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Author Topic: Rodger Stella + Kites - Interior Moon LP  (Read 1986 times)
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« on: April 20, 2011, 11:07:15 AM »

A new release from American tape/experimental artist Rodger Stella is definitely something to be appreciated. His solo output tends to be somewhat sporadic as he takes an immense amount of care and effort into the production of each new piece of music. Each release emerges as a fully realized composition that is unique to itself but sheds light on previous releases, adding up to a very deliberate back catalog of sounds. Most Rodger Stella releases can clearly be marked under the designation of "noise" but generally are made up of sounds that are far different from the expectations of the genre from a noise artist. Usually very unique sounds are painstakingly created from endless processes and loops, with the physical care and craftsmanship of an old-school film editor. Stella comes from the time before computer editing made experimental and noise music much easier to record, and all of his sounds reflect a commitment to processes and formats long abandoned by the mainstream. Although still very much within the mindset and aesthetic of the more esoteric underground noise scene (Stella's music is uncompromising and would be impossible to pigeonhole), the craftsmanship and effort that goes in these recordings is that of a bygone era. Despite growing cynicism among the noise community (which is the natural result of a glut of "product" from unknown and unknowable performers produced with little effort or thought), it is imperative to support artists such as Stella who keep alive the flame of progression, hard work, and experimentation that is the foundation of this free-est of free music scenes. With all of the freedom inherent in the noise genre, few artists dare to operate outside of the framework of expectations. The focus of this recording, as on all release from Rodger Stella, is on pure electronic sound. This recording in particular was created as a collaboration with Northeastern noise artist Kites, who no longer uses that moniker to my knowledge. Although I do not recognize his sound on this release in particular, he surely contributed to the overall sound and mood of this LP because it is very unusual in sound and presentation.
The album itself is comprised of a series of interlocking and throbbing electronic loops that seem to lock together like a Moebius strip. One sound will flow along in a steady, pleasant manner while gradually making space for other sounds that come in and out of the background. The heavy sound of the release seems to affect reality as the volume is turned up or down, with the waves of sound interrupting natural awareness of body processes and into self-awareness of a more infinite concept of time. There are very gentle and natural sounds (similar to some of the electronic percussion on the first three Cluster records, but floating in an undefined space) as the underlying bed beneath a pulsing synth blurt that operates as the main sound of the piece, sort of an anchor for the journey of sound that the duo of Stella and Kites embark on. The overall activity is internal and reflective, for the most part the release stays with a basic drone loop that warps around the listeners mind until it is possible to pick out the multitudes of other worlds of sound just beneath the surface. Cluster and Harmonia seem to be major touchpoints with the vibe of this release, as well as other German minimalism (Rodger's extensive work with tape even recalls the great noise master Karlheinz Stockhausen). Each side of the LP ends with a repeating loop, and there have been times when listening where (a) I was listening to the record and I thought that it was on the loop already only to change gradually as I listen and (b) I was on the loop for a long time hearing all kinds of different sounds and thinking the LP was still progessing. The basic sound of the record is disorienting and time-warping, much like the lunar pull alluded to in the title (seeming to suggest a lunar pull within oneself).
The record that I have comes with a few copied inserts, including some very old drawings of odd little Bosch-ian creatures and several illustrations by Kites, as well as an odd and slurred page of typing that seems to be a shamanic recollection of a sexual encounter with one or more extraterrestrials who at the very least put forth an effort to replicate the feel of human genitals, with curious and seemingly transformative results. Along with the "White Power" LP by Xenophobic Ejaculation, this is perhaps one of the most room-transforming vinyl records that I have heard from a recent noise artist. When listened to at properly loud volume, it will be in the minds of nearby residents in your community not as music but as that strange sound coming from down the street. Artwork for this release contributes to the mysterious sci-fi vibe of the release, perfectly fleshing out the strange world that the music seems to emerge from. Like the best noise and experimental artists, Stella (and Kites) on this release seem to challenge and play with the very nature of experiencing sound in time (specifically the future, the vantage point from which the audience sits down and listen to the recording...). It seems to be alive and enters into our conscious awareness of our environment, causing the world to appear different, a little bit more free and open. It is a sound that transforms a mundane day into the present, the time where you feel like you are alive and in touch with yourself. Rather than dedication to personality, the finest noise artists make a dedication to pure sound and exploration of the meaning within, destroying closed-minded limitations instated by the mass commodification of music/sound. The rhythmic structure indeed changes when the record arrives to the locked groove on each side, but each loop acts as an additional side, with a hidden drone and upbeat percussive loop that literally can go on for infinity (or at least until the power goes out). Every time I listen to this release I notice new sounds beneath the surface, even though the basic structure and dedication to minimal sound seems completely monomaniacal and singular upon the first encounter. Similar to abductee descriptions of the stages of awareness, the "layers of the onion," the sounds peel one by one and unfold to reveal deeper layers that grow more potent as the exploration continues. The record does an amazing job of artistically representing the concept of magnetic attraction through sound, with a hypnotic pull that is both a meditation and a measured attempt to harness and control the surrounding environment. Although experimental in nature, the results are undeniably a huge success. Less chaotic and haywire than Stella's previous LP, the life-changing disturbo-analog epic "Foucault Zombie," this one is like an infinitely powerful laser beam that decimates anything in its path. This one is most definitely on heavy rotation around the office here, just an incredibly enjoyable experience. Do not expect anything on this release other than pure, undiluted audio alchemy delivered in a manner that is mandatory listening for anyone interested in modern electronic minimalism.

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