steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

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"Unfinished Business" CDR

Blind Dates Music

Genres: experimental, found sounds, electronics

Blind Dates Music
La Providence, 31560
Nailloux, France

June 9 - 16 2002

SnoOKs is a collaboration between Jim Shepard and Doktor Liborius that was done completely over the mail.  Starting in 1983, the two would mail each other tapes of music and then, upon receiving them, add each other's contribution.  By the end, the tapes would be full of edited and re-hashed experimental pieces featuring instruments, electronics, and even vocals.  This took place all the way until the late nineties, even though the two of them had never met each other in person.  This was mainly due to the fact that they lived in different countries, and it wasn't until 1998 that Doktor Liborius finally arrived in the US (from France) in order to deal with a work project.  Eager to see his long-time collaborator, the Doktor arrived at Shepard's door and knocked.  Alas, there was no response.  Later that year, Doktor Liborius learnt that Shepard had passed away.   The two had done so much work together, but had never even met.

This, the aptly-titled "Unfinished Business" album, is a collection of music that the two created together.  On first listen, it may just seem like a bunch of stupid sounds and samples pasted together, but repeated listens will teach you that there's much more to experience.  Tracks like "Slushy Cucumbers" and "Maste Ut" are silly little numbers that bounce about with synths, drum patterns and xylophones leading the way.  The results are happy and bubbly, yet surprisingly deep.  For all the silliness, though, there are also a number of moving bits to behold.  For example, two consecutive pieces, "The Last Limousine Ride" and "For You (I Would Do Anything)", create a sad, unsettling mood.  "The Last..." poetically describes John Lennon's assasination, and then "For You..." follows up as a sad, moogy interlude; the two go together to create an amazingly eerie, yet entirely beautiful musical moment.

So is this worthwhile?  Well, that up to you to decide, but this succeeds in not only being an obscure little artifact, but also an intriguing glimpse into the early experimental soundscape territory.  It ranges from silly to poetic to playful to moving, and never settles down into "normalcy."  I liked this more than I probably should have.


Matt Shimmer