back to Cohort Release

Fred Lonberg-Holm/Brekekekexkoaxkoax

>Over the years we have learned about the work of Fred Lonberg-Holm as a fine improviser on string instruments, hailing from the Chicago scene. In recent times we lost a bit track of his work, but here he returns, with some thirty minutes on the split CDR with Brekekekexkoaxkoax (you always hope to write that well, I guess) and to be honest: I don't get it. Improvisations for feedback, but recorded without any power or tension. Not the best recording for not the best kind of music, ouch. I think he could do so much better. Brekekekexkoaxkoax here is the head honcho Josh Ronsen on the left channel playing guitar, as well as clarinet (stereo I believe), with Glenn Nuckolls on electric guitar/right channel, acoustic guitar, banjo and violin, Genevieve Walsh on flute, drums, voice and Jacob Green on oboe, organ, electronics and misc. instruments. They go for an all free improvisation jam, scattered on a multi-track and mixed in a totally free improvisation spirit. Sounds drop in and out, scratching the surface of the instruments and no-one seems to be taking the lead here. A continuos free flow music that is a wealth to hear after Lonberg-Holm's half hour. (Vital #605, FdW)

>Hmmm .... Where to start. You know, it's sometimes really, really hard to write a review. With some albums you know right away what you want or need to write, and with others you can listen over and over and over again, and even after 30 listenings you're still staring at an empty screen, praying to find the right words. Or even the right emotions you want to describe, because even those aren't always clear. This split CD-r by Fred Lonberg-Holm and Brekekekexkoaxkoax, the eighth in a series of split releases, released on Cohort Records (run by Kirchenkampf's John Gore) is such an album. It has four tracks, and it might be best to start with the fourth. 'Sorry!' by the ensemble Brekekekexkoaxkoax is a 27 minute piece with a normal set of instruments. Improvisational acoustic music of quite a high level for well trained ears (which scores a 7 on a scale from 1 to 10). Counterpart for Brekekekexkoaxkoax on this split is Fred Lonberg-Holm and the first three tracks are his ... His art in this release lies in producing feedback sounds with his cello. The text on the website says it's really complex and stuff, but ... This just goes too far for me, even though I am used to quite a bit. I've listened to the tracks with a total playing tome of 30 minutes several times, on different volume-levels (my poor neighbours) and my conclusion is that it's not my thing. And because of this, I will not grade these tracks, because honesty first, I can't say anything sensible about it. Just visit the website and check the samples before you buy the CD. (Gothtronic)

>Split CD between two very different artists who take very different approaches but yet somehow manage to talk the same language; and that language seems to be all about collapses and breakings down, of perceptions in one case and the continuously chaotic cycle of creation and decay in the other. Feedback attacks are nothing new in the avant-garde music scene; but what is perhaps unique in the case of the first artist on this CD is that the sound source is not some wildly flailing guitar-abuser but a cellist. In that sense here we see the collapse of perceptions and expectations, between what we expect a cello to sound like (even an electrified one) and what we actually hear emerging from the speakers; and what does emerge bears very little relationship to anyone’s expectations. Furthermore, the perceptions aligned with that word feedback give rise to the assumption that it denotes a lack of control; here, such an assumption would be completely erroneous – Lonberg-Holm exercises a tightly controlled leash on the howling high-pitched beast that appears to be caged within his amplifier. The dichotomy that Lonberg-Holm pushes to the forefront of our consciousnesses is that normally the cello is somewhat of a restrained instrument and here it is being realigned as a conduit of barely-contained energy and power combined with a hitherto unfamiliar flexibility; also the feedback and the associated harmonics is utilised as an expressive vehicle in itself. Brekekekexkoaxkoax, apart from having a name that would probably result in someone breaking their jaw should anyone attempt to pronounce it, opt for a much more improvisational acoustic approach, relying on such stalwart instrumentation as oboe, organs, guitars, banjo, clarinet, flute, violin, drums and voice. Although the general feel is atonal and fractal in nature and expression, there’s a cyclic aspect being explored and employed here with a slow repeating pattern across the full 27:41 duration, as the track breaks apart and then builds back up once more, losing density and then combining again, in a reflection of many of the processes of the real world. The process is continuous and in a constant state of evolution, even in those quiet moments when nothing much seems to be happening. Like nature itself, there’s no stasis; just constant flux and reflux, moments of intense activity and periods of relative dormancy – a process that never seems to end and will continue until time itself runs out. Okay, so it’s unlikely that I’ll listen to this very often and it’s not my cup of tea in the normal course of things, but I won’t deny that it’s an intriguing exercise in pushing boundaries and exploring concepts – plus it’s obvious that each musician has more than a basic understanding of the complexities involved and instinctively knows how best to express them. Worth taking the time to savour so give it a listen. (Heathen Harvest)

>Interesting departure from the standards in the series of split CDs by the label from Monticello, Indiana. While we were used to mainly receive sets of intangible electronica and, in general, variations on the theme of investigational space/drone music, this time John Gore paired a couple of well-known names in the field of lateral thinking, attributing a totally different character to the release. No need to repeat who Fred Lonberg-Holm is, his name linked with just everybody in the most disparate circumstances. Astounding indeed are the cellist's three "studies", built upon emaciated structures - often made of a single sound - that in their sonic dearth emanate the apparent author's will of closing the doors to any reading. Harsh, rusty tones, feedback and scarce movement, a physicality that recalls the still present beauty of a top model suffering from anorexia. Brekekekexkoaxkoax (Jacob Green, Glen Nuckolls, Josh Ronsen, Genevieve Walsh) play a lone 27-minute improvisation that explore the nuances of a droning inconstancy, its content not distant from Third Ear Band (in very small doses), ruptured by a non-virtuoso approach to the instrumental depiction. Overall, a rather sincere blend bordering on the drowsy, adding a few precious particulars to a generally calm scenery. (Touching Extremes)

back to Cohort Releases