This is not a split release, but an album of two co-composed tracks by
two apparently very diverse artists. Canadian artist Holzkopf is mainly
known for his leftfield take on drum’n’bass and improvised vocals,
while EMERGE is often labelled a “drone ambient” artist. Here, they
combine their respective mastery of synths and the processing of
sampled ambient sounds to create two textural, yet highly suspenseful
The track titles “masonry” and “metallurgy” give the listener some
clues as two the sources of the sounds used. Y-Ton-G, a
long-standing presence in the German underground experimental music
scene and close collaborator of Asmus Tietchens, is credited with
supplying some of the source material for EMERGE’s samples, and given
Y-Ton-G’s predilection for the sounds of metal, these probably gave
shape to the samples featured on “metallurgy.” This is not to say that
any of this music sounds at all anecdotal. The great achievement of the
album is in the way it manages to combine seemingly concrete,
referential sounds with abstract, brooding frequencies. The mixture of
found and sythesised sounds, some of them by Holzkopf and others
supplied by mutual label mate and analogue-synth noisician ORiFiCE,
creates a kind of cinema for the ear which conjures emotionally
compelling atmospheres while never forcing any obvious visual
associations on the listener.
factory-pressed CD in cardboard sleeve
Released in 2014
limited to 500 copies, sold out
price: 7.00 EUR (excl. postage)
|HOLZKOPF (synth, samples)
|EMERGE (treated samples by Y-TON-G & ORiFiCE)
|mastered by XNDL & EMERGE
|cover art by Claus Poulsen (artwerk.menneske.dk)
|design by EMERGE
RAISED BY GYPSIES
It's odd that I have reviewed both HOLZKOPF and EMERGE before but have not written about this collaboration between the two artists yet. I have listened to it more than once because it only feels natural, but my mission now is to somewhat start writing about these pieces of music I've been listening to (and inspired by) digitally because I feel like it just paints a fuller picture of what is going on in my musical head. This was released on CD as well, but I don't find a lot to be lost between the CD and digital files. Additionally, if the second track wasn't just over the 30 minute mark I might consider putting this on a C60.
"masonry" begins with some static and then just the sounds of waves in the ocean with this beeping coming through, though it is a somewhat sharp beeping. It has this aura behind it as well, as it feels almost like it is in the cosmos at times. Then it turns into that somewhat metal detector vibe as well. It's rather atmospheric as it can feel like you're being sucked into a vacuum while also dings and pings come out. This becomes rather delicate before we take a slight break of silence on this first track.
When we return it is somewhat into those "Law & Order" tones, with serious footsteps coming down the hall. There is a strong back and forth feel before we get into something which could either be underwater or just in outerspace. It's that "Land of the Lost" vibe, so I'm going to say in space. Through ringing and crashes I can only imagine we are driving around on some other planet and it certainly feels nice. The word celestial comes to mind.
We've somehow reached a point now where it sounds like choppy ambient rock. A banging comes through along with some synth hues and it just begins to sound a little bit like Transformers as well. The sound of feedback begins to mix with static. A windstorm brings out the Cosmic Key now. Sounds in the background still feel like strings, a cello perhaps (Cello is my go-to strings, haha) Scraping and screeches begin to bring about sounds which sound like vocals but only in a way which I cannot determine what they are saying exactly.
As everything gets loud and hollow, it comes crashing down into this small series of beeps, such as when someone is in the hospital. The beeping could also be somewhat like R2D2 as we sort of drift off into the sunset or three on some other planet. Scrambled frequencies come through. It then begins to build up, louder and louder, back into the static. Mechanical beats make their way in, bringing back the beeps and the Transformers vibe. The winds get choppy again and everything just sort of culminates with slight sharpness in the end.
The second track- "metallurgy"- would serve as the flip side if I was able to put this on cassette but since it is digital and available on compact disc it becomes simply known as the second track. It begins quietly and then this dinging comes through, almost as a slowed down distress signal. It feels like heavy breathing mixed in with it, maybe Morse code even, but I can't quite place where it all is exactly and it kind of feels like it is in space. It then begins echoing in a serious type of sonar tone.
I'm not sure why, but as these sounds come out through my laptop now my cat is sitting next to me and sniffing, as if the sounds have engaged him on a level which he can smell. Crashes like we're in the kitchen can be heard as JP's nose continues to twitch like a bunny. Lasers whirrs come out as well and this has a great sort of "Land of the Lost"/"Lost in Space"/"2001" quality to it.
We're in between floating and sinking underwater now, which is quite the place to be. I'm not sure if we're lost at sea or should be worried about drowning at this point. Tones drop like ping pong balls and this has a relaxing vibe to it now, even though it appears as if the pace could quicken at any moment. I can also begin to feel the beat pulsate a bit now like that Tell-Tale Heart.
Wind chime type of screeches come out and my cat looked like he was scared by it. It was a louder moment, a burst of sharpness, in an otherwise quieter piece of music. Mechanics begin to sound like some sort of motor starting. It has definitely taken us to a dusty driveway, but then this jingling comes out like one of those percussion sticks with all the bells on it. This brings about sounds like running something metal across a guardrail, though I'm sure there is also a technical musical term for that.
It's getting chopped up now, but somehow sounds like it's going to go into some of that great highway rock n roll. Those bells come out again and I can't help but hear either "Radar Love" or something by Steppenwolf. A bit of guitar feedback does come screeching through eventually though, and it is going on for quite some time, just building and building. This all comes to an end with some type of windy sound, such as a flag blowing in the breeze perhaps and yet there is this metallic ringing at the same time that I can't quite put my finger on but it sounds like tiny cymbals.
