Various Artists - Wieża Ciśnień II [Zoharum - 2015]Released on the excellent Zoharum label, this limited edition eleven track compilation was produced for the CKiS Wieża Ciśnień , A centre of culture and art based in Konin. Its the second of such compilations, and follows the 2010 release of the same name.
Opening with Zenia “Live In Braunschweig” a repetitious and convoluted piece of drones and textures, this album immediately sets out as an experimental compilation to rival the Touch Music compilations of the mid 90’s.
Sumpf follow with their “live At Pawilon Noiwa” a lo fi noise art piece that slowly morphs into an atonal off key soundscape. It’s eerie and oppressive without being the stuff of horror soundtrack music.
Demonszy “Hrs” is found sound and field recordings with minimal granular synth, it’s air and textures both give it a historical aspect that leaves you somewhat perplexed. “Abbastanza Bene” by Monopium alters the feel completely. This is minimal avant jazz, and it’s an unusually good.
“Improvisation No 5” by Sambar continues the jazz feel, the reeds and winds slowly intermingle with each other as the piece develops and shifts into more of piece of music than an a quick work out. Bachorze’s “Syreny” opens with, and I checked this a couple of times, coughing. Well it doesn’t open with it, it begins and then we have a cough. This is a live piece and as free jazz goes, and that it where this piece sits, its an odd beginning to say the least! This track meanders as strings are wiped, sax’s blow out drones and metal is moved. This is a nine minute piece of concréte jazz and it’s excellent.
KaleKA move up with “Crack” a long drawn out shifting drone with repetitive granular synth. Things move at a pace, but don’t start really changing until the five minute mark where we almost go Gamalan in style.
X-Navi:Et are more :zoviet*france: than I think even Zoviet France are! This is a wonderful piece of music: the found sounds, repetitive beat, toy instruments and general noises all mix to make this this my stand out track of the album!
Ter slow the album back down with “Visit”. This is slow beated ambience drenched in reverb and left hanging, If you think of stalactites, this is the musical equivalent. Superb! Micromelancolie follow with “5213N1816E”: a piece of slowly evolving drones and textures that includes found sounds and, I’m assuming, was recorded at the map reference used in the title as this pinpoints it in Konin!
And finally Mirt land with “What Are Drones” is, not surprisingly, a drone piece. With fluttering strands of metal and half heard low octave bells mixed with the slowest police siren I think I’ve ever heard! This is a lovely end to this album, coalescing all that has gone before.
Compilation albums are a difficult commodity: you are never guaranteed to like each artist, and rarely are you wrong on this front. However, if you take this album as whole and consider it’s textures and the documentary nature of it’s manifesto then you are hearing an art space in motion rather than the artists in that space.
This album doesn’t satisfy every aspect of the listening experience for me, but it has some utterly wonderful moments. This is like visiting the arts centre, you won’t go all the time to watch or hear everything, you will pick and choose your events. And that’s what you do with this album. Which ever event you choose though, will not leave youAdam Skyes