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Anthology 1984 - 2004 ~ SALE $7.98
Noise/Drone Anthology 1984-1989 is the 2nd release for vidnaObmana's Ikon label in conjunction with Projekt. After the well-received 20th anniversary anthology, vidnaObmana selected and re-mastered rare and unreleased pieces from his obscure and unfamiliar noise and experimental phase between 1984 and 1989. All pieces were taken from old cassette masters and unreleased studio sessions, thus a lot of time and energy was invested in securing a high sound quality for this CD release. Expect a provoking combination of early drone and atmospheric pieces with sonic assaults of noise and vocal experiments. The collection includes collaborative pieces with cassette-network pioneers Kapotte Muziek, PBK and Big City Orchestra. An essential compilation that re-confirms vidnaObmana's significance in the independent electronic and experimental music scene. It also shows the listener vidnaObmana's early foundation in meditative music, the path that followed over the next 20 years.
1. Sin, believe and religion (previously released, from ‘Untitled’ cassette, Ladd-Frith – USA, 1986) 2. Proto anguish (previously released, from ‘The face that must die’ cassette, self-released – Belgium, 1988) 3. Sediment (with PBK, previously unreleased live improvisation at the Pbk studio, San Bernardino – USA 1989) 4. Cools the blood for six (previously released on ‘Cortisol’ cassette compilation, ZNS-tapes – Germany, 1987) 5. Cry of despair (previously released on ‘Hope and Die’ cassette, V-tapes – Germany, 1984-1985) 6. Bring out your dead (previously released, from ‘The face that must die’ cassette, self-released – Belgium, 1988) 7. Techno-toxic embryo pt 1 (with Kapotte Muziek, previously released, from ‘Techno-Toxic Embryo’ cassette as part of the ‘Death Pact International’ series, self-released – Belgium, 1986) 8. The dark beast (previously released, from ‘The Beast of Non-discipline/Desire’ cassette, Therapie Organisatie – Belgium, 1985) 9. Hope and die I (previously released on ‘Hope and Die’ cassette, V-tapes – Germany, 1984-1985) 10. Hidden voice (previously released, from ‘The face that must die’ cassette, self-released – Belgium, 1988) 11. In the mouth of the reptile (previously released, from ‘In the mouth of the reptile’ split cassette, ZNS-tapes – Germany, 1987) 12. Life of joy - excerpt (with Big City Orchestra, previously released, from ‘untitled’ cassette, self-released – Belgium, 1988) 13. Blood of others (previously released, from ‘Only Fear will survive’ cassette, Ladd-Frith – USA, 1985, enhancement by Brian Ladd) 14. Sight to deadly accident (previously released on ‘Hope and Die’ cassette, V-tapes – Germany, 1984-1985)
That dreaded first sentence. A blinking cursor remains patiently on a white field. Why is it white anyway? Would it have been yellow if the Egyptians had been a bit stronger? Because our paper is white and their papyrus yellow? What does Vidna Obmana mean anyway? The website of this Belgian composer holds the answer: Vidna Obmana = optical illusion. Why optical? I'm listening to a record aren't I right? That's sound. Ok, I admit, he also shoots beautiful photos, so imagery is important then. Is that reflected in his music? I don't know, how would we go about measuring that? There's no scientific tool, is there? What about imagination then? Or dreams? What would you see when you close your eyes listening to this record? Where are you? So, there isn't a tool, or is there?
I've dreamt away again, listening, thinking, waiting for 'it' to happen. This would be the fourth time this week that I'm playing this record, sitting here, with an empty notepad staring at me. Before I know time played it's trick, and it's an hour or so later. The record has finished, not a written word on the screen. Oh, except for that e-mail Miguel just sent me: "How is the review coming along? There's a two-week deadline for each review and it's overdue by now..." Right, how do you respond to this? "I'm sorry, but this record is so damn good, I don't know what to write?" Not a good plan, so there I am again, sitting here, listening for the fourth time, the record just reached it's sixth track and all I came up with is this. Not even half a decent sentence on how great this anthology is.
