reviews - releases

dave phillips


« Quand il s’éveilla, les souvenirs et les sensations de son expérience en tant que papillon demeurèrent tellement vivaces qu’il en oublia sa condition humaine » (Lafcadio Hearn, Kwaidan : Histoires et études des choses étranges, p 198)
Force est de reconnaître que Dave Phillips mérite une attention particulière. Notamment, dans cette quête « humanimale » qui l’agite. Son intérêt pour le field-recording constitue désormais une part importante de son exploration sonore. Connu pour ses interrogations fébriles à propos du rapport de l’humain à ce qui l’entoure, le Suisse semble avoir porté son dévolu sur l’expérience transitionnelle environnementale. Remodeler les perceptions, notamment en se confrontant à un autre, plus ultime, l’animal, c’est déplier/replier le temps, provoquer une forme d’agnosie corporelle jusqu’à transcender sa propre perception de soi.
Si l’on remet en perspective les disques produits dans cette veine, il est indéniable qu’il y a une forme d’apothéose dans Mutations 4&5. En 1er lieu, il se place dans une continuité logique : celle de développer la série engagée avec Mutations en 2010. En 2nd lieu, il parfait l’expérience menée dès 2001 de capter les sons provenant de la jungle puis de la savane.
Développer et parfaire. Jusqu’à se rendre maître d’un langage totalement étranger. Là réside l’intérêt de ce 2 fois 29’58’’. Certes, Phillips cherche dans une direction mue par la compréhension intime, une réflexion globale et une forme de désespérance combative. Mais ce faisant, il demeure précisément cet Européen qui applique son savoir-faire à un matériau lointain. Il ne s’agit pas ici de captations techniques ou de collage brut mais de véritable composition artistique. Ralentissant les sons de 60 à 98%, les inversant et les imbriquant, il parvient à formaliser une heure d’immersion sonore qui confine à la science-fiction. Il y a dans cette indistinction volontaire entre bruits identifiables et non identifiables, une capacité à évoquer des images dignes de l’entremêlement visuel d’un Saul Bass dans Phase IV. Un processus de symbolisation de l’infiniment grand et petit. Ce déploiement de signaux organiques que l’on semble pour partie avoir pris au ras du sol se complète par des nappes atmosphériques qui portent paradoxalement le regard vers une voûte céleste inaccessible. Cheminant sur ce parcours, des accidents réactivent la véritable position de l’auditeur : il n’est pas le tout, il ne peut tout, il est seul. Mais il peut explorer plus avant… Comme si le monde à l’œuvre ne pouvait qu’échapper à sa compréhension, il lui est possible d’accepter.
Pureté de la démarche qui se dérobe (peut-être) à son créateur, cette production est la quintessence de ce que peut produire un Occidental lorsqu’il emprunte, le sachant ou non, des voies philosophiques orientales. À l’instar des déclinaisons cézaniennes de plus en plus affirmées d’une montagne Sainte Victoire rendue abstraite, et qui font leurs toute la subtilité de composition des estampes chinoises sans toutefois en ingérer totalement le substrat taoïste, Phillips touche à cette difficile communion entre avènement individualiste et abstraction cosmologique.
Il parvient à cette forme de médiation entre l’étrangeté et soi : « Le paysage se pense en moi et je suis sa conscience » (Paul Cézanne)

(Mélanie Meyer, L'OMBRE SUR LA MESURE)

フィールドレコーディングっていう音楽ほど古びない音楽は無いだろう。機材の進化が一番反映される音楽スタイルであり、時代ごとに変わるランドスケープそのものを音楽に起こすんだから。
このブログを読んでくれるような人には、説明不要だと思うが、Dave Phillipsは、アクショニズム(自身の身体を傷つけるほどに過激なパフォーマンス・アート)というムーブメントを象徴する人物だ。アクショニズムというのは言葉で説明するより、画像を見てもらった方が早いだろう。
カルト的な人気を誇る八〇年代に活躍したスイス産グラインドコアのFear Of Godのヴォーカルとして活躍し、87年にソロでの活動を開始している他にも、グループとしては、「psycho-physical tests and trainings - 心理的身体的実験と探求」という命題を掲げるアウトサイダーアート集団、Schimpfluch-Gruppe(シンプフルク・グループ)での活動が一番有名だろう。89年から活躍するノイズ・グループ、Sudden Infantのメンバーとして現役で活躍するターンテーブリスト、Joke Lanzと現在大阪在住のアクショニストにして、スイス有数のノイズレーベル、Schimpfluch主催のRudolf Eb.erとその活動を共にしている。それについてはこのサイトに貴重な日本語情報が載っている。
特異な経緯を持つノイジシャンながら、やはりノイジシャンらしいことに現在もリリースは頻繁で、今年も把握出来る限り既に三作を発表している。今回紹介するのは、環境保護主義者でもある彼が稀に製作するフィールドレコーディング音源だ。
3CHF(日本円にして約340円)というのもお得な音源だ。熱帯性気圧や砂漠気候の場を中心に原生林や国立公園、アネクネメなどで採集した虫や蛙、鳥類、哺乳類などの鳴き声を用いている。これらの音源は、減速や60-98%程度の時間の伸長、逆再生を施したもので一切電子音による加工は為されていない純自然素材によるリチュアル・サウンド・アート。
2016年12月~2017年一月の録音。徹底してドローン状に仕立て上げられたレイヤーの隙間の無さが強烈な印象を叩きつけ続ける。湿度の高さと乾燥した空気感を見事に行き来するテクスチャーとムダが一切介在しないミニマルな音響空間の切迫感が非常に素晴らしい。有機的な素材から生命の躍動を奪わないように繊細かつ緻密な加工を施し、彼の思う深淵に寄せつつも、素朴なフィーリングを大切に扱う感覚的な音楽を作っている。昨年、自主リリースしていた「South Africa Recordings」の延長的なサウンドメイキングが光る名作ながら、本作にも彼のメッセージ性が深く込められており、「how would i hear/perceive the world if i were an insect (amphibian, avian etc)?」(もし自分が虫や両生類や鳥だったら、自分はどんな音楽を聴きたいか/どんな音楽に気付かされたいか)という問いに何を感じるかというのが本作の醍醐味だろう。ソレは、この作品に触れる人の思いに委ねられるだろう。あまり僕はここでは触れないことにする。
静寂なる音楽における空調の音の如く無機質なものへと変異していながらも、静かな躍動感に溢れる。しかし、音響ノイズ的な側面から、全面的に不穏さが漂っており、「South Africa Recordings」同様、Dave Phillipsの個性が余すことなく押し出されていて、通好みのテクスチャーが満遍なく発揮されている。フィールドレコーディング好きというよりは基本的にこのブログを読むような人はナード野郎にお薦めの作品だ。値段もお手頃だしね。音質も綺麗なフィールドレコーディングなのでCDでもリリースして欲しかったが、カセットもリリースされており、カセット版は、40部限定でモスクワのNazlo Recordsからリリースされているが、今のところdiscogsのマーケットプレイスでしか購入できないようだ。日本でもどこかで流通しないだろうか。

(Zangiri Heads)

Frighteningly fxcked-up and compelling slab from Schimpfluch-Gruppe participant Dave Phillips, whom with Rise arguably establishes a crucial bridge between the continuum of radical European outsider art and NON or Halcyon Veil’s politically-charged, hyperreal soundscapes.Accompanied by some of the most fascinating sleeve notes we’ve read since, ooh, Pauline Oliveros’ Primordial/Lift, Dave Phillips’ Rise conveys a starkly impending warning about human greed and the tendency toward anthropocentric worldviews and “extractivism”, as opposed to stewardship, all rendered thru seven scenes scrolling from convulsive hyperviolence to detached, abyssal drone and clawing cacophony. We really couldn’t say whether Phillips, a tireless “purveyor of radical sound since the mid ‘80s” has heard or is even aware of the NON phenomena or Halcyon Veil’s abrasive aesthetics, but the textural and political similarities between those vital new labels and Phillips’ cranky ass are just too striking to ignore.

Face first, he sucks us into the peristaltic paroxysms of We Know Enough To Know How Much We Will Never Know with a sense of arrhythmic chaos and trepidation that feels like Rabit and John Wiese imagining a world where feral populations fight over the last food and goods on the shelves, before Rise steps outside into a bombed out scape strafed with buzzing flies, and Culture Of Ethical Failure sinks into a fetid mire of soggy textures and deeply unpleasant torture chamber wretches dappled with minor key piano motifs. The Construct farther gnaws at the simulacra’s shaky resolution with visceral, unsettling white noise distortion, and Solastalgia / Ohnmacht feels like the infinite intro to a Venetian Snares calamity which never manifests, instead serving up grindcore rage in Only The Cockroaches Shall Survive To Rule The Earth, and leaving us petrified at what may come with the primordial orgy, A Grain of Salt (Goes a Long Way). OK, there’s definitely a distinction to be made between Phillips’ extreme angled weltanschauung and the hypermodern consciousness of NON and their affiliates, but it’s surely better to hear their relative similarities and, if you’re a DJ or listener who likes to mess around with their records, to crash and layer ‘em together in the mix where we’d imagine they’ll really come alive together.

180g vinyl. Includes a pair of double-sided, 12” x12” inserts containing the artist’s thorough analysis of, and possible solutions to, the world’s current climate, both natural and economic. Edition of 300. Highly recommended!

(Boomkat Product Review, January 2017)

And then, the next day, and another Dave Phillips release lands on my desk. This surely must be coincidence, even for someone who produces a lot. The LP comes with the most text, a heartfelt essay about the current state of our environment and men’s continuous efforts to destroy that as fast as possible; some our current leaders even stating that global warming is a hoax and fossil resources are endless, so alternatives are not necessary. I do see however a bit of contradiction here, and surely I am wrong, and that is that for the production of a LP also fossil resources are needed, a paper is used to manufacture the cover and the two inserts. Wouldn’t a download be a better idea? Oh, perhaps, taking in account the cheap labour to produce computers and all the electricity needed to keep the Internet going is another burden on the environment. That said however I think Phillips message should be taken seriously and again this is not easily reflected in the music. There are seven pieces on this record, even when it is not easy to see when one stops and the other starts. That has to do with the start/stop editing that Phillips applies throughout his music; of the three releases so far this is one that has the most musical pieces. There is rhythm, through loops of noises, multi-layered voices, punches delivered by Rudolf Eb.er (Phillips is a member of Schimpfluchgruppe) and there is even hints at melodies, and I have no idea how these were generated. It is heavy music, just like the first CD heard today/yesterday, but not as heavy as that. There is surely a somewhat lighter atmosphere in these pieces; perhaps that is the musical undercurrent of all of this? This too is a great record; a bit different than the other two, which are also not very much like each other, and all three show that Phillips is a most remarkable composer of noise music, and that it is very well possible to work this out into three quite different directions, and yet each of these has a distinct Phillips signature; and that is not only because of the political manifestoes that each of these is granted with.

(Frans De Waard, Vital Weekly, January 2017)

Rise is an abrasive, enthralling, uncompromising work, designed for the hardiest listeners. It’s hard to imagine that this is the same Dave Phillips who just released a placid set of South African nature recordings. But yes ~ this is the yang to that yin.
This set includes booming bass, drums, yelps, heavy breathing, clanks, slams, flies, growls, barks, broken glass, prisoners’ cries, discharged guns and protest chants, forming a virtual jungle of percussive sound. The listening experience is intensely visceral. As the tempos remain constant, the aggressive intrusions remain in constant flux. Sounds travel speaker-to-speaker like rabid dogs searching for someone to bite. Dark drones enter without warning, acting as hoods placed over unsuspecting heads.
So what in the world is going on here? Is this all sound and fury, signifying nothing, or is there a greater cause, a deeper message? For this we must turn to the extensive liner notes, as raw as the music itself. Here we find a timely message about consumption. No matter what a certain president may say, we are poisoning our earth, ruining it for future generations. Our ecological plunder leaves even the current generation bereft of opportunity. Our greed is our destruction, and not ours only ~ it may lead to the destruction of the entire earth. The words of the prophet have been fulfilled: “Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?” (Ezekiel 34:18).
And so, to hear the buzzing and the clanking is to hear the protest of earth under fire, its species rallying for one last stand, Gaia coughing and clutching at an oxygen mask, workers going on strike, a whale ramming a boat. Phillips is begging us to consume wisely, to read more, to open our eyes not to the world wide web, but to the web Chief Seattle so eloquently defended with the words, “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”
Now we return to our opening statement. Yes, this is the same Dave Phillips who recently produced a beautiful album of field recordings. He has seen the promise of heaven in the cry of cicadas, and the threat of hell in the plastic of discarded technology. One world threatens the other. And yet, there is still a chance that they might learn to live in conjunction with each other ~ the yin and yang, the give and take, the passive and the active. In order for this to occur, a global populace will need to stand up to forces that seem too large to challenge, in service of a cause greater than either can fathom. This is the implication of the album’s title: rise.

(Richard Allen, A Closer Listen, January 2017)

As with most of the Dave Phillips’ releases I’ve heard, Rise represents a multi-layered approach to the horror of everyday life. It’s an album that has to appreciated in its totality, both from the standpoint of a full narrative but also the totality of each individual moment. Unlike the standard listening associate with rock music, isolated sonic elements do not (and cannot) stand in for the rest of the song. Phillips provides no equivalent to a guitar solo stealing the spotlight while the rhythm section fills in the background. Each element of Rise, when isolated and pulled apart, holds no real power. When taken together, though, an overwhelming and rhizomatic sense of terror emerges.
Opening track “we know enough to know how much we will never know” exemplifies this moment by moment totality. Rhythmic breathing and a heart-like synth set the stage before quickly giving way to demonic whispers, synthetic glitches, and field recordings of what sounds like random objects colliding on top of people gargling their own saliva. These field recordings would normally sound like the leftovers from the sound design for a slapstick comedy. In conversation with the rest of the sonic elements, however, Phillips’ signature aura of terror sinks in. The overwhelming cutup elements provoke images of the world in violent collapse, physically and arbitrarily destroying itself, while the vulnerable and underlying body that contains the heartbeat and breath of the track’s intro slowly dies without anyone noticing. The end of the track gives way to an ominous set of full bodied piano chords in place of this body. Where (and when) it evaporated remains unclear.
These horror filled atmospheres, built from seemingly innocuous elements, continues throughout the album until the end of “solastalgia / ohnmacht,” where a somber melody line played on a lonely piano closes out the track. “only the cockroaches shall survive to rule the earth,” a jarringly out of place black metal explosion, follows this moment of clarity. Normally, this track would be the most effective on a standard metal album, but within the context of Rise it does not hold the same punch. This is where the totality of the entire album comes into sharp relief. “only the cockroaches” represents a moment of coordination and organization, one clearly affected by the hand of the composer. It breaks through the fear produced by the uncontrollable nature depicted in the rest of the album. A breakthrough that, in hindsight, seems obvious. But that original fear resumes immediately with the closing track, “a grain of salt (goes a long way).”
Examining the lengthy text included with this album, a diatribe which clearly articulates the dire conditions of modern society and humanities continuing role in furthering a global environmental collapse, the narrative and meaning of this album emerges. We know what we need to do as a society, but we are absolutely unwilling to give up the power we have accumulated. Still, moments of resistance emerge from within these unlivable circumstances, providing an unexpected sense of hope to a bleak album (and, really, entire body of work).
Phillips concludes the linear notes by saying “Most dimensions are yet to be explored. The real human potential has yet to be revealed. The process of liberation has only just begun. Rise.” In Phllips’ eyes, the stage has been set and the world is begging for action. While the power of our own understanding of the world should be enough of a catalyst, powerful statements such as this album remain destined to send sparks in all directions until they find a wick.

(Peter J. Woods, FTAM Productions, February 2017)

At first, Rise comes across as a forceful ‘death industrial’ opus in the way its portentous wails and whines ride spare, dramatic drums and ominous bass pulses, at times reminding of the work of Nordvargr’s Mz.412 or Thomas Ekelund’s Trepaneringsritualen. But instead of his sound-making being galvanised by occult practices, Dave Philips has a more forward-thinking, altruistic motive.
I am more familiar with Phillips singular field recordings, like 2015’s Songs of a Dying Species or the recent South Africa Recordings, whose exquisite attention to detail somehow manages the rare feat of highlighting nature’s balance of beauty and brutality - both human and animal - as opposed to indulging the listener in a bucolic comfort blanket.
Rise incorporates animal cries and buzzing flies into its blackened cacophony to remind us of the accelerating cycles of life and death caused by the Western world. It is a rousing call to action that the extensive sleeve notes make explicit: ”…to leave the religious, materialist and supremacist phases behind us…”
Although a sequence of seven tracks, Rise plays like a single, ponderous piece, like a heads-down crawl towards an inevitable decline. Its menacing, sensational setting of nature’s cries amidst doomy drones and industrial detritus; combined with its environmentalist stance, turn the dark dramatics unnervingly into an all-too-vivid documentary soundtrack, giving the listener plenty to think about.

(Russell Cuzner, The Quietus, March 2017)

Ze wszystkich dotychczasowych nagrań Dave’a Phillipsa największe wrażenie wywarł na mnie album nagrany wraz z Hiroshim Hasegawą, a wydany w 2015 roku przez Monotype Records – „Insect Apocalypse”. Koncept był imponujący: z wielokrotnie nałożonych na siebie owadzich dźwięków Phillips i Hasegawa tworzą apokalipsę, której jeźdźcami okazują się miliardowe roje owadów, konsumujące wszelkie życie, przynoszące tylko beznadziejną śmierć – w wyobrażeniu tym ludzkość napotyka swój kres w wilgotnych wnętrzach owadzich labiryntów.
Tegoroczny „Rise”, solowy i radykalny w swym politycznym wymiarze projekt Phillipsa, traktuje ideę cierpienia już z perspektywy bardziej przyziemnej (choć wciąż pojawiają się elementy owadzie, np. mucha tłucząca się o ścianki szklanego słoju). Słuchamy głównie nagrań tortur, walk ulicznych, strzelanin; krzyki, wrzaski, tępe uderzenia; a nad wszystkim panuje gargantuiczny bas i okazjonalne motywy fortepianu (a nawet sporadycznie death metal). Rodzi się z tego kolejna w dorobku Szwajcara apokalipsa – równie ateistyczna, ale tym razem czysto ludzka.
Diagnozy społeczne na bok: „Rise” to najmocniejsza dźwiękowa dystopia, jaką usłyszycie w tym roku – jest nawet skuteczniejsza niż „PARADISO” Chino Amobiego (pomijając różnice stylistyczne obu albumów), gdyż nie popada niepotrzebnie w literackość i fantazję; nie tworzy nowych futurystycznych obrazów, lecz wyłuskuje elementy składowe teraźniejszości, w szkle powiększającym kolażu ukazując przerażająco wyraźnie ogrom cierpienia i grozę tych sytuacji, które dzieją się wciąż, codziennie, za kurtyną medialnej agendy, i robi to bez wskazywania palcem, bez dat, miejsc, winowajców. Phillips uwzględnia tylko czysty czynnik terroru, z którego ulepione jest właśnie „Rise”, płyta w pełni zasługująca na tag ritual protest music.

(Michał Pudło, Screenagers, September 2017)

On the cover of the first new release by Dave Phillips I find some text which has my complete agreement: “selective perception is the tendency to not notice and more quickly forget stimuli that cause emotional discomfort and contradict our prior beliefs. selective perception is the process by which individuals perceive what they want to in media messages while ignoring opposing viewpoints. it is a broad term to identify the behaviour all people exhibit to tend to “see things” based on their particular frame of reference. it also describes how we categorise and interpret sensory information in a way that favours one category or interpretation over another. in other words selective perception is a form of bias because we interpret information in a way that is congruent with our existing values and beliefs. human judgment and decision making is distorted by an array of cognitive, perceptual and motivational biases, and people tend not to recognise their own bias, though they tend to easily recognise (and overestimate) the operation of bias in human judgment by others.” There is more, but this is supposed to be a review, not an endless quote. Phillips says what I have been seeing around me for a while now and that is too many people looking for the confirmation of what they think, and not the opposite of what they think. I am more of what Karl Popper calls falsification; ‘is what I believe correct, or can it be refuted’, and one should look for what refutes what you believe and adjust accordingely. These days many people believe to see much that is ‘false’, ‘post-truth’ or ‘propaganda’ (the latter of course state controlled obviously, in connection with mainstream media, another conspirator in that regard), but hardly try to find out if what they believe is actually verifiable. I am not sure how Phillips sees all of this, but recently I was engaged in an e-mail discussion with him, because once too often I called him a vegan, fighting blind for animal rights. I didn’t investigate enough, I guess, although as easily one could also say that in the world of art, interpretation of art with a political view is not always easy.

On this new release Phillips presents one long piece, almost an hour long, and it’s not easy to see a relation between his text on the cover and the actual music; maybe my perception gets blurry from time to time? Or perhaps it is that I find it hard to see ‘meaning’ in music, other than what comes next to the music, like cover texts. This is a piece of music that has all the trademarks of Dave Phillips. Most of the time the music is very loud, but it’s not really noisy per-se. Phillips like his sounds to be loud. As for sound input he uses piano, drums, field recordings (frogs, for instance, I believe to hear in the first half of the disc), as well as a bunch of very vibrant electronic sounds, which crawl around the slow majestic and very sparse instrumentation. Sometimes the whole construction breaks down and moves into an entirely different direction. This happens around twenty-two minutes for instance, when the forceful dark mood is broken down and instead it becomes softer yet also creepier. It builds up towards a crescendo, including a desolate push on a drum until that that collapses as well. This sort of collage technique is nothing odd for Phillips, and yet somehow he seems to do things even better than before. I am sure a word like ‘refinement’ may not mean much in the world of noise, but what Phillips does here is very refined.

(Frans De Waard, Vital Weekly, January 2017)

Assai prolifico nelle uscite discografiche così come nell’attività concertistica, lo svizzero Dave Phillips (classe 1969) allestisce in questa co-produzione greco-francese una densa e coesa suite che ben compendia il suo stile peculiare, fusione di noise, field recording, elettronica e classica strumentazione orchestrale. Le concettose note di copertina fanno riferimento alla nostra “percezione selettiva” delle informazioni sensorie, oltre che a scritti di Proust, Alain De Botton e Ian McEwan. Difficile capire come l’apparato teorico si relazione con la lunga composizione, che prende avvio dai suoni di un fragoroso temporale, tra voci di uccelli e gracidare di rane, per dare poi spazio ad un incalzante contrappunto di “esplosioni” di archi, vigorosi bordoni elettronici e cupe percussioni, con rare apparizioni del piano a ritagliare qualche istante di quiete. I vocalizzi allucinati e primitivi delle ospiti Nathalie Dreier e Luzia Rasu, amalgamati a penetranti drone elettroacustici, rendono paurosi e concitati i movimenti centrali dell’opera, ispirando visioni di arcani ritualismi e popolazioni soggiogate in rivolta. Se non conoscete l’autore, un ottimo punto d’accesso.

(Vittore Baroni, Blow Up, March 2017)

Στον πειραματιστή Dave Phillips έχουμε αναφερθεί πριν καιρό στο δισκορυχείον και αφορμή ήταν το άλμπουμ του “Insect” πτώματα κάτω από το κρεββάτι, 2010 – ένα LP με επεξεργασμένους ήχους εντόμων από δάση και βιoτόπους της Ταϊλάνδης.
Συνεχίζοντας στο ίδιο experimental μοτίβο, o Phillips έχει και πιο πρόσφατο άλμπουμ/ CD (όπως και άλλα ενδιάμεσα) κι αυτό για ένα label τού Νικόλα Μαλεβίτση, το noise-below, σε συνεργασία όμως τώρα με το fréquencies critiques.
Να πούμε κατ’ αρχάς πως στο “Selective Memory/ Perception” (2016) υπάρχει ένα μόνο track, που διαρκεί σχεδόν μιαν ώρα και πως τούτο είναι συνεχές, χωρίς εσωτερικά «διαλείμματα» και κενά που δεν καταγράφονται.
Ο Phillips, χρησιμοποιώντας μια ποικιλία ήχων και πηγών (οπωσδήποτε field recordings και όχι μόνον εντόμων, αλλά και αμφιβίων, ανακατεμένες με ποικίλα περιβαλλοντικά ή μηχανιστικά σπαράγματα, όπως και με συμβατικά μουσικά όργανα, πιάνο π.χ.), δημιουργεί ένα θορυβώδες, έντονης διεισδυτικότητας πλαίσιο, εντός του οποίου η δράση είναι συνεχής (αν και απροσδιόριστης αρχής). Με όχι ιδιαίτερα σκαμπανεβάσματα στο volume, το άκουσμα έχει τη δύναμη να τεντώνει την προσοχή σου, κρατώντας σε πάντα σε εγρήγορση, παρότι η προσπέλαση δεν είναι συνεχής και μονίμως εφικτή. Θέλω να πω πως το “Selective Memory/ Perception” λειτουργεί περισσότερο σαν ένα εικονοκλαστικό αφήγημα, παρά σαν μια γραμμική ιστορία με αρχή, μέση και τέλος – και, προς τιμήν του, με μηδαμινά στοιχεία αυτοαναφορικότητας και αναίτιας «δυσκολίας».
Χρόνο να έχεις, διάθεση και επιθυμία ν’ ακούσεις κάτι που δεν φαντάζεσαι πως υπάρχει – ή, αν υπάρχει, δεν φαντάζεσαι πώς ηχεί.

(DISKORYCHEION, January 2017)

Η συνεργασία της Noise Below με την Fréquences Critiques έφερε σε κυκλοφορία άλλο έναν δίσκο, το Selective Memory/Perception του Ελβετού καλλιτέχνη που παραδίδει μία σύνθεση 59 λεπτών και 9 δευτερολέπτω (release date-Δεκέμβρης του 2016). Μπορεί να μην υπάρχει το στοιχείο της έκπληξης για όσους ξέρουν το υλικό του όμως την ίδια στιγμή καταφέρνει για άλλη μια φορά αν όχι να σοκάρει στα σίγουρα να υποβάλλει. Η στοματική του κοιλότητα συνοδεύεται από πιάνα και τσέλα (?) τα οποία, όπως έχει αναφέρει στο παρελθόν, ανήκει στον κώδικα τιμής του να μην τα έχει σαμπλαρισμένα ενώ παράλληλα συναντάμε και 2 γυναικείες φωνές (αυτές της γνωστής και από άλλους δίσκους του Phillips -εξάλλου είχαν μαζί τους Perverts In White Shirts– Nathalie Dreier και της πρωτόφαντης σε δίσκο Luzia Rasu).
Ο Phillips έχει επιλέξει να περνάει μέσα από το φίλτρο του σοφιστικέ όσο και ενστικτώδεις λογικές, κάτι που κάνει γνωστό εξάλλου και στις συνεντεύξεις του όπου ορίζει τον Proust και τον Penderecki σαν μέρος επιρροών του αλλά παράλληλα σε ρωτήσεις που αφορούν την live παρουσία του λέει ότι λειτουργούν ως προσωπική του ψυχοθεραπεία. Αποποιούμενος την οποιαδήποτε συνθηματολογία αλλά και παράδοση μηνύματος προς το κοινό ο Dave Phillips φτιάχνει για άλλη μια φορά ένα δίσκο τρομακτικό. Ο βλάξ που αρέσκεται στο να τοποθετεί τα πάντα στο δικό του σύμπαν θα πει ότι ο δίσκος είναι θαυμάσιος για soundtrack ταινίας τρόμου, εγώ θα αντιτάξω ότι είναι προϊόν της σύγχρονης καταπιεστικής εσώτερης ψυχικής δομής όλων μας, χεράκι χεράκι βέβαια με μια εξωτερίκευση κινησιολογίας (αναφορικά με τις ζωντανές εμφανίσεις του Ελβετού) που καταθέτουν το σοκ και την αμεσότητα ως κώδικα επικοινωνίας.
Στυλιανός Τζιρίτας

(ANNIBUS, February 2017)

Ήταν ένα απόσπασμα από το youtube που βρήκα τυχαία, από το φεστιβάλ Extreme Rituals του 2012, αυτό που με έφερε σε επαφή με τούτη την απόκοσμη περσόνα η οποία ονομάζεται Dave Phillips. Και ήταν τόσο δυνατή εμπειρία, το να παρακολουθείς έναν άνθρωπο να φτάνει σε μία ακραία κατάσταση, που δεν υπήρχε περίπτωση, πόσο μάλλον για αυτούς που ήταν παρόντες, να μην σε καταβάλει ψυχολογικά. Πέρα όμως από την ακραία αυτή εμπειρία, το όλο θέαμα, τόσο οπτικά, όσο και ηχητικά, δεν είναι καθόλου τυχαίο, μιας και ο Dave Phillips αποτελεί έναν φιλόσοφο της εποχής μας ο οποίος προσεγγίζει τη μουσική μέσα από ένα θεωρητικό υπόβαθρο. Η όλη του αυτή έρευνα πάνω στον συμπεριφορισμό περνά και μέσα στα ηχητικά έργα του, όπως συμβαίνει και εδώ, στο Selective Memory/Perception (Επιλεκτική μνήμη/Αντίληψη) . Στο CD υπάρχει ένα αναλυτικό κείμενο, στο οποίο ο Dave Phillips αναλύει το θεωρητικό υπόβαθρο στο οποίο βασίστηκε και το οποίο ηχητικά μεταφράζεται σε μία μακροσκελή σύνθεση η οποία φτάνει τα 59 λεπτά. Το υλικό δεν προσεγγίζεται με μία περίτεχνη κολάζ τεχνική, όπως μας έχει συνηθίσει ο Dave Phillips σε προηγούμενες δουλειές του, αλλά μπλέκει ορχηστρικά μονότονα drone, μέρη από πιάνο, τσέλο και βιολί τα οποία περιπλέκονται με ηχογραφήσεις τοπίου, φωνές και άλλες ηχογραφήσεις. Όλα αυτά συνθέτουν μία έντονη κατάσταση σύγχυσης και ψυχολογικής υπερδιέγερσης, η οποία διακόπτεται ανά τακτά χρονικά διαστήματα από σιωπή, με την επόμενη “εφιαλτική” εμπειρία να καραδοκεί. Εσείς είστε έτοιμοι για μία τέτοια εμπειρία.

(Music without audience, Issue 2)

Der Filter, der entscheidet, was vom Gehör zur Verarbeitungszentrale weitergeleitet wird, und was nicht, ist unerbittlich in seiner Ausgrenzung. Unzählige kleine Geräusche ziehen täglich an uns vorbei, scheinbar unbemerkt, in jedem Fall unerinnert. Ähnlich dem Unbewussten des Geisteslebens ist auch das ungehört Vorbeiziehende eine wahre Schatzkammer an Klängen oft gerade filigranerer Art. Dave Phillips ist seit langer Zeit ungewöhnlichen Geräuschen auf der Spur. In der Absicht, diese vor dem Verschwinden, dem für immer ungehört bleiben zu entreißen, ist er aber keineswegs nur Archivar. Phillips hat seit jeher eine Leidenschaft für Naturgeräusche, besonders die Klänge von Insekten sprechen ihn ästhetisch an, berühren und überwältigen ihn, wie er in unserem Interview sagte.

Darüber hinaus erkennt er darin aber auch einen „immensen Sprachreichtum, eine immense Kommunikation“ und sieht diese Sprache als „enorm tiefgründig, wenn man ihr richtig zuhören mag“. Man erlernt eine solche Sprache nicht wie eine Fremdsprache, nähert man sich ihr aber intuitiv an, kann dies die Fähigkeiten der Kommunikation, der Wahrnehmung und gerade auch der Empathie enorm erweitern. Als jemand, der seit jeher in seinen künstlerichen Aktionen gegen die Entfremdung zwischen Mensch und Natur ankämpft, ist auch das Sammeln, Aufarbeiten und Vermitteln von seltenen Sounds aus Fauna und Flora ein Teil seiner Arbeit an der Empathie des Menschen für die Natur.

Auf seiner neuesten Doppel-CD präsentiert Phillips eine Vielzahl an primär Tier-Geräuschen, die er im letzten Winter in verschiedenen Provinzen Südafrikas aufgespürt und aufgezeichnet hat, was ihm schon deshalb ein Anliegen war, da viele der Lebensformen auf lange Sicht bedroht sind. Was sich auf den zwei Scheiben findet, ist ein enormes regionales Bestiarium unentdeckter Sounds: von Zikaden flankierte Sandfrösche und ihre Verwandten, die Kassinas aus den waldreicheren Ostprovinzen, deren nahezu perfekt rhythmisches Tremolieren manchmal an Holzblasinstrumente erinnert, dann wieder an Metallteile, die in Hochgeschwindigkeit gegen Glas schlagen; urige Chorgesänge von Kröten, die sich manchmal wie grotesk verfremdete menschliche Stimmen oder zombifiziertes Bellen anhören, und bisweilen wäre es nur ein kleiner Schritt zu minimalem, aber umso kraftstrotzenderem Rhythm Noise; ein gemischter Chor verschiedener Insekten und Amphibien in einem halbtrockenen Flussbett bei Nacht.

Einmal mehr Zikaden, die solo und in Ensembles verschiedener Größe auftreten und deren Serenaden dem, was man auch konventionell Musik nennt, oft recht nah kommen; ein fast niedlich dazwischen quiekendes Warzenschwein; Geckos mit ihrem seltsam ratternden Gebell bei Sonnenuntergang; große Ansammlungen von Tauben, deren Gurren und Flügelschlagen zu einer Kakophonie aus Grunzen und Knarren gerät und immer wieder von anderen, „konventionelleren“ Vogelstimmen durchbrochen wird; dröhnende Insektenschwärme und einzelne Fliegen oder Käfer im Flug; das seltsame Lachen eines Flusspferdes; Löwen, Schakale und Hyänen, deren Jaulen und Brüllen einem undefinierbar erscheint, wenn man sie dabei nicht vor Augen hat; dann Wind und Wasser – der Schauplatz selbst, der ohnehin immer präsent und stets mehr als nur Kulisse ist, macht Amphibien, Insekten und Vögeln für Momente den Platz am vorderen Bühnenrand streitig.

Ungezählte Noise- und Droneplatten könnte man aus diesem Material zusammenschustern, und Alchemisten wie Ô Paradis könnten aus einer Auswahl davon dekonstuierte Popsongs basteln, denn vieles klingt schon in seiner Rohform musikalisch und z.T. sogar überraschend „elektronisch”. Phillips Mission ist eine andere, als Meister des Foregroundings lässt er diesen Pool an ungewöhnlichen und oft undefinierbaren Klängen für sich sprechen. In der Auswahl, aber auch in der subtilen Bearbeitung – räumliches Arrangieren und Einstellen der Aufnahmegeräte, ferner leichtes Equalizing – liefert er die Vorarbeit, an die die Hörer dann mit ihrer Aufmerksamkeit anknüpfen können.

(by Uwe Schneider/, African Paper, December 2016)

South Africa Recordings is a big, generous release, a double-disc set with a 16-page booklet boasting some gorgeous nature photography. It’s a treasure trove for field recording enthusiasts, especially those who prefer their field recordings to be untreated and unadorned. Apart from light layering, this is exactly what it sounds like to visit one of South Africa’s many national parks and nature reserves. The album provides a window into a South Africa that has too often been overshadowed by political and societal clashes; these are the creatures whose lives are affected by national policies, but who care not at all for politicians.

The sound field is thick right from the beginning, with three “night soundscapes with bubbling kassinas.” That’s a frog, by the way, and don’t feel bad, I had to look it up myself. The kassinas, cicadas, crickets, local birds and other unidentifiable citizens of the South African plains provide such a richness of tone that one wonders if any nightclub, no matter how posh, could compete. While listening, one can either attempt to separate the sounds or allow them to cascade over the ears. Phillips recommends listening on headphones, but an immersive stereo system is just as effective, transforming the home into a sonic forest.

Frogs and toads dominate the first disc, calling to mind Yannick Dauby’s Songs of the Frogs of Taiwan. A single representative makes a distinctive tone, but together a chorus is formed. In some locales, the chorus disorients potential predators, who have no idea where their individual prey might be located. But of course ~ as in the aforementioned nightclub ~ mating is on the minds of these slippery citizens, and as the night progresses, they cultivate their calls, hoping for someone to take home. Maybe we’re not so different after all. The center of the first disc includes the type of event that every field recordist dreads and loves at once ~ a thunderstorm near a river. With the right equipment, the event can be captured without risk, which Phillips is able to do here. For minutes at a time, the wildlife is quiet, searching for shelter, although an occasional bird wanders into view, too curious to hide for long.

Visitors to African nations are familiar with the concept of the “big five,” and Phillips is fortunate enough to capture three of them (sonically speaking, of course!). The second disc includes a roaring lion, “laughing hippo”, and “thirsty water buffalo”, but the other two (leopard, elephant) are hardly missed, as there’s plenty of other animal action to be heard. Jackals and hyenas form part of the sonic field of the second disc, and Phillips goes macro on a few smaller creatures. For example, who knew that geckos could “bark”, making a sound like air being let out of a balloon? But the sonic gold here is the sound of hundreds of doves at a waterhole, evading a hungry jackal who just wants breakfast. (It’s easy to think of Hanna-Barbera cartoons, the jackal slack-eared and downtrodden at the end.) From bugs to bats, birds to buffalos, Phillips provides a mosaic of interconnected life, an ecosystem whose every piece is essential for the survival of all. We can be thankful for the parks and preserves, and for Phillips for highlighting their beauty; the next step is to take action to protect such environments, and to reverse the course of encroachment and extinction that threatens to eradicate humanity along with its innocent victims.

(Richard Allen, A Closer Listen, January 2017)

Then a day later another new Dave Phillips release arrives and it seems like he released this privately himself. It’s a double CD, spanning almost 160 minutes of music and a 16 page booklet of sounds he recorded in South Africa; I assume on one of those organised field recording trips that are a bit beyond my budget (seeing ‘thanks to Pro Helvetia Johannesburg’ perhaps also a bit beyond Phillips’ budget). You get what it says on the package, and that is ‘raw field recordings’ made in the Mmabolela game reserve, Kgalagadi transfrontier national park, Marioth nature reserve, Oribi Gorge nature reserve, Amatigulu nature reserve and Isimangaliso wetland park. There has been some equalisation used on these recordings, as well as panning but otherwise no ‘audio treatments, effects or manipulations have been applied; many tracks are single recordings, some are layered’. All of which has noted on the cover of the release. Now this being a selection of wildlife sounds by Phillips, and if one knows his music, and I do, it is hardly a surprise that this is some very loud music; Phillips likes extreme sounds and nature provides us with as such (‘Nature Is Noise Enough’ was a piece from a long time ago. And it should therefor be no surprise that he recommends the listener to play this loud. If one has ever been to a country with lots of nature and wildlife animals, one can imagine that some of the frequencies from nature are quite ear piercing. I am not sure if Phillips emphasises some of those through equalisation but most of this is truly extreme (and I admit I played this a bit louder, as per the instruction). Lots of animal sounds, frogs, cicadas, hyenas, fruit bats and many more, along with more general sounds from water, ponds and wind sounds. It is all massive in approach and yet there is however also room for more gentle pieces, such as the twenty-two minute at the end of the first, an ‘after sunset soundscape and Harris weir’, with animals and water sounds. Hardly extreme and almost ambient music. Obviously, since this is a release by Phillips there is (not on the package, but on the press release) how much longer this will all exist, in times of global warming, pollution, erosion and whatever tricks mankind is up to. It would be a bad thing if we said ‘oh well, at least we have the recordings for future generations’; let’s hope the real thing will be there for others to hear; so that we are able to hear the same thing as Phillips did; maybe to verify his claim that this is beautiful and that there have been no touching up of sounds.

(Frans De Waard, Vital Weekly, January 2017)

In 2014, I don’t mind admitting I was quietly terrified of Swiss sound artist Dave Phillips. His album Homo Animalis was bleak, malevolent almost gutteral sound art. It was deeply unsettling, at the time Cyclic Defrost said “This not the kind of soundscape you sink into. Phillips wants you on the edge of your seat, shell-shocked, jumping at shadows.” You can read the full review, a peculiar mixture of fear and admiration, here.
So as you might imagine, when news came of a new Phillips release there was a fair degree of trepidation. What dark caverns of our emotional landscape will he be traversing this time? So it’s with a little bit of relief that I can say that South Africa recordings is just that, the only manipulation is EQ, panning, and some layering of multiple recordings – though not too much he is at pains to point out.
There are a lot of night recordings, possibly because day temperatures varied between 30° and 43°C. We’re talking toads, cicadas, beetles, frogs, geckos, though also warthogs, birds, jackals, lions, hyenas, doves, crows and who knows what else. There are 36 tracks at 157 minutes across two cds.
He doesn’t attempt to isolate individual sounds/ animals like Chris Watson has done in the past, rather these are incredibly vivid soundscapes, the location, the time of day/ night, the interaction between all of the species and their environment, continues to fascinate him.
He’s finding cause and effect, he’s finding composition here, when the thunder crashes and the birds twitter in response, before dying out and the cicadas take over. You couldn’t script it, or sculpt it any better – perhaps this is why Phillips has chosen to leave it pretty much alone. Though I must admit I was a little suspicious of this piece, “Late Afternoon Events at MMabolela Rock on the Impopo river” as it sounds a little too dynamic, and it turns out this is one of his layering experiments, with two recordings.
“Nature speaks languages. We can ”hear” them, but do we listen, do we try to understand?” Asks Phillips in the press release in which he implores the listener to immerse themselves in his sounds. This is very much music if you want it to be, otherwise it’s exotica, the African jungle, a launching pad for your imagination. One thing Phillips does to contribute to his desire for immersion is longevity. Each of the pieces play out over the time and the subtle and not so subtle changes over time are telling. There is a real beauty here, one that Phillips fears will be lost, these remarkable national parks and unique ecosystems at the mercy of mankind. You can listen or you can hear. Phillips has given us the tools, now it’s up to us. You can find it here.

