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Elektrik Underground from The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Japan

Posted by Peer Saer on January 2, 2014 at 2:10 PM

The men behind Defunct Taperecorder Unincorporated find the following review extreme lengthy. But lengthy things we like! And ... we give Jopie a second chance to consider a more compact version! Mr. Drijfzand has meanwhile completed another version in the Dutch language, for a broader audience.


Review by Jopie Drijfzand

 

A year has passed since the previous end of the year Elektrik Underground compilation came around on vinyl. The new release comes in CD format only. The release date of the albums from the Elektrik Underground series is always on 31st December. The artists are selected and invited by Nico Selen, the man behind the Dutch Enschede based Motok label. Motok is for a large part Nico's outlet for his own analogue sound projects ranging from minimal pop, electronic minimal music, ambient industrial music to experimental music and related styles. In chronological order these Various Artists end of the year productions have appeared since 2007. Says the label boss: 'My intention is to transform the series Elektrik Underground in a sort of yearly ‘newsletter’ with experimental electronic music. EU13 is the second step in that direction. EU12 was the first step. My purpose is to diminish the obscurity of the invited sound sculptors.’

 

On the EU13 CD Nico the label boss is present as E.M.M., Ilo [in cooperation with Freiband], O.R.D.U.C [with Peer Saer], and NoNotes. Nico's Ilo and Frans de Waard's Freiband have joined work for the recently released CD Bits and Pieces. In a way they are long standing collaborators. Peer Saer is another long time occasional partner. Ooy has worked on a Motok album with Ilo in 2012, and some other teamwork. Masato Ooyama from Japan, the man behind Ooy is best known for the work he did with the last reformed legendary Kluster formation. Electric Bongo, Martin Hoogeboom, LGM45 and MaSe, have appeared on other Motok releases. Artists who are new on the Motok label are: Johni-7 from Russia, German ORiFiCE, Pythagora from Sweden and René Baptist Huysmans. Unless explicitely stated, the projects are based in The Netherlands.

 

A challenging album with four clusters of four tracks in the idioms of electro, minimal, ambient and noise. 'There is a silence of one second between each track, except between track 4 and 5, 8 and 9, and 12 and 13: these tracks are seperated with 8 seconds of silence. In that way four sides of a double LP are audible', says the Motok man.

 

A side

The compilation kicks off in the first cluster with the album's title track EU13 by E.M.M. (Electronic Minimal Music) the studio solo project of composer Selen. A tight moving sound pallet reminding the German godfathers of 70's synthesiser and sequenser futurists. Second comes an artist I haven't heard before: Johni-7 . He is an artist from Tobolsk, Russia. He comes with an electro kind of groovy sound and atmospheric intervals in a track named Puttu. Something that can be played for the dancefloor. And music it is without challenging any bounderies of sound. Electric Bongo hooks up perfectly with Punch City playing in some sort of well thought and worked out minimal pop idiom. I think I hear primarily analogue synthesiser sounds. LGM45 plays a slow piece without percusion named Cardboard Birds. Birds I hear indeed between the bass and humming lines. ‘This is the project of Easy Skywaker, and comes from the Feedback Records stable’, says the Motok man. Never heard any sounds before from this project. Worth listening for sure. The shortest track on this album ending with more silence as switching from side A to side B from a double LP album.

 

B side

The second cluster begins with a track called Colony Two by Martin Hoogeboom, quite a name who was active with rock oriented sounds at the well-known Dutch live venues in the 80's. His recent work - as far as I am able to oversee is ambient and minimal oriented. And Martin does a very good job at this, which also applies to Colony 2. I can't leave behind associations with Jon Hassell's Fourth World musical concept. Ooy comes forward with a fascinating abstract piece, one of the longer album pieces and remains interesting till the sounds decay in silence. Peer Saer treats the listener with another abstract and elusive electronic piece which ends with some surprising guitar strumming. It is a fragment from a much longer track entitled Vuurtoren. Another fragment has been released on the German Attenuation Circuit label and other cuts were aired by radio programmes A Duck in a Tree and Sadayatana. Freiband + –Ilo play (Slow) Fade Out. ‘This is a new piece’, says the label boss. ‘It is a work by E.M.M., processed by Freiband, restructured by Freiband.’ In my ears these are warm and also abstract sounds. They round off the second cluster, which I characterize as totally abstract and lacking any percussion. Again ending with more silence before the following track, as switching from a double LP album’s side B to C.

