Jewel case CD with 4 page booklet and A4 insert
• JOHN WALL - Distil part 1 (09:18) mp3
• ANDREW JACQUES - ronco (10:04) mp3
• CROW - Music for blind limbs (09:23) mp3
• ALQUIMIA - The Nagual (12:16) mp3
• JOHN GRIEVE - 2, 4, 5-T (12:22) mp3
• KYMATIK - Morphology (12:02) mp3
• ADAM BOHMAN - Belgian barrage (08:36) mp3
total time 74:07
Cover by Clive Graham
This first release on Paradigm Discs includes many new names and is intended to redress the imbalance between the lack of new experimental music in London compared with the proliferation of the tried and tested. "Variations - a London compilation" is a showcase of 7 new London based experimental artists. Kymatik has been experimenting with music technology for several years. Crow is better known for his work in installation and performance art, whilst John Grieve is primarily a sound sculptor who was also a member of the early 80's Dadaist group Hastings Of Malawi. Andrew Jacques works at These Records and Adam Bohman is an original member of Morphogenesis. All the artists are involved in a wide diversity of musical disciplines but none have been released on CD before, with the exception of John Wall and Alquimia who, at the time of writing, both have two CD's available.
Paradigm Discs is a new label established by Clive Graham (a member of Morphogenesis) to present experimental music in London by lesser known artists. Naturally, future releases are to include albums by Morphogenesis, but here for starters is a collection of music by seven London based musicians. And a wide ranging varied collection it is too! First we have the bizzare sound-sampling world of John Wall. His "Distil (1)" is much more cohesive than either of his CD releases, though maybe it's also that 9 minutes is enough? Actually this feels close to some Iancu Dumitrescu, and is a progression on the ideas from his second release "Alterstill". Oddly Andrew Jacques offering also is really a John Wall piece, in that he does all the sampling, processing, etc., that went into it though all "ronco" amounts to is harsh microphone crackle and feedback. Next is Crow, a performance and installation artist, whose "Music for blind limbs" feels very much like early Nurse With Wound, with its harsh electronics and cut-up female voice. Taking liberties with what can be called a 'London musician' we next have Alquimia, who we all know is Mexican! "The Nagual" is a much darker than usual piece for her, with a surging percussive rhythm and wailing vocals. It's also my favorite track on the disc. Reputedly John Grieve once played saxophone on a Nurse With Wound record, though I don't ever recall seeing his name before. His "2,4,5-T" is a La Monte Young styled drone piece, made from layered saxophone tones, and is best listened to loud whilst walking around a room, to enhance the effect. Kymatik, a quartet of Clive Graham, Clive Hall, Michael Prime (all from Morphogenesis) and John Grieve, present the CD's second best piece, the aptly titled "Morphology" which involves a mass of sound that's constantly being reprocessed, metamorphosed, oozing and flowing in sonic waves, close in feel to Morphogenesis' Electronica performance. So, a very good collection of innovative music thus far, though there is one more track to finish off the disc. This is one of Adam Bohman's talking tapes titled "Belgian barrage" which is both totally out of character, and to say the least, totally boring! (Alan Freeman)
A showcase for under-recorded London based musical experimenters, this compilation is very much in the 'compiler's friends' tradition. Despite this, there's great diversity in approach here. John Wall's "Distil (1)" is notably more abstract than his previous releases, sampling maltreated strings to create post-classical music that sounds more like New Complexity than plunderphonia. Andrew Jacques' "ronco" pits a microphone against an amplifier for many minutes of glowering electrical crackle-and-drone. Crow's contribution cuts-up and muddies female recitation suprisingly effectively, while Alquimia mixes wordless vocal sighing and chirrupping with ethnic percussion and a sure sense of how to structure these various elements. John Grieve's '"2-4-5-T" sounds like Phill Niblock, huge clouds of looping saxophone drone, impressively dense but perhaps lacking the stunning harmonics of Niblock. Kymatik take abstract improvisations and remix them into a more-electronic sounding swirl, while Adam Bohman, a member of Morphogenesis, wins the special prize for Least Predictable Contribution with a barely edited extract from an audio diary recorded in Brussels. Well worth a listen for anyone wanting to hear something new and surprising. Paradigm plan more releases from Morphogenesis side projects, another Variations compilation, and reissues of lost works of experimental and contemporary music. (Brian Duguid)
FORCED EXPOSURE (catalogue)
Paradigm is a new London label run by a member of Morphogenesis, which intends to document lost experimental/contemporary music from the UK. This debut compilation features a lot of new names for the most of us, but has a tremendous flow and alien feel to it, making it one of the best samplers of this sort in recent recollection. Features John Wall (sonic sampling collage wizard), Andrew Jacques (Put Put member using a microphone and guitar amplifier for disruptive sound sources, sampled by Wall), Crow (great futuristic fragments of experimental sound/text recordings by a UK installation artist), Alquimia (dream state mutterings and aura, from an experimental artist from Mexico City), John Grieve (powerful electronic-like droning sound waves, somehow produced via solo acoustic tenor sax recordings), Kymatik (Morphogenesis-related improv loopery), Adam Bohman (extract from an audio diary).
