dave phillips & francisco meirino - we are none of us

CD, 2010, Domizil/Misanthropic Agenda, Zürich/Oakland.   Available (free download)


artwork by Seraina Schwegler


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)

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)

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)