Revolutions In The Head
“Revolutions In The Head” represents the almost transcendental result of “Discipline In The Studio” as members of The Big City Orchestra, Legendary Pink Dots And Frans De Waard (Modelbau, Kapotte Muziek and much more) combined to create a stream of 60 minute soundtracks for a TV station in San Francisco .
If that sounds like a recipe for chaos, then think again. The concentration involved was almost terrifying, but the satisfaction displayed when that clock hit the magical 60 minute mark seemed like a glorious release.
All the music here was recorded in The Silverman’s Attic studio .
Das And Ninah of Big City Orchestra instigated the project and flew to The Netherlands for these sessions.
The first hours involved them, The Silverman and Frans while Edward Ka-Spel joined for the last part of the penultimate session and the final hour.
Edward had literally just got off the train from London, tiptoed upstairs, unpacked his keyboard and various devices, connected the wires as soundlessly as possible and found his patch in the cauldron. The “Hellos” were delayed as only 30 minutes had passed of that particular musical voyage.
When the music was over, there seemed to be a general consensus that this meeting of minds needed to be heard by a wider audience. A big thank you to Frans for the hours he spent editing to make this release possible.
factory-pressed CD in Digisleeve
Released in 2019
limited to 300 copies
price: 13.00 EUR (excl. postage)
All music by:
Frans De Waard
Recorded at TeKaSky Studios in Nijmegen, Netherlands, late October 2018.
Ninah first prepared her collection of sipsi reed flutes, before bonding at the studio Crumar organ (also a Pixy!), with all it's stuttering (broken!) idiosyncrasies.....
Frans conjured textural movement by mixing multiple cassette players and I-Pad.....
dAS experimented with contact mics and sound boards, feeding his computer to his looper....
Edward conducted a ballet of custom voice samples and played software synths.....
Phil surfed the aether-static world of circuit bent radio, and powered up the analog synth armoury.
The recordings were mixed by Frans, and the sound mastered for CD by Edward.
Cover artwork by Phil...and much thanks to Astrid, and to Sascha.
Contemplating the band name and album title, you would be excused for thinking this album was created by a bunch of acid heads in the sixties. And, in a sense, you are right as most collaborators to this ‘avant-garde supergroup’ have their roots in that decade where it was cool to smoke dope, play the table in the nude and mumble incoherently about Timothy Leary. But this album is not a product of the sixties, it is in fact very much a contemporary ‘head-album’. Recorded in October 2018 by dAS, Ninah Pixie, Frans de Waard, Edward Ka-Spel and Phil Knight, ‘Revolutions in the head’ is a ‘chance meeting’, if you like of kindred musicians. dAS, also known for his work with the mighty Big City Orchestra, utilizes contact microphones, which are fed into the computer. Ninah Pixie, also member of Big City Orchestra, plays flutes and organ, Frans de Waard, omnipresent, plays an array of portable cassette players fed into the computer, Edward Ka-Spel contributes vocal loops and soft-synths and Phil Knight plays radio and analogue synthesizers. The recording sessions lasted for several days and were mixed by De Waard. So where does all this technical information lead to you might wonder. ‘Revolutions in the head’ is a 40+ minute transcendental head trip breathing a calm, blurred atmosphere of circular, hence the ‘revolutions’ in the title, synth waves, frequencies and radio sounds. That ‘revolutionary’ circular sound aspect is more or less the central theme here, embellished with, at times Nurse With Wound-like sounds, reversed tones, modified analogue squeeks and bleeps, static and a quieter bit with sequenced chords (my favourite part of the album). Even though the album is divided into tracks, I prefer to review the music as one large piece, as to me it works best that way. De Waard has done a remarkable job creating this album out of the original sessions, even if I noted losing some of my attention-span after about two-thirds of the album. However, to have these four, perhaps unlikely, bedfellows in one room and on one album certainly works, creating a very listenable and pleasant sound sculpture. At the same time, I cannot help but wonder what the result would have been if each participant had gotten more out of his/her comfort zone and played, for instance, the other person’s role: for instance, had Ninah done the tape work and Frans the flute. Maybe that would have led to more of a revolution, more unease and more challenge in their collaborative journey. But as it stands, ‘Revolutions in the head’ is a great and enjoyable documentation of a ‘chance meeting’ between five people who have earned their credits in music. The 300 copies of this album will no doubt find eager takers among Big City Orchestra, Legendary Pink Dots and De Waard-fanatics.
This is a unique collaboration between dAS, Edward-Ka Spel, Frans De Waard, Ninah Pixie and Philip Knight calling themselves The Stone Tapes (an unlikely combo of The Big City Orchestra, Legendary Pink Dots and De Waard). I’m unsure if this is a one-off project but Revolutions In The Head sounds stunning and nu-psychedelic. It’s trips the mind with blurred voices and siphoning synths, deep breathing, transistor radio frequencies and plenty of leftfield spirit.
Tracks like Groundbyte make rings and reverberate into new modified shapes. The watery trickling like a late night shower permeates into the darkness. While some of these folks may have worked together in the past, as a unit they bring their alternate worlds into focus by finding (un)common threads. It’s sometimes switched-on, dazed but never confused, combining drone with understated industrial knob fiddling.
Snaking Down Bourbon is a drunken jam fusion, a mish-mosh of orchestral warp and aching metaphor. But wait for the sizzle of The Clock Always Stops At Zero to find its light. Between static and harmonization is the unknown, and that’s where they find themselves, in the grind, afloat. Just in time for the liquified ambient ending which is deftly haunted.
[ TJ NORRIS]