This is the sort of obscure, themed collection of experimental work that I love to listen to study. This collection features artists only from London, their particular neighborhoods indicated next to their names (ie: Highbury, Brixton etc.) John Wall starts it off with "Distil(1)" a collage piece that seems to be more structured than pieces on his recent astounding release "Alterstill" - Wall collects and does surgery on whole sounds in an absorbing manner, building strange and completely memorable constructions. Andrew Jacques "ronco" is ten minutes of what sounds like treated wood working equipment; noises, sanders, buffers, drills, perhaps the wood that is being worked on is miked and the sounds are then treated. Whatever the method, the effect is meditative soft noise, perhaps like Aube would sound if his work were more concrete. Crow "Music for blind limbs" is female voice stuttered and treated, only occasionally present, all syllables disjointed 'til she sounds like she's really only yawning or stretching singing muscles, subtle rumblings make themselves known later on. "The Nagual", by Alquimia is drifty, angelic chants for atmosphere, then it all becomes the scene of some primitive ritual, subtle drums, natives hooting, other weird noises...
A variety of sombre works: John Wall's dense and stuttering violin treatments; a crunching wall of static by Andrew Jacques; a jumbled, mumbled astral seduction at the edge of sleep on Crow's "Music for blind limbs"; humming waves of sunlight through clouds which eventually illuminate a chattering imagined rain forest called "The Nagual" by Alquimia; John Grieve's mathematically looped reeds; a twelve minute aural head-rush by Kymatik entitled "Morphology", and Adam Bohman's guided tour of a low country. Foggy and lovely as a whole (Ward Eldridge)
RESONANCE - Vol.5 No.2
Diverse London sound experimenters spread across a disc with possibly psychogeographical aspirations - the only information supplied is point of residence in London. The first track is by John Wall (Highbury), and it's a typical trenchant reconfiguration of snatches of improvisation and contemporary composition. Bits of what may or may not be double bassist Paul Rogers exist alongside scratchy violin hooks and fragments of piano. Once again, Wall's ability to shape his sources and imbue his works with a sense of structure and evolution is remarkable. A fine, hooting snore-drone of a piece by Andrew Jacques throws Wandsworth into the frame, followed by a voice/text piece from Crouch Hill's Crow. Get the city-drift? So it goes on, passing through, among others, a buzz-sawed piece from John Grieve (Stoke Newington) and the sound-washes of Kymatik (Haringey). Common denominators seems to be the interest in the textures that electronics makes possible. Ley lines be darned, this is a persuasive document of a rich and querulous London underground.
Variations (which is produced by Clive Graham of Morphogenesis) comes without hype but the music is anything but withdrawn. Familiar names (John Wall, Alquimia) join names which need to be better known. Each track is strongly individual but together they open up a little known side of London's experimental music scene - from John Grieve's startling exploration of saxophone frequencies, to Adam Bohman's hilarious and unsettling 'talking tape', and Andrew Jacques' precise soundscape. All the tracks explore sound beyond its normal sites of production. Sometimes the inspiration runs very high - the opening of Crow's piece for voice manipulation or much of Alquimia's "The Nagual". Throughout this compilation there is a clarity in taking musical risks that is worth acres of album cover hype. Superb and daunting.
