Friday, December 13, 2013

Zbigniew Karkowski (1958-2013)

"Many say they are sorry to hear of Zbigniew Karkowsky's death. I, for one, am not.

I still hear Zbigniew's infectious laugh, hear his voice, see the sparkle of mischief in his eyes. Ripping a poster of an exhibition that my piece BLIND DATE was in off the window of a packed Yamanote-sen in Tokyo, then showing it to a suited salaryman and encouraging him to take his children to look for it in the show. Both of us laughing hysterically when the train was gone.

Zbigniew always seemed utterly without fear. His final gesture, traveling for hours in a canoe into the Amazon jungle directly after flights from Europe lasting nearly 24 hours, to be treated by a Shipbo shaman is perfectly in keeping with everything else he did. All the way, no compromise. His final wish, if the treatment failed, was to be left in the jungle to be eaten. No ceremony, no grave. If it succeeded as he hoped, he said he would bring back stories of the adventure. Somehow, I still expect to hear them.

A Karkowsky concert often meant that we would see smoke rising from the burning speakers of the overdriven PA, fumes clearing the room. As much as he seemed to enjoy it when that happened, frankly I doubt that this was ever done for effect: he simply demanded that his music be heard with the power that he intended, that he himself heard. During a residency, one of several, at The Compound in San Francisco, director Naut Humon proudly remembered that Zbigniew played lower frequencies at volumes so high that they shattered the toilet bowl. Musicians who worked with him often spoke of him with unabashed admiration, said they looked forward to a chance to do it again.

Yes, Zbigniew was often cruel when drunk, plenty of those stories to go around. So far, I have yet to meet anyone who isn't. Alcohol is a seductive, motherless bitch to anyone who lets her have her way. She slams doors of friendship shut and, under her influence, Zbigniew slammed a few more than his share.

When Zbigniew moved to Tokyo, he was fortunate enough to meet Atsuko (I never did hear her last name), who stayed together with him for fifteen years, travelled to Greece to spend a last several days together, saw him off in Paris for the flight to Peru. If she and I never meet, here I send her a huge, heartfelt Thank You.

So today, and many more days like it, will be spent thinking of that laugh, that love of entertaining friends, that cavalier and uncompromising sense of daring. One of the first phrases in Japanese that Zbigniew said he learned was 'Omanko wa oishii' -- 'Cunt is delicious'. Here, too, he was absolutely right."

(John Duncan, 13.12.2013.)

Xopher Davidson + Zbigniew Karkowski - 'Processor'

The whole idea is to play this album extremely loud with ultra powerful loudspeakers. So loud that the plaster falls off the wall. Something you can't do at home, I suppose, unless you want to rebuild your home very cheaply. I played this at low volume. The low rumble caused some anguish downstairs.

Zbigniew Karkowski (feat Anton Lukoszevieze) - 'Nerve Cell_0'

The whole piece burbles away a bit. But when you sit long enough into the music, something incredible happens around the 30th minute. The composition starts to move... Hear for yourself! Not on YT of course. The real thing. Play it really loud so the foundations of the house start to shake... That's the whole idea! Play it as loud as you can.

Favourite albums of the year 2013.

BJARNI GUNNARSON - Processes and Potentials (3Leaves) - Einóma man releases a very intricate and organic solo album on field recordings label 3Leaves.

DALGLISH - Niaw Ot Vile (PAN) - Chris Douglas aka O.S.T. aka Dalglish gets picked up by the PAN label for an excellent and eclectic album.

C. SPENCER YEH/OKKYUNG LEE/LASSE MARHAUG - Wake Up Awesome (Software Studio Series) -Ubercellist Okkyung Lee teams up with Yeh and Marhaug for an album that really has it all, it's funny, it's clever and it's moving.

IRA COHEN feat. TESTING VAULT - Fungoid (or the Multimedia Shamanic Poetry of Ira Cohen) (Looney-Tick Productions) - Dani from Testing Vault took some spoken word tracks by the late Ira Cohen and gave them the shruti or Coil treatment in a very respectful manner, it works and it is a nice tribute to one of the greatest poets.

