tomas korber/jason kahn/dieb13 "zirkadia" 1.8 sec records 2005
There´s a bunch of fine music on "Zircadia" also. My only complaint is the seemingly arbitrary way it´s been parcelled into eight tracks. Several of the cuts last right around five minutes and appear to have been culled from longer takes, ending abruptly or fading out for no apparent reason other than having reached some enforced duration. Perhaps Tomas can explain the modus operandi here. In any case, it serves, to this listener, as a stumbling block placed in the way of some otherwise strong, rich electronic improvisation from this trio, a yeasty mix of rumbles and burbles shot through with piercing tones and an implied rhythmic element somewhat more prominent than in the Sciajno/Cascone disc. The music in most of the pieces is more than enjoyable enough that one wants it to unfurl at an unhurried pace, not to be lopped off. Only one piece, the fifth track here (all untitled), breaks the 5-6 minute rule and pushes on for about ten and, no surprise, it´s the most successful, having time to achieve an individual form before being uprooted. It´s a gorgeous work, combining mysterious flutters with intense, feedback-level whines over a barely audible throb. I could´ve stood an hour or so of this! But, in context, it comes off as the one piece here that manages to exist for a natural life span. Still, "Zircadia" is also a good recording with plenty to chew on, despite my structural reservations.
These are the third and fourth releases by this fledgling Canadian label (site here), the previous two having been compilations. Excellent start - looking forward to more.
Posted by Brian Olewnick on September 10, 2005 09:33 AM
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The intense organic elemental sounds on Zirkadia emanate from two laptops and Korber´s guitar and electronics, with ingredients added and subtracted on each of the eight tracks, water predominating. Water rushing over rocks, hissing as steam, burbling and sluicing as streams, soft summer rainfall. The pieces are concisely edited, and repeated listening yields surprising details, with many recondite qualities embedded in the striations. Its resonance is also evocative of night, of distant railway yards and heavy industry. Most tracks throw a few precise bold strokes into the foreground, from trebly, sustained organ chords on track three to curling, wisps of sinewaves and bells on track 5. The three-note intervallic progression recalls birdsong, while track 8 sounds a deep tolling gong, contrasted with kettle whistle and shakers and rattles weaving in and out of focus.
Listening to Zirkadia is like moving through an installation of eight rooms, entering and exiting a work in progress. The shaping and editing recalls Kahn´s duo with Günter Müller, Blinks, and shares some textural overlap with tint, Müller's duo with Toshimaru Nakamura in the Erstwhile Amplify box. Korber and dieb13 work in territory that contrasts starkly with the rock'n'roll of Condenser, their collaboration with eRikm, released around the same time. Certain elements pierce the veil, tones that ring and momentarily grab the attention, but overall Zirkadia subscribes to the wabi-sabi aesthetic: nothing lasts / nothing is finished / nothing is perfect. The spirit is captivated by sound of decay, the fleeting, the transitory.. Zirkadia is made to fade, and it is lovely.
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From the world of digital improvisation (or
perhaps the world in which real instruments are digitaly transformed) two discs with a total of first class players in the field. The first one is a trio disc of Jason Kahn (a former drummer now playing laptop only), Dieb13 (a turntablist who works as Takeshi Funimoto sometimes to confuse the reviewers, and who plays solely laptop too) and Tomas Körber who plays guitar and electronics. The eight tracks on 'Zirkadia' were recorded on April 14, 2004 and later mixed and mastered by Kahn. Therefore it's a bit hard to tell to what extend stuff has been improvised and what is post-produced. The eight pieces all seem dwell around a bath of sizzling, crackling and foremost continuous hiss, like eight variations of oil boiling. If you throw in, say a vegetable, the sound of the oil changes. That is what is going on here: once the pattern has been made, each of the players add their own spices to the mixture, a bit like the Swiss fondu. To stay in the analogy of food: it's a good meal
that is surely tasty and finely spiced, but it's not that once in a year treat, in other words, it's a a bit too normal to stand out from the rest, especially some of Kahn's previous collaborations (with Steve Roden or Günter Müller).
Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly, 8.2005
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