Various Histories Reviews

various histories1

Sometimes you just crave some good old-fashioned eai….served up exceedingly well here. The opening low, fluttering growl is an immediate palate enticer, soon littered with crunchy clicks and skewed scrapes; we’re on our way. Five tracks that, at their best, sound like where Voice Crack should have been by now had you taking their turn of the century work and plotted an upward quality graph. Mouri, who I don’t think I’ve previously heard, is on turntables, Olive on pickups and metals, together create a brew both thick and spiky, with enough liquid continuity to flow easily but enough hard nodes to provide plenty of tooth. An implied, buried pulse often serves the music well as does a kind of transparency in the multitude of layers piled atop–there’s a fine sharpness here and a sense of unwasted action. Also a welcome habit of saying what needs to be said then stopping. All too rare, nowadays. The pieces are well varied, covering ample ground quickly and with imagination, the closing track venturing into spacier territory, a stringent whine carving out a large room sparsely occupied by dull, echoing metals–very, very well done.
(Brian Olewnick, Just Outside)

 Fans of microsonic free improvisation and noise art, take note. Various Histories consists of five duos of highly variable duration (total time: 34 minutes) between Katsura Mouri on turntables and mix, and Tim Olive on pickups and metals. Deep listening free improvisation made of mysterious sound events that are noisy without getting aggressive, and whose assemblage weaves a very real narrative tension. This reminds me of the finer moments of the collaboration between Martin Tétreault and Otomo Yoshihide. Marvelous abstract music.
(Francois Couture, Monsieur Delire)

Improvising noise maker Tim Olive strikes again here, with a new disc which he recorded with Katsura Mouri over the years 2010 to 2012. Mouri (wo-)mans the turntables and is also responsible for edits and mix, while Olive plays pick-ups and metals. A five piece disc, with a total of thirty-four minutes of music, all of a more heavy nature. Its not that we are dealing with heavy noise here, but the sounds played with turntable and pickups on metal objects are recorded quite directly in a no-victims-spared manner. It bumps and bounces here, with some mighty fine deep end sound and occasional collapse in the higher frequency range. It’s the heavy weight version of AMM going all for the noise generators and without any instruments. Mouri and Olive play with great care and style – true noise is, as said, far away from this, but they are not entirely shy of it also. When it happens, it happens. In other occasions they manage to arrive at a standstill and they look around – just as in the fifth and longest (all untitled) piece happens. They stumble upon feedback and let it flow for a while and play some softish rumble with their equipment. In terms of improvisation meets noise, I thought this was a pretty fine disc, which was played in an excellent manner and had a whole bunch of interesting notions on the subject.
(Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly)

Olive joins forces with turntablist (and more) Katasura Mouri for Various Histories, another superbly paced release, five tracks of concise exploration of a mutual map – akin to 33 Bays, an impressive expanse of textures, fine details, and a vague sense of an unstable pulse threading through the whole affair. Katsura released at least eight CDs with the turntable group-turned-duo, Busratch, from 2000-2009; I haven’t heard that project, making my discovery of Katsura here especially a blast. As relatively low-tech as Olive, Katsura, like the fantastic Hong Chulki, coaxes, cajoles and throttles the table. This is another pairing that must have been, as Keith Rowe said about his first encounters with Toshimaru Nakamura, a relief for the players – how often do musicians share this level of confidence, guts and ideas, and manage the ground between them (I think of Scenic Railroads for one, the occasional duo of Mike Shiflet and Joe Panzner) so skillfully? I think Tim Olive knows one big thing that is multi-faceted and, to date, unexhausted – he knows how to dive deep with simple materials, and he knows how to combine with similarly gifted playing partners. I’m a hedgehog, Olive told an interviewer, I concentrate on my ground, I get down in there and root around and explore all the parameters and minute variations. Sure – but a fox as well, in terms of Berlin’s elegant, cartoonishly simple dichotomy. Olive brings to his deconstructed table, and his meetings with remarkable musicians like Monteiro and Mouri, an embarrassment of ideas and a barrage of effects. I am a hedgehog, says the fox.
(Jesse Goin, crow with no mouth)

In Japan we find Tim Olive continuing his collaborating ways, this time with Katsura Mouri. On previous releases Olive has played a one string electric guitar, guitar pick ups and analogue electronics, on ‘Various Histories’ he’s back with the pick ups and this time ‘metals’ with Mouri being credited with ‘turntables, edits and mix’. And as with those previous releases the sound quality is simply stunning. The pairing is also a success with Mouri’s turntable antics combining with Olive’s deliberations to produce an almost Smegma like electro-acoustic session. A series of fumblings and clangings, small springs being twanged, wire brushes bering combed, the deep throb of a submarine’s engine.
Five tracks spread over thirty five minutes is perfect and with one of those tracks [the last, all untitled, perfect] hogging half the release, it gives those of you with attention deficit disorder something to hang on to. That last track is a delight with Olive’s metal playing coming to the fore with steel cylinders being rolled and loose wires being monotonously plucked over guitar pick ups delivering that glorious low twanging sound. Its the up close to ear attention to detail that grips you though – the tickling of the ears with sounds culled from table top detritus entwined within a body of sinewaves and low end throbs, the broken pottery being sifted through that compliments an emergent buzz, the discordant thrum of seriously detuned guitar strings as accompaniment to glass crunching. A complimentary pairing. Chuck in the bold design, plain brown card CD liner and you have a label worth following.
(Mark Wharton, Idwal Fisher)

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