ZBIGNIEW KARKOWSKI (feat ANTON LUKOSZEVIEZE) - Nerve Cell_0 (for cello and computer) (Sub Rosa)- This one was lying on my desk the whole year since it came out, I even managed to play an excerpt on university radio. What can I say? The man died recently in one of these human tragedies...

XOPHER DAVIDSON + ZBIGNIEW KARKOWSKI - Processor (Sub Rosa)- This one too to remember the late great Karkowski.

FRANCK VIGROUX - Prisme (D'Autres Cordes) - The busiest experimental musician of France got it right again with his new album. I wrote somewhere that'Ressac' feels like concrete beats falling on your head. A beast!

GINTAS K - Slow (Baskaru) - Underrated but lovely album by Lithuania's finest experimental artist.

SOLAR BEARS - Supermigration (Planet Mu) - Overlooked but brilliant album by the best Irish band of the moment.

UNSUNG MINDS - Soundpoem Remix Project feat. Tom Smith, Emmanuel Mieville, Gintas K and Dalglish (

Thursday, December 05, 2013

"ON THE PERIPHERY - David Sylvian: A Biography - The Solo Years."

Ira Cohen feat Testing Vault - 'But What In Your Other Hand Lies Concealed'

Excerpt from the album 'Fungoid (or The Multimedia Shamanic Poetry of Ira Cohen)' by Testing Vault featuring the voice of Ira Cohen, A Looney-Tick Productions, 2013.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Saturday, November 09, 2013

« Secret Brussels » – Carte Blanche Peter Wullen @ Radio Campus 09.11.2013 from 6pm till 8pm

Lucrecia Dalt – Glosolalia (from 'Syzygy')

OHNE – Track 7 (from OHNE-1)

Scott Walker – Pilgrim (from 'Bisch Bosh')

Peter Wullen & Una Lee – Societies Rust Suns (Tom Smith rework)

Dalglish – Ciaradh (from 'Niaw Ot Vile')

Peter Wullen & Una Lee – Incestuous Sisters (Dalglish rework)

Franck Vigroux – Ressac (from 'Prisme')

Einóma – Minióma (from 'Tvenna' EP)

Bjarni Gunnarsson – Concomitance (from 'Processes and Potentials')

Bérangère Maximin & Richard Pinhas – Carnaval Cannibale (from 'No One Is An Island')

Reinaldo Laddaga – excerpt from 'Things a mutant needs to know' (from Unsounds book + 2xCD)

Linea Aspera – Kinabalu (from 'II' EP)

Francisco Lopez & Reinier Van Houdt – Untitled #275 (Movement 1)

Zbigniew Karkowski – Nerve Cell (feat Anton Lukoszevieze)(excerpt from 'Nerve Cell_0)

Gintas K – Reik (from 'Slow')

Dajuin Yao – Words without a song (feat Jerlian Tsao) (from 'Cinnabar Red Drizzle')

Dj Cheb I Sabbah & Ira Cohen – Song to Nothing / Letter to Caliban / End of a Line (from 'The Majoon Traveler')

T/SMS – Unreleased (from the forthcoming T/SMS album)

Phill Niblock – Feedcorn Ear (featuring Arne Deforce) (from 'Touch 5')

broadcast dedicated to the memory of Ira Cohen and DJ Cheb I Sabbah

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Lucrecia Dalt, 'Inframince' from the album 'Syzygy'.

Lucrecia Dalt's music might sound frail and fragile at first listen but titles and lyrics are full of references to art, literature and films. Like a philosophy student dabbling with music. You don't need to know all that though to enjoy her soundscapes. Here's 'Inframince' from her new album 'Syzygy'.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

'Secret Brussels' on Radio Campus Brussels.