(Bob Baker Fish, Cyclic Defrost, February 2017)

Autoproduit par Dave Phillips, South Africa Recordings regroupe 36 pièces brutes enregistrées entre novembre 2015 et février 2016 dans plusieurs réserves naturelles sud-africaines, présentées sur deux CD. Les animaux et la nature sont souvent très présents dans les enregistrements de DP, on est bien d’accord. Mais ici, leur univers est laissé intact, il ne s’agit pas de composer une fresque psychoacoustique cauchemardesque et angoissante, il s’agit seulement de capter les différents univers sonores composés par la nature, trouver le point de vue idéal et sélectionner l’enregistrement parfait. Pour autant, DP ne verse pas dans l’éthnomusicographie, ni dans l’exotisme, et encore moins dans le documentaire.
C’est brut et réaliste oui, DP enregistre et ne modifie pas ses matériaux, il n’ajoute rien, ne retire rien, au pire il superpose quelques enregistrements parfois, ou les égalisent. De plus, tous les enregistrements (aux durées très variables : de quelques secondes à plus de vingt minutes) se succèdent sans grand souci de cohérence ou de composition, une écoute aléatoire est même “suggérée”. Et pourtant, on est loin d’une recension naturaliste, très loin. Sur ces disques, les enregistrements présentés n’ont pas été réalisé dans un but documentaire. Il ne s’agit pas de capturer le cri typique de telle ou telle espèce, de rendre compte méthodiquement de tel ou tel habitat. Pour DP, l’important semble être de capturer des univers sonores uniques, souvent proches de l’abstraction, parfois même de la musique électronique.
Voici de purs “enregistrements de terrain”, mais qui n’y ressemblent pas vraiment, et c’est ce qui fait leur intérêt. Les captations sonores de DP sont loin des clichés naturalistes ou exotiques, elles nous entraînent dans des paysages sonores intrigants et hors normes, mais qui ne cherchent pas à documenter un “terrain” spécifique (tout en le faisant malgré eux). Ces South Africa recordings ne documentent pas l’univers sonore des réserves sud-africaines, mais la manière dont DP a perçu cet environnement spécifique, elle documente la sensibilité de DP aux sons rudes et nasillards, aux univers abstraits et forts, mais aussi à la beauté sonore que la nature et les animaux ont à offrir. Un disque étonnant et déroutant, beau et immersif toujours, qui change des précédents disques de DP, mais aussi des field recordings habituels.

(Improv Sphere)

Von Anfang an waren die Epicurean Escapism-Festivals und die dazugehörigen Veröffentlichungen nie rein musikalisch ausgerichtet und auch wenn das Adjektiv schon lange sehr inflationär verwendet wird, kann man durchaus von einem multimedialen Ansatz sprechen, in dem Musik, Film und Bild gleichwertige Rollen spielen.

Lassen sich die auf der CD vertretenen Künstler durchaus als solche charakterisieren, die die Beschäftigung mit dem Batailleschen Heterogenen nicht meiden und deren Thematisierung der Schattenseiten des Homo sapiens durchaus ambivalent ist bzw. sein kann, so ist Dave Phillips, dessen Werk die 180-minütige DVD gewidmet ist, leicht anders zu verorten, auch wenn es durchaus musikalische und inszenatorische Überschneidungen gibt. Aber seinem Ansatz der Konfrontation des Menschen mit den Schattenseiten des „Fortschritts, den verschiedenen Formen der Ausbeutung der Natur und den Konsequenzen von Machtpolitik unter High-Tech-Bedingungen“ (wie Uwe Schneider im begleitenden Essay schreibt) wohnt zumindest auf den ersten Blick wenig(er) Ambivalenz inne, vielleicht könnte man sagen, dass er didaktischer ist (wenn man das Wort deskriptiv und nicht pejorativ versteht), wobei Uwe Schneider zu Recht darauf hinweist, dass Phillips indirekt arbeite, Raum zur Reflexion geben möchte.

Auf Phillips’ Website finden sich u.a. Beschreibungen seiner Arbeit als „ritual protest music“ oder „sonic activism“. Insgesamt drei Stunden kann man Dave Phillips‘ Auftritte , seine Videoarbeiten sowie Collaborationen mit anderen Künstlern erleben. Das mit „Video Action“ betitelte Stück, auf dem sich die Visuals befinden, die Phillips bei Auftritten verwendet, lässt sich fast als (s)ein Manifest verstehen. Die Aneinanderreihung von all dem, was der Mensch inzwischen (auch) dank des Fortschritts machen bzw. anrichten kann (Atombomben werfen, die Umwelt verschmutzen, Tiere töten etc.) wird mit Slogans gegengewschnitten: „our technology has exceeded our humanity“. Auf die Frage „are you lonely“ folgn Bilder von Hühnern in Legebatterien. Philipps Wunsch nach „less waste, greed, avarice and selfishness” ist sicher ein letztlich utopischer, konnte man doch gerade noch lesen, dass im reichsten Land der Erde die Hälfte der produzierten Lebensmittel vernichtet werden.

An anderer Stelle heißt es „Waste is obscene“. In der Tat. Verglichen mit den Bildern von gequälten Tieren, die die Videoarbeiten dominieren (auf “Threnody” sieht man, wie in Südkorea wegen der grassierenden Maul-und-Klauen-Seuche Schweine lebendig begraben werden), scheint bei den Auftritten der Körper im Mittelpunkt zu stehen: Beim Geschlechtsakt (“Hole/holy”), als des Sehens Beraubter (“130731″), als Schrei(ender) (“Screamscape”). Verglichen damit hat die Zusammenarbiet mit gx jupitter-larsen bei “?10″ fast schon etwas Poetisches.

(JM, African Paper)

This has been announced as the final compilation in the series, which specifically commemorated the 2016 edition of the Epicurean Escapism Festival held in Berlin on 27 & 28 May, 2016.

As with earlier editions, the cover is beautifully presented as a colour multi-page page booklet, including a selection of lyrics, text and art from contributing projects and which complements the musical content perfectly. A notable inclusion is an essay by Uwe Schneider on the conceptual underpinnings of Dave Phillip’s work, which ties in with his performance and screening of video works at the 2016 Epicurean Escapism Festival. Although Dave Phillips is not featured on the musical compilation, he is dedicated his own stand-alone DVD with the banner title of ‘Proceed With Inquiry’, which features specific video works, footage of prior live performances and another series of video art collaborations. While there is a huge wealth of material to go through, a single video stands out as the critical centerpiece, while the rest can be considered as additional complimentary material. This main work (entitled simply ‘Video Action’) is a 20 minute video work which ties seamlessly with the accompanying experimental industrial soundwork. Musically the piece is framed around sharp sonic editing of micro-tonal textures, overblown distortion, atonal piano chords, multiple higher pitched sounds pushed to disharmonic orchestral intensity and treated ‘voices’ (both human and animal). The piece has a strong and focused concept, where text and images which are edited with razor sharpness to outline a grim analysis of man’s development and technological advancement and the impact it has had on our humanity and our treatment of animals and the environment, and the broader sentiment of mankind being out of balance with a sustainable use of the earth’s resources.

A large part of the visual material focuses on the industrial nature of our society, coupled with the mistreatment of animals in the mechanized meat production industry and a consequence of such technological development. To highlight just a few of the statements which personally resonated with me, these included: “The despair of our culture and civilization should be defeated by acts of total honesty”; “Cynicism is a popular defense mechanism”; and “Our technology has exceeded our humanity” (which of interest clearly implicates everyone with the use of the word ‘our’). But for its unflinching gaze and the brutality of aspects of the subject matter, this seems to be used with clear intent to shock the viewer out of complacency and to highlight a central message of respect for ALL animal life. The video also functions as a broader call to arms, but also does not offer any simple or easy solutions, other than to take personal responsibility for the consequences of one’s own choices and the wider implications those choices have. To then make sure the message of ‘Video Action’ is not lost, the DVD is armed with subtitles in 9 different languages. With a general observation that there is a lot of thematically derivative material circulating within the underground, Dave Phillips’ work is refreshing in its directness, solid conceptual framing and immediacy of its impact.

As with earlier editions in the Epicurean Escapism series, this is another fantastically realized musical and visual set that can either constitute an excellent ‘stand-alone’ document, or a memento the 2016 Epicurean Escapism Festival event.

(Noise Receptor)

Stefan Hanser is not afraid of hard work. The Anemone Tube front-man has made that abundantly clear with the series of audio-visual compilations co-released by Silken Tofu and Hanser’s label, the Epicurean, to celebrate the Epicurean Escapism festivals. This, the third and final of the series, is characteristically bullish and expansive in scope. A huge amount of effort has clearly gone into these releases, and they’ve done a fine job in representing diverse interests in a disparate scene.

The Epicurean’s periodic collaborations with Silken Tofu began with their release of the Anemone Tube album Dreamscape in 2010. The two labels broadly share a common aesthetic, and it’s clearly a fruitful relationship, but I suspect Hanser plays a strong curatorial role in the Epicurean Escapism series. These are one man’s vision of everything that industrial culture can be. Running the gamut of sound, visual art, literature, and performance, it’s a tradition few people are willing to tackle. It makes sense for two labels to co-release the three volumes as demands on their time and wallets would have been high.

Here, the music on the compilation CD is complemented by a DVD featuring some of Zürich-based Dave Phillips’ sprawling output, ‘Proceed with Inquiry’. A lengthy catalogue also features artwork from the compilation’s contributors and an essay on Phillips from Uwe Schneider of African Paper. It’s all beautifully presented in an A5 cardboard foldout with the Epicurean’s typically precise design aesthetic.

Merely approaching, let alone summarising, the work of Dave Phillips is near impossible. Active for 25-odd years in multiple artistic fields (including appearances on almost 200 releases), his contribution here to the DVD component of the release is characteristically challenging. The work is delivered in three parts: video works, live performances, and collaborations.

The video works are varied with clear effort put into editing and sound composition. They’re often jarring and disorienting, always intimate, and personal. Some are abstract and intangible while others are precise and brutally polemic. There is slap-to-the-face activism in spades, including a sobering piece on humankind’s exploitation of the Earth and its animals (‘How sad, that nature speaks and we don’t listen.‘). Phillips’s use of footage depicting animal vivisection, cruelty, and industrial slaughter is about as subtle as a sledgehammer, as is the screaming text (‘Education is a progressive discovery of our ignorance!’). But these pieces are clearly meant to shock and are more about our complacency and willingness to let them happen than about the actions themselves.

The collaborative works are interesting enough, though they are not as strong as Phillips’s solo contributions. He seems to supply audio primarily over his collaborators’ mostly impressionistic visuals. Many could display rather comfortably on a screen in a respectable art gallery.

The live performances are highly entertaining and showcase a theatrical grotesquerie typical of the Schimpfluch-Gruppe of which Phillips is a core member. Indeed, the best of the live recordings here has him on stage with Rudolf Eb.er for a Schimpfluch-Gruppe action in Paris. Contact mikes in mouth, their faces slam repeatedly and unceremoniously into bowls of spaghetti. It’s bleakly humorous and very uncomfortable.

As with the previous two volumes, Epicurean Escapism III is sprawling in scope and meticulously curated. Few labels display the patience or energy to attempt a project of this breadth, and even with the cessation of the series, here’s hoping the Epicurean and Silken Tofu lend their hands to others.

(Heathen Harvest, November 2016)

Aller guten Dinge sind drei. Am 27. und 28. Mai stieg in Berlin der vierte Teil des “Epicurean Escapism”-Festivals, dem der Veranstalter THE EPICUREAN aka ANEMONE TUBE abermals ein schickes CD/DVD-Bundle selbigen Titels flankierend zur Seite gestellt hat. Seit der zweiten Auflage der Veranstaltung im Jahr 2013 erscheint es im Corporate Design und enthält neben einem ausführlichen Booklet jeweils eine CD und eine DVD im schlicht-eleganten, schwarz-weißen Folder. Zu seinem Bedauern konnte der Rezensent diesmal leider nicht in Berlin mit dabeisein, weshalb er die folgenden Ausführungen ausschließlich auf das bezogen wissen möchte, was CD & DVD hergeben. Und das ist, wie wir im Folgenden noch sehen werden, ebenso umfangreich wie bemerkenswert – was angesichts der durch die Vorgänger bereits ziemlich hoch gelegte Messlatte allerdings durchaus den Erwartungen entspricht.

Womit wir uns dem visuellen Teil dieses umfangreichen medialen Kombipaketes, respektive der DVD zuwenden wollen. Wir erinnern uns: Während “Epicurean Escapism II”, 2013 als faktisch erster Teil der Trilogie erschienen, die Videoarbeiten von MIKE DANDO aka CON-DOM präsentierte, versammelte “Epicurean Escapism I” ein Jahr später das Video-Oevre von MARTIN BLADH – auf “Epicurean Escapism III” kann man sich unter dem Titel “Proceed With Inquiry” nun einen Überblick über das Video- und Bühnenschaffen des DAVE PHILLIPS machen, und das ist, soviel sei vorab schon mal gesagt, nichts für schwache Nerven. Der gebürtige Schweizer ist als Musiker und Performance-Künstler bereits seit über 25 Jahren präsent und dürfte dem Gourmand des Experimental-/Noise-Sektors insbesondere aufgrund seiner Aktivitäten mit der, 1987 von RUDOLF EB.ER aka RUNZELSTIRN & GURGELSTOCK in Zürch als Extreme-Arts-Kollektiv gegründeten SCHIMPFLUCH-Gruppe ein Begriff sein, wo er – neben EB.ER selbst, JOKE LANZ aka SUDDEN INFANT und DANIEL LÖWENBRÜCK, Betreiber des TOCHNITH ALEPH-Labels in Berlin – zur Kern-Belegschaft gehört. Es sei an dieser Stelle übrigens freimütig eingeräumt, dass deren psychotherapeutisch-kathartische Aktionskunst nie so recht des Rezensenten cup of tea war: zu überfrachtet im theoretischen Überbau, zu regressiv und amorph das künstlerische Ergebnis – so war stets sein Eindruck, doch mag dieser freilich einer zu sprunghaften und oberflächlichen Beschäftigung mit der Materie geschuldet sein. Wie auch immer: Während EB.ER sich vorrangig die intrapersonell-subjektive Mikroebene zum kreativen Tummelplatz auserkoren hat, fokussiert sich PHILLIPS im Rahmen seiner Solo-Machenschaften eher auf die interpersonell-objektive Makroebene, will heißen: hier werden die dicken Bretter kollektiver, ja: globaler Missstände gebohrt. Konsequenterweise stellt der geschätzte Kollege UWE SCHNEIDER vom AFRICAN PAPER-Webzine PHILLIPS in jenem einführenden Text, den er für das Booklet verfasst hat, aufgrund seiner künstlerisch-musikalischen Umtriebe in Verbindung mit seinen “critical views and comments on the state of late-capitalist society and the consequences of our way of life for life on earth” denn auch als “sound activist” vor: dies eine Bezeichnung, die in unserer sprachlich hochsensibilisierten Zeit aufhorchen lässt und die Assoziationen in Gefilde dirigiert, denen der Künstler wenigstens zum Teil durchaus entspricht.

DAVE PHILLIPS sieht sich als Fortschrittskritiker, will diese Kritik aber nicht auf das Prinzip Fortschritt schlechthin, sondern lediglich auf jene spezielle Variante bezogen wissen, die in der zeitgenössischen, hyperkapitalistisch geprägten Gesellschaft der westlichen Industrienationen dominant ist. Diese lehnt er als zu einseitig, zu exklusiv auf die rational-diskursive und materialistische Ebene abonniert, ab, und stellt ihr ein, wie sagt man so hübsch: ganzheitliches Verständnis entgegen, das freilich ausgesprochen vage bleibt und dem unbefangenen Zeitgenossen schon von den Hippies her vertraut vorkommen dürfte: “A way of dealing with nature and with each other, which is not dictated by materialist values, which is balanced, respectful and careful, which is not only business oriented and based on dominance and superiority, but perceives humans as a part of a whole.” So weit, so wunderbar – diesem frommen Wunsch, wenn er dergestalt allgemein formuliert bleibt, wird sich höchstwahrscheinlich jeder erst einmal anschließen können, wird hier im Grunde genommen doch nichts anderes als der alte Traum vom Garten Eden vor (!) dem Sündenfall, kurz gesagt: vom großen, allumfassenden Glück in einer superaltruistischen Friede-Freude-Eierkuchen-Welt artikuliert. Dummerweise versteckt sich der Teufel aber selten in den großen Perspektiven, sondern meistens im Detail; strittig dürfte also weniger das formulierte Ziel – Glück & Frieden für alle & alles – sein, sondern vielmehr der Weg dorthin. Auf diese Frage hat selbstredend auch Sound-Aktivist DAVE PHILLIPS keine Antwort. Was freilich in schönster Ordnung ist, schließlich weist schon der programmatische Titel der DVD – “Proceed With Inquiry” – auf die vornehmliche Aufgabe der Kunst hin: Fragen zu stellen, Antworten hingegen allenfalls zart anzudeuten; andernfalls, als Vermittlerin allein seligmachender Konzepte, tritt sie uns in ihrem defizitären Modus als Agitation oder Propaganda entgegen.

Interessanterweise handelt es sich bei den intensivsten und beklemmendsten Clips, die der Rezipient auf der DVD zu sehen bekommt, gerade um solche, die sich aufgrund Ihrer Explizitheit schon beinahe irgendwo in der Grauzone bewegen. Die Rede ist von den Videoarbeiten, und hier insbesondere von “Video Action” sowie “Threnody”. Bei ersterem handelt es sich um einen knapp 20-minütigen Zusammenschnitt von Screenings, die PHILLIPS im Rahmen seiner “Video Action”-Performances zeigte: mal mehr, mal weniger kurz aufgeblendete, zum Teil wirklich schwer erträgliche, Bild- und Videoschnipsel, durchbrochen von schlaglichtartig auftauchenden Kommentaren, welche das Verhältnis des Menschen zu einer Gesellschaftsform hinterfragen, die jedes Bewusstsein für die Verbindung mit der Umwelt und infolgedessen für Verhältnismäßigkeit, Verantwortung & Mitgefühl gegenüber Welt & Mitgeschöpf hinter sich gelassen hat. “Threnody” hingegen basiert auf einem Videofilm, der von der südkoreanischen Tierschutzgruppe CARE ins Netz gestellt wurde und die massenhafte Vernichtung von Schweinen nach Ausbruch der Maul- und Klauenseuche Ende 2010 in Südkorea zeigt. Das Perfide: Die Tiere wurden nicht getötet, sondern lediglich in einer riesigen Grube zusammengetrieben und schlussendlich lebendig begraben. Der Videomitschnitt von CARE zeigt, mal in der Totale, mal in quälenden Close-Ups, wie sich die immer panischer werdenden Tiere in der Grube, in die unaufhörlich mehr Schweine getrieben werden, vor Panik gegenseitig beißen, tottrampeln und in stetig sich steigernder Todesangst quieken, nein: brüllen – und dieses vieltausendfache, agonale Geschrei hat PHILLIPS zur Basis des, 2013 auf der Compilation-2CD “A Collection Of Hair” erschienenen, Tracks “Threnody To The Victims Of Gluttony“ gemacht, der das Video begleitet. Die Wirkung kann mit mit Begriffen wie verstörend, beklemmend oder schockierend nur oberflächlich umschrieben werden – ziemlich sicher jedenfalls dürfte selbst dem leidenschaftlichsten Fleischesser der herzhafte Genuss einer Grillhaxe, Bockwurst o. ä. nach Inaugen- und -ohrenscheinnahme von “Threnody” für’s erste gründlich verhagelt sein. Womit “Soundaktivist” PHILLIPS sein Ziel erreicht hat, wohlgemerkt ohne jene besagte rote Linie zu überschreiten, die Kunst von propagandistischer Agitation scheidet, beschränkt er sich doch lediglich auf die radikale, will heißen: realistische Präsentation und künstlerische Infragestellung jenes Terrors, mit dem der Mensch die ihn umgebende Fauna überzieht. Der weitgehende Verzicht auf die Formulierung von Antworten lässt den Aktivisten PHILLIPS zu guter letzt also hinter dem Künstler zurücktreten – und das ist gut so.

Neben weiteren Videoarbeiten und Kollaborationen (u. a. mit THE HATERS-Mastermind GX JUPITTER-LARSEN) finden sich auf der DVD Mitschnitte diverser Performances, so z.B. die von 1996 datierende, “Schimpfluch-Gruppe Paris” betitelte, auch unter “Spastic Food” oder “Spaghetti Action” bekannte, die DAVE PHILLIPS und RUDOLF EB.ER, unterstützt von einer Geigerin, vor mit Spaghetti gefüllten Tellern sitzend zeigt, in die sie, Gesicht voran, abwechselnd die Köpfe fallen lassen, um schließlich, sich auf der Bühne wälzend, Equipment & Mobiliar zu zerkloppen. Nun ja. – Auch schön: “Screamscape, act 3”, aufgeführt im Juni 2015 im Rahmen des “Screamscape”-Festivals der Kunsthalle “Fri Art” in Fribourg/Schweiz, die, so ist zu lesen, zu diesem Anlass “in ein internationales Institut zur Erforschung des Schreis“ verwandelt werden sollte: „Ziel ist die Erschaffung eines einmaligen Klangpanoramas (dem Screamscape) zusammengesetzt aus zahlreichen Studien, Theorien, Betrachtungen und Gefühlen in Verbindung mit dem Schrei.” Nomen est omen: Unterlegt von allerlei amorphem Gerumpel, Gerappel und Geschepper lässt PHILLIPS sodann eine Truppe von fünf Mädels (wenigstens werden fünf von ihnen namentlich im Booklet erwähnt, es könnten aber auch mehr sein …) während seiner Performance herumspringen und kreischen, was die Kunststudentinnenlungen hergeben. – Diese beiden Beispiele sollen genügen, um dem Leser eine vage Ahnung zu vermitteln, wo die Reise hingeht. Mache Er sich selbst ein Bild: dem Rezensenten liegt es fern, den Interpretationsspielraum, die Aufmerksamkeit und die Begeisterungsfühigkeit potentieller Zuschauer durch wahlloses und womöglich tendenziöses Gespoilere einzuengen. “Proceed With Inquiry” vermittelt in jedem Fall einen außerordentlich abwechslungsreichen und vielschichtigen Überblick über das Werk eines Künstlers, der eine klare Botschaft hat und mit der Art, wie er sie bisweilen an den Mann und/oder die Frau bringt, durchaus zu polarisieren weiß. Eins wenigstens scheint relativ sicher: Wer sich die DVD ansieht, mag auf Nasch- und Knabberkram währenddessen getrost verzichten: der Appetit wird ihm mit ziemlicher Sicherheit binnen kurzem vergangen sein.

Summa summarum bleibt auch der dritte Teil der “Epicurean Escapism”-Reihe dem Konzept treu, repräsentative Einblicke in das Schaffen herausragender Exponenten post-industrieller Gegenkultur in Film, Bild und Ton zu vermitteln, und setzt dieses einmal mehr absolut überzeugend um. CD und DVD finden im 24-seitigen Booklet eine kongeniale Ergänzung, die sämtliche vertretenen Künstler und Projekte noch einmal angemessen mit Fotos, Bildern, Collagen und Texten in Szene setzt und dem Leser/Betrachter vorstellt. Insbesondere UWE SCHNEIDERs einführender Essay “Our progress is one-sided – the cosmos of Dave Phillips” sei an dieser Stelle noch einmal lobend hervorgehoben, erleichtert er demjenigen die Annäherung an DAVE PHILLIPS Werk doch spürbar, der damit vorher nichts oder nur sehr wenig zu tun hatte. “Epicurean Escapism III” ist in jeder Hinsicht eine runde Sache geworden und setzt der Trilogie das finale Krönchen auf.

Schade eigentlich, dass es das jetzt gewesen sein soll, doch bekanntlich soll man ja aufhören, wenn es am schönsten ist – das ist THE EPICUREAN zweifellos gelungen. Last but not least bekommt der Endverbraucher übrigens ein nachgerade traumhaftes Preis-Leistungs-Verhältnis geboten: Denn mal ehrlich, wo, bitteschön, bekommt man heutzutage für schlappe 22 Euro noch eine solch hochkonzentrierte Packung Kunst, Film und Musik serviert? Na? Na? – Eben. Also ran da!

(Endsal, Nonpop)

Coincidiendo con el festival celebrado los días 27 y 28 de mayo en berlín, la casa discográfica, a su vez promotora, The Epicurean, editó la tercera entrega de su interesante catálogo-memorial “The Epicurean Escapism”, donde encontraremos buena parte de los artistas reunidos en este último certamen.

La segunda parte de este pack consiste en un DVD que recoge parte de los trabajos del artista multimedia Dave Phillips. Su impactante y reivindicadora visión de la realidad es materializada en una serie de reportajes acústicos que esposan al espectador dentro del juego de laVarious - “Epicurean Escapism III” semántica, enfrentándole contra su propia realidad. Un contenido visceral que explica la globalización tal y como se comporta en su contexto primario, sin tapujos ni complacencias. Consigue desnudar el optimismo hasta avergonzarlo frente al reflejo de su propia imagen, postulando su invalidez. Altamente recomendable para estómagos preparados.

Por último, se anexa un interesante catálogo gráfico en el que cada uno de los artistas aporta obras iconográficas para presentar los temas seleccionados por el sello.

“The Epicurean Escapism” es un estupendo memorial de lo acontecido en Berlín hace pocos meses. Un catálogo limitado a únicamente 350 ejemplares que describe a la perfección la singular idiosincrasia de este joven colectivo alemán.

(Fernando O. Paino, Mentenebre)

Het Duitse The Epicurean label bundelt nogmaals de krachten met het Belgische Silken Tofu op het derde deel van de fijne compilatiereeks Epicurean Escapism. Uw culturele honger zal met deze compilatie zeker gestild worden, want het is er eentje die zich laat beluisteren, bekijken en zelfs lezen.

Gezwind schakelen we over op de DVD, die zijn licht laat schijnen op de Zwitserse artiest Dave Phillips. Proceed With Inquiry kreeg deze beelddrager mee als titel, en is een goed gevuld schijfje geworden met videowerk, optredens als samenwerkingen.

Allereerst krijgen we zes clips van Phillips te zien. Dat Phillips het niet hoog opheeft met de mensheid, getuige de vele fouten die deze maakt en blijft maken (vervuiling, dierenmishandeling, en meer van dat fraais) komt al snel tot uiting in ‘Video Action’ dat expliciete beelden van dit alles toont, onderbroken door zwarte frames met daarin stellingnames, slogans en geweten schoppende boodschappen. Na slechts één clip was het al meteen liee op het eerste gezicht. Nog meer dierenleed in ‘Threnody’ alwaar we beelden zien van de uitbraak van mond- en klauwzeer in Zuid-Korea, meer bepaald schrijnende beelden van een kraan die levende varkens in een massagraf duwt. Tengevolge van deze aandoening werden maar liefst 1,4 miljoen varkens levend begraven.

Dierproeven komen aan bod in de korte clipjes van ‘Rattus’ en ‘IV EA PE’.

Geen dieren bij ‘Daniel’ en ‘T.I.I.B.L.’, maar beelden van een onophoudelijk schuddend hoo, als van een waanzinnige, met muzikale begeleiding die ons bij wijlen aan ons eigenste Club Moral deed denken.

Volgens de bio gebruikt Phillips geluid als een middel om primordiale emoties te activeren die anders verborgen blijven onder de puinhoop der beschaving, en meermaals krijgt hij de benaming geluidsactivist opgespeld.

Iets wat zeker ook tot uiting komt in de live performances, waarvan we op deze DVD tevens zes voorbeelden van te zien krijgen. De kwaliteit van de beelden van ‘Schimpfluch-Gruppe Paris is niet optimaal, maar moet daarom niet inboeten aan intensiteit. Schimpfluch-Gruppe bestond voor deze gelegenheid naast Phillips uit Rudolf Eb.er, en de performance die we hier zien stond ook bekend als ‘spastic food’ en ‘spaghetti action’, en dat is inderdaad wat je van dit stukje performance art mag verwachten. Met op de achtergrond een violiste laten beide heren laten om beurten hun hoo in een bord spaghetti vallen, om uit te monden in complete chaos op het einde.

Op ‘Abolishing Religion’ (opname uit Tel Aviv, toch wel gedur met zo een titel), aanvankelijk is er niet zo veel te zien. Drie dames brengen een rituele mantra welke uitmondt in dezele drie dames die wild krijsend van jetje geven, als willen ze de Diamanda Galas zoals we ze altijd graag hoorde, naar de troon stoten.

Nog meer gekrijs krijg je op het opmerkelijke ‘Screamscape’ alwaar de toeschouwers gretig oordopjes in hun oren stoppen, niet verwonderlijk, als je even later ziet dat een deel van het publiek zich volledig laat gaan en uit hart en ziel een potje mee begint te brullen. Onder de aanwezigen ook de Japanse stemkunstenaar Keiji Haino.

Een man in bloot bovenlijf en rok en met bedekt hooft, ontbindt zijn duivels op de al even demonische death industrial klanken van ‘130731’, maar de meest tot de verbeelding sprekende opname is toch wel die van ‘Hole/Holy’, dat aanvangt met klokkengelui, en waar we een wit belicht doek te zien krijgen. Na verloop van tijd zien we twee monniken achter het doek plaatsnemen, de pijen uit te trekken, waarna het blijkt om een man en een vrouw te gaan, die naakt niet veel later uitvoerig de liee bedrijven. Doordat je enkel de silhouetten van de twee ziet, zie je dan ook zowel alles als niets. Het meest aparte aan dit spektakel is echter niet hetgeen we hier te zien krijgen, maar de veelvoudige darmgeluiden die Phillips onder dit schouwspel steekt, als had hij teveel van de eerder vernoemde ‘Amuse-Bouches’ naar binnen gespeeld.

Na al dit moois kan je je ook nog vergapen aan 5 samenwerkingen alwaar artiesten als Remote-Control Rectum, Pakise Akin en Jan Van Hasselt, GX Jupitter-Larsen en Moju zorgden voor de visuele begeleiding van Phillips’ klanken.

Als dat allemaal nog niet genoeg is, mag je in het fraai vormgegeven boekje nog een essay van de hand van Uwe Schneider over Dave Phillips lezen, en heeft ieder nummer van de audio cd er een bladzijde met een fijne foto.

Doe dus iets aan dat gat in uw cultuur, en bestel snel deze alle zintuigen strelende compilatie waarvan er slechts 350 exemplaren voorhanden zijn.

(Dimi Brands, Dark Entries)

Just last week there was the third edition of the Epicurean Escapsim festival, which I believe is held in Berlin, and the catalogue consists of a compilation CD, a DVD with video and sound works by Dave Phillips, about who we find also an essay in the booklet part, which contains also visuals by the musicians found on the CD.

The DVD is packed with goodies. There are three sections of interest; documentation of performances, ‘video works’ and collaborations, with Remote-Control Rectum, Pakise Akin and Jan van Hasselt, Moju and GX Jupitter-Larsen. The latter turns out to be a wonderful abstract film with a great moody soundtrack, a bit of piano and a bit of drones. Among the performances there is one with Schimpfluch Gruppe (here Rudolv Eb.er and Phillips) involving plates of spaghetti, but there is also a shadow play and actions involving blood.

Some of the audio of these performances was already been released, but it’s interesting to see the video of these as well. The various ‘video works’ include a variety of interests, some shorter abstract bits but also his cut-up work involving his strongly political stance on cruelty of animals. This might not be an all ages work (although it raises awareness I guess, so who knows) and less suitable while you eat. It’s all a bit heavy handed I guess, and it’s a message we may know (although I can hear him say: people still eat meat, so we don’t hear the message enough); I simply prefer the more abstract images. The music is, as always with Phillips, great; a fine combination of rapid montage of sound material and more straightforward noise. The essay provides some more insight into his way of thinking and working and the visuals are great. All in all an excellent package.

(Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly)

Früher nannte man sie Wilde – Menschen, die in vormodernen, meist verwandschaftlich organisierten Gemeinschaften leben und ihr Wirtschaften und ihre Mythen nach den Abläufen der Natur ausrichten. Später sprach man von Stammesgesellschaften oder von Naturmenschen. Ist es falsch, solche Begriffe noch immer zu gebrauchen? Ja, vorausgesetzt, man betrachtet die derzeitige Zivilisationsform mit all ihren Kollateralfolgen, die Mitteleuropa global durchsetzte, als einzig erstrebenswertes Modell und als Maß für alles andere. Pflegt man zu alldem eine gewisse Distanz, kann „wild“ bei allem Befremden eine neutrale oder je nach Intention sogar positive Vokabel sein. Claude Levi-Strauss machte das ganz gut vor. Dave Phillips, für den viele zentrale Errungenschaften der Moderne das Resultat einer kolossalen historischen Fehlentwicklung darstellen, muss sich um keinen politisch korrekten Spießbürgerknigge scheren. „Songs of a dying species“, das mehr eine Art „Dave Phillips presents…“ darstellt, ist dem demographischen Niedergang „wilder“ Kulturformen gewidmet, deren Angehörige (laut einem abgedruckten Zitat aus Will Selfs “Great Apes”) in den letzten Jahrzehnten von mehreren Millionen auf zweihunderttausend geschrumpft sind. Während ein Großteil der so modernisierten nun in Armut und manchmal auch in Freiheit die Slums dieser Welt bevölkert, dokumentiert Phillips Reste wilder Praktiken im Rahmen ethnografischer Aufnahmen. Freilich wäre es kein Phillips-Release, hätte er nicht an manchen Stellen mittels Verfremdung eigene Akzente gesetzt. Auf den zwanzig kurzen Tracks der CDr hört man neben polyrhythmischem Metallrasseln und rituellen Gesängen von anheimelnder oder entmenschlichter Art auch die Stimmen und Geräusche von Straßenszenen und vieles, bei dem sich die Klänge der Menschen und der Natur mischen. Phillips beschränkt sich auf selbst bereiste Länder in Europa und v.a. Asien und ist dabei keineswegs an so etwas wie „ursprünglicher Reinheit“ interessiert. Die Wildheit, der er hier nachspürt, zeigt sich oft in den Nischen moderne(re)r Kulturen. So ist im entgrenzten Jubel türkischer Fußballfans ebenso viel Uriges erhalten wie im Mitschnitt einer Pekinger Theateraufführung, die zumindest in der hier hörbaren Aufnahme noch nicht vollends der Vermarktung und Trivialisierung anheimgefallen ist. Archaisches – auch dieses Wort muss fallen – findet sich auch in den monotheistischen Religionen, im katholischen und v.a. orthodoxen Christentum, im sufischen und schiitischen Islam und natürlich auch im traditionellen Judentum, dem er hier eine Aufnahme an der Jerusalemer Klagemauer widmet. Nicht weit davon entfernt und womöglich während des gleichen Aufenthalts führte er mit israelischen Künstlern eine Performance namens „Religion is Stupid“ auf. Widersprüchlich? Nicht unbedingt, aber es gibt einiges über und mit Phillips zu diskutieren, was demnächst auf diesen Seiten auch passieren wird.

(Uwe Schneider, African Paper)

Et à l’heure où j’écris ces lignes, je suis encore en train d’écouter un de ces disques qui m’ont donné envie de reprendre cette page, et par lequel j’ai envie de commencer : Songs of a dying species de Dave Phillips. Il s’agit d’un CDR publié en tirage très limité (90 exemplaires) par le label portugais Noisendo (qui a également édité le dernier Joe Panzner, également recommandé). Evidemment, il est trop tard pour se procurer le CD, mais pour les intéressés, SOADS reste toujours disponible sur bandcamp (voir lien ci-dessous). Au cours de ses tournées en Asie, Dave Phillips a enregistré les témoignages sonores des derniers “hommes sauvages” (entendre par là les derniers hommes les plus extérieurs au système capitaliste et au mondialisme j’imagine). Ainsi, principalement en Indonésie, mais aussi à Taïwan, au Japon, en Chine, au Vietnam, en Thaïlande, en Corée du Sud, mais également en Israel, en Russie et en Suisse, Dave Phillips a compilé différentes traces musicales séculaires. Toutes les qualités d’un excellent musicien utilisant les field-recordings appliquées à l’éthnomusicologie. Dave Phillips utilise ici des enregistrements de rituels religieux, de cérémonies civiles, de défilés populaires, d’événements sportifs, de marchés alimentaires, etc. Il s’agit d’études éthnographiques en quelque sorte, mais plus encore. Car Dave Phillips possède l’art du montage, de l’enregistrement et du mixage, en plus d’être un grand spécialiste des effets psychoacoustiques. Avec toutes ces qualités, il a su capter et laisser percevoir ce que ces enregistrements célèbrent, impliquent émotionnellement, mais aussi leur trace historique et la présence humaine. Des enregistrements au cœur des hommes, au cœur du son, au cœur de l’histoire. Gâce au montage et à l’assemblage, c’est aussi Dave Phillips qui raconte une histoire, son histoire et la nôtre. C’est celle de la musique et de l’homme, du lien affectif et social qui unit les humains au son. L’histoire de la musique et du son comme expression fondamentale et dénuée de tabous. La musique humaine permet d’exprimer une situation affective et/ou sociale dans toute sa pureté, sans être noyée dans les conventions. La musique de l’homme primitif ou “sauvage” est l’expression pure de sentiments, de croyances, de foi, avant l’établissement de codes esthétiques dictés par la valeur marchande. SOADS collectionne ces traces pures de la musique et de l’homme originels. Du chant orgiaque des foules aux psalmodies intimes des moines, des cornes qui résonnent comme le cri d’une ville entière aux percussions polyrythmiques, Dave Phillips saisit une multitude de formes et raconte l’histoire d’une humanité qui a besoin de la musique pour s’exprimer, et qui parvient à toujours inventer une forme esthétique adaptée à chaque situation (historique, géographique, politique, émotionnelle, etc).

(Julien Héraud, Improv Sphere)

Stavate mica pensando che dopo Homo Animalis e Medusa ci saremmo fermati? Male, vi sbagliavate. Ecco quindi una delle ultime incandescenti uscite dello svizzero Dave Phillips, titolo manco a farlo apposta è Burn. L’impressione che ho avuto è quella di un qualcosa composto di fretta, giusto per onorare l’impegno preso, ma anche fosse vero, le tracce – due, per un totale di circa venti minuti – sono state realizzate con estrema cura e raffinatezza. Dalla scelta dei titoli si percepisce che i brani sono differenti tra loro, sia nell’ossatura, sia nei suoni. Il lato A va ascoltato come al solito a palla. È capace di tagliare a fettine sottili anche il diamante, ma solo quello sinterizzato. È come osservare dei demoni rinchiusi dentro una teca di purissimo cristallo trasparente, che cercano di sfuggire alle fastidiose onde d’urto causate dalle esplosioni di piccole dosi di polvere da sparo. Il lato B (“Walk Out”), invece, è più riflessivo, più tranquillo, più etereo. Saranno forse quelle note di pianoforte leggere e sfocate, o forse l’uso delle campane registrate nel 2006 all’ Hiroshima Peace Park, o forse l’atmosfera da tempesta in arrivo, o forse quel ventoso che mai spaventa, ma no, forse la pioggia orizzontale, forse…

L’audiocassetta viene pubblicata in 60 copie numerate per la berlinese Aaltra – gestita dal drone-noiser italiano Mauro Diciocia alias Torba – all’interno di un gustosissimo sacchettino color nero pece, contenente un breve articolo del giornalista indipendente svizzero Benedikt Loderer e una spilletta. Uscita – già esaurita dopo pochi giorni – dedicata al compianto artista sperimentale polacco Zbigniew Karkowski, scomparso nel dicembre 2013.

(Massimiliano Mercurio, The New Noise, January 2015)

Es gibt die weitverbreitete Gewohnheit, sich allem voran auf die Sprache zu verlassen, wenn es um die Annäherung an Multimedia-Konzepte geht. Dave Philips ist ein Künstler, bei dem Musik, Text, Bild, Film und Performance in etwa gleiche Rollen spielen, dazu kommen zahlreiche Verweise auf externe Quellen und all dies verfolgt einen kritischen, im weitesten Sinne politischen Ansatz. Nähert man sich Philips über das Medium Sprache, so findet man in seinen Booklets Texte von z.T. erstaunlicher Klarheit – eigene Manifeste oder Essays anderer Autoren, die sloganhafte Kommentare zum Stand der Zivilisation und teilweise direkte Handlungsanweisungen enthalten. Bezieht man dann jedoch die anderen Komponenten, v.a. die Musik mit ein, sieht man sich oft einem verstörenden Chaos gegenüber, betritt falsche Fährten auf unsicherem Boden und registriert, dass Philips wenig erklären, dafür aber viel anstoßen will.

Ein Tape, dessen Titel „Burn“ – gerade im Zusammenhang mit dem ersten Track „Exercise your demons“ – etwas Reinigendes andeutet, ein Essay Benedikt Loderers über die Geschichte der menschlichen Mobilität und dem damit einhergehenden Schaden an unserem Planeten, eine Viertelstunde unkoordiniertes Chaos, weitere fünfzehn Minuten dunklen Ambient, zugleich eine Widmung an den Komponisten Zbigniew Karkoswki – da kommt einiges zusammen, was nicht zwangsläufig zusammengehört, und man würde einen Fehler machen, würde man allzusehr nach dem dicken roten Faden suchen. „Burn“ zielt auf das Gemüt, nicht auf den Intellekt, zertrümmert in „Exorcise“ Welt- und Selbstbilder durch Tierstimmen, Hochfrequentes und unberechenbare Kakophionien, offenbart in „Walk out“ eine Alternative aus pianolastigem Ambient mit den Stimmen von Vögeln und Affen und einem plätschernden Rinnsal – eine schönere Parallelwelt, die aber nach wie vor zu düster und unbestimmt ist für ein romantisches Idyll und somit die Monstrosität des Ganzen nicht antastet.

