Once simply described as the father of tabletop guitar, for many years criminally under recorded, Keith Rowe has in recent years produced a stream of works testifying to his undying will to preserve the unadulterated charm of sounds that are usually considered to be, to say the least, disturbing. Case in point is the first half of this album, “November”, conceived during a radio broadcast on Jet FM 91.2 (Saint Herblain, France) in which Rowe was attempting to emulate an “off station” station through the exclusive use of radio electronics. The narrative of shortwaves is a fascinating one and Rowe’s keen ears seize its essential nuances in enthralling flows of sonic data, sweeping interferences and snippets of “regular” programming, regurgitating the whole as an unnatural, composite pastiche where edgy mutations and piercing frequencies alternate with fermenting growls and not-of-this-earth disguised codes. Julien Ottavi, Will Guthrie and Manu Leduc enter the scene in “Quebec”, on radio, computer, mixed media and mixed electronics. Interested in the “mp3 consumer sound quality” of the above recording (since archived on line by Nantes’ Apo33 collective), they use the components of Rowe’s harsh blend to do some damage of their own. The collective effort is a kind of post-mortem musique concrète, a thoroughly confused/ing mental state in which scary concoctions of noise emerge. The radio seems to represent desperation, a brain using the very last ounces of sugar to sputter its final transmissions before going out once and for all.


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