) in 2006 using field recordings from around Arnhem, Leiden and Molovos. Another charmer with a slightly dark edge, this 35-minute droner is wrapped in a long card wallet whose strange drawings convey a dimension of mental instability which I can’t yet find in the music.

IMCA (ABSURD#62) is a substantial record featuring some major players in the area of out-there obscurist droning – Frans de Waard, John Hudak, and Guido Huebner, joined by Isabelle Chemin and Ios Smolders. We are dealing with a strange and secret project originally released in 1991 on the Korm Plastics label in a tiny edition, here remastered for CD release. IMCA stands for the International Musique Concrète Assembly, there is a connection with The Hafler Trio, and a further link to Das Synthetisches Mischgewebe. I’ve only had time to peruse the edgy and bewildering opening track, but this one promises to be a total headscratcher of wilfully impenetrable mystery noise. The diagrams and blobby photos on the sleeve art won’t give anything away either!

More field recordings from Dead Traveller, with Outside My Window Vol 1 (EDITIONS_ZERO#17), a title than which you can’t get more descriptive. Each episode of urban mundanity is faithfully mirrored by the artist’s tape recorder, with a brief note outlining the circumstances of its capture. He’s no Chris Watson, but I think the 31-minute droney opener – called simply ‘The Drone’ – could prove therapeutic and beneficial to my ears and torso. Lucio Capece is the Argentinean sax player who has been making inroads both into quiet puffing (with Axel Dörner) and loud feedback noise (with Mattin). On Soprano Saxophone, a DVD, you can see and hear him at work using foreign objects (plastic tubs, sticks) to vary the sound of his instrument. His studiousness when recorded at Labor Sonor in Berlin is undeniable; the man appears to be in a trance of concentration, each movement deliberate and slow. There’s also a document of his feedback and mixer work from an earlier festival in Buenos Aires, and it promises to be plenty lively, but I can’t get any sound out of this one (must get some new codecs!).