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factor X
Radio Dada #1 - Fulk Songs
(factor X) MC

John Cage may be dead, but factor X is alive and well. Andre Breton may be long gone, but factor X ain't. This is not necessarily an indication of significance, merely one of attitude. In factor X's surreal collagescapes, all sounds are suitable filling for the sandwich. Birdsong, found voice, industrial ambience, mumbling, groaning sounds, loud thundery rumbling, excerpts from other factor X recordings, melodic acoustic guitar, tuneful metal plinkyplonkings, excruciating noises and beautiful combinations, squawks, squiggles, industrial new age. There's enough of a mixture that people who hate any of factor X's various extremes won't be put off much - this is one of the more successful tapes to come out of the hometaping scene. Sure, there are a few moments of real embarassment, that's almost inevitable given the quantity and diversity of material, but it's still quite an enjoyable tape. [Available in exchange for tapes of your own music or your favourite music, from factor X, PO Box 152, Exeter, Devon EX4 1QH] BD

Morton Feldman
Pieces For More Than Two Hands
(Unclassical Sub Rosa CD018-41) CD 68 minutes

Feldman was once quoted as saying: "My entire debt to Oriental culture is Chinese food." Yet, the feeling of spacious calm projected by his music is decidedly Eastern in character and is far removed from the emotive rhetoric of Western classical music as it is possible to imagine. In many ways his music seems much closer to the quiescent spirit of Zen than that of John Cage. The slowness of tempo, the long silences and restrained dynamic level (rarely above piano) all contribute to a feeling of timelessness which is a refreshing alternative to the storm and stress of most Western classical music, and particularly of avant-garde music, which often sounds like the expression of psychotic trauma.

Although much more tranquil in spirit, Feldman's work is linked to Cage's in its use of indeterminacy and in the range of initiatives he gives to players. In the works for multiple pianos he provides each player with the same part - basically a succession of chords - but allows the players to decide their own durations within a specified tempo. The impression is of a series of harmonic reverberations emanating from a single sound source. The effect is analogous to that of a series of chords put through a tape delay system, except that the repetitions contain subtle harmonic shifts and changes of rhythmic accent which chould never have been achieved mechanically.

These performances are clearly a labour of love by the participants, but are perhaps lacking in the degree of detachment and disinterest required by Feldman's music. I won't say that their interpretations are over-zealous, but I did notice that in Four Pianos they seemed to be injecting a note of dramatic urgency into the music by sharpening the attacks - instead of letting the sounds emerge gradually from silence - and by marginally quickening the tempo. In all other respects this is an exemplary release. The close miking of the pianos allows the tiniest nuances of the music to shine through and the spatial interplay of the pianos is vividly captured. Apart from Roger Woodward's recordings on the Etcetera label, this is probably the best compilation available of Feldman's piano music. RS

Siegmar Fricke
Electrohome Europe
(IRRE-Tapes IT077) cassette C60

With IRRE-Tape's declared anti-commercial stance I initially wondered if the title of this release was an ironic joke of some kind, particularly since the cassette's case depicts a standard-issue leotard-clad rave artiste. But apparently not. The cassette starts promisingly enough with the rhythmic string-samples and bells of Overture, but from then on things degenerate into a stream of home-brewed house. The tracks are based around the sort of competent drum loops you would expect, and I can imagine a few of the tracks going down well with some fans of traditional house. But for the most part the tracks are sketchy and lacking in direction, with unimaginative dance vocal lines transposed up and down for the want of any other development or inspiration. Electrohome Europe is way behind the modern trends in dance music, so in that respect at least it's bound to be an uncommercial release. [Available from IRRE-Tapes] KB

