fog/splinter tracks (early mess)
Electronic music means a lot of things to a lot of different people. To academics in the ’60s and prior, electronics were a means of synthesizing any tone imaginable; since every sound is a result of combined waveforms, these composers felt that they had the substance of the world at their fingertips. People like Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis, Pauline Oliveros, and Gordon Mumma created vast, daunting works of monumental complexity. To other people, electronic music was born with the advent of Kraftwerk, and grew into disco, house, acid, breaks, drum n’ bass, hip-hop and later, IDM. It’s almost too easy to read Dmitri Fergadis’ Phthalo label as a reunion between the inaccessibility of early electronic music, and those musics that fall under the “dance” umbrella.
Phthalocyanine is Fergadis’ musical endeavor. For four years now, Phthalocyanine has delivered broken, mashed up, discordant, and noisy. Your initial disorientation upon listening to Phthalocyanine could be more likely to the crowdedness of the whole mess. Zacks isn’t noisy in the way Noisex, Pita, or Imminent Starvation are; it’s just the fact that there’s this huge amount of sonic information coming at you in unfamiliar patterns. This four-track CD is a reissue of an EP, originally from 1998, so you can’t expect it to have the grinding power of 25 Tracks fer 1 Track but Zacks still packs a hell of a punch.
Antenna Farm’s fog/splinter tracks (early mess) CD sounds much more current than Zacks, considering the laptop’s hegemony over experimental electronica. Their discography isn’t that deep, but this CD is a collection of things from 2/99 to 11/00, including a live collaboration with Diskono, a comp track, a remix, and another 15 tracks worth of “early mess.” Gleaning from their press release, Antenna Farm uses a skewed form sampling in order to subvert old forms and to make abstract what was once concrete. They’ve gutted old reverb units, fucked with turntables, samplers, CD players, and minidisks, pulled in VLF signals (a la Disinformation) and generally manipulated the means through which electronic signals pass. And, with all this detritus, they’ve managed to make something subtle, complex, and very worthwhile. Their music is rarely as chaotic as the instrument list may lead you to believe. They create beautiful, intuitive forms from these sounds, so that you get a coherent narrative flow, without the rhythmic and melodic baggage. Each track explores different densities and intensity levels, some jagged and noisy, some slow and evolving. It’s good to hear a band with so much restraint that has only a handful of releases under their belt. Let’s hope for more.