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Rlw : reviews

This CD contains two pieces; the first one is a 17 minute piece by Ralf Wehowsky, divided in four parts. The piece is based on the second piece on the CD, by Lionel Marchetti, which lasts 24 minutes and 28 seconds and contains samples from RLW's Eyes and Pullover. OK, so much for the facts; what about the music? Wehowsky's piece starts with radio sounds and crackling and quickly a lot of other sounds are added. It's very rich in texture and has strong spatial qualities. Things move fast and you really have to keep your attention with the music. Then there's a break and a long drony piece takes over. Weird sounds interrupt the flow and keep things exciting. The last part is very subtle, has a lot of sneaky sounds and good breaks. A very fine finale which blends almost perfectly into Marchetti's piece, which starts with beeps and crackles and a very soft glissando. Then voice sounds (or should i say mouth sounds?) are added and in the di-stance some rhythmic part starts and fades away again. This material is used for the first 7-8 mi-nutes, after which we hear some radio sounds take over. What follows is a subtle collage of radio sounds (music), which slowly blends into dark drones. On top of these drones there is room for a lot of other sounds: beeps, voices, thuds and the likes. This part is very tense and gets better and better towards the end. Both pieces have several things in common: there are lots of layers, lots of shifting sounds and it is pretty complicated stuff. Yes, it's difficult music and at first it is difficult to listen to. But the pieces have one other thing in common: they get better and more exciting after you're half way through, which is quite a rarity, because more often than not it's the other way 'round. So please take your time to listen to this CD and play it twice at least before you start judging it; it needs some time.
Vital Weekly, Netherlands 1999
This is certainly the finest RLW release I´ve heard yet. The two halves of this shared work merge seamlessly, offering two perspectives on similiar material. An excellent example of what tape-music has achieved - gone are any awkward or gaudy displays of technical prowess. Now we see poetic refinement and crisp efficiency. RLW is able to achieve an astounding mix of total degradation of sound sources with total clarity of texture. All in all, a bewildering mix. Supposedly this was created from very few source recordings, nevertheless the most sublime instants occur in a few seconds and never come back. (And there are many of these). Much of the interesting activity takes place at the edges either in the upper limits of human hearing, or at an extreme di-stance -close listenings reveal hidden rooms behind the piercing tones,whispering voice, chimes, etc. Altogether, a stunning release.
ND, USA 1999

LP (w/ ANDREW CHALK and ERIC LANZILLOTTA ), Anomalous Records 1998 (NOM3)
Phänomenal schöne Zusammenarbeit: auf Seite A bearbeitet A.Chalk Soundmaterial von RLW, auf Seite B widmet sich RLW Basictracks von Chalk und dem Anomalous Records-Betreiber Eric Lanzil-lotta. "A hypnotic drone with waves of mysterious sounds", "a frenzied journey into otherworldly realms", das ist äußerst zutreffend! Blue vinyl, full-colour cover (painting by A. Chalk). A must have!!
Drone, Germany 199

