PBK & Artificial Memory Trace
cdwhon002, released in october 2000, 9 tracks
... where some electro-acoustic music seems to shift rapidly from one
stream of events to the next, our music utilizes thematic development
to empower the sound structure. Because there are little repetitive
characteristics to the structure, it takes root in ways that more
chaotic sound-collisions cannot. Even as we find structure, we begin to
destroy, or deconstruct, it. There are constantly, at all moments, areas
that tend to punctuate the piece with dynamics. I like the way, at
times, the structure can be down to just one line of sound expression
and moments later there are many lines crossing and converging ...
PBK, December 1998 - from process
François Couture, All-Music Guide
There are three parts to the disk. The first, TransPhase 1 sees two long tracks 'PBK (vs AMT)' and 'AMT (vs PBK)' separated by a short 'transition zone'. I am assuming on the basis of the sounds and some later track names that the part in brackets is the originating source. The first track is quite gentle and subdued - throughout there are some soft electronicdrones and tones, with occasional flashes of activity: crackling and rumbling, machines whirring, bent notes, scratching mikes, electronic winds. These grow to transient climaxes before moving on, building to a dense accumulation at the latter part of the track, condensing around a squeaking noise like a gate. 17 seconds of breaking glass and a whirring wind (the transition zone) before we enter AMT (vs PBK). This takes the transition sounds and builds from them - more clicking and rumbling accompanying the wind, lots of squeaky radio sounds, low throbs, sqirrling space noises, high ticks. There is a lot of movement and activity shifting across the sound spectrum, building moments then moving on. The sounds selected are subtle and seductive, and include the human voice singing, breathing. Again, there is a transition between periods of intense activity and almost stasis: around halfway after some dense electronoises, the content drops to an almost silent dripping beat, gentle patterns overlaid, before rebuilding: starting with distant phasers and geiger counters, joined by many other sounds, including a huge flock of starlings. Another wild noisey climax leads to a gentle subdued fade.
In TransPhase 2 PBK (vs AMT) leads off with a single long track matched by 4 shorter ones going the other way. He provides a swirling electronic (sometimes feedback) soundscape over which clicks and ticks, processed voices, echoing blurts build and sweep. It is very dramatic and exciting, somewhat more forceful than TransPhase 1. The second half is more restrained, with the backdrop removed and a focus on echo&processed voices - indeed there is a sortofdub feel to a lot of the activity occuring - before metallic tones and ticking build, ebbing and flowing to a pulsing end. 'Fragmenthol I.' [AMT (vs PBK)] sees a percussive outing with a deep beat, chitters and a fast knocking which shifts around the soundspace. These elements are joined by a fast tick before it breaks down to a slower beat and electronoises in the central part before redeveloping with the occasional clatter. There are two parts to 'Retouch': the first half is very restrained with a gentle clatter and drone joined by fleeting sounds - organ pulses, crackling, wooshes, bubbling - to be replaced by a dense complex of almost random accumulations of similar noises. The final two pieces in this section - 'Contextura I._III.' and 'Fragmenthol II.' - are very minimalist. The first works around long rising and falling tones, with low banging, pulsing, deep notes and a crackling percussive texture, while the second is quite a glitchy microwave piece building to a climax and retreating.
And finally, the single 'Mus_eq (PBK/AMT)' of TransPhase 3 - perhaps one of the more unusual pieces I have come across: it is a recording made by AMT of 'children with learning disability listening to PBK, manipulating paper and plast.' Which is exactly what it is - a distant PBK electronica with rustling noises over the top, little local noises, and then a child crying and another vocalising. Quite bizarre, but strangely it works.
This is an album which, like other AMT material, revels in its diversity, and which the descriptions above should be seen as only touching on. The sounds are always interesting, never merely annoying (and if they are only briefly and in context), and wildly diverting - the range of moods, methods, sounds and sensations is absorbing.
&etc v3.8 - Jeremy Keens - Ampersand Etcetera - Volume 3 Number 8
Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly 251
Todd Zachritz, Godsend online