Dave Phillips - Homo Animalis

2CD, 2014, Schimpfluch Associates, Zürich/Osaka.   Available

edition of 500

Homoanimalis


REVIEWS

Schimpfluch-Gruppe inaugurate a new label in typically over the top style with this epic, overwhelming album, in scope and intent surely Dave Phillips’s most significant release yet. Its ten tracks, running for 158 minutes and alluding to his concept of humanimalism, work up a succession of highly volatile sound environments: tempestuous, soaked with drama, prone at any time to cutting away, changing tack or firing out eardrum puncturing percussive punches. An exact definition of humanimalism is hard to pin down - a kind of different state of awareness and inquiry achieved through withdrawal and rejection - but it’s clearly derived from Phillips’s commitment to animal rights (buried in several of the tracks are what could be the sounds of animals in varying degress of distress) and his frequent critiques of organised religion. Much of the material sounds like heavily processed field recordings, layered into complex, roiling cacophonies, exuding an elemental power. That said, the album has plenty of space: thought often uncompromisingly intense, Homo Animalis is one of Phillips’s most melodically rich albums. But even in moments of apparent relief the tension rarely let’s up. See the distressing ‘So… What?’, a field recording of a heated domestic argument in an unidentified location, punctuated by an ominously pounded piano.

(Nick Cain, The Wire, Issue 366, August 2014)

More music by Dave Phillips, of whom we recently reviewed a collaborative work with Aspec(t) (Vital Weekly 934). Here the former founding member of Fear Of God returns with another double CD, now for Schimpfluch, of which he has been a member since the early 90s. The works here, some 160 minutes in total, of works recorded from 2009 to 2011 (two are from 2007). Some of these pieces were released on limited edition cassettes, but all of these pieces have been reworked extensively. Phillips, you may be aware of this, is an activist when it comes to animal rights and in much of his music he uses sounds from animals, and how we treat them, that we should not eat them, etc, but as with many of the politically inspired musicians, you can wonder how many minds are turned. No matter how fine the causes are, mind you. The music by Phillips is one that I quite enjoy. It’s dark, it’s noisy, and yet there is so much than just a bunch of noises. Phillips loops his sounds of animals around, quite densely at times, and adds the sound of his voice (sighing, breathing) and/or such acoustic sounds as rubbing against a balloon. All of this can end abruptly and move over into something of near silence, or to be replaced by something of an equally heavy weight noise, but of an altogether different nature. That’s what makes this a particular noise release into one I like very much. Here we have somebody who has thought about the whole genre of noise and how to keep things of interest. Now, listening to ten pieces with a total length of 160 minutes is quite a demanding thing and probably not one that one should do all to easily. Phillips music is, although I really like it, also quite grim, sinister and dark, played with a strong force, and if you follow what it says on the cover ‘for best results play loud’, your ears will bleed and you might possibly ready for a straight jacket. However if you take this CD one at a time, and perhaps control the volume a bit, then you too might see the beauty of this noise release.

(Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly, Issue 938, June 2014)

Enfants qui hurlent, grondements insensés, monstruosités sans nom – Homo Animalis est une maison hantée de 160 minutes. Ce disque double est extrêmement lourd à supporter, mais il est si bien conçu, si cohérent, qu’on se laisse envoûter par cet humanimalisme. Oui, “humanimalisme”: le mot est de Dave Phillips et il s’agit d’un concept philosophico-anthropologique qui imagine l’humain comme être de pure émotion. L’album recueille des œuvres publiées dans des tirages très limitées et retravaillées depuis. C’est d’une force incroyable, inexorable et, oui, insupportable, particulièrement “So… what?”, une violente chicane de famille accompagnée de ce qui semble être des coups de mailloche sur les cordes d’un piano.

(François Couture, Monsieur Délire, June 2014)

Phillips has had his finger in many pies since the mid 80’s, with Fear of God and also an abundance of his solo work. Composed between 2009 and 2011 the work on this album first appeared on limited edition cassettes and these have been remastered for this double disc release. As experimental as I envisaged, opener ‘The Less I Know’ is a rabid pit of noises and black ambience that is as bleak as they come, torn apart by demonic voices and whisperings. Things don’t let up come ‘Humananimal B’, where a monolithic wall of Dark Ambient, culminating in the murky ‘Humananimal A’ sounding positively cheerful. There is an overt Power Electronics edge to Phillips’ work and I appreciated the background soaring and whines of ‘Rape Culture’. I have heard a lot better over the years, but Dave does utilise his knowledge of sonic architecture to good effect, where everything feels full and rounded; which is imperative to releases of this nature. Things don’t let up come disc two of this lengthy slab of guttural savagery. Once again an array of bestial noises reek havoc amongst a crushing pit of sub-level sound; and the outcome is akin to the soundtrack to the end of the world. The only downside to this release is that there is very little variation overall. However, this leads to a solid continuity, if you have the patience to see this devilish collection of nightmares right through to its grisly conclusion. 9/10

(Black Audio, July 2014)

Che strano personaggio, Dave Phillips. Di madre francese e padre inglese, ma nato e residente a Zurigo, in Svizzera. Tira avanti il carretto da circa 25 anni. Dagli esordi grindcore coi Fear Of God e quelli death-thrash metal coi Messiah, divagando attraverso qualche ottimo lavoro di field-recordings come le esotiche registrazioni indonesiane (Suara Alam Indonesia) e quelle degli insetti (Insect), che riportano immediatamente al lavoro di Graeme Revell (SPK) Insect Musicians (1986), è noto soprattutto per le urticanti sonorità noise dalle tinte oscure e post-industrial. Sono appunto questi estremismi, non soltanto musicali, ad averlo portato – intorno ai primi anni Novanta – a formare il collettivo Schimpfluch-Gruppe: una sorta di moderna rivisitazione o tributo a Hermann Nitsch e al suo Wiener Aktionismus, comprendente noise-performer di tutto rispetto come Marc Zeier (G*Park), ma soprattutto Rudolf Eb.er (Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock), Joke Lanz (Sudden Infant) e Daniel Löwenbrück, titolare tra l’altro dell’etichetta berlinese Tochnit Aleph. Giunge quindi il doppio cd Homo Animalis, prima uscita della neonata Schimpfluch Associates. Supportato dallo straordinario lavoro al mastering di Riccardo Mazza dei Lettera 22, questo disco è composto da dieci tracce, realizzate – tranne due nel 2007 – nel periodo fra il 2009 e il 2011 e tutte rielaborate e rivisitate, ottenendo quasi 160 minuti di frastuoni perversi e violenze acustiche. Non lasciamoci ingannare dal titolo: nessun rimando della razza umana a clave, caverne o cose simili, piuttosto, come sottolinea lo stesso artista, il concept (Humanimal) ha a che fare con una sorta di uomo primordiale e puro, libero da ogni legame materiale e religioso, orientato verso pensieri e concezioni spirituali, sociali e ambientali. Pensieri, idee e teorie Humanimal ben spiegate all’interno del booklet attraverso brevissime frasi scritte sempre da Phillips. Forse sarebbe meglio – fate voi come, dove e quando – concentrarsi sul tema affrontato dall’album, anche perché le composizioni, nonostante il minutaggio, filano lisce come se niente fosse accaduto, e questo significa che sono ben costruite. Per queste tipologie di suoni, avere tanta immaginazione è una cosa fondamentale, per cui ogni ascoltatore, avendone per fortuna una propria, può captare e percepire sensazioni ed emozioni distinte. Chi vi scrive non ne ha molta, o meglio, diciamo che l’ha consumata (quasi) tutta. Si va da cavernosi rituali che culminano coi festeggiamenti attorno a un fuoco (“The Less I Know”) a corrosive scarnificazioni e purificazioni dovute a lavaggi intestinali e dell’animo con acido ossalico (“Rape Culture”), fino ad arrivare ai furiosi urlacci e alle esplosioni termonucleari di “Humanimal B” e a guerre batteriologiche, distruzioni di massa e un quarto conflitto mondiale combattuto a suon di decibel batterio-radioattivi (“Humanimal A”). Tutto ciò durante il primo cd, mentre nel secondo si parte subito con “Novaturient”, intrecciando sfumature e posture di morte zerokamiane (Zero Kama) con il magnetismo post-industrial dei Das Synthetische Mischgewebe: come essere attraversati da un treno ad alta velocità, privo di massa ma saturo di una potente carica elettromagnetica. Le reminescenze dark-ambient da oltretomba di “Exipotic” fanno da contraltare ai lamenti angoscianti e profondi di “So… What?”. Chiude, infine, lo splendido assemblaggio noise derivato dagli effetti sonori di “Kelelawar”, amplificati all’ennesima potenza, rendendoli assai taglienti, per certi versi satanici, da girone infernale o meglio vampireschi. Mica per caso, per la cronaca, Kelelawar – in lingua indonesiana – è il nome del pipistrello. Nei giorni scorsi, per problemi vari, ho dovuto assumere antibiotici, antidolorifici e antidepressivi. Quest’ultimi non è vero, scherzo: finora mai presi. Fatta la premessa, l’ascolto di Homo Animalis è stato più funzionale di tutti gli analgesici che ho testato, ma soprattutto è servito per uscire da una delle mie solite crisi di inquietudine mentale. L’inquieto che quieta, da queste parti, funziona sempre. Io personalmente il disco l’ho comprato, fatelo anche voi, anche se siete soggetti privi di qualsiasi turbamento.

