Michael Prime & Noise-Maker’s Fifes
01 Live ‘De Schakel’ Brussel 04-22-94 (41:50)
Sound-scapes Of The Inner Eye Part 3
02 Organical Phantasmagoria (11:23)
03 The Battla House – Part Two (32:50)
04 Burnt By Ice (2:42)
Total time 1h28mn
Cassette released on NMT, Belgium, 1994
Michael Prime: water machine, electronics, tapes
Timo Van Luuck: flute, trumpet, live sampling
Geert Feytons: aquarium noise generator, e-bow guitar, bells, wood, percussion, bowed cymbal, field recordings, live video
Greg Jacobs: violin
Eric Faes: live mix
Brussels, Belgium-based Geert Feytons (1967-2006) started the NMT label in 1984 to release the music of his sound art project Noise Maker’s Fifes, active 1990-2006 (see official website and previous post). The NMT acronym apparently stands for ‘nooit meer taxen’, or no more taxes. Noise Maker’s Fifes’s music was one of the most challenging and musically complex projects to come out of the European cassette scene. Their music mixes sound sculptures and self-build instruments, classical instruments (flute, trumpet, bass…), location recordings and found sounds, live recording situations with collective sound treatment strategy. While the influence of Belgian surrealism is obvious in NMF, their music can’t be tagged surrealist as such, rather the sonic events unfolds before you in the surreal way so typical of dreams. A CD titled ‘Public Frontation’ was released on CD by Twin Tub & Beaver, UK, 1996, though it bears few overlaps with the present cassette as it came without the Michael Prime/NMF side and with different track listing.
The side-long Brussel live recording with guest Michael Prime (see previous post) showcases some of Noise Maker’s Fifes sound sculptures build from metal, wood and found objects, producing gratting, bleak drones over which a flow of dreamy flute improvisations and Prime’s own musique concrète interjections coalesce into surreal-industrial soundscapes. The result, while not entirely sucessfull on the long run, is impressively focused, almost monolithic, though the sounds lack the variety of other NMF tracks.
NMF’s surreal psyche is best examplified on the B-side, especially with the monumental ‘The Battla House – Part Two’ where the mix of violin, echo-drenched trumpet, field recordings (fireworks, water streams) and electronic drones (note NMF doesn’t use synthesizer) builds a gripping and ear-challenging onirical landscape. The music is basically structured by the tiny watery sounds and location recordings, while other musicians would merely add them to a pre-defined structure. Such examples are scarce in electro-acoustic music, I think, and what makes NMF’s music such a rare thing. The recent work of French Christine Groult is almost the only one that matches this kind of sonic intricacies today.