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PBK and Jim O’Rourke – Unidentified Again

Pica Disk

PBK and Jim O’Rourke - Unidentified AgainJim O’Rourke has released albums of jazz, noise, electronica and rock music. He has collaborated with artists such as Thurston Moore, Derek Bailey, Mats Gustafsson, Merzbow, Nurse with Wound and Fennesz, just to name a few, and has produced albums by artists such as Sonic Youth, Wilco, Stereolab, Faust, Tony Conrad, The Red Krayola, Joanna Newsom and US Maple. He mixed Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album and produced their 2004 album, A Ghost Is Born, for which he won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album.

American composer, Phillip B. Klingler, better known as PBK, has been active in the experimental music underground since 1986, composing using extreme turntable manipulation, sampling, analogue and digital synthesis. PBK has performed live throughout the USA and in Europe, and has collaborated with musicians such as Asmus Tietchens, Aube, Jarboe, Minóy, Vidna Obmana and Wolf Eyes. Over the course of nearly thirty years PBK has had over 75 full-length albums released internationally.

PBK and O’Rourke had never collaborated before they made this album, although they have talked about it for years. O’Rourke sent PBK some sound material composed on modular synth, and PBK created audio environments for those sounds to live in. The sounds are alive, like synthetic landscapes with birds or animals of some primitive or alien origin and, of course, also huge drones that could be electrical storms, then mixed together beautifully by O’Rourke.

Unidentified Again consists of four long tracks. I am struck how full-on the first track is: loud wide noises, only for a minute or more, then it stops and then the smaller sounds enters. After a while a long fade of a big industrial distorted sound comes in the mix. There are good wide frequencies, which really gets a grip on every pore of my body. A great start to an album, setting the pace for the entire disc.

It moves in many directions, shifting in structure, from engine sounds to subtle synths, or recordings that sounds like crickets, birds or sparks; and there are even some power tools! At times very hypnotic, only minor movements in the sounds, almost as if nothing happens, but there is. Same thing with some of the quieter parts, which can pass as almost dead quiet. You can hear something is happening, but you need to focus. Then it increases in volume, and I can hear some drone that catch me. Very relaxing.

This is noise, make no mistake. But it’s not one kind of noise. It’s much more. Varied, silent, loud, minimal, maximal, pretty, catchy, lovely and even irritating. Not many rhythms, but more drones or longer ambient parts. Not for parties. This album is for listening. I know I will.

-Ronny Wærnes-

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