(Massimiliano Mercurio, The New Noise, June 2014)

V nocojšnji Tolpi bumov poslušamo monumentalni dvojni CD švicarskega noiserja, vokalista, elektrofonika, performerja, raziskovalca in aktivista Davea Phillipsa z naslovom »Homo Animalis«, ki je izšel pri založbi Schimpfluch. Kot nekakšen zbir, predrugačenje oziroma dokončanje del in pristopov zadnjih nekaj let je »Homo Animalis« manifest Phillipsove človeško-umetniške intence, ki pa mu je dodan tudi pravi, čeprav nujno eksperimentalno odprt in parcialen manifest »humanimalizma«, v katerem je združil svoje poglede na človeka, njegov odnos do okolja, živali, rastlin ter v obraz vpijočo zapuščino socialno-politično-religioznega zajeba planetarnih razsežnosti. Dave Phillips je poleg Masamija Akite alias Merzbowa skozi zadnji dve desetletji eden najvidnejših uporabnikov noiserske platforme za agitacijo k ukvarjanju s problemi, kot so živalske pravice, mesna industrija, ekološke katastrofe, uničevanje zemeljskega biotopa itd. Hvalevredno in resno početje, ki sega onkraj deklamiranja floskul in ki gre v samo srce problema – problema empatije, organsko-ekosistemske povezanosti ter izziva postopne de-antropocentralizacije prek možnosti izkušanja bolečine. Dojemljivost za surove in, pogojno rečeno, »univerzalne« afektivne kvalitete surove hrupnosti in krika postane tako sredstvo kritike civilizacije, izkoriščevalske ekonomske politike in globalnega posilstva vsega. To pa prek sklicevanja na tisto, kar nam je vsem skupno, kar je je obenem katartično in povezovalno, razdiralno in ljubeče, kar raje ojačuje afinitete, namesto da bi jih posekalo in pristalo na triumf arogance in vzvišenosti te mlade in pomilovanja vredne človeške rase. Zbirka tez o tem, kako deluje oz. bi naj deloval »humanimal«, ki pospremi ploščo »Homo Animalis«, je tako nekakšna kulminacija Phillipsovih raziskovalnih tangent, hkrati pa predana izpoved določenega doživljanja sveta, upov in strahov ter neizpodbitne nuje živali, ki bije pod tankim slojem samozadostnega in ozkoglednega rezoniranja, okostenelih psiho-socialnih situacij, ki ne služijo več ničemur. In ki jih je treba prebiti z izbruhom ritualno-katarzičnega krika, ki je hkrati z agresijo predočenje najelementarnejše ranljivosti in krhkosti. Vendar iz desetih kompozicij/konstrukcij, ki tvorijo to dvojno izdajo, veje precej specifičen karakter. Nikakor ne gre za eno samo noise izpiranje od začetka do konca, temveč smo prisotni pri nečem mnogo bolj mračnem, grozečem in lepljivem. Konstrukti terenskih posnetkov živali, vsakdanjega hrupa ulice, razbijanja vrat, prepirov na hodnikih, večkratnih permutacij glasu, zankanja in zniževanja ter vseprisotnih nizkih brnenj in visokih godalnih sikanj so prepolni dramatičnih in tesnobnih rezov. Gre za izredno elektro-akustično kompozicijo visoke kvalitete, ki pa se ji obenem za formalno izčiščenost, kljub temu da jo jasno poseduje, na nek način tudi gladko jebe. V delu Davea Phillipsa najdemo terensko-snemalno senzibilnost razbiranja finih detajlov zvočnega sveta življenja insektov in sesalcev, zvena dežja in življenjskega prostora sploh, vendar tudi njeno vsrkanost v globoko osebne in afektirane sopostavljenosti ekspresivnih lomov, obvisenih krikov in masovnih aglomeracij civilizacijskega hrupa. Kot taka je »Homo Animalis« gotovo ena izstopajočih izdaj zadnjih časov, ki v močno zastavljeno in angažirano ekspresivno prezenco sestavi cel kup eksperimentalnih pristopov, zvočnih odpadkov in mišljenj hrupnosti v obtoku. In to stori malodane v senci, potuhnjeno, brez izrecnih avant pretenzij, s fokusom, usmerjenim drugam. Kot ponujena roka za združitev v empatiji in doživljanju sveta, ki je obenem bolečina in čudenje. Ter hkratni poziv k samomoru kretenov, ki vse skupaj vlečejo v propad.

