back to Cohort Release

PBK/Adam Mokan (CDR)

>Perhaps Cohort Records found the way to do it. After teaming the well-known Andrew Duke with the lesser known Akumu, here is PBK and Adam Mokan in the same role. But perhaps I am all wrong? Who remembers PBK? Well, I do, from many many years ago. I don't recall reviewing any of his music in the last ten years, say the life time of Vital Weekly. In the 80s he was very present and active and released a whole bunch of cassettes and even a 3LP set on the RRRecords label. For whatever reason I may have forgotten by now, or perhaps never knew, he disappeared somewhere in the nineties, but somewhere returned along the lines. On this split release he has four lengthy pieces of what I could call PBK trademark sound. Using found sound, mainly old vinyl, a bunch of analogue synthesizers and sound effects, he creates his music. For me it works best in the very chilly, ambient piece 'Event Lurkin Pristine', whereas the other three pieces are more chaotic, densely layered patterns of vinyl skipping and effect hunting. At times perhaps a bit too chaotic for my taste, but good memories return of hissy cassettes, when total mayhem was the way to go. A nice come-back. I have no idea who Adam Mokan is, other then that he has a couple of releases on Russolo (also home of Roxanne Jean Polise) which I never heard. His music is also noise related, but in a more linear fashion, less chaotic. Thickly layered sounds, warped around each other, built from radio waves, analogue synths, sound effects and distortion. Perhaps a bit lo-fi, but it leaves a solid impression on me. Heavy, minimal and yet with enough surprises. Nice one this. (FdW) Vital #542

>If you heard PBK’s music for the first time, probably you wouldn't believe that one of his main influences is John Coltrane (well, Diamanda Galas too). Instead, Adam Mokan lists “sounds, cars crashing, metal scraping, analog drums, feedback, and rock candy” as foundations for his compositions. This odd pairing makes for another nice Cohort CDR, which consists in four tracks by Philip B. Klingler and two by Mokan. The entire spectrum of audio unpredictability is analyzed in PBK’s soundscapes; reminiscent of his past glories in the post-industrial area, but also a highly skilled hypnotizer (don’t forget his collaboration with Vidna Obmana), Klinger juxtaposes the scary and the (sort of) sweet in metaphysical potions where one feels like continuously spinning with a hole in the center of the body, flesh constantly ripped by a needle. If this reminds you of vinyl, you guessed it right: PBK’s tracks often have a “locked groove” quality that renders them acceptable even in their most obscure, apparently unconceivable sections. Thus, the four exhalations contained here will paradoxically appeal both to dark ambient and turntablism fans; but the man is truly in a class of his own. Adam Mokan prefers to work with simpler elements, mostly based upon interdependent connections of distortions and pretty harsh frequencies which at first sound rather sparse but, after a while, start creating a flow which the mind and the body have no trouble camouflaging in. Just think that - amidst all this noise - I managed to get into a half-sleep state during one of my first listenings and that should tell you a lot about the effective harmonic richness of Mokan’s work. Both artists deserve my kudos for this mind-altering collection, which comes totally recommended. (Touching Extremes)

>Philip B Klinger may not be a household name to many of you. Which wouldn’t surprise me in the least. This American artist has been recording under the name of PBK for the best part of 20+ years off and on. More off as of late but that’s your typical artist for you. His music, and the reason you probably won’t be familiar with him, places him at the fringes of the experimental jet set. That little area where few dare to venture for fear of what they may hear. The dark recesses of the unknown driving many a listener into the arms of a safer more comfortable channel of music. Those of you however who are acquainted with PBK should meet up with me some day. Maybe we can share a drink together and reminisce about the good old days. Tell our stories about how PBK deserves better and wider recognition and how ‘such and such’ a release by him changed our lives. Shoot the breeze and all that. If successful, and we liked each other, we could even make it an annual event. That would be fun. Almost as much fun as this split release between PBK and Adam Mokan in fact. And you wouldn’t have to put up with my incessant droning on about quality music like this and why on earth it isn’t more popular. The little information paragraph kept incredibly short this time around. Cohort Records is run by John Gore of Kirchenkampf fame. Amongst others. This split release is limited to 100 copies. The cover is &ldots;well&ldots;functional but dull as covers go. A kind of bronze / gold coloured mottled single sleeve affair that looks like the wallpaper found in a crap Chinese restaurant circa 1970. But you don’t buy music just for the cover. Which in this case is a blessing. You can buy this for $9.00 direct from the label. Have your credit card on standby at the end of this review. The first four tracks belong to our man PBK. The guy who puts the E into experimental. Taking the ‘music can be created by anything at hand’ approach he uses old analogue synths, found sounds and effects, old batches of vinyl and a multitude of other unknown variants to help mould these four pieces into aural sculptures of a frightening intensity. There’s something strangely comforting when you listen to hiss and crackles over machine like chaos and disharmony. The buzzing and glowing mixing it with glitches and globules and the Industrial hum and throbs and dense frequencies that permeate throughout. At times there’s a rhythmic pattern cutting loose before being quickly restrained amongst all the mucky murky debris being thrown around without a care in the world. The frozen wastelands of black ambience even makes a fleeting appearance now and then before being swallowed up by an electronic melange. Think of these tracks as sound sculptures for the more enlightened and adventurous listener and you’ll be half way there to understanding the music PBK has laid down. Not an easy going or getting into experience but one that rewards those with an open mind and an ear to the left of base form of music. 35+ minutes in the company of PBK is worth every second of the experience. His mucker in arms Adam Mokan is a new artist that I’ve never encountered before. His two contributions are 26+ minutes of music that veers more towards the noisier spectrum with a smattering of pizzazz to complete the picture. Through the dense fog of simply formed thick electronic sounds, very bass heavy in places, he mixes in high frequency assaults, ample distorted waves and some eclectic effects that are suitably placed within both soundscapes. His music is more minimal in scope and production and therefore more accessible overall&ldots;.but still falls way short of an easy listening experience. Definitely a name to watch out for in the future. The summary. For those of you reading this into the more experimental side of music, who wear their ‘I’m into stuff you’ve never heard of before’ badges with pride on your jacket lapels, then this release will make a great addition to your record collection. Everyone else can just fuck off. This isn’t for you. Simple as that. Because no matter how many words I write I doubt that if you aren’t into this form of music before the review started then this review will not have changed your minds one little bit. So blinkered and stupid the majority are. The few of us who understand where artists like PBK and Adam Mokan are coming from and going to are in the minority. But I would rather be with them than you any day of the week. (Heathen Harvest)

