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Label: Erstwhile Records

Format: CD

Genre: Jazz

In stock

The saying goes that, given typewriters and an infinite amount of time, a roomful of monkeys could write the complete works of Shakespeare. By that logic, if the same chimps were given a table-full of consumer electronics and a couple of hours, they would likely produce a decent album of electronic, improvised music. I feel safe in guaranteeing, however, that it wouldn't be anywhere as compelling and listenable as the new recording by this quartet of highly developed mammals known as poire_z. Over the course of its existence, the Swiss/French quartet has made a practice of inviting other musicians to sit in with them as unofficial fifth members. For this CD on Erstwhile, group member Günter Müller selected performances featuring contributions by turntable saboteur Christian Marclay and Japanese dynamos Otomo Yoshihide and Sachiko M. The first thing that struck me upon listening to "+" was the departure from the group's earlier, more analogue sound. Muller has increasingly augmented his amplified percussion setup with digital processing -- same for Norbert Moslang and Andy Guhl and their arsenal of cracked everyday-electronics. The quartet's fourth member, Erik M, has abandoned turntables altogether in favor of mini-disc players and fx. Of the three tracks here, the one with Sachiko M feels the most cohesive and focused. Her sine waves act as threads that unify the disparate scraps of noise produced by the other players. The subtlety of her approach has a noticeable effect on the rest of the group who take a more restrained approach in her presence. The tracks with Yoshihide and Marclay are busier affairs, full of transmissions from the aether and dislocated voices from the vinyl graveyard. poire_z's aesthetic doesn't fall in line with the typical call and response ethos of free-improv that often builds from silence to chaos and back. Instead, the electro-acousticians of pz work with laminal procedures -- they juxtapose textures, alternate currents, and combine signals into dense meshworks. Huddled over their tables of equipment, Muller, Moslang, Guhl and M often look like scientists, but the fruits of their labor reflect the twisted sense of humor and sly word play of lexicon artists. (Other Music, Dan Hirsch)
Cat. number: erstwhile 022
Year: 2002

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