Zum Schluss die schlechte Nachricht: Beim Label ist das Tape mit seinem Booklet im Heftformat längst ausverkauft. Man hört Gerüchte, dass in den Weiten des netzes noch einzelne Exemplare zu haben sind, aber dafür lege ich meine Hand nicht ins Feuer. Sollte es dazu aber mal ein Bandcamp geben, so heißt es zugreifen.

(Uwe Schneider, African Paper)

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)

At the Heart of it All is a significant departure from where Dave Phillips began in Fear of God. That was a grindcore band back in the late ’80s, as raucous as one would expect. But his solo work on At the Heart of It All comes down from all of the aggression of the hardcore scene for a collage of found sounds out of the Amazon. The two 35 minute tracks on this release were collected by Phillips during his time near Chuallacocha, where he let his microphones record whatever sounds of the wildlife surrounded him. Simply organized and layered, At the Heart of It All features no manipulation of the various calls, and instead allows them to blend together for a cacophony of natural harmony. The disc comes with a short essay from Phillips on the transformative nature of this experience as well, explaining the reasoning behind the title. The two tracks are split in two; “Dawn Until Dusk” gathers the sounds of the Amazon during the day, and “Dusk Until Dawn” collects them during the night. Both have familiar concepts – there’s an overwhelming amount of insect chirruping throughout both, and squawks from birds are fairly normal as well. In a way, these tend to form a wall of shrill cries throughout both tracks, allowing Phillips to layer calls of monkeys and frogs in the background to add variation. At the Heart of It All switches off and on; the listener sometimes feels like they’re simply listening to a chorus of cries in the wild, and then all of the sudden Phillips collage will morph into an interesting loop of animal calls that form a rhythmic base. These moments are staggered throughout the album, and most likely not intentional; it is the audience who pulls the meaning out of insect sounds, and these are great experiences. It’s certainly not a CD you’ll want to listen to all of the time; the found sound format, along with the relatively sparse editing, means that At the Heart of It All is best used as a relaxation soundtrack. Even so, I’d recommend “Dusk Until Dawn” over “Dawn Until Dusk” because the intensity of the insects becomes harsh over time. Still, if nature sounds are your thing, or if found sound interests you in any way, At the Heart of It All‘s composition is more than just heading to the zoo to listen to the animal buzz.

(Ryne Barber, Memory Wave Transmission, September 2014)

Двухдисковая компиляция швейцарского хардкорщика, панка и шумового экстремиста Дейва Филлипса, в которую вошли короткие треки, до этого изданные на различных сборниках (тематика которых охватывает как вопросы экологии и веганства/вегетарианства, так и более подходящие под эту музыку проблемы звуковой и социальной среды), неизданные вовсе и зафиксированные в разных уголках Земли (от Токио до Питера) во время живых перфомансов Дейва и группы «Schimpfluch-Gruppe». Несмотря на то, что эти вещи были записаны в разное время, внушительную часть из них объединяют общие приемы звукоизвлечения и воздействия на сознание слушателя – процентов пятьдесят из вошедших в «A Collection Of Hair» композиций содержат лязгающий грохот, хлесткие удары по крышке рояля с последующей болезненной отдачей в виде угрюмого гула потревоженных струн, яростный рык и угрожающие вопли, пропущенные через фильтры, порезанные на петли и доведенные до крайне животного состояния. Этой вакханалии сопутствуют женские и мужские стоны, как-то быстро переходящие от выражения страсти до тотального ужаса – людям впечатлительным слушать это стоит с осторожностью, как и треки, построенные на физиологических проявлениях, вроде захлебывающегося кашля, перистальтики и гортанных шумов, заканчивающихся отрыгиванием и рвотой. Моя фантазия склоняется в пользу темного подвала, в котором происходят садо-мазо оргии с последующим каннибализмом и прочим беспределом, причем в открытые окна подвала периодически залетают звуки «обычной» жизни, вроде чирикания птичек и сирен проезжающих мимо скорых, а вот люк, спрятанный под настилом, ведет прямиком в ад, где участники этого перфоманса находят для себя вечные муки, расплачиваясь за ненасытность, порочность и прочие грехи. Довольно тяжело все это слушать, но Филлипс хорошо умеет «вдарить» по мозгам и поставить их на место. Во всем остальном материале царит некое разнообразие: здесь и кошки, дерущиеся с тасманийскими дьяволами, и электроакустические преобразования, и эксперименты с академизмом, и сценический беспредел, и хоррор-посвящение жертвам цунами в Японии, составленное из их же голосов, и полевые записи. В этом сегменте Дейв порой превращается в обычного туриста, фиксирующего на магнитофон атмосферу экзотических стран с их ветром, дождем, шумом волн и голосами прохожих. Но в итоге он все равно возвращается в тот подвал, наполненный агонизирующей страстью, животной яростью и истеричным шумом. Может быть, таким он видит наше общество, а может быть, таким видят нас тараканы, живущие в его голове? Мощный и злой сборник бескомпромиссного артиста, находящего идеи и вдохновение в каждом моменте жизни. Какой бы она не была.

(darkroomrituals)

Probably I said this before, but based on seeing a concert by Dave Phillips I once saw, I think he’s one of the more interesting people when it comes to creating noise music, even when I am not blown away by the political nature of his work - veganism, animal rights and that sort of thing. But his noise is great! It is a form of in which sounds are loud, but short, in which he uses acoustic objects, such as balloons, and field recordings being amplified loudly and, oh, carefully used silence. Noise that is composed! Phillips is very active when it comes to playing live and recording and much of his works end up on the most obscure compilations, online releases and some never are released. Phillips always, or so it seems, mails out a piece, no matter how short. Difficult for the fans to keep up with it, but thanks god, there are CDs like this, the follow up to a previous release ‘A Collection Of Curses’. Collecting pieces from 1995 to 2011, many released on compilations but also various unreleased ‘never heard back of them’. Luckily Phillips is the man to keep a copy of these pieces and here we have 150 minutes of his music, which can as easily serve as introduction to his work. A fine combination of musique concrete montage techniques - stereo changing, cut up, reversing, silencing etc - with a curious form of sound poetry when it comes to doing a cover of a Rudimentary Peni song, even total silence when it called for, and true all out noise. If you still never heard his work, this is best introduction there is.

(Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly, Issue 870)

Most extreme metal fans are going to know Swiss artist Dave Phillips for his role as the bassist and vocalist for 80’s grindcore / noisecore pioneers Fear Of God, who were just as significant as Napalm Death in the development of grind. But since the late 80’s, Phillips has pursued even more extreme and challenging sounds, working with the experimental Aktionist-inspired noise ensemble Schimpfluch-Gruppe and producing a wealth of fascinating, often terrifying solo works. His violent, Dada-damaged soundscapes utilize chamber-music strings, field recordings (often taken from bizarre, unsettling sources), blasts of extreme noise, extreme sound-collage techniques and even some faint traces of Phillips’s grind/metal background to craft an incredibly intense listening experience that often sounds like a particularly bizarre horror movie soundtrack.

A huge selection of Phillips’s work has been compiled for this double disc collection A Collection Of Hair, much of which comes from long-aborted solo projects from tiny go-nowhere labels that left the recordings in limbo. This collections has moments of aural extremism that’ll test the most ardent “noise” fan, but if you can hang with Phillips’s surreal sonic horror this has a TON of stuff to sink into. Most of it is pretty nihilistic, with track titles like “Most Adults Are Atrophied Children Whose Fire Has Long Since Been Extinguished” and “The Possibility Of Life’s Destruction”. And some of this stuff is terrifying; the track “Devil Disease / For The Tasmanian Devils 1” combines recordings of the snarling titular beasts and strains of rumbling ominous cello, with the occasional crash of broken glass or percussive thud. Snarls of high-pitched tape noise become tangled beneath demonic growling on “Scutigera”. And there’s a “re-working” of the intro to the Discharge song “The Possibility Of Life’s Destruction”, where Phillips extracts snippets of that original intro and turns the screams and howls of pain and anguish into a horrific soundscape littered with swells of dark dissonant piano and creepy metallic melodies. The savage electronics of “Wright Rong” that transform into a vicious fusion of death industrial crush and grindcore vocals, and there’s a bizarre “cover” of Rudimentary Peni’s “Drinking Song From The Tomb” done a capella.

Some other tracks are a mere thirty seconds long, brief blasts of horrific sound-collage, violent sexual release exploding into skull-destroying harsh noise, sounds of a busy motorway overlaid with creepy electronic mewling sounds, bestial grunts colliding with chunks of concrete sound. Phillips’s trademark bursts of sudden, thunderous slamming noises occur all through these tracks, eliciting intense shocks of sound that suddenly rupture the malevolent ambience he so carefully constructs. There are nauseating Randy Yau-style vomit-exorcisms and vocal/noise experiments, power electronics pieces with strangely mixed recordings cruising on waves of crushing black synthesizer, and stretches of near-silent minimalism and quiet, detailed environmental recordings shattered by the screams of children. “Threnody For The Victims Of Gluttony” is probably the most disturbing piece, a symphony of slaughterhouse screams and droning chamber strings that is the stuff of nightmares.

Disc two is filled with more surreal sonic horror, offering up frightening percussive blasts, monstrous murky noisescapes and bits of blackened ambience, discordant evil piano drifting over backwards voices and breathing sounds, and disgusting symphonies of gastro-intestinal violence. “Abolishing religion: an exorcism (acts 2 and 3)” is a standout track, a recording of a slithering, slinking black magic ritual that took place in Berlin that ends up turning into a violent junk-noise assault infested with demonic screams and sounds of torture. Elsewhere, ghostly chiming melodies that seem to be drifting off of some mysterious numbers channel fade into view, Phillips disappears into long sprawling passages of psychedelic electronic squelch, and we even get some of his chopped-up grindcore abstractions.

Difficult and often extremely unnerving, A Collection Of Hair delivers two and a half hours of Phillips’s brand of extreme mangled musique concrète. The first disc also features a couple of videos from Phillips and experimental animation artist Gina Kamentsky.

(Crucial Blast)

I’ve never really heard much by this guy but I know he walks along the harsher path of what we sell. This 2CD set is a sequel to ‘A Collection of Curses’ and gathers hard to find tracks, compilation contributions, re-workings, live recordings as well as unreleased pieces by the man Phillips. The opening few tracks appear to have lots of samples of animals all sounding in varying degrees of distress. I’m having to skip those! The tracks seem reasonably short throughout and as soon I get into one it finishes. It’s sonically very interesting with power electronics, backwards vocals, tape manipulation, bizarre samples and many many clattery and bang. It’s really unlike anything I normally listen to and for that reason alone I’m enjoying it. It’s undeniably dark and has a total vibe of ritualistic evil running through it with the super low vocals, screaming or backwards vocals. My breath is being taken away by the sheer power and immensity of the music. It’s not for everyone but if you’re into dark ritualistic experimentation then this is the tits. Right I’m off to join a cult now and stab someone in the face maybe.

(Norman Records)

Also on “Hearts & Crossbones”…“A Collection of Hair” (dcd) is the second volume of retrospective/now unavailable sonic ephemera from DAVE PHILLIPS, ex of the legendary Fear of God and Schimpfluch Group activist. This follow up to “A Call of Curses” (Blossoming Noise Records), is an overstuffed suitcase, two and a half hours thick compilation of bizarro sound manipulations and brain shriek from an acoustic master adept. If you have dipped a toe or two into D.P.’s back catalogue (the ”?” c.d. (on H & C), being a particularly good example…), that will NOT in any way, shape or form, prepare you for this…. the album mentioned had some notable dynamics and breathing space(s), but “Hair” will just roll right over you (with spikes on). There’s strictly no let up really. For sheer unrelenting ugliness, particular attention is inevitably drawn to the retchings and bilious outpourings of “Wight Rong” and “Erratum” which captures the sound of the body’s gag reflex going into overdrive. “I Question my Reality” meanwhile, is a horrific x-film for the ears and finds the screams of the tortured amid a slew of evil, taunting subhuman gibberings….shiver. And let’s not forget that rare beast (and I’m not referring to “Devil Disease” - a homage to the Tasmanian Devil…) a Rudimentary Peni cover (!) in “Drinking Song from the Tomb”. Makes perfect sense as one of D.P.’s more recent projects rejoices in the name of Dead Peni……Truly this IS the living end….woe unto ye… etc etc.

(Rumbles)

My speakers are about to blow. Heart-rate is irregular. I panic. I enter… The first words that appeared in mind. The pig, the child, the woman. The man behind the curtain playing in distorted motion. The observer of the downfall of values. This record is Dave Phillips’s brilliance in hidden layers, hints and almost subliminal messages. Nothing too obvious, cheaply offensive. Premature or simple. He prepares the listener for the inevitable while hinting as to why it is all happening and perhaps who is responsible. There is no clear enemy here, but if you know Dave’s standpoints and values on globalization capitalism and politics, it’s not that difficult to figure out why this record is called the “Abyss”. I was lucky enough to experience 2 days of Dave Phillips live performances without knowing much about his sound and huge input to the “experimental/noise” scene. That cold and beautiful weekend in Bristol, that all who attended till this day regard as one of the best festivals, I was blown to pieces. And amongst many discoveries at that special event was the sonic and visual experience of Dave’s performances. His work comes across as extremely personal and multi-faceted as well as sinister, slightly child-like horror story. At the same time it seems he is one of the last few who in depth questions human essence from almost Jungian point and questions political values of the masses as well as global effect it has. There is a clear question presented: “Will The Human Species Grow Out Of Its Infancy?”. The record is very strong in sound; the “abyss” is almost overwhelming. The catharsis of sound layers is a downfall of values. The greatness of the sonic activist. This record made me sick. Like a Stockholm effect - I am in Love. I felt the need to live and crawl over the fears and deadly notions of not getting out of a trap of subconscious paralysis. This record is a master of intimidation and flashbacks. If you were ever “trapped” in any sort of way you will understand exactly what I mean after giving this a long and loud listen. The boundaries of social norms and all that comes with being a part of the “system”. The natural balance and the pollution that money structures bring the world. I think that Dave is also a great storyteller, however we hate the word, still – he is a visionary. I consciously decided not to go in depth through the texts presented with the record while writing this. I just listened the LP over and over and over again. This concussion of field recordings, noise, ritualistic drones and echoes that remind of a bad psychotropic trip. Giving in to the experience of the record, I came out with words: pressure, woods just after sunset, shit piles in abandoned wooden houses. Dead animals, extinction, a man behind my back wheel, death. Wooden floor, blood, flies, sunrise, heat wave, vomit, stinks. Walking, fastly, running. Freeze frame, acknowledgment of a dead end, panic, death. Emptiness. Rot, noise, stink, darkness, branches, thick forest, branches. Dry land, rape, sweat, stink, old skin. End. LISTEN LOUD

(Sonia Dietrich, Special Interests, Issue 10, September 2014)

Hand-stamped and numbered edition of 100 Transparent Vinyl - please note these vinyl copies are slightly warped, this does not seem to affect playback. iDEAL Recordings never fail to grab our attention and this 7” from Swiss extremist Dave Phillips has us rapt. A regular collaborator with Schimpfluch Gruppe, Dave has consistently explored the outer limits since his work as Fear Of God in the late 80s. Here he instigates two provocative pieces of cut-up, animalistic exhortations and visceral psycho-acoustics, wrenching all manner of burping, squawking, wretching, masticated sonics from his body and secreting them in a hocked-up glob of electro-acoustic process. The 2nd side is particularly unhinged: a rapid-fire battery of scatted hollers arranged in a razing hail of deviant behaviour. He explains thus “it’s when humans believe they have left their animal nature behind, that they show the qualities that are their’s alone: obsession, self-deception and perpetual unrest. they think they are free, conscious beings, when in truth they are deluded animals. at the same time they never cease trying to escape from what they imagine themselves to be. their religions are attempts to be rid of a freedom they have never possessed. their utopias of right and left or their incessant blabber of national identity serve the same function. like religion, the modern cults of certain sciences live on the hope of miracles and salvation - they have built empires of scientific capability to manipulate the phenomena of nature into enormous manifestations of their own dreams of power and wealth. and politics is unconvincing even as entertainment. luckily, humans have a gift of self-deception, and thrive in ignorance of their natures… …just as there is no central representation there is no central system. each activity connects perception to action directly. it is only the observer of a creature who imputes a central representation or central control; the creature itself has none - aren’t we at our most skillful when we are least self-aware? out of the local chaos of these interactions there emerges, in the eye of the observer, a coherent pattern of behaviour. selfhood in humans is not the expression of any essential unity, but a pattern of organisation, not unlike that found in insect colonies… …we become more resistant to undesirable social influence by maintaining a sense of personal responsibility and by being willing to be held accountable for our actions…”

(Boomkat)

First of ten planned singles by this Swiss oddball with long ties to the Schimpfluch Group. Voice clatter that sounds lke a rugby team throwing up in a trench and enjoying the heck out of it.

(Byron Coley, The Wire, December 2012)

Yang coba kami perkenalkan kali ini adalah praktik field-recording, suatu hal yang masih jarang dilakukan di Indonesia dan masih sedikit pula sound-artist lokal yang bergerak di bidang tersebut. Mayoritas aktivitas field-recording di Indonesia dilakukan masih untuk tujuan sains. Ya, kali ini kami akan mencoba mengeskpos rekaman field-recording berjudul Suara Alam Indonesia karya seniman Swiss bernama Dave Phillips. Album Suara Alam Indonesia merupakan kompilasi dari hasil field-recording Dave Phillips ketika ia menjelajah alam pedalaman: Bali, Lombok, Flores dan Sumba, pada bulan Januari hingga Februari 2010. Suara Alam Indonesia dirilis di internet pada bulan Feburari 2012. Field-recording album ini tidak menggunakan sama sekali teknik manipulasi suara, dan hanya menggunakan mikrofon binaural serta sebuah minidisc-recorder. Dave Phillips sendiri adalah seorang seniman audio asal Swiss yang telah aktif sejak tahun 1987. Ia telah aktif lebih dari 25 tahun, memiliki 170 rilisan dan telah bermain sebanyak 400 pertunjukan di 38 negara. Orang di belakang Suara Alam Indonesia ini dulunya pada era pertengahan 80-an aktif di scene hardcore/punk Swiss (paling dikenal karena ia adalah bassist di band, yang merupakan salah satu pionir di genre grindcore, Fear Of God). Setelah itu Dave Phillips lebih aktif di scene art / experimental-music. Selain aktif di musik, Dave juga aktif sebagai gig organizer dan radio DJ.

  • adalah ironis ketika kami mem-publish bukti-bukti keindahan asli Tanah Air, namun berasal dari tangan seniman luar negeri. Diharapkan ke depannya muncul artis-artis lokal lainnya untuk turut mendokumentasikan “suara” di Indonesia.
(Wasted Rockers)

Recorded live at The Lab, San Francisco on Sep 1, 2010 and originally intended to be released as a 4-way split of all artists performing that night (DP, Leticia Castaneda, Ryan Jencks and Gerritt Wittmer). The final release is a documentation of Dave’s set only, a 3inch disk housed in a neat mini DVD case, presumably displaying the full set (well, at least audio-wise), totalling just under 20 minutes. I have no idea what the video part of this performance was like (assuming there was one regarding the title), but the audible part pretty much works by itself. Presented in a strong and powerful recording by Jim Haynes, the piece starts rather restrained. Asthmatic breath sounds and heartthrobs, an occasional whispering now and then, inhering a somehow uneasy feeling overall. The more this set evolves, the sharper the exposure of human depravity, which runs like a common thread through the immense body of Phillips’ work, comes to light. Besides the mandatory squeaking pigs and yapping dogs, the beforementioned breather slowly seems to be approaching the death’s door, increasingly spewing and choking, accompanied by lovely, yet morbid piano sounds and audible sledgehammer blows, culminating in outbursts of noise and vicious, Fear-Of-God-ish vocal eruptions. Even without the video component, a thoroughly absorbing excursion (not only for Schimpfluch afficionados) and a genuine piece of Phillips in all of its obnoxious beauty.

(Fake Dimensions, February 2012)

The Swiss Aktionist’s previous recordings have been extreme juxtapositions of furious noise and uncomfortable silence, but this album is a radical proposition. Recorded ‘during a period dominated by severe disturbances of loss, mental abysses and despair’, ? does not shy away from expressing those traits. Notes tapped on the lower register of a piano and a weeping accordion signify utter depression amid Phillips’s exceptional use of nocturnal field recordings. Owls, crickets, warehouse resonance and forest noises form a hallucinatory, slow-moving concoction; but it’s his use of the human voice that makes this album so unsettling. A male voice, pitchshifted to a demonic other, laughs and grunts amid spiralling snippets of a female voice caught somewhere between orgasm and pain. The interaction between these recurring voices reflects the voyeuristic qualities of Luc Ferrari’s concrète pieces, with Phillips pushing the psychosexual drama to the brink of self-annihilation.

(Jim Haynes, The Wire, July 2010)

Swiss noise artist Phillips has been knocking away at his chosen means of expression for a fair while now (since the ‘80s, in fact, when he was once in extreme hardcore punk outfit Fear Of God), but this is the first solo one of his I’ve really listened to and cannot say how it compares to previous works. Instead of the kinda expected out and out ‘noise’ assault, however,? collects compositions built around all manner of field recordings, metallic crashes, babbling textures and, indeed, the occasional tidal wave of static white attack. What’s most noticeable is the pervasive sense of genuine unease and moodiness, though. Throughout the layers of breathy vocals, groaning, minimal piano keys, swirling rumbles seemingly beamed in from the ether, cracking sounds, accordian, dissonant tones, birdsong and so on, an alarming amount of space and restraint is given to retaining an atmosphere that soaks on all from sombreness to something more distinctly menacing. If anything, there are vague parallels with some of Andrew Liles’ work, but perhaps with a rather more sober edge. No bad thing at all, as there’s only one Liles and, well, ? suggests yet another artist whose back catalogue must be well worth exploring in its own right. So much for my expectations. Those HCB boys have gone and done it again!

(Richard Johnson, www.fourth-dimension.net)

Un suggerimento, prima di tutto. Non ci si azzardi ad ascoltare quest’ultimo parto discografico dello sperimentalista svizzero Dave Phillips da soli e al buio. O, per lo meno, siate consapevoli del fatto che potrebbe turbare i vostri sonni per molti giorni a venire. Dieci tracce senza nome, per un disco ammaliante che – e il titolo enigmatico ci sta tutto – stimola la fantasia e i sensi, incuriosisce ed affascina, terrorizza e mette a disagio, mentre ci si continua a chiedere che cosa siano i suoni catturati nei solchi del cd. Field recordings pesantemente rimaneggiati, messi in loop, droni subacquei, versi di animali fatti girare al contrario, voci, grugniti e bisbigli, oltre a pregevoli incursioni di strumenti musicali come pianoforte e fisarmonica, compongono questo splendido lavoro licenziato dalla Heart & Crossbone, una label che non ha mai paura di spingersi oltre i limiti. Ogni brano è denso di personalità e vive di luce - ma sarebbe meglio dire oscurità - propria, lasciando all’ascoltatore il compito di chiudere gli occhi e creare con la mente le immagini a complemento, e magari mettersi a dare un persino nome ai suoni che avvolgono la mente. Così, la terza traccia potrebbe benissimo chiamarsi ‘Fuck With The Devil (Tribute To Rosemary’s Baby)’: l’amplesso di Satana con una (o più?) donne, grugniti bestiali si mescolano a gemiti femminili che si avvicinano sempre più ad un orgasmo – e si sentono pure le carni che sbattono! - mentre un polmone d’acciaio assieme a profonde e rarefatte pulsazioni di basso continuano a scandire il ritmo come un metronomo immerso nella melma. Dodici minuti di sublime incubo luciferino. C’è la pioggia (traccia 1), la notte (traccia 4) e i versi dei suoi rapaci che lasciano spazio ai rumori del traffico mentre una fisarmonica dal gusto francese incede indolente carica di malinconia. E ancora le note di pianoforte sempre più trasfigurate e soggette all’attrazione gravitazionale della traccia numero 5, l’ombra di Ligeti e Penderecki che si sposta furtiva in background ed emerge prepotente nell’ultima, strepitosa, traccia. E ancora, i Naked City più ambientali di Absinthe, lamenti agghiaccianti (traccia 9) che puzzano di tortura, orrore e la disperazione, e l’abisso che viene esplorato sin nei più reconditi anfratti. Impossibile resistere ad un disco del genere, emotivamente devastante.

(Valerio Spisani, Audiodrome)

40-летний гражданин швейцарского Цюриха Dave Phillips в кругах радикальных нонконформистов известен как убежденный последователь «бруитизма», некогда организовавший грайнд-кор группу FEAR OF GOD (1986-1988), затем авангардистские коллективы TOWER OF BEEF (1988-1994), PK (1991-1993), SCHIMPFLUCH-GRUPPE (1991-н.в.), SHITFUN (1995-1996), OHNE (2000-н.в.) и дум-сладж-метал «сам-себе-бэнд» DEAD PENI (2004-н.в.). Под собственным именем Dave Phillips записывается и выступает с 1987 года; много путешествует, активно коллекционирует всевозможные звуки и охотно делится со слушателями результатами своих полевых экспедиций, порой комбинируя их с голосовыми и инструментально-исполнительскими экспериментами. Круг своих художественно-прикладных интересов сам Phillips определяет понятиями «анимализм, гуманизм, бруитизм, голос, тело, конкретная музыка, полевые записи», а за его многочисленными звукотворческими опытами кроется «бихевиористская» симуляция условий среды обитания для познания прямых связей стимулов и реакций – и у исполнителя, и у слушателя. Десять безымянных электроакустических конструкций, собранных в апреле-июне 2009 года и составленных в альбом с вопросительным знаком вместо названия – это без малого 80 минут типичных для творчества Dave Phillips «аудио-симуляций». В основе – текстурно-постановочные шумовые сценки: обще-расслабляющие звуки природы, гудение копошащейся насекомой массы (предмет повышенного интереса артиста), диалоги и кряхтение совокупляющихся любовников, бытовые скрипы-шорохи и прочие акустические изыски, наводящие мысли, в частности, о рукотворном выбивании духа из орущей и чавкающей человеческой плоти. Впрочем, физиологически отталкивающих звуковых фрагментов и экстремальных голосовых экзальтаций в этот раз не так много. А вот композиционно-минималистских рефренов – рояль в низком регистре, скрипящая виолончель, резонирующий бас, фальшивящий аккордеон и т.п. – больше обычного. Доносящиеся из мониторов звуки порой напоминают монтажный аудио-ряд какого-то натуралистического фильма или абсурдистский китч. Самое интересное, что действо невольно затягивает, и с нетерпением ждешь того, что будет дальше. Но ничего особенного не происходит: разве что чьи-то тяжело удаляющиеся шаги и звук захлопывающейся двери в очередной раз напомнят о завершении еще одного трека. Диск хорошо слушается в режиме «постоянного повтора» – формального начала и конца у него просто нет, зато есть множество акустических подробностей, которые даются не с первого раза… У кого-то альбом действительно вызовет «вопросы», у кого-то – приступ черной тоски и беспричинного страха, или, напротив, разлив жизнетворных соков по чреслам, у большинства – естественное непонимание и негодование. Такова «современная психо-акустика», на передовом рубеже которой тестируются и сокрушаются психологические барьеры, общественные нормы и привычки. Притом, что это одна из самых «музыкальных» работ Dave Phillips, подходить к ней с мерилом «музыкальной эстетики» совершенно бессмысленно. Понимающим это слушателям, поклонникам де-фокусированного звукотворчества, конкретной музыки и нео-минимализма – рекомендуется настоятельно!


Given his pedigree as a founder member of grindcore legends Fear of God you’ll acknowledge that I am excused my decision to approach this album with both a sense of trepidation and an (un)healthy helping of rum. I was expecting to be confronted by a wall 30 second howls of apocalyptic rage and instead I’m being gently caressed by a set of introspective and vaguely psychedelic ambient(ish) pieces. Phillips has undergone a sea-change on this album and has shown a markedly different side to his creativity through the use of accordion, cello, piano & field recordings. The music is beautifully composed (in both senses of the word) with subtle nuances that reward repeated, and close, listens. It’s an absolute joy to hear a musician step waaaay outside his comfort zone and it’s an extra special joy when he does it this well.

(Wonderful Wooden Reasons)

Dave Phillips has been an architect of extreme sonics going all the way back to the mid-80’s, when he formed the uber-influential hardcore/noise band Fear Of God. Fear Of God’s short, violent blasts of hyper speed hardcore were an important catalyst in the development of grindcore, and the band was often cited in the same breath as Napalm Death for pioneering the genre. After the dissolution of Fear Of God, Phillips would go on to become involved with even more intense and visceral approaches to sound, leading him to the aktionist noise performance ensemble Schimpfluch-Gruppe. The performances and recordings of Schimpfluch-Gruppe would be excruciating affairs, combining short blasts of brutal noise with transgressive bouts of vomit-and-blood play, these aktions on the surface of it confrontational and disturbing. Since then, Phillips has struck out with a series of solo recordings which follow a similar strategy, the latest of which, ? comes to us from Israeli noise/metal label Heart And Crossbones, and it’s one of his creepiest recordings. ? continues in the disturbing, surreal vein as his other releases, but with a series of sounds that generates stronger feelings of fear and uneasiness, as if someone has commissioned Dave Phillips to create his version of a horror movie score. The ten tracks are based around field recordings that have been augmented with actual composed musical parts, like clusters of dark lower register piano that echo through recordings of rainfall and fields of mysterious clattering and clanging noises, Carpernter-esque synths, and distorted accordion drones and wisps of bowed cello strings that appear in between strange smooching and slapping sounds, a door being loudly shut (a recurrent sound that reappears throughout the album), droning insectile buzz, nocturnal forest sounds, random laughter, deep gong-like reverberations, brutally loud crashing metal, heavy footsteps, and crushing walls of white noise. Whenever vocal sounds appear on Phillips’s recordings, it’s usually in the form of grotesque vomiting or retching or choking sounds that assault the listener, but on ?, we hear voices that range from haunting (ghostly voices, angelic chorals) to the demonic (impossibly deep throat singing, and horrific screams of pain). Some of the most chilling moments on the album appear on the third and the final tracks: the former evolves into a disturbing soundscape of deep pitch-shifted beast-like groans and demonic grunting over the orgasmic moans and gasps of women that are looped over and over, a hallucinatory tangle of samples and grotesque voices that eventually morphs into an eerie chamber-string drone, later joined by recordings of owls, random backwards sounds run through trippy FX, and an sad, melancholic accordion melody; the last track is dark piano-led minimalism and Lustmordian blackness, the sounds all subtly warped and tweaked, creating an off-center, nightmarish feel that goes on for more than ten minutes. From beginning to end, this is an intense and agitated performance that has long empty fields of quiet torn apart by sudden eruptions of unsettling noise. Full color digipack packaging.

(Crucial Blast)

Noise. There are people out there, mainly youngsters devoted to noise, who think that I don’t like noise. They are mistaken, and should check their history lessons. But these days, noise doesn’t have my full attention anymore. I just heard too much of that, I guess, in those grey forgotten days. However sometimes I see something that is maybe ‘noise’ live and sometimes it blows me away. Sudden Infant for instance, very recently, and last year Dave Phillips. The former member of Fear Of God, a grindcore band, is connected to the Schimpfluch gang these days and his concert was a carefully constructed set of noise and silence. I may not have cared for the political overtones of his work, his noise went down pretty well. Its therefore with some anticipation that I played his new CD ’?’. It was recorded ‘during a period dominated by severe disturbances of loss, mental abysses and despair’ and yes, we are not in for some fun for the next eighty minutes. Normally I would complain about the length of such a release, but somehow it all seems to make sense here. The shortest piece is just over one minute, the longest just under sixteen. And it seems to be without the sort of noise those earlier mentioned youngsters care about: Phillips uses loops, piano, concrete sounds, very little sound effects, so all the sounds are as a dry as possible, cello, accordion and voice material (sighing, moaning, crying) and the sounds of torture the human body. Like I said, nothing conservative noise here, but quite a depressing album altogether. Low bass sound here and there, obscured field recordings and such like make up the backbone, and top these repeating sound fragments of instruments and voices. Bleak, dark stuff. Not much information on the cover to go by, but depression has not be made that clear in quite some time. A creepy record, not for the weak of heart and mind. That’s true noise for you.

(Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly)

This item by Dave Phillips is a true puzzler, though we should expect nothing less from a release called ?, and the task of bewilderment on a world-wide scale has long been the chosen career path of this experimenting absurdist from Switzerland. Those that have deeper digged than I into the European perplexment conspiracy will be more familiar with the ins and outs of the Schimpfluch cabal; Rudolf Eber’s record label of that name has featured the releases of similar marginal pranksters and noise-gods since 1990, among them Runzelstirn & Gurgelstøck, Sudden Infant, and Wash Your Brains, although the Schimpfluch-Gruppe of which Dave Phillips is a member seems to be slightly different, even if its dates are roughly coincident and its grand scheme for the worldwide implementation of absurdity roughly overlaps. Further clues may also be found from the back catalogue of Tochnit Aleph in Berlin, perhaps. Heart & Crossbone, for their part, may be in the camp of those who revere Fear Of God, a Swiss grindocre noise band which existed for about a year in 1987, probably by word of mouth. Dave Phillips was the bass player for that band, although one suspects that with his disposition and ideas, he contributed a lot more than jut playing the bass. Perhaps uncharacteristically for this label, this actual release doesn’t contain that much noisy content pound for pound, and instead offers an unfathomable series of mysterious events, aimless instrumental passages, and nonsensical tape cut-ups that will keep you perched on the edge of your toolbox. You will probably start to feel queasy and sickened around the middle of track three, with consists of 12 minutes of orgasmic groaning voices, slowed down and mangled in various hideous ways, and overlaid in nasty loops like coiled serpents. It’s the sort of things that makes you ashamed to be a human being, which is probably the general idea. It’s followed by a bizarre passage of accordion music which is struggling to be heard against a barrage of abstract sound which may or may not include underground trains, crowds of happy shoppers, and angelic choirs rising. Then there’s the sinister lower-range piano work on track 5, a piece where gradual tape manipulation creeps in to slow down the sound and deepen it still further, all the while smuggling in foreign sibilants and unpleasant murmurings suggestive of an ugly troll luriking in the drawing room in the dark. Worrying stuff; and rest assured, there is plenty worse to come on this album of dissonant, dark and deeply disturbing compositions. The label informs us that these ten compositions were centred around field recordings, with the addition of cello, piano, accordion and voices. Apparently the process of creating and assembling it was largely a therapeutic act of self-healing by its maker, during “a period dominated by severe disturbances of loss, mental abysses and depair”. He pretty much put his own heart, body and mind under the microscope, breaking himself into piece and analysed what he found through the portal of music, deliberately confronting himself with “bile and degradation” at every turn. Ultimately, this was intended as a purgative process, but there can be no doubt that in the performance of these mental excavations, a large amount of psychic spew and filth has also ended up on the grooves of this record. Only those who feel capable of processing such morbidity and unhappiness should proceed with purchase of ?, and listen to it in the company of a friendly therapist.

(Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector, Issue 19, January 2011)

Etrange familiarité à l’écoute de cet album. Ou plutôt, deux familiarités, l’une existant entre tous les morceaux du disque, en apparence étrangers, et l’autre entre cet ensemble même et l’auditeur… Dave Phillips, musicien suisse, multiplie les expérimentations dans le domaine abstrait mais aussi dans celui du métal, depuis de nombreuses années en solo (voir par exemple son album sur Groundfault), en formation avec Fear Of God ou Schimpfluch Gruppe, ou en collaboration (avec John Wiese / Bastard Noise ou avec Francisco Meirino alias Phroq entre autres). L’album ? montre donc le geste sûr d’un musicien habitué à plonger et à nager aisément dans les profondeurs du son. Quoique de natures diverses, ses compositions sont toutes nourries de field recordings et / ou du jeu d’instruments classiques (violoncelle, accordéon, piano). Cette première trame, dans un sens et dans l’autre, dessine l’intimité que nous évoquions, claire ou obscure (c’est plutôt cette dernière exposition qui prédomine), chaque pièce partageant une densité d’ensemble, bâtie sur un lent mouvement de flux et de reflux. Les ponctuations de sons étranges, même dans les moments les plus vifs, ne bouleversent pas le niveau général, et le tangage, étouffé, s’élabore imperceptiblement. Au-delà encore de cette évolution en milieu constant, l’apparente diversité des pistes se confond dans la communauté de son effrayante humanité. Je parle avant tout d’enregistrements de voix qui servent, non de citations, mais de matières premières, vidées d’un sens langagier, et forçant le retour à une animalité, non une bestialité mais une primordialité de ce son. Le plus long et puissant exemple habite la troisième plage, très longue, où un gémissement de plaisir féminin cohabite avec un souffle rauque de créature monstrueuse qui sans doute lui répond. Ce n’est pas tout, la scène de luxure évoquée sans d’autre indice que tous ces sons vraisemblablement extraits de films pornographiques, et pour certains traités dans le ralentissement, sont « habillés » de loin en loin d’échos de conversation, décontextualisant un peu plus la connotation. Avançons encore, c’est une nuit qui sollicite l’imagination romantique, parcourue irrégulièrement d’un chant de bête, puis d’un train ou d’un tram dans le lointain, prise au premier plan par l’accordéon, sans autre forme d’évocation figurative. C’est bien là l’attrait de ce disque tout entier. Plus qu’abstrait mais moins que figuratif, Dave Phillips parvient à une forme d’expressionnisme sans dessin formel, une exacerbation de la fonction imaginative sans aucun objet à la clef, un usage de la voix sans jargon, la colonisation d’un espace intermédiaire encore rarement visité. Un grand disque de la zone grise.

(Dennis Boyer, Feardrop)

Дэйв Филлипс в свое время приложил много сил к созданию и существованию культовой грайндкоровой группы «Fear of God», испытывая нервы фанатов на прочность вплоть до развала коллектива. После этого события Дэйв вплотную смог заняться экспериментами с индустриальным звучанием, фиксируя на всех возможных носителях потоки атонального шума, записи окружающего мира, найденные сэмплы, партии «живых» инструментов, гитарный гул и многое другое. Все это сыпалось из него как из рога изобилия, отчего дискография Филипса быстро разрослась если не до неприличных размеров, то до вполне внушительных. Очередной кирпичик в дискографию артиста – альбом «?». Этим безмолвным вопросом задаются и слушатели, имеющие возможность прослушать десять этих агрессивно-безымянных треков и пытающиеся понять, что же здесь происходит. Понять это довольно сложно. Начинается альбом как винтажный ужастик из жизни вампиров – жирными каплями мазута падают и растекаются звуки клавиш, барабанит дождь по крыше и грохочет гром, скрипят половицы и доносятся потусторонние голоса. Потом, правда, ненадолго открывается потайная дверца в солнечный и безмятежный мирок с птичками и пчелками, миновав который, слушатель рискует потеряться в непроницаемом тумане монотонного шума (второй трек). Далее слушателю придется побыть вуайеристом, и не факт, что это ему понравится – на фоне развернутых вспять звуков, гулкого раскатистого эха колокольного звона, замедленного в разы смеха и человеческих голосов (кто эти люди? Соседи по коммуналке или незнакомцы, стоящие в очереди на доступ к телу?) несколько людей тихо, но страстно занимаются сексом. Как не странно, вместо сексуального возбуждения при прослушивании всего этого можно испытать приступ паники и страха, настолько сюрреалистично и странно все это звучит. Далее – на вечерней улочке играет аккордеон (аккордеонист при этом находится явно в измененном состоянии сознания), от трека к треку приобретая все более абсурдные и истеричные интонации. Коллаж одной из композиций воспроизводит звуки скотного двора, обитатели которого пережили войну и лишены присмотра человека. Гитарный гул уплотняется до вполне осязаемых вязких мелодий, заходя на территорию «Troum» с их трансцендентальными гармониями. Следующая вещь воспроизводит некое садомазо действо с обязательными стонами, звуками кнута, угрожающими приказами и криками наслаждения, за которыми плохо скрывается сильная боль, и все это на фоне массивного неповоротливого гула. Альбом от человека, творчество которого выдает в нем не банально-агрессивного шумовика-затейника, а знатока разного рода экстремальных ритуалов, мистических и сексуальных тайн. Не power electronic, не noise, не drone ambient, даже не электроакустика – но все вместе и сразу. Странные вибрации эфира, доносящие самые потаенные стороны человеческого бытия.

(Сергей Сергеевич, http://maeror3.livejournal.com/181016.html)

Late last year I was posting about some record or another and several loyal readers began speaking very highly of Dave Phillips. At that time I had never heard of him yet after those comments I started to see his name everywhere. Phillips was one of the co-founders of hardcore group, Fear of God, and after their break up has been producing solo work under his own name. If my house caught on fire and I could only save ten of my CD’s I reckon this would probably be one of them. Phillips has moved along way from any semblance of hardcore on ?. This is a record that is all about embracing field recordings and sound collage in a, quite frankly, terrifying way. Much seems to have been written about the third track which to me sounds like a light bondage session with Satan. Nurse with Wound would often insert prurient sounds into their tracks but I don’t think anything comes close to the sheer and utter filth that Phillips puts together on this one. Yet bum slapping, demonic grunting and female moaning aside, the manner in which he fuses multiple layered bird calls, static, a loud and persistent heart beat, a swarm of flies, street sounds, accordion, doom piano and other goodies will have your average filed recording nut in fits of pleasure. It’s like Daniel Menche, Nurse With Wound and Russell Haswell’s Wild Tracks all blended together to create something that is both challenging and accessible at the same time. ? is well worth your time.

