you don’t get this exceptionally high degree of uncut humanity and honesty captured on tape every day

Audiozine #3 – Valerie Kuehne is reviewed by Ed Pinsent in The Sound Projector. He hears “evidence of a wild, peculiar talent.” Read the complete review here.

The second edition is now available at Staalplaat in Berlin (postal orders too), directly from the artist, or from yours sincerely (contact form at bottom of this post).

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Earlier reviewers-

“I never had heard any other music of Valerie Kuehne, but she has a new follower!” says Johan Nederpel in Yeah, I know it sucks.

“She performs with great style,” says Frans De Waard in Vital Weekly #1032

“Sehr hoher Unterhaltungswert,” says DJ TDK aka Thomas Neumann in Hörerlebnis, Ausgabe 97 (physical copy)

 

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Review of Midori Hirano – And I Am Here

Ed Pinsent stepped out of the elevator, after a ride up to the roof to look at the aeroplanes descent or climb up to the nearest cloud. It was twenty minutes to go up  and twenty minutes to return to street level again. The loudspeakers in the elevator transmitted Midori’s tape.

Here’s what he wrote in The Sound Projector when he came back home.

“And I Am Here (STAALTAPE) by Midori Hirano is the latest cassette tape to arrive from Rinus van Alebeek’s Staaltape label. We have heard instances of classical pianist Hirano’s work before, namely LushRush and Klo:Yuri, both on the Japanese Noble label, records which I’m sorry to say did not endear themselves wholly to me; her work seemed too cloying, sentimental, verging on the twee. To be blunt, her first album was so wispy it struck me as “an avant-garde attempt to make an Enya album” at the time. However, she’s worthy to be included in the Staaltape inner circle, and was one of the many contributors featured on theBerlin Tape Run 2 cassette, so I will attempt to restrain my acerbity.

And I Am Here works well as a good assembly of sounds, namely unadorned field recordings mixed with short passages of music, either Hirano playing an out-of-tune piano, or singing, or both. The notes here indicate that she regards the piano itself as a “found object”, much like the field recordings are “found sounds” on one level. She embraces the fact that the instrument is “strongly detuned”, and there are no efforts to overcome this obstacle. Right there I must admit it’s an improvement on the studio-based process-heavy albums from 2006 and 2008, which just seemed to have one too many interfering layers of additional elements, particularly from her computers. More to the point, And I Am Here works because it integrates the musical passages into the imaginary landscape created by the field recordings, so the tunes are not set aside as “art”, but are rather to be heard as part of the overall continuum of life. Conversely, the field recordings start to sound more like music in this context; and in support of this she has certainly selected some highly positive and user-friendly sounds, evoking sunny days, good weather, children at play. None of the urban squalor or menace which might be conveyed using recordings of factories or over-crowded streets.

At the end, I personally find her tentative voice an irritant, and her minimal piano tunes still appear maudlin to me, but as noted I do appreciate the more rugged and raw abstract tendencies on this assemblage, which I find preferable to her slightly over-produced studio works. As a statement, this cassette is concise and direct with its moments of distilled beauty. At best, moments of the tape are as strong as Eno’s Music For Airports, a comparison I do not make lightly; it’s got the same centre of stillness and calm. 18 copies only in this first edition; I received this copy 10 February 2015. I note from the most current page of the Staaltape website that it’s already up to a fourth edition.”

From this fourth edition there is only one copy left at the staalplaat store in Berlin (mailorder too).

Keep an eye on this blog for the announcement with pictures and all of the upcoming release:

Jeff Surak – All Gold

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On this picture the first packing of Jeff’s tape. Pictures of booklet and ultimate packet still to come.

 

 

4th Edition of Midori Hirano – And I Am Here

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The fourth edition of Midori Hirano’s tape comes again in a limited edition. There are ten copies made. When you look at the pictures you might understand why I cannot make bigger numbers.

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Not in the picture are the central pages of the booklet where you will find a short story. Once these copoes are gone, I -or maybe Midori- will start working on a fifth edition.

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This is how it looks like in the shop.

Find more staaltape releases in the staalplaat catalogue.

Complete information on Midori Hirano – And I Am Here

NEW! Audiozine #1 – Glenn Branca

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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!

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