I assembled an impressive playlist for a show that i'm hosting on Saturday Nov 9 on Radio Campus, the free radio of the French university of Brussels, from 6pm to 8pm. The show will be called 'Secret Brussels'. It’s an independent playlist with some close ties and connections with Brussels. It's also an awesome list of ‘new’ albums from ‘new’ artists, who are mostly not widely known by the general public, but who are making groundbreaking music, sometimes already for years, without necessarily being noticed! Their music can be soft and hard. I could have easily filled up 4 hours with edgy and experimental music, but here’s a random selection of artists represented: Bjarni Gunnarson (of Einóma), Berangere Maximin, Pinhas Richard, Franck Vigroux, T/SMS, Gintas K, Emmanuel Mieville, Lucrecia Dalt, Dalglish, Linea Aspera, Una Lee, Okkyung Lee and many many more… Podcast will follow.

Kazat Akmatov - 'Munabiya' & 'Shahidka'.

Kazat Akmatov is the National Writer of Kyrgyzstan, a Kyrgyz author writing in his own language. Although his work is still largely unknown in the West, and must be translated from Kyrgyz to Russian and then from Russian to English, Hertfordshire Press must be applauded for its mission to promote this author’s poetic brilliance, uniquely Kyrgyz literary style and exposure of Central Asian culture to a broader public. I myself am lucky to be married to a Kyrgyz girl. I don’t pretend to understand everything Akmatov writes but I do understand a little bit of this strange culture and that’s a good start! I was initially quite shocked by how familiar Akmatov’s written words seemed to me but I soon realized that his phraseology was exactly akin to that spoken by my wife. It made me appreciate that they belong to a hidden world steeped in ancient traditions , more than a thousand years old. What Akmatov describes lives on in the hearts of the Kyrgyz people, even though the majority now live in cities, leading ‘modern’ lives. I don’t think that the content of the stories is necessarily the most important feature here, but just like Manas, there’s this general feeling and emotion behind the stories, which are universal for the Kyrgyz people and express their true national identity. It is hard to imagine a society that still lives on the brink of the Middle Ages and still clings to such old values even if all of this is quickly being dispelled by contemporary means of communication! Take the short story ‘Munabiya’ for example. It’s a story about a remorseful son visiting his old widower father. The old man lives on his own in an aul or village in rural Kyrgyzstan. This is a tale about the ‘moral values’ of this small, closely knitted society. The story circles around concepts of ‘spite’, ‘remorse’, ‘complex family ties’, ‘family feuds’, ‘pride’ and most of all ‘respect for the dead’. Admittedly, the father is not totally innocent. He is not completely alone either. He is in fact surrounded by women who look after him. There’s the spirit of his dead wife hovering around. Then it seems that the father also had some sort of relationship with the woman Munabiya, who was considered a witch in her village. An affair that started some twenty years ago and went on till the old man died. There’s the jene , or auntie, the wife of his middle brother, who strongly defends the ‘family honour’, by keeping the feared Munabiya far away from the home of the old man. Her plans don’t work out because in the end his last wish is exactly that Munabiya would ‘sit by his body at his head’ at his funeral, which causes a terrible shock and angers the fierce and jealous jene. A family feud arises at the funeral whereby the jene blocks the entrance so that Munabiya cannot enter the yurt where the dead man lies. The aksakals or village elders, play an important role in solving this family feud. They intervene and decide that the last wish of the old man should indeed be honoured. Munabiya enters and finally earns the respect of the village by singing a beautiful siren song at the old man’s deathbed. I will not explain the whole story here. Suffice to say, it takes more than one reading to fully enter this world. It’s up to the reader to read and reread and discover the rest of the carefully woven threads of this family tragedy where not everything is said out loud. This is a beautiful story which moved me profoundly. If you want to get to the heart of the Kyrgyz people, I recommend that you look to the novels of Kazat Akmatov. You will be well rewarded!

‘Munabiya' and 'Shahidka', two short stories by Kazat Akmatov were published by Hertfordshire Press.

Friday, October 11, 2013

'Societies Rust Suns' (Tom Smith Rework) - based on 'Incestuous Sisters' by Una Lee & Peter Wullen.

'Society Rust Suns' is a new work by Tom Smith loosely based on the Una Lee + Peter Wullen soundpoem 'Incestuous Sisters'. It's a challenging piece. The sonic brouhaha continues for almost 10 minutes. Tom used excerpts from sessions he did earlier with Aaron Dilloway.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dalglish, 'Niaiw Ot Vile' on PAN.

