steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Karmakumulator / Gentlejunk Co.

"Obstetric Amenorrhoea" 3" CDR

Hikikomori Records

Genre: density


March 2010

Harsh noise meets quirky electronics on this oddball collaboration between sound artist Karmakumulator and net-label-cum-artist Gentlejunk Co. For the first part of this twenty-two minute miniature CDR, Igor Mihovilović buries brief synthesizer loops under seething layers of drilling, maniacal abrasion, allowing the listener nary a moment to breathe. After awhile, the chaos begins to subside, leaving in its wake a strange wasteland of rhythmic fragments, brief melodic samples, and assorted sonic detritus. A close examination reveals many different layers of sound; at its busiest moments, Obstetric Amenorrhoea is almost suffocatingly dense, and it's easy to get lost in Mihovilović's madness. Curious stuff indeed.


First off, this disc is reported as a split between yourself and Gentlejunk Co., although i was under the impression Gentlejunk Co. was a netlabel, as opposed to a musical unit. what's the story here?

Gentlejunk Co. is an artistic collective, owned and operated by my friend Kruno from Krizevci/Croatia. He has run this DIY experimental label for mostly digital releases, and put out a Karmakumulator live album in 2004, released among other interesting experimental recordings. In 2008, I asked him if he was interested in doing this kind of collaborative release. He sent me some tracks, and I have used them in the final mix for this 3". The idea was also to release another 3" companion, with his re-worked tracks from this same album, maybe for 2010 or later. I would definitely like to hear his vision and ideas with same sound pieces as their root.

What aspects of this release are you responsible for?

Musical and visual design, which is almost everything. The releasing was handled by the label and the rest is my vision and idea, from cover design to song structuring. Kruno provided samples and Igor played clarinet, but the construction was totally in my hands.

'Obstetric Amenorrhoea' starts out really noisy but then explores a more brooding, pensive mood -- one that is even, at times, melodic and rhythmic! What explains this structure, and in what context do you imagine it being listened to? What sorts of images and feelings do you think it evokes?

As with most Karmakumulator releases, it doesn't have any specific images that it has to evoke. Listeners can listen to the finished work and if they decide to re-mix it or destroy the original sound source that can be found on 3", that's also OK. Speaking of moving from noisy to brooding and pensive, it's like watching TV and changing channels, or surfing on internet and going from obscure pornography and old design sites to hundreds of Myspace addresses or Facebook pictures one after another. It's just normal for Karmakumulator. as feelings come and go, during a day, a week, a month, a year, so do "noise" and "ambient" change their relationship and order in this music. If somebody is going to feel more creative and eager to do their own “noise,” “ambient,” “experimental,” or “field recording” after hearing this CDR, that means that somehow it made its point. That's enough for me. If someone puts this CDR on as part of some installation or movement in an apartment or building, or plays it on the radio or anywhere else, it also constructs new meanings and concepts, which is fine with me.

Briefly go over your recording set-up. What sorts of equipment and objects went into 'Obstetric Amenorrhoea'?

As I can recall, more than usual. Lots of field recordings recorded in Belgrade, Split, Zagreb, Krizevci and Dubrovnik. Another friend of mine played clarinet here. I used samples, synths, vocals, a Kaoss Pad 2, an M-Audio Ozone audio card, a Bayer Dynamic MSE S-86 microphone, a Zoom H4 portable recorder, a guitar, various pedals, pieces of wood, metal, a radio, etc. Probably the most important parts are Kruno's samples (he also used computer musical generators, a laptop, effects and samples, a MIDI controller, guitar, a Zoom 505, a mixer, piano, Virtualizer Pro, Piezzo microphones); as well, my various field recordings and Igor's clarinet. However, everything was done very spontaneously, so I can not recall perfectly every detail of sound production. Usually Karmakumulator materials grow very fast with my ears. This song took more time than some others did. But it is representative. It's probably more hermetic and "obscure" in meaning and communication with the listener, but that's the way it sounds to me now. Maybe somebody else thinks the opposite of that.

For that matter, what is the background behind the title 'Obstetric Amenorrhoea'?

Just mindfuck with strange words which induce colors and images in the head, just like the music itself.

Why the name 'Karmakumulator'?

It was in December of 2000, during a strange mix of events and things happening, including humour in the rain, as I remember. And then I said "we are Karmakumulators". It sounded great when spelled as one word and later, when I needed a name for a new experimental musical project, it seemed perfect. During the years it just sounded OK enough to keep it going. And my musical/theoretical background is almost the same as it was 10 years ago, so it's a nice homage to time and self-development/research through sound.

How did you get connected to the Hikikomori label?

He liked Karmakumulator from some other releases that I did, and offered a collaboration. After a few months I had materials ready and we did very limited edition 3" CDR. I like his enthusiasm about music in general, and about the promotion of this release. Very nice guy! We share a language and we share artistic vision. That's definitely the type of label I want to work with in the future.

Could you give us a brief rundown of the Croatian noise/experimental scene?

Hmm, maybe it would be better to check out for yourself. On my Myspace page there are links to everything nice that is happening on the Croatian and ex-Yugoslavian experimental scene (of course it's limited to projects that I am aware of and that I like). Anyone interested can find it and take a listen for themselves. Also, I have recently uploaded 60+ minutes of materials from compilations 2006-2010, which is partly still unreleased.

karmakumulator's myspace / gentlejunk co. online

Prior Karmakumulator work:

Michael Tau

[Vitals: 1 track, limited to 30 copies, distributed by the label, released 2008]