(Marko Karlovčec, Radio Student, July 2014)

Dank rumblings, breathing underwater, something heavy, dark and murky… growls. Screams… terror in the jungle. Something animal. Roars. Snarls. Shudders. A clamourous racket of fear…the full horror still remains to be revealed. All hell breaks loose at around the 10-minute mark – only halfway into the opening track on disc one. Phillips finally verbalises, speaking in a blank, cavernous monotone. And so Phillips (‘Dave’ doesn’t really carry the appropriate gravitas) leads the listener through the darker corners of hell as he expounds his concept of the ‘humanimal’. Recorded over a number of years, this whopping set, which spans two discs and almost 160 minutes pulls together reworkings of earlier material released in tiny batches on cassette only, with new batteries of sound to forge an immense single work that revolves around this philosophical thematic. The booklet includes a fractured, fragmented essay of sorts, that references a broad array of sources, from Aldous Huxley and Theodor Adorno, to Philip K Dick, Paul Auster and Whitehouse’s William Bennet – the last of which comes as little surprise on listening to the abrasive sonic matter the essay accompanies. Teaming noise builds again, animal terror as flames crackle… ‘humanimal b’ shocks with sudden bursts of noise, stretched vocal chords and subsonic beats and eventually builds to a searing wall of agonizing noise that howls and tears at the speakers. There are moments of respite – the opening of ‘humaninal a’, which follows, is a gentle drone, but it’s soon rent by juddering earthworks, thuds and dissonant moans of anguish. Snorts and squeals, a slammed piano note, spirits swirling in a vortex… tortured souls descend into a porcine underworld. A distant mechanised grind provides the backdrop to more pained cries on the 20- minute exercise in sonic torture that is ‘Rape Culture’. Disc 2 offers no respite as crashing bangs – brutal percussion, gunfire, explosions – ricochet around a sea of squalling distortion.Violent blasts of white noise, tribal drums and a low rumble of subterranean laughter growls in ‘exipotic’. A dolorous piano resonates low amidst a sea of pink noise. Teaming, squawking, bird cries from hell, howling and screaming into the void. Pain, crying, thunderous rolls of sound crash and sustain for an eternity on ‘so… what?’ It’s utterly wretched, and absolutely horrible. The final track, the Nietzschean ‘truth is invented by liars’ is another 20 minute expanse of aural discomfort. Rain. Thunder. A lengthy spoken word piece – a tirade against god, no less – lifted from the 1993 film ‘Bad Boy Bubby’, hovers over tense jittering frequencies. A thump, a crunching hum of distortion… and then the swell of noise and torture resumes, building inexorably to a thick, dense wall of overloading distortion. It’s the sound of the end of life on earth as we know it. And then follows silence. It proves to be of little comfort.

(Christopher Nosnibor, Whisperin & Hollerin, July 2014)

Phillips fasst hier die Essenzen seiner Bemühungen zusammen, indem er diverse Beiträge zu Tape-Kompilationen bündelt. Wobei einige programmatische Üverschriften wie ‘Truth is invented by liars’, ‘Personal Responsibility’, Rape Culture’ und ‘Humanimal’ auch schon den gedanklichen Impetus verraten, den er mit einem 5-seitigen Manifest offen legt. Er macht seine ‘Humanimal Theory’ als Theorie, die keine sein will, deutlich durch eine Litanei von Aussagen, denen Denkanstösse zugrunde liegen von Adorno über Dick und Huxley bis Voltaire. Von Isaiah Berlin stammt das Unterscheiden von einfältigen Igeln und vielfältigen Füchsen, von George Monbiot der Kampf gegen die Weltzerstörung der Corporate Powers, von Melanie Joy die Kritik am ‘Karnismus’, der Tiere nach Essbarkeit taxiert, von John N. Gray die Absage an den Humanismus als Ideologie einer gierigen Spezies und an den Fortschritt als Phantasma. Ohne ganz in den nihilistischen Furor von Copernicus auszubrechen, propagiert Phillips einen bewussten De-Anthropozentrismus, einen dialektisch aufgeklärten Anti-Humanismus. Er kritisiert Logozentrismus, Nationalismus, Dualismus, Dominanzstreben, Wachstumswahn, Zynismus, Gedanken und Regeln, die zur Zwangsjacke werden, und jede Form von Götzendienst. Er befürwortet Selbstmord von Arschlöchern, Weltwahrnehmung statt Weltanschauung, Kooperation statt Konkurrenz, Erhalt statt Verzehr, Einmischen statt Wegschauen, Prozesshaftes statt Fertiges. Die ‘Sprache’ des Humanimal-Nicht-ismus ist Sound, sie zu lernen, bedeutet, kollektiv Unbewusstes zu reaktivieren und von der prömordialen Essenz des Existierens zu kosten. Tiermasken und Tierlaute befördern ein Tier-Werden und helfen, sich selber zu erkennen als Parasit, der seinen Wirt bruacht, als Schlachtvieh, auf das der Metzger wartet. Phillips demonstriert das in einer Reihe sonischer Rituale und quasi-schamanischer Übungen - einem Werwolf- und Berserker-Werden, einem Regen- und Vieh-Werden, einem Legion- und Kind-am-Spiess-Werden im Schreien, Grollen, Fauchen, Gurgeln, Kirren menschlicher und tierischer Kehlen, erregt von dröhnendem Aufruhr, Sirenenalarm, anschwellenden Bocksgesang und tumultarischen Sternengeburtswehen (für die man bekanntlich ganz Chaos sein muss). Es gibt die Übung als raunende und animalisch knarrende Gebetsmühle, als Mitschwärmen in einem Bienenstock oder Geschliffenwerden im Windkanal. ‘Humanimal B’ (von einer C-40 auf Monotype, 2010) ist der nackte Wahnsinn und verdient absolut die Zuschreibung ‘kathartisch’. Aber jede Übung ist eine Demonstration absoluter Offenheit und Aufrichtigkeit. Oder was würdet ihr unter ‘honesty’ verstehen?

(Bad Alchemy, Issue 82, July 2014)