(ducks battle satan)

Dave Phillips doesn’t give us a lot to go on here, but all of the clues point to this being the most fucked-up break-up record ever. Sure, there’s plenty of emo bands and sensitive singer-songwriters who pine over their broken hearts with oh-so earnest lyrics and anthemic crescendos; but if you were to break the heart of a twisted Swiss aktionist with a penchant for violent noise outbursts, industrial-doomscaping, and slaughterhouse ambience, you’d get an album far more wracked with the depths of abject loneliness. Like we said, we can’t be sure that this is a break-up record, but Phillips does state the album was recorded as a “therapeutic process during a period dominated by severe disturbances of loss, mental abysses and despair.” And he does dedicate this album to Thala, who may have been his girlfriend at one time, but certainly had appeared in several rather disturbing performances with Phillips. Those performances involved a mattress wired up with numerous contact microphones and the two engaging in rather violent sex, with the noises of the groaning mattress tossed back at the audience through explosive amplification. Of course, Phillips is a member of the Schimpfluch-Gruppe of Swiss aktionists, alongside Sudden Infant, Rudolf Eb.Er, Raionbashi, and G*Park. He was also the man responsible for that Dead Peni record released in 2008 on Blossoming Noise, and was the drummer for Fear Of God, which was like the Swiss equivalent to Napalm Death way back when. In all of those references, this album with all of its fragmented noises, nocturnal events, funereal dirges from an accordion, and fatalistic dronescaping falls more on the G*Park end of the spectrum, preferring mystery through abstraction rather than scatological expulsions of bloodcurdling skree. A few brief interludes of softened white noise dappled with various forest-dwelling field recordings opens the album, snapping to a halt with a 12 minute uncomfortable track that seems to recycle one of those sexually explicit performances. Phillips clips and cuts the moans of a woman rapt in sexual ecstasy, matching that with a male voice which has been pitch shifted way down to a demonic growl. Yes, this gets into the same problematic territory that you get with Brainbombs or Whitehouse, but given how Phillips treats the male protagonist in this exchange (and especially, if he is the man behind that voice), it’s very clear that there is to be no sympathy for him. The despair to which this album speaks is of his own making. At the conclusion of this track, Phillips turns to his accordion which sways between two dour notes and a series of nocturnal recordings. Clusters of notes hammered at the very low end of the pianos keyboard are struck and extended into Lustmordian passages of bleak ambience, and there are further examples of Phillips’ Aktionist pedigree with a scream session rhythmically locked to a series of meat-cleaving blows. There is nothing pretty about this album, and it is really quite a depressing opus when you get right down to it. Break-up record or not, it’s utterly powerful and absolutely not for the squeamish.

(Jim Haynes, Aquarius Records)

Dave Phillips es parte de Schimpfluch-Gruppe, un colectivo que habita algunas de las regiones más oscuras del underground y que, en las más de las veces, toma su materia prima sónica de sonidos producidos por acústica directa, usualmente relativa al abuso físico de su propio cuerpo. Sin embargo, aquel lado de su trabajo, no es el único; Phillips además se ha visto involucrado en tiempos recientes en el costantemente ignorado campo de las grabaciones de campo, como en el caso de ‘Frogs Rain’ cdr doble para la alemana Scrotum Records. En ‘Frogs Rain’, Phillips emplea sonidos tomados de parajes como Tailandia, Vietnam y Suiza y los une, ensamblándolos y generando a partir de sus propiedades naturales eventuales concatenaciones. Ambas grabaciones están diseñadas como un ejercicio en cuadrofonía, en el cual cada uno de los discos corre como complemento al anterior ejecutando imágenes sonoras totalmente independientes aunque complementarias. La obviedad del título bordea en lo sardónico; un disco reúne grabaciones de lluvias y el otro sonidos emitidos por ranas. Extrañamente y sorprendentemente, de manera similar a lo presentado por Christian Galarreta en su conferencia acerca del reciclaje sonoro en el Circuito Electrovisiones, los sonidos producidos por los batracios demuestran poseer cualidades sonoras sumamente extensas. Aunándole a ello la paulatina y delicada manipulación de Phillips, el conjunto produce un trance ambigüo, atrapado entre la realidad que se busca representar en pleno mediante la grabación de campo y su inminente deformación, provocada por el ensamblaje y la constante sobreposición. A la larga, ‘Frogs Rain’ reproduce un universo que adquiere dimensiones casi tangibles. Más allá de la posibilidad meramente documentalista, este trabajo ofrece una excelente muestra de la potencialización del sonido puro. Toda una experiencia.

(Sergio S, Ruido Horrible)

Dave Phillips has produced one of the sickest slabs of vinyl I’ve seen and heard for some time. This is ghoulish noise from a blackened punk mind, full of agitated imagery comprised of Swastikas embroiled into the symbolic formations of western flags (namely US/EU). Banned from sale in Germany and a press release warning the listener that there is a valid case for them disliking the product is enough hype to at least wet ones appetite to what’s within. Seemingly, with such propaganda, the expectation to be disappointed is present, however, as soon as the needle hit the wax I was quivering with glee behind an angular sofa, like a child trying to escape the Daleks that peer through the saturated tube of their television. I throw down the record onto the deck and allow a random side to begin. This element of luck, this gamble of fate seemed appropriate as things begin. Sound fades in with a crawling vocal cacophony that sings with zombie voices from eroded floorboards. Images from brutal Italian horror movies spring to mind – fittingly full of heat-haze paralysis and the appropriate fascist patronage – colouring the extremities of ones mind. There is an ominous growl that leads the listener to an untimely death, as if into the slow digestive tract of some aged, haggard and malicious prey. The long movements fill minimal sides of vinyl allowing for a brooding intensity to take hold - effecting one with an intoxicating madness. As you flip the record, sounds thicken and vocals creep from the other side making the black slab immaterial, almost as a harbinger of some unhinged evil. As each side darkens, blackened fingers delve into a locked unit that simply divides one from one’s surroundings. I shall leave this brief as the record is simple, minimal and devastating, taking a course of individual bleak interpretation. Experience your own immorality. Come over to the dark side.

(Peter Taylor, Digitalis Industries)

Dave Phillips – They Live LP - This is not a noise record, I guess the only description I can give is it’s an anarchist actionist protest record - Side 1 sounds like Otto Muehl having his way with Herman Nitsche, side 2 sounds like Herman Nitsche having his way with Otto Muehl - the cover is plastered with swastikas front and back, sorry export to Germany is strictly verboten - this is not a nice record and I have a feeling a lot of people wont like it – fuck ‘em, I think its excellent… Oh yeah, limited to 500 copies.

(Ron Lessard, RRRecords press-release)

Dave Phillips – They Live LP (RRR) - La couverture évoque d’un côté comme un semblant de drapeau ricain avec à la place des étoiles des swatiskas, et de l’autre un semblant de drapeau européen avec le même symptome. La musique est une longue plainte sortie d’outre-tombe, un râle augmenté par des accords de basse, des cordes excitées, des raclement de piano ou des enregistrements de manifestation… Tortures en direct de la prison d’Abou Ghraib ou protest song version musique concrète actionniste ? Loin de la noise régulière du label, un excellent disque grave et sombre.

(Metamkine)

As much as I enjoy listening to anything Dave Phillips produces, a large portion of his solo material literally makes me nauesous. Phillips has been a figurehead in extreme sound art since the 1980’s, first fronting the pioneering hardcore/noise band Fear Of God who, along with Napalm Death, basically invented the entire grindcore genre as we now know it before the band broke up in 1989. From there, Phillips moved into even more challenging and provocative sounds with the actionist-influenced Schimpfluch-Gruppe project, who combined the transgressive investigations of the Viennese Aktionists (Otto Muhl, Hermann Nitsch, etc.) with brief eruptions of controlled harsh noise and live performances that involved messing around with assorted bodily fluids and excreta. The recorded works that Phillips has been releasing in the past two decades has built upon that aesthetic, with a particular emphasis on the nauseating effects of contorting his vocals into gagging, heaving, retching sounds that are contrasted with stretches of near silence. His latest solo albums have been extreme to say the least, intense psyche-beatings that tend to violently twist my nerve endings whenever I subject myself to ‘em (much like the work of Randy Yau, who has actually collaborated with Dave Phillips before on an album that came out on Auscultare). On this latest LP-only release on RRRecords, Phillips combines his harsh aktionist performance with an undercurrent of manipulated drones and unnerving orchestral noise for a different, but still disturbing approach. The first side is a seriously ominous slab of plodding, minimalist dirge, where a single kick-drum pulse pounds away in slow motion while a deep metallic drone clangs and dissipates over top, creating something that sounds like a segment of a Khanate song pulled apart and stripped to just a spartan, spacious throb and looped over and over into a monotonous metronome pulse. When the track first starts off, it’s just dark stasis, a super minimal industrial doom throb beating like a black cancerous heart suspended in the middle of an abattoir, but as this piece continues on, the rhythmic pulse is gradually joined by inhuman voices, some grunting in gutteral, animalistic tongues, others mewling pathetic wordless protests, and still other filling the room with the sounds of vomiting and gurgling. The second side blends a sinister cello riff with high pitched violins scraping and humming, forming into a queasy, nightmarish chamber-music dirge that shifts and swells over the course of the lengthy 12+ minute track. The strings and drones build into a frenzied swarm of high-end skree as the piece continues, an endless field of fearsome buzzing that is spotted with martial drumming and the reappearance every few minutes of the cello as it roars over this diseased orchestra warmup in fearsome klaxon blasts, building and building in intensity as different quadrants of the “string section” drops in and out, the swarm of violins possessed by demonic intelligence and playing the same circular measure over and over and over, a relentless hornet-drone of strings swooping into total oblivion as it slips into a futile locked-groove at the end. It’s like hearing a Ligeti piece chopped up and sped up and rearranged into a scathing, scraping blast of monotonous orchestral fury looped over and over into infinity. This is highly unsettling and totally fascinating, and shows an interesting new side to Dave Phillips’s work . The record comes in a provocative jacket design that uses artwork from a UK print of the Philip K. Dick book Man in the High Castle, and is limited to 500 copies…

(Crucial Blast)

Finally, Dave Phillips’ ‘The Hermeneutics of Fear Of God’ is available again! What can I say? Of all the ‘extreme’ music I heard in my life, from poststructural noise to Grindcore, from Death Metal to Hardcore Thrash, this has got got to be the most vicious, aggressive and torturing record that I know. Dave obsessively inspected, dissected, turned around and reassembled the sonic remains of our old band FEAR OF GOD and thus created a bastard noise version of it that leaves me breathless still. One seriously wonders with which results the same method would twist, revolt other already ‘extreme’ sounding music and we can only hope for Dave Phillips, the modern day Frankenstein, to lay more corpses on his experimental scaffolds, cutting and stitching and pestering them, thus deliberately creating more bastards to haunt our nights (when reason is put to sleep).
Order the expanded vinyl version (58 songs, 500 made only, 100 on colored vinyl) or the CD version (Digipack, 61 songs plus a short but lovely bonus Video) from Absurd Records (greetings to Marcelo!). As you can see, the minimalistic but affectionately done LP comes with insert (not visible on the photos), stamped innersleeve and sticker.

(Erich Keller, goodbadmusic)

This shit’s gonna straight up blow your mind. Bassist Dave of eternally godly FEAR OF GOD digitally chopped and re-arranged (or in places flat out demolished) his legendary band’s old trax into ‘new’ blasters and occasional harshtronic freakouts. Amazingly, very little remains of the original 16 year old (!) trax via Dave’s sheer imagination with a minimum of ‘studio’ tools at his disposal. For example: an added sharpness/trebly production for maximum auditory shockwave-daymare, plus the aforementioned re-chopping bits looped into entirely new structures…though this is achieved with the static originals over remixing the separate trax like lame nu-metal-meets-techno fusion at the mall-googleplex. If yer a grindcore snob (like me) and own all their originals (like me) cuz ya got them when they came out (like me) and you’ve spun their good name 40,000 times (like me) you WILL discern the trax (for the most part they’re mixed as a non-stop horror-noise), but as I’ve been ranting it’s just so much MORE than that! Ok already (for those NOT in the know), ‘What’s all this fuss over a FEAR OF GOD???’…WELL twerpy, they were the WORLD’S FIRST grindcore band (yep, a full year before NAPALM DEATH really got it together for their 2nd LP, which is FAR superior to their 1st in EVERY facet!). I go so far as to call F.O.G. ‘hategrind’ or ‘true noisecore’ (LÄRM coined the term for brutal atonal hardcore, not ANAL CUNT crap). Heavily influenced by MAJESTY, LARM, and fuckin’ SWANKYS (!), FEAR OF GOD is just the best band EVER! Kill the lop who questions.

(Sean Hogan, Damaging Noise zine)

The Hermeneutics of Fear Of God MiniLP (auf Tochnit Aleph, Berlin) ist nun auf dem Markt! Die ersten 50 Kopien enthalten einen huebschen Aufnaeher. Um keine Zweifel aufkommen zu lassen: Diese Platte ist etwas vom brutalsten, was je gehoert wurde! Dave hat alte Fear Of God Aufnahmen zerschnippelt und wieder zusammengebaut (ohne fremde Elemente beizumengen) und es dabei fertiggebracht, einen voellig eigenstaendigen Sound zu entwickeln, der einfach alles niederwalzt in seiner dichte und Gehetztheit. Meisterlich, wahrlich!

(heavymetal.ch)

Man, what a deranged record. It is one of the strangest I’ve heard in a looong time. It’s totally bizarre. And still, it is one of the most enjoyable. The whole of The Hermeneutics of Fear of God has the structure of one of those cut and paste deals. The songs (61 total) rarely go over the forty second mark and follow no pattern nor formula. Instead, we are treated to slices of noise,- some of it industrial, some of it hardcore punk and a little bit of metal – blocks of music that start and stop without ever peaking. It is almost as if there is no beginning, middle nor end. And there probably isn’t. A few of the songs seem to be mere repetitions of a drum beat or of a simple bang. Some too brief to even establish a beat are two-to-three second snippets repeated half a dozen times. The voice, guttural and robotic, is filtered and distorted and resembles a bestial bark. There is a bit of feedback here and there. The only strings seem to come from a bass, which is tremendously massive and quite saturated. At parts it seems like songs are about to kick off but as hastily as they start they dissolve. There is a lot of programming here and even though the drums sound very organic a drum & bass influence is quite evident. It is all quite puzzling and very effective. This makes me feel like a rebel cyborg. It makes me think of an art project with a lateral side of social commentary. What it might be exactly I don’t know and wouldn’t venture to say. Dave Phillips was part of the Swiss hardcore band Fear of God. After their break up Phillips took the noise electronic side, basically creating extreme experimental music. The Hermeneutics of Fear of God was created between 2002 and 2003 and it features Phillips actualization of the band’s work. He has cut and pasted song parts and has come out with this album. The result is surprisingly fluent. Intriguing and fresh and yet it’s like an ugly abomination you can’t help but keep on returning to.

(Deaf Sparrow)

There was a time, back around ‘87 - ‘89, where the longest song I was listening to probably clocked in at around 1 minute in length and sounded like someone being loudly sick. The majority of my ear-space was taken up by bands such as Extreme Noise Terror, Napalm Death, Heresy, Chaos UK, and Amebix amongst others. On this solo cut Dave Phillips of Fear of God has sent me spiralling back to those cider and weed fuelled days with this relentless, grinding cacophony of great old school grindcore. There are elements of all the above mentioned bands here (especially Amebix) but what this made me think of more was that this is what Godflesh would have sounded like if Justin Broadrick had retained his love of speed when he left Napalm Death. Fast, short, crusty, noisy, industrial, grind…something for everyone!

(Wonderful Wooden Reasons)

As its title suggest this is made up purely of field recordings taken from various jungle areas in and around Thailand, over a four year period. The field recordings are left as recorded and tamper free, and I have to say this is one of the most replayble, strange, haunting and rewarding field recordings disk I’ve come across. Dave Phillips is know to many for his often vomit educing & mind frying sound cut-ups and noise attacks. Here he takes his keen ear for unusual and often very odd sounds and takes us on a heady, strange, natural ambient sonic journey. Taking in insect, gibbon, bullfrog and canine sounds, along with waterfalls, heatseettling and the general rich and often very bizarre sounds of the jungle. Though there is no editing or manipulation going on here the sequence of the tracks is very clever going from slightly jarring, hallucinogenic and highly atmospheric. As expected with this type of thing the tracks are often very short going from a few seconds up to minute plus, but it all seems to flow well making an enjoyable and consistent whole. A few tracks are a little longer and the longest here is the simple breathtaking track 17 which is a recording of a sunset Concerto of inserts that goes on for 20 minutes & mangers to be both alien, ambient, soothing, bizarrely rhythmic, haunting & simply amazing really- built around the various rich and strange tones of the insects. Really standing up as a great and strange piece of ambience in its own right. The disk comes in a nice oversized full colour folder with liner notes by Mr Phillips and pictures from his trips around Thailand. This will certainly appeal beyond the normal field recording market, been of interest to ambient and noise fans too.

(Roger Batty, Musique Machine)

Une compilation de titres rares ou inédits (1994-2004) de Dave Phillips (Schimpfluch, Ohne, Fear of God). Une excellente occasion de découvrir le travail de cet artiste performeur pour qui le son est synonyme de coup de poing, stridences, micro-détails organiques, payasges sonores… Terreur des psychologues et expériences auditives…

(Jerome Noetinger, Metamkine)

Dave Phillips must really be a very sick man if he’s anything like his explorations into audio insanity, that are severed up here still twitching to unsuspecting listener. He mixes all manner of cut up sound, noise, unpleasant & sickly ambience, silence and almost silence. Then fires it all like a sound roller coaster ride into your mind. A collection of Curse is as it’s suggest a collection of track from diffrent times and places from 1994 to 2005, all brought into strange togetherness here. The thing that Mr Philips does that makes this all work and disturbing to such an extent is sudden left or right turns in sound, it will be dwelling in feast files sickly drone, before making you literal jump out of you skin by loud vomiting like sound. It’s the pure element of surprise and the general odd and sick inducing sounds on offer here, take for example eat beyond taste and sensations, which mixes gurgling vomit and farting sounds, waterworks tingle, metal toilet pipe bang, odd demented moans, animal sounds and all manner of sounds I’d rather not know the origins of, all making a a track that almost makes you feel your going to throw up your self. So really the tracks are either spit into odd cuts ups come bizarre rhythmic works outs or growing and disturbed ambience or a mixes of both camps -it’s the context and environments he puts the already disturbing sounds in that triples there effectiveness. One of the most disturbing and odd moments comes in the longest track here Hole/holy, which mixes low down bubble macabre synth tones, layers of female sexual moans, farting and burping sounds. It really almost becomes too much in the end, as the sounds seem to drill deeper into your mind, you start to worry for your sanity. One for fans of unnerving ambience or demented cut ups ala Andy Ortmann or Sudden Infant, where both of those artist seem to offer some light relief- Phillips is always complete serious in his attempts to disturbed and sicken the listener, really approach with caution and don’t eat before playing.

(Roger Batty, Musique Machine)

Sooo behind. Perhaps it’s an allergy, but Blossoming Noise’s consistently superior emissions release such a thick cloud of sonic ink that my senses swell and I find it impossible to arrange my thoughts for days at a time (I still have a Francisco Lopèz double disc to tackle from six months ago). This is a collection of curses, yes, but more so it is a collection of odds and ends from the decade starting 1995; the Swiss Phillips has previously worked as Fear of God and Ohne, dabbling in the dark arts of thrash and black metal, perfecting his vision as instigative noise sculptor. As one might expect from a collection by an artist of Phillips’ ilk, this disc is crammed to the 80 minute limit (give or take 20 seconds) with pieces from varied, mostly previously-released (though in this circle, not necessarily accessible) sources with only one ‘edit’ (what’s not to hate about an edit?). Though an archive, and despite the man’s healthy output, this is my general introduction to Phillips, so perhaps my impressions are poorly formed based on the age-defying nature of this album. Perhaps not. Like John Wiese, Dave Phillips makes ‘extreme’ computer music, crafting cartoonish sketches with organic and synthesized sounds, cut and placed in (seemingly) free-form arrangements that induce varied psychosomatic response in the listener. However, unlike Wiese who suffocates your ears with a relentless torrent of finely-diced inertia, Phillips utilizes blank space by inserting substantial gaps between cuts, creating the impression of relief - though merely the impression, as one instead fills these spaces with anxiety and apprehension in anticipation of the coming transmission. The songs of ‘Collection’ bear similarities of this meta-production, yet the compositional elements represent a much broader wealth of sound resource. Eschewing chronology for phases, the front-end of the disc is loaded with several collages of concrète sound manipulation, tracks which succeed best to create tension and loathing while exploring the vacant spaces of active listening. The older tracks - mostly found toward the center of the album - logically tend toward safer, more familiar territory, with field recordings of man (‘Zueri’), and nature (‘Complainer’) - though arguably, Phillips attempts to dedifferentiate these as one and the same. Like most Blossoming Noise releases and their artistic affiliations, ‘Curses’ is heavy with misanthropy, emphasizing human functions (defecation, regurgitation, farting) and sexuality as weakness (peaking with the 15 minute exposition ‘Hole/Holy’). This antipathy, coupled with the label’s subtle animal rights mandate, creates a complex space like a sonic slaughterhouse where the listener must face the ugliness of being, with little recourse. The eight part ‘Hermeneutics’ suite closes the disc (less a final rude coda) &#x03A rehashing the full-band Fear of God material in clipped, howling bursts, these tracks illuminate with cold light the intrinsic aural qualities which this thrash band equated into Phillips’ latter works as a composer and musician. I would like to say this is good ‘headphone music’; however it doesn’t lend to cluttered, busy environments - too many gaps for outside sounds to interfere with the fine tension that the composition creates. This is instead headphone music in that such forum allows no sensual distraction, but so is a secluded space recommended in which to insulate the music from foreign intruders. Mastered by Tom Smith, the recordings enjoy immaculate engineering to heighten effect, allowing no room to escape. CD comes in a digipak with brilliant, beautiful cover art that reminds me of the days when people used to make cover art.

(animalpsi)

Dave Phillips is an integral cog in Switzerland’s Schimpfluch collective, a group dedicated to continuing the extremist traditions and aesthetics of the Viennese Actionists who rose to prominence during the 1960’s. The word Schimpfluch translates as ‘abuse’ in German, and there is undoubtedly a violent current worming its way through this collection of abstracts and outbursts which reach across the last decade of Phillips’s career. A Collection Of Curses is crammed full of phlegmatic gurgles, porcine grunts and the sounds of numerous intimate bodily functions - celebrations of animal nature, both theirs and ours. These are punctuated by eviscerating shards of noise and banshee screams that are equal to anything issued recently by Wolf Eyes and their ilk. The results are often unsettling, putting the spooks up anyone who listens too intently. It is the presence of the organic suffocating amidst the synthetic wreckage that truly makes the skin crawl.
But it is on the homeward stretch, with ‘Fog Scrub” and the ‘Hermeneutics’ series, that the collection really hits its stride. Sourced from tracks by his old hardcore group, Fear Of God, Phillips teases and morphs the material into something even more brutal, creating the kind of blitzkrieg that brings to mind Bay Area train wreckers like Spazz, No Comment and San Diego’s almighty Crossed Out.

(Spencer Grady, The Wire, March 2007)

I’m sure there are readers of this zine who have some idea what exactly Dave Phillips (of Schimpfluch-Gruppe, Ohne, Fear of God, et al) does, sound-wise, but I’m basically clueless. About the only critical insight I can muster is some variation on ‘Whoah’. The bio on Phillip’s MySpace page mentions ‘psychophysical tests and trainings’ and ‘various trips to Asia for field recordings, especially of insects,’ which does shed a little light. And sure, I could trot out such bywords as noise, aktion, and bruitism, but I don’t really know what any of those mean. Regardless, what really makes it all work for me is the impeccable overall sonic design and attention to detail (which is where things like field recordings of insects come in, though never in an obvious way). This is shocking, meticulously arranged music that constantly reinvents itself, and A Collection of Curses is a very nicely done anthology of all kinds of odds & ends from the years 1994-2004, comp tracks and various unreleased stuff, both a fine introduction to the guy’s work and an essential disc for the longtime fan.

(Blastitude Magazine, January 2007)

Es ist Blossoming Noise hoch anzurechnen, dass all die verstreuten Tracks von 1994-2005 des Schimpfluch-Mitglieds auf einem Album vorliegen. Original auf allerhand obskuren Compilations oder mini-CDs erschienen, umfassen die 31 Stuecke die ganze Palette Phillipscher Unreinheiten: Telefonzwitter und Radiounfaelle, stures Insektengefiedel und robustes Hundegebell, Schreikraempfe, Affengeheul, Klowasser und extrem mitreissende Stille. Oft collagiert Phillips, zerschneidet und setzt zusammen. Aber er schreit, keucht und wuergt dabei sein Organ ueber die Nahtstellen, dass so manchem von uns die Mandeln platzen wuerden. Mund spricht hier einzig Mund, nicht ein Wort, kein Stottern kommen heraus. Und doch entfaltet sich explizit ein Weltbild, das wohl eher unheilvoll erscheinen will: ‘Justice is an Artefact of Custom’ heisst der Opener. Schade, dass da so was Altbackenes steht. Weiss doch jeder, dass Gerechtigkeit uns alle ueberlebt, seit Jahrtausenden mit uns morpht und sogar jedem von uns zu Gute kommen kann. Aal drauf, wichtiges Album. ed.

(Ed Benndorf)

This is a very strange collection of compositions that can only be recommended for truly adventurous listeners. This CD collects 31 pieces recorded by Dave Phillips from 1994 to 2005. Most folks will find these recordings to be strange, alienated, and unlistenable. Phillips records music from a purely artistic perspective. Instead of trying to come up with songs that might appeal to the average listener, he records sounds and ideas that are purely abstract and bizarre. The only possible comparison we can come up with for this music is John Cage… but the overall sound of Dave Phillips’ music is actually very different. A Collection of Curses is easily one of the oddest albums we have heard in some time. Some of these pieces are actually rather hilarious (‘Pktpl’ had us giggling up a storm). Most folks will be turned off by this CD… while a very small subsection of the listening population will be intrigued. We fall into the latter category. (Rating: 5+/maximum)

(Baby Sue)

Дэйв Филипс известен как один из участников легендарного семейства перформанс-групп, объединённых под крылом лэйбла Schimpfluch. В последнее время он существенно расширил поле своей деятельности, вспомнив свою старую анархо-панк-группу Fear of God и выступая в составе супергруппы Ohne, посетившей в 2003 году и Россию. Тем не менее, он не прекращает занятия сольным творчеством, выпуская альбомы без названий, снабжённые только порядковым номером… таким образом, данный альбом - уже шестой. Вышел он на белорусском лэйбле Egg And We Music, где ранее был выпущен концерт Ohne в Минске.
Музыка Филлипса - это передовой фронт шумового хардкор-акционизма, шокирующего своим непристойным поведением, привлекающего внимание к нечистотам и отбросам, вспарывающего внутренности организма при помощи музыки, в которой не осталось ничего музыкального с классической точки зрения. Дикие крики, оглушающая тишина, насекомые звуки вроде писка комаров и снования муравьёв, какая-то тихая возня и неожиданный грохот, стоны то ли от боли то ли от истомы, рваное дыхание и бессловесный шёпот - вот мир грёз Филлипса, его стратегия взаимодействия с окружающим миром. И её можно уловить и понять, если внимательно прослушать альбом от начала до конца.

(Дмитрий Васильев, The Sound)

There is of course a lot of noise music out there, but there is only a handful people that do something that is really interesting. Merzbow provides the real thing, R.H. Yau and Dave Phillips do their own thing in the field of noise music, and they do a more than excellent job. ‘6’ is Dave Phillips latest offering and it is a true blow. Phillips has been a member of Schimpfluch Gruppe, Fear Of God, Ohne and Dead Peni, but his true power is in his solo work. He blends together field recording, real noise, insect recordings, cracked electro acoustic sound and voice together in a truely fascinating manner. Not always loud, in fact hardly loud, but in a true collage style: moments of sheer silence are cut off with segments of cracking objects, insect sounds, speeding up tapes, people shouting on the street and then perhaps, perhaps, silence again. Twenty-three tracks in total, all with a super-long title, but this is best experienced as one long track. The dramatic impact is so much greater. Play this loud and you’ll be scared shitless. It might be no coincidence that’s halloween today? Noise music isn’t about playing whatever in loud volume only, but deals with all forms of sound that are put in some context, tells us a rather unpleasant story, which in Phillips case is all about religion and the wars it lead to. A very very clever release, and establishes once again Phillips as a master of noise.

(Frans De Waard, VITAL)

The Swiss Aktionist Dave Phillips has always had a knack for silence. But his use of still moments has nothing in common with the specialized hush of Bernhard Gunter, as a startling rupture always follows. Phillips’s silences explode into noise collages - a hammer dropping on wood, a gargled scream and a piece of glass being shattered are just a few of his startling punctuations. Like much of Phillips’s solo work, 6 is highly physical in its use of the dynamics between silence and noise, digressing into occasional bouts of puerile political comedy, such as the belched chorus on ‘The Absurd Belief That The Worst Of People, For The Worst Of Reasons, Will Somehow Work For The Benefit Of All Of Us (On Organised Religion, Politics And Economics).’ All 23 of 6’s tracks sport similar anarcho-political titles, whose agenda is articulated by Phillips’s manipulated recordings of insects, which express his misanthropic belief that we may be no better than the common fly.

(Jim Haynes, THE WIRE, Issue 275)

Независимый белорусский звукозаписывающий лейбл The Egg And We Music издал свой третий релиз – альбом ‘6’ представителя швейцарской экспериментальной сцены, одного из основателей артистического движения Schimpfluch Gruppe, участника квартета OHNE Дэйва Филлипса. На своем новом диске музыкант продолжает опыты с психоакустикой, полевыми записями, рвотными реакциями и насекомыми. В оформлении альбома использована живопись Рудольфа Эбера. Лично у меня не возникло желание второй раз слушать эту работу, автор которой слишком увлечен экспериментом и забывает о самой музыке. Вольно или невольно создается впечатление, что она отражает ментальное состояние человека, страдающего тяжелым психическим расстройством. Это даже покруче, чем Sick Sick Sick проекта KEIN, который, я уже думал, никому не переплюнуть. Можно выделить только медитативный номер Song For Omar (кстати, это единственный трек, который имеет «нормальное» название), наполненный звуками дождя, сквозь который прорываются загадочные тихие звуки. С другой стороны, такая последовательность в производстве антимузыки вызывает если не понимание, то сочувствие.

(Nestor)

Независимый белорусский звукозаписывающий лейбл The Egg And We Music сообщил об издании 9 октября своего третьего релиза - альбома ‘6’ представителя швейцарской экспериментальной сцены, одного из основателей артистического движения Schimpfluch Gruppe, участника квартета OHNE Dave Phillips. На своем новом диске музыкант продолжает опыты с психоакустикой, полевыми записями, рвотными реакциями и насекомыми. В оформлении альбома использована живопись Рудольфа Эбера. Дополнительная информация о Дэйве Филлипсе www.tochnit-aleph.com/dp . Заявки на приобретение альбома по специальной цене для резидентов Беларуси (6.000 BYR) принимаются по адресу

(zvuuk@open.by, machinist music)

Upon first viewing the titles for the 23 tracks that comprise ‘6’, I couldn’t get passed the thought that they could have been chapter titles in a bad Chuck Palahniuk book. It wasn’t a good omen and I was slightly reluctant to press play. I’m glad I eventually did. The first thing that strikes me about ‘6’ is that it scares the shit out of me. I jumped out of my chair about 20 times over the 70 odd minute length. The most terrifying moments were those long stretches of silence or stable activity. I began to anticipate these unbearable bursts. I never really could anticipate it though, which unnerved me further. As a result, by the end I was mentally exhausted. Remember that part in Apocalypse now when the tiger jumps out from the jungle? No matter how many times I’ve seen it, that bit still makes me jump. 6 is like reliving that moment over and over. All of this could come across as a cheap ploy by Phillips to make up for the fact his music fails to unnerve in any meaningful way. It’s the old slasher movie dictum wherein if you can’t create a true sense of dread just give em a cheap fright. Thankfully though, I don’t get this feeling from ‘6’. Ultimately the frights only make up a small portion. Everything is so minutely and expertly composed that through the exhaustion a real joy can be garnered from the mastery of the composition. It’s perhaps a tad overlong but definitely a worthwhile experience.

(sound plague, www.ihatemusic.com)

Sometimes, when I see a film, or hear an album, the experience is so intense and affecting that I essentially refuse to experience it again — probably for fear of spoiling that initial exposure. Such is the case with 6 by Dave Phillips. I’m listening to it now, for the first time in years, and the second time ever. I might not be alone, here, since Phillips’ work is known for provoking strong reactions; particularly his live ‘video actions’, which combine depictions of animal abuse with equally visceral sonic accompaniments. This audience discomfort is something Phillips is well-versed in, being a member of Schimpfluch Gruppe — a loose collective with five prominent artists at its core\: Rudolf Eb.er (Runzelstirn & Gurgelstøck, and founder of the collective), Joke Lanz (Sudden Infant), Marc Zeier (GPARK), Daniel Löwenbrück (Raionbashi, and owner of the Tochnit Aleph label and Rumpsti Pumsti record shop), and Phillips himself. The group is synonymous with work that challenges its audience, with the Vienna Aktionists often considered a potent influence. Apart from Zeier, whose activities are more obviously directed towards sound, the Schimpfluch members all have a distinct performance art aspect to their work; they often evoke a sense of ritual, and involve a physical/psychological testing of the performer.

Phillips’ recorded work is just as visceral and compelling as his live performances. If you were concise, you could perhaps point to two defining aspects of his recordings\: the utilisation of field recordings as drone, and of silence to create tension. Phillips’ use of the former reflects not only an interest in the sounds themselves, but a wider, all-encompassing, ecological concern\: often using long field recordings of hinterland environments and their insects, birds, and animals. These sounds will sometimes be left as is, allowing the listener to hear the wealth of life that their species is intent on destroying; or, at other times, processed and layered into overwhelming walls of noise, magnifying that wealth, its right to existence, and its damage. The second key element, Phillips’ use of silence, is something he shares with the equally tense constructions of Eb.er. Both artists create tracks where long, brooding silences are interrupted by short, jarring blasts of sound. These intrusions are often bursts of acoustic noise or vocal/bodily sounds, and they really do feel like punches to the gut. They convey a genuine sense of dread\: the listener knows they can expect another jolt, but is never prepared for it when it arrives. This is not casual listening.

6 combines both of these elements, and more besides. The CD comes in an unusually-sized, gatefold wallet adorned with a painting by Eb.er. This appears to depict a human figure being poured from a pipe — or sucked up into it, it’s unclear; the presence of a third hand is equally mysterious, and it all conspires to create an atmosphere similar to Francis Bacon\: malleable flesh and volatile bodies. The album contains twenty-three tracks, ranging in length from a mere five seconds, to nearly thirteen-and-a-half minutes. The titles flit between wordy aphorisms (sometimes obscured, sometimes more direct), brute questions (How Many More Are We Prepared To Sacrifice For Cheaper Petrol In Our Cars?), and pithy provocations (I Curse You And All Your Kind). All (bar the last track, which is titled in memory of Omar Tomasoni) are stark and finger-pointing, at both the reader and the wider world. This sense of militant confrontation carries through to the uncompromising sounds within. Indeed, the album begins with almost a direct challenge to the listener. Where Affluence Is The Rule, The Main Threat Is The Loss Of Desire, is a short track, 128 seconds in length; however, we are forced to endure 114 seconds of silence before Phillips makes any move — a jarring thud, followed by the sound of swarming bees. The unease and confusion this beginning causes, leading to an inevitable checking of volume controls and play buttons, sets the tone for the rest of the ride.

6 is oddly concentrated and utterly disparate at the same time. Whilst the sounds used by Phillips are arguably drawn from a narrow range of sources — field recordings, body sounds, ‘junk percussion’, and electronic sounds (to mention the main ones) — giving the album a clear cohesion, they are deployed in highly unconventional structures. These constructions never give the listener any sense of what’s coming next\: they are not allowed to settle or rest easy in the album. The longer passages just as quickly establish patterns as they do collapse inwards. Feeding out of and into these are tortuous sections of sturm und silence, with the listener held fast by interruptions of pounding bangs, pained shouts, and earsplitting shrieks. It’s an album that rarely sits still, yet the listener is given little choice but to sit still.

For a ‘noise’ album, 6 rarely gets particularly harsh or saturated in the ‘traditional’ way; but there are moments where Phillips assumes a more aggressive, assaultive stance. I Curse You And All Your Kind is fifty-five seconds of distorted screaming over a ripping noise loop, the closest the album gets to power electronics. The Debility Of Their Reactions Accompanies The Decadence Of Their World is a tangled cacophony of mangled animal-like voices, punctuated by metallic whipping sounds. Phillips also uses unpleasant tones and frequencies, like the dissonant trumpet strangulations in The Self Some Imagine Surviving Death Is A Phantom Even In Life — yes, you could throw po-faced pretentiousness at some of the titles, but their weight is genuine and carried through; something like The Self… brutally works the brain. However, the bulk of 6 thrives on the use of quiet and silence to heighten its dominant atmosphere of tension, unease, and dread. These are two important, often over-looked, weapons in noise’s arsenal. The general movement is often towards creating monolithic tracks or performances, which obliterate and occupy the listener’s space; however, an approach like Phillips’ allows the listener’s environment to seep through, creating a tension between the recording/performance and the environment it’s in, with the listener suspended somewhere between.

6 ends rather quietly, emphasising the field recording element of the album\: a long droning piece (over thirteen minutes) composed of insect, bird, and amphibian sounds, a short burst of interrupted silence, and then nearly ten minutes of restful, if sombre, rainfall and resonating piano. The overt ecological aspect of these two long tracks — the longest on the album — is part and parcel of a vigorous set of ideas that runs through all of Phillips’ work. He collects these trails in the notion of ‘humanimal’, which he defines as ‘a progressive, empathic conscience that understands the human animal as part of a whole and has overcome the erroneous religious, material and supremacist phases of evolution’. Whilst Phillips’ work is overwhelmingly and unapologetically political, it’s a body of work that centres itself around difficult questions rather than easy answers. A precise position on the political spectrum is rarely stated, but Phillips’ humanimal stands against exploitative systems, fundamentalism (‘truth is invented by liars’), and anthropo-centralisation; ‘humanimal’s enemy is waste’. Perhaps the neatest summary might be, ‘humanimal figures that since each being has just the one life and since we all share the same planet that it’s about time we learned to get along’. This might stink of hippies, but Phillips would spit on their humanist concerns — ‘humanimal reckons that there are too many assholes on this planet. and not enough suicides’. However, his politics are notably, and noticeably, opposed to ‘the right’ — a position which is perhaps unusual in the overall industrial/power electronics landscape.

Regardless of the actual politics held, where explicitly political imagery, ideas, and opinions are deployed in industrial music or power electronics, they tend to originate from strong right-wing positions; however, Phillips is not alone in his difference. Whilst not exactly numerous, there are several projects who use distinctly leftist or anarcho themes. Perhaps the most obvious contemporary — although recently quiet — example is the Swedish power electronics project, Barrikad, whose releases contain regular visual and textual references to violent struggle. The booklet accompanying Through the Voice One Becomes Animal (Nil By Mouth, 2013), quotes Ulrike Meinhof (of the Red Army Faction) in its introduction before presenting a long extract from the incendiary tract, The Coming Insurrection. Mourmansk 150, from France, are another project with equally volatile emissions. Their website demands\: ‘The complete annihilation, extermination, destruction, ruination, violent collapse & permanent extinction of ALL oppressive forces & political tyranny through VIOLENT ACTION-DIRECT FATAL CONFRONTATION-LETHAL COLLISION.’ Just as strident, the raw attack of the Russian Kriminaaliset Metsänhaltijat raises a black flag high; whilst Shallow Waters examine class conflict through their stinging skree. Black Bloc (also the name of a Svartvit track) take their moniker from the tactic popularised by anarchists/autonomists — literally a block of people, all dressed and masked in black to hinder identification by state forces during demonstrations/actions — as well as using Crass-esque stencil lettering. Titles like Globalized Resistance\: The Arming Of Our Desires (Abandonment, 2009), are a clear indication of the project’s territory; whilst the ecological themes of No Innocent Civilians (self- released, 2010) echo the work of Phillips. These concerns are also foregrounded in the HNW of Bleak Existence (sample album title\: Love Earth Hate People Narcolepsia, 2014), whose World Downfall project pursues more ‘traditional’ anarchist themes\: Anti-Work, Self-Organization, and Alienated Labor to name a few titles. Militia have released albums like The Black Flag Hoisted (Tactical Recordings, 2000) and Eco-Anarchic Manifesto (Malignant Records/Tactical Recordings, 2003), with a sound that owes something to the metal-bashing of Test Dept — themselves no strangers to agitation, recording an album with the South Wales Striking Miners Choir (and gigging together) at the height of the violently acrimonious miner’s strike in the UK (1984–85). To go even further back, the first single from seminal industrial act SPK contains a track called Slogun; this has lyrics inspired by the 1970s Marxist group Sozialistisches Patientenkollektiv (one of a number of interpretations of SPK’s acronym), who saw mental illness as the result of capitalism. The shouted words

kill kill kill for inner peace
bomb bomb bomb for mental health therapy through violence
working circle explosives

echo the group’s manifesto and slogans; the ‘working circles’ were the method of organisation used by the collective.