Galactic Lilah et l'Orchestre Fantôme
Anima Spiralia
(Dromentakel DT K708) MC

A genuinely bizarre and individual music from G.L. and the O.F., Anima Spiralia, first volume of a series of "sleepwalking essays", touches many identifiable bases while remaining pretty uncategorisable itself. There's the seagull-like singing, all squeaks and vocal spurts that starts things off, hints of Joan la Barbara perhaps. There are the Middle Eastern-cum-gothic atmospheres produced by the keyboards, organ tones next to a Giger-esque hissing of pipes. There's an insectoid, chemical haze of sound shimmering in the background, while piano and off-key synths spark at random in front. At it's least successful it sounds like an early horror-film soundtrack, all discordant wailing and tuneless gloom. So long as you don't mind the morose and melancholy mood, there are some much more interesting moments, especially those that give the singing a chance to take over. [Dromentakel asbl, rue du Prevost 35, B-1050 Bruxelles, Belgium] BD

Geneva Stop
Beyond Repair
(Rays and Genius Collective) MC

Another fine quality offering from Rays and Genius. Geneva Stop are a techno outfit of sorts, but don't expect the danceable 333 BPM drum patterns. Most of the (nine or so) tracks stroll along at heartbeat pace, with some intriguing sampling fed in and out, creating an almost dislocated atmosphere. I'm still not sure whether I like Beyond Repair, but can't fail to be impressed by the inventive sampling, and the soaring synth-washes in the closing tracks. My only criticism is that there are few peaks and troughs, and most of the tracks work to the same formula. [Rays and Genius, PO Box 5453, Glendale, CA 91221, USA] BN

Randy Greif
Alice in Wonderland 3
(Staalplaat) CD 73 minutes

This is the third of five limited-edition parts, the last of which will only be available to those who have purchased the first four. The recipe is exactly the same as Part 2: liberal doses of carefully enunciated narration added to a carefully stirred stew of peculiar, surreal sound effects and atmospheres. For lovers of the book, this is about as well-crafted an audio version as I can imagine existing: although the narrative retains its whimsy, the music, with its unidentifiable processed instruments lends the tale a very mature other-worldliness. I hope Randy Greif gets the recognition he deserves for this immense and accomplished work. [Available from Staalplaat] BD

The Hair and Skin Trading Company
Jo In Nine G Hell
(Situation Two) LP
Ground Zero
(Situation Two) 12"

This band consist of the rhythm section from Loop and friends. Loop adopted the look and sound of rock (hair, black jeans, guitars, wah wah pedals etc) but the music they created owed as much to the space of dub or the minimal drones of Philip Glass. The Hair and Skin Trading Company (great name!) lack the guitars and singing of Loop, but make up for this with a sampler and an open-minded, experimental attitude borrowed from Can and Faust. There is obviously also a strong emphasis on drums and bass. The results are sometimes tedious, boring drones but more often they hit the mark. There are some genuinely weird and interesting samples and loops. They claim to have gone into a basement and smashed everything up while recording the sounds to get some of the interesting samples.

Ground Zero, the single from the LP is their nearest to straight rock having a solid guitar riff punching through the samples and voice. There are some interesting ideas on the b-side but get the LP first because it is there that there is room for their ideas to breath. MW

The Haters
The Totimorphous
(V2 Archief 17) CD

There are 16 tracks on this CD release by The Haters, and the titles Pulsation of Explosion and Violence, The Liberation of Energy seem to me to epitomise their form of noise. I would describe their music as an architecture of sound, rather than constructed sound, and I think this distinction is important, as it denotes the epic nature of the work. There are long silences after each track, and this is very disconcerting, but the result is to mesmerise the listener. Although there are 16 tracks, the CD seems to become one continuous piece. The noise rumbles, clatter, clanks, jangles to produce an immense soundscape of destruction. [Contact V2 or Staalplaat] PT

The Hat Shoes
Differently Desperate
(RecRec RecDec 41) CD

Putting together a bunch of talented people isn't always successful, but it has certainly worked for The Hat Shoes, a quartet of Bill Gilonis, Catherine Jauniaux, Charles Hayward and Tom Cora. As befits their diverse background they produce a diverse array of music. There's the dopy, stretched-out-toffee rock of Sugar Sugar; nonsense syllables and stop/start string plucking on Tom-ta-kati-è-ta-coté; very vague approximations of traditional songwriting like Experts; or the sad romanticism of Hahn Rowe's guest violin on H tong. Much of the "songs" are coloured by the whimsy and deliberate complications that you'd expect from people with their respective backgrounds, and Catherine Jauniaux's Chinese witch impressions lend much of the album a decidedly alien, awkward air. It's all very inventive and thoroughly delightful to boot. [Available from These Records] BD