 

C site

MaSe opens the third cluster with a track named Ddf2 which is as cryptic as the name of the artist. Electro percussion and sinister sythesized bass lines expressing hardly a common sound language resulting in an estranged sound picture which somehow fit together. I understand he is a newcomer in the field of electronic music. ORiFiCE is an experimental electronic noise project from Burkhard Jaeger based in Germany. He follows with a piece named Slumber II which proves to me the beauty of noise. ‘I aim to present the whole range of possibilities of noise as a field of creative research’, says the artist. Pythagora, which is Dan Henry Pålsson from Malmö, Sweden, ensues with Senses and Illusions. Skinny empirical sounds in the good meaning of words. René Baptist Huysmans comes next with an intriguing imaginary collage or composition he named Kurgan (https://soundcloud.com/rbhuysmans/kurgan-2013). He is a collager or composer of experimental electronic and electro-acoustic music, and part of the collective MuizManz. 'My musical taste as well as my urge to create a new piece seems to be propelled by a desire for an all enveloping musical shape. My favorite percussion instruments turn out to be trains in stations, my favorite ensemble are construction workers at a site. A train journey from Amsterdam to Berlin can be a six-hour-symphony', says René. Eight seconds of silence before moving on from the imaginary double album’s side C tot D,.

 

D site

O.R.D.U.C. (One-o-seventh Royal Dutch Undergroud Company) opens the fourth and final cluster with a minimal pop tune. The track is called Shifting Times. As a guest Peer Saer appears on acoustic guitar. If I remember well this is one of the few instrumental pieces circulating from this project. NoNotes plays Echoes. It sure keeps this compilation interesting!. Experimental as all other tracks from NoNotes. The project stands for what its name suggests: music without the use of notes. Industrial soundscapes. NoNotes uses synthesizers, a guitar and effects. The members are: Martin Selen (Synthesizer) and Nico Selen (Guitar, Synthesizers and Effects). The second to last track of the album is once more E.M.M. with a track called Rukh (Delta Cygni). It nicely introduces the horizon of the album’s end. The track comes from the Cygnus album by E.M.M., portraying stars from the constellation Cygnus. Ilo + Freiband close the selection presented on the EU13 CD with an appropriate track called Shut Down. Good altering electronic minimalism. Actually this is a work of E.M.M., processed by Freiband, restructured by Ilo, as it has been released on the collaboration album of Ilo and Freiband: Bits & Pieces. From A, B, C to D: closing down.




 

Track list

 

01. E.M.M.: "EU13" 4:20

02. Johni-7: "Puttu" 5:53

03. Electric Bongo: "Punch City" 4:40

04. LGM45: "Cardboard Birds" 2:12

05. Martin Hoogeboom: "Colony Two" 3:15

06. Ooy: "Kemuy06" 5:56

07. Peer Saer: "Vuurtoren" (Fragment) 4:36

08. Freiband + –Ilo: "(Slow) Fade Out" 5:25

 

09. MaSe: "Ddf2" 2:09

10. ORiFiCE: "Slumber II" 4:08

11. Pythagora: "Senses And Illusions" 5:14

12. René Baptist Huysmans: "Kurgan" 5:59

 

13. O.R.D.U.C.: "Shifting Times" 3:47

14. NoNotes: "Echoes" 4:55

15. E.M.M.: "Rukh" (Delta Cygni) 4:31

16. Ilo + Freiband: "Shut Down" 4:16




 

 

This daring CD contains sixteen instrumental tracks. Says the Motok man: ‘The playing field for EU14 will be more focused on song structures in experimental electronic music.’ For now Jopie says: ‘Give EU13 your [h]ear. Maybe with a beer at the beginning of the year’.

 

More Info: http://www.motok.org/index.htm

Sales: http://www.discogs.com/seller/Motok



 

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