Clearly, there are not a lot of examples of power electronics or industrial acts who use leftist or traditional anarcho themes — they are far outnumbered by those who use themes from the right; but despite this apparent gulf, they share similar tools and methods of attack. I’m loathe to use the term ‘shock’, because it’s so loaded; but there’s a desire to jar, to violently unsettle, to overwhelm the audience in the grim and harsh aspects of reality in order to provoke reflection on that reality, and their role within it. In that sense, Dave Phillips is little different to the Filth & Violence label (to choose a rigorous counterweight); from his uncompromising video actions, to his assertions that insects are of more worth than humans, to his participation in confrontational Schimpfluch Gruppe performances. One of his sets at the Extreme Rituals\: A Schimpfluch Carnival festival, in Bristol, 2012, ended with him plunging the venue into darkness and unleashing a thundering quadrophonic recording that surrounded the audience, whilst several women ran through the crowd, screaming. It was an incredibly intense experience. Phillips is interesting, because he combines an approach that is quite often cerebral, bordering on electroacoustics, with other elements that are much more base or physical\: sounds of nature, sounds of the body, sounds of violence. This is taken to vulgar, bawdy levels, with tracks like Empires Of Scientific Capability That Manipulate The Phenomena Of Nature Into Enormous Manifestations Of Humankind’s Own Dreams Of Power, Wealth And Control and The Absurd Belief That The Worst Of People, For The Worst Of Reasons, Will Somehow Work For The Benefit Of Us All (On Organised Religion, Politics And Economics), which both feature manipulated recordings of burps and belches — an earthy obsession with physicality, that again brings to mind Filth & Violence. (Obviously I’m making this comparison for effect, but as a curious side note, it may be through Phillips’ They Live album (RRRecords, 2009) that many noise fans have a swastika-adorned record sleeve in their house.)

Whilst Phillips’ layered belching might comment on greed and overconsumption, it’s also quite deliberate rudeness — schoolboy-level crudity designed to get the attention of, mock, and offend teacher, the guardian of ‘order’. ‘Humanimal endorses offensive and inappropriate behaviour that is sometimes necessary and often healthy in order to break down unnatural restrictions or inhibitions.’

To expand from this to more general thoughts on power electronics and industrial projects, I believe that modern living has given us a word with which we can better make sense of the traditional modus operandi of these genres\: ‘trolling’. I don’t say this to belittle these projects, nor to make light of internet trolling, but I think it offers an easy to understand model for what is generally occurring here. Trolling (deliberately inflammatory postings on social media, forums, etc., to provoke a response) is a perfectly modern phenomenon. It is most often associated with base nastiness and cruelty\: deliberate, blunt attacks to upset and attack the target in any way. This is clearly echoed in the arguably ‘standard’ use of extreme imagery, presentation, subject matter, and text in power electronics\: identify something taboo and then amplify every aspect of it — leave no path untrodden. However, there is also the explicitly politicised intent of some trolling\: publicly mocking political figures or organisations, or tricking them into social media faux pas, often deploying intelligence and cunning.

(The work of satirist Chris Morris, for example, would fit in here quite happily. His announcement of the death of politician Michael Heseltine (who was quite alive) live on radio, or his sacking for filling a Radio Bristol studio with helium during a news bulletin, seem to be acts reminiscent of a power electronics outlook.) This more considered approach perhaps finds its sonic counterpart in an album like Am Not’s Unpunished (Unrest Productions, 2015); with its careful, controlled constructions, and precise lyrics, it’s been one of the best recent recordings in noise, full stop. So, if we can detach ourselves from the subject at hand, we might consider there to be a ‘low’ form of trolling, and a ‘high’ form; though it would be fair to say that these definitions don’t really map across to power electronics so simply. However, both forms remain trolling, and power electronics, whatever the approach, remains power electronics; and this raises a certain, shared quality\: both are somewhat impervious to any meaningful criticism. There is ostensibly little point in arguing with a troll; whilst it is easy to sit here and suggest ‘ignore them’, it is nevertheless true that they thrive on response. This perhaps highlights one of the issues with power electronics as an antagonistic device\: it is indeed largely ignored. Gigs do get cancelled, the odd critical (and often confused) article gets written, but by and large, it’s a reasonably closed circle that doesn’t encroach on the mainstream. The objects of power electronics’ attacks (‘wider society’, for example) will never have a chance to experience those jolts, as said attack was released in a limited edition of 200 to be bought by those within power electronics. It’s a feedback loop, an echo chamber. Any provocations (and resulting conflicts) largely happen within the scene itself. The ‘victim’ is essentially unaware of their victim status.

“Long ago I reached the conclusion that if power electronics/extreme electronics (call it what you will) is being performed only to ‘the converted’, it is nothing more than entertainment and those pumping out the noise, nothing more than entertainers, to be listed in a sub genre file that sits not far from the established bands file.” —Trev Ward, The Grey Wolves

To crudely attempt to drag the spotlight back to Dave Phillips — not that much of his work would be considered power electronics — one (partial) solution to the above problem, is his incessant gigging, often performing lengthy tours as far and wide as possible, and handing out leaflets to supplement the ideas of his performances. However, like noise in general, his recorded output remains the main medium of transmission, creating a varied, solid body of work that is rigorous, coherent, and consistent. 6 is a supreme entry in this body, mixing high and low into a genuine assault on the listener, sacrificing neither intelligence nor brute physicality in his cause. ‘proceed with inquiry.’

(Clive Henry, Fight Your Own War (Book) Headpress Publishing)

Dave Phillips began his musical career when he was 17, co-founding the hardcore extremists Fear of God in 1987. As Fear of God developed into Switzerland’s answer to Napalm Death or Carcass, Phillips began to see that their faster, shorter, noisier approaches to grindcore were merely a springboard for more psychologically challenging and physically demanding artforms. Soon after Fear of God’s demise in 1989, he met up with Rudolf Eb.er of Runzelstirn & Gurglestock and joined the actionist Schimpfluch-Gruppe which has followed the traditions of abjection and transgression as dictated by the Viennese Aktionists (i.e. Hermann Nitsch, Gunter Brus, Otto Muhl, etc.). In performances punctuated with short sharp bursts of noise, the Schimpfluch-Gruppe quite literally plays with vomit, blood, and all of the fluids from bodily orifices. If it sounds juvenile, it is; but both Phillips and Eb.er also manage to make their gross-out sessions numbingly effective manifestations of the nether regions of the human psyche. Along with the official Schimpfluch-Gruppe actions, Phillips has performed with Sudden Infant, PK, and Ohne which had received a considerable amount of acclaim with their Mego debut of electrocutionist musique concrete. On IIIII, Phillips recorded work proves to be just as absurdist, nihilistic, and nauseating as his performances. The noise comes quite sporadically, and when it does, Phillips clobbers you over the head with volatile sick tones and splattered distortion; but the bulk of IIIII waits with a tense silence until wooden hammerings, demonic growlings, blister-pricked ruptures, and unsettling screams shatter the empty spaces. As a result, Phillips’ work is far more nervewrecking that maximalists like Merzbow or The New Blockaders. Even if you have a stomach strong enough for R.H.Y. Yau and Runzelstirn & Gurglestock, Phillips makes for very difficult listening.

(www.aquariusrecords.org)

Extreme Dynamiken, extreme Wechsel zwischen Stille und konkretesten Noise-Attacken, die wie Schlaege in die Magengrube wirken, aber auch ruhigere field recordings & microsounds zwischendurch, das Unerwartete GERÄUSCH ist hier allgegenwaertig. Sehr expressive Geraeuschmusik, DAVE PHILLIPS ist ein Meister darin Klaenge fast physisch einzusetzen ! 99 tracks !!

(Drone Records)

There’s something instantly intimidating about popping a CD into your player and seeing 99 tracks flash up, especially when the first of them (called ‘wec’) is completely silent. Quiet rain begins to fall during track two (‘an’), but that distant thunder should put you on your guard. The deluge subsides a little, but all hell breaks loose on track 4 (‘rut’) - for 11 seconds. The first sign of retching appears in track 6 (‘zeo’), and it returns on track 9 (‘ti’), alternating with some particularly vicious bangs and crashes. Par for the course for Phillips, whose previous work with Fear Of God and the actionist activists Gruppe Schimpfluch is ideal for anyone who needs to be forcibly evicted from their apartment in a hurry. The novelty of IIIII is the element of surprise, as there’s at least as much silence as noise on the disc, but the novelty soon wears off and you wish that Dave would just finish emptying his stomach once and for all and go get himself a Milk of Magnesia. Doubly frustrating is the fact that what noise there is tends to come in short sharp bursts - no chance of a good ol’ Merz-style extended blowout here. (There are a few exceptions, notably the final track ‘is’ and number 78, ‘po’ - incidentally, if you’re wondering about the cryptic track titles, you need only put them together and they read as follows: ‘we can scrutinize our motives and impulses we can know why we act as we do we can approach a point at which our actions are the results of our choices when we are conscious everything we do will be done for reasons we can know at that point we will be authors of our lives this may seem fantastical and so it is’.) If the idea of the disc is to antagonise, it deserves five stars; if, though, the name of the game is enjoyment - ah, how old-fashioned that sounds - you might want to steer clear, unless your idea of enjoyment is having someone vomit in your ear before shooting you in the head with a nail gun.

(Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic Magazine)

Field recordings of chirping birds and rushing water go to my head, my heart, deeper still. But what differentiates them besides for the moment in time, the rhythm of the moment? Well in the case of the latest by Dave Phillips, expect the unexpected as the lilting ambience turns to something of a distorted torture chamber in a flippant, immediate way. Creating a collage of pasted parts that conceal just enough and expose the way say, The Gerogerigegege (Juntaro Yamanouchi) does, with quirky voice like interactive happenings and other dramatics. Phillips crams 99, mostly micro-short, pieces into one full-on 74-minute adventure - some tracks are pauses with pure silence, others are tape rewinds and silly sounds ala Woody Woodpecker. Maybe this is for the birds after all.

(igloomag.com)

Phillips started out in the shortlived grindcore band Fear of God and then fell in w/ Rudolf Eb.er and the Schimpfluch/Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock crowd. I ‘m sure there ‘s some kind of indirect Dada (I wouldn ‘t say Schwitters specifically) influence on their performances and certainly on the Schimpfluch records, more than a few of which were unplayable objects. But the Vienna Aktionists are probably a much more apt comparison, though one the Schimpfluch people are quick to downplay. I read an interview w/ Eb.er where he mentioned that he was much more influenced by the writings of a certain Buddhist monk who was ‘much more extreme’ than the Aktionists were. (No, I have not been able to track down anything by said monk and even I ‘ve forgotten the name.) He ‘s also talked a lot about breathing techniques (Eb.er teaches an esoteric brand of martial arts in Japan) which induce certian psychological states. This kind of breathing certainly plays a large part in Eb.er ‘s work and I ‘d say Phillips as well. These techniques and the use of space they entail (there are a lot of various breathing patterns for certain kinds of meditation that involve long stretches of holding your breath, counting to 100, etc.) are very prevalent in a lot of Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock recordings and are one of the dominent aspects of their influence on a lot of musicians today (a lot may be exagerrating, but I know more than a few who ‘ve been highly influenced by them). The combination of this and the absurdity of Dada and the Aktionists, and the bodily extremity of the Aktionists bring you a bit closer to the Schimpfluch way. Then add the lo-fi, cheap, transgressive aesthetic of the burgeoning noise scene in the 80s and we ‘re getting somewhere. With Phillips, beyond the general extremity, psychological tension, induced states, punk, anti-art, etc. there ‘s also a strong political/anarchist angle which was part of Fear of God as well. He ‘s passionate about animal rights (a vegan I believe), human rights, civil rights, etc. which (may or may not) give the frustration, anger, whatnot a more purposeful focus. So… on to ‘IIIII ’ - I listed it as one of my favorites of this year. I think it ‘s a fantastic recording. I also get a bit concerned when I see 99 tracks on a CD, but since it ‘s a Dave Phillips CD, I wasn ‘t worried. It makes perfect sense. A lot of his work has the taut, fragmentary, broken, almost binary (complete silence or in the red) quality of the finest Schimplfluch works where the sounds themselves are aaaaaallmmosst arbitrary and the compositional/psychological rhythm and form they create are much more important. A lot of the Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock recordings used almost the exact same sounds even. R & G fans will easily recognize the infamous short scream/hitting oneself on the chest sound that were all over countless R & G recordings. This was partially comic, partially referencing the arbitrariness of the sounds themselves and partially lazy? (80s noise we-don’t-give-a-fuck ethic). This is or was also a technique of Lionel Marchetti’s tape music for a while. The ‘swooshing of a switch through the air ’ sound was ever present on his recordings, to the point that it became a point of tension/composition when and if it arrived. It seems like he hasn’t used it in a while - I miss that sound! At any rate, yes, there are some familiar sounds happening. The Schimpfluch folk are probably responsible for the popularization of the retch sound you mention. Part of Phillips’ set up involves a contact mic in the mouth and the performative qualities of bodily extremity certainly play a part in his music and you can read into this in a number of ways as being some kind of abject body horror transgression, a statement on dehumanization or whatnot or you can treat it like a sound. A sound that turns up often enough in Schimpfluch-related recordings (Yau is certainly influenced by these guys - I’m not sure where else you’ve heard this sound). But like the sax slap tongue, a bowed cymbal or a ‘gamelanesque’ plucked note on a prepared guitar in free improvisation, simply part of the lexicon.

(Elk, Bagatellen)

Dass die einzelnen Mitglieder der Schimpfluch-Gruppe nicht immer auf das unbaendig Laute und den beklemmenden Rest dazwischen besteht, haben neulich schon G*Park mit ihren Pianostudien beiwiesen (TA067). Entgegen vieler seiner vorangehenden Releases tritt Phillips als Artist hier ebenso zurueck und findet seine Geraeusche nicht im oder am eigenen Leib. Wildsaeue haben es ihm angetan, das piensende Ferkel ebenso wie der bloekende Keiler. Über knapp dreissig Minuten begleiten wir die doch recht heimelig und zufrieden wirkende Konversation der Viecher und schnell entsteht der gewinnbringende Eindruck, dass, wenn ‘ne Sau dann doch mal lauter wird und ‘ne andre Sau kurz kontert, es bestimmt eh nur um den schoeneren Ecken in der Dreckmulde geht. Von diesem herrlich unverkrampften Verhalten sollte sich bitte jeder ‘ne ordentliche Scheibe abschneiden.

(Ed Benndorf)

μιξάροντας ηχογραφήσεις εντόμων που έκανε κάποια στιγμή στην Ταϊλανδή, ο dave phillips (μέλος της schimpfluch gruppe, ντράμμερ των πάλαι πότε grinders, ‘fear of god’, κλπ, μας προσφέρει μια από τις πιο δυνατές και τρομερές δουλειές του. αν και τα τελευταία χρόνια από τους αφαιρετικούς ήχους του, έχει περάσει σε ήχους που δημιουργούνται, συντηρούνται και παράγονται από το σώμα του (σάλιο, κλπ κλπ κλπ) το insect αποτελεί μια ηχογράφηση, η δυναμική της οποίας κρύβεται (θα τόλμαγα να πω) στον απίστευτο τρόπο εξέλιξης της. από κει που δε το περιμένεις διαχέονται οι ήχοι σιγά σιγά στο χώρο σου καταλαμβάνοντας τον και στέλνοντας σε τελείως. το θεωρώ ως μια από τις καλύτερες στιγμές του που αξίζει να τσεκάρει κάποιος… τώρα όσον αφορά τα έντομα… την επόμενη φορά που θα θελήσει κάποιος να σκοτώσει ένα ας λάβει υπόψη του αυτά

(Nicolas, Tranzistor)

needs no introduction. this contains the first and early un/released tracks from dave phillips. intense and harsh. sensitive and emotional. simple and straight. very complex and far away from noise making only for noise. there is so much to say to dave phillips’ work that i only give you an idea here: it’s very from the heart and dp is able to produce it that you can hear it! this is more than noise. one of my faves again and again!

(Micha Barthel, Recordings for the Summer Newsletter)

Dave Phillips live, or Dave Phillips live and then edited? I don’t know. Are those mouth noises on turntable, or mouth noises and turntable, or both? I don’t know that either. A close look reveals that Phillips’ style is dissimilar from Eb.er’s, but certainly related. The ‘attack’ style of editing is less punching and stabbing here than it is recurring orchestra motifs. Phillips might be the Alban Berg to Eb.er’s Schoenberg, a slight easing up on the hard math (so who gets to be Webern?). Like his previous two full-lengths, this is beautiful and, I think, soulful experimental music, but experimental in the sense of testing or analyzing something, not hitting it with a hammer to see if it breaks. Very few of the characteristic ‘SLAM!’s until minute 9 (out of a 15 minute disc). The Bigfoot recording on Stomach Ache comes to mind sometimes. Also unlike Eb.er, Phillips can’t seem to resist going for a BIG! finish. The ‘audience’ sounds miles away, in an editing sense, not emotionally! This is a primer for those wishing to unlock the beautiful mysteries of his ‘III+’ and ‘IIII’ full-lengths, which, though I named the latter one of the best 15 discs of last year, I admit are still a bit beyond my comprehension.

(Christopher M. Sienko)

IIII is an unusually assembled collage from the Switzerland-based outsider environmentalist and sound artist Dave Phillips. The CD comes in a linen sleeve in a set completed with an anti-meat and corporation screed. Although you’d hesitate to call it ‘reflective’ or Zen-informed, long patches of silence or extremely quiet sonic happenings curve into sudden noise events that’ll have you worrying about the volume. Faint movements, breathing or rustling are followed by a muffled gunshot, and then the bristling and purring of cicadas. Or an insistent electronic hiss, accompanied by a desultory amplified fumbling, grows into a louder pop and clack, and then lurches with a wild cry into an extreme squall of screaming, whooping, and electronic noise that cuts out after half a minute into near silence. Elsewhere, there are odd semi-human snatches of crooning, or a split second of gulping sickness that overdrives into an acid white noise drone before dispersing among recordings of birds. Between minimalism and Dada collage, it’s at once spaced out and aggressively splintered.

(Matt Ffytche, The Wire, Issue 226, December 2002)

Die Schweizer Dave Phillips (ex-Fear of God), Sudden Infant, Ohne, Rudolf Eb.er, sie alle und einige im Geiste Verbundene weltweit bilden ein Gruppierung unter den Noisemusikern, die irgendwo aus stark linksgepraegter Gesellschafts- und Kulturkritik, aus ihrer Suche nach Erhabenheit im ausgesperrten Schmerz und aus hochkaraetiger Naechstenliebe ihre Inspiration schoepfen. Sudden Infant aka Joke Lanz bewies dies unter anderem auf seinem geschaetzten Album ‘Bandenkrieg’ (SSSM) und Rudolf Eb.er aka Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock aufs unuebertroffen Abscheulichste auf der behaarten (!) CD ‘Asshole/Snail Dilemma’ (Tochnit Aleph). Auf Philipps’ Album ‘IIII’ bleiben der und das Andere fast unbemerkt staendig praesent: Gefluester, field recordings von der Muecke, der Grille, aus der Kueche und vom Bahnhof verfolgen uns ueber die gesamte Spielzeit. Doch immer wieder, ohne jegliche Vorwarnung und ohne erkennbaren Rhythmus, versucht Phillips das stetig rollende Aussen im mal scheisswuetenden, mal angewitzelten Schrei um alles oder im Auswurf stehender, elender analoger Kotze zu brechen (weniger aus Wut denn aus Hilfosigkeit oder beidem). Gemaess seiner Aussage im Booklet ‘Words can be more than words’ streift er im Urtrieb jeglichen Versuchs des Redens das vermeintlich Informative zuvorkommend ab und platzt unueberhoerbar in die Vorstufe intersubjektiven Erkennens hinein. Einfach ma so, mit dicker Wucht. Phillips bricht das beanstandete Schweigen untereinander letztendlich aber durch nichts. Da das Ohr immer offen bleibt, kommen wir sowieso nicht umhin, die andern zu erfassen und notgedrungen kennenzulernen. Das Aussen und der Laerm werden bleiben, noch ziemlich lange und weiterhin uneins. Phillips leuchtet daher natuerlich nur kurz zwischendurch auf, es blendet aber betoerend gut.

(Erik Benndorf)

dave phillips III+ cdr (tochnit aleph) demands a witness for his cruel and unusual execution of sixty-one homicidal turkeys (all of which have it coming). in the gain-attendant tradition of consciousness-captains runzelstirn & gurgelstock and schimpfluch-gruppe, gorked-up splats leap out of nowhere and try to permanently damage internal potentiometers by abusing the far reaches of impact detection. III+ enforces awareness of annexation of all empirical data receptors with magnifying glasses (or a suitably sexy analog). as in all great works of literature from the macrobiotic punctuation school, it’s all about the crossing and the dotting.

(seymour glass, bananafish, Issue 15, January 2000)

haben ost-berlin und das schweizer schaeferdoerfchen aarau irgendwas gemein? na ja, arschloecher gibt’s ueberall; und somit auch menschen, die das ertragen muessen und sich vielleicht einen gewaltigen arschloch-schein aneignen, um den richtigen arschloechern eins vorn latz zu knallen oder oft einfach nur aus spass an der freud’ mit dreck. yop, frech hat deutlich hochkonjunktur. der chi.pflug-schweizer dave phillips ist - aber hallo! - ein kandidat fuer den soundtrack zur schmerzendsten wurst aufm klo, aber auch zur untermalung langsamer rhythmusstoerungen im oder am schritt. phillips wuchtet schreie hervor, gefolgt von schreien und geschrei, wurzelt seinen eigenen sack faltig und loopt in stille daumenschrauben ausm aal. neulich fuehrte jemand in einem gespraech ueber tochnit aleph den vergleich heran, dieses label schliesse in punkto wirkung an die konsequente fortfuehrung grosser weltreligionen an. ganz so ernst war’s nicht gemeint, vermute ich, aber was dave phillips hier produziert, erinnert schon sehr an suendhafte ehrerbietung abgeschlagenen koepfen und bestechlichen juden gegenueber und verbreitet ohne frage den widerspruch einer neu ausgerichteten, universellen erfuellung im schmerz. grosse, grosse CD.

(Erik Benndorf, we poy, Issue 2, January 2000)


dead peni


Droning dirge-y sludge records are a dime a dozen at this point. It’s still a sound we love, but we’re rapidly reaching a saturation point. The punk rock ethos of ‘anyone can start a band’ combined with the fact that everybody has a cd burner, and the seeming ‘ease’ of making doomy drone music, just means that now, it requires a whole hell of a lot of digging and sifting thought mounds of mediocre doom and so so sludge, to discover something as fucked up and far out as Dead Peni. We first hear Dead Peni on a compilation a year or two back and were immediately smitten. The name evoked some sort of blackened take on Rudimentary Peni, but the sound was nothing of the sort, instead Dead Peni trafficked in an expansive sprawling riff based blackened doomdrone, that was anything but static, like a slowed down tarpit space rock, an even doomier murkier Godflesh, or Wolf Eyes with some rhythmic heft. It was hard to get a feel for what DP were capable of just on the basis of the music on the comp, but it was definitely enough to know we needed more. And -more- has arrived, in the form of this three track, 47 minute, mysteriously monickered slab of blackened crush. 2-4+1 begins all hushed shimmer and deeeeeep low end whir, a sound that could be any cd-r, until some ungodly beastlike growl emerges from the depths and the guitar explodes, super distorted, crumbling and processed, but weirdly muted and warm. A single crash, allowed to ring out, transforming into a charged electronic buzz, streaked with feedback, and underpinned by that monstrous gurgling voice. Finally the drums kick in, a slow motion drum machined doomic plod, and we’re gone. Total buzzing black doom industrial noise nirvana, lumbering and druggy, minor key and surprisingly melodic. A bit of Godflesh, a little Gore, some classic old school funereal doom run through a bank of Wolf Eyesian cracked electronics and malfunctioning effects, the weirdest part is the crowd noise, what sounds like the chanting of a rally or demonstration, snippets and samples, wrapped in rippling sheets of feedback, and woven into massive churning waves of crumbling distortion, a cinematic and weirdly dreamlike doom / industrial / noise hybrid. Like the sound of some super fucked up post apocalyptic political rally, tattered flags, burning buildings, a crowd of shapes and figures clad in rags, some mysterious shadow, on a raised parapet, delivering his message in a gurgling rumbling barely audible vocals, almost like goregrind vocals, but buried so low in the mix they end up sounding like another layer of droning rumble. One guitar weaves a soaring almost majestic melody, but still woozy and washed out sounding, while the track lurches glacially onward, the crowd cheering and chanting, the whole thing like some mysterious soundtrack to the end of the world, or at least the end of the world as we know it. But we can’t help but willingly submit. The following track begins with nearly 4 minutes of rain, thunder and lightning, voices, field recordings, laid over an almost imperceptible high end, which gradually grows and grows into a symphony of feedback, tones and overtones tangling and intermingling, creating all sorts of alien melodies, until finally the riff comes in, a super simple caveman dirge sort of riff, locked into a neverending loop, repeating over and over and over like some sort of proto metal mantra, while all the while, the rainfall continues, the random sounds drift in and out, the feedback swirls in little squalls and tangles, the only deviation, being some brief bits of classic doom like melody, before the riff inevitably returns to it’s original looping dirge. The final track begins with an explosion of blown out guitar and buzzing rumble, before drifting off, leaving the staticky detritus over a simple robotic pulse, and a sea of glitch and squiggles, the various elements finally locking into some sort of super abstract doom metal, but one that is hardly doom, or metal, more like some fragmented space drone, peppered with squalls of superdistorted guitar, the occasional clanging crash and crunch, all very muted and muddy, wreathed in a layer of gauzy distortion, voices, dogs barking, all manner of random sounds, and finally, a fierce howled processed demonic voice, wrapped in distorted riffage, and creating a super spare, spaced out sort of doom, where the riffs spend most of the time buzzing and drifting, only to rear up and spit out a bit of fractured melody and harsh hissy pummel, before recoiling again, and resuming its slow burning black drone. It almost sounds like Butthole Surfers ultra-doom, the same sort of effects drenched trippiness, and off kilter dementia, but way blacker, and way more fucked up and frightening. Any of the three tracks could have been stretched out to album length, and we most certainly would have bought all three, but the three pieces here definitely work together well, as some sort of hellish, demonic, slow motion black doom drone dirge, that plays out almost like some impossible Wolf Eyes / Moss / Arvo Part mash up, if that makes any sense. Which it doesn’t, but which is exactly what makes Dead Peni so amazing. In addition to the 3 audio tracks, there’s a fourth track included as a quicktime video, another blown out glacial buzz drenched dirge, this time accompanied by strange abstract visuals, black and white, giving way to green and blue, what seems to be buildings or ruins, but ultimately are so overexposed they just become shapes, the perfect visual representation of Dead Peni’s abject black doom.

(www.aquariusrecords.org)

数々のプロジェクトで地下を暗躍する ex.FEAR OF GOD/Dave Phillips によるワンマン doom ユニット,1曲入りCDR! ひび割れた minimal 暗黒 sonic doom drone でカッコイイです! ’聴く’というより大音量で体感するべきアンチコマーシャル音楽!

(Nat Records)


schimpfluch-gruppe


SCHIMPFLUCH GRUPPE - NIGREDO (cassette by Fragment Factory)
On a cassette we have Schimpfluch Gruppe, a notorious group of various musicians, with a live recordings from April last year in Tokyo on one side, as recorded by Rudolf Eb.er (a core member!) and Dave Phillips and on the other side a split channel by them, with Phillips in the left channel and Eb.er in the right channel, recording things that were totally independent. It’s interesting to play this straight after the Alice Kemp release, as it shares the similar approach to working with acoustic sound - straight in your face, although especially in the live recording this seems to be not-so-loud. In the split channel piece there is a bit more noise but here too, I must say it’s not a lot. The action may seem obscure; you could hardly think what’s going on. A performance perhaps, but for all we know we have two persons playing sounds from a laptop, or burning bits of wood, strongly amplified. It has for me the same captivating feel to it, but a strong love for anything sound based is quite in place here. Also the music recorded separately works wonderfully well, and I never had the idea of listening to two different things, stuck together on one tape. This is noise, and this is noise that I like.

(Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly, Issue 899, September 2013)

Un autre bois (on l’imagine), et sur cassette, crépite sur Nigredo. C’est que Rudolf Eb.Er et Dave Phillips y ont marché, en route pour Tokyo où ils donnèrent un concert « préparé » sous le nom de Schimpfluch-Gruppe. Devant l’assistance, un souffle fut transformé en râle, ce râle en ombre épaisse et inquiétante, cette ombre en chimère prisonnière d’une cellule de béton gris. Dans un bruit assourdissant de métal (des chaînes, peut-être), ce sera la libération. En face B, un canal chacun, Eb.Er et Phillips exposent le matériau qu’ils composèrent indépendamment pour leur rencontre : ni chimère, ni béton, ni métal, mais des ombres encore.

(Guillaume Belhomme, Le Son du Grisli)

A bit of a Schimpfluch kick going on at aQuarius lately, and that’s hardly an infliction that’s for the faint of heart. We recently got in the impeccable, existential blank stare of an album in G*Park’s Sub, and now we have this super limited cassette from the overarching Schimpfluch-Gruppe. The loose knit Swiss collective of aktionists, noise tacticians, and performance artists mines the psychologically violent territories of the id, including the aforementioned G*Park, Dave Phillips (aka Dead Peni), Sudden Infant, and Rudolf Eb.Er (aka Runzelstirn & Gurglestock), amongst other malcontents. Here, the Schimpfluch-Gruppe is represented by Rudolf Eb.Er and Dave Phillips, neither of whom are artists known for their subtlety. Surprisingly though, this cassette is a rather slow burning affair based on manipulated field recordings. But lest you think this a droll exercise in phonography, Phillips and Eb.Er guide their composition into something very carcinogenic. Unsettled frequencies from dripping water and early morning bird twitter are extracted and molded into piercing drones, atonal billowing masses, and lurching loops of jittery white noise with horrific exasperated vocalizations from one of those two. Phillips in particular has a facet in his body of work that favors the hellish chorals of Southeast Asian insect noise that can be equally hallucinatory and terrifying; and that’s not too far from what he and Phillips are doing here. Something around 100 copies in existence.

(Jim Haynes, Aquarius Records)

New LP documenting a set of actions that Schimpfluch staged in Paris in 1996 and 97, including the infamous ‘spaghetti action’. The Schimpfluch Gruppe – the ‘abuse’ group – is cover for a series of affiliated artists who work in the liminal space between contemporary performance art, confrontational punk, avant garde composition and transgressive personal theatre. Founded by Rudolf Eb.Er and including at points Raionbashi, Dave Phillips and Joke Lanz (aka Sudden Infant), these recordings feature Eb.Er with Helena Greter, Dave Phillips and Doris Tomasoni. Minus the visuals it’s almost impossible to work out exactly what’s going on but as a stand-alone audio document it works well. One set seems to be based around violent hyperventilating chokes and groans building into overwhelming cathartic vocal violence. The second set is more extended and makes more use of dynamic tension, with long periods of silence populated by nothing but a ticking metronome before the introduction of tortured vocals and split-seconds of warped electronics gives way to an electro-acoustic pile-up with all of the avalanching power of the The New Blockaders. This is a whole other approach to ritual sound, with the primitive vocal poetics of Dylan Nyoukis/Blood Stereo and the body-focused investigations of the original actionists combined with a theatrical approach to avant garde performance and an energy and visceral power that comes straight out of punk rock.

(David Keenan, Volcanic Tongue)


ohne


Tom Smith has said to me that he could never return to the ways of To Live and Shave in L.A. And by indication of his latest effort, Ohne ‘1’, he isn’t kidding. For this band, Tom teams up with Reto Mader, Daniel Lowenbruck and Dave Phillips. This is a rare record. Not numbers-wise, but rare in the sense that it manages to traverse an incredible amount of terrain yet remain solid and intact. And it’s an immensely sensitive record with sounds embedded in sounds, barking dogs wrapped living in industrial plastic (the kind we’re supposed to duct tape our windows and doors with here in the States), muffled ecstasies, scatological seductions and aktionist shifts. Every song (and yeah…these are pretty close to songs) fits together in a sick tapestry of multitudinous and fragmented depictions of both our baser and our cognizant emotions and impulses. Add to this the billions of colors which bleed across these aural images, illuminating our personal catastrophes, our successes and our vulnerabilities, and you have a sublimely discreet and discriminating document. Cover up nice and warm, because while this record does seem cozy for these fellers, it isn’t without its attacks, beratings, cruelties and batteries. It still bears that concupiscence that Smith has explored in the past with cuts like the 7th song (all titles are simply the initials of the prime writers). On this track, Tom’s lascivious and, er, orgasmic vox is accompanied by a brooding piano, indigo bruises all across our brains, severed and discarded sexual organs thrust at us out of the dark. At times this record is downright astonishing in its care and thoughtful constructions. It’s sly, funny, forthright and brilliant. And while there is outright collision present, the recording seems to be more about thoughtful explorations into disjunctive symmetry. Which may speak to the way in which it was put together. It was built virtually, via files emailed and exchanged back and forth online. The hours and hours of meticulous treatments and syntactical blurs illustrate a deep understanding of how sound, while ostensibly serene and muted, can be disruptive and unsettling. The wit and intelligence with which these songs were built shows a deeper understanding of psychoacoustics. These guys turned a corner; a very sharp and poignant corner.

(Kelly Burnette, 'Broken Face' zine)

a truly original work of extremely ugly-beautiful half-assed genius-stupidity, and something that no one can afford not to investigate right now - at the risk of suffering the form of brain-rot reserved for neglected tropical goldfish floating in a bowl. I think this OHNE release comes close to fulfilling the Mego compact, in an unexpected way. my wild supposition is that the label’s founders (Pita Rehberg in particular) always wanted to make a totally absurdist statement, and plumbed for releasing the most extreme examples of digital electronica possible, simply in order to attract attention, piss people off and provoke a strong reaction. needless to say the joke backfired, as soon as Christian Fennesz became identified as the ‘talent’ of the label and praised by all and sundry as a serious artist. the other players in the Mego catalogue - and there are many - tended to be appraised by timid critics in the light of this discovery. the Mego hardcore shock-troops tried to retaliate with such grotesque absurdities as ‘The Magic of Fenn’O’Berg’, Pure’s ‘The End of Vinyl’, Hecker’s reductionist monstrosities, the General Magic pranksterism, and the patently ridiculous naked guitar band Fuckhead. But still the critics raved (myself among them). well, suck on this. maybe this intolerable beast of burden will silence everybody once and for all. belched out from a nameless orifice in the studio by four marginal loons. one of them, Daniel Loewenbrueck, is known to me - he produced an astonishing piece of aural nonsense called ‘Luxury Discreet Surroundings’ in 1999, whose profound meaning-lessness haunts me to this day. Daniel also manages the Tochnit Aleph label in Germany, home to fine noisy wildmen. the other buffoons in this OHNE circus are Dave Phillips of Schimpfluch-Gruppe, Om Myth (i.e. Tom Smith) of To Live And Shave in L.A., and producer of some of the most unlistenable recordings ever made; and Reto Maeder of RM74, whatever that may be. composed mainly of voices of the three performers, maltreated through the mixing desk by Maeder, OHNE’s CD is a perplexing and indigestible mess of incomprehensibility. it’s one of those rare recordings that it’s virtually impossible to remember anything about it, and might even appear to be new and different every time you play it - assuming you’re prepared to air it more than once in your life. it makes no sense whatsoever. wrapped in horrendous sleeve art which might depict an unpleasant object somewhere between a cancerous liver or an aborted foetus (or a malevolent plasticine scultpture which aspires to depict both), this OHNE record presents us things - like these diseased interior organ-viscera elements - which we would rather not know about, the manifestation of bad thoughts which we would prefer to burry in a ditch. the disjointed, random methodology in the editing and the general quesiness of the vile sounds will induce nausea in the listener - I certainly wanted to vomit more than once. no conventional ‘pleasure’ at all, just a big dose of mind-altering and body-damaging weirdness, like chewing on a huge chunk of deep-frozen sick laced with LSD. even the very typeface of the Mego logo has been distorted to fit the band’s name. ‘deal with it, you bastards’, snarls the aggressive press release. now, will everyone finally get the point?

(Ed Pinsent, 'The Sound Projector' zine)

…is like an unstable chemical compound, ready to collapse at any moment. Maybe if the track did crumble to pieces - and lay decomposing for a long long time - it would sound a little like OHNE’s 1. OHNE, a quartet who cheekily copped the MEGO logo for their own band’s branding, go digging through a sandpile of bleeps, clicks, hiccups and fragments of song, scooping it rudely into bags like investigators after a catastrophe. Odder still, a voice like Leonard Cohen’s appears occasionally, slurring a dirge-like commentary. The CD cover pictures what might be some unidentified human organ, but ohne’s sound ultimately suggests the bleakest naturalism ever, a landscape so sublime it would’ve sent Turner lunging for the absinthe.

(AUSTRO AUDIO : New Music from Vienna)

Full on noise attack from this international ‘supergroup’ of sorts. Featuring ex-members of To Live And Shave In LA, Fear Of God, Sudden Infant and Schimpfluch-Gruppe (who, along with Runzlestirn & Gurgelstock, collaborated with noise giant Masonna a while back on the ‘Arschloch-onna’ disc on Japan Overseas), the group utilizes the human voice as the main source of sound, employing a multitude of electronic manipulations guaranteed to destroy eardrums as well as irritate the fuck out of your neighbors. Totally retarded and highly recommended to fans of the above or those needing a fix for what was once the consistent output of the dearly missed RRRecords of Massachussets. On the newly established Ohne label, a subsidiary of the acclaimed Viennese power electronics tastemakers Mego.

(Aquarius Records)

Das Coverpainting von Rudolf Eb.er zeigt ein ekliges, gequollenes Oberschenkelhalsknochenknorpelding. Dazu dei Stimmen (+electronics) dreier Stageperformer - Dave Phillips (Schimpfluch-Gruppe, ex-Fear Of God), Om Myth (ex-To Live And Shave In L.A.) & Daniel Loewenbruekck (Tochnit Aleph Label, Noise Of Gaki) -, die durch den Livemixreisswolf von Reto Maeder (rm74, Hinterzimmer Label) gejagt wurden. Dichtes Faserknaeuel aus organischen und anorganischen, abstrakten und konkreten, gesampleten und live erzeugten Geraeuschen, die Stimmen nur in unkenntlichen Festzen oder extremster Verfremdung. Maeder fertigte eine Noise-frottage an mit nicht identifierbaren Reliefmustern, splittrigen Einschluessen. Informel-Kunst aus Knistern und Rumoren, unerwartet diskret mit Dreamscapemomenten - etwa wenn bei Icon 6 eine weit entfernte Musik zu gurgeln scheint, die dann ine einem Schlund verschwindet. Piano-Samples kehren als Traumreste wieder und werden von einem abrupten Harsh-Noise-Sandstrahl an die Wand gesplattert, Gelaechter wird von spitzen Elektroniknadeln aufgespiesst. Mit dem Collagenhaften waechst das Surreale.

(Bad Alchemy, Issue 40, August 2002)

Natuerlich interessiert es mich, was aus alten Grindcore-Helden so wird. Dave Phillips von Fear Of God macht mit ein paar anderen Typen Ohne: Om Myth (ex-To Live And Shave In L.A.), Daniel Loewenbruekck (Noise Of Gaki, Tochnit Label) und Reto Maeder (rm74, Hinterzimmer Label). Radikal und durchaus harsch, aber weniger den alten Grind-Tugenden Geschwindikeit und Kuerze entsprechend, laermen die Vier elektronisch, mal merzbowig, mal duester ambienten. Verfremdeete Stimmen, gemeine Angriffe auf unschuldige Gemueter, vermeintlich harmloses Terrain. Zirpen, Schluerfen, Klappern, Ein tiefes Rumpeln. Ein Klavier schlaegt langsam beschleunigend einen Takt, waehrend sich drueber boesartige Frequenzen breit machen, untermalt von Schlaegen. Eine Kettensaege im Wald. Dein Nachbar wird zwar sagen, dass das jetzt aber nun wirklich keine Musik mehr ist, aber das hat er auch schon bei deinen Grindcore-Platten gesagt…

(Stone, Trust, Issue 95, August 2002)

Aggressive ins’t the word - Mars alone knows what is - but I was left feeling ambivalent about this debut download/pile-up from the quartet of ‘Om Myth’ (aka Tom Smith of To Live And Shave In L.A. et al), Dave Phillips, Daniel Loewenbrueck and Reto Maeder. It’s a great sprawling, grating, thrashing, electrocuted octopus of haz-e boy NOISZE which, unlike other entires here - Grillo, Mattin/Parlane, Muslimgauze - has no frame text or puncept or theory kickback, so pushing you to take it in on its own stark sonic terms. A bit TOO full-on to pull in too many new ears, realtime performance is the best place to sample Ohne’s one-stop apocalypse.

(The Wire, Issue 221, July 2002)

Negli ultimi tempi l’etichetta austriaca Mego non ha solo intensificato la frequenza delle proprie pubblicazioni, ma ha pure dato una decisa sterzata (lo dicevamo nel numero scorso) in direzione più o meno rumorista, un cavallo di ritorno che evidentemente si rivela in tutti i sensi maggiormente redditizio rispetto all’estetica microelettronica ormai in declino. Ecco allora le estenuanti deflagrazioni di ‘1’ a firma Ohne (esponenti di gruppi minori quali To Live and Shave in L.A., Schimpfluch, Fear of God etc.), schegge e frammenti di un sentire enigmatico e fuori-di-testa, registrazioni ambientali, seghe circolari e stridii inclusi, che a tratti abbandonano l’aggressione noise a favore di canzoni (?!) deformi declamate con improbabile afflato da crooner e voce raschiata a metà tra Nick Cave, Tom Waits e Residents.

(Nicola Catalano, Rumore, November 2002)


dave phillips & francisco meirino


Some weeks ago I received the official announcement that Francisco Meirino is no longer using the name Phroq as his moniker, but from now on wishes to work under his real name only. I wrote about this tendency before, and no doubt it has something to do with opting to be taken more seriously (by whom I wonder?). Dave Philips works as such for a much longer period of time. There is an interesting parallel to be drawn from both artists, which is that both work with what I call intelligent noise. Both of them use the collage/cut-up in a dramatic way. They have various building blocks of electro-acoustic sounds and field recordings at their disposal, which they cut together. Sometimes deceivingly silent and quite, which can linger on quite a bit, but just when you don’t expect this, they cut it out with some harsh, nasty sound. That happens a few times on their collaborative work, as its hardly a surprise that both man work together. The six pieces on this work, which took four years to create, are excellent examples of their work. There is a great sense of story telling in these pieces, although its not obvious what this story is. It’s captivating music throughout, very intense and thoughtful. Sometimes this puts you off, since there are odd changes and interruptions, loud as hell, but you can not help but sucked into this music. Definitely from the background of noise music, but with so much more to tell and with so much more pleasure to hear. Excellent collaboration.

(Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly, Issue 747)

Many listeners describe difficult music as ‚abstract’. The connection to abstraction in visual art possibly informs this distinction, but it seems to me that it is traditional music that is abstract, where sweepin symphonies must, through melody, rhythm and harmony, evoke such things as pastoral landscapes, thunderstorms and birdsong. Dave Phillips (member of Schimpfluch-Gruppe, the European Aktionist Noise/performance collective) and Francisco Meirino (formerly Phroq) have collaborated on a gripping, confusing CD that vacillates deftly between abstraction and representation, blurring the distinction between the two. We Are None Of Us follows the compositional logic of many Schimpfluch-related releases: long periods of near silence are sharply interrupted by cat-scare blasts of harsh electronics, but Meirino’s signature digital sizzles and crackles define the soundscape. Phillips often incorporates themes of animal rights and anti-anthropocentrism into his work – his recent US tour performace included videos of animal torture, and he has released albums of untreated insect sounds that rival Merzbow’s brutality. Those insect sounds reappear here, enabling som fascinating effects. Meirino’s chirping electronics, which until now i’ve always assumed were without referent, are place alongside field recordings of insects, and all of a sudden, overmodulated square waves begin to sound like the rubbing of chitin on chitin. The bugs and the synths bleed into each other until the listener isn’t sure anymore what is or isn’t electronic anymore. Phillips’s recordings have transformed Meirino’s music into a kind of sonic portrature. elsewhere, muffled coives, children’s choirs, traffic and beer cans are augmented and imitated by digital synthesis, the two world alwaysd weaving into one another, confusing electronic for acoustic. The press release claims that Phillips and Meirino were inspired by horror film soundtracks, citing composers like John Carpenter, Krzysztof Komeda and Goblin. In the Noise scene, this is a pretty mundane and well-trodden path. We Are None Of Us is, frankly, too excellent to be dismissed as part of any Giallo-worshipping lo-fi routine. It tells a story, one that is at times quite frightening, but has more in common with Hitchcock than with gore porn.

(William Hutson, Wire, November 2010)

Sur la longueur de quatre faces gravées, Francisco Meirino et Dave Phillips rendent ici compte de travaux de laboratoire qu’ils partagent. Les deux hommes vont et viennent, remuent, tentent de combinaisons : font feu de tous bruits.
Le son capturé d’un objet de verre se brisant : du bocal s’échappent les premiers ingrédients, mouvant, au son d’une sirène que leur fuite a déclenchée. Une basse tombe alors, régulière, des éclats de voix animales trahissent un peu de quoi retournent les combinaisons imaginées par le duo, esprit et corps d’un nouveau Docteur Moreau.
Un chant de paroissiens s’en mêle, dont les oraisons seront vaines : c’est un peu de métal qu’injectent maintenant Meirino et Phillips à leur créature andis que ses premiers crissements se font entendre. Celle-ci se retournera évidemment contre ses pères. Eux, auront mis un son sur la menace – en couverture, Sereina Schwegler lui avait donné l’image d’une armée d’insectes clonés – avant de s’y abandonner tout à fait.

(Guillaume Belhomme, Le Son du Grisli)


fear of god


The ultimate in raw aggression. Two 1988 recordings, one obviously live, the other is possibly also, but its hard to tell. This band was brutal, ugly and way the fuck ‘ahead of its time’, whatever that means. We got the 7’ and then we got this LP in Swizterland in the ’90s from the record store where the drummer had worked, where we heard Rudolph from Runzelstirn and Gurgelstock did too. That might tell you a little about where this is coming from. Makes almost anything calling itself ‘heavy’ now seem a bit sad and goofy.

(Web Of Mimicry)

CD has 21 tracks, 36:59; 11:08 of that is the actual EP, and there’s also approximately twenty-one minutes of silence and a short interview. Believe it or not, my musical tastes revolved around grindcore, death metal, black metal, etc. for a while. These days I don’t care for most death and black metal, but I still have a soft spot for grindcore. For those unfamiliar with the style, grindcore is essentially a hyperspeed blend of hardcore and extreme metal. Grindcore’s defining trait is the blast beat, which consists of playing the drums so fast that only a blur of dull thudding and crashing cymbals can be heard. ‘Grindcore’ was allegedly derived from ‘hardcore’ and ‘grind’, a term used by Mick Harris to describe the sound of bands like Swans. That’s the condensed version anyway! The classic genre-defining grindcore bands(1) would be Japan’s S.O.B., who were the punkiest of the early groups (and possibly the least interesting soundwise); America’s nasty Repulsion; England’s seminal Napalm Death; and this one, Switzerland’s legendary Fear Of God(2). Falling into the political end of grindcore, Fear Of God was a startling quartet of vocalist Erich Keller, drummer/screamer Franz ‘Osi’ Oswald (also in Tenebre), guitarist/screamer Reto ‘Tschösi’ Kühne (also in Messiah), and drummer/screamer Dave Phillips (also in Bloodstar and later an eclectic noise artist). Young, angry, and idealistic, the four madmen absolutely DESTROYED that which Napalm Death et al had created. Whereas Napalm Death’s full-length debut SCUM was full of short noisy bursts, in hindsight its production was a bit too clean. Fear Of God intentionally recorded as noisily as possible, ensuring that each of these twenty-one tracks is covered in a nice layer of filth. Don’t let that scare you off, because believe me, it suits the music! Whereas Napalm Death hid ‘You Suffer’s one-second burst at the end of side one, Fear Of God come right out the gate with the seven-second growlfest ‘Rubbish Planet’. From there it’s a lightspeed blast through the remaining tracks, which you actually CAN differentiate after enough listens! Thirteen of the songs are less than thirty seconds, while only four (barely) break the minute mark. Lyrically, these tunes rail against women who wear fur (‘Pelzfotze’), excessive and/or misdirected pride (‘Proud On Your Pride’), the poor treatment of AIDS victims (’I’m Positive’), and other political injustices in an appropriately furious way. Erich’s disturbing growled vocals are an acquired taste, but his frenzied delivery is a perfect match for the music. He’s especially enjoyable on such micro-songs as ‘My Hands Deep In Your Guts’ and ‘7 Up’; he truly DOES sound like he’s singing for his life at times, or perhaps he’s just an elemental force of nature unto himself? Don’t sell the other members short though! Dave manages to get a catchy and even groovy bassline into every noisy gem, Osi’s drumming probably made even Mick Harris nervous, and Tschösi is perfectly capable of playing recognizable notes and blurry waves of noise with equal aplomb. The extra screams that all three instrumentalists add are a nice touch to Keller’s more guttural approach. Essentially inventing AND mastering the subgenre of noisegrind(3) with this EP, this would be an essential introduction to grindcore for anyone curious about the genre. In my opinion it’s an even better intro than SCUM or REEK OF PUTREFACTION! Fear Of God would have a short lifespan, breaking up in ‘88. There was a reunion a few years back, and Ipecac of all labels was set to release a Fear Of God discography disc, but that seems to have fallen through. MANY vinyl bootlegs of this EP exist, so I would suggest getting the authorized CD. By the way, about that silence: At the end of track twenty-one (the short and intense screamfest ‘First Class People), there is indeed about twenty-one minutes of silence, followed by a nearly six-minute interaction between some punk and a radio host . This has a small bit of music spliced into it, but otherwise it’s just the punk and the host insulting/being confused by Fear Of God. A strange bonus perhaps, but with singular efforts like this I’m just happy to have it at all. All FOG releases are worth it(4), but Erich himself has said more bootlegs exist than authorized product, so pay attention when shopping! If this sounds appealing to you, check Erich’s music blog at www.goodbadmusic.com . He usually posts metal and hardcore, but there’s a few Fear Of God rarities in there. Another truly interesting FOG-related project is Dave Phillips’ THE HERMENEUTICS OF FEAR OF GOD, which reassembles the already-extreme source material into a nightmarish (though fascinating!) horror show; VERY much worth checking out, but use caution! Also worth hunting for is Erich’s industrial/noise project Atta, which actually predates Fear Of God.

(1) There WERE worthy proto-grind bands like Siege, Deep Wound, Brigada Do Ódio, Kuolema, early D.R.I., and Corporate Whores; however, for simplicity’s sake I’m sticking to the first bands to be categorized as grindcore proper.
(2) Napalm Death and S.O.B. turned more death metal over the years. Repulsion released one album (plus some demos and singles) before breaking up.
(3) Just to clear up a common misconception, Fear Of God don’t fall under the ‘noisecore’ umbrella like Seven Minutes Of Nausea or Deche-Charge. They were raw traditional grindcore with obvious noisecore and noise-rock influences. I’ve seen this style referred to as ‘noisegrind’ so that’s what I’m going with. For that matter, they didn’t really consider themselves grindcore either, preferring to describe themselves as either a hardcore band or a noise band!
(4) Particularly worthwhile are the reissued demo KONSERVEN and the live PNEUMATIC SLAUGHTER, both of which feature versions of tracks from this EP. The rare BLAZING SWISS NOISE! tape has some of the tracks off the EP, two live shows, and a rehearsal set.

(prof. ~.a.~, anotherworldofsound.blogspot.com/2010/04/fear-of-god-first-ep.html, April 2010)

I’m more likely to appreciate the contrast in a drawing if it’s straight up black-and-white than polychromatic. In music, contrast can be heard clearest between sound and silence. This is fairly obvious stuff, but I was never really aware of how important silence could be unless I was hearing some bullshit like John Cage’s 4’ 33’ (is it safe to say that yet/again?). The use of dynamics within sound level can be an interesting way to provide contrast, but it’s no match for the stark atmosphere that the difference between sound and silence evokes. The silence I’m referring to is in between the songs on Fear Of God’s self-titled 1988 debut. For the most part it’s just silence in between the song-to-song transitions, but there’s also silence within the more jarring songs. The silence’s power is somewhat proportional to that of the music, which is some of the most powerfully abrasive shit I have ever heard, hyperbole be damned. I have this ritual for when I really want to ‘absorb’ an album, where I’ll turn the speakers on my desk around to face my bed, turn the volume up really loud, then just lie in bed to take it in, no homo. I did that for this album before I had really known what to expect… so when it first started playing my jaw dropped several times and I kept getting the urge to get out of bed and down the beer I was saving for later. There’s no comfortable way to listen to this album, but lying in bed, naively trying to ‘absorb it’ is probably the most alien. I’ve been lacking in my ability to describe music lately, so I’ll try to do that. Fear Of God are usually referred to as a grindcore band, and back in the late 80s that style was a lot clearer (and better) than it is now. They meld a bunch of aspects of heavy music and come out with this rotting mess of drastically shifting tempos, harsh, tape-distorted vocals and spastic rhythmic accents. It’s mixed with the vocals way loud and everything else creating this sometimes doomy, sometimes punky muck in every crevice. And all the members occasionally provide layered backup vocals, which creates a nice depth. The bass is also surprisingly strong for what I would expect from an album like this and really adds to the few head-nodding parts they have. With the vocals as loud and distorted as they are, it only gets more abrasive as you raise the volume. Emphasis on abrasive, be warned. To finally address the silence, you can’t help but notice it among the grinding onslaught. Between tracks are pauses just long enough for you to catch your breath. I actually was exhaling melodramatically between tracks on that first bedridden listen. It was out of both ecstasy and relief. To generalize on why it stands out, it’s maybe that with the technology available, people are less concerned with silence than packing as much sonic power they can into every second. That means songs that lead directly into one another and an unrelenting flow of sound. Certainly cool in its own right, but it makes albums like Fear Of God all the more remarkable in hindsight. The pacing of the album rises and falls with these silences. Music that is full-on damaged and disturbingly present becomes dynamic when the stark contrast is employed. Maybe it’s also got something to do with the ears tiring after being exposed to a monotonous sound level, so whenever they’re allowed to rest it’s like a palette cleanser. Refreshing! Anyway, I hope this is a noticeable quality in the music. I find it funny that it’s taken me this long to even really think about silence as a part of the music, even if only a little bit.

(josephlovesit.blogspot.com/2008/03/fear-of-god-and-silence-in-between.html)

This originally came out in 1988 as a 7’. It has 21 songs, most under the 30 second mark. The guitars and bass are downtuned, the drums are spastic, the vocals are growled/screamed. Most of the songs seem to be over before they’ve really started. Every once in awhile there is a slow, grinding riff before things kick back into overdrive. My favorite song of theirs is the monumentally grinding World Under My Fingernail. Unfortunately, it’s not on this disc. At the time this was released, very few bands sounded like this - Napalm Death and possibly a handful of others. Now, in 2006, when too many bands sound like this, I still get a kick out of listening to Fear of God, if mostly for the sake of nostalgia. It is definitely good catharsis music for when I’m experiencing moments of extreme frustration or anger. Can’t listen to it much around the house though because it scares the kids and the pets. Fear of God, and music like this in general, is a bit of an acquired taste. During the eighties, when I was constantly on the lookout for ever more extreme types of music, Fear of God was reached via a series of stepping stones like Venom, Swans, and a whole slew of early eighties European punk bands too numerous to mention. After hearing Fear of God and their ilk, I discovered that I’d reached a dead end as far as that particular type of extremity went, so I had to turn around and venture down other musical avenues. In a different way, their vocalist, Erich Keller, opened up other musical avenues for me through tape trading, introducing me to bands like Death SS (and Paul Chain), Laibach, and incongruously enough, Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares, as well as many others. Erich was also responsible for the fanzine, Megawimp, which brought him to the states on research missions during the eighties. He, with a couple of friends, even stayed at my house one Christmas (back when I lived with my mom, no less). I never could read the magazine though, since it’s all in German and I am hopelessly monolingual. Oh, this cd comes with the original liner notes, and I recently noticed/remembered that I’m thanked there. How punk of me! My only complaint is that this reissue should have come with an hour so worth of bonus tracks. Fear of God recently reformed, but I think maybe they’ve since broken up again.

(Crow, moremusic.vox.com/library/post/fear-of-god.html)


various artists


The Encyclopedia that my parents had was a thing that ran for three years or so, and every week you got a small portion - like a magazine being delivered, which you had to make into a book yourself. The poor men’s version, but it was great, because every week I used the read the entire thing, rather than looking something up. Its a bit the same with Zelphabet, the series of music by artist with the same first letter, here Damion Romero, Daniel Menche and Dave Phillips - all three with a lengthy piece. Damion, once a member of the unforgettable (for some) Slug, presents a very heavy piece of music here - one long rumble of sound, earpiercing. Menche is also quite loud, who seems to have taped the sound of a helicopter, or maybe two, which he mixes together in a very clever way. One has the idea of standing right next to thing and with the cold wind from the fan on a summer morning it’s a real haunting experience. I could have sworn to have looked outside and see where the damn thing was. Great piece. Following these two quite heavy slabs of ongoing noise, following the cut ‘n paste music of Dave Phillips. He too plays noise, but they arrive in finely sliced blocks, intercepted by silence and crack ‘n boom that has become the trademark of Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock, of which Phillips is a member. Field recordings, outdoor and indoor, heavy machine recordings and things subtle or otherwise, make an intense piece of music. Another fine addition to this slow growing encyclopedia of noise music.

(Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly)

A new treat for those adventures readers out there seeking something new and truly innovative. Manufacture Records various artists compilation titled ‘Macska Leves’ is filled with experimental soundscapes that are guaranteed to impress you.
Macska Leves is a brilliant compilation produced by Manufacture records in celebration of the labels twentieth release. Macska Leves showcases a variety of Manufacture bands as well as a handful of bands that the label admired enough to include on the compilation. The compilation is a deep and thorough investigation into the current underground experimental / noise music scene. Artists participating in the compilation include Dave Phillips, Bastard Noise, Sudden Infant, and Completely censoreded Up Society. This is a small selection of the fifteen artists that comprise the CD.
The first rack on the CD performed by Dave Phillips tilted „Eat beyond taste and sensation” grants the listener a somewhat odd introduction to the strange and boundless world of experimentation contained in the Macska Leves compilation. Dave Phillips composes a track accented by the sounds of belching, farting, shitting and puking? It is hard to determine the origin of these strange noises that plop in and out of this minimalist composition. Instruments beyond bodily functions include some percussion, plucked strings and a rush of noise at the end of the song. Taking innovation and experimentation well beyond what many might expect David Phillips offers a polished and surreal introduction to an equally beautiful and bizarre album.
Macska Leves is everything you would expect from an experimental noise compilation and a lot that you would not expect. Songs vary from highly charged tracks with fierce screaming or shouted vocals backed by walls of noise and power electronics fully unleashed to quainter songs where the emphasis is on a more subtle exploration. The CD experiences drastic mood swings from one song to another. Strange bodily sounds are followed by a delicate spoken word song which in turn is followed by noise and anger. Variety and diversity are given full reign on Macska Leves which delivers a well rounded experimental sound experience ranging from the strange and silly to utter darkness and rage. If it something new, experimental and creative that you seek look no further. Radical Faeries addicted to experimental composition and new thinking about what‚s possible with sound and music while remaining interesting should take advantage of this release. The music is tame to insane and will leave you cut up and mixed up long after your listening experience. Faeries that dabble with electronic music or Faeries completely burned out on repetitive and stale music genres should check out the other side of the rainbow and give Macska Leves. Macska Leves could be challenging listening for those seeking familiar song structures and traditional / comfortable soundscapes. Though the music is experimental it is completely engaging and rewarding for the open minded and adventures listener.

(Malahki Thorn, Heathen Harvest)


schimpfluch-gruppe & masonna


‘Does anybody remember laughter?’ This pithy line from Led Zeppelin’s concert movie THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME seems to have extra resonance when one puts it in context of this collaboration between ol’ iron tonsils Maso Yamazaki (generally dba Masonna) and the Swiss hack n’ slash kung-fu teen idols Runzelstirn & Gurglestock. The first thing you hear on this 41 minute disc is giggling and outright laughter - when was the last time a noise disc laughed? And harsh noise this is - those of you who know these names will no doubt know that both groups have a well-deserved reputation for high-speed editing and fast changes, the difference being the Masonna’s cut-ups tend to be a non-stop blare, while the average R & G record will see the chaps tirelessly (and inventively) reworking the same pieces of sound - a dog barking, the sound of a fist punching, a hacking cough, a shout – always just a nanosecond before or after you expect it, but generally splashing around in a large pool of silence. It should then come as no surprise that when this disc takes off into noisy waters, it’s truly hellish in the best sense… fierce and relentless, hyper-precise (as long as we’re playing super editor super-gruppes, why not add Andy Bolus (aka Evil Moisture) to the line-up, eh?), a thousand changes where most would expect ⋆. ‘I was under an illusion as if was watching the opera or the musical,’ says N. Hayami (in the bilingual liner notes) of the live performances that this disc was edited from. Sonically, in a world where the average noise fan doesn’t mind listening to a 70-minute CD that may have only one or two really huge change-ups in sound, a record like this must truly sound like a trash-compacted Ring Cycle. Constant bursts of Maso studio noise and gargling are also broken up with hyperquick (like .3 second) bursts of the patented Runzelstirn sounds: the punch, the bark, the groan… if you’ve heard a R & G CD, you’ll see ‘em comin’ a mile away. What is somewhat surprising is the amount of humor that runs through all this. A very long oscillator noise that slowly winds up two or three octaves is ended with a quick punch, while fragments of Maso’s trademark yowl are interspersed with R & G mainman Rudolv Eb.er’s belches and gagging noises. New initiates might be hard pressed to get any ‘jokes’ out of this Space Mountain with a bent track and no attendant recording, but they are there. Also there, and here, and all around, are untreated bits of the live aktions (The ‘Shimpfluch-Gruppe’ credit on the CD cover refers to the Vienna-style Aktionist elements of Eb.er’s group, which includes Dave Phillips, former member of some group called Fear of God, who are apparently not the American Fear of God, so say he in interviews) (tmu: He’s from the hardcore FOG from either Germany or Italy, or maybe Switzerland, i forget which, not to be confused with the metal band led by now-deceased singer Dawn Crosby who recorded one of DEAD ANGEL’s all-time favorite albums, WITHIN THE VEIL) that provided much of the record’s raw material. Again, laughter is the unifying element. This time it’s the audience laughing. The performance seems to involve a lot of yelling and ‘accidentally’ breaking things, maybe knocking on a door, I don’t know. I’ve heard spaghetti is liberally used/slurped/spat, and the cover shows their distinctly Hermann Nitsch-like piles of rotten fish run through with microphone cords and equally rotting electronics. Everyone remembers Nitsch’s piles of rotting meat and shrill atonal orchestra music that went on for WEEKS at a time during his Aktions in Vienna, but less people remember that much of his work was not only about the ugliness about life, but about really having a good laugh at the expense of our bodies. In that way, Schimpfluch-Gruppe are well-balanced with those essential performance nutrients. It’s funny, it’s ugly, it frequently ‘gets on you’ if you’re in the front rows. While already a few years old, I’ve not heard much in the supposedly fast-evolving noise music scene that has even acknowledged a recording like this, let alone expand on it. Noisers like Pain Jerk and Kazumoto Endo are indeed finding new ways to make the pedals fly faster and farther, but sometimes it takes the editor’s splice, a pound of spaghetti, a few gaps in the sound (all loud all the time; good idea, they’ll never expect that) and a good knock-knock joke or two to move you past ha-ha funny and into sending ‘em out on a stretcher.

(Christopher M. Sienko, www.monotremata.com)


dave phillips & randy h. y. yau


Packed in a jewel case with wrap around, all lovingly designed by Leif Elggren, comes a collaboration between Dave Philips and Randy Yau. Philips is a member of Ohne, Fear Of God, Sudden Infant and Schimpfluch gruppe. Yau is known from his various releases on Ground Fault and 23Five Incorporated and plays a kind of noise music that is not too dissimilar from Philips. ‘Illusion Is A Natural Condition’ was recorded over a period of five years, and all the even tracks on this are by Dave Philips reworking Yau, and the odd tracks are vice versa. There are no less than thirty seven tracks on this, some of these are very short. Both artists have taken notion of the Schimpfluch sound: lots of voice related sounds, burps and belches, cut very short, with likewise cut short electronic and analogue sounds. Although occasionally there are longer tracks, such as number seventeen (no titles). Even when this could be seen as noise music, it’s rather physical action music. Somehow I don’t think these boys sit behind a desk to record whatever they are doing. Rather, it seems to me, they perform all sort of actions, involving sounds and their bodies to create the source material, which is then used by the other (and in which case they might sit down and work on it, but perhaps they perform more actions around them). Yau performs the somewhat longer tracks than Philips, but throughout it’s not easy to follow who did, and I deem this is not very important either. It’s a very intense disc, leaving the listener rather breathless. Powerful, good noise. A rarity!

(Frans De Waard, VITAL)

These guys have been smacking away at this collaboration-by-mail noise freakout tennis match for five years. Let’s say that again: FIVE YEARS. That’s a long time to pass recordings back and forth, in the process whittling once mighty redwoods of sound down to needle sharp audio-toothpicks suitable for piercing the eardrums of woodlice. Such fidelity to the cause of unholy screaming and hyper-tight edits is all too rare amongst fickle scenesters, and should be applauded. Plus, they make a dashing couple: respectively they hold the European and American crown in post-aktionist extreme vocal performance (conveniently, Rudolf Eb.er lives in Japan, so he can fight for the Asian title with Masonna). Here they let the backwards gurgles and clogged-drain lung abuse soften you up before they start the panic and bust loose with a disorted flare of pitch shifted growled screaming that successfully turns human beings into lions. Good things are worth waiting for.

(Drew Daniel)

Wow, this came as a surprise. I popped this puppy into the player and I was immediately impressed with the vibration emanating from the cones. R.H.Y. Yau is an artist that has been around for quite some time now and has an extensive discography included releases on RRR and Groundfault. I have both those releases and have seen him live once before which is a whole other experience (in a good way). Dave Phillips has at least one release on Groundfault which I have never heard and besides that is complete unknown to me. The noise they create on this collaborative effort is a mixture of fast cut-up harsh noise, musique concrete, pseudo-ambient and electro-acoustic music. This is release has been expertly crafted and is a fascinating and engaging listen using many elements that would usually be a recipe for disaster, but instead make this a perfect testament that even ‘farting into a microphone’ can be art. The bulk of this disc consists of material that ranges from quiet manipulated mouth samples and field recordings to intensely loud quickly changing harsh noise spurts almost always in the most unexpected places. The tracks trade off with R.H.Y. Yau remixing David Phillips material on the odd tracks, and Dave Phillips remixing Yau on the even. Generally the even tracks are the noisiest which isn’t surprising considering that most of Yau’s material would reside in the harsh noise realm. Although I have to admit I have previously found Yau to be a mixed bag. I wasn’t too keen on the albums I have previously heard (the RRR and Groundfault) release. Not to say they were bad but the combination of lo-fi mouth noises mixed with almost harsh noise never completely did it for me. This however, a few years down the road seems to be a refinement of his style and combined with some of the best production I have ever heard in a noise release the sounds come across loud and clear as they never had before. The most significant thing about this release is its consistency. From the moment you set eyes on the high contrast artwork (some of which can be seen on the promo sheet linked above) you get a sense that this release is making things seem simpler then they actually are. But low and behold the ‘high contrast’ aesthetic is followed directly with the sounds translating into a ‘loud/soft’ method of arranging sounds. This subtle relationship between artwork and sound is something that rarely is seen with underground releases and it really adds a depth to the concept that is just plain impressive. On top of this the packaging is also an example of minimalist artwork done right. For music that generally resides in the abstract realm these sounds are very clear in their intent. When listening, you instantly get a feeling of blood and sweat, of the human body up close and personal. Not only all the things you love about it, but all the things you hate as well, all the things that gross you out. In fact, in track 28 they even go as far as to explore farting and burping noises which on one side gets a little silly, but with the lack of lyrics or any other traces of comedy this falls into a much more absurd school of thought then anything going for a cheap laugh. There is also an internal angst lurking underneath all of this when one steps back and sees it all as a whole; the drawings with all the faces scribbled over, the sounds that always end in a violent orgy of spastic noise. This release has a depth that reaches beyond where most music and art attempts to go, and when they do attempt to go there they do not successfully delve as far as R.H.Y. Yau and Dave Phillips have on Illusion is a Natural Condition.

(existest.org/bloodties/viewtopic.php?t=61)

Five years in the making, Illusion Is a Natural Condition brings together two of the finest noise artists the world has ever witnessed. Sure, Merzbow and Hijokaidan can hit you with their molten sounds of psychedelic excess; but San Francisco’s Randy Yau and Switzerland’s Dave Phillips achieve their tempestous recordings through a violent dichotomy between silence and sound. This sharp contrast effectively puts you on edge throughout the listening experience, as you never know when the next attack is going to arrive. In any given track, Yau and Phillips pack together recordings of their gutteral screams and dribbling gurgles of one of the actionists shoving something down his throat that just doesn’t belong there. Occasionally, the sound of flies circle around the sickened vocalizations, as if investigating a hospital patient with a sucking chest wound. Pigs squeal. Demons roar. All of these sounds are compressed into tracks rarely longer than a minute, punctured by extended silences and ruptured by terse blasts of motorized noise and absurdly rendered ultra-violence that would bring joy (or is that pain?) to die-hard Wolf Eyes’ fans. Recommended noise for those with a very strong stomach.

(www.aquariusrecords.org)


dave phillips & john wiese


Fear Of God and Ohne aktionist Phillips teams up with fellow noise scene big hitter John Wiese for this surprisingly beautiful 7” of organic, symphonic soundscaping. Animalistic voices are fused into almost orchestral chords, swelling up and evaporating into nothing. At times it all seems quiet, threatening to erupt at any moment - all the while you’re kept waiting for ensuing bedlam - but it never really comes, which actually turns out to be a wholly good thing. Pressed on lavishly packaged white vinyl.

(Boomkat)


the new blockaders


If you listen closely to the first few seconds of Das Zerstoren, Zum Gebaren by The New Blockaders, amidst the typical chattering of gig-goers you can hear the musical motif of a fruit machine as it announces the fortunes of a lucky gambler. In what was surely one of the strangest, most oddly brilliant settings for the performance of thoroughly abrasive music, I was chuffed to witness The New Blockaders at Butlins holiday resort in December 2006. The show was organised as part of the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival curated by Thurston Moore in the ongoing Nightmare Before Christmas series and was the last public performance by the Rupenus brothers under the TNB moniker. Scheduled for a Saturday afternoon this was, perhaps unintentionally, the group’s Anti- methodology at its finest. As strained-glacier creaks are quickly punctuated by severe feedback and amplified, distorted metal scrapes are voiced against a backdrop of shuffling, banging, organic cracks and door slamming electronics, the Blockaders’ set grows into a fierce, gale force sonic storm, full of air, as vertiginous as it is characterised by sheer depth. Audio debris floats and falls, indeterminate voices howl and wall-crumbling bass rattles and pushes through and through. The awe-inspiring immensity of this sound-field did not become so apparent to me until I was able to hear the performance again on CD, when it was released on the Blossoming Noise label in 2007. Though I would be quick to single out the comparable noise aesthetics of Masami Akita and Koji Tano as responsible for transcendent experiences in undiluted extreme-spectrum audio, Das Zerstoren, Zum Gebaren stands out for its multi-dimensionality, stone-chip detail and relentless formal progression. Even as a well-versed and devoted listener of noise music, it is rare that I stay the course of a full-length Merzbow disc at home, but this is 50 minutes that I never feel the slightest urge to turn off. Fellow audio artist Damion Romero has recorded, mixed and mastered this set faultlessly. Perhaps the nuances and shadings in the sound ripping out of the PA did not hold my full attention, as there was so much to witness visually (rare at these types of shows) that I still recall clearly over three years later: the puzzlement and sense of unease amongst the hired security staff, forced to stand ramrod in front of the speakers and unsure as to whether the typical faux-machismo pushing and shoving amongst the Noise Faithful down front needed ‘sorting out’. Then there was Thurston Moore in the crowd, quietly moving to the side of the stage, seeming as if he was trying to glimpse what set-up the group were using and appearing as contented as a child to see his heroes up close. Finally, the clinical manner in which one of the Balaclava’d Blockaders signalled to Romero to turn it the fuck UP. This was not a Council-compliant, audience-sympathetic musical territory. This was the final attack by the original noise band. When I listen to the audio material on the CD, I often put aside my recollection of the actual event in favour of a distinct visualisation of the sound: the total destruction of a skyscraper of glass and metal and office furniture, but played in reverse. Starting from floating, burnt paper and single shards of glass, rising back up; twisted metal foundations groaning back into shape; wooden constructions shoved back into order; windows refitted and reflecting sunlight, escalators and elevators whirring into action; voices again; energy and action. Built out of a million fragments into a teeming, lively industry, The New Blockaders here demonstrate the ability to be creative within a musical practice often derided as destructive. I forget the bullshit, macho, beer-swilling posturing of the countless shitty Noise acts; the sicko-puerile fixations of the goofy mini-mixer twiddlers. There was so much humour in the spectacle of several suited sonic terrorists staging their blockade at Butlins, and an assured command of sound beyond pantomime and dabbling that hit me so profoundly and continues to inspire me. The AudioVisual Salvage Noise Canon starts here.

(http://audiovisualsalvage.blogspot.com/2010_03_01_archive.html)


schimpfluch-commune int.


At the end of 2006 the Swiss label Schimpfluch existed twenty years and thus also the musical activities of Rudolf Eb.er, erstwhile known as Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock, but these days also known under his own name. Perhaps it also marked twenty years of Sudden Infant, whose early material was also released on Schimpfluch. Here Sudden Infant, also known as Joke Lanz and Eb.er team up with their more recent associate Dave Phillips and produced together ‘Schimpfluch-Commune Int.’ Lanz and Phillips provide what is called on the cover ‘elemental recordings and pre-compositions’ and Rudolf Eb.er with the same as well as ‘allover mutation and final composition’. The three of them collect acoustic sounds, picked up with a contact microphone as well as open microphones their actions and sounds from the mouth, which are they meticulously edited into music. This is noise music plus. Other than a sheer wall of noise, this is collage music, cut and pasted together, through ultra short editing, swift changes and dry sounds. This is not laptop heavy plug in music, if at all made with computers, as I would rather expect these boys to use a splicing block and a demagnetized razor blade to physically cut magnetic tapes, but a rather ‘old fashioned’ electro-acoustic record. A great one at that, actually. If noise is like this, I’d sign up again.

(FdW, Vital)

Schimpfluch Commune Int. brings together the demented sonic minds of Dave Phillips, Joke Lanz(Sudden Infant) and Rudolf Eb.Er( Runzelstirn & Gurgelstøck). To give one of the most deranged, Strange and freakish collection of sound worlds ever committed to audio, this been a reissue of the cdr album that came with their 20th anniversary box set, which is now out of print. On offer is just over 50 minutes of audio madness, sickness and depravity. Used to make up this sick collage world we have all manner of body sounds be it: Burping, Grunts, Vomiting, gurgling, groans, sex sounds etc, Along with Animal sounds like dog barks, baby bird sounds ect. Stirred in are traces of noise, rhythmic, electronic textures, demented fair ground like musically moments and the odd sickened drone. What set’s this apart from other audio demented terrorist is the clever balance between been deranged, musically, entertaining and of course often surprising and shocking. A few favourite moments come in the form of : The opening track Fehlstartprinzip which mixers together looped and circling laughter tracks,comic slapping sounds, merry go round music, shouting and screaming, burping and sick making- all to make a truly deranged opening shot. Pig Buggie(Sau) which mixers the sound of whippings and slapping with sexual moans, cartoon type crash and bang sounds, tinny musical moments and glass tinkering which is both disturbing and funny. But most of the tracks have there appealing moments. It’s all topped off with great Artwork by Rudolf Eb.Er of various human orifices with eyes beeping out from with-in or around the side. A fine example of these three audio artists/perverts conjoined mayhem, that will equally appal, amuse and puzzle.

(Roger Batty, Musique Machine)


dave phillips & cornelia hesse-honegger


HEAVY field recording/manipulation of Thai and Vietnamese sound sources by Fear of God’s Dave Phillips, augmented by scientific illustrations of mutated insects by artist Cornelia Hesse-Honegger. Her work graces the cover art, labels, and full-color plate within, and gives a striking but a bit too obvious of a meaning behind Phillips’ sound collage, which is why you probably stepped up in the first place. Sounds of insects, nature, voices and machinery are slowed down, phased heavily, and stretched into ominous tones that somewhat remind of Basil Kirchin’s groundbreaking Worlds Within Worlds albums from the early ‘70s, though the passage of time and accrual of experience within the horrors of society/the world/popular culture has brought the dread down hard. Phillips takes this experience and places it, boot-like, directly upon the listener’s throat, the menace within these sounds growing steadily as the sides grind on. Outstanding, oppressive, hot work from both science and creation. Edition of 250 numbered copies.

(Doug Mosurock, still-single.tumblr.com)

Belgium’s Ini.Itu label slowly builds a small catalogue of LP sized vinyl, always in an edition of 250 copies and always dealing with sounds from the far East, usually Indonesia, but in the case of Dave Phillips, field recordings from Thailand and Vietnam. Hesse-Honegger is a visual artist who did the cover and the insert that comes with the record. Phillips created the music solely from field recordings and has crafted two pieces, one per side, of great beauty. Somehow I think its a bit unlike his previous work. The sound is still quite upfront and present, like in much of his work, but there is not sense of rapid sound collaging and montage. The collage happens in the form of using many layers of sound, in which sounds are moved in and out of the mix. Lots of animal sounds, but also, perhaps, those of human activity. To that it seems Phillips also a bit of electronics, to juxtapose certain elements or to craft a drone like element that occurs at irregular intervals. An excellent, well crafted album of nicely treated field recordings.

(Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly, Issue 759)

Nice concept this. Cornelia Hesse-Honegger is a Swiss scientific illustrator who, for the last 25 years, has studied mutations in insects caused by the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl. Her detailed drawings of deformed bugs decorate the sleeve and insert of this handsome LP with gelid staring eyes, antennae and thick, black bristles. The music is built from field recordings of insects, processed, mutated – or as Hesse-Honegger would have it “morphologically disturbed” – by Dave Phillips. As you’d expect from this Schimpfluch-Gruppe-affiliated former grindcore brute, this is no Amazon-Ambient chillout zone: everything’s amped high, the creatures scream from the speakers, and sudden jumpcuts between textures give the record a jagged, unsettled rhythm. It’s nature ‘red in tooth and claw’ - violent, alien, possibly grudge-bearing.

(Nick Richardson, The Wire, Issue 324, February 2011)

Sound sculptor Dave Phillips and visual artist Cornelia Hesse-Honegger pool their talents for the thirty-seven-minute vinyl release Mutations (available in 250 hand-numbered copies). Though the Zürich, Switzerland-based Phillips has a background in grindcore, doom-metal, and other radical sound ventures, his recent work has focused more on field recordings of animal sounds, while Hesse-Honegger, a scientific illustrator for twenty-five years at the University of Zürich, has been painting leaf bugs for many decades, and since the Chernobyl explosion, has been studying the mutated morphology of insects found in radioactive regions. As a collaborative project, Mutations would appear, then, to be a natural fit for both of them. Hesse-Honegger’s cover and insert illustrations depict the mutated and normal heads and bodies of flies and damsel bugs, the renderings reflecting her conviction (supported by formal study) that normally working nuclear power plants produce deformities in insects. Phillips, who created his two long-form settings from source material recorded in Thailand and Vietnam between 1994 and 2007, blends, stretches, smears, and layers the sounds into sprawling masses of vertiginous and hallucinatory design. Following a scene-setting shriek, the album’s first side explores a micro-sound jungle of magnified insectoid thrum, bird chatter, animal croak, and creeping noctural atmosphere—a disorienting landscape drowning in detail. Midway through, an industrial drone suggests the presence of some lost tribe before the increasingly turbulent sound mass swells to a feverish climax that evokes the venomous attack of a prototypical noise artist until an abrupt flameout transpires. The nightmare carries over to the second side where the presence of wildlife abounds, whether it be the chattering clicks of an insect masticating or the swoop of animal cries. The disturbing ambiance grows when radio interference and churning machine noises join in, and the gradual increase in disorientation exemplified by side one’s material repeats itself in slightly different form. Describing Mutations, as ini.itu does, “a lysergic trip to the heart of darkness,” turns out to be a succinct characterization.

(textura.org/reviews/phillips_hessehonegger.htm)

A vinyl LP, composed by Dave Phillips and illustrated by Cornelia Hesse-Honegger. If we all know Dave Phillips (look into the catalog if you need), Cornelia Hesse-Honegger is a new name. She is a scientific illustrator and science artist, was born in 1944 in Zürich, Switzerland. For 25 years she worked as a scientific illustrator for the scientific department of the natural history museum at the university of Zürich. Since 1969 she has collected and painted with painstaking detail leaf bugs, heteroptera. Since the summer of 1987, following the Chernobyl explosion, she has been studying the mutated morphology of insects found in the regions hit by the radioactive cloud, starting with the Ticino region, in the southern part of Switzerland. The cover depicts a mutated and a normal looking head of drosophila subobscura. All original source material used for the pieces on this record was recorded out in various places in Thailand and in Vietnam between 1994 and 2007. These pieces can be considered as articulations between the constructed works of Dave Phillips (such as. ‘TheyLive’) and his pure field recordings pieces (‘Frogs Rain’, ‘Ghi Am Viet Nam’). He is here indeed juxtaposing, layering, condensing, stretching, distorting, - in one word mutating - these sounds into balanced progressions, punctuations and dense climaxes which generate an overwhelming and sometimes uneasy environment. “Mutations” is an hallucinatory cinéma pour l’oreille, unsettling, brooding, ominous, but always restrained, controlled. The sprawling ebb and flow, the unsettling and recuring waves of animal activity, lead you progressively closer to the horror. “Mutations” is a lysergic trip to the heart of darkness, and a warning about the devastation at work. The LP was mastered by James Plotkin (Khanate, OLD) in Philadelphia. 250 copies, hand numbered, includes 2 hi-quality printed inserts.

(www.soundohm.com/dave-phillips-cornelia-hesse-honegger/mutations/ini.itu/)

«Mutations» - необычный альянс известного музыканта Дейва Филлипса и швейцарской ученой дамы Корнелии Хессе-Хонеггер, которая посвятила жизнь изучению насекомых, графическим работам (они представлены в оформлении пластинки) и исследованию процессов мутации, для чего посещала такие места, как Чернобыль. При этом не ясно, какова роль Корнелии в процессе создания музыки, судя по всему, оба трека были созданы Филлипсом единолично, и в основу их он положил полевые записи, сделанные в Тайланде и во Вьетнаме, а также фирменную шумовую электронику. Конечно же, увидев обложку с мухами дрозофилами, одна из которых подверглась мутации, а другая – нет, ожидаешь услышать первым делом насекомых. Однако записи из джунглей наполнены шумом деревьев, ветра и криками животных, летающей и ползающей мелюзге отведено не очень много места, но свои голоса в эту бесконечную симфонию жизни насекомые, как и заведено в природе, вносят. Одна сторона пластинки, если довериться ощущениям от прослушивания, посвящена дню, другая, соответственно, ночи. Как и положено, ночь – это время тревожной тишины, странных, пугающих шорохов и незнакомых голосов, на которые наложены акустические следы человеческой активности, как то – шаги, грохот деревянных предметов и голоса. Ну а день – это буйство жизни, многоголосие лесных обитателей, борьба за жизнь, правда, опять же не лишенная человеческих следов. Если Хессе-Хонеггер интересует мутация видов и отдельных особей, то Дейв старательно исследует мутации звуков, которые сам и провоцирует, обрабатывая первичный поток информации, накладывая разные кусочки исходных записей друг на друга, смешивая их, создавая петли и добавляя утробный, шершавый гул, приправленный высокими частотами. Грохот и яростный напор сменяется обманчивой тишиной, крики животных, пройдя через фильтры, превращаются в бормотание неведомых существ, встречи с которыми очень хочешь избежать, а электроника добавляет хаос и дисгармонию. В определенный момент пробуждающиеся древние инстинкты начинают подавать тревожные сигналы сознанию, которое подвергается безостановочному давлению шумового потока, и тогда становится неуютно, что характерно для многих работ Филлипса. Так что не стоит себя готовить к прослушиванию «обычных» полевых записей – перед нами сложный коллаж, взгляд на экзотическую природу через призму индустриального мировоззрения, давшего привычку вызывать у слушателя безотчетное напряжение, испуг и прочие сильные переживания, которые помогут запомнить эту запись надолго.

