This delicious split album from
Lithuania's AghartA label pools the efforts of two curiously culled
international acts: Bergen, Norway's Andreas Brandal and Britain's
Ian Holloway. Limited to sixty copies and adorned with a
colour-printed cardboard inlay, it's a minimally packaged nugget of
sound from this fledgling imprint.
Brandal has been releasing music since
1994, although the past few years have seen a sudden surge of
activity from the devoted sound-tinkerer, including the release of
several tapes via his harsh noise outlet, Flesh Coffin. His side to
this split is dubbed (har har) "Ritual" and split into five parts,
brandishing a variegated array of sounds recorded from 2007 to 2009.
"The Attic" begins with sparse field recording clatter and ominous
keyboard meandering, a delightfully haunting notion that hardly
prepares the listener for the startling "False Accident," which is
piercing and venomous as it rolls through metal screeching and
rolling shards of industrial noise. "Electricity" also boasts its
share of spasmodic abrasion, this time in impressive imitation of
its namesake, though it's the meandering pensive moments which turn
out to be the composition's most enticing assets. Unoriginal "Blooded on Arachne" brings on a whole lot of rather wacky clatter
in the form of cymbals, recordings played in reverse, and assorted
tinkers and clanks; everything stays purely percussive and somewhat
grating as a result. The title-track, "Ritual," is my favourite
exploit of the bunch, with its dense layers of distorted sound. It
boasts a menacing mouthfeel which should leave your ear canals in a
nice state of shock.
Ian Holloway's sound is a subtler blend
than that of his splitmate -- in fact, it's a solid thirty minutes of
ambient drone, somehow mechanical as is suggested by its title,
"The Prescient Machine." The sound starts with a looped factory
ambiance -- machines breathing? -- then adds a field recording of rain
alongside faint synth whiffs which strongly remind me of Biosphere's
Substrata. Think bedtime dreamscape music. At some point, a
high-pitched flute part toddles around for awhile, sort of grating
compared to the rest of the track, but required, presumably, to add
variety and momentum to the track. The track then concludes with an
extended stretch of subtle ambient sound built out of faint
woodwinds trill loop that bubbles darkly, conjuring up an eerie,
ritualistic demeanour. As Holloway attests to, it's a supremely
relaxing but somehow portentous affair.(MT)
you name this particular composition 'The Prescient Machine'?
The title is a reference to this piece
being a taster of things to come. It's the first in a trio of
releases based entirely around acoustic sounds. I'm not one for
planning things out in advance but in this case it's an idea I've
been tinkering with for about a year now so the title is a gentle
allusion to this. The next part will be the new collaboration with
Darren Tate and the third will appear towards the end of the year.
of images or feelings does this recording
evoke in you?
Personally I find this sort of music
immensely restful and cathartic.
how did you end up working with
Andreas Brandal, and putting this out
Linking me with Andreas was entirely
down to Arma at AghartA who I've been in contact with for a few
years now. I'm a long standing fan of the music he released through
his now defunct Perineum label, the guy has a great ear, and so when
he asked me if I'd like to supply a piece for his new project I was
flattered and happy to.
I'd not heard any of Andreas' music
prior to this cassette but I very much like his side of the album
and I think our styles compliment each other very nicely.
you first get into experimental music?
I've always had eclectic tastes. My
first loves were thrash and hardcore and I got into stranger music
from there via people like Sonic Youth, The Velvet Underground and
I started making experimental music as
a reaction to the music scene in this part of the world. I formed a
band with the stated desire of being the antithesis of everything
else around us and just indulging any musical whim that popped into
my head. Our first gig featured a 20 minute version of Rhys
Chatham's Guitar Trio and ended with 15 minutes of feedback. It was
a wonderful feeling to just be so utterly true to oneself. The band
lasted a few years until we all moved on to other things and by
which time I'd started fiddling around with samples and
sound-editing software which gave rise to the first Psychic Space
your performance/recording set-up. In
other words, what is
responsible for the sounds we hear on your releases?
My set-up is decidedly simple. I use a
Zoom H4 for recording the initial sounds - field recordings or
instruments - which I then mix on my PC usually in Acid. I've tried
other packages but I keep coming back to Acid. I think it's
simplicity appeals to the Luddite in me.
it seems there have been more releases under your actual
name, and fewer under 'Psychic
Why the change?
The PSI name is pretty much dead at
this point. Timing and circumstances dictated it's demise. One of
the reasons it went is quite personal and I talked about it before
so I won't go into it again here but essentially the name had served
Over time Iíve got more and more
uncomfortable with the whole idea of 'band names', they feel
slightly childish to me. It's like a mask that is put on to identify
one as being a certain way - regardless of whether there's any truth
to that assertion. I began to question why I needed the nom de
plume, PSI was only ever me so why did I need this other identity to
hide behind. As I couldn't come up with a satisfactory answer I
why did you start Quiet World label (formerly Elvis Coffee
Records)? Do you enjoy the releasing end
of music production?
We (my guitarist friend Adam Lewis and
I) started Elvis Coffee Records for the simple reason that no-one
else was going to release the music so we did it ourselves. The name
was just something to tag it with until I later changed it to one
that more suited the music I was releasing through the label.
The label is something I enjoy immensely and wish I could afford to
do more often. It involves a fairly substantial commitment of both
time and money of which the latter is always in short supply and the
former is mostly taken up these days by writing the Wonderful Wooden
This next year will see Quiet World
changing slightly though as I'm going to start releasing more music
on CD as opposed to CDR and depending on how well these are received
I'll be opening the door for more releases by other artists.