Archived CD Reviews: February 1999 Releases

critiques by DAN WARBURTON, Paris Editor

Egshiglen - Gobi
Leonid Soybelman - Surfing in my bed
Erik M - Zygosis
January 1999 Releases
March 1999 Releases

Robi Droli
Mongolian music review by Guy Livingston

Two songs stand out particularly as emblematic of the conflicting aspects and cultures of the album: “Khoomin Uran Setgemj” is introverted, beautiful, more traditional and contemplative; while “Chingis Haai Magtaal,” about Genghis Khan himself, is too obvious, brash, and westernized. This CD fluctuates between two cultures and is best in its rawest form. Mongolian chant and instrumental music present a larynx chant in which the overtones are modulated over a bass melody. The resulting microtonalisms and counterpoints are beautiful to hear. The Mongols are a nomadic people, and the “five jewels of the culture: horses, cattle, sheep, camels, goats” illustrate the roughness of their lives. This ensemble performs with energy and humor. But skip the Westernizations; let's hear more of the traditional elements. In any case, this disc is well-worth your interest; and is distributed by the always fascinating Robi Droli, in Italy. [Dunya Records: fy8005-2 CD, distributed by Robi Droli]

Leonid Soybelman
Article by Dan Warburton

“Move over, Segovia,” Marc Ribot reportedly said on listening to this. A little tongue-in-cheek, perhaps, but this has to be the most extreme solo guitar album since Eugene Chadbourne's early Parachute recordings (see our review!). Soybelman documents exactly how each of the fourteen tracks was recorded, using a classical guitar, a Piezo pick-up, and a Carlsbro “Buddy” Amp, plus other diverse objects. Not so much lo fi as no fi. (Be warned that the first track will blow your eardrums to bits if you put it on at anything above low volume--the guitar was smothered in blankets and obviously didn't appreciate it at all...) The other pieces are all short, following on from each other without a break, except for the final “Les Bateaux”, a seventeen-minute feedback wail that becomes quite soothing after a while. Other gems include “At the Dentist”, dedicated to Otomo Yoshihide (you can imagine what that sounds like...), “Paris Textus Receptus” (for Ry Cooder, of course), and pieces for Ribot and Chadbourne too. It remains to be seen if Soybelman can cut it live onstage as well as his guitar heroes, but in the meantime, that rumble on “Buddy's Work II” just might be Segovia turning in his grave... [REVIEW RECORDS CD rere195]

Erik M
Article by Dan Warburton

There can be a hell of a difference between live DJing and the recorded artifact (witness the sophistication of Christian Marclay's “More Encores”, or recent studio projects by Martin Tétreault), but this debut album by French turntablist Erik M does manage to capture something of the physicality of his onstage performance (see our review of his duo concert with Marclay). There are the by now standard slabs of cheesy easy listening music, tastefully massacred--thanks to Stock Hausen and Walkman for rediscovering the seamier side of the Hammond organ--but also large swathes of noise and a healthy injection of good ol' avant garde stuff; the album namechecks Ligeti, Parmegiani, Scelsi and Kagel among its sampled artists (though presumably Erik's list is not definitive: I thought I spotted some Xenakis in there somewhere...), along with figures as diverse as Jerry Goldsmith, Serge Reggiani and Aphex Twin. While lacking the conceptual grandeur of the above-mentioned Marclay mini-album, there is a lot to get your teeth into here (except track titles, which seem to be half-symbolic and totally unpronounceable--no matter). “Zygosis” is distributed by Metamkine so it shouldn't be too hard to track down.

[SONORIS SON 06: 28 rue du Parlement Ste-Catherine, 33000 Bordeaux]