So there we go, this compilation concurs fourteen unreleased tracks from vidnaObmana's noise & experimental phase between '84 and '89, all taken from old casette masters and unreleased studio sessions. They're very well remastered, sounding warm and clear. William Basinski tried the same thing a couple of years ago, trying to digitalize his twenty year old tape loops he found that they deteriorated further with every time they were played. It left him with brilliant recordings though (Disintegration Loops I-IV).
Talking about a short attention span, drifting off again! Treat this Noise/Drone Anthology as a voice from the past, but certainly not an outdated one! Vidna Obmana is a true craftsman, something that can't be said about most modern composers. Nowadays everybody can make a piece of decent sounding music, because of all those user friendly synth & recording software packages. Who's still experimenting with actual mixers, synths, sheets of metal or bricks? Too bad, because experimental music is also a physical form of expression in my opinion. Would this be the reason why the noise & experimental music from the eighties still sound so much better then most of today's music? And this anthology for sure! Why hasn't this been released 10 years ago? Or, more important, what else has Vidna Obmana laying about on a dusty shelf?
And then of course the record. There's fourteen tracks, each with a couple of main loops around which each piece is crafted, this ensures a great deal of diversity en is at times very hypnotizing. Sometimes warm & intriguing, sometimes chilly & frightening. Take "Sight to deadly accident" for example. We hear a stationary tractor motor looped, a screaming alarm horn, and a heavily disfigured death scream. Anyway, that's my interpretation. It's not hard to float away on the repetitive motor loop, and all of the sudden it's just there, you see it happen, right in front of you: a man, a tractor, it horns, but it's too late, with his last breath he screams from the top of his lungs. Dead. And again, again, and again.
The collection includes collaborative pieces with cassette-network pioneers Kapotte Muziek, PBK and Big City Orchestra. An essential compilation that puts this project even firmer on the map of experimental music. It also gives young listeners a very good understanding of how experimental music was crafted already twenty years ago.
Very, very good record! Rating: 9.5/10
Generally, the structure of this music is minimalist, yet grating, utilizing harsh sounds to establish dark realms of dire anguish. Metallic electronic textures are generated and tormented, producing unearthly tones of great unease. Tension is tantamount in this tuneage, as desperate ambience strives to convey an inescapable doom. When shriller sounds appear, they communicate that same anxiety, often erupting with cybernetic hostility.
There is one previously unreleased track (9 minutes of live improv with PBK from 1989). This piece exemplifies the slowburn property, indulging in atonal electronic noise swirling amid a dense cloud of ominous fog. Hoarsely treated vocal utterances drift throughout like hellish harbingers, growing increasingly imminent.
Most of these tracks are short (between 3-6 minutes), forcing the compositions to get swiftly to the point (even if that point is buried in fog).
A tasty if unsettling (but isn’t that the point?) glimpse at the birthing days of modern musique concrete.
The career of Vidna Obmana started twenty-one years ago, and to many of his more recent fans - say those who came to know his work in the last twelve or so years - the early works should be a real mystery. They probably knew that Vidna Obmana wasn't playing the nice ambient music, but they also had no vivid imagination of what the 'noise' was that he apparently did back then. Many of the early works were released on cassette by labels long history, like Ladd Frith, V, Death Pact International, Therapie and so on. This fourteen track compilation does tell a story, but not the complete one of course and rightly so: it wouldn't be of much interest to hear the entire 'old' works, since it also contains moments that aren't worth keeping for the future (other than perhaps in Vidna's archives). This compilation is already a lengthy experience with it's almost seventy-four minutes of noise and drone. Rhythmic pulsation's, screamy vocals, piercing feedback and synths pushed to a single, dark note. Including three collaborations with PBK, Kapotte Muziek and Big City Orchestra, because Vidna Obmana was already doing that in those days. Everything is there from the old days, lovingly re-mastered from hissy cassettes and thus adding another piercing layer of sound. It might raise an eyebrow or two with the new fans, but it made me happy: having known Vidna Obmana for such a long time and owning some of those hissy tapes, I am most happy to replace them with this anthology. -Frans De Waard