The first issue of Staaltape’s Audiozine is titled: Glenn Branca. And here is why: At the end of the month September 2012, the French-Dutch alliance D I K T A T performed at the Sonic Circuits Festival in Washington D.C. The Glenn Branca Ensemble performed at that same festival, two days after Diktat had opened it. The Diktatorians soon became frequent occupiers of the back stage room, for it was the only place where they could drink the beers they had bought outside. It is here they met Glenn Branca. Jean Bordé, the double bass player, was the spokesman for the group. Two other members were too busy recording the whole situation. Parts of Glenn Branca’s evenings performance ended on the dictaphone as well.
The fourth member – me. Rinus van Alebeek, took those recordings home. I needed them for the preperation of the Audiozine ‘Diktat in America.’ I started working on this issue instead.
Glenn Branca is a black chrome cassette of 60 minutes.
Side A – City of Music
This is a long composition in which parts of the Branca recordings and New York City location recordings are used.
Side B – Paris – New York
This piece is the complete recording of the backstage conversation.
Side B – D.C.Sept. 30 2012
Excerpts from the performance.
The recordings on dictaphone were made by Harold Schellinx, Emmanuel Rebus and Rinus van Alebeek. The New York location recordings were made by Rinus van Alebeek.
The cassette comes in a custom made cardboard package with X-Ray pictures on the front and back side. The inlay is a high quality color print, plus a written piece of paper with the basic liner notes. Every copy has a different X-ray.
Price 8.00 Euro, available through staaltape at staalplaat.com or directly from the shop.
In how far this is an Audiozine, is of course to be judged by the listener. It was my intention to combine elements of essay-writing, travelogues, documentary and, in this case, docu-fiction.
If to some of you it still sounds like music, well, then let it sound like music!
Note: all copying and assembling was done at home. No mini-mass production was used in the process.
Ed Pinsent writes in The Sound Projector:
“Now we have an item clipped in a shiny black box. On the front is a murky image which I take to be an x-ray of a spinal column. The interior is disguised as an old Sacha Distel tape on a budget label. This AudioZine #1: Glenn Branca item is the work of Rinus Van Alebeek, who composed the A side ‘City Of Music’ using location recordings from New York City – there are numerous edits and strange treatments, including some echo and backwards tapes perhaps, and the music of Glenn Branca may appear here also. Spoken word elements there be, isolated remarks from an American companion (playing Virgil to Van Alebeek’s Dante), leaking into the chaotic and vivid sounds of the gigantic metal monster that is NYC. What a living breathing creature he transforms it into. I sometimes wonder why other “artistic” field recordists tend to produce such dead documents of the environment: sedate, minimal, almost inhuman in their clinical beauty. Then you hear an ugly but vital document like this one, almost scary in the way it depicts and totally embraces the raw and bleeding inhospitality of modern urban life. This is not a question of looking among “the garbage and the flowers”, but allowing yourself to be run over by an entire fleet of garbage trucks and very possibly eaten alive by the giant rats of Manhattan. From these edits and treatments, there emerges a glorious roar of abstract noise which makes you glad to be alive.
On the B side we have further recordings from Paris, New York and Washington D.C.; for parts of these aural journeys, Van Alebeek is assisted by Harold Schellinx and Emmanuel Rebus. Schellinx is an important creator (musician, writer and artist) from the Dutch underground who played in post-punk bands in the 1970s, and has been creating sonic diaries for about 13 years with his portable Walkman recorder and tiny mic clipped to his jacket lapel. This side is largely more straightforward and non-composed, it includes a long (bootleg-quality) recording of Glenn Branca’s guitar music being played at a venue and we also eavesdrop on a conversation between an American (probably Branca himself) and our European friends; some of this has been used as raw material for the A side. Branca’s contribution is such that he even has his own name loosely inserted in the release on a small piece of orange paper. Would he appreciate being visually compared to Sacha Distel?”