Harsh noise meets quirky electronics on
this oddball collaboration between sound artist Karmakumulator
and net-label-cum-artistGentlejunk 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
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
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
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
How did you get connected to the
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.