5CD-set, Selektion 1997 (SCD 024)
The work of RLW in this age of standardised, easily digestible music fare raises a disquieting question: has the modern-day listener lost the faculty of devoting time, attention and a certain amount of thought to music? Tulpas, RLW´s latest release on Selektion, poses such a challenge: it is a five CDset that clocks in at just under six hours, and the texts that accompany it are recommended reading if one is to grasp all the ideas behind it. Yet for those who dare to take the plunge and listen to what RLW has to say, the rewards are many and varied. Beautifully packaged in the form of a book,Tulpas took two years to complete andconsists of interpretations of old and new RLW material by a long list of contributors: these include Merzbow, Marchetti & Noetinger, Rehberg & Bauer, Achim Wollscheid, Aube, John Duncan, Ryoji Ikeda, David Grubbs and Jim O´Rourke, as well s a number of lesser known, likeminded participants drawn from all corners of the planet. The album´s title provides a pointer to the concept behind it. According to tibetan lore, tulpas are fleeting apparitions whose function is to lead other beings towards enlightenment. Likewise, RLW`s sparse, silence-ridden music remains the inspi-ration and starting-point for these pieces,even though they jettison much of the original material. RLW has always regarded his compositions as being in a state of flux: they are transient manifestations of ideas that are to be reworked and reinterpreted, and with Tulpas he is delegating this task to other musicians. Throughout the duration of these five CDs the pace rarely falters: for the most part the contributors demonstrate a masterly handling of atmosphere and effects, summoning up half-formed utterances, faint oneiric dirges, intangible silences and unidentifiable clanks and thuds. Ios Smolder´s cut-ups, repetitions and pitchtranspositions form an eerie, disquieting soundscape , while Marchetti and Noettinger take a harsher, more disruptive tack. Other memorable moments are provided by the foghorn blasts of Werner Durand`s buzz-clarinet; David Grubb´s stark voice-collage, and Giancarlo Toniutti´s thunderous, all-enveloping waves of sound.
The Wire, UK 1997
Allen Kompositionen auf dem von der Frankfurter Künstlergruppe Selektion herausgegebenen Sampler Tulpas liegen Stücke oder Bruchstücke des Elektronik-Musikers RLW zugrunde. Der Titel des kleinen Buches mit fünf CDs verweist auf die tibetanische, dem Modell der Wiedergeburt verwandte Vorstel-lung von der temporären Erscheinung selbst ähnlicher Formen oder Gestalten, und tatsächlich meint man bei aller bunten Vielfältigkeit der Stücke klangliche oder strukturelle Ähnlichkeiten ausmachen zu können. Die erste CD etwa versammelt sieben Stücke, die sich auf „Nameless Victims“ von RLW beziehen. Jos Smolders dramatisiert das Ausgangsmaterial aus Geräterauschen und Einschaltklicks durch weite dynamische Bögen und das Einfrieren einzelner Klänge zu Haltetönen. Eric Lanzillotta hingegen versucht das Original in einer Improvisation mit akustischen Objekten nachzugestalten, während Michael Gendreau winzige Ausschnitte auf eine Acetat-Platte presste und und in verschiedenen Geschwindigkeiten abspielt. Stets bleibt der Charakter des konzentrierten Lauschens auf scheinbar alltägliche Rausch-und Störklänge erhalten, die im musikalischen Kontext unvermittelt klangliche Delikatesse und kompositorische Spannung entfalten. Andere Arbeiten entfernen sich von den klassischen Ver-fahren der Tonbandmanipulation und bringen akustische Instrumente zum Einsatz (Werner Durands dichte Überlagerungen der iranischen Bambusflöte Ney) oder entwerfen eine elektromagnetische Ver-suchsanordnung zur radikalen Klangfilterung (Toshiya Tsunoda). So gelingt eine liebevoll editierte Bestandsaufnahme der internationalen Avantgarde der Re-Mix-Culture, die Ohr wie Geist gleichermaßen fordert wie erfreut.
Tagesspiegel, Germany 1998
Tulpas comes from the always wonderful Selektion label and is made up of five CDs of pieces based on the work of sound artist rlw. The concept is a pretty unique one to begin with, featuring dozens of the most accomplished & well-known composers of challenging music reinterpreting and reworking the back-catalogue of one artist, with the track-listing reading like a who´s who of electro-acoustic music. And with such an unbelievable list of participants, it´s no surprise that the result is one of the most rewarding releases of electro-acoustic music to date. The set is presented in a stunningly-designed, hard-bound booklet that features not only detailed information about each track and participant, but also essays and visual contributions from the artists, as well, adding an exceptional extra dimension to the collection. It´s hard to imagine another release coming even close to Tulpas, its depth and sound and participants will no doubt provide years of future exploration and a benchmark with which to compare all that follows.
Halana, USA 1997


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

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