Bits, Bots and Signs

Voice Crack / Otomo Yoshihide

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Bits, Bots and Signs Review

by François Couture

It's hard to believe one had to wait until 2000 for Otomo Yoshihide and the Swiss duo Voice Crack (Norbert Möslang and Andy Guhl), two influential artists in the field of free electronic improvisation, to first meet on stage. It happened on March 27, 2000, in St. Gallen (Switzerland), and Erstwhile released the document under the title Bits, Bots and Signs. Since Ground Zero's conclusion, Yoshihide has continued to develop his very personal musical language made of low-fi electronics and sampler treatments. The duo Voice Crack has been cracking everyday household machines in order to extract unusual noises out of them since the early '80s. Their music was compatible from the start and the result is a mind-boggling soundscape, a rough terrain with burbling low frequencies, ethereal sustained tones, piercing high-pitched electronic screams, and haunting noises. These five improvisations stay clear of monotony: gradually but quickly changing form, always on the verge of redefining themselves. Both entertaining and ear opening, Bits, Bots and Signs is more convincing than Yoshihide's CDs with I.S.O. and Filament and somehow less aggressive than Voice Crack's Poire'z project with Erik M and Günter Müller. Fans of free electronic improv have no reason to pass on this one. Strongly recommended.

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