Erst kürzlich las ich in einer Kolumne die ironisch gemeinte Beweisführung, dass Roboter die besseren Menschen seien, bzw. dass sie eben darum besser seien, weil sie alle Beschränkungen der menschlichen Psyche und Physis hinter sich gelassen haben. Seit langem träumen Utopisten davon, den Menschen zwar nicht abzuschaffen, ihn aber mittels Technik über seine anthropologischen Grenzen hinauswachsen zu lassen. Transhumanismus nennt man das. Wenn Dave Phillips von einer Erneuerung der menschlichen Spezies spricht, zielt er in die beinahe entgegengesetzte Richtung, denn was er unter Schlagworten wie “humanimal” und “homo animalis” stark macht, sind Aspekte, die seit jeher mit Begriffen des Tier- und Naturhaften verbildlicht werden. In einem manifestartigen Stichwortkatalog macht er im Booklet seiner neuen 2CD klar, warum er seine Ideen dennoch als progressiv begreift. In deutlichen Worten lässt Phillips keine Zweifel daran, dass die Kampfansage seiner humanimal theory v.a. dem Hypertrophieren der Vernunft gilt, die das abendländische (und später globalisierte) Subjekt seit der Klassik, seit Empirismus und Rationalismus, prägt und das Substrat bildet für Kapitalismus, Nationalstaatsideologien und die Zernutzung der Natur. Die Beobachtung, dass rationale Logik nur eine Vorstufe intellektueller Reflexion darstellt und dass instrumentelle Sprache nur oberflächliche Wahrheiten ausdrückt, sind die ersten Schritte einer progressiven Entmenschlichung, die v.a. deshalb so brutal klingt, weil Vernunftgläubigkeit seit der Neuzeit untrennabar mit einem emphatischen Humanitätsgedanken verwoben scheint. Logik, Nützlichkeitsdenken und ein Ordnen der Welt in primitive binäre Schemata haben materiellen und ökonomischen Fortschritt um den Preis geistiger und ethischer Verflachung befeuert. Militarismus und organisierte Religion sind ebenso Teil davon wie Konkurrenzdenken und ein kompensatorischer Hedonismus, der mit Lust und Begehren so wenig zu tun hat wie eine philosophische Publikationsindustrie mit echter intellektueller Neugier. Will der Mensch erwachsen werden, muss er all dem einen Fokus auf Intuition, Instinkt und Empathie sowie einen rebellischen Sinn für Kooperation entgegensetzen. Als lingua franca sollte der Sound die Sprache ablösen. Gedanken wie diese sind nicht brandneu und müssen es auch nicht sein, denn mögen ihre verschiedenartigen Ausprägungen seit der Romantik auch immer mal wieder en vogue gewesen sein, so waren sie im Schnitt doch immer eine Angelegenheit von kulturellen Seitenpfaden, wenn sie denn nicht flugs als eskapistische Heterotopien musealisiert worden sind. Es besteht also Wiederbelebungsbedarf, und Phillips erledigt dies im Rahmen einer Musik, die man eher mit fatalistischen Dystopien als mit der Idee des neuen Menschen in Verbindung bringen würde. Trotz ihrer z.T. vormaligen Veröffentlichung auf diversen Tonträgern wirken die einzelnen Tracks recht homogen, und gerade die längeren Stücke tendieren oft in Richtung Hörspiel. Die kaum erträglichen Todesschreie, die nicht das Geringste mehr mit Gesang gemeinsam haben, der verrauschte Lärm in verschiedenen Graden der Subtilität, der sich hin und wieder graduell verdichtet und einen Peak ansteuert, der aber ausbleibt – all dies impliziert schon einen narrativen Zug, der durch plötzliche Detonationen und mechanische Arbeitsgeräusche noch verstärkt wird. Ein zentrales Leitmotiv allerdings ist das animalische Quieken und Grunzen, das stellenweise mit (noch) menschlich wirkenden Stimmen verschmilzt und – v.a. in rhythmischer Orchestrierung – ebenso unheimlich wie witzig klingt. Galt in Benns polemischen Versen noch “das Schwein, der Mensch” als Krone der Schöpfung, so scheint die Symbiose aus beiden bei Philips zumindest einen evolutionären Schritt zu markieren. Diese Vagheit, die Unbeantwortbarkeit der Frage, wie ernst oder doch eher schwarzhumorig Phillips hier zur Sache geht und wieviel Optimismus hinter der Idee seines homo animalis steckt, bewahrt das Konzept davor, trotz der deutlichen Worte ins Didaktische zu kippen.

(U.S., African Paper, August 2014)

Doppel-CD(!) von Dave Phillips aus der Schweiz. Und Dave Phillips ist wohl einer dieser Musiker, bei denen musikalischer Ausdruck, (möglicherweise politische) Aussage und Art der Performance eine eng zusammengehörende Einheit bilden. Und die aus einer auch Körpergrenzen einbeziehenden bis diese missachtenden Performance entstehende visuelle Kraft die halbe Miete bei der Wirkung des Ganzen auf Zuschauer bzw. Zuhörer. Besonders wenn sich die Musik allein auf eine gleichzeitig abstrakte wie archaische Weise über Hörgewohnheiten hinwegsetzt und dabei auch noch in fast jeder Sekunde auf Angriff gebürstet zu sein scheint. Das klingt dann wie eine Kakophonie aus (eingebildeten?) Tiergeräuschen, unmenschlichen Schreien von Dämonen, maschinenhaften Texturen und Rückkopplungen an der Grenze zum Tinnitus. Das Ganze dabei wohlgesetzt, keine Frage: Momente von Stille, paukenschlagähnliche Artefakte strukturieren immer wieder das Geschehen und die Momente maximalen Angriffs sind, dem ersten Eindruck wie zum Trotz zeitlich klar begrenzt. Aber: dies ist eine Doppel-CD. Und schon das erste Stück auf CD 1 ist 13 Minuten lang. Das zweite sogar 20. Das müssen Hörer erst mal schaffen (auch: schaffen wollen). Auch ganz ohne den visuellen Teil der Performance. In kleinen Dosen oder als Selbstversuch…

(N., Black, Issue 67, August 2014)

Dave Phillips (DP) dringt auf unterschiedlichste Art und Weise immer wieder in mein Leben ein, seitdem mir in zartem Alter ein älterer Freund, der mit dieser Musik nichts anfangen konnte, die ‘Zerstückelte Denkkurbeln’-Compilation auf dem Schimpfluch-Label überlassen hat. DP war zu jener Zeit zwar noch kein Teil der Schimpfluch-Gruppe, hat dafür aber mit den Grindcore/Noise-Extremisten FEAR OF GOD Musikgeschichte geschrieben. Seither treffe ich immer wieder auf Leute, welche mit DP performt oder sonst in irgendeiner Form zu tun gehabt haben und die durchdachte gestaltenen Tonträger mehren sich in der Sammlung. Die vorliegende Doppel-CD versammelt Tracks aus den Jahren 2007 bis 2014 - teilweise bereits auf streng limitierten Tapes veröffentlicht - und sind für diese Veröffentlichung überarbeitet worden. Die zehn ultradüsteren Klangkonstruktionen stehen für sich, sind einzigartig und meiner Meinung nach weder mit anderen Acts noch DPs eigenem Output vergleichbar. Take it or leave it!

(Benedikt Lepra Gfeller, OX, August 2014)

Bei Discogs läuft das im Genre ‘Electrronic/Non-Music’, was ja auch ganz lustig ist, aber nicht unbedingt zutreffend, zumindest, was den zweiten Teil angeht. Gewiss, meine Mutter (und vielleicht auch deine) würde dem zustimmen. Aber es ist zumindest organisierter Klang - und kein Hörspiel oder so. Allerdings hat ‘Homo Animalis’ davon dann doch etwas. Wegen der Field Recordings, Sprach-Samples, aber auch in seiner Dramaturgie, die bedingt, dass immer mal wieder sonische Querschläger den ohnehin schon unruhigen Fluss der Musik stören. Klar, das Sujet ist ja auch düster: Das ‘humanimal’, dessen Grundzüge im Booklet augezeichnet sind, ist hin und hergerissen zwischen seiner Tierhaftigkeit und dem Bewusstsein. Die Philosophie dahinter ist schon ein wenig krude, klar. Aber ein wenig dystopische Wettern und Grollen, Kreischen und Mahlen ist ab und zu ja doch ganz unterhaltsam. Urheber dieses streckenweise wirklich tollen Lärmens ist übrigens keine Geringerer als Dave Phillips (Fear Of God).

