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Archived reviews: Q

QT?/Alejandra & AeronSplit
Label: Fat Cat Format: 12″

Thirteenth virus, this Split Series release is also called – quite appropriately for QT?‘s tracks, which mix down bleeps and glitches into something which sounds like the record player’s got a worm infection. With titles which progess mathematically from “qqq” via “?q?” to “???”, the nine pieces drive abstractly from snicker and blasted track-reformatting noise to whittled electronics and drilling fragments. Not easily assimilated within most definitions of music, but quite comfortable in the noise aesthetic, QT?’s work might get labelled minimal digital concrèt, should anyone care to.

Alejandra And Aeron progress through their domestic audio settings by taking on the kitchen for the 18-minute track of the same name, which is only appropriate given their alter ego as Lucky Kitchen. The resulting mixture of radio soundscape and processed field recordings wanders from hard-disk digital throttling through patches of lo-fi ambience to rising hum-along Plunderphonic loops and a singing Spanish grandmother. The sounds of culinary clatter, cooking and washing slip into high pitched mixing desk feedback, carrier waves of the most comforting room in the house. Interference patterns disrupt, digital drips and static interfere and mark time; the radio is detuned to a folksy channel somewhere in the aether.

“Kitchen”‘sinvolving combination of processed environmental recordings with software overload techniques works well enough, sculpting a parallel sound world from the everyday and ordinary. Fridge hums really do deserve more attention in recordings, and this track provides plenty of those.

-Linus Tossio-

Queen Of JapanMercury Rising
Label: Angelika Köhlermann Format: CDS

Mercury Rising - sleeveThe Vienniese label Angelicka Koehlermann have established themselves as the home of often-eccentric Electro, and this EP from Tokyo duo Jo Ashito and Koneko is no exception. As it’s Japanese, to Western ears Mercury Rising frequently falls into those typically kitschadelic areas they seem to love so (and we don’t?) – fortunately, while the UK gets Steps and all the attendant baggage of 100% unadulterated dreck which accompanies them and their kind, Queen Of Japan hold some aces up their sleeves.

First off, there’s the aforementioned eccentricity in the selection of songs – “Cool Cat”; “Living On My Own,” hardly the most obvious cover versions. Then there’s the weird pitching and tape-flanging Ashito favours among the stomping floor-filling beats. He like nothing better than slowing the master down fractionally, just enough to throw the rhythm of “Living…” off-kilter to disorienting effect – now imagine the results on the typical niteclub dancefloor, populated as they are by punters in a state of chemical and literal imbalance – could be fun to watch.

Post-Modern enough for the last years of that Twentieth Century everyone was talking about, Mercury Rising takes a camp supericon and makes even more of a Funky, squelchy Housey-Garage monster (see especially the “Joecockremix” of “Living On My Own”) out of the more operatic reaches of Pop. OK, so “Body Language” is about the straightest interpretation on the EP, but even that is sufficiently skewed from the ordinary to be amusing.

-Marco Polomint-

(Mr.) QuintronLive, April 1999.

Quintron These Hands Of Mine
Label: Rhinestone/Skin Graft Format: LP,CD

An enthusiast of the lowest-of -Lo-Fi recording techniques, Quintron obviously loves his Hammond organ (Model D), and in conjunction with his personally-designed light-operated drum machine (which gets a sample airing of chaotic noises on the track “Drum Buddy”), showcases an extraordinary collection of whooping, hollering, slightly tacky sing-alongs on the marvellous These Hands Of Mine. Spasmodic, throbbing electrical churnings (not forgetting the chainsaw sound of Velocity Hopkins) and the back-up singing of Miss Pussycat and The Memphis Mysterions propel a veritable Rock’n’Roll extravaganza of archaic energy and devious arrangements from the Fifties to the Nineties like Brainticket and Suicide were the only bands to have made a mark on Mr Q. from the Seventies.

Invoking the spirit of Jerry Lee Lewis (who appears in a fan handshake photo on the sleeve, just to emphasise the influence), Arthur Brown and an otherwise long-forgotten slew of Horror-show keyboard weirdos from four decades back, These Hands oozes B-movie sleaze and Louisiana schlock like the Swamp Thing’s favourite Easy Listening album fallen through a tme-warp (one involving rotating-spiral hypnotic devices). Beyond the humour value, this record is actually a pretty scary insight into the deranged depths of the musical experience, and so much the better for it. The world needs obsessive lunacy like this much more than a supposedly clever/dumb post-Modern pastiche of a hole in the head. Throughout the feeling is that Quintron believes himself to be the world’s greatest living exponent of the electric keyboard – he may just well be at that.

-Antron S. Meister-

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