back in stock as of
january 2nd, 2013
first in stock on
march 27th, 2009
|agaric (usa) #ag 1987 cd|
ulhang produktion (switzerland) #up 06 cd
borbetomagus / voice crack “fish that sparkling bubble” compact disc
- we don't need no warrior goddess (8:38)
- vungavunga (10:56)
- cracked magus (7:15)
- floonder king (3:12)
- my tongue in your cheek (9:27)
|1998 release ; cd issue of the 1988 “fish that sparkling bubble” lp (originally co-released by agaric & ulhang produktion) documenting the band’s first meeting(s) with the “cracked everyday electronics” duo voice crack (norbert möslang & andy guhl) ...|
this was my personal entry into not just the voice crack / borbeto axis, but to pretty much any kind of non-metered / harmonically-linked music (remember, i was but a high school sophomore when this was launched !!!) ; as such, it of course holds a special place amidst my chest-cavity gelatin ... 20 years on, the harsh electronic wail hasn’t lost even one iota of its power ...
|fish that sparkling bubble |
right. so this record is wild enough to send maurice sendak running for mama. but something gets lost in translation during the critics' hyperbolic feeding frenzy that inevitably surrounds each passing borbeto release. i mean, sure it's "gut crunching" ... "a vortex of infernal energy" ... "a giant paleozoic monster belch-roaring and casually swatting house-sized cockroaches with its massive toil." all perfecfty true. but their music is also very subtle. just like chemical experiments that can only occur at extreme temperatures, borbetomagus cranks up the volume so high to enable the overtone alchemy only possible in such zones. on this occasion, their sensitivity is further focussed by the collaboration of voice crack, a swiss duo dedicated to the extension of the futurist homebuilt vocab. vc assembles a sonic urban center built from electronic flotsam, a cold city then populated by the hot blood of borbeto, blazing. in this landscape, one can easily hear the echoes of xenakis, hendrix, ayler - each a colossal ghost of post-industrial extremism. but it's not study in retrospection or combinatorics; from the opening skronk of "we don't need no warrior goddess" to the (what?) quiet passage at the outset of "vungavunga," it is entirely new and unyieldingly irreverent. music like the face of a cliff: monumental. but the detail on this monument is etched oh-so fine!
- john corbett butt rag, 1990
fish that sparkling bubble was a full-fledged collaboration between borbetomagus and voice crack. at that time, in 1988, the brilliant swiss group was a duo; when they later collaborated again with the borbeto boys on asbestos shake two years later they hod added drummer knut remond. borbetomagus first began corresponding with andy guhl and norbert möslang soon after hearing the 1977 fmp record deep voices, which featured the pair on acoustic horns, percussion, bass, as well as home-made instruments and cassette machines. before they adopted the voice crack moniker, möslang and guhl released their first excursion into electronics-land, knack on, on the uhlklang label.
but it was voice crack, recorded in 1984, that saw the consolidation of the duo's working methodology: spreading out a panoply of sound making devices on the floor or on a table, voice crack erects a miniature sonic city. disarticulated woofers and cones are connected to technical hybrids - radio-cassette-turntable-circuitboards - through cables that stretch like so many intraveneous tubes to a patient. indeed, it's like an electronic vivisection in which the beating heart tokes on the timbres of beat up electronic gadgets. extending the gradualist, laminar industrial improvising tradition of britain's amm, voice crack constructs jogged topographies of electronic endproduct noise and detuned radio signal-shimmering, looping, phased-out landscapes that are at once seductive and at the some time sharp, brittle, and dangerous. in this context, their "cracked everyday electronics" bring the volume down a few notches, shift the energy, and draw out a wonderful combination of mechanical and cheapo-electronics aesthetics.
borbeto's response is in places reminiscent of their killer acoustic-saxed zurich; the interface with dusty electronics also brings to mind their encounter with hugh davies, work on what has been spoiled, as well as their recently reissued eponymous first record, recorded in 1980, which featured brian doherty on electronics. remember also that fish that sparkling bubble was recorded during the year borbeto spent as a quartet, with bassist adam nodelman adding his completely wrecked bass concept to the bottom-end of the borbeto-crack barrel. nodelman's addition to the group, also stunningly documented on seven reasons for tears, transformed the longstanding trio into something else altogether. no place is this more evident than in the incredible guitar/bass interplay on "my tongue in your cheek" - battling fuzztone and static saxes, nodelman blankets the low end with energy-packed bass, at times even breaking into breakneck linear runs.
listening back to fish that sparkling bubble six years after writing my butt rag review, i guess it's still about: 1) borbeto-crack blowing on extra hole in your cranium; and/or: 2) voice-magus forcing a redefinition of the notion of subtlety. the first of these is obvious-of course, there is never any lock of energy and dead-on fun with noise in any of their work. as don dietrich once told me, "we don't play to fill a room with sound; we start from the walls and ploy in from there!" borbetomagus vibrates a column of air. it just so happens that in their case the column in question is indescribably huge and the vibration notoriously furious. certain guitarists have zany moments with difference tones; borbetomagus eats difference tones for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so by concert-time they cough up something else altogether. here we find borbetomagus, city of worms, digging deeply into their high-impact style. here we find voice crack - equally grungy, though more object-oriented in their approach. the classic session is all that much better on cd, since vinyl grooves barely ever held borbeto's mag-est moments, the sum of which sometimes threaten to spit out the needle like a watermelon seed from between your fingers.
but, as stated, it's about more than the steam-roller for borbetomagus and voice crack. fish that sparkling bubble has a redefined subtlety, a kind of blow-torch delicacy: the ballet of a construction site, the poetry of a scream. that is, within the massive windstorm one can hear slight, beautiful, graceful, sometimes even fragile voices. what, borbetomagus fragile? listen to the long, smooth, howling tones that lurk beneath the surface distortion and fuzz on "warrior goddess," or that impressive opening track's stuttering, post-evan parker acoustic saxophone moments (which also appear in "floonder king"). on "vungavunga" we find a regular pulse, nearly a unique moment in the borbet-ouvre; the voice crackers undulate the sound as if it was a giant magnetic transformer caught in the waves of a metallic sea, and the piece's repetitions are echoed in the repeating "vungas" of its own name. occasional bleeps and tweets of some squeezed machinery-walkie-talkie tones, gutted phone receivers, miniature amplifiers, close-n-play record players-slip through (on "cracked magus" for instance), audible at one level of the many in this noise layer-cake. and the intimate gurgling sounds that suck out the middle of "my tongue in your cheek." and that track's nearly sweet sounding ending. borbeto-ballad? surprises on every floor!
convulsive beauty, you've got it now. subtle as a flying mallet? and then some. sparkling bubbles? festering, i s'pose. or paint peeling under the heat of a torch. or a kid blowing through his straw into his coke, as magnified 10,000 times. sorry, gone fishin'. real, real gone.
- john corbett chicago, april 1995