earthly delights archive

Reviews:

Nocturnal Emissions
Autonomia
Soleilmoon Recordings SOL 22 CD (1996)
Track listing

This may be Nocturnal Emissions' umpteenth release, but their roots are still firmly in the late '70s DIY dub/industrial interface that first set them off around 1980.Given that the work of near-contemporaries such as Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire is as much of an influence as ever on new electronic music, it is unsurprising that Nocturnal Emissions aren't hung up on "keeping abreast". They know full well that if they continue to pursue the same line of grubby electronica that they have done for the last 15 years, there is no way that they will ever become just a historical curiosity. So, you'll be pleased to know, there are no sad attempts to appeal to the mythical "wider audience" here.

Conceptually, this album is flawed. Each track begins with a minute or two of "scanned" telephone conversation and, while these snatches are grotesquely fascinating in themselves, there is no real attempt to incorporate them into the musical flow or address the concepts of arranging pre-existing "non-musical material into organised units. Luckily though, the music itself is entirely compelling. On Toyota, a nebulous lattice of whirrs and creaks is gradually made vertebrate by the slow build-up of dub depth charges straight out of Creation Rebel's Space Movement rather than today's cleaned-up digi-version.Boo comes over like something from The Faust Tapes played by Throbbing Gristle and then given the once-over by Pierre Henry. The remaining five tracks are equally as inventive.

Ultimately this rises above its conceptual shortcomings because of the sheer force of the musical imagination behind it. Check it out.

Ben Smith
Magic Feet
July 1996

Sound sculptor Nigel Ayers delivers more intriguing soundscapes on his newest effort, intelligently amalgamating electronic, ethnic, and experimental musics, as exemplified by the electro-ethnic industrial hybrid Boo, and the noise-ethno-techno of Load II where organic hand percussion meets a flittering sequencer, dance beats, and backwards flute. And itís fun, too: every experiment is prefaced by an excerpt from illegally recorded phone calls Ė truly banal, useless conversations with annoying people Ė the first, a woman interrogating her delinquent husband, is the most amusing and irritating.

Bryan Reesman
Huh Magazine
 

Haha, itís always a pleasure to hear what Nigel Ayers has in store for us this time. Autonomia contains 7 similarly constructed pieces, in which a scanned telephone conversation acts as preamble to an extensive electro-acoustic rhythm exercise. Although it was most probably Ayersí intention to use scanned conversations as mere intermezzos for his own musical exploits, the spoken parts are the real eye/ear catchers on this album. Itís all pretty funny and pleasant to hear, and if you like the atmosphere of Scannerís works as well as the more rhythmical side of Nocturnal Emissions, Iím quite positive you will know how to appreciate this album.


Opscene 54

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