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coverpic flag US - Illinois - Full Moon 229 - 05/04/15

PBK / Jim O'Rourke
Unidentified Again
Pica Disk

Unidentified Again is a collaboration work between noise and drone knights Phillip B. Klingler (a.k.a. PBK) and Jim O'Rourke, released by Lasse Marhaug's Pica Disk label. Expect music from where the sun don't shine.

American composer Klingler has recorded and released experimental music for almost three decades. He has known Jim O'Rourke since 1989. O'Rourke, on his side, has a career spanning almost as long as Klinger's and he has a wall-to-wall discography counting a long solo career, numerous bands (Brise-Glace, Gastr del Sol, The Red Krayola, Sonic Youth, Loose Fur, to name but a few) and collaborations with bands/artist all over the world. I do not know Klinger's, or PBK's work, but I know some of what Jim O'Rourke has been up to over the years. O'Rourke is also ready with a new solo album entitled Simple