It took a long time, twenty years to be exact, but here he is finally resurfacing on the excellent PAN label! Chris Douglas aka O.S.T. aka DALGLISH, has been producing the most stubborn, singleminded, singular electronic music since 1993, a string of albums under different names on various underground labels. Until now he was mostly ignored by the rest of the music world. And indeed, this is immensely difficult and uncompromising music. But it's finally paying off after two decades. His new album under the DALGLISH moniker comes out on Bill Kouligas distinguished PAN label. Respect!!! I already had the chance to have a listen to the new album in its entirety! It's a quite a stunner. It is abrasive and at the same time it is DALGLISH at his melancholic best. The nice thing is that Douglas can be melodic on one track (listen to 'Venpin') and then change to almost abstract on the next track (see 'Noscrlu') and then back to the almost sweet with 'Viochlm' or the cosmic weirdness of 'Out_Kutzk' or 'Sclunt'. It's a well balanced and varied album that showcases Chris' talent with a lot of different moods. I can already tell you that the first track on the b-side, the glowing track 'Ciaradh', which was also included on the Bill Kouligas' PAN mix on XLR8R, pulls the album completely open with its glorious sound and is one of my favourite tracks of the last months. It's about the best music you will hear this year! The album 'Niaiw Ot Vile' has been mastered by Rashad Becker and you can hear that... The sound is crystal clear and ultradeep with a lot of space for sonic details. We are very f**** excited about this release. Ha!!!! The world will finally hear.

A1. Venpin A2. Noscrlu A3. Viochlm A4. Out_Kutzk B1. Ciaradh B2. Donsfe B3. Seit Nuin B4. Sclunt B5. Mothlitz B6. Oidhche

Saturday, October 05, 2013

'Incestuous Sisters', rework by Dalglish, by Una Lee and Peter Wullen.

Very proud to say that mr O.S.T. aka DALGLISH (Chris Douglas) made a mindblowing and fantastic futuristic rework of the Una Lee + Peter Wullen track 'Incestuous Sisters', original voice + sounds: Una Lee, words by Peter Wullen. Check also: DALGLISH (O.S.T.) 'Niaiw Ot Vile' LP (PAN 45) out November 8th!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

'Ressac' from 'Prisme', by Franck Vigroux.

'Prisme' is the new long awaited album by French experimental musician Franck Vigroux on D'Autres Cordes. It's an all together different beast than his excellent album 'We (Nous Autres)' that came out a couple of years ago. The fierce 'We (Nous Autres)' was the sound of souls consumed by fire. 'Prisme' is the crackling of smouldering ashes and buildings collapsing after that devastating fire. Listen for example to the first track of the album 'tesla', 15 minutes of noise and silence, noise and silence,... The second track 'ressac' features electronic beats as heavy as concrete blocks falling on your head. My favourite track is the claustrophobic 'capsule', that ends the album. Totally awesome!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bjarni Gunnarsson, 'Processes and Potentials'.

Talking about Icelandic music. This is an excerpt from 'Processes and Potentials', the new Bjarni Gunnarsson album on 3Leaves. Bjarni is one half of the duo Einóma, who released some very distinctive yet quite obscure albums the last 10 years. Releases by Einóma have become a bit scarser lately, but the two members have been working on their solo projects for a while now. Bjarni did some great audiovisual stuff with Cedric Dupire lately. 'Processes and Potentials' could be the nonlinear & experimental core sound of Einóma, but unwilling to give in to anything you ever heard before. It's excellent: full of grainy textures & microsounds that flitter all over the place. The detailed meticulous sound reminded me a bit of Rashad Becker's recent, appraised album on PAN. It is maybe even more singleminded. Standout tracks are 'Momentaries', firmly held together by some kind of deep drone & 'Concomitance' with it's metallic dehumanized voices at the end. I still haven't absorbed everything. Have to listen again a couple of times. Bjarni's 'music' is demanding & extremely complicated. But for me this is definitely one of the best experimental albums of this year. Out on October 1rst.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

'-lalia' (Emmanuel Mieville rework), by Una Lee & Peter Wullen.