(Сергей Сергеевич, maeror3.livejournal.com/191022.html)

Cela n’aurait pu être qu’un disque d’exotica conçu à partir de field recordings qu’on aurait rien eu à redire. Cependant, l’approche proposée par Dave Phillips (Fear of God, Ohne) et Cornelia Hesse-Honegger se veut un peu plus brutale. Ce n’est pas pour rien que ce disque s’appelle Mutations. Construit autour de sonorités récoltées en Thaïlande et au Vietnam entre 1994 et 2007, le duo a fait plus que les associer et les traiter électroniquement. Ils les ont déformé, maltraité, créant des distortions diverses. Nous sommes donc très loin d’une musique appaisante et des idées toutes faites que l’on se fait sur le genre. Ici nous sommes dans le noise, une forme abrupte et frontale qui désacralise une musique que l’on sait trop sereine. Nous avons donc bien affaire avec une mutation mais pas de celle que l’on attend forcémment. On revient à un état sauvage, qui se transforme ou plutôt se déforme comme si les sons de la nature collectés se noyaient dans une entreprise de démolition bruitiste. Insectes et oiseaux exotiques semblent se fondre dans cet amas post-industriel mais l’expérience est parfois difficile à suivre. Il faut donc s’accrocher, combattre sa répugnance au bruit et prendre ce Mutations comme du field-recordings extrêmen qui bouscule les habitudes. En un sens, c’est quelque peu salvateur. On sort ainsi du flon-flon trop serein dans lequel on était trop souvent plongé. Il serait facile d’interpréter ce disque comme une réaction épidermique aux dogmes du field-recordings. En soit, Mutations n’est pas une provocation bruitiste à la Whitehouse. Bien au contraire, ce disque se révèle comme une expérience afin d’emprunter des chemins différents et s’offrir des perspectives nouvelles. De plus, Mutations n’est pas dans un affrontement total. Malgré ses penchants noise, ce disque reste tout en nuances et ces subtilités ne se révèlent à nous grâce à une écoute attentif et studieuse. C’est là que le sens du titre de l’album devient évident. Nous n’avons pas affaire à une mutation unique et stérile mais à «des» mutations qui, lorqu’elles entrent en contact, en provoquent de nouvelles. D’où cette impression de foisonnement, de superposition sonore qui nous laisse ce sentiment de bruit incontrolé. Ainsi, Mutations atteint son but et nous dévoile une musique qui sort des sentiers battus.

(Fabien, http://www.liabilitywebzine.com)

Ini Itu is een ons nog vrij onbekend label, opgericht in Jakarta in 2008 en sinds enige tijd gevestigd in de Brusselse buitenwijken van Schaarbeek. Het doel van het label; het uitbrengen van specialere geluidsstructuren op vinyl LP’s in gelimiteerde oplages van 250 stuks. Geen cd’s, mp3’s of andere vorm van duplicatie dus en daarmee weten we direct dat we te maken hebben met gepassioneerde mensen met een innige liefde voor de zwarte groef. Dave Phillips enCornelia Hesse-Honegger slaan de handen ineen voor ‘Mutations’, de ene als geluidsartiest, de andere als visueel artieste. Het concept hier zijn de onnatuurlijke mutaties van gevleugelde insecten ten gevolge van de Chernobyl kernramp. Geluidsopnames van insecten in Zwitserland, Thailand en Vietnam zijn in collagevorm samengesteld en aangevuld met donkere tonen en drones. Insectenelectronica dus en bij audiofielen zal het water nu wel in mond beginnen te lopen. Het is een intrigerende geluidstrip van gemuteerde geluiden uit de natuur waar onheilspellende sferen de boventoon voeren. De wereld van insecten is en klinkt onmenselijk, dat is zeker. Geen lol maar wel sterke geluiden. Een goed detail; beide platen werden gemastered door James Plotkin. Ini Itu heeft ons goed wakkergeschud en we zetten onze radar richting Schaarbeek.

(Seb Bassleer, Gonzo Circus, February 2011)

Le camion que l’on entend passer est un poids-lourd chargés d’insectes. Ces créatures sont l’œuvre du diable – un diable né d’une collaboration entre une scientifique qui rapporte les mutations subies par des insectes touchés par le nuage radioactif de Tchernobyl (Cornelia Hesse-Honegger) et un ex-musicien de grindcore (Dave Phillips).
Sous chacune des carapaces, ce n’est pas un mais plusieurs cœurs qui battent. En plus de cela, les insectes crissent et leurs accouplements (qui sont en fait ceux de field recordings d’Asie ou de Suisse) engendrent d’autres bêtes mutantes. Tous ces bruits sont peut-être responsables de l’accident. Le camion s’est renversé sur la chaussée et il déverse sa cargaison. Les monstres se grimpent les uns sur les autres, lentement ils quittent le navire, lentement. Mais l’un d’entre eux vient de passer sous votre porte.

(Héctor Cabrero, Le Son du Grisli)


БОРИНОСОФИЛ


Three more discs of improvised music. The first has the regular performing duo of Russia’s finest Alexei Borisov and Olga Nosova. Together they traveled the world, playing together but also performing with others, such as Anton Nikkila, Matthieu Werchowski, Dora Bleu, Thomas Buckner, Tom Smith, Jandek, Anton Mobin and a_spirale and somewhere along the lines they bumped into Dave Phillips, who is best known for his radical approach to noise, silence, performance and video. This trio worked together in june 2009 in Moscow and the recordings were later on edited by Phillips. It combines the energy unleashed by Borisov/Nosova together with the more continuous sound world of Phillips and occasional rapid editing from him. It seems to me that all three go off their usual path a bit. Its not as loud as I would expect from Phillips (but maybe I am not listening in the same volume as he plays live… actually I am sure of it) and perhaps also less object based as I would expect and it seems less improvised for the duo, although I am not sure. But that leads however to music that is quite good. Densely orchestrated electronics, in which the voice of Nosova is there, but pushed away it seems, and throughout the music has a hypnotic, psychedelic feeling to it. Great stuff.

(Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly, Issue 839, July 2012)

There is no way to escape the impression of being cornered in some sort of heinous underworld while listening to Borinosophil. What starts with shortish segments - mildly orchestral, if noise-oriented from the very beginning - soon becomes a veritable onslaught for the auricular membranes under the guise of highly effective frequencies throbbing and stabbing their way right into the skull, escorted by a barely plausible miscellany of what the press release correctly calls “humanimalism”. This means bestial utterances that might or might not derive from pseudo-anthropoid voices subjected to hyper-processing, together with a plethora of semi-organized audio filth. The latter incorporates shards of intercommunication (not exactly sedative, as one tends to envisage spirited conversations between radio operators in military sectors where real danger is lingering), electronic fusillades warped to the point of total irrecognizability, stale-smelling environments and tyrannical riffs to end the whole. Stiff reminders of how ugly human nature can suddenly appear if all we expect from existence is walking on cloud nine. Halfway through complex acousmatic and punk-tinged removal from pleasure, this unmerciful CD is definitely going to cause an impact on the faint-hearted.

(Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes, October 2010)

Alexei BORISOV est l’un des pionniers de la scene électronique russe, depuis les années 80. Avec Olga NOSOVA, plus jeune d’une génération, batteuse et post-punkette de la scene industrielle moscovite, il forme le duo, ASTMA. Un duo qui s’est associé a l’électronicien déjanté helvétique Dave PHILLIPS, issu du collectif Schimpfluch , pour un concert a Moscou en juin 2009. L’accumulation de couches sonores, le croisement des interventions des trois partenaires, donnent naissance a une entité d’essence mécanique, sombre, parfois terrifiante, déclinée en cinq tableaux, d’ou émergent ponctuellement quelques sons plus emphatiques.

(Pierre Durr, Revue et corigée, September 2012)

Tot besluit is er nummer 51 uit de indrukwekkende catalogus. Deze komt van het Russische duo Alexei Borisov & Olga Nosova, maar gelukkig mogen we gewoon Alexei Borisov & Olga Nosova zeggen, hier samen met Dave Phillips. Alexei is een gitarist en geluidskunstenaar die met heel veel artiesten albums heeft gemaakt. Van zijn eigen bands, wat er ook behoorlijk wat zijn, ken ik eigenlijk alleen Volga. Hij maakt de laatste jaren vooral experimentele muziek met gitaar, elektronica en stem en doet dat dikwijls met Olga, die op haar beurt experimenteert met drums en elektronica. Ze zullen Dave van onder meer de groep Fear Of God ergens op hun vele reizen zijn tegengekomen. Hij haalt allerlei fratsen uit op de bas, elektronica en stem en stoeit met veldopnames. PLAY LOUD staat er op de binnenkant van hun gezamenlijke cd Borinosophil, maar dat soort adviezen sla ik de eerste maal altijd in de wind. Toch kan je deze cd op beide niveaus afspelen. Zacht is het een paranoide, angstaanjagende soundtrack die niet zou misstaan bij een David Lynch film. Je krijgt tot microdeeltjes versneden noise die zich als bijzondere, subtiele dark ambient presenteert. Hard echter verdwijnt een deel van deze subtiliteit en verwordt het tot een grommend, lawaaiig monster dat bij mij herinneringen oproept aan Merzbow en Aube, ook al is het volslagen uniek wat ze hier ten gehore brengen. Met name de horrorachtige stemmen en dierengeluiden maken dat deze cd je bloed af en toe doet stollen. Ik geloof inderdaad dat ik deze harde variant nog indrukwekkender vind, maar het is bijzonder dat je de cd op twee verschillende manieren kunt ondergaan. Ijzingwekkende pracht!

(Jan Willem Broek, Caleidoscoop)


dave phillips & hiroshi hasegawa


… Much longer pieces are to be found on the release by Dave Phillips and Hirsohi Hasegawa, which is also recorded in 2012, with additional material by Hasegawa from 2013 and edited by Phillips late 2013 and early 2014. Part of this is recorded in concert. To the table Hasegawa brought filters and effects and Phillips field recordings from Vietnam, Ecuador, Thailand and Indonesia. Both of these musicians have a solid base in the world of noise music, Phillips mainly under his own name and Hasegawa as a member of C.C.C.C. and Club Skull, while working solo as Astro (these days actually a duo). In much of Hasegawa’s work there is loud noise, but from a more psychedelic angle: lengthy passages of on-going sounds at a high volume. It’s brain piercing but in a very pleasant way. Phillips unearthed from his tapes, minidisc, DAT tapes and hard disc recorders some field recordings that fit very well. In each of these tracks he creates a mixture of them and feeds off the sound to Hasegawa who treats this further. I am merely guessing here, but I think what is captured on this CD is both Phillips’ mix, dry as it is, along with Hasegawa’s additional effects, and those two are mixed together by Phillips when putting together this release. Clocking in at seventy-seven minutes this is quite a tour de force, I think, especially if you decide to go along and play this at the loudness that is required. Lots of high end piercing frequencies, but occasionally also dropping at the bottom of the sound spectrum. Definitely not easy listening music, but it’s something that worked rather well. Not over the top noise, not Phillip’ more usual approach of cut-up but also not Hasegawa’s monochrome approach, but a fine mixture of both their interests in some fine music.

(Frans De Waard, Vital Weekly, Issue 983, May 2015)

Dziś płyta z katalogu warszawskiej wytwórni Monotype, jedna z pięciu, jakie ostatnio wyszły – i chyba najlepsza. A już na pewno najmocniejsza. Duet Dave Philips & Hiroshi Hasegawa. Pierwszy, szwajcarski muzyk sceny eksperymentalnej, występujący też jako dp, odpowiedzialny jest tu za noise’owe nagrania terenowe insektów, realizowane w Wietnamie, Ekwadorze, Tajlandii i Indonezji. Drugi, japoński artysta sceny noise znany z formacji C.C.C.C., przetwarza te nagrania przez różnego rodzaju filtry i efekty. To, co z tego powstaje, robi miażdżące wrażenie od pierwszych minut, które narasta z upływem czasu – obawiam się tylko, że ludzie odczuwający strach przed owadami nie będą w stanie tego słuchać, bo rzecz brzmi jak gdyby wsadzono nas do niewielkiej metalowej kapsuły wypełnionej tysiącami bzyczących i brzęczących stworzeń, których jazgot stopniowo zaczyna się zlewać w jedną potężną ścianę dźwięku. Kto miał do czynienia z naprawdę głośnymi dźwiękami cykad gdzieś na południu, ma świadomość tego, że owady potrafią zagłuszać konwersację i budować środowisko dźwiękowe z olbrzymim natężeniem, ale tutaj mamy insekty wsparte elektroniką i przesunięte na pozycje laboratorium naukowego, horroru, a może i science fiction, bo to technologiczna fantazja na temat przyrody. Swoją drogą, chciałbym obejrzeć film o tym, jak panowie to swoje dźwiękowe środowisko na sterydach budowali. “Insect Apocalypse” to mocno działająca na zmysły (momentami wydaje się, że nie tylko na słuch), fascynująco plastyczna i gęsta muzyka do bardzo głośnego słuchania, z pewnością nie dla każdego. Mnie paradoksalnie – bo to zupełnie odmienne instrumentalnie kreacje – skojarzyła się w jednym z lżejszych, delikatniejszych momentów z moim ulubionym albumem Monotype, czyli “Fluoresce” Magdy Mayas i Tony’ego Bucka.

(Bartek Chaciński, Polifonia, May 2015)

Man müsste schon vollkommen unvertraut sein mit dem Werk von Dave Phillips und Hiroshi Hasegawa (Astro, C.C.C.C. u.a.), um bei einem knapp achtzigminütigen Dröhnen auf der Basis des Klangs tropischer Insekten etwas anderes zu erwarten als Irritation, Dramatik und zugleich so etwas wie „psychedelischen“ Wohlklang. „Insect Apocalypse“, das über ein längers Prozedere hinweg herangewachsen ist, kann außerdem als gelungenes Beispiel kreativer Arbeitsteilung gelten. Den unbeabsichtigten Grundstein zu dieser Kollaboration legte Phillips in mehreren Aufenthalten in Südostasien und Ecuador, wo er in zahlreichen Naturaufnahmen vor allem das immerwährende Summen und Zirpen von Insekten aufzeichnete.

Phillips und Hasegawa, die sich schon seit den 90ern kennen, begannen irgendwann gemeinsam an dem Material zu arbeiten und improvisierten in einem Studio in Koenji erstmals live an den Aufnahmen, die mehrfach durch Filter und Effekte gejagt wurden. Es dauerte jedoch bis 2012, als das Schweizer Luff Festival eine Kollaboration der beiden für einen japanisch-schweizerischen Themenabend vorschlug. So erfolgte der nächste Durchgang dann auf der Bühne. Erst danach entstand die Idee zu einem Album, und nach mehrfachem Hin- und Herschicken von Dateien brachte Phillips die Stücke in ihre endgültige Struktur.

Es gibt einige Tracks auf „Insect Apocalypse“, die mit dem oberflächlichen Eindruck von Eindimensionalität spielen, der sich allerdings schnell verflüchtigen sollte, wenn man Stücke wie „scrap breeding“ oder das statischere „antophilia apocalypse“ nur in entsprechender Konzentration und Lautstärke hört. Nicht nur wird das kontinuierliche Surren mit der Zeit dichter und opulenter, immer mehr zeichnen sich unter der Oberfläche weitere Geräusche ab, die man teilweise für Obertöne halten könnte, die aber – ob geheimnisvolles Pfeifen oder an Froschquaken erinnernde Sounds – allesamt subtil eingebaute Ergänzungen sind.

Andere Tracks sind weit offenkundiger bearbeitet, so treffen in „hexapod retaliation“ ein Mückenkonzert und weitere Urwaldbewohner auf industrielle Geräusche, in „radioactive darkness“ mutiert ein Waldszenario mit Affengelächter in puren Noise und in „anura mutant“ übernehmen endgültig Synthies das Ruder und lassen das Stück in dunklem Grollen ausklingen. Diese Sounds verraten natürlich besonders Hasegawas Handschrift, die sich jedoch ebenso in der fließenden, sich stetig intensivierenden Gestalt wiederfindet, die unweigerlich an die Klangwelten von Astro erinnert.

Dass man letztlich bei vielen Passagen kaum sagen kann, ob sie aussschließlich auf field recordings basieren oder doch eher elektronischen Ursprungs sind, macht einen zusätzlichen Reiz der Platte aus, die allerdings primär aufgrund ihrer atmosphärischen Sogwirkung überzeugt. (U.S.)

(Uwe Schneider, African Paper)


dave phillips & aspec(t)


Ah noise. Noise of the variation that I like. It all started with an article about eating fish - www.monbiot.com/2007/04/03/feeding-frenzy/ - recommended to read first. At the foundation of this release is source material recorded by Italian noise improvisation duo Aspec(t) in April 2011 and the scissor approach of Dave Phillips when it comes to transforming this material. Now, an average noise artist would probably play this material through some distortion pedals, adding more noise and fuzz to it; Phillips on the other takes the material apart in an old fashioned tape manner: cutting it up, re-arranging it and maybe (just: maybe) adds some of his own material to it, by colouring it with sound effects. Phillips is a master at this technique I think. He cuts his material very short, adds silence (very important), so whatever short sounds we have, get room to breath. Sometimes he creates a loop, a repeated bang such as in ‘Hammerhead’, adds field recordings, a rudimentary synth here and there, and cuts it off, and switches on something entirely new. That makes these fifty minutes a great trip, a loud one too, as he records his sound loudly, with many swift changes. An excellent manifestation of musique concrete in its most crude and pure form. There is of course the political undercurrent - save the animals, become a vegan - that is also part of the work of Dave Phillips - but it’s not forced down your throat. The message is subtle and the music stands by itself. I am not sure if that is what Phillips would want, but to me it’s like that. Top noise release.

(Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly, Issue 934, May 2014)

Si SEC_ et Dave Phillips sont deux artistes que j’admire énormément mais qui n’ont pas grand-chose en commun, je profite de la sortie de leur première collaboration…
SEC_ vient de publier une collaboration entre Dave Phillips et son duo Aspec(t), intitulée Medusa. On retrouve donc SEC_ au Revox, à l’électronique et peut-être au synthé ou à l’ordi, Mario Gabola au saxophone acoustique ou en feedback, plus quelques objets percussifs, et Dave Phillips aux field-recordings. La pochette n’indique pas les instruments et les outils utilisés, je ne suis pas très sûr de ce que j’avance. Elle n’indique pas grand-chose d’ailleurs, hormis le titre des 23 pistes qui composent ce disque, et surtout que les matériaux initiaux ont été enregistrés à Naples en 2011, puis qu’ils ont été « disséqués et réassemblés » entre janvier et mai 2013, à Zürich (où réside Dave Phillips) et à Naples (d’où vient le duo italien). Je ne suis donc pas sûr que les trois musiciens aient joués ensemble en live lors de ces enregistrements de 2011, mais la composition de ce disque s’est apparemment faite à distance en 2013. Quoi qu’il en soit, le résultat est surprenant. On distingue toutes les personnalités, personne n’a essayé de « copier » l’esthétique de l’autre, ni de la mettre en avant, chacun fait ce qu’il fait d’habitude, et le fait très bien. On navigue donc entre le field-recording psychoacoustique, l’improvisation électroacoustique, la noise et la musique concrète sans discontinuité. Ce qui est surprenant, par-dessus-tout, c’est que l’entreprise était risquée car ces différentes esthétiques n’ont pas grand-chose à voir, et pourtant, elles collent très bien ensemble – ce qui, à mon avis, est surtout du au long travail de remaniement à distance et en studio des enregistrements initiaux. Concrètement, de quoi s’agit-il ? Pour ceux qui connaissent SEC_, Mario Gabola et Dave Phillips, ce n’est pas difficile de s’imaginer la rencontre, ils font tous ce qu’ils font d’habitude, mais l’assemblage reste tout de même étonnant à mon avis. Mais pour ceux qui ne les connaissent pas tous, sachez que ce disque offre un cocktail explosif de courtes vignettes sonores composées de cris bestiaux, de voix transformées (accélérées, découpées, hachées, etc.) par le biais de bandes magnétiques, d’explosions impromptues de bruit harsh, et de techniques étendues et électroacoustiques au saxophone. Un disque qui navigue avec aisance entre des compositions très calmes et continues, d’autres qui opposent les explosions de bruit et d’improvisations au Revox aux enregistrements de terrains sombres et continus, ou aux sons concrets de Gabola (percussifs ou instrumentaux). Le trio propose des pièces ultra violentes et déstructurées, d’autres plus calmes et linéaires, des pièces concrètes, d’autres totalement abstraites et bruitistes, mais avec toujours une grande attention au son et une inventivité sonore surprenantes. Car tous ces musiciens ont un langage qui leur est propres, un langage créatif, puissant, extrême, et ils vont tous très bien ensemble.

(Julien Héraud, Improvsphere, September 2014)

”The jellyfish eat the eggs and larvae of the fish, so the switch is probably irreversible. We have entered, the paper tells us, ‘the era of jellyfish ascendancy’. It’s a good symbol. The jellyfish represents the collapse of the ecosystem and the spinelessness of the people charged with protecting it.” George Monbiot
Esordisco con le parole sciaguratamente profetiche (mi piacerebbe pensarla in altre maniere) dell’ambientalista britannico Monbiot, perché il suo articolo “Feeding Frenzy” ha liberamente ispirato questo disco e perché riassumono – vale sia per lo scritto sia per l’album – il valore simbolico di questa strana, quasi aliena, creatura. È comunque necessario qualche piccolo preambolo su questo lavoro a sei mani. Sappiamo delle implicazioni che lo svizzero Phillips ama dare ai suoi lavori, quei suoi tentativi, quasi, di riempire col rumore il vuoto o la spaccatura lasciati tra natura e “civiltà” dall’ignavia degli uomini. Proprio nel periodo in cui Medusa iniziava a prendere vita per mano dei due Aspec(t) Mario Gabola (A Spirale) e Mimmo Sec_ Napolitano (2011, quindi), Phillips concludeva la gestazione di gran parte dei brani che sarebbero andati a comporre Homo Animalis. Con Insect (2003) già alle spalle e sempre con uno svizzero (Norbert Möslang, però) a raccoglierne successivamente una sorta d’eredità spirituale con la soundtrack del film “The Sound Of Insects”, possiamo parlare di Medusa come il prosieguo ideale più limpido (a dispetto degli oceani oscuri che dovremmo attraversare) della discografia dell’uomo-Schimpfluch. Sentendo Medusa, capiterà spesso – a intervalli – d’imbattersi in emersioni sonore sparute (come di bolle d’aria) o in vibrazioni a scandaglio che raschiano il fondale marino, quasi a focalizzare l’attenzione su un aspetto chiaro e preciso sin da “Non Central Nervous System Non Cephalized Body”: facilitare, in un certo senso, l’ascolto, confondendo però allo stesso tempo la comprensione. Echi pacificatori (“If The World Weren’t Such A Beautiful Place”, “Hammerhead”) strozzati – o forse asfissiati – da un’urticaria viscida (“Ripped To Shreds”) e appiccicosa (“Trash Vortex”), tra detriti elettroacustici (“Wobbling On The Edge”) mescolati da reti a strascico in masse di liquami e lische (“But It Tastes Good”), senza dimenticare tutta la sana dose di feedback, come se ci fosse una certa nostalgia per un periodo nel quale la no-input faceva scuola in lungo e in largo e di quando un mixer – cavi in abbondanza e gain al massimo – era tutto ciò di cui si aveva bisogno. È da precisare che tutta quest’area di musicisti partenopei da anni instaura collaborazioni del genere in questi ambiti (Andy Guhl su tutti), ma è significativo avere, finalmente, un lascito tangibile ad attestare ciò, anche per merito della greca Noise-Below, che nel frattempo manda fuori pure la nuova cassetta di Sec_ e Olivier Di Placido.

(Tommaso Gorelli, The New Noise, September 2014)

“The jellyfish represents the collapse of the ecosystem and the spinelessness of the people charged with protecting it.” -George Monbiot,“Feeding Frenzy”
Medusa, the first collaboration between Dave Phillips (DP) and Aspec(t), (Mario Gabola and Mimmo Napolitano) is no doubt challenging music, but as the liner notes remind us, we live in challenging times. One aspect of global climate change that’s been all too often neglected is the impact human activities have had on our oceans. Medusa refers not just to the mythical Gorgon but is also Italian for jellyfish, giving the title an added weight with the evocation of the monstrous.
Monbiot believes that the jellyfish is a good symbol for the threat we are currently facing, representing the “the collapse of the ecosystem and the spinelessness of the people charged with protecting it.” These three musicians clearly feel the same, and have mobilized this symbol as an artistic response worthy of the cause. In the above referenced article, Monbiot poses the question, “Why is it still acceptable to eat the endangered large predators of the sea?” and explains the seriousness of the issue. Inspired by Monbiot’s work, Medusa is a powerful expression of this dire situation in the form of tightly structured musique concrète events and freewheeling, at times raucous, harsh-noise. Over the course of 23 tracks and 50 minutes, the listener is subjected to all manner of sounds but it is clear that the utmost intention lurks just below the surface of these churning waves of chaos. Most of these chapters are just a minute or two, some as short as five seconds, setting a quick pace for our journey. Rather than a constant drone or wall of sound, the trio incorporate passages of relative silence into their compositions, a masterful use of dynamics to maximize the impact.
The majority of the sounds employed are abstract and unrecognizable, the theme expressed through mood and track titles rather than representation. Don’t expect any cliched ‘submerged’ filters, dripping water or splashing waves. At times brutal, other passages feature enough repetition to suggest a groove before being interrupted by a sudden shift or a lingering drone. Much of the material feels unrestrained and improvisatory in its energies, but arranged and composed so as to impose an overarching order in the form of a dedicated narrative. Channeling the image of an ecosystem under threat, an ecosystem so vast that any threat to it is a threat to us all, much of Medusa is understandably as angry and terrifying as its mythic namesake.
Waves of feedback recede into mechanical noise, field-recordings come and go, shots are fired and screams roared, words cut up and reversed so as to be denied meaning. To me, the use of feedback is the dominant trope, and nowhere has feedback been so apt of an aesthetic symbol as on Medusa. As a result of over-fishing, the fish “have been replaced by jellyfish, which now outweigh them by three to one. The jellyfish eat the eggs and larvae of the fish, so the switch is probably irreversible.” That is, we have initiated a feedback loop in nature, so how better to represent this sonically than with a powerful wave of feedback?
Active for over 25 years, the Zurich-based Phillips has been a member of Fear Of God, Ohne and Dead Peni, and in various guises employs a variety of tools utilizing voice, performance, multimedia, loops, and drum machines. His most profound engagement has been with field-recordings, in particular of the sounds of insects, frog and other animals, which make appearances in some passages here. The practice of field-recording pertains to his sonic activism and the idea of the ‘era of the ‘humanimal,’ a take on the relationship between human activities and other species (and the broader ecosystem in general) that problematizes conceptions that keep these categories overly separate. In his global travels over the last two decades he’s worked to produce an archive of field-recordings of animals and their environments. Although the hypnogogic effects of the sounds can speak for themselves, his work as an activist leads him to accompany his performances with this pamphlet expounding on the the importance of the insect world for human existence.
A collaboration with Naples’ Aspec(t) seems perfectly natural, and the resulting album quite cohesively blends Phillips aesthetic into the singular soundworld of the duo. Comprised of Mario Gabola (also of A spirale), who contributes sax, feedback and electronics, and Mimmo Napolitano (aka SEC_), who manipulates a reel-to-reel tape player and feedback from a no-input mixer, Aspec(t) represents a highpoint in the convergence of electroacoustics, noise and free improv. Both members of the duo have created mixes for the LCNL series, granting a window into their inspirations, aesthetic, and processes. Past albums, such as Abbatoir released on the French Nunn Records, showcase this style well.
A joint release by Noise-Below.org and Excrete Music #3, I shouldn’t neglect to say a word about the truly exceptional packaging. Any who picked up SEC_’s masterpiece Outflow won’t be surprised by the attention to detail given to the packaging, but images, design, and paper choices really do come together beautifully, serving as a fitting house for an album as showing as much dedication as Medusa.

(Joseph Sannicandro, A Closer Listen, November 2014)


dave phillips & chris galarreta


On ignore de quelle mythologie est issu le monstre que sont allés chatouiller ensemble – en relativisant l’énigme du sphinx sous l’étrange protection d’Anubis – Dave Phillips et Chrs Galarreta. L’étui de la cassette nous en donne un aperçu, quand l’écoute de la première face nous livre une estimation de sa force. Face à la bête, deux hommes qui ne cachent pas leur fascination pour l’animal lové en eux. Ensemble (Bâle, 31 mai 2014) : When the Domestic Animal Burns, sur lequel le duo peint une bataille dans le même temps (celui d’une chute magnétique appelée à électrocution) qu’il lutte ; ou séparément (même lieu, même date) : Ecdysis : une respiration faible puis une aussi faible voix de gorge chassées bientôt par des bruits de scanner et de moteurs graves. Le contraste entre la première et la seconde face est criant, sans doute nécessaire à Phillips et Galarreta au point d’être la clef des façons qu’ils ont d’inquiéter les esprits, avant de reprendre les leurs.

(Guillaume Belhomme, Grisli)

…One side of the next tape is a live recording from Basel, Switzerland of May last year by Dave Phillips and Chrs Galarreta, while on the B-side they each have a piece together, taking their solo concerts from that night as source material. It’s interesting to note that both sides are very much a like. The live recording on the A-side has more sound information it seems, with deep end drones and Phillips’ voice and other electronics. I expected this to be noisier I guess than it was, as this was all rather subdued and quiet, it seems. Maybe the volume wasn’t up too much here? It made an excellent impression. On the B-side these sounds were also present, but it seemed more torn apart, separated from each other, but also more poignant and working on extremer sound levels, with deep end drones and piercing feedback manipulations. Maybe all of this was a bit too brief for my taste. I wish this was all a bit longer and perhaps it would have been even more powerful than it is now. Yet it is an excellent powerful release as it is.

(Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly)


mei zhiyong & dave phillips


If I understand this correctly we are dealing here with a record that was recorded by the upcoming (?) noiseman Mei Zhyong during his tour in Europe, in September 2015 (list of dates provided on the insert). Sound recordist on duty for this tour, most likely because he also played, was Dave Phillips, who also gets credit for the composition of the music. While I am not sure, I would think this record is a forty-minute (give or take) collage of live recordings, sometimes layered on top of each other and Phillips applies some of his usual technique of dropping sounds in and out of the mix at seemingly random positions, while other sounds are continuous. Zhyong’s music is usually quite without any mercy on the listener, so when I stuck this on my record player, I carefully checked the volume level, but I found this to be not as forcefully loud and present as I anticipated. Surely there is a brutal approach to sound here, mucho distortion as it happens, tons of feedback weighing like a ton, acoustic bursts of contact microphone abuse, but also accidental recordings of whatever else goes on before and after a concert; ever the recyclist, mister Phillips, I would say with a smile. He doesn’t like to waste anything and why should he? All sound can be music and if it fits the overall composition, then why not use it; or some such thoughts. All in all this is a pretty fine album of noise, but without being for the sake of noise. This is the kind of noise that is made with some deliberate actions, considerations and care for composition. That in my book is always a good thing.

(Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly, Issue 1080)


michael esposito & dave phillips


MICHAEL ESPOSITO & DAVE PHILLIPS — THE GHOSTS OF FREAKS (7” flexi disc by Phantom Plastics) Following my last review of music by Dave Phillips I had some e-mail contact with him and it was about the fact that he was afraid I painted him too much as a die-hard vegan and eco-warrior, but that he likes me to know his work is more about overall concerns about human rights, animal rights and environmental awareness and he will not force you to be a blind follower of his, or force you to his will. So I stand corrected. Here he teams up with Michael Esposito, our man for all ghostly transmissions from beyond, who shares his Electronic Voice Phenomena recordings with the finest composers for further treatment and this time it is Dave Phillips. I understand the theme is freak shows, but unlike others in this series there is this time around no explanatory text on the cover; in fact information is all around quite sparse. You can leave such thing up to Phillips to play around with EVPs in a musical context. In his work voices are no strangers and in this slow build-up these voices come at the end; before that Phillips creates an intense piece of metal on metal, feedback and a very deep bass thump; it is almost becomes like a proper song, I thought, and when those voices from beyond slip in, through the backdoor, it has certainly a great haunted house quality. As always you can’t make out what these voices are saying, or what the meaning is and probably it is quite difficult to link this to freak shows, but who cares? My copy skipped a bit back and forth, such is the life of flexi discs I guess, but I was more satisfied with this.

(Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly, August 2016)


frogoroth


In the old days labels started with a compilation, Ini.itu decides to end with one. Four artists act as ‘four amphibian headed horsemen, channelling frogoroth through their sonic veins’ and I believe in some way these people work together, as I saw a concert listed by them. However here they have their own musical piece. Dave Phillips kicks off proceedings with a particularly dense and noisy piece of rainforest recordings from Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Ecuador, Switzerland, and the latter is where he recorded the guitar and distortion, which he also managed to cramp into this. Frogs, tree frogs and toads recorded in Taiwan, follow it and also some electronic instruments, all as recorded by Yannick Dauby. On the other side we have an ‘Anouran Protest Song’ by Slavek Kwi (also known as Artificial Memory Trace), which is about ‘voicing concern in the face of the threat of amphibiab chytrid fungus decimating the frog population worldwide, and those frogs, assuming that’s what I hear, sound quite rhythmical but perhaps pitched down (probably not) and forming a deep rumble, perhaps not unlike a marching, protest song. Quite a powerful music piece this one. The last words go out to Sylvain van Iniitu, who, as Blindhead, had the first release on Ini.itu (see Vital Weekly 649) and now has a ‘maceration at Cannibal Caniche’, also a slightly more dangerous piece of field recordings and I was thinking that indeed we had no take on the harshness of field recordings on this label, so perhaps it is only fitting to end on a more furious note. Sad to see this label wind down, but it has been a very good run and quite an achievement. And let’s hope they will all turn into collector’s items and some day, somehow there will be a follow up to all of this.

(Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly, Issue 1082, May 2017)


perverts in white shirts


I’ve been on the mailing list of Dave Phillips for ages. This morning, the latest missive was waiting for me and it contained a link to this. I immediately thought “what is there not to love?”. A great band name, a great album title and a cover that riffs on Swans’ “Public Castration Is A Good Idea” double LP.
Then I heard the music … lysergic and hauntingly twisted anti-club hymns that delight and disturb at the same time. It’s truly stunning and is easily the best thing that I have heard this year.
PIWS are Dave Phillips and Nathalie Dreier. Next year, this will be released on vinyl by Cruel Bones and on tape by Black Horizons so keep an eye out for those! However, yesterday, dp also put this up on bandcamp as a “name your price” download so you can go and get it now. I definitely recommend that you do!

(Badgerstump, Bleakbliss, December 2016)

Perverts In White Shirts is a collaborative effort of Nathalie Dreier and Dave Phillips, the latter of Fear of God fame. Power To The Sheeple, released on vinyl LP by Zürich based Cruel Bones, took five years of experimentation to produce, and that is not difficult to understand. This is some peculiar, peculiar music, in many ways defying classification.
The album begins with a minimalist, choked beat with a synth note where the snare drum should be. Bass and percussion of various types follow. Disfigured female voices work their way between the speakers, and a variety of samples and melodies enter and exit the sound collage as the track, called “e.l.a.n.k.y”, keeps building. As is often the case, the initial song is a good indication of what is to come. Rhythmic, experimental, electronic and usually quite powerful (though seldom aggressive) music, defying many if not most musical conventions, but maintaining some staples that help keep it far away from harsh noise or some other non-musical genre.
There are also several exceptions to the formula, if such a thing there be. Most notable among these are “benjamin”, which consists of a heart-beat with subdued Hammond style organ. Furthermore, each and every track utilizes many different elements and borrows from many genres, making for an interesting and often bizarre sound, stuck in some borderland between soundtrack, industrial, ambient, dance music and sound experiments.
The label believes the music should be called “noise pop”, which would make sense when compared to regular pop, but less so if you’re coming at this album from a harsh noise or HNW perspective (which, of course, very few people are). To understand what this is about, you could think about what would happen if you deconstructed trip hop until almost nothing was left, and filled in the blanks with electronic industrial music, Japanese horror culture, and a sort of joyless-yet-sublime lust for experimentation for its own sake. You get the gist quickly, but will still be surprised by each and every song. In “sycophant” some aggressive female rapping brings Bang Wa Cherry’s “Chin Chin” to mind, in “overfucked and understimulated” the beat approaches something like chopped and screwed, while noisy chaotic synths create an atmosphere that really can’t be described.
To try to catch the overall feeling of this album, think of Aphex Twin stripped of any commercially viable elements, while retaining some of its catchiness. If we had to use only two words, “evil Björk” might do the trick, though now we’re stretching things. Power to the Sheeple is often dark, sometimes cold, and always unbelievable strange. Of course, we can’t recommend it enough.
In addition to this album (which can be pre-ordered on vinyl here, or digital download here), the band and AnaHell have also produced a video for “favor”. We won’t say much about it, but should you choose not to watch it, you’re missing out. Seriously.

(Archaic Triad, February 2017)

Ah ! L’a-neutralité helvétique…
La Suisse a quelque chose de bien. Elle est emphatiquement microcosmique. C’est bien son paradoxe et on l’en remercie. C’est peut-être le propre de ce pays que l’on conçoit comme fermé sur lui-même de permettre l’éclosion de tendances culturelles radicales.
On ne présente plus Dave Phillips. Activiste radical ayant démarré sa carrière à la fin des années 80, ancien membre du défunt Fear of God, cheville ouvrière de la formation à géométrie variable Schimpfluch-Gruppe, l’Helvète s’est toujours engagé dans des projets extrêmes dont les captations vidéos témoignent allègrement de l’investissement hors-norme qu’il y déploie. Collectionneur pléthorique de collaborations de haut niveau telles qu’avec Joke Lanz (AKA Sudden Infant) et Rudolf Eb.er (Cf. Schimpfluch-Gruppe), Francisco Meirino, Masonna, John Wiese, etc… son domaine de prédilection est l’expérimentation.
Nathalie Dreier s’est illustrée à de nombreuses reprises aux côtés de Dave Phillips, vocalement certes puisqu’il est question d’elle en tant que chanteuse dans PIWS, mais principalement visuellement. Son travail personnel est plus à chercher du côté de l’image. En effet, elle co-alimente avec Ana Hell un projet d’autoportraits photographiques, Red Rubber Road, dédiée à l’esthétisation surréaliste des corps, mâtinée parfois d’une légère subversion. C’est dans ce champ-là que sa contribution au projet intervient également puisque sa coreligionnaire réalise le clip d’un des morceaux de l’album, « Favour », par la mise en scène des membres du groupe dans la continuité de la série Secret Friends.
C’est donc dans les territoires d’une certaine marge que l’on trouve les deux protagonistes de Perverts in White Shirts. Mais cette collaboration est définitivement policée voire polie au sens d’un arasement des aspérités et de la rugosité. Il est évident que Dreier est l’instigatrice de l’assagissement de Phillips et non l’inverse au vu de leur pedigree respectif. En somme, c’est arty ! Désormais, il est rare qu’un tel terme suscite immédiatement la sympathie. Et pourtant… il est des associations qui provoquent l’adhésion. On passera d’emblée sur l’évidence un peu trop appuyée du titre Power to the Sheeple dont le jeu de mots laisserait subodorer une certaine facilité d’esprit. Mais enfin, nous en sommes tous là, parfois, et là ne réside pas l’enjeu…
Car l’écoute, elle, que dit-elle ?
« e.l.a.n.k.y » entame doucement par un effet panoramique de sonorités métalliques sous-tendu par une grosse ligne de basse et une rythmique efficace. La construction gagne progressivement en puissance, à l’unisson d’une voix tout d’abord contenue qui se déploie franchement en transe hystérique. « Favour » se place dans une continuité de construction électronique et vocale qui rappelle définitivement le 1er album de Cercueil. C’est gentiment complexe et définitivement accessible. « Sycophant » est sans conteste le morceau le plus percutant de l’album. La simplicité efficiente de la groovebox Roland MC-303 y est forcément pour beaucoup. Démarrant par un empilement de basses sur lesquelles la voix intervient parcimonieusement, il se développe comme un véritable hymne saturé Breakbeat amplifié par les scansions proches de la démence de Dreier : un format d’électro-clash. Cela fait songer à du Crystal Castles certes, mais surtout à du Camilla Sparksss dans la rage débridée. « Overfucked and Overstimulated » calme cette forme de violence ouverte en une menace plus sourde, murmurée par une voix masculine. Un même motif se trouve ainsi décliné de manière hypnotique. Se posent sur ce canevas des entrelacs d’expérimentations et captations multiples se répondant mutuellement. Le collage sonore témoigne d’une formidable maîtrise sans toutefois tomber dans l’hermétisme. Le final de l’album, « Anton », donne toute la mesure des capacités de Phillips dans le field-recording. Construit autour des matières dans une visée de paysage sonore, il ferait volontiers croire à une bande-originale hypothétique d’un moyen-métrage de Jiří Barta. The Last Theft, pourquoi pas… ?
L’écoute se clôt ainsi et intime le constat suivant : voilà ce que donne une musique accessible qui ne verse pas dans la putasserie. L’avantage incontestable qu’ont les gens qui savent d’où ils viennent et surtout ce qu’ils font avec peu de choses au final ! Si le terme « arty » pouvait de nouveau avoir cette définition, ce serait appréciable.

