Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More Age of Disinformation reviews + reunion???

Rumors of an Age of Disinformation reunion at the New Media Art & Sound Summit (N.M.A.S.S.) in Austin this summer ....

Here are a couple of new reviews:

… FROM THE ASHES (the Phoenix Project Collective zine)
Aaron Gonzalez of Oak Cliff is a busy fella. When he's not playing blinding grindcore thrash in the duo Akkolyte with his drununer-brother Stefan, he's exploring the frontiers of free-jazz skronk with Stefan and their trumpeter-father Dennis in Yells At Eels, or touring the U.S. and Europe with Portuguese guitarist Luis Lopes' Humanization 4tet (which also includes Stefan and saxophonist Rodrigo Amado). But that's not all. Under the rubric Inner Realms Outer Realms, he's released recordings (YAB's Geografia being the first) and promoted shows (rustic avant-gardist Eugene Chadbourne at theLounge on Elm St. last December, yo). In collaboration with Michael Chamy of Zanzibar SnailslMayyrh Records/DallasObserver fame, Aaron brought the forward-thinking No Idea festival of improvisation to the Metro-mess, managing to draw a decent crowd in Fort Worth on St. Patrick's Day, no less - even after a last-minute venue change. Now he's released Age ofDisinformation -- a live recording from a May 2008 performance at the Bathhouse Cultural Center by an all-star lineup of ambient improvisers - on Chamy's Mayyrh label, known for releasing challenging sounds in gorgeous packaging, often featuring artwork by Chamy's Zanzibar bandmate Nevada Hill. (In this case, it's a colorful mixed-media piece by Aaron on the outside, signature topsy-turvy lettering by Nevada on the inside.) Besides Aaron and Chamy, the participants include Mike Maxwell of SUBkommander/Aphonic Curtains on electronics; Jon Teague-whose current band The Great Tyrant has distilled the heavy-jazzy-prog psychodrama of his previous unit Yeti to its vital essence - on modular synths rather than his usual drums; and two members of the group Tidbits, multi-instrumentalist Kim Corbet and guitarist Kenny Withrow (who was a New Bohemian back in Deep Ellum's heyday).The music on Age of Disinformation has a lot of antecedents: Sun Ra's majestic space-scapes, Gyorgi Ligeti's music from the 2001: A Space Odyssey soundtrack, Ummagumma-era Pink Floyd's interstellar sprawl. Basically, it evokes the sound of traffic at a very busy space station in some distant galaxy, replete with throbbing electronic pulses, phantom radio transmissions, wildly oscillating feedback, and random static. It's a haunting, nebulous sonic bath, with moments of surprising lyricism and new details that reveal themselves with each listen. Heard at volume, the intensity can be overwhelming at times, but not in a threatening, assaultive way. Immerse yourself in it, and you might just glimpse infinity - or something damn near like it.
Cop from Mayyrh at http://mayyrh.blogspot.com/or ask Aaron for one.
-Ken Shimamoto


This ended up being more of a critique on the premise behind the improvisation. If you’re into literary critique or being amused people who take things overly seriously you might dig this.

This project was assembled by Aaron Gonzalez, from the Dallas underground noise scene. He led this group of six musicians in a conceptual improvisation and named it Age of Disinformation. This is said to be a “lucid nightmare supergroup”. They played a live performance at midnight on may 23rd 2008. This seems to be of importance because they emphasize on this in the liner notes and press release. Blame it on the abundance of information they provide (or the lack of it), but I really don't see how this relates to the music...But I'm sure this was a great show. And I probably would have liked to be there. There's only one downside to this, I doubt it was necessary to release it on cd. Furthermore, to promote it. It's released in a limited edition of 200 cdr, and a smaller print could have made a good souvenir for the player's and the people attending the show. And we wouldn't be here talking about it.

The concept behind the show, and I'm not sure about the meaning of all this, was: “an improvisation on the current state of psychological and spiritual breakdown as it relates to viral ecosystems of economies of information”. Euh... Great exercise in conceptual improvisation, but is it suppose to make the music more interesting? All the players involved int his come from the same scene, so they probably share a similar philosophy on life and music. But from an outsider point of view, it appears a bit too pompous. Also when I read a press release as pretentious as this, I'm not sure where this is getting to : “...a 45-minute cloud of transmogrifying cadmium clouds with mercury lining..” Say what?!

It's actually a cloud of keyboards, electronics/samples, radio transmissions, blurred vocals, trombone and electric guitars. For a live recording the sound is pretty decent though; you can hear the dynamics between the players and there's depth in the overall sound (good job on the mix). The music is not that bad and there's some interesting moments. But most of it appears as some sketched ideas that are not totally exploited. For example, I liked when the drum programming comes in at some point. But every time it comes in, the person playing it is really not sure if he should be doing that; it's hesitant, amateur, and not really as exciting as it could have been. Same thing when the trombone and the electric guitar breaks the uniformity; great melodic lines that could have brought this recording somewhere else, but it fails to do so. It's a cloud alright, a cloud of messy distorted sounds and good ideas not coming to term. And like a rain cloud, too much of the same color: gray.

And I guess the whole concept turned me off. The idea that our society is living a time of spiritual crisis is getting worn out. It needs to be thought out differently and acted upon in new ways. Proposing disinformation as the way of evolution ( as proposed by Age of Disinformation) is just the other side of the same coin. Disinformation is information. Computers paved a new world and we're getting thrown in without being aware of what's going on. And like information, music is also more accessible. If we don't want to get caught in the crap, we need to teach critical thinking. 5/10 -- Frédérick Galbrun (3 March, 2010)

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