A few static skips end the collaboration and this idea of two artists I've enjoyed coming together to make music has more than lived up to my expectations. It's something that you really need to hear yourself to fully experience, of course, but I would also say that it is a trip you can take on more than one occasion and learn new things from as well. In that way it truly is an instant classic.
BAD ALCHEMY #83
Wie Jake Hardy in Saskatoon auf HOLZKOPF kam, keine Ahnung. In Augsburg jedenfalls wird das verstanden, und 2010 war er sogar vor Ort, eingeladen von EMERGE, der auf - craft - (ACU 1003) nun auch seine Handwerkskunst mit der der Kanadiers vereint. Wobei da in "masonry" und "metallurgy" neben Maurerei und Metallverarbeitung auch Freimaurertum und das alte Geheimwissen der Metallschürfer und Schmiede mitschwingen. Emerge speiste Samples von Y-Ton-G und ORiFiCE ein, auch sein Partner verwendete Samples neben Synthiesounds. Sie lassen einen Klangwind auffrischen, den sie mit feinen, irgendwie metalloiden perkussiven Verzierungen versehen. Dunkles Getropfe suggeriert etwas Höhlenartiges, das sich mit Brausen und sirrenden Ergüssen füllt. Wellige Vibrationen und körnige Granulationen verunklaren zwar die Szenerie, ohne ganz einen melodiösen Anklang zu überdecken, der wie von einem gestörten Radiosender das Ohr erreicht, einen verzerrten und zerhackten und dann ganz zerschroteten und prasselnd überlärmten Gesang. Das Brausen nimmt wieder überhand, untermischt mit schlurchendem Schleifen mit eisernem Beigeschmack und pfeifendem Nachhall. Und plötzlich sogar von einem Beat, der aber ebenfalls in die Schrotmühle gerät. Der zweite Klangverlauf bringt weitere metallisch getönte Akzente an kaskadierenden und wummernden Wellen an. Ein hinkender Loop kommt und geht, ein Zug rauscht dahin, das Ambiente bleibt dumpf und gedeckelt. Wieder dringt da Musik durch die Wand.Eiserner Krimskrams scharrt und schellt. Aber weder dongende Laute noch pulsierende oder zuckende Anstöße führen ins Offene. Steinbrot bleibt der Zwergen Speise. Und wer lange genug die Tretmühle tritt, wird halt davon besoffen.
versunken in den geräuschen. industriell. fast atonal. den ball zuspielen. gegenseitig motivierter aufbau. exkursionen in die kavernen.
ungefähr so lässt sich die zusammenarbeit von emerge und holzkopf (name=!!!) umschreiben, die in einer frappierend ungeschliffenen art die höhrer einfängt. gerade zwei stücke, diese dafür überlang, zum teil samples dritter bearbeitend (y-ton-g, orifice), in einer soundästhetik, die ungeschönt abbilden will (und kann), was das gegenseitige zuspielen lostreten konnte. und immer wieder der fast verborgene widerhall von melodien, so kurz, als ob es nur einbildung war und so verborgen unter den geräuschhaften attacken wie ein echo aus anderer quelle (was, mit blick auf die samples, ja durchaus tatsache sein könnte). das geschehen ist dabei nahe bei den höhrern, die benutzten hallräume sind eher eng und gewunden statt kathedrahlenartig unendlich; die gegen ende des ersten stücks „masony“ entstehenden, dichten schichten aus vielfach zerissenen soundfetzen reiben sich so fast harsch-noise artig an den engen wänden, bevor ein ausgang in die fast-stille gefunden wird. nur um sich wieder in die unterwelt zu begeben... stück zwei, „metallurgy“ ist weit weniger attackierend, lässt der stille zwischen den unkenntlichen geräuschfetzen eigene räume, bleibt abwartend, fast wie eine soundinstallation, spannung in der stille...
Together with Holzkopf, Emerge creates a space oddity of synthesizer and processing, a noise diptych, two satellites trying to overcome their differences by harmonizing their signals. On “Masonry,” they often find the same wavelength, and beautiful music results, but radio waves are unwieldy in a vacuum and a lot of fine tuning is necessary. It gets pretty rough about twenty minutes through, then it gets really quite sweet. Then they bump into each other. And then, they power down.
“Metallurgy,” the second half-hour piece comprising Craft, begins in the space left behind by the satellites, very quiet, small ripples in its fabric until actual metal is struck. Sonars seek, trains run along their tracks and are turned into the gravel beneath the ties, machines attempt to reboot, a quiet zoop-zoop-zoop-a sounds like a George Thorogood blues might be revving up. Chains rattle, metal fatigues, a sinkhole tries to suck in all the debris, it resists. An altogether opaque opus. It’s abstract art, patterns and shapes. Up to us to find it aesthetically rewarding.
VITAL WEEKLY 974:
Also on the next CD Emerge is present, but then in collaboration with Canada's Holzkopf, who sometimes works inside the area of drum 'n bass, but also takes on as easily noise and ambient. Also on the plate here are sound samples by Y-Ton-G treated by Emerge. Two long pieces here, each around thirty minutes, and maybe the titles give away something, 'Masonry' and 'Metallurgy', which one might conclude this deals with some sort of metallic ringing and singing. There is a loose structure in order here, in which these sounds seem to be improvised and everything arrives in a playful mood/mode. I am not sure how this was made; by mail or Internet I would assume, but it sounds like they have been together and improvised these two pieces on the spot. Feeding it through a variety of boxes and laptops, with (obviously) moments that could be weeded out by more rigorous editing, but it's a free flow of sounds that has its appeal. It's perhaps the kind of thing that you would find on a cassette release, but why not a CD? Why not! Indeed!