Charles Hayward
Switch on War
(Sub Rosa SUBCD 017-40) CD 60 minutes

Born as a response to the Gulf War, you might not expect this CD to last very well beyond it. You obviously haven't heard it. Charles Hayward (ex-This Heat & Quiet Sun) may be better known as a drummer, but Switched on War employs the corrosive drone as its main modus operandi. Layers of stark, grating tones create a menacing aura under which Hayward inserts more rhythmic mechanisms and buzzings. The opening Crying Shame rends and rips its way out of the speakers, while the siren-like sounds of Strong-Arm Dead-Line and Pinpoint are a much shriller sign of anger. Sweetheart blows an uneasy military ambience apart with the percussive sounds of war and only the closing Never Before is at all disappointing. There's a slightly muffled feel to the production, an asphyxiation which only adds to the relentless suffering that the whole album presents. It's tempting to see Switched on War as just another element in the whole armchair spectacle of war, another distorted representation of what it's really all about, but there's no denying the visceral power that this album possesses. And no denying that it's a far more honest war souvenir than any number of CNN or BBC bulletins. [Distribution by Play It Again Sam] BD

Hella & Marc
Camaleonte
(Hax HAX07TP) MC

Nicely packaged in a (now obligatory it seems) colour photocopy cover, but surprisingly low-fi despite its CrO2 / Dolby rating, Camaleonte is a strange mix of the ambient and a mutant-folk music. Tracks like Rosa are heavenly: tinkling piano and operatic voices, the ultimate in emotional abstraction, and this theme is continued throughout on many of the tracks, including the lengthy closer Marina Con Figlio. Here the mood is stranger, with children's voices or scraped violins (well, you tell me, I can't fathom it!) low in the mix; an eerie, dark finale. Least favourite are the samba-style outings, where funky hoedown rhythms merely detract from the ever-present piano and voice. Strange too that nothing is credited except piano and vocal, despite these tracks. As an outing in soundscape, verging (in the main) on the pastoral and romantic, this is pleasant enough, but others do it better and with more conviction. Good, but not that good. [Hax, Massimiliano Gatti, Via Mozart 13, 20092 Cinisello (MI), Italy] RML

HORIZ2O2N2
Through The Round Window
(Charrm CHARRMCD16) CD

Now, from Charrm you might expect something a little ... strange, something unusual ... but you probably wouldn't have expected Horizon 222. There's everything in here from samples of Tuvan throat-singers to a thunderous electronic beat sounding not entirely unlike a vast horde of Mongols racing across the steppes. It's like The Orb on steroids: an uncategorisable blend of influences that's just too good to waste time trying to pigeonhole anyway. Heart and Spirit Level are spacier, but just as resonant, blissed out sequenced pulsations and smiling bass beats providing the platform for the sampled voice 'n' noise. Quelque Minute has a sturdy, intricate rhythmic texture, while Beyond The Horizon has a more ambient, luminescent quality. Soviet France, the label's better known and more experimental musical name, seem a world removed. Have you bought this yet? [Available from Charrm, 5 Wingrove Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE4 9BP; released by Hypnobeat in Europe and DOVentertainment in North America] BD

Hybryds
The Ritual Should Be Kept Alive Part 2
(Dark Vinyl DV #09) CD 73 minutes
Music For Rituals
(Artware) CD 75 minutes

More excellent ritual music from Belgium's Magic Theatre, assisted by the likes of Vidna Obmana, Alpha Project and Pier Luigi Andreoni. The Dark Vinyl CD includes a 25 minute title track, repetitive tinklebells, steady but spartan drumbeats and ambient sound creating a perfect backdrop for ritual or meditation (or perhaps a headache if you're not in the mood). Some of the other pieces are pretty inconsequential, but Wailing for the Fallen Angels stands out - ten minutes of nicely aching squeals and moans, like a restrained early Lustmørd, with nice quiet vocals entering at the end - and an uncredited ninth track mixes various moans and drones together in a manner vaguely reminiscent of Current 93.