The SOUND PROJECTOR - first issue
A highly interesting survey of neglected electronic artists all currently working in London. The sparse credits, apart from listing name of artist and title of piece, merely indicate in which district of London they are based. Clutching for images, I find this information alone adds a tincture to each separate piece; it sounds like certain areas of London are not nice places to visit. Two favorites are the John Grieve and Kymatik pieces. Grieve, on "2, 4, 5-T" immediately places you in the middle of a grim and forboding environment, so dense as to appear to be a concrete monolith of noise. But persevere and you begin to discover the work's microstructure, a galaxy of textures and looped frequencies. A bit like a nightmarish doppelganger of Phill Niblock. Kymatik, on "Morphology", guide us through a splendid tract of sound-landscaping, making the performer(s) a Capability Brown for the post industrial age. The dynamics are highly effective, one moment you're inside a blender full of vegetables, the next floating in the washing-up bowl. Also of interest here: Crow's "Music for blind limbs", a cut up scramble of a girl reading a poem, with sinister echo-shuffles in the background; to listen to this is like being a blind man putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Interior sleeve art prints the text of the poem with some apt photographic works. And the great John Wall turns in "Distil (1)", a cut not included on his CD "Alterstill", his high tension string samples stretch my nerves to breaking point until at 2.25 the piece suddenly breaks into a crazy syncopated march with a soprano sax loop. And for pure relaxation purposes, why not tune into Andrew Jacques' "ronco", the sound of a mad builder grinding your house to pieces with an enormous power tool and shaking the chandeliers. You are the clay Prometheus, he is the evil scientist bringing you to life with his generator. We look forward to more work by all these fellows, help pay their electric bills and buy this. (Ed Pinsent)
Interesting incrowd compilation from London, compiled by the people around Morphogenesis. Featured are John Wall (with his sampled approaches to classical music), Andrew Jacques (with a great, very noisy, musique concrete piece), John Grieve (original member of Nurse With Wound with his first solo outing under his own name, with a dense saxophone piece. I must admit I know very few people who play interesting music with this instrument), Crow (voice text samples), Alquimia (originally from Mexico, she uses dark ambient textures), Kymatik (with Morphogenesis members, sounding like a Morph-genesis) and Adam Bohman, with a strange piece of environmental sounds and spoken word, operating as a kind of audio diary. In all a varying CD, with many good pieces of today's improvised and electronic music. The press blurb should have been in the booklet, so that everybody gets the right introduction. (Frans de Waard)
The WIRE (issue 142 Jan. 96)
Variations may not be the grabbiest of titles, but this is a fascinating overview of some of London's finest and most extreme sound artists. It's the first release on Paradigm, run by Clive Graham of noise-improv group Morphogenesis. John Wall leads off with a cello-based sound collage, a seamlessly musical piece of great poise and originality. Mexican born Alquimia presents a stunning 12 minutes of treated vocals and percussion, inspired by her own experiences in South American jungles and among Indian tribes. This is the best piece of its type I have heard for a very long time, utterly convincing and well paced. Wall and Alquimia are the stars of the collection for me, but there's strong support from the other five contributors. Andrew Jacques sounds like he is abusing an electricity board substation: five kinds of crackling sit around an overdriven drone. Crow's "Music for blind limbs" also features tortured electrics plus a fractured womans voice, but there is a lot of space in this apocalyptic little number. Then there's John Grieve's sax sound sculpture. The saxophone notes are layered into a monolithic block of sound, which somehow gives the impression of very high speed. Kymatik (from Haringey) chew up everything in their path like a big green thing from a sci-fi novel. You feed in improvised music at one end and it comes out sounding like Lawnmower Man. Finally, the strange noises of Belgium are intercut by the strange noises of Adam Bohman's cheap tape recorder. It squeals and splutters at will as it lurches from one unlikely urban environment to another. Bohman's languid commentary is like a Radio 4 documentary gone raving mad, and the suspense mounts as he locks himself into a girls' toilet shortly before he's due to perform on stage. Don't miss this one! (Clive Bell)
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