Spring 2004 A4 40 pages
ENDGAME - Sonic Explorations
photocopy reprint (last 2 copies)
Example article extract
For almost 20 years brothers Steve and Alan Freeman have enlivened the English alternative music panorama with quite a few initiatives...
1) "Audion" magazine, which since its early days imposed itself as a source for research or discoveries for progressive music admirers.
2) The mail order "Ultima Thule", now a shop in the centre of Leicester praising the ideal catalogue for enthusiasts of Krautrock, Rock In Opposition and experimental music.
3) The "Auricle" label, which published a series of legendary cassettes (such as Robert Rich concerts, Lightwave first albums, Günter Schickert and Djam Karet unpublished work, Ole Højer Hansen, David Prescott, Conrad Schnitzler, Asmus Tietchens and Peter Frohmader) and now publishes CDR's.
4) The recently established "Ultimate Transmissions" label aimed to publish official CD's.
5) And the "Audion Publications" publishing house, concerning music books such as the well-known Krautrock encyclopedia "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg". An encyclopedia regarding Italian Progressive is being made.
The two amateur musician Freeman brothers have carried out lots of either solo-projects or ensemble-projects by chasing the ghosts of "Kosmische Musik" as well as a certain European vanguard; their files include work by Alto Stratus, Biomechanoid, Zircon & The Burning Brains, Region 5, Electric Junk, Adhara, and Vrije - all affected by cosmic Germans, minimalism, both the English experimental school (mostly Nurse With Wound) and the French one (Richard Pinhas, Heldon) or Asmus Tietchens and Conrad Schnitzler abstractness.
In 1999 Steve Freeman, along with (ex-members of the psychedelic folk band Shapeshifter) Alan Freeman and Jim Tetlow, got together and gave birth to what would become Endgame. They started a string of sound experiments grounding upon absolute shamelessness, or total interaction/improvisation, on the track of the most loved sound, the one of Tangerine Dreams' first four albums, or early Cluster, Faust, The Cosmic Jokers, Kraftwerk - not without exploring in 'avant-garde' direction, with specific reference to Cologne school (Stockhausen) or the French electro-acoustic one (Henry, Schaeffer, Parmegiani), as far as present day, with groups such as Lightwave. In their recording studio, the three have collected session recordings for years, and they've now recorded a CD-series (for Ultimate Transmission) and also CDR's (for Auricle) of great interest.
Other than CD's, there are some interesting audio cassettes too: EARLY STASIS - the group's first available work (July 1999) - which leads back to the beginning of the Lightwave, due to the peculiar use of the synth and the electronic effects; STRETCHED ACROSS THE SEA, a shapeless, structure-less labyrinth of sounds and electric frequencies, a genuine, wild, space-style improvisation with connection to definite music; TREPPENHAUS, dedicated to M.C. Escher and characterised by a mix of space electronics and genuine avant-garde, with synthetic sequence hybrids and Ligeti-style compositions.
Other curious CDR's include ICH BIN SCHIZOPHRENE - compared by critics to THE FAUST TAPES - made of fragments of unused materials, discard articles and small patterns, sounds from different extraction obtained by the assemble of magnetic tapes; METABOLISM, a ludicrous trip made of distorted guitars and characterised by frequent deflections towards a wildly bizarre deeply odd kind of electronic.
An official CD evolving through the misty, fluctuating background of Tangerine Dream's ZEIT, good for trips down the depth of the universe. It's four very long, complicated tracks of over 2 hours of extremely intense music aiming to celebrate the width of the universe through brave excursions inside electronic nonsense, huge sound expansion, direction swings. We deal with pure, unpolluted creativity, free artistic expression, smooth flooding of sound and frequencies, pure creativity, like being in a laboratory where everything has been sacrificed in the name of research. A comparison with pioneers of electronic music is possible, even binding, to an extent that my mind goes to Louis and Bebe Barron, Walter Carlos, mostly to Tangerine Dream or Popol Vuh's AFFENSTUNDE. We can experience the same tension, electronic mysticism or holy dimension. To be listened to in the dark, to ensure the crossing to another dimension.
It's another double record, with a cosmic direction in the first CD and an acid, highly corrosive one in the second. It's a mix of synths, guitars, effects of any kind, advanced vocal treatments and controlled rumbling. In some passages only three guitars play, even though one wouldn't say, because of the so high level of sound manipulation.
Frequent beatings typical of Conrad Schnitzler can be understood, or the misty, death panoramas by Asmus Tietchens, or the industrial deserts by Kluster, or the robotic, early Kraftwerk, or the abstractions by Harmonia. There is no lack of hints to Amon Düül's most experimental stage either, or connections to a certain English space rock of the 70's (Hawkwind, of course).
A quite appropriate title, this one, for a truly crazy album, which mixes up Surrealism and Dadaism with the usual Krautrock.
It's more Faust than Tangerine Dream, chaos
and Nihilism, strokes of uncompromising avant-garde (echoes from Pauline
Oliveros or Ellen Fullman), droning music Current 93-like, extended use of
absurd vocalisations or incomprehensible alien languages, of acid loops and
metallic connections with Nocturnal Emissions. Strangely, though, this is also
one of the most comprehensible titles in Endgame's whole discography as there
is no dislike for connections with a more classical ambient music or early
Pink Floyd and Soft Machine's boundary-rock.
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