Music For Rituals comes with a very attractive booklet, covered in sewn card and housed with the CD in a plastic wallet. The booklet contains details of a simple magickal visualisation exercise, and cards with appropriate symbols to make use of. The sixteen pieces are generally shorter, exploring a wider assortment of textures and ambiences, although it mostly falls within a similar dark, ritualistic field. A great deal of use is made of looped, unrecognisable fragments of resonant sound, creating a fairly hypnotic effect. Sometimes it's all a bit too fragmentary, but overall it's another admirable album. [Contact Dark Vinyl, Kettelerstrasse 4, D-8595 Waldsassen, Germany; Artware; contact Hybryds at 3rio Art, Magisch Theater, Juliaandillenstr. 22, 2018 Antwerpen, Belgium] BD

IAM Umbrella
Gift of Roots and Wings
(Rays and Genius Collective) MC

IAM Umbrella is one of those names that constantly crops up on flyers, and in catalogues from all four corners of the globe, so I was quite chuffed to at last be confronted with one of their products. From what I can gather, Gift of Roots and Wings is a journey into a hallucinatory world induced by the psychotropic drug, leadmetothemine (lead-me-to-the-mine, geddit?). In any case, IAM Umbrella have created some well-structured, almost hypnotic soundscapes which wouldn't go amiss as a film score (is David Lynch reading this? The whole thing is extremely well recorded, and arranged, which rather belies the fairly cheapo cover, which could get lost amongst countless other amateurish recordings, and amateurish this is not. I can't say how much you would expect to pay for this cassette, but if you like to chill out in some dark and sinister cavern, then this is what you should buy. In commercial terms, R&G are to be congratulated for producing two innovative and highly listenable cassettes [see also Geneva Stop]. It's just a shame about those covers! [Rays and Genius, PO Box 5453, Glendale, CA 91221, USA] BN

Indianhead
322
(Indianhead) MC

A one sided cassette consisting of five tracks - Disposable Relief, Filth, Termination, The Unseen and Pious. A heavy grunge / thrash polemical railing against racial hatred, TV evangelism and consumerism. Abrasive guitar, staccato drum attacks and above all the variant vocal techniques produce a thoughtful political discourse. At times there are elements of Ministry, The Pop Group, Foetus and the Gang of Four in the vocal style and spirit of the music. Termination is a particularly powerful tirade against American race hate and the KKK. Played at excessive noise levels in a live setting, this should be a rewarding and challenging experience. [Indianhead, 1 Sheldon Close, Loughborough, Leics. LE11 0EZ] PT

Intermix
Phaze Two
(Third Mind TM9118-2) CD 66 minutes

If this doesn't enter the charts then nothing will! Intermix's latest pulses with familiar samples and revels in its ambient proximities. Get Religion is the hardest track, The Process is a radical reworking of a recent Front Line Assembly track. Single tracks, Dream On and Funky Hell are included. Truth and Corollary veer towards the rave scene; fortunately the hard, Belgian influences of Beltram et al. I can't see this release putting a foot wrong. Intermix is gradually revealing the party animals under the metal-plated droids that appear to be Leeb and Fulber. MFR

In The Nursery
Duality
(Third Mind TM 9163-2) LP/CD 49 minutes

What can I say? This is just so beautiful. The textured ambience defies description. Richard Burton's sampled speeches provide a centrifuge around which the melodies are born, cluster and disperse through appropriate snare drums and Dolores' seductive keenings. I think I love her ... Duality visualises opposites, but these can be interrelated: romance, tragedy, hope, bewilderment, loss, rapture. ITN are very adept at translating and interpreting emotions into the music form. These diverse feelings merge into a natural fluctuational flow of genuine ardour. As I said, just beautiful. MFR

