CORDELL KLIER: CAVERN POEMS
LP: Miisc r002 [2003]
Ltd x 350

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Packaged in typically minimalistic miisc style, this limited-edition eight-tracker is an enigmatic phenomenon right from the start. No indication is given as to which side is A and which is B, or what the tracks are called. Indeed, I only play it at 33 rather than 45 because it sounds better that way; there are no clues on the record or the packaging. miisc's catalogue describes it as a 12" rather than an LP, which does make me wonder though.

Games like these can come across as childish and irritating, but - like Coil's unlabelled ELpH CD which can easily get put in the CD player the wrong way up - the resulting state of error-prone non-determinism is perfectly in keeping with the ambience of the music. Cordell Klier constructs rhythms, loops and beats out of the sounds of stray voltages in the analogue domain and spurious bits in the digital. Turn your speakers off and on again; unplug the line-out jack from your soundcard and tap your finger on the tip. Sample something from a poorly-grounded source and keep only the crack at the end of the file where the DC offset returned to zero. This is the kind of palette with which Klier works. Worship the glitch indeed.

Perhaps this summary will make Klier seem less innovative and explorational than he really is. Track two on side-with-the-record-company's-name lays cold, spacious curtains of sound - the caverns of the title perhaps? - over nervous crackles of percussion. Track three on the other hand threatens to break out into whimsical Matmos-ism or perky Mouse On Mars-ery, but only hints at their cheeky organic forms, until track four creeps in with the sound of a telephone ringing in the distance, and a crackle of dirt on the record that turns out to be a drum loop after all.

What scares me is I'm not sure how far these games go and how much is my own paranoia. Track two on side-with-the-artist's-name hit a minimalist groove that went on for hours - possibly longer than the entire duration of the side anyway - before my girlfriend finally brought it to our attention. I examined the record, and lo and behold, either there is a locked groove concealed near the end of the track, or my copy had somehow picked up a micro-scratch that made the needle jump back by exactly one bar's worth of music -- before the first listen. We may never know. In order to get as far as the surgically precise techno of track three, I have to tap the top of the record player until the needle jumps. If Cordell Klier or anyone from miisc or their associates read this, I'd rather not know the truth. That would spoil the fun.


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[Cordell Klier] / [Miisc]

Direct Link: http://www.auralpressure.com/review/c/cordell_klier_cavern_poems.html