(stone, Trust, Issue 167, August 2014)

Homo Animalis is unrelentingly dark, foreboding, and at times grim and malevolent sound art. Electrics are mixed on equal footing with the primal, with the human voice, and undefined animalistic roars, with deep guttural growling and terrifying screeching to create an unsettling edgy uncomfortable landscape. Swiss based sound artist Dave Phillips seems to love the drama, he loves to induce palpitations in the listener, enacting the fight or flight response with impossibly deep, impossibly close mic’d growling often occurring in tandem with multiple dogs barking. Lots of inhuman sounds appear and disappear throughout the pieces, meshed together in an unwieldy web of voluminous sound. Phillips periodically utilise sound art strategies, like abrupt cuts to move to a different passage, and ramps in volume, frequency or density as a passageway into a new world. He seems particularly interested in the abrupt as a mechanism to shock. This not the kind of soundscape you sink into. Phillips wants you on the edge of your seat, shell-shocked, jumping at shadows. Spread over two discs, and composed and recorded between 2007 and 2011, some of the material has been previously released on limited cassette runs, though there is a significant amount that has never seen the light of day. The mood alters somewhat across the work, with surprising moments of humour; even cartoon ghoulishness hidden amongst the grim and disturbing soundscapes. Phillips has dealt in the abrasive and extreme for years, initially as a member of Swiss hardcore/ grindcore band Fear of God in the mid 80’s and philosophically teaming up with Rudolf Eb.er and Joke Lanz in the Schimpfluch Gruppe, a collective of like minded artists drawn to “psycho-physical tests and trainings,” creating a unique kind of musique concrete brutalism. This is the first release on their new label, Schimpfluch Associates. In the liner notes Phillips thanks folks as diverse as Philip K Dick and Francisco Lopez and espouses his concept of humanimal theory which he suggests reduces the over reliance on the intellect and shifts towards the emotional. It’s a move away from materialism towards an empathetic relationship with the world and its creatures. Though to be fair there feels like a disconnect between those concepts and the sounds he exhibits here, with periodic screaming and guttural animalistic growling, high pitches dense roars of both instrumentation and electronics, it feels like the sounds are in the power of some kind of ancient primordial force. There are moments here, particularly the piece Kelelwar b, which uses treated sounds of an Indonesian flying fox, which with its wall of sound screeching over 15 endless minutes, is truly disturbing. To be fair though on all the pieces here the human, the animal, the environment and the musical are all given equal footing in the mix. Homo Animalis is compelling but demanding, a muscular form of doom sound art, offering an ill defined menace, a cacophony of sounds and worlds colliding into a new primal world that sonically speaking is nothing short of terrifying.

(Bob Baker Fish, Cyclic Defrost, August 2014)

Dave Phillips, älteren Grindfans und Metallern noch aus Fear Of God Zeiten ein Name, führt hier Material zusammen, das in ursprünglicher Form in den USA, Russland und Polen auf verschiedenen Tapes veröffentlicht wurde. Die sehr subjektive Entscheidung, ob man ‘Homo Animalis’ unter Ambient oder Noise einsortiert, wird massgeblich von der Lautstärke der Wiedergabe beeinflusst. Unabhängig davon erzeugen die zehn Tracks permanente Gefühle des Unwohlseins, der Beklemmung und Apathie. Seine Mittel hierfür sind klassische Instrumente, Field Recordings, etreme Manipulationen im Sound und eine äusserst hohe Dichte menschlicher und entmenschlichter Schreie. Das mag für viele Ohren derb klingen, aber dabei sollte nicht überhört werden, wie filigran Phillips die einzelnen Elemente im Arrangement einsetzt. Schönheit brutal und über die Gesamtspieldauer ein angstschweisstreibender Höllentrip.

(Sascha Bertoncin, Sonic Seducer, September 2014)

Komplett mit Manifest kommt das neue Werk des Aktivisten und Ritualisten, transindustrialistischen und Trans-Metal-Extremmusikers DAVE PHILLIPS aus der Schweiz. Auf Homo Animalis (Schimpfluch Associates) wird zu einer Art Hippieversion von Anthropozentrismuskritik - gegen Begriffe, gegen Sprache, gegen Abstraktion - aufgerufen und auf zwei langen CD’s auch klanglich ausgesprochen ergiebig in der Ununterscheidbarkeit menschlicher und tierischer Vorbilder in Maschinenklängen rumgeorgelt. Deutlich abrupter und konfliktuöser in seinem Naturbild (in dem vor allem Mensch und Tier und ihre Gemeinsamkeiten das Sagen haben, weniger Stein, Pflanze und Tektonik), das aber dennoch mehr als der scheinidyllische, aber differenzstarke Katalog der Bäume von Jacaszek zu dem metaphysischen Holismus einer befreiten ideellen Gesamtanimalität strebt. Damit trotz maximaler historischer und musikalischer Distanz: Rock’n’Roll.

(Diedrich Diedrichsen, Spex, Issue XIX, September 2014)

Con i Fear of God prima e con gli album a nome db poi, passando per i suoi innumerevoli progetti degli ultimi vent’anni, Dave Phillips ha sempre contribuito ad alimentare l’immaginario delle frange più estreme della cultura industrial. Il nuovo doppio album, Homo Animals, è un concentrato di rabbia e sudore, dieci tracce divise su due CD, originariamente pubblicate su varie cassette in Russia e in Polonia tra il 2009 e il 2011 e successivamente rielaborate per formare una sorta di concept album sulla deumanizzazione dell’essere umano. Rispetto al passato Phillips utilizza maggiormente i timbri degli strumenti classici, immersi in strati di elletronica ed effetti di ogni tipo che continuano a definire un mondo angosciante e sinistro.

(Roberto Mandolini, Rockerilla, September 2014)

Attivo nella scena noise/post-industrial da più vent’anni, dapprima con i Fear of God e poi nel collettivo Schimpfluch-Gruppe, Dave Phillips è musicista radicalmente votato ad quell’estetica del negativo che è divenuta parte integrante di molta produzione “independete” conemporanea. “Homo Animalis” è un’elucubrazione buia e catastrofista sul concetto di umanità, esposta con toni da horror movie fra cupe risonanze di piano (So… What?), bordoni die materia elettrica in suppurazione (The Less I Know), loop spettrali (Personal Responsibility) e un generale effetto splatter prodotto menando colpi alla cieca con il machete (lo scannatoio a cielo aperto die Kelelawar B). Alla fine die questo straziante tour de force in cui si ha la sensazione di fendere faticosamente un vischio nero e canceroso nel tentativo di tornare faticosamente in superficie, l’impressione è che tutto questo suona sia da ricondurre più ad un’idea di fiction piuttosto che ad un ver ed efficace “critica” dell’essere e dell’esistenza, come invece lascerebbero intendere le argomentazioni contenute nel booklet allegato al cd. Una sorta die lunghissimo viaggio in un’immaginaria casa degli orrori, enorme e spaventosa, dalla quale però si esce con lo stesso spirito con cui si era entrati ed un mezzo sorriso inebetito sulle labra.

(Massimiliano Busti, Blow Up, September 2014)

