Guest Review by Karsten Høegh

CRUSTACÉS #1: John Brennan & Anne-FJacques C16

The debut release from Anne-Françoise Jacques' Montréal-based Crustacés Tapes features herself and John Brennan (aka Static Kitten) performing on tape recorders, cassette loops and (unspecified) electronics. The sounds on the tape seem in part inspired by early musique concrète experimentalism, with overdriven tape loops creating Pierre Scaeffer-like atmospheres. On the other hand the liberal and sometimes violent addition of alternate sound sources, distortion and effects keeps the music healthily distanced from anaemic art-school pastiche territory. The results are elegantly balancing between abstract sound-art and music, and while the overall aesthetic is quite noisy and distorted the tape still has sufficiently good sound quality and dynamic range to avoid the lo-fi muddle-pits that many a home made noise tape risks sinking into. A brief internet search seems to confirm that neither performer is a newcomer in experimental art music, and so the high artistic quality might not be as surprising to those of you in the know, as it was to this reviewer. In any case, the combination of experienced performers allowing a high degree of improvised randomness into their expression makes this a surprisingly uplifting and inspired label debut indeed!

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Also you'll might want to check out Ms. Jacques' page at IUOMA:

CRUSTACÉS #2: Miguel A. Garcia & Tomás Gris 10C

The second release from Crustacés Tapes features joined improvisations by the two Madrid based avantgarde players Miguel A. Garcia and Tomás Gris. The two sides of the tape seems to be one-take improvisations (no overdubs), with the two gents going bonkers on a number of instruments including a saxophone(?), some sort of feedback setup involving effects - along with various percussion items. The music is classic "free improv" in the sense that there's no discernible pulse, no recognisable repetitions or any form of  tonality, - instead the music focuses on creating interesting abstract textures and sonic exchanges between the players. The exchanges maintain the feeling of abstract communication between the players, who stick to a musical language that uses pauses as an important part of the expression. With regards to the textural diversity and energy the tape is successfully interesting throughout. On the negative side the anti-stylistic avoidance of anything remotely associated with "known styles of music" prevents the players from delivering more musically sensical utterings, giving the recordings a strong sense of being the babblings of two incoherent madmen. But despite this (the fact that I have no idea what they're actually on about), used as a 10 minute avantgardist pick-me-up, the tape is a rather refreshing listen. Also I should note that the sound quality is quite professional on this tape - which I think all in all makes it something worth checking out.

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