steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

review
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info opinion
 

bigcittyorkestra

"ymir" C60

AghartA Tapes

Genre: they've patented weirdness

California

March 2010

Another Big City Orchestra release, another egregious misspelling of the act's name. Coincident with their eternally-shifting line-up, BCO's name is subject to frequent one-off variations, my favourite so far being 2005's 'Bfg Cfty Oggettwstre,' which appeared momentarily for a single MP3 release.

Unfortunately, I couldn't tell you the personnel for the present hour-long adventure, as there is a severe dearth of information out there on this release, but I do know a few spare facts: ymir is, apparently, BCO's 79th release; it has been limited to 70 copies; and it comes by way of Lithuanian imprint AghartA Tapes. Beyond that, the music does the talking.

To be honest, I enjoyed ymir's chaotic a-side, but it didn't blow me away it's a perfectly satisfying brew, but it's hardly the most inspired stretch of experimental murk I've ever encountered. You know the story: a dark miasma of sonic haze is hoisted, with assorted samples, noise, and sonic ephemera dropped in for good measure. Of course, the BCO approach is considerably more manic than many others. At one point, a brief, bass-heavy pop song sample mingles with a jet of drilling electric noise, and it's a pulverizing few minutes of glory. For me, however, nothing else truly gripped me by the collar and pulled me in. On the other hand, side B pulled things together astutely. Its journey begins with a serene piano-and-bass loop above which assorted bizarre samples are repeated endlessly. In comes a base of ominous synthesizer chords, layered over with woodwinds, keyboard tones, atmospheric samples, and miscellaneous police radio transmissions. As a composition, it is constantly shifting and metamorphosing, but it maintains a creepy and alienating texture throughout. I find it to be a much more enrapturing effort than the uneven a-side, completing what turns out to be a solid 79th installment of BCO's sprawling legacy.

BCO's website

 

Michael Tau

[Vitals: ltd to 70 copies, distributed by the label, released 2009]