Aube/Knurl, Split (Alien8, 1999)
[originally posted 12Jun2000]
I’m amazed no one ever thought of it before… have Split as the official title of your split. Wonderful.
Aube starts by contributing two live track from an art museum performance in 1996 with telephones as the source material. Every Aube album I’ve come across since Wired Trap has been going farther and farther into the realm of the minimal. And while this one is somewhat louder than Pages from the Book, it’s certainly still in the realm of the minimal. High-pitched frequencies weave in and out, every once in a while supplanted by more “traditional” noise, and every once in a while jumping or dropping unexpectedly in volume. But overall Nakajima-san contributes two tracks of shifting, high-register soundscape that will either soothe or grate, depending on your tolerance for high-pitched smooth sounds.
You may want to turn down the speakers before the disc gets to track three. Knurl also contributes two tracks to this rather long (over sixty minutes in four tracks) split CD, and this is classic Knurl—wall of harsh, mid-range noise manufactured by beating on metal objects with other metal objects and having the resulting sounds run through a number of filtering pedals and the like. The result is a mass of chaotic noises that never really congeals into anything recognizable; think of a constantly hard-boiling pot of spaghetti. The amazing thing about Alain Bloor is his live performance, when you see how he does this; while most artists creating this kind of sounds are working with samplers or synthesizers or some other mainly electronic form of sonic output at the root, Knurl does such things as bang on a truck spring with a rock hammer or kick a toaster around. And yet the sound is still as harsh, unyielding, and constant.
Good, solid stuff. There are other Aube discs I prefer more, but this one makes an easy intro into the wonderful world of Akifumi Nakajima, and Knurl’s stuff is… Knurl. Hard not to love. *** ½