Billed as a “4 track long player” (which seems fair enough given that it’s nearly forty five minutes long), Palimpsest is an experimental collaboration between Florian Hecker(Austrian electronic composer whose prior collaborators include Russell Haswell and Peter Rehberg) and Yasunao Tone (an esteemed Japanese artist renowned for pioneering improvisational music and his involvement with the Fluxus movement). The title track is a twenty eight minute barrage of static, distorted beats and scattershot sound. Its hardly commercial music, but there’s something soothing to be derived from letting things seep in over my head. Gradually small intricate patterns appear; tiny collages of bleeps, plunks and coos that intrigue before submergence in noise. It reminds me of tracking shots designed to establish a scene in film. A brief glimpse amidst lot of movement. As for what it sounds like, given that I’m hardly an expert on experimental electronic music as art, I can only pick out bits of noise that sound like they’d fit on a Warp (especially a particularly abrasive incarnation of Richard D. James or Tom Jenkinson) or Digital Hardcore release. It’s on Mego, which probably says something in itself.
The rest of the CD continues in a similar vain. There are differences in the material involved, but its all about brief layers and patterns amongst a large patch-work of sound. “Man’Yo # 36-37 / 750654 Zero Crossings [extended mix II]” contains some nice layered echoing that approaches the sound of plumbing and Kid Koala, and clicks to put an Atari to shame. This isn’t a negative observation, rather you should be aware that I’m thinking about what I’m typing as all this is going on in my ear phones, despite the fact that my head is frying. “4” is particularly heavy; it sounds like an aeroplane taking off from a people shredder in Alec Empire’s strangest nightmare. My mind is mush and I’m still listening.
I’ve enjoyed experiencing this in the same way as I like weird theater. I’m unsure of how often I’m going to listen to Palimpsest, but I feel very awake now. Maybe I’m not bright enough to handle its demands, or maybe it’s just a load of CD-R’s cobbled together. Either way I think a good case exists for including this with every “alternative” music publication aimed at the under-eighteen market. Something interesting could happen.
Merzbow — Merzbeat
Oval — diskont
Black Dice — Black Dice