Friday, 30 July 2010



To collaborate is a great thing.  The meeting of minds to create a new object from a fresh perspective is what lifted man from playing with his own shit and scrawling it on walls to eventually painting on canvas.

As reviewed in full last month with my description of the final box set, the Long Division With Remainders project has taken in fourteen different artists all chipping away at the same slab of sonic stone and this tidy little sampler collects one track by every artist involved from each of their four song EPs/Versions.  To recap:

The first version is by HELEN WATSON who here is represented by her interpretation of track 4, a sparkling and dense drone that strides like a wave rattling speakers with desolate cowbell and bass.

Next SONE INSTITUTE offer their version of track 2 which is a playful exploration into frequencies and eerie theremin sounds attached to a delayed groove that transcends proceedings and warps the pallet.

Moving on Washington D.C. artists BLK W/BEAR etch in a pulsing and menacing discreet piece of sonic destruction that feels like being lost in space without a paddle.  There is a darkness to their version of track 1; you can hear it from the glitches.  Your ears pop and soon also will your heart.

Offering a degree of light relief CATS AGAINST THE BOMB drops a fifty eight second that sounds windswept and fatal; this is the sound of plummet.  This was his interpretation of track 4.  The worst of times often arrive before the best of times.

The fifth selection arrives from ISNAJ DUI and a return to modern composition techniques using traditional instrumentation.  This version of track 1 retains the percolating pulse of the original while adding distant sounds of fun times.

BARNABY OLIVER arrives and immediately sets in place a disorientating regime with his version of track 4.  Its an overwhelming experience that in the wrong hands could lead to despair.  However not today.

Version 7 of the project produced by KEN PEEL provided one of my favourite set of tracks.  His take on track 1 here is a piano led sinister swing of classical sadness.  The journey is a progressive one that glistens as contradictorily one of the more upbeat selections of the Long Division With Remainders project.  It’s a motion that heightens any moment.

Colchester’s own THE ABOMINABLE MR TINKLER discloses a fractured take on track 3 with subtle drive and less subtle interjections.  Its an unnerving weave of hysteria, suitably sonic from a land that thrives on busted corruption.  Again the bedding of the piece makes me think of classic electronic science fiction soundtracks and in this case John Carpenter’s origin score to The Thing.  Then arrives the drum and bass as all peace ends.

The VOLUME = COLOUR piecing of track 2 is a stop start exploration into pacing and distortion in a free form style that reminds of Stockhausen and Zorn before finally succumbing to the imminent menacing conclusion of a dizzying status.  A welcome random collage.

From Australia SUSAN HAWKINS offers one of the few vocal moments of the project as she whispers into her version of track 3 where large and heavy piano notes signify a hard motion.  Layered with scintillating bass, it is a very ambient moment.

THE TRUTH ABOUT FRANK take things slow with their translation of track 4.  Building graciously it suitably ascends before cascading with large slabs of sound and a shattering echo suggesting claustrophobia in their work.  As wave after wave laps the listeners mind and subtle rhythm maintains driving proceedings to a natural home.

Equally disorientating, the SPOOL ENSEMBLE variety of track 2 shadows the industrial theme of the original version while enhancing a war with technology.

The penultimate project offering via TAGCLOUD is a swift and distance plantation.  As a muddied vocal signal is unearthed a question of its origin arises.  A sense of mystery flows to this version of track 1 as pace is reduced to a heartbeat with the fear of it turning into a heart stop.  The motion is measured, discreet and frustratingly unrevealing.  The trick is to keep the listener wanting.

The final piece comes from LEYLAND KIRBY and it is a huge offering clocking in at over ten minutes.  This adaptation of track 3 is suitably mesmerising as a chilling clang accompanies a sparse drone and repetitive trickles that offer some hope as the pounding intensifies representing a deep seated menace moving towards the end of existence.

So there you have it, a wonderful time spent with random selections from the Long Division With Remainders experiment.  This isn’t necessarily the manner/order with which these tracks were originally designed to be listened but as a varied exercise into sonic escapism, this assortment is enough to sell the adventurous mind.

Thesaurus moment: illustration.

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