C.M. James
Audio Library
(CM James) cassette C90

Ninety minutes' worth of sound-collage, parcelled up into seven sections and using samples interspersed or underlaid with home-made rhythms. The samples, apart from a brief but o-so-cheesy snippet of the Twilight Zone theme, are drawn from some pretty unusual sources: Linguaphone exercises in Arabic and Vietnamese (?); French and Italian movie dialogue; a lecture on Planck's constant; the Book of Revelation. Original too were such things as the use of one speaker for say, an earnest discussion of post-modernism, with the other speaker playing back snippets of the discussion treated electronically to a ridiculous bass or treble. The only bits I really enjoyed, though, were the long and more-or-less untreated stretches of forties/fifties music, which rather misses the point. Not really for me, daddy-o. [C.M. James, 408 Washington NW, Warren, OH 44483, USA] SP

Karceral Flesh
Closed Eyes on a Bloody and Shameful Past
(Karceral Flesh) MC

Is it true that you could review an album just on the basis of its track titles? How about Rapists Dogs, Tortured Flesh Tortured Soul or Fear and Death? Karceral Flesh aren't just doom-and-gloom merchants however, as some of their music is almost uplifting. Most of it uses synthesiser and drum machine to create dark, grandiose, martial rhythms. Sampled (?) noise is used to punctuate and accent the beats, which alternate between the military and the mechanistic. There's not much variety in the keyboards, but despite the limited components, some tracks, such as the suffocating atmosphere of Nightmare in Hell, are very impressive. Another brings in a rapid and thunderous beat (almost like Test Dept), with slabs of shrill noise and clanking sounds crashing into view over it. Several tracks let the soundtrack atmospherics take precedence over the beat, allowing a fair amount of variety, and resulting in a good, well-balanced tape. [Karceral Flesh, c/o Franck Kervizic, B.P. 1115, 59012 Lille Cedex, France] BD

Kleg
Zing
(Barooni BAR 006) CD 50 minutes

The production (by Lee Ranaldo) isn't the only thing that's changed since Kleg's earlier Barooni release Eating and Sleeping. There are 12 tracks here, each an exploration of spiky, crimply, precise guitar textures. Sort of like Sonic Youth at maths school and with mouths shut. Kleg consist of five guitarists, a bassist and a drummer, and manage to produce everything from almost straightforward avant-rock to Branca-esque harmonies; from thrash to near-ambience. There are a few duds in here, but they're more than made up for by tracks like Brenda, full of tense, nervous strumming, spaced out or droning, plenty of variety in the space of five minutes. What sometimes lets Kleg down is the rockist drumming: they'd be a lot better off if they'd stop compromising their sound like this. Nice stuff, though. [Contact Barooni, PO Box 12012, 3501 AA Utrecht, The Netherlands; available through These Records] BD

Kode IV
Insane
(KK Records KK078) CD

This is one of the best albums KK have put out, escaping from some of the hardbeat cliches and latching on to a much more groovy, much more cheerful brand of techno mayhem. It doesn't lose the industrial stylings, especially on tracks like Fear Into Power, but it's a genuine relief from the doom and gloom of others in the area. There are all sorts of echoes in there (Yello at one point, for example), so don't expect anything too original, but it's very competent, very danceable, has reasonable variety, it just works. BD

Korpses Katatonik
Sensitive Liberated Autistiks
(Nekrophile Records) CD 50 minutes

If this album had been released ten years ago on the Come Organisation label, then collectors would now be paying vast sums of money for copies. Released in a limited edition of just 500 copies, this is just the kind of evil noise ComeOrg used to release. The CD begins with Shatok - fuzzed out drums and harsh noise like Come's I'm Jack. The agony of childbirth is recreated on Schmertzlabor, which consists of heartbeats, bleeping monitors and exploding distortion, whilst Enzephallik sounds like an out-take from The 150 Murderous Passions. The best track is the long piece Tranzplant. Imagine one of H.R. Giger's more extreme bio-mechanoid paintings brought to life in sound. Groans, crunching shells, gothic synths like early Tangerine Dream, organo-mechanic movement in an atmosfear of pure evil - I loved this track! If you like your music malevolent, and noisy, with loads of distortion, harshness and tape manipulation then this is about as good as it gets. [Nekrophile c/o Staalplaat; Nekrophile USA c/o Soleilmmon] DB

