Posts Tagged ‘Staubgold’

Spezialmaterial / Staubgold – SM052 – 6th June 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

You’d expect an act as boldly named as The Immersive Project to make music which is nothing short of completely immersive and engaging from the outset. Even if you wouldn’t, I certainly would, and did, and so was a shade perplexed when my initial reaction wasn’t ‘wow’, but ‘what?’ Snaking bossa nova beats and strutting strings conjure an exotic vibe on the album’s first track, ‘Middle Class Massage’. Is the medium the massage? Am I missing something?

The Immersive Project is a collaborative work, the product of the shared endeavours of musical percussionist Holger Mertin based in Cologne, and electro musician Michael ‘Koko’ Eberli from Zurich. As such, it’s one of those works which could only exist in the modern age, in which distance is no object and geography is a state of mind. The pieces contained herein are what can emerge when collaborators bounce ideas off one another’s ideas, rather than one another, with producer Marco Riedener’s contribution being such that he is named on the cover as the Project’s third member.

‘Pizzifikato’ begins with soft, finger percussion and trilling strings before a trudging march and swampy bassline stroll in to create a dense atmosphere oozing with a sense of esoteric mysticism. Elsewhere, ‘Hilo’ (which features Eberhardt Kraneman of Kraftwerk / Neu renown) hurls a whole heap of stuff together, with bits and pieces of post-punk disco, wibbly synthtronica, bulbous bass and jittery grooves criss-crossing one another all over the shop. What indeed?

It’s certainly varied in its scope, with ambient and semi-ambient explorations interspersing the various forays into experimental dance. At times eerie, often playful, this is a work that defies ready categorisation. It’s not mood music, it’s not dance music: as on ‘Zwerchfell Schwingt’, the clattering, booming thuds are distant and contribute more to the creation of atmosphere than groove. And while the majority of the compositions are strongly orientated toward the rhythmic aspect, it’s by no means a beat-driven album.

‘Regenmann’ brings some chilled, swampy, vibes, and the attention to detail, both within each piece and the overall flow of the album becomes increasingly apparent with each listen. Textures and tones compliment and juxtapose alternately, often confounding expectations from one moment to the next. Such focus on variance and nuance requires a huge create commitment: an immersion on behalf of the creators. It does take a little bit more effort on the listener’s part to fully engage and to appreciate this, but ultimately, the rewards are there for the taking.

 

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Staubgold – Staubgold 141 –20th May 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Vivien Goldman knows people. She’s written about so many in her capacity as a widely-published journalist, and she’s worked with a fair few, too, and as such, Resolutionary is a fascinating document of her collaborations, recorded during a particularly fertile period between 1979 and 1982. The roll-call of musicians featured on the eight tracks here is staggering: John Lydon, Keith Levene and Bruce Smith (PiL) Robert Wyatt, Steve Beresford and David Toop, and Vicky Aspinall (The Raincoats), and Neneh Cherry, amongst others, all feature here.

In many ways, Resolutionary is an odds-and-sods effort, a curio, a retrospective exhibition which focuses on the individual artist’s career more than its context, and which represents what was essentially a brief period in Goldman’s career, which has since been devoted to the documentation of music-making, rather than the actual making of music. But Goldman’s musical legacy is noteworthy, however scant. Her brief time with The Flying Lizards remains a career-defining spell, despite the fact that she wasn’t the one who provided the vocals on their biggest hit, ‘Money’. But in many ways, that’s a positive. No-one wants to be pegged as a one-hit wonder, their life spent in the shadow of that singular moment, and more importantly, Resolutionary serves to realign history, to an extent.

It’s an interesting aside to note that Public Image’s ‘This is Not a Love Song’ was inspired, in title at least, by The Flying Lizards track ‘Her Story’, which features here. Indeed, the two Flying Lizards tracks, ‘Her Story’ and ‘The Window’ (both of which feature Goldman on vocals, the latter of which was also composed by her) represent the detached, minimal pop they’re famed for. Big, strolling basslines are again the defining feature of these off-kilter noodles. Although readily available on The Flying Lizards’ eponymous debut, revisiting them in the context of Goldman’s output rather than that of the band offers an alternative context.

The dubtastic quirky kitchen-sink pop of solo cuts ‘Launderette’ and its attendant B-sides, released on the ‘Dirty Washing’ 12”, are worth the money alone. ‘Private Army’ is a colossal six-and-a-half spaced-out dub-based beast, the percussion and sax spiralling into a vortex of reverb. ‘P.A’ Dub’ – the dub version of ‘Private Army’ does dub out the vocals.

The Chantage tracks are the most accessible, with a lighter tone and style, with the pop reggae of ‘Same Thing twice’ proving a buoyant standout. But then, the Gallic theatricality of ‘It’s Only Money’ is equally beguiling and showcases Goldman’s range.

The interview with Vivien, recorded in 1981 and released on a cassette compilation is interesting, articulate, energetic, and insightful, although the audio quality is less than brilliant, and one does have to strain at times to decipher what’s being said. Still, as a historical document, its appearance on the disc is more than justified. The extensive liner notes, too, are pretty good, and overall, this is a quality package.

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Vivien Goldman Online