A Scott Walkerish nightmare. One minute of total postmodern pooh weirdness. The fourth and last installment of our soundpoem remix project is called '-lalia'. And It was kindly remixed by the wonderful Emmanuel Mieville once again. It is quite cutting: a strange breed full of impish voices & strange sounds. This one might be the most experimental and conceptual of all the soundpoems we created. Loads of thanks to Una Lee and Emmanuel Mieville for taking it to another level.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

'Persian Cat Blues' @ The Body Electric Poetry Film Festival.

astarte from ian kubra 道 studios on Vimeo.

The videopoem 'Persian Cat Blues' - a collaboration between Korean experimental musician Una Lee, Russian film director Ian Kubra and Flemish poet Peter Wullen - will be published on the website of The Body Electric Poetry Festival with an Honorable Mention. It was chosen out of 237 submissions.

'Putain' @ The Body Electric Poetry Film Festival.

Our videopoem 'Putain' has been selected for screening at The Body Electric Poetry Film Festival. Out of 237 submissions 36 poetry films were selected. 'Putain' is one of them and will be shown to a live audience on May 4th at The Lyric Cinema Cafe in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

RM74 - 'Orkas Dream'.

RM74- Orkas Dream from Sera Timms on Vimeo.

Sera Timms is not only very famous in the LA area as a singer with the bands Ides Of Gemini, Black Math Horseman and her own recent solo project Black Mare, she is also a keen photographer and a video artist. Here's the excellent video she made for Swiss band RM74's 'Orkas Dream' from their new album 'Two Sides of a Triangle'.

'Grey Seeds', by Cedric Dupire & Bjarni Gunnarson.

GREY SEEDS from Cedric Dupire on Vimeo.

I know this is just too much for a lot of people but I think it's great! This video by Cedric Dupire is just top of the bill. The sounds were made by the more experimental side of the Icelandic duo Einóma, Bjarni Gunnarsson... The whole video is just splendid and miles away from what he did and is still doing with Einóma.

'Afloat', by Una Lee.

Afloat from paxsincera on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

'Entrailles' by Franck Vigroux.

ENTRAILLES - Extraits - Excerpts from APRÈS LA GUERRE on Vimeo.

French sound sculptor Franck Vigroux has done some excellent work lately. Some time ago he released the fine album 'We (Nous Autres)' on D'Autres Cordes. On the other hand he's been working a lot with Belgian video artist Kurt D' Haeseleer. His latest project is a dvd called 'Entrailles' ('Insides') shot with Gregory Robin in a deserted coalmine in Saint-Etienne in France. It's very apt surroundings for Vigroux. You see some eerie and stark images of machines, name tags, empty elevators going up and down the mine shaft. In the middle of it all Vigroux experiments cooly with his digital music machines. In a bit more than a half an hour you see him shifting from abstract noise to some chopped down beats. But the most interesting moment is when he straps on a red guitar - Vigroux is in fact a guitarist - for some real guitar noise. The dvd is in fact well balanced. The attention shifts from Vigroux to the deserted mine and then back to the musician. The contrast is there. The dvd felt a bit too short but it's well worth a view...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

'Persian Cat Blues' in Dublin.

Sound Device n.2 The lineup:

■Intro: Pride & Prejudice: movement: past, possible, present plus letters: verbs [overlay] | Maura Hazelden

■tsuka mo ugoke | Olivia Louvel

■Persian Cat Blues | Una Lee & Peter Wullen

■L’Étranger (deducted) | Jamez Dean & Albert Camus

■Ombre | Daria Baiocchi

■Video: One Quick Memory | Jonathan Johnson

■Video: Cullando Parole Svanite | Trama afonA

■Caladan: Landing | Florian Hartlieb

■Tales from Space | Chiara Passa

■Caladan: Exploration | Florian Hartlieb

■L’Imaginaire | Elsa Justel

■Guest artist: Steve McCourt, introducing his piece ’Ideomas: 2nd and 3rd movement’, Q&A

Limited seating, booking advised: sounddevicesdublin [at] or registering in person at Rathmines Library

Selection curated by La Cosa Preziosa