6 (Mailcop Rules)
This is music devoid of a face. At least with Bernard Guenter, you have the connotations of beauty, and the references to artwork that mirrors the style. But here: nothing. With the exception of two pieces, these 6 tracks exist in a musical universe inhabited by few else.
Roel Meelkop has been a fixture in the avant-garde scene for many years with his participation in the Mego band Goem and assistance with Kapotte Muzieks live performances. This CD is his first domestic release; his works have been previously issued on Trente Oiseaux, Staalplaat, and Korm Plastics. It is a retrospective of his works from 1985-1995. It spans the gamut from austere concrete work to roaring walls of flayed electronics.
The six pieces here all have distinct personalities. The first track (all of the pieces are untitled) stays minimal. The track is, on first glance, a series of low rumbles, but a closer listen reveals subtle bass tones and buried samples. The second track is as upfront as the first is subtle. It is a wall of roaring electronics that would appeal to fans of power electronics, Anezephalia in particular. There are buried, concrete sounds in this corrosive monster of a track. It should be listened to just below levels that would produce major ear/speaker damage. The third track immediately shifts directions into a haunting and beautiful piece based on the sound of a grandfather clock ticking. Low pulses loom in the background, giving the piece an almost sacred air. Track four is the highlight of the disc. It is a 20 minute long piece filled with buzzes, hums, thump, pulses and samples. Lots of samples. They seem to be juxtaposed over and beside each other in order to make a commentary on…something I suppose. Consider the tapes of children at a schoolhouse played simultaneously with a sample of a couple having sex. There are likely theoretical implications of this; I just have no idea on what they are. The fifth track employs loud hiss and jittery electronics, of all of the tracks I’d say this is most like his Goem project. The CD ends on a note similar to it’s first, this time with much more timbral variation.
This retrospective is an excellent introduction to a marginally-mentioned composer. I stress “introduction”, because you will want much more after this one. Me? I’ve already got another coming in the mail…
Intransative Records, P.O. Box 391151, Cambridge, MA 02139; http://www.visionload.com/intransative