Un des plus grands monstres du field-recording activiste et psychoacoustique, Dave Phillips est un artiste que j’admire beaucoup mais que j’écoute peu. J’ai peu de disques de lui, et je ne les ai pas beaucoup écoutés. Mais ils m’ont tous profondément marqué, tellement marqué que je n’ose plus les remettre, car j’ai l’impression qu’aucun moment n’est adéquat à l’écoute de ces disques. Et comme les autres disques de Dave Phillips, je crois que la compilation homo animalis finira aussi dans une colonne de disque, et ne sera réécouté qu’une fois tous les deux ans peut-être…
Mais attention, ceci n’est pas une critique. Le problème de la musique de Dave Phillips, c’est qu’elle est trop réussie. Et comme tous ces artistes qui s’intéressent à la psychoacoustique, et qui maîtrisent vraiment les effets psychologiques du son, et bien c’est souvent difficile de les écouter car leur musique est agressive et dérangeante, oppressante et inquiétante. Et on n’a pas tous les jours envie de se retrouver dans cet état, il y a déjà assez d’éléments dans notre vie pour nous y plonger contre notre gré… Tout ça pour dire que si j’ai rarement envie d’écouter Dave Phillips, c’est que l’expérience proposée est souvent trop forte, car sa musique est vraiment extrême.
Pour parler de homo animalis, il s’agit d’un double CD qui regroupe des enregistrements publiés entre 2007 et 2011, principalement en cassette et épuisés depuis longtemps, retravaillés par Dave Phillips entre 2012 et 2014. Comme sur beaucoup de disques de DP, la première source de ces enregistrements est la voix. La voix au sens large, celle des humains aussi bien que celle des animaux. Dans le livret que contient cette compilation, Dave Phillips propose un long texte relatif à sa conception de l’homo animalis, une espèce en devenir qui aurait aboli la différence entre nature et culture, entre l’homme et l’animal, espèce extérieure au capitalisme qui trouverait sa place dans l’univers, et non en opposition, une espèce pas si éloignée peut-être de l’homo gemeinwesen de Jacques Camatte. Mais surtout, pour homo animalis, pour l’espèce comme pour la musique de Dave Phillips, ce qu’il est important de noter, c’est que la première voie de communication dans l’univers, c’est bien le son. C’est par le son que les différentes espèces communiquent entre elles, c’est par le son que le geai prévient chaque espèce de l’arrivée d’un danger, que chaque espèce se protège, se rassemble, communique en bref. C’est par le son que la communication peut être distante, peut dépasser les espèces (plus que les postures en tout cas, moins compréhensibles entre différentes espèces). C’est ainsi que tout naturellement Dave Phillips s’est retrouvé à enregistrer la voix du monde, la sienne, celle de l’homme, celle des animaux et celle de la nature principalement, même si d’autres éléments interviennent parfois (un carillon, un piano, des objets « culturels » et industriels).
Dave Phillips utilise la voix universelle des animaux (humains compris) principalement. Il l’utilise pour la mettre en scène et exposer ainsi la terreur de chacun, son mal-être ou son oppression. Car l’univers qui s’exprime de manière sonique dans les pièces présentées par Dave Phillips est un univers à l’agonie, un univers en déroute totale qui court à sa perte. Dave Phillips met en scène le son pour faire parler sa peur, son angoisse, et sa perte de repère. Je fais exprès de parler de mise en scène car sa musique est très théâtrale. Dave Phillips n’y va pas de main morte, il met en scène le monde de manière à ne faire ressortir que ses faces les plus sombres et les plus sordides. Plus que des voix, ce sont des cris que l’on entend ; cris de toutes sortes, de peur de la mort, de rage, d’effroi, d’angoisse, collés les uns aux autres pour composer une symphonie lugubre et polyphonique d’un monde à l’agonie.
Il s’agit donc de field-recordings mis en scène. Des enregistrements naturels traités de manière théâtrale. Une polyphonie d’animaux torturés, d’humains effrayés, sur fond de nappes dissonantes et tendues. La musique de Dave Phillips est une des musiques les plus puissantes que j’ai entendues. Une musique angoissante, terrifiante, oppressante, et puissante. Et c’est pour ça donc que j’ai du mal à l’écouter, elle est si réussie qu’on peut difficilement avoir envie de l’écouter, sauf d’une manière un peu masochiste, ou un peu avec la même volonté qu’en regardant un documentaire morbide sur les tortures ou un film d’épouvante, ou les deux mélangés… En tout cas, cette compilation ne contient aucun temps mort, et ne propose que des pièces « magnifiques » ! Ce n’est pas beau, c’est flippant, c’est sombre, c’est même glauque parfois, l’atmosphère est moite et obscure, mais c’est ce qui fait que ces pièces sont géniales. Hautement recommandé.

(Julien Héraud, Improvsphere, September 2014)

The first humanimal that peeked out from the listening of the very first moments of this release by Zurich-based artist Dave Phillips, former founding member of brutal grindcore project Fear Of God who gained a certain recognition by lovers of noisy stuff with some meaningful connections by means of a series of underground and strictly limited releases that many people like to label as “extreme”, is Jack Arnold’s amphibious Creature from Black Lagoon and while keeping on listening, I wondered how Dave managed to render what a person could possibly feel while being eaten by some hungry zombies. The devilish voice which repeats the title of “The Less I Know” introduces the sarcasm behind “Homo Animalis” and the explicated “humanimalism theory” as well as the aesthaetics of this wise sound artist, which seems to explore human degradation or revival of ferocious instincts (it depends from personal viewpoint) in the guise of a probe for visceral detection: according to the interesting explanation which got attached to the release, the first one of Rudolf Eb.er.’s resurrected Schimpfluch, “humanimal theory…is rather a process of de-antropo-centralisation, a connectivity of senses, instincts, emotions, ideas and thoughts that are as personal and subjective as much as they are understood as a part of a larger whole” where “sound is humanimals preferred form of communication” and a way “to activate primordial shared emotions otherwise stifled by civilised experience and restricted by social consensus” that “taps into the essence of existence itself”. Other disquieting images as well as an involving thrill can arise to listener’s consciousness while keeping on listening: for instance, the sound of slammed doors and the whole sonic atmosphere of “Humanimal B” could let you imagine you’ve been closed into the same labyrinth where the mythological Athenian hero Theseus met and supposedly killed the Minotaur - with a difference: you are with no Ariadne’s ball of wool and no dagger at all! -; the dreadful synth-crescendo of ”Rape Culture” could sound like the most excruciating physical torment by Jigsaw Killer; the story told by the sounds of ”Novaturient” could look like a POV snuff movie directed by a serial killer whose criminal alter-ego got awoken by the sound of a subway station and the one that got evoked by ”Kelelawar B” sounds like the nightmares by a repentant vampire, where “So…What?” could let you think about a possible collages of Japanese or Chinese domestic abuses and the cinematic “Truth Is Invented By Liars” as a possible contemporary revival of the myth of Premetheus (simply genial the insertion of some dialogues taken from “Bad Boy Bubby”, one of the first which used binaural microphones to record dialogues). In spite of its amazing amalgam of post-industrial hooks and horror-movie-like sonorities - not so different from some stuff that recently came from Cold Spring I spoke about on this ‘zine), the aim of the game is not psyching listeners out as humanimals sound more noble by birth and in spirit as you can guess: ”humanimal would like to encourage the global north to ”change the dream of the modern world”, from one of accumulation and consumption to one that honours and sustains life. humanimal knows there is enough food for every being on this planet if distributed properly. It encourages investigation into paths and processes of one’s alimentary choices and habits and a sensible and prudent appliance of these insights”… Humanimal maybe is aware that ”nature doesn’t need us”.

(Vito Camarretta, Chain DLK, October 2014)

On sait que Dave Phillips prend du plaisir à faire hurler (à la lune) le plus infime bruit (ou bruissement) de nature. A ce point qu’il vaut peut-être mieux ne pas chercher à connaître l’origine des sons qu’il manipule… les différents tableaux du CD Homo Animalis pourraient en effet nous faire perdre la boule.
Car à qui rendre ces cris (de gueules béantes) tressés, ces chocs, ces claquements, ces signaux larvés, ces appels à l’aide, ces rumeurs de grandes batailles ? Jamais rassasié de bruit et de fureur, l’ex Fear of God exacerbe la tension dramatique avec (de ?) laquelle il s’amuse : c’est la raison pour laquelle ses field recordings, lorsqu’ils ne font pas tomber la pluie ou s’abattre la tempête, remuent des fantasmes : un homme serait-il dévoré par les loups ? Le drame qui se joue ne terrifie-t-il pas les enfants (et leurs parents avec) ? Quant au piano derrière lequel s’assoie Phillips (en position renversée, généralement), il devient le complice qui illustre la plupart des scènes d’une cruauté sonore qu’on imaginera toujours différemment.