Thomas Leer & Robert Rental
The Bridge
(Mute / The Grey Area BRIDGE1CD) CD 43 minutes

Before Leer made a wholehearted leap towards electropop via releases on Cherry Red and Arista, and before Rental went AWOL, there was The Bridge, released originally by Industrial Records in 1979. Clearly the product of an overdose on Kraftwerk, The Bridge's sequenced electronics deserve a place alongside the Human League, British Electric Foundation, The Normal and others as pioneers in British synthpop. In some ways, it's quite an experimental album, with its love of unusual sounds and textures, but the duo's pop sensibilities are self-evident, especially on a song like Monochrome Days. What's nicest about this album is the way the musical material is so true to source: melodies and sounds feature which a few years earlier simply could not have done, owing their entire existence to the brave new world of electronics. The vocals are often quite incongruous too, plaintive, hesitant phrases amidst a network of precise, certain electricity. The tape-loop based instrumentals are a lot less convincing, owing too heavy a debt to Brian Eno and just too darned restrained for their own good. But, still, a nice slice of times past. BD

Maeror Tri
Hypnobasia
(Old Europa Cafe) MC

Call me a cynical old hack, but Maeror Tri appear to be yet another of Zoviet France's bastard children. Hypnobasia is at times almost a reworking of parts of the inimitable Zoviets' Gesture Signal Threat, although it lacks the clarity of recording, and the chilling atmosphere of a Zoviet product. Hypnobasia has been dedicate "to all dreamers, for all your nightmares and flowings". From this, I gather that we must sit in our darkened bedroom, smoke something a little stronger than Marlboro, and let it all happen ... and at times it does, although often marred by its sheer lack of depth. Combined with some questionable mixing, which through sheer volume washes out some of the subtleties which inevitably work therein. I actually quite liked Hypnobasia, but Maeror Tri perhaps need to decide whether to explore the sounds used, and introduced some dynamics, or whether to simply be producers of harsh, abstract noise. I prefer the former. [Contact Maeror Tri, Stefan Knappe, Fasanenstrasse 11, D2950 Leer, Germany] BN

Main
Hydra-Calm
(Situation Two SITL 39 CD) 61 minutes

This brings together Main's two 12" singles, Hydra and Calm, plus a 20-minute bonus track called Thirst. I raved over Calm last issue, and this deserves the same treatment. Ex-Loop, Main are an indie guitar-band, of sorts, but owing more to My Bloody Valentine or even Faust than to the usual retro crap beloved of the NME. Flametracer shows their twin interests in repetition and in the layering of sounds: endless identical riffs churning beneath droning radio-wave-like guitar-noise. Other efforts like Time Over (Dub) dispense with the hazy vocals to concentrate on the rippling electric harmonies, but the sustained oscillations and ambience of Thirst could easily have been produced by someone like Asmus Tietchens, some of it even reminding me of Lustmørd's Heresy. Astonishing. BD

Mask Media
UFO / Raverobbers From Outer Space
(Vision) 12"
Scaremonger
Scaremonger
(Praxis) 12"
Bourbonese Qualk
Kneejerkreaction
(Praxis) 12"

It appears that Vision, better known (to me) for sax-fuelled hardbeat frolics, have discovered techno, with this new 12" and two white-labels (due for proper release in November) on their Praxis offshoot. Mask Media's UFO is pretty good high-bpm rave-by-numbers; their Raverobber's a leisurely but very heavy techno grindcore. The Scaremonger EP is a more commercial endeavour, mixing relatively slow beats with hyped-up electronic noise more typical of ultra-fast hardcore techno to great effect. The biggest surprise of the bunch is of course Bourbonese Qualk's plunge into techno waters - if you weren't told you'd never recognise the culprits here. Given the Qualk's musical diversity and interest in electronic media it's perhaps not such a surprise. They plunder the latest genre with some aplomb, even if the Front 242 samples and DJ-frightening break-ups in one track are a bit unnecessary; the best track is the final, trance-like piece. [Contact Vision, PO Box 568, CH-4005 Basel, Switzerland; or in the UK fax or phone Christoph on 071-232 0572] BD

