August 8, 2009
Acheulian Handaxe aha 0701
Distorted wave-form circuitry, glitch sampling and unusual alterations in guitar manipulation and construction are on show in this notable electro-acoustic outing. All together the techniques of Köln’s Joker Nies, using a circuit-bending Omnichord; Mexico City’s Mario de Vega’s real-time, self-designed software samplers with external data-control devices; and New York’s Hans Tammen enlarging the sounds from his table-top “endangered guitar” with live sound processing; evolve at such a frantic pace that the result demands dedicated listening to isolate different sonic impulses.
With flanged reverb and distorted drones and vibrations from the guitar as the most identifiable tone, the program also encompasses samples of rhythmic footfalls plus the sounds of Spanish-speaking voices stretched, hiccupped, run backwards and quickened. These pulsations intersect with modified and capricious layers of machine-driven protracted corkscrew buzzes, watery whooshes and babbling, as well as patched other-directed unvarying loops of oscillated crinkles and crackles.
These home-made electro-acoustic timbre-twisters, prolonged with skin-resistance circuitry on Nies’ part, create a unique contrapuntal output that shifts from twittering shortwave radio-like sputters to repetitive motor-grinding, including pulsations reminiscent of fire-drill alarms, pealing bells and pipe-organ drones in addition to chiming guitar movement.
By the time the frequently interrupted and modulated echoes, processes and samples reach staccato and fortissimo density then loop back upon themselves for timbral connection to their first instigation, a stand-alone sound world is created. Remaining immersed in it until the concluding reverberations is the listeners’ preferred option.
— Ken Waxman
— MusicWorks Issue #104