(Pierre Cécile, Le Son du Grisli, October 2014)

“Homo Animalis” ist eine Doppel-CD von Dave Phillips, die auf 159 Minuten teilweise bereits veröffentlichte (allerdings auf Kassetten mit einer Auflage von 50 oder 100 Stück), teilweise überarbeitete und auch einige neue Werke präsentiert. Es macht durchaus Sinn, diese Teile zusammen zu stellen, denn Phillips ist ein Meister der Düsternis, die hier mitunter sogar ins Absurde, Surreal, Satirische kippt. “Homo Animalis” präsentiert elektroakustische Trips in die Hölle, den Soundtrack zu einem postapokalyptischen Horrorfilm. Zum Teil so stimmig, so beklemmend, dass man tatsächlich keinen Film dazu braucht. Diese Stücke stehen für sich selbst, sind ein grossartiges Hörinferno. Phillips liefert dazu auch eine Art Philosophie; das Manifest des zukünftigen Menschentiers, das jenseits von Religion und Materialität purer Emotionalität frönt. Aber es ist eine sozial und konkret verstandene Emotionalität. Phillips geht nicht ins Detail, verwahrt sich auch davor, sein kleines Pamphlet auf banale Schlussfolgerungen reduzieren zu wollen. Trotzdem darf man bei der Proklamation eines neuen Menschen immer skeptisch sein, selbst wenn Phillips offenbar eine Art abfallvermeidenden Technik- und Menschenfreund vor Augen hat. Wir wollen Phillips unterstellen, dass er eigentlich nur eine zukünftige Hörerin seiner formidablen Soundwelten zu skizzieren versucht. Diese wäre aber wohl auch angewandte Satanistin, die von spirituellen Atombomben, schizophrenen Cyborgs sowie Heerscharen gepeinigter Seelen träumt. Denn “Homo Animalis” ist definitiv eine Musik die Albträume evoziert. Und das ist natürlich grossartig.

(Curt Cuisine, Skug Journal für Musik, October 2014)

This is a terrifying addition to a growing number of recent dark ambient masterpieces. The general menacing atmosphere of subterranean drones and apocalyptic babel of human and animal noises (including a six-minute track of recorded pigs) feels like Diamanda Galas, Pharmakon, Gnaw Their Tongues and Penderecki’s ‘Hiroshima Threnody’ at various points (classical string instruments are used to piercing effect). The tone is unrelentingly austere and the tracks flow ambiguously, a stream-of-consciousness style that can include gradual twenty minute crescendos as well as sudden snap-jolts of violent noise.

These are pieces in the non-narrative avant-garde tradition of musique concrete and electroacoustic manipulation, with the basis of the tracks coming from field recordings of animals and their environments. There are also no consistent beats or rhythms (putting this on the classical side of things). However, the use of monolithic bass sounds and ‘noise’ does link to the world of industrial music, and the vocals/growls show a clear connection with the extreme metal scene. The traversal of these different areas is what gives the pieces their unusually dark power. The animalistic elements are in contrast/interplay with a sense of philosophical rumination - this is not a simplistic cathartic reversion to animalism, as there is a definite, albeit mysterious, compositional quality to the pieces. This ‘humanimalism’ is anti-dualism (as the music is also anti-dualistic), encouraging connection through expressions of primordial fear.

In musical terms, though, this is music of overload and chaos. “Humanimal B”, one of the most nightmarish pieces, piles on crescendo after crescendo of layered sounds that escalate in volume and intensity to incredible levels. There are numerous agonising violin wails (a consistent squealing pitch, but also rising glissandi); horrific shouts/growls/croaks/roars (often distorted and amplified); and grotesque surges of static, noise and feedback.

“Rape Culture” sounds like Penderecki’s “Threnody” being played in hell: buzzing high-pitched walls of strings with a cavernous backdrop of innumerable sinister and impenetrable animal noises, at some points interspersed with human screams. It builds and builds in volume and intensity like a Glenn Branca symphony, but outdoes even him for sheer density of sound. I have never heard anything like it before.

“Exipotic” is pure horror. It’s vaguely and bizarrely like the music for a Scott Walker monologue or Nick Cave ballad, with a semi-tribal knocking/drumming and atonal bass piano: a weird kind of swamp blues, again overlain with layer after layer of relentless drones and voices, whispering, chanting, groaning…

After the cacophony of “Kelelawar B” (a kind of ‘Metal Machine Music’ for animal noises) comes the most disquieting piece, “So… What?”, in which out-of-tune and sustained piano notes are banged endlessly to a backdrop of terrified and screaming children. The final “Truth Is Invented by Liars” could be a Throbbing Gristle track, complete with depressed synth hums and industrial clangs and crashes.

The sheer number of sound events that Phillips crams in to these pieces is overwhelming. This is ‘music’ as direct sensation, an enveloping claustrophobic tragedy of impossible proportions.

(Nick Campsall, Rate Your Music)

