bitstream conversion 0.1
  ...a runaway track project

cdwhon001, released in june 1999, 13 tracks, 73'51", featuring

...Artificial Memory Trace
...Plan-net Panic
...Girospace & Korghül
...Rhizomix 23 vs ß-seed

After numerous live performances, the "Runaway Track" organization gets its first document available.
Each of their events provides a collision of thrilling live electronics & DJ skills.
"BITSTREAM CONVERSION 0.1" extends the experience, with a variety of styles and means that go far beyond the current beat trends.
Technotic organic sounds structures, sophisticated dark ambient, empiric analogical researches, weird noises and rythms.

[jump to radiantslab's shop]



Bitstream Conversion 0.1 is the CD that launched small Belgium label Erewhon. This compilation documents the events organized by Runaway Track. The concert series put together live electronic artists and DJs. The CD follows the same path, letting styles and influences clash together. The project is hosted (the right expression would be "held together") by AMT (aka Artificial Memory Trace), who supplies snippets of weird domestic audio art in the vein of his CD Vol. 7: Ritmax Asimetra serving as interludes between more consistent pieces. Artists featured include IIrO (that would be the letter Pi, as in "pyro"), Plan-net Panic, Rhizomix 23, ß-Seed, Girospace, Korghül, and Innerland. Some play together, some are remixed by another, others do their own little thing. The track list follows a course from experimental electronica to dark ambient and finally to more standard (using the term loosely) techno. That is to say: Experimentation recedes and the importance of rhythm becomes stronger the more one advances from one track to the next. The best contributions come from IIrO and Girospace & Korghül (the latter piece will make you feel lost in space inside a very tiny shuttle), plus of course AMT's interpolations. Bitstream Conversion is guaranteed to empty a dancefloor. Once the dancers are all comfortably seated, maybe they'll start listening.

François Couture, All-Music Guide

The bulk of the album contains live or remixed tracks from a venue called Runaway Track, and was engineered by Slavek Kwi. And in an interesting twist he has interspersed AMT fragments between the 'main' pieces - 7 in all though they total to around 6 minutes. Originally recorded for a radio show (one includes a station id) they showcase Kwi's methods and interests. There are lots of bird noises, vocalisations - not words but sounds and effects - accompanied by rhythmic electronica and cracklings and pops, with a (slightly) more extended ambience in the final track. While too short to do more than give a taster of AMT they provide the album with a unifying structure and provide balance to the pace of the longer pieces.

The rest of the album showcases 5 bands across 6 extended tracks - they range between 9 and 14 minutes. (Pi - the symbol)rO are the first full track - none of which are named. As with most of these pieces - and what you would expect from live acts - they takes us on a soundscape-journey. Over the course of 13 minutes we shift from a simple looping selection of machines, crackling and pulses into a period of almost industrialnoise with loud pulsing and rattles which relaxes down into a more ambient section with dark echoed drones and finally settles into a gentle buzzing finale.

Plan-net Panic have tracks 4 and 12: the first is a drifting ambient with high tones over which an extended sample about the Vietnam war floats, before a beat slowly develops and the set becomes a little more active, still with the ringing tones and squirrls though and gradually the whole becomes more dense as elements are added to the mix rising to a dramatic climax with whirring drones and dense percussion and an organ solo. With 12 they take a different tack, putting together a bubbling active base with some industrial overtones which is invaded by some squelchy blurts that then drifts towards a looser section that gradually lightens and fades.

Rhizomix 23 do a remix of Beta-seed live, and they produce a slippery soundscape that slides from pulsing humms to softly demented horns and chitterloops over a rising drone into a dark noisey machinedriven squeaking and then slow siren with random piano notes, as the track ends the driving drone fades and leaves a horn, some more focused piano and complex jungle sounds and then a gentle tonal fade into a phonetone final loop.

Some lovely analogue equipment appears to be the mainstay of Girospace&Korghul's live set. Echoing noises and a cycling rhythm loop presage the entry of various analog scales and percussion, and we are traveling through a shifting scratchy enlarging noisefest - a sudden silence and then a new direction a edgy loops are rebuilt, echoed and modulated, a constant buzz in there too. Of the pieces here this has the most live feel - you can almost see them bent over their machinery playing with knobs, feeding in the sound, manipulating the feedback.

The mix provided by Innerland (10) is in some ways closer to AMT than the others - a concretey soundscape of rapid percussion loops, squeaky and melodic slower loops, tweaked by the odd sounds here and there, slowly evolving in and out of a more spacious ambience while maintaining a nice groove, concluding with a fascinating jittery touch.

The six pieces collected hear are quite different, but all present sound works whose drive is to slowly shift and change through their span. They do this well, creating pieces which have enough happening to maintain your interest, and with the AMT interludes it all comes together as work worth listening to.

&etc v3.9 - Jeremy Keens - Ampersand Etcetera - Volume 3 Number 9