Fish That Sparkling Bubble

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Fans of Borbetomagus will be thrilled by this CD reissue of the 1988 collaborative date with Swiss electronic duo Voice Crack. What is most impressive is how complementary the approaches are here. Whereas Borbetomagus uses extreme volume and pitch centers in order to achieve the subtle nuances that emerge from the music in overtone series, semi-quavered fibrillations, and multiphonic nuances, Voice Crack constructs a virtual electronic city of all devices known to the recording world, from turntables and circuit boards to reel-to-reel tape decks to analog and digital delays. When the two are combined, as they are on each of this recording's five selections -- including such Borbetomagus classics as "We Don't Need No Warrior Goddess" and "My Tongue in Your Cheek" -- the sonic fields are much wider, more dissonant, and definitely subtler. The listener has to fully engage not only with the stolid emotional force pouring forth from the speakers -- though that's fine on first listen -- but also to sort out the panoply of textures, ambiences, colors, and tone fields that are slipping in, through, and around each other in the mix. This is complex listening, like trying to find one airplane's specific sound on a battlefield, but it is worth the effort. Once the shifting aural terrains are noted and put into play, anything can and usually does happen, and the tectonic plates of improvisation move against each other in mighty but stunningly beautiful ways. Skronk never sounded so pretty.

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