(Mélanie Meyer, l’ombre sur la mesure, February 2017)

Musik im Bereich des Genres Noise ist immer schwierig einzuordnen. Man weiss manchmal für sich selbst nicht so ganz, wo man es jetzt nun einordnen soll. Spricht mich dieses Geräusch an oder nicht? Diese Frage geht viel weiter als: Spricht mich diese Melodie an, oder gar dieses Stück? Die Frage nach dem eigenen Geschmack wird auf das Minimum runtergebrochen, auf eine Ebene, auf derer sich viele nicht mehr wohlfühlen, weil man sich da schon zu sehr mit sich selbst beschäftigen muss.
Cruel Bones ist ein Musiklabel aus Zürich und Winterthur, das sich Musik aus dem experimentellen Bereich, zu der auch Noise gehört, verschrieben hat. Für ihr anfangs Januar erschienenes Release habe ich mir die Zeit genommen und mich auf die Musik einzulassen.
Das Album heisst ‘Power to the Sheeple’ und kommt vom Duo ‘Perverts in White Shirts’. Dahinter stecken Nathalie Dreier und Dave Phillips. Sie haben über viele Jahre gemeinsam an dem Album gearbeitet, das nun erschienen ist. Von Dave Phillips kennt man hauptsächlich seine Arbeiten mit Noise Musik. Das vorliegende Album trägt auch unverkennbar diesen Einfluss, obschon es wesentlich eingängiger ist als reiner Noise Sound.
Und schon ist man wieder beim Zuordnen. Wo genau Power to the Sheeple einzuordnen ist kann man schwer sagen. Es lohnt sich aber durchaus, sich hinzusetzten und sich mit den Klängen berieseln zu lassen. Mal fein, mal rau, manchmal mit viel Druck und manchmal ganz sanft. Jeder Track beherbergt eine eigene Stimmung, die von angsteinflössend bis zu sphärisch wohlfühlend reicht. Wer sich gut achtet, wird mehr Informationen und Aussagen in den Stücken findet, wie es anfangs den Anschein macht. Die Platte gibt es in einer Auflage von 300 beim Label Cruel Bones und kann hier erstanden werden.

(Dominik André, 45rpm, March 2017)


reviews - live

dave phillips


Thursday, 25.8.2016, Tukikohta, Oulu: Keränen, Tyhjä Pää, Dave Phillips.

Desensitization is a survival mechanism. We, the adults of the western society, grow layers of desensitization around us, for our personal protection. We need to protect ourselves from ideas – the “bad” ideas that we cannot help but notice as we continue to participate in the functioning of our society. We come up with these ideas all by ourselves, yet at the same time they are force-fed to us by our culture itself. For every “good” idea concerning our world, there’s the other side of the coin – the effects and consequences of our “good” intentions. Democracy becomes oligarchy. Medical science becomes overpopulation. We’re arguably eating the best, most nutrient-rich, cleanest/safest food in the history of mankind, and we’re able to produce it in abundance – but it becomes fat (and overpopulation). Our bodies live longer and more healthier than ever, yet simultaneously our minds get sick. There’s no hope without at least the possibility of despair.

We desensitize ourselves from the bad, and that’s OK. Life is not required to be lived unhappy. Happiness is great, but you cannot hold on to it if you’re constantly aware of its true cost. We give ourselves an explanation here, a justification there, for whatever it is that makes us feel bad, and soon we can feel good again. We can continue participating. Perhaps that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be, I don’t know.

Sometimes it’s good – even necessary, in my opinion – to re-sensitize ourselves, and that’s what thursday’s event turned out to be about, personally, for me.

I wasn’t really expecting everything to unfold quite the way it did; I thought I was there primarily to witness my old friend doing his thing, and to enjoy some noise. Noise, the musical genre – although I don’t think it should be called music, just to avoid certain misconceptions – noise, at least for me, is only understandable and enjoyable in a live situation. It needs to be loud, to the point of getting physical, and I’ve yet to find a way to reproduce it properly in a home environment. The presence of the performer is oddly important as well – oddly, because I’m realizing it’s more important in noise than in normal music. At least that’s how I see it after thursday. But then again, this analysis is useless, I don’t think noise – the music – can be explained, not really. It needs to be experienced. Your mileage may vary.

Let’s start with the “good” side of the re-sensitization, and that’s easy because it’s also how the evening started. Mr Keränen gets onstage and draws chuckles from the audience with some softly spoken commentary while booting his equipment. Over the amplifier hum, I’m still sort of trying to outguess what’s to come, but my cerebration is way too slow, because suddenly the room is full of sound. It’s like a rocket launch, a nuclear explosion, a punch in the face. An INCONCEIVEABLE wall of thunder hits me. There’s nothing spared, nothing at all saved for later, he goes to eleven from the very first microsecond. The wall of sound is thick and brutal, complex and immaculate. I’m in awe, and shocked.

Not more than 10 seconds can have passed by, and I’m having a hard time processing. I’m trying to find the key elements from amidst it, but there are none. And yet everything I’m hearing is the key. Several unrelentless drones just squeezing you down to the ground, and just as many chaotic chirps, blips and boops decorating the surface. I reach for my camera to record just a little bit for posterity, but I notice my hands are shaking. In fact, I realize that I’m feeling horrified. A primal fear has been triggered, and I’m sure I could do nothing to make it go away before the show is over – in fact, the fear lasts for several minutes after the sound has ended. I suppose that’s because the rush of hormones needs to dilute and break down. Not that I wanted the fear to go away – once I had a name for the feeling, I was surprised and happy to find it within me.

In a few moments, along with the fear, comes exhilaration. This is fantastic, marvellous, amazing! I’m feeling the sound with my body, and that alone feels so good; I mean the physicality of it feels good, it’s much like a massage. All of my expectations and reminiscing about the past noise gigs I’ve gone to have been unnecessary. All of my preparations, if you will, have failed, and I’m completely surprised. Stunned. Shocked. In awe. And physically frightened – even as it’s hard to notice through the sound trembling the body, I’m sure my heartrate is up, and I need to concentrate to breath instead of gasping. And it just feels so good to be awaken like that.

I don’t think any of the music I normally listen to can evoke any of these feelings – not anymore at least, and certainly not when I call for it. It’s become too familiar, and it’s always been sort of over-produced, over-analyzed from its inception. “My own” music cannot touch me like this crazy, chaotic thunder. I feel proud for my friend. I fight a couple of sobs of joy (why do I fight), and go through all of these thoughts, and many others in my mind for the duration of the performance. Less so towards the end though, for as it progresses, the effect also becomes increasingly meditative for me.

The chatter inside my head starts winding down, and I’m left with mostly just the primal fear, which still FEELS good. Fear+meditation, what a strange cocktail, by the way.

All of this takes about ten minutes. Then, just as suddenly as it started, it’s gone. I have a hard time believing that it’s over, that that was that; in fact, there’s a fleeting sensation of disappointment. Tommi smiles, steps down from the stage, and I’m forced to accept that more is not coming.

While I start to come down, I quickly realize that more is not needed, not from Tommi. He’s already done all that was needed, and in a way the abrupt silence serves as the perfect counterpoint for what just happened. Everything. And nothing. The show’s been opened, and so have I.

Next up – more noise! I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t even know there were active noise artists in Oulu, but I’m glad to find out!

Tyhjä Pää doesn’t come on quite as brutally as Keränen, but all of the noisical necessities and sensibilities are there from the beginning: the wall of sound, the chaotic structure of the decorations, and of course some unconventional instruments. This is a great continuation from where Keränen ended, and quickly heals any wounds left by the shortness of the preceding set. There’s some structure (buildup, climax, that sort of thing) in his piece, or at least I believe there is. The meditative mood is re-kindled within me, and successfully built on; 20 or so minutes pass by when I alternate between cerebrating noise – the concept of it, the meaning, the reasons, comparisons to music –, and appreciating the details of how Tyhjä Pää is creating the sounds.

I wasn’t FEELING as much during Tyhjä Pää as I was with Keränen & Phillips, but that’s no fault of the performance, and more to do with Keränen so completely emptying my cup, if you’ll allow a figure of speech. Tyhjä Pää got it re-filled just fine, for …

Dave Phillips. Go see his show. I should really just end this review right there. No description can make justice for what Dave’s thing is about.

But I’ll try. The introduction of this writeup is really attempting to be an introduction for Dave Phillips. His piece is an audiovisual one, with a very, very, very powerful message, with actual “lyrics” shown on a screen, and sometimes spoken into the noise as well. Noise with lyrics … never thought about that before.

The message … it’s nothing special, one could say. I thought about that once, one could say. Been there, done that. Look at my shiny shields.

It was also the most concise treatment on the issues of (dis-)honesty I’ve ever witnessed. I say this as life-long Nomeansno-fan – a band that has never been shy on talking about lies etc. The “lyrics” are interspersed with some powerful imagery with the general theme of “cruelty towards animals”, but to me at least, the specific visual subject matter was insignificant with respect to how the “lyrics” enforced the admission of my own, and everyone’s, (dis-)honesty. I’m trying to say: the visual stuff could be replaced with another theme (something “bad”, or dishonest, about our world), and the result would be just as effective.

Within minutes, I was silently shedding tears. I wasn’t really feeling bad, just a little sad, as the dishonesty of both myself and mankind was written, literally, on the wall. The text had been translated to finnish (by Keränen), and very skillfully so. And the delivery in the native language was, I believe, a most significant thing.

Some of the ideas I saw were said better, more succintly, than ever before. Some were new (to me), but none needed to be, for this was an awakening from a familiar dream. We all know the things Dave wanted to say, we’ve all thought about it before, I’m sure. But we’re also dishonest with ourselves, and we know we are, and we cannot help it, and perhaps in some perverted way we’re not even supposed to, because we need our protective layers …

But we also need works like Dave’s. This was True Art at its rawest, barest, … HONEST way I’ve ever seen. Completely sincerely, and somewhat strongly, I believe every person on this planet should go witness Dave’s piece, and I believe the world would become a better place if everybody did. At the same time, I know I’m not a better person today for having experienced it. But still, something moved within me, and I claim it impossible that nothing moves within you, if you decide to go and see … Something moved … it’s already becoming dream-like for me now, like these things, these flashes, always do. I actually cannot summon a decent memory of the actual NOISE that was there, other than that it fit perfectly. It wasn’t quite the common noise, but had more traditionally musical elements in it (like recognizable sounds of breathing/gasping), and a comparatively clear structure, which of course was also necessitated by the message.

It wasn’t very long, maybe 15 minutes, and I silently cried through it, allowing Dave to reveal my lies for me, to deconstruct me, because I also immediately knew all this would be for my own benefit, and that I wouldn’t be hurt. I have my protections, after all, as I should. So do you, and so you should. I don’t know what to say anymore, except that please, go see this wherever (and, probably, whenever) you can. It’s available in Joensuu today (26.8), Lappeenranta (27.8) and Helsinki (28.8). That, and thanks, Dave. It was beautiful.

(Jussi Kantola, www.facebook.com/jussi.kantola1/posts/10210161922307712)

Dave Philips (Schimpfluch Gruppe pioneer) stole the show in abrupt machine smarts impeccably choreographed to screen splashes of Helvetica bold pointing the finger at our complacently / selfish consumption… a host of animal cruelty zapping the screen bathing us in the despicable stench of being human ……A dervish of drone curdling underneath, launched in sudden shocks of sonic violence… that image of a dead monkey with the word ‘crap’ tattooed on his shaven forehead sticking with me forever …the room trembling to the onscreen horror of a bulldozed trench full of live pigs running blindly over each other to escape a tide of swallowing earth……DP’s sniping mousetraps echoing the electrified spasms of test animals. Slit throats, abattoir scenes to a fizzing of wires… a repeating machine crunch that seemed to be screaming accusingly ‘Use your eyes…your eyes…your eyes… as a trainered foot pushed firmly into the head of a wolf, it’s jutting jaw crushed to a barrage of screeching wares… An amazingly powerful experience that left you hollowed out and wordless.

(cloudboy, Rottenmeats)

thank you guys so much for putting on such an amazing and inspiring noise/experimental sound art performance. it was magical, artful and spiritual. big ups. Dave Phillips’ wakeup call is such an important voice that we all still need to hear. Noise, became the vital vehicle for his message to deliver to the world, it started in the space that we were in, then it goes into our heart and continues to diverge to the rest of the world, in my hope. This is the first time that I totally felt–noise made sense. art made sense. sometimes, we just gotta say it straight up without beating around the bush. Dave definitely did.

(Sammy Chien, via Facebook)

Pushing boundaries and resetting standards at Noisefest V - “A fucked up music extravaganza”
Little did a layman as myself know what he was in for with this festival. Not having been to one of the previous four editions and unfamiliar with the hardcore subgenre, Noisefest V prooved to be one of the most eye-opening, shocking and confronting musical experiences, even for a guy who sees hundreds of live shows a year.
11 acts were jammed into a quarter day at De Kreun, a venue in Kortrijk, Belgium which is also home to the legendary Sonic City festival every december. No better place than a town where DIY, hardcore and freak culture are currently thriving

However, there was one artist who is unparalleled when it comes to confrontation: Dave Phillips. An anarchist with a clear stance against speciesism, Phillips makes the audience look at unwatchable images of animal cruelty, combined with statements that are almost impossible to ignore. Phillips may be idealistic, but this anti-cynical performance has a rarely seen effect on consciousness, both political and personal. He may not add a lot to the largely pre-programmed Chris Cunningham-ish show himself, although popping some balloons while walking through the crowd, heavily breathing and yelling ‘ARISE’ into his microphone pretty much paint a clear picture of what this man wants you to do. And fucking hell, is he good at it. If there’s one show that kept me from sleeping afterwards -and there are many candidates for that at an event like Noisefest- it’s his. Bravo for such a performance, bravo for this spirit and daring mindset. May his audiences take over at least a piece of that….

(mp-h, http://skylinereviews.com/?p=15046)

Noise é um tipo de som, que pode te deixar maluco, ou pode te fazer refletir. O desconforto que os ruídos causam, aliados a outros artifícios, despertam em nosso íntimo questões acomodadas pelo correr do dia-a-dia. Nesse último domingo, dia 30 de outubro, pude presenciar a performance, do suiço, fundador do Fear of God, Dave Phillips no Caffeine Sound Studio, local que lembra um squat, decorado com dezenas de cartazes bacanas, lambes, stencils, grafites, stickers e tudo mais que se possa colocar em uma parede, além de muitos colchões espalhados pelos recinto. IMPRESSÕES A apresentação foi dividida em dois blocos: produção de ruídos e performance de noise somado a audio-visual. Confesso que na primeira parte, não consegui assistir toda a apresentação, os ruídos estavam muito altos e a minha cabeça parecia um balão, prestes a explodir. No entanto, assisti a segunda inteira, e meu choque foi tanto, que no final da mesma estive a ponto de chorar. Phillips, nos lembrou de todo massacre que os animais são submetidos todos os dias e ainda de que essa é uma realidade que está longe de mudar. Com barulhos e berros que casados às imagens, pareciam vir dos próprios animais que as cenas mostravam, Dave parecia sentir a dor que aqueles estavam sentindo. O andar nervoso no pouco espaço, fez com que o mesmo adentrasse em meio ao público, e utilizando de uma bexiga, extraiu sons que chegavam a fazer com que EU sentisse o terror que os animais das imagens sentiam, e o disparo no coração, quando a bexiga era estourada, e o animal, brutalmente, era morto. Era como se eu fosse morta, também. A PERFORMANCE Dave não utilizou apenas ruídos extraídos de sintetizadores, usou o corpo, a voz e objetos, além desses efeitos. A entrega ao tema foi tão intensa, que após seguidos sons de tic-tac, e a imagem de um animal aguardando ofegante e após sofrendo descargas elétricas em testes, Phillips estava exausto, transpirando muito, caído de joelhos ao chão. Foi aplaudido por muito tempo, quando as luzes foram acesas. EFEITOS Já assisti a vários tipos de performances ao vivo, no entanto essa foi a que mais surtiu efeito em mim. Esse live-action entrou no meu íntimo, e por mais que eu já soubesse de todo mal que abrange esse mundo, sobre toda a dor que os animais sentem, foi o mais próximo que eu cheguei de sentir a dor alheia. Intenso do princípio, com o respirar de quem está tentando reunir forças, direto até o fim, com o respirar ofegante de quem sofre. As frases que intercalavam os vídeos (que foram, especialmente, traduzidas para o português), não questionava apenas aos que preferem ignorar o massacre animal (escolha sua máscara), mas apontava o dedo na cara dos já conscientes dessa realidade, instigando que é necessário fazer algo mais. Resumidamente, ele conseguiu sintonizar meus sentidos e passar com êxito sua mensagem, me tornando ainda mais consciente, de que aquilo que eu já sabia que acontecia de errado, é ainda pior. Ele pede ‘consciência’ aliada de ‘mudança’.

(clandestina secreta, charlotte is dead)

(Day Two) Dave Phillips, playing the second of his three shows at the festival, gave us the set tonight that I had expected last night. A video screen was pulled down, and for those who hadn’t seen this set before, it must have been an unforgettable experience, for good or ill. I’ve seen Dave do this set at least three other times, and it’s always impressive, painful, heartfelt and difficult. Inter-cutting brutal, unflinching footage of animal test, animal slaughter, bullfighting, wholesale whale killing, animals struggling in steel traps, and other assorted human-initiated maiming and mutilating of animals with terse statements of modern life (“AS LONG AS THE VICTIMS MAY BE QUIETLY BURIED,” “DESPAIRING AT A NUMBNESS HANDED DOWN FROM A SOCIETY THAT IS TRAPPED IN FRACTURE AND BETRAYAL, DENIAL AND AVOIDANCE,” etc.) flash in between. For his part, Phillips constructs a dense, violent, horrifying audio mix of human and animal hyperventilating, dogs howling in pain, slaughterhouse noises, piercing wails, and sublimated classical music swells, building to a frenzy over 20 unbearable minutes. Adding his own screams to the mix via a headset mic, Dave also ventures into the audience, blowing up balloons behind the crowd, building more tension (when will it break? Will he be right behind me when it does?). “HUMANS ARE FASCINATING FOR THEIR ABILITY TO CHANGE” is one of the last title cards as the images start to fade out, following by a subliminal flashing of the word “CHANGE” over and over before the sound dies, and the DVD player reverts back to the static dp logo. Regardless of your views on Phillips’ view of the world, the gestalt effect of the performance is bracing, the type of visceral art that noise claims to embrace, but seldom achieves. I’d never say “it’s a pleasure” to see this piece, but I’m always glad I didn’t head for the door (as many did…I counted at least 12 walkouts).

(Chris Sienko)

(Day One) Switzerland’s Dave Phillips worked extensively with the sound people to get his levels right (and, I suspect, to beg them to turn it UP! If there was any small quibble, it was that for much of the first half of the show, I didn’t even consider reaching for my earplugs). It cut into his time a little (and may have caused overlap with the act in the next room), but the time spent was worth it. In near-complete darkness, Phillips cued recording after recording of insect sounds; swarms, individual buzzings, far-off flora and fauna combined into a hypnotic veil of chirping drones. In performances past, Phillips has hammered his points home in more visceral form, showing videos of animal testing and vivisection interspersed with phrases like “THE GOLDEN AGE OF DENIAL AND AVOIDANCE” and “HOW MANY MORE MUST DIE FOR CHEAP PETROL?” Here, Phillips emphasized not the death of creatures, but the living, throbbing vitality of insects and other animal life on the planet. It was a powerful, violently beautiful symphony of nature, curtain-called by Phillips walking the room, handing out a small piece of paper detailing the part insects play in the ecosystem. That Phillips has two more opportunities to play this weekend only emphasizes the excitement of the nights to come. Already a contender for top 5 performances of the festival.

(Chris Sienko)

The night began with Dave Phillips, from Switzerland, and a piece about insects. Gettting to very high pitches and volumes i assume all the noises were those of insects - distorted , amplified to show their finer detail and sometimes manipulated - to create a wall of ambient sounds and noise. As the song was about to end he walked into the audience and handed everyone a small piece of paper and then his first set ended. The words on the paper discussed the importance of insects for the world, The things they do for the human species and how without them it would be impossible for life and the world to exist.

After a set by the amazing and totally brilliant/insane Justice Yeldham (From Melbourne?) Dave Philips did another piece, Combining his music with a video projection, this piece was about human treatment of animals , how we fail to give to other animals the things we accept as norms for ourselves - such as dignity and respect , and how ignorance and general ideas of social norms and a blank mind to reality make NOT making decisions easier than making change - whats ‘normal’ is obviously what is right? No?. The video show was a horrendous collage of animal death footage mixed with statements about human nature, dignity, respect… and what it means to be human, juxtaposed to say : If this is what we want, who are we to think it is not worthy of other animals? The footage showed animals trapped in claw traps struggling for life, being killed for food, tortured for experiments and the likes , cutting of throats of pigs and cows, blood gushing everywhere as the flailed and choked and died, closed bolt shooting to the heads of pigs , and standing on piglets unneeded by factories to suffocate them, deformed animals in mass factory farming enviroments, the mass pulping and binning of baby chicks and gestating eggs, and the clubbing and skinning of live baby seals (the showing of the skinned seals writhing in the snow still alive) , cats having their brains partially gouged out of their skulls with scalpels while alive and replaced by cotton balls and electonics to make them move and react to electric stimulus, or in cages being thrown around like they were already dead and ending up as food, the electrocution of mice and rats, the rigging up of sensors to monkeys brains to stimulate them with electrodes and then a metal clamp snapping their necks to monitor resonse, and far far more , All to a noise sound track of disorted sounds and yelling then Animals gurgling and dying , screaming pigs and choaking sheep and cows as they drowned in their own blood, cats, dogs and chimps in agony and the main musician screaming over the top. A large section was punctuated by animal death noises and the sound of a closed bolt gun or pistol going off at full volume as words like Dignity, Respect, Family, Love, Security, Choice and other statements flashed on the screen Needless to say when this ended everyone just sat there is shock, unable to stand or move and an awkward clap slowly went through the crowd. If you have the chance to see this guy I highly recomend it. This particular piece i know would be too confronting for many but his other works and what he stands for are well worth checking out.

(Brown Windsor)

…such near meditative solace is shortlived however, when we’re fronted with the first of the final two headlining acts: Dave Phillips from Switzerland. Appearing like a cross between a Hare Krishna and an East Berlin serial killer and with his microphone headset wired through to a harrowing array of distortion filters; he proceeds to rasp, howl, contort his frame and scream to a soundtrack of broken piano, farm animals, whip crackings and gunshot sounds whilst on screen behind him a series of increasingly harrowing holocaustic film clips flash by in rapid succession featuring everything from pigs getting their throats slit, baby chickens being battered and tumbling down machinery, monkeys tortured for medical science, elephant tramplings and other acts of gross animal barbarity of increasing intensity that become too eye-gougingly terrifying for me to possibly put into words (although constant ‘subliminal’ commentary was helpfully provided throughout on screen as text in case the message wasn’t LOUD enough). Living through this littany of abuse was quite like a cross between the tortuous mental reprogramming Malcolm McDowell received in A Clockwork Orange, the shrieking terror that was the eye of Sauron from Lord Of The Rings boring into your soul, that garbled beserker video transmission from the beginning of the movie Event Horizon, fat nazi guy’s face melting at the end of Indiana Jones and the Raiders Of The Lost Ark and staring deep into the gaping abyss of Hell incarnate. Truly, without a doubt this was the most terrifying mindfuck I’ve ever seen all year, saying I actually ENJOYED this would be quite like saying I’d love to be the victim of a slow and painful disembowellment by fishhooks whilst rats eat me alive. The pain! OH THE PAIN!! MAKE IT STOP!! MAAAAAKE IT STOP!! (and yet I can’t look away! guuh!).

(spoz.blogspot.com/2007_07_15_archive.html)

It began with some footage beaming slogans on the dismal state of the human predicament in between crunchy recordings of animals being tortured… grotesque! As dave cued a bunch of found sounds of various animals in pain. He walked through the crowds of intrigued people, with a mic tacked to his jaw as he blew up a balloon, making a strange emulation of breathing… it increased until the ballon burst in his face covering some people with his saliva and a rude awakening. His montage was utterly terrifying as he cued some ghastly sounds to the film spontaneously. He was not even watching the footage, so it was crazy how well it synched. At one stage there was a home video of an elephant that had escaped from a circus and started crushing people under its wrath. Dave began making unbelievable sounds by screaming and punching himself in the throat. Then there was films of pigs being tortured and maimed and dogs that had been skinned alive… The girls in front of me started to cry. It was really deep. His slogans blasted the obvious symbolism of how man has become detached from nature by attempting to dominate it. He really hit it home for many people. You could see the concern in their faces.

(www.webofmimicry.com/wom2/index.php?topic=9294.msg192254)

Dave Phillips est actif depuis plus de vingt ans dans la scène underground internationale. De 1986 à 1988 il fait partie de Fear of God, quartet pionnier de grindcore, dont la compilation marquant la fin du projet «The End of Fear of God» contient des remix du groupe par des artistes tels que Merzbow, Mike Patton, Yamatsuka Eye, Kevin Drumm, Kid 606, Voicecrack, Jim O’Rourke, etc…Durant cette même période, il commence à publier ses travaux solo sous son propre nom, privilégiant au fil des ans une approche improvisée et l’aspect acoustique de la noise music. Au début des années 90, il participe à l’émission de radio expérimentale “Psychic Rally” pour une station zurichoise, ainsi qu’au projet Sudden Infant de Joke Lanz, également présent ce soir au LUFF, et crée des musiques destinées au cinéma ou à la danse. Depuis 1991 il est également membre du Schimpfluch-Gruppe, collectif bruitiste qui marqua le début des collaborations avec Daniel Löwenbrück pour le label Tochnit Aleph. Ses derniers travaux en date se caractérisent par l’importance du silence et du contraste qui se produit avec l’apparition soudaine et violente de bruits de chocs, de coups, etc. comparable à des accès de rage sonore. Son travail est publié sur des labels tels que Mego, Groundfault, Manufracture, Tochnit-Aleph, Ideal… «One of the most innovative artists of today. », Ideal Recordings (Suède). (www.luff.ch)

…Contraposed to all of this hippy longhair’dness were the more theatrical performances: Dave Phillips, Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock, Sudden Infant, Justice Yeldham & the Dynamic Ribbon Device, Glamorous Pat & Mokinox and HAZMAT. While everyone at the fest was putting on a ‘show’, for better or for worse there were some acts where keeping your eyes closed would have been of significant detriment to the experience (Macronympha as well, but for different reasons.) …

The most anticipated, and in my opinion, two of the most fulfilling performances were those of the Schimpfluch-Gruppe: Dave Phillips and Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock. I’d seen Sudden Infant - the third Schimpfluch member- play on the Thursday prior to the festival, and wasn’t so into it: covers of songs like Roxy Music’s ‘In Every Dream home a Heartache’ and Cabaret Voltaire’s ‘Nag Nag Nag’, via turntable loops, babydoll microphone with accompanying vocalist/cymbal smasher, Anne Stubbs.

Dave Phillips’ was in every way, the best performance I saw during the festival. John Hegre of Jazzkammer did the sound, which accounts for the clarity and massive dynamic range (it went from quiet to LOUD). Phillips played alongside an unabashedly polemical video: footage of animals being slaughtered, tested upon, and abused, interspersed with short slogans attacking those who treat animals as a means, and bourgeois values. The sound came from a variety of sources, his amplified heartbeat, sounds from the throat/vocal chords, samples of insects, and electronics. Halfway into the performance Phillips walked into the audience and blew up balloons until they popped right in audience members’ faces. There was an intensity of discipline and focus, a rigor which never again came up in the fest, as Carlos Giffoni wrote in an email to the Hanson_American board; ‘Dave doesn’t fuck around.’ The seriousness, the intensity tempered with menace was a bracing contrast to the looseness and openness of the much of the other music in the festival, an antidote to the hippy vibe that was present in mercifully few of the acts. Fucking heartstopping stuff.

(NIRAV SONI, Bagatellen)

Dave Phillips’ set was one of the more troubling ones to play out over the course of the weekend. Performing solo, he stalked the left hand side of the stage, bellowing forth a heavy and punishing din. He was accompanied by a visual projection that featured a series of penetrating questions geared at the arbitrary organization of mankind’s rules and laws inter-cut with footage from several different types of slaughterhouses and animal testing laboratories. I highly doubt those images were news to anyone, but the seemed a bit heavy-handed and over done, invoking the type of tired sloganeering and elementary punk/hardcore social riffing (‘Humans are like animals to the slaughter’ et al.) that seems to have done countless times over. Make no mistake, the sounds Phillips supplied were thoroughly engaging and excellent, but his use of imagery seemed a bit too over the top at times. Although, granted, that was most likely the point, as any display of chickens being beheaded and monkeys being tortured isn’t exactly shooting for the sublime.

(MC, www.dustedmagazine.com)

… Day Two: Dave Phillips projects large-scale videos of animal slaughter scored to his guttural wail against and its sonic equal, the power of which is felt in yon pocketbook as the barbeque salesman behind the club is overheard saying, “They played these videos of people killing animals - my sales went to shit”…

(Signal Magazine)

Otro de los que procesan su voz, pero de una manera muy distinta es Dave Phillips (ex-Fear of God), quien presentó su performance junto a un acompañamiento visual que no fue apto para los vegetarianos en el público. Diferentes animales siendo degollados, torturados, exterminados en masa, pietaje de experimentos que se hacen con gatos y otros animales. La combinación entre estas referencias visuales y el ruido creado por Phillips (‘sampleando’ su voz en tiempo real y creando una excelente y muy variada pieza sonora) hicieron que algunos volvieran a tomarse un respiro en el patio del Hook. El elemento visual fue intercalado con algunas palabras y preguntas que se proyectaban en la pantalla de vez en cuando. Un comentario social muy extremo por Phillips. Quienes se ofendieron, realmente no estaban prestando atención. Phillips también se desplazó entre el público con su micrófono inalámbrico aún amarrado a su oído.

(translation: Another artist processing his own voice, although in a very different way, is Dave Phillips (ex-Fear of God), who presented his performance accompained by some visuals that turned out to be not suitable for the vegetarians in the audience. Animals being beheaded, tortured, mass-exterminated, footage of experiments on cats and other animals. The combination of these visual references and Phillips’s noise (which he created by sampling his own voice in real time and then arranging it into an excellent and fairly varied sound piece) forced many to take a break in the Hook’s backyard. The visual element was complemented with extremely political comments by Phillips himself. Those who got offended by the performance were really not paying attention. Phillips also walked among the public with his wireless mic still attached to his ear.)

(Puerto Rico, www.mannonnetwork.com/noctambulo)


schimpfluch-gruppe


A sense of anxiety hung over the first few people through the door of the Brudenell, for they knew that Masami Akita’s journey from the capital to Leeds was proving to be something of an ordeal. The original plan had been for him to attend a signing session and possible instore performance at the Small Note. Sadly due to a number of set backs this fell through. In the end he got to the venue for around 10pm. This being the case, Ascension and Schimpfluch’s set were slightly tainted with the concern that one of my heroes wouldn’t actually get to the venue in time. Maybe being at the Brudenell a good hour before they came on, seeing them soundcheck and go out for a takeaway and some booze dulled the impact for me, but Ascension were something of a let down…(…) Schimpfluch were astounding. Actually better than Merzbow, which I would not have expected to think. Their set was basically split into three separate performances. Dave Phillips, the first member up, was walked on to a stage stripped of all equipment bar Schimpfluch’s line of FX pedals, boxes, processors etc. With the lights down low, the atmosphere took on a darker hue as he proceded to shout and scream into his head-mic. Becoming ever manic, his screams grew more frantic as he threw himself at the equipment, looping, delaying, amplifying, distorting and generally fucking up his screams and shouts - like a kind of lycanthropic transformation. If noise as catharthism has any real argument, then this was a case in point. Still dark, but with a touch of humour, his bandmate, Joke Lanz aka Sudden Infant, effectively brought the baby doll obsessed artwork of Trevor Brown (Whitehouse, Venetian Snares) to life. With microphones and pick-ups buried in disfigured, naked toy dolls, he screamed into these and manipulated the results, adding bursts of pre-recorded harshtronics to create and build a sense of tension. The cajoling of Emil Beaulieau and fellow band mates from the audience added to the spectacle. Schimpfluch ended their set with a piece of performance art. Three rickety old chairs were placed on stage which the threepiece promptly sat on. Silence then reigned for a long few seconds. Only the hum and click of the amps, or so it seemed. When the clicks and cracks began to match the movements of the three seated Swiss, it was revealed that their chairs were actually covered in contact mics. Slowly building, Schimpfluch began to jump up and down ever more vigarously, every strike and hit sustained by the three chairs sending a barrage of noise from the speakers. Ending in true rock’n’roll style, they smashed up their chairs to soundtracks of amplified destruction. For me Schimpfluch stole the show. They were sonically much more dense and interesting than what Merzbow did, and were very entertaining/disturbing/funny to watch. (Schimpfluch-Gruppe, Sudden Infant, Dave Phillips - live at ’Termite Club 20th Anniversary Festival’ (with: Merzbow, Emil Bealieau, Ascension) at the Brudenell, Leeds, 21.11.2003

(Jamie Stephenson, Termite Club website)


ohne


(OHNE live at Avanto Festival Helsinki 2004) Ohne, the rarely-seen Euro-American confusion collective featuring Tom Smith (of To Live and Shave in L.A., Peach of Immortality and prepubescent Pussy Galore ‘fame’), launched the musical portion of Avanto. The trio - reduced from a quartet due to Reto Maeder’s health-related woes - was preceded by a selection of Kurt Kren’s and Ernst Schmidt Jr.’s 1960s Viennese Actionist films, in which hilarious, often grotesquely sexual barrages of naked torsos doused in paint, food, carnage and gore race across the screen. The pairing was impeccable; Ohne’s needling collage of performance art and treated amplifications of the human body loosely fashions itself as a punk-schooled sonic parallel to Actionism’s ocular overload. When the vignettes ended, an insistent loop of a ticking stopwatch and galloping hooves ricocheted around the darkened Kiasma theater. Mocking spotlights shined down on Ohne’s vacant microphones. Ten minutes later… absolutely nothing happened. The stage remained empty; the polite customers grew palpably restless. Gradually, a few anonymous rabble-rousers began grousing, booing, or screaming ‘bullshit!’ from the aisles. Someone coughed. Another guy clicked his tongue. A can sailed through the air. ‘Do something! Come on!,’ the voices shouted in flawless English. Suddenly, it became obvious that the members of Ohne were responsible for the yelling. They had blended in among the audience to heckle their own production. The instigators urged the onlookers to hurl forth insults, but only a handful of detractors actually joined in. And nobody accepted the invitation to get onstage. A few malcontents headed for the exit. That reaction says a lot about the stereotypically reserved and stoic Finnish character; in the U.S., mass jeering would have ensued. But in Helsinki, the crowd suppressed its mild annoyance and either patiently waited for the payoff or silently fled. Who knows what might have transpired had the patrons bum-rushed the show and taken matters into their own hands? Had Ohne walked off without touching its laptops, the gig would have been an amazing triumph: a total refutation of the very notion of performing. But maybe the ensuing fracas was just a deliberate anticlimax? The set began in earnest when Daniel Loewenbrueck, who had recorded the heckling introduction, played back his cassette of the episode while strolling among the rows of seats. From the stage, a bored-looking Dave Phillips triggered a plethora of strident samples. Smith attached contact mikes to his churning stomach and initiated an array of gargles, chokes and gags. Eventually, he would ham it up with his trademark lounge-lizard histrionics. The three men enacted a series of rituals - aiming the house lights directly at people’s eyes, sprinkling powder everywhere, rinsing their soiled hands in a bucket, hammering nails into cloths on the floor and doing pushups until exhaustion set in - served with a dense, feverish squall of deflating balloons, sawing cellos, artillery and thunder. The spectacle always engrossed the eyes, yet occasionally tired the ears. Smith, Phillips and Loewenbrueck admirably capture the essence of both punk and Actionism - to incite, vex and destroy - but it was a minor disappointment that such a hostile crew even deigned to play. It would have been far more infuriating (i.e. effective) to let the tension build without any resolution whatsoever. Given their reputations as infamous troublemakers, they’d probably agree with that opinion.

(Jordan N. Mamone, Dusted Magazine)

Ein Wasserhahn tropft, seit fuenfzehn Minuten schon. Auf der Buehne passiert nichts. Der Wasserhahn tropft weiter, minutenlang, bis das monotone Ploppen in ein verfremdetes Geruelpse uebergeht. Es folgen natuerliches Geruelpse neben verzerrtem Geruelpse, Geruelpse, das an einen Loewen erinnert und Geruelpse, das kaum mehr als solches erkennbar ist. Irgendwann, eine gute halbe Stunde nach dem ersten Tropfen aus dem Wasserhahn, betreten ein paar Maenner die Buehne: Dass sich der Englaender Dave Phillips, der Schweizer Reto Maeder, Daniel Loewenbrueck aus Deutschland und Tom Smith aus den USA hier nicht als Musiker verstehen, wird den wenigen Besuchern im «Parterre» spaetestens jetzt bewusst. Tom Smith singt zwar, ueberzeichnet, trunken im Raum herumtorkelnd, von Melodie kann an diesem Abend aber nicht die Rede sein. Stattdessen irren die Protagonisten mit Trillerpfeifen umher, sie blasen Ballons auf, bis diese platzen, sie lecken die Nacken von unaufmerksamen Zuschauern, und dies zu andauernden Rueckkoppelungen, ohrenbetaeubendem Pfeifen, Kratzen und Droehnen aus den Lautsprechern. Es wird geschrieen. Die Schreie werden live durch Sequenzer reproduziert und uebereinander geschichtet. Es herrscht das absolute Chaos, aber nur scheinbar. Denn das heillose Durcheinander wird stets durchbrochen, sobald es die Schmerzgrenze zu ueberschreiten droht. Ploetzlich erklingt das beruhigende Plaetschern von Wellen, eine Harmonika spielt leise, waehrend sich im Hintergrund bereits das naechste Donnerwetter anbahnt. Es ist eine minutioes getimte Performance an der Schnittstelle von Krach aus Mischpult und Computer, Gesang, Improvisation und Provokation, eine Show, die unterhaelt, die keine Sekunde langweilt, auch wenn so gut wie keine Sequenz klar durchstrukturiert ist. Das Publikum wird gefordert. Nur, wozu? Die Frage nach dem Sinn einer derartigen Performance draengt sich auf. Die Strukturen von Theater und Musik aufzubrechen, kann kaum alleiniger Zweck sein. Das kennt die Welt schon seit den 50er Jahren. Das interessiert heute niemanden mehr. Ist die Provoka-tion von «Ohne» reiner Selbstzweck? Oder sollte die Frage nach dem Sinn hier gar nicht erst gestellt werden? Vielleicht liegt der Sinn im Unsinn. Unterhaltsam waere dieser Unsinn allemal, was wiederum Sinn machen wuerde. (‘Geruelpse als Selbstzweck?’ Marko Lehtinen, 07.06.2002 Basler Zeitung, zu OHNE im Parterre, Basel 5.6.2002)

(Marko Lehtinen, Basler Zeitung, June 2002)


dave phillips & g*park


Another programmatic contrast. These two take a much more theatrical performative stance. The lights were taken right down, the curtains pulled over the doors. Out of the ensuing pitch blackness two lights appeared on stage – like miners’ helmets – necessary for the duo to see the sound sources on their respective tables. But also: acting as minute focal points if somewhat eery. A clangour – bell sounds moving into darker noise. Creaking doors – we are in the haunted house, made more atmospheric by the darkness. Then what seemed to be a scrawling veering dizzying ride on an aeroplane, spinning out of control, accompanied by shouts, cries, screams of scared passnegers. This became quite unsettling – close to the bone for many? Some people did leave, too disturbing? In my mind I would like to think the plane righted its course - but more was to come. Slaughterhouse dance macabre – sharp shocks of sound interweaving with the plaintive baas of sheep. Human and animal mortality at stake here? My private movies, anyway – a genuinely harrowing experience… even in the realisation that this was clever manipulation. Edgy brilliance…

(soundsandtexts.blogspot.com)


fear of god


tom you din’t get the point when you call dp remixes grindcore. eric’s vocals are the strongest meanest ever. his style was legendary and many tried to copy it. when i saw fear of god live in italy in 2003 i realised that he doesn’t use any effects at all. i was shocked. the gig was so extreme people waited outside the hall. never heard so much negativity. after the gig the band had a britney spears song played on the p.a. mixed with distortion. they left the stage went outside walked around a bit and peple were so intimidated nobody talked to them at first. after 10 minutes or so the britney spears noise mix was over and it was quiet in the hall. i have never seen something like this. nobody could understand what these guys just did to them. some of the concert goers who are friends of mine told me that it took them a few days to get down from the vibes. everybody i know who was there says this concert was so devastating that its hard to imagine how people must have felt in 1986 or 87 when fear of god played with henry rollins. maybe that’s why the band’s popularity has grown so much over the years although records have never been easy to get. grindcore? they may have defined that genre but they never were grindcore. (Fear Of God live in Cremona, via dp – hermeneutics of fear of god discussion on goodbadmusic)

(Davide Cremona, www.goodbadmusic.com)