Mengrad + Psygram
Dreamshow
(Flabbergast FG 4) CD 66 minutes

I don't know what the samples of German dialogue on this CD are about, and I'm glad about that. This would be an ideal soundtrack to a modern horror film, tentative comparisons being the more abstract and gloomy work by Dome and the more evil-sounding ritualistic industrial bands. In common with many of the latter, Mengrad + Psygrad share the hallmarks of machine-like whirrings, swirling drones and rattling chains, but unlike all too many others in this field, they are in full control of what they do and produce coherent and effective results. Some of the latter tracks add welcome variety: Dreamshow is almost funky, Holy Life uses the sound of waves and almost restful chords, and Submission (well, they had to have a track called Submission, didn't they?!) is as if Coil were covering Tangerine Dream's Alpha Centauri. This is an unusually powerful set of oppressive, sinister music; whether that's what you want is up to you! [Available from Flabbergast, Siemensstrasse 18, 8560 Lauf, Germany; Tel 0 91 23 3612; Fax 0 91 23 2067] KB

Mnementh
United States / Divided States
(Mnementh) MC

Homemade, handpainted cover stuff, this. The recipe is generally drum machine, synth and vocals, and the atmosphere never very cheerful. The vocalist doesn't sound tremendously happy about the world, and the musical ambience is never other than gloomy, or at best, pissed off. Title like Fashionslave, Destroy The United State, Dahmer and Asphyxia are some kind of guide to Mnementh's world. The music veers between sections that use the drum beat in a militaristic, hardbeat type of way, and those that take a more industrial approach. Inevitably, there's a very amateur air to it all, but it may appeal all the same. [Contact: Mnementh, 929 Euclid Avenue #3, Atlanta, GA 30307, USA] BD

David Moss / Axel Otto / Frank Schulte
The Day We Forgot
(No Man's Land nml 9118cd) CD 59 minutes

"A declaration of love to the music of noise, and to the narrative, pictorial element of free musical communication" says the box. Imagine a band playing RIO and free jazz using toy instruments and scratched records, with a Kobaïan soup dragon on vocals and Stockhausen remixing and you might get a better idea of what this is all about. It's not an easy listen, the only respite from the remorseless avant-garde wackiness being David Moss's occasional percussive displays. Personally I found the whole venture intriguing but undeniably irritating in its clever artiness. Time for me to rinse out my ears with Negativland's Escape from Noise I think. [Distributed through These Records; or contact Recommended No Man's Land] KB

Muslimgauze
Abu Nidal / Coup d'Etat
(Soleilmoon SOL2CD) CD 72 minutes

It's sometimes hard to tell if Muslimgauze's interest in murderous despots like Qaddafi and Khomeini (both featured on this re-release's very nice gold-tinted inlay) extends as far as support - his support for the Palestinians is certainly well recorded, although obviously less potentially controversial. It's also sometimes hard to see exactly how he's managed to release so much music and maintain such a spotless reputation. The drum machine and Middle-Eastern ambience of this CD sounds much like the drum machine and ambience of several other Muslimgauze albums. The ethnic-sounding percussion goes on and on, with little progression from one minute to the next. It's fine. Once. But you don't need more than one album, and perhaps not even that many. [Soleilmoon; Staalplaat] BD

Mynox Layh
Save the Anima
(Hyperium) CD 13 minutes

Three tracks of heavy techno remixes from a band more usually, our esteemed editor tells me, to be found lurking at the industrial end of the musical spectrum. A classic burst of Joey Beltram-style swerving electronics piles into Save The Anima, which stomps along with all the vigour of recent singles on Force Inc or R&S. The bass programming is slightly suspect and the somewhat staccato, stop-start rhythm is a little dancefloor unfriendly, but this is almost up there with the best German or Belgian stuff. Rashnijavar (remix) is a far duller affair, relying on downbeat phrasing which robs it of any energy the pulsing bassline provides. The End of Innocence (remix), though, is another storming track, with squelchy beats and deep vocal samples. God alone knows what Mynox Layh and the originals of these tracks usually sound like, but this is top notch. MX