Monday, 6 August 2018

Hare, Hunter, Field: The Secret Passion Of Rudolf Peterson - A compilation Of Sad Love Songs (1992)

Style: Abstract, Experimental, Ambient
Format: CD
Label: Johnny Blue

01.   Hélène Sage - Press Release
02.   The Grief - Trying To Fix A Pipe Dream
03.   Von Magnet - Malhaya (Saeta)
04.   Katharina Klement - Piano Piece
05.   Syllyk - La Chute
06.   Das Synthetische Mischgewebe - 3:40
07.   Jon Rose - The Future Looks More And More Just Like The Past
08.   Durutti Column - The New Fidelity
09.   Asmus Tietchens - Wenn Die
10.   Bel Canto Orchestra - Ti Amo
11.   Alfred 23 Harth - Be Chamel Di Funghi
12.   Elizabeth Schimana - Peter
13.   Tenko & Kenichi Takeda - Spiral Pain
14.   Architects Office - Saudade From Faust's Other: An Idyll
15.   Violence And The Sacred - Mille Regretz
16.   Muslimgauze & Hesskhe Yadalanah - Zarm

Perhaps the most interesting & varied album in this series has been released on CD - a rather more deserving medium - the others ought to follow suit as vinyl, good as it is, doesn't really do them justice. Many of the tracks are gelled together by an ambient soundtrack of insects serenading summer nights. The album opens with the curious "Press Release", a short montage of spoken word by HÉLÈNE SAGE - very strange use of deep, slowed male voice, female voice & sampled infant - has a good sense of humour without overstating the fact. "Trying To Fix A Pipe Dream" by THE GRIEF comes next - a post-Industrial cumbersome series of thudding grey/brown machine groans, off-White Noise, sparkles of distant metal and a bass guitar whose movements would attract the attentions of a passing policeman - a disquieting atmosphere of re-heated desolation. VON MAGNET come next with the longest track on the album (at 6'16") - "Malhaya (Saeta)" - a hauntingly beauteous, mysterious thing with harmonic voices floating like smoke waves over a terra firma of scrap odds & ends, mostly hidden, some bared to view - a hybrid, Catholicized call to prayer whose emotional charms occasionally rip to show the rawness of true passion beneath. It concludes in an Industrial rhythm - a collaboration of man & machine. Following instantly on it's heels, "Piano Piece" by KATHARINA KLEMENT is a cold, stark piece of music - lonely & angular, hauntingly strange - a dusty memory from a parallel childhood. "La Chute" by SYLLYK is another strange thing - the actual musical backing is a huge, shifting greyness, moody, dramatic but basically benign. Offsetting this is a voice - maybe human, maybe animal, but chillingly outre, nevertheless. It moves into an Industrial, machine-like labyrinth of sounds, the squeaking of springs, distant echoing of large objects. DAS SYNTHETISCHE MISCHGEWEBE bring us the next track, moving from harsh, sharp, piercing sounds to minimalism, this can only be described as experimental - Concrete Music maybe, with pitch-shifted tapes of metal sounds, strange ambient noises, as of someone working in a toolshop - minimal, metal & wood, crumbs of disjointed sound. This falls somewhere around the RUNZELSTIRN & GURGELSTØCK area. JON ROSE brings us "The Future Looks More And More Just Like The Past" is more musical, by the barest margin. Opening with the distant ambient sound of passing traffic, this soon reveals itself as a post-LAURIE ANDERSON composition, combining spoken voice (often sampled) & a high, mischievious violin, running alongside each other - it's a fascinating little work which stretches & plays with the human voice in odd ways. Next comes a breath of surprisingly normality - DURUTTI COLUMN with a wholly wonderful little track "The New Fidelity" - a collaboration of fast, EuRock sequencer with VINI REILLY's guitar describing beauteous, colourful pictures over the top. I've never really rated them as a group, but this makes me want to seek out more - a calm mood piece with underlying excitement - worth the price of the album alone. Composer ASMUS TIETCHENS comes next, with his "Wenn Die", which is built upon a dark moody drum-machine-and-sequence grizzling underlay. Sounds echo out into the distance while the dark, low body of sound throbs &warps beneath. Female voice & brighter sounds appear overhead, adding the right ingredient to the song. Perhaps the most surprising track on the album is the toyshop tinkling low-tech "Ti Amo" by BEL CANTO ORQUESTRA which, for all it's pre-set plasticity & cheapness is nevertheless a catchy & thoroughly enjoyable little instrumental. I doubt I could take a whole album's worth, but it breaks tthe dark mood & injects a certain happiness - a welcome cuckoo in a Surreal nest. ALFRED 23 HARTH takes us back into realms of the strange with "Be Chamel Di Funghi" - a combined instrumental of ungrounded electronics & more traditional Jazz instruments - sax, piano & keyboards. Despite it's flaunting any degree of rhythmic structure, it remains surprisingly together - this is the way Jazz should be moving! SCHIMANA ELIZABETH give us the weird voice-heavy "Peter" which combines samples with minimal instruments - flagellation? But it's the voices - harmonic, grating, moaning, humming, spoken which make this track the bizarre Artwork it is. TENKO & KENICHI TAKEDA collaborate to bring us "Spiral Pain", again using human word - in this case TENKO' strong female voice, they combine metallic sounds with KENICHI's HENDRIX approach to Taisho-Koto - taking it far FAR beyond it's designed musical abilities. This places them amongst any of their Western experimental contemporaries - it has to be heard, but I guess there can be almost no more sounds a Koto could make. An Oriental FRED FRITH. Those reliable bizarros ARCHITECTS OFFICE bring us "Saudade From 'Faust's Other: An Idyll'" - the French Horn playing 'doublestops' while bounced percussive sounds blend with various sound snatches & electronics & 6-year-old TREVOR HAERTLING sings in surprisingly suitable form over the top. It's weird, disconnected stuff - just what we've come to expect. VIOLENCE AND THE SACRED bring us "Mille Regretz", following on the previous track's tail rather well. It is a much more melodic thing than the album - a Medieval instrumental built on harp/sichord with dark monk-like voices offering harmonic but slight discord over the top. Electronics pick up the tune in a more shattered, broken way. The final track on the album is a collaboration between our old friends MUSLIMGAUZE and HESSKHÉ YADALAMAH called "Zarm" - typical of their druming style, it has a more laid-back feel to it - a gentler, passive atmosphere through which the various tones suggest the East. Harmonic keyboards fly overhead while various voices talk or wail in the background. Warm & colourful, this lacks the slight political edge of earlier works - a song for peacetime?
As with the other albums, this stands as a fascinating work on it's own, as a starting point to hear those groups you've only read about, or a hunting ground for the completeist. I for one hope JOHNNY BLUE will keep pumping out albums of this style & quality for years to come. Very much a recommended item. 
Originally reviewed for Soft Watch.
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