A battle of the styluses? Close encounters of the steel-wheel kind? Though not the kind of "match-up" that would have Christian Marclay fanatics drooling over their slipmats, this meeting/mash of two turntable artisans and renowned underground sound samplists is nevertheless a tantalizing prospect. Both highly respected non-musicians of the international electroacoustic community, France's ErikM has worked with Thomas Lehn and Luc Ferrari, been a member of pioneering EAI ensemble poire_z, and authored many esteemed sound installations; dieb13, hailing from Vienna, is a fixture on the Mego circuit, working with like-minded folks such as Burkhard Stangl and Pure, is part of the superb ensemble Efzeg, and has honed his craft across the cream of experimental music's most forward-thinking imprints (For 4 Ears, Charhizma, Grob, Hat Art, etc.).
Quoting from Erstwhile Records' online bio, "ErikM and dieb13 recorded quite a bit of material for this project, five concerts plus an Amann Studios session. From this all-duo material, each musician made his own CD mix, stamping their own personalities back onto the combined material." Judging from the projects' origins, and the unassailable pedigree of both artists, one might conceive of a "finished" work that reaps major stylistic rewards. On the contrary, the set's title functions as far too apt a descriptor. ErikM presides over the first disc, charging through a disjointed series of 25 cut-up vignettes spanning an idealistic chasm that plays sampler havoc, autopsying recorded music's history albeit underpinned with the odd contemporary signifier (a brief snatch of drum 'n' bass rhythm, miniscule electronic spatters and flourishes). Despite whatever sample food dieb13 brings to bear, ErikM's keen on letting sounds fly helter-skelter, shorn of context and wearying on attention spans.
His partner's side fairs somewhat better. At least dieb13 allows his "compositional" tendencies a degree of breathing room: a number of his tracks court some length, unlike the brief, brightest-candle flare-outs of ErikM's ditties, working abrasive thickets of sound out of more rarified mulch. Fundamentally, each disc are two sides of a similar coin, and, were it not for the 40-minute (!) piece which closes dieb13's slab - an interminable end-groove runout that, conceptual Cageian rigor aside, wears out its welcome after a scant few minutes - the yin to each set's yang suggests the pair have loftier territorial imperatives. On their own, the attendant turntable splatter yields merely a recombinant mess.
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