Sunday, July 23, 2006

Electronica Obscurities #s

4 Autopoises “La Vie a Noir Remixes” 1999
Random Inc “Walking in Jerusalem2002

Autopoises is a collaboration between Blogglebum Cage favourite Ekkehard Ehlers (Beitrieb, Auch, Marz etc.) and Sebastian Meissner (Random Inc, Bizz Circuits). Their album La Vie a Noir was a conceptual project "exploring notions of noir" - as we used to say in the Listings industry. (In an odd sense, this mirrors Ehlers' fantastic new meditation upon the meaning(s) of "blackness", A Life Without Fear). The remix LP that followed La Vie featured one disc of remixes and another of locked grooves.

The loops on the second record of the set are amusing enough but disc one's remixes are where the real action is. The opening mix of by Gez Varley is a fairly straight-ahead techno banger but things head west pretty swiftly after that. Terre Thaemlitz's mix is a fascinating brew of insectoid microsound, Kit Clayton's is a piece of dramatically structured noise worthy of Nurse with Wound and Vladislav Delay's glorious splurge of bump'n'scrape is highly redolent of his Anima-era heyday.

It's hard to see where the noir concept comes into all this but Ekkehard Ehler's always approaches his subject matter from an oblique angle. The unifying concept is even harder to hear among the Random Inc album's choice minimal techno but I think that all the tracks were made entirely from samples recorded whilst erm... Walking in Jerusalem.

Like the Autopoises album, it's a highly collaborative effort, with input from a variety of artists, including notable appearances by the very excellent Ultra Red and Canada's-own Tim Hecker. Both albums are also beautifully packaged with extensive liner notes that - to be honest - don't really clear all that much up. Seeing the CD tray on the Autopoises cover blown up to LP size comes across as genuinely witty and oddly moving.

Minimal techno seems to have gained quite a wide audience in the last few years but it also seems to have strayed a long way from it's origins in the kind of fevered theoretical speculation that spawned these two projects. Walking in Jerusalem is only four years old but it seems to come from another age altogether.

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