>Sometimes the best things in life can be found nestled in the edges; you know, peeking out of the corners, stealing glances from under the covers. Monticello, Indiana, isn’t exactly the nexus for experimental music in the US by any stretch, but it is in fact the place Cohort Records owner John Gore calls home, and like it or not, what he issues from his diminuitive CDR label are the kind of aural objects you obtain fast and clutch tightly to chest, lest they vanish into the ether. Trucking in names either reasonably obscure or desperately unknown, the discrete charm of Gore’s imprint means those wanting to seek out the less obvious purveyors of all things weird, whacked and wonderful can shell out very little and usually receive very much. PBK and Mokan’s release is an altogether different kettle of (blow)fish. Like that spiny creature, Philip B. Klinger might be the penultimate experimentalist “pariah”—he’s been dutifully pursuing his own singleminded course for the better part of 20 years, a fixture on the US 80s cassette underground and a legend of sorts in the agitprop/noise community. Far more intellectually rigorous than colleagues such as Merzbow, KK Null, or Aube, PBK ushered in the era of the glitch years before annotators ever coined it a term. Previous collaborations on both ends of the sonic spectrum (Asmus Tietchens, Artemiy Artemiev) have painted him as a very idiosyncratic sound sculptor who remains a distinctive presence on the “scene,” one whose anonymity is a puzzling phenomenon indeed—those prior teamings alone should have raised his profile amongst the literati. I’ve found some of his earlier, tentative work to be a bit too disassociative at times, his amelodic/aharmonic gesticulations erupting out of the speaker fabric ass-over-teakettle, scattering about with little obvious reason or "sense"—avantism for avantism's sake. Be this as it may, the four tracks included here are of a singular offering, clearly some of his best work since the aforementioned Artemiev pairing. Not that it was in any way necessary, but opening track “Through the Past Away” indicates PBK’s discovering a newly-found melodic linearity within his machines: the grinding oscillations and steam-engine coarsities remain his trademark, though rendered here with a particularly cohesive, and supple, flair. “Build Your Own Nothing” spits, clicks, shushes, shudders, and shivers in a manner that Oval probably never considered, while “The Channel that Feeds” situates the listener in a deserted governmental think tank doubling as haunted house, full of abrupt clangings, strange vibes, parched airbursts and what might be the very walls cracking. When the finality of “Event Lurking Pristine,” a cathartic passel of stretched-taut metallic drones finishes, you’re left in shock, fairly breathless. It’s simply a crime that Klinger doesn’t get the recognition he so richly deserves—help, help him, Rhonda! Conversely, newcomer Mokan is more of a strict “noiseician,” a Merzbow wanna-be, if you would. His two lengthy tracks eviscerate the guts from corroded engines, battered synthesizers, burned-out amps. I’d like to believe that “Winding Rhode” is constructed by beating the shit out of an old Fender, then sampling the detritus out of phase and flanging what’s left to death; it’s actually an 11-minute excursion into dirty, disused drone that does in fact sound like a Rhodes being manhandled, but Makon doesn’t extract much from his sound source other than onanistic distortion. Which, as PBK can tell you, isn’t the whole enchilada. (ei)



back to Cohort Releases