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Rlw : reviews

E CD, Trente Oiseaux 1995 (TOC 954)
Stand firm for RLW´s Revu Et Corrige CD. It´s a shattered deja vu of truncated drones, flashbacks of chirp orgies where flea-sized harpsichords and polygon-shaped asphalt flatteners got magnetized and helplessly swept between the talons of an electroacoustic tuning fork. The effect is akin to sitting in a barber chair spinning around as a ballerina with a fish head pumps it higher and higher towards the ceilings of 30 different cathedrals per minute. Slow, without an end, almost nauseating in its relentlessness, but completely lacking in bombast, Revu Et Corrige eventually settles into a roundtable discussion between security beavers, tuba rehearsals in a mausoleum, government-inflicted pigment removal from the bills of live toucans, and bowling ball races in a lighthouse. As debates go, this one rages.
Bananafish, USA 1997

CD, Streamline 1994 (SL 1008)
RLW´s music now eschews almost all recognisably instrumental sounds, and instead utilises found sound and computer generated noises to compose pieces that challenge pretty much any accepted notions of what „music“ might be. RLW uses the digital editing of computer sound processing to construct austere and otherworldly soundscapes, where much of the action occurs at the very edge of audibility, conceived both in terms of volume and frequency. The sequence of sounds (and non-sounds) is clearly the product of a rigorous, if not always comprehensible, rationale, and in any given piece the range might run from quiet hums, through shatteringly loud machine-clangs, to delicate gamelan-like percus-sive phases. This CD is quieter than most, and requires regular checking to ascertain whether or not it is in fact running. Carefully listening to the disc on its own terms will eventually open up new worlds of sound, in a way that few more conventional musical efforts can hope to do. RLW really does let sounds „be what they are“, and he deserves our admiration for doing so.
Opprobrium, New Zealand 1996
... is a very quiet record often bordering on the imperceptible with silence as structural consideration. Imperceptibility goes hand in hand with intangibility with the sounds having very few referential an-gles. Then there´s a whole lot of mistery here. A half-light, a veil over a doorway to another world. Absolutely beautiful. Resonance, UK 1996
RLW works in a very clinical and precise style, offering up six slices of heavily clipped, doctored sound. A fair portion of this CD is made up of silence occasionally punctuated by tiny, near inaudible sounds, yet when listened to as a whole it soon becomes clear that the silences are as important as the sounds which they surround. This is never more evident than on the final track“Waving Goodbye To Friendly Conceptualists“ which completely breaks the micro-tonal balance of sounds with an all-mighty blast of concrete noise, never failing to make me spill my coffee all over my lap - a thrill indeed. Yet despite its very studious approach to sound organisation RLW does have a certain warmth and humour which gives this CD extra playability value as demonstrated in such titles as „Strictly Untitled“ and „Even Stockhausen Knows If It´s Not Cage“.
Hayfever, Germany 1996

CD, Selektion 1993 (SCD 014)
This compiles 14 remixed pieces from 1980-1993, which vary greatly from foggy drones to musique concrete/cut-up pieces - all with an excellent ear for atmosphere and effect. RLW provides fascinating electro-acoustic/experimental music, combining synthesized sound with natural recordings and processing. A music full of wonderment and life. Highly recommended.
Godsend, USA 1994
The package is very nice, with the CD in a slim case packaged in a cardboard folder with a card of artwork for each track. As might be expected from the Selektion label, these are very experimental sounds, eschewing typical song structure and instrumentation entirely. Describing these sounds is nearly pointless as 14 years of recording span the whole spectrum - ominous electronic noises, collaged voices, minimalist compositions. Suffice it to say that this is both an interesting historical document and a challenging listening experience that´s well worth the effort.
You Could Do Worse, USA 1995
Another prime recording, this, from a fine label specialising in experimental and concrete musics. The immaculate monochrome packaging contains 14 arty postcards, which beautifully correspond to the 14 tracks contained therein. Quality of recording is one of the benchmarks of the Selektion label, and I was fortunate enough to listen to this on a state-of-the-art hi-fi. These are sonic „paintings“ of a very high standard, utilising samples, drones, and conventional instrumentation to produce fractured, disjointed, but highly compelling listening.
EST, UK 1995

CD, Selektion 1992 (SCD 008)
.Engaging compositions to a fever-dream. Sparse and intermittent electronic sounds which are accented with sounds of strings, metal and other acoustic sources. Sounds surge and retreat and then perhaps a little interlude of a child-like tune pops out.
ND Magazine, USA 1993
RLW entschlackt seine Abstraktionen zu poetisch-melodischen Etudes Fantastiques. Bei jedem Hören verwandelt sich die Reibungsenergie der „eisernen“ Klänge in „Farbmuster“, „Wärme“ und Schönheit. RLW verwebt tieftönende Lautkürzel zu löchrigen Geräuschlinien, aber die Patterns ordnen sich nicht seriell-geometrisch wie die Rasterquadrate des Booklets, sondern so harmonisch wie das Lichtpunktechaos des Sternenatlas. Heiseres Schaben und brummendes Schnarren wie von einem Stahlsaiten-Kontrabass, das chromatische Changieren der metallenen Sonorität schaffen ein kammermusikalisches Mikroklima mit einem ganz intimen, zartbitteren Reiz...
Bad Alchemy, Germany 1993


Selektion : art-organisation and company - Hohenstaufenstrasse 8 : D-60327 Frankfurt am Main : Germany

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