Lo svizzero Dave Phillips, già attivo alla fine degli anni Ottanta con i Fear Of God, una delle leggende del grind-noisecore, è uno dei musicisti più sfuggenti della scena europea. Nonostante abbia attraversato diversi settori delle sonorità estreme, è soprattutto in ambito di musica concreta, elettroacustica e noise che il Nostro ha detto le cose più interessanti. A confermarlo, ecco il doppio “Homo Animalis”, comprendente composizioni risalenti al 2007 e al biennio 2009-2011. Alla base di quest’opera monumentale (della durata di quasi due ore e quaranta minuti!), c’è il concetto di “humanimalism”, sviluppato anche all’interno del booklet con diversi interventi scritti dello stesso Phillips (che ringrazia, tra gli altri, anche Philip K. Dick e Francisco Lopez). In pratica, si tratta di un diverso grado di consapevolezza, che l’uomo può raggiungere attraverso un processo di purificazione capace di allontanarlo da ogni costrizione materiale e religiosa. Solo allora, egli potrà sperimentare la sua “fedeltà alla terra”. Non a caso, anche sulla scorta del suo impegno in favore dei diritti degli animali, Phillips dissemina lungo tutto il disco una miriade di suoni animali, spesso stratificandoli e deformandoli. Attraverso lo “humanimalism”, l’uomo può inoltre oltrepassare la concezione dualistica dell’esistenza, calandosi in una dimensione in cui la Totalità emerge in tutta la sua spaventosa forza e in tutto il suo fascino (nelle parole di Phillips: “Humanimal suggests ‘weltwahrnehmung’ rather than ‘weltanschauung’…”). Insomma, quasi un ritorno all’essenza binaria del “sacro” (che è, ricordiamolo, sia il “tremendum” che il “fascinans”), per cui l’uomo potrà connettersi alla vita e a tutte le sue creature attraverso un flusso di emozioni primordiali. Da un punto di vista strettamente musicale, l’opera segna una svolta importante nella ricerca di Phillips, che proprio con queste composizioni iniziò ad approcciare le sue partiture con piglio da compositore, utilizzando, di rimando, un numero sempre più nutrito di strumenti classici. L’iniziale “The Less I Know” sembra quasi un omaggio ai Residents di “Eskimo”, solo che qui non siamo in mezzo agli eschimesi, ma da qualche parte alle origini della preistoria, alle prese con un rituale dove field-recordings e sorgenti elettroniche cercano di dare forma alle mostruose visioni che i nostri antenati dovettero fronteggiare quando la coscienza era pressoché il riflesso dell’indifferenziato. La successione di crescendo e il clima thrilling di “Humanimal B” sfociano in un assordante conflagrazione sinfonico-rumorista, mentre “Humanimal A” prosegue in questa discesa verso le profondità della vita, facendo pensare a un corrispettivo sonoro delle sperimentazioni linguistiche di Andrea Zanzotto. Il mantra gorgogliante di “Personal Responsibility” è la sublimazione del verso animale, della sua carica ipnotica e prelude a una “Rape Culture” che traghetta la “Trenodia” di Penderecki oltre le rive dell’Acheronte, dove una babele di suoni umani, animali e cos’altro ancora?… contribuisce a saturare lentamente lo sfondo, evocando la minacciosa impenetrabilità del Caos originario. Non si tratta, insomma, di un ascolto facile, tutt’altro. E il secondo disco non fa altro che confermarlo. “Novaturient” incrocia ritual-ambient, terrorismo harsh-noise e orrore post-industriale (che caratterizzerà anche la conclusiva “Truth Is Invented by Liars”), rovistando ancora tra i labirinti di un sottosuolo psichico che assomiglia sempre più a quello terrestre. In “Exipotic” e “So…What?”, un pianoforte atonale ci introduce, con le sue lugubri e sparse note, dentro scenari raccapriccianti dove si ascoltano pianti disperati di bambini, un manipolo di ominidi alle prese con l’odore del sangue, urla concitate e sinistre avvisaglie di morte nel buio pesto di caverne dove il vento si spinge con lingue di viscida inquietudine. Se tutto questo vi sembra insopportabilmente minaccioso, allora provate un po’ a chiudere gli occhi mentre lasciate scorrere i quindici minuti di “Kelelawar B”, attraversata dalle strida demoniache di una volpe volante malese (un pipistrello di grosse dimensioni), circondata dalla stratificazione di altri versi brutalmente alterati. La versione animalesca degli esperimenti vocali di Diamanda Galás? Sappiatemi dire, una volta attraversata la melma sonora di quest’opera spietata.

(Francesco Nunziata, ondarock, December 2014)

Quanti sono i musicisti che accompagnano la propria carriera nella ricerca della caciara più totale a rivlessioni sullo statuto concettuale dell’essere umano in un mondo di cui si è accorto non essere il padrone da almeno centocinquant’anni? Pochissimi. Dave si è inventato l‘“umanimalismo” che è come dire una spinta a superare tutte quelle patetiche scuse che ancora ci stiamo raccontando sulla “natura umana” e crescera una buona volta. Un gigante.

(Godzilla the Messiah, Vice)

One of the first releases on the new label Schimpfluch Associates is also a superb one. This double CD truly is a mindfuck with that same terrifying atmosphere as for example Vagina Dentata Organ’s Trained to Kill, in which the only sound present is a rottweiler in a not too good mood. The sheer fear comes with an unprecedented intimacy, as if every track produced meant sacrificing a piece of self or implied some automutulation. Dark beauty with a highly physical feel, although luckily not with the typical Austrian gore aspect he sometimes gets involved with together with Rudolf Eb.er and the likes. A lot of time must have been spent in creating this quilted patchwork of lust, mapping the souls’ darkest corners and even beyond. The supporting theory (or non-theory) of humanimal makes a lot of effort in explaining and justifying our right to behave like animals rather than any higher being. The booklet reads like a cornucopia of good intentions, logic and justice, with insights as “Humanimal knows that reality often is a projected and brittle proposition, a collective belief, a brisk confidence in one’s own mind that works as a disguise’, but starts to become questionable when ‘Humanimal experiences the mind as one closest ally and also as one’s worst enemy’ even to end rather silly and meaningless with statements like ‘Humanimal figures that since each being has just one life and since we all share the same planet that it’s about time we learned to get along’. Also the music (indicated as one of the favorite communication means of humanimal) is mere instinctive and purely based on reflex than anything else. And that makes Homo Animalis with lengthy atmospheric bestial outings an intriguing listening, as the electronic intimate abstractions, aural riddles and low-key noise bursts, industrial sounding perversions and other condensed emotions on this double CD in the end are much more subtle than for example Merzbow’s tributes to animal sounds.

(Pim van der Graaf, Progress Report, February 2015)

This two-cd set comes in a beautifully designed fold-out card wallet, accompanied by a small booklet of text. The wallet is adorned with ghostly photos - clearly parts of the body, but shot so that they become odd, misshapen flesh. The front cover itself, is an unsettling, humanoid figure, derived from a foot; it has a “flesh-transformed”, Silent Hill-esque quality, which is telling for the audio contents of the package. The two cds collect up ten tracks in total; culled from recent tapes and cdrs, and adding one previously unreleased piece. There are two things you should know right now: firstly, I am a huge admirer of the work of Phillips and secondly, I would eagerly recommend any of his recordings. So I presumed I would enjoy “homo animalis” - and I have, but I’ll try and tempt any uninitiated ears. Phillips is probably best known for his short, chaotic “cut-up” pieces, which insert bludgeoning found-sounds and vocal contortions into long periods of silent tension. Live, though, he can often construct longer works utilising layers of field recordings and electronics. The tracks on “homo…” lean more towards this live set-up. Many of the pieces build up menacing “drones”, often using animal sounds; these are processed and layered into spiky rivers of unsettling energy. At the opposite dynamic end, so to speak, there are indeed some sections of “bludgeon/silent tension”; with a particularly explosive one near the start of “novaturient”. Perhaps the most effective passages, are those where Phillips cuts a line between these two approaches; creating sections of longer, dynamic constructions: the series of whining synth (or violin?) crescendos, ending in loud thuds, in “humanimal b”, for example. These show Phillips at his best: meticulous, careful construction and craft, but still imbued with raw noise and emotion. There are very clear comparisons to be made with musique concrete here, but theres no sense of academic coldness or detachment. This is, of course, aided by the text accompanying the release: a “humanimalist” manifesto of sorts - thought-provoking reading. This is a collection of great pieces, well worth treating your ears to. Its another worthy addition to your Dave Phillips collection, though not necessarily the best place to start with his discography. This is mainly due to the generally homogenous sound presented on “homo animalis”; which over two cds is a lot to take in. Saying this, although there is a predominance of field recordings, electronics and vocal sounds, the tracks also use piano, swirling strings and possibly a trombone (on “humanimal a”) - I’m merely suggesting that its easier digested in smaller pieces. To return to the front cover, the album again showcases Phillips’ ability to transform everyday “raw” material into something warped and “alien”: recognisable, but “wrong” - this is where a crass comparison with Silent Hill makes some sense. Put together, the text and sounds combine to make a interesting case for Phillips’ idea of “humanimalism” and show a body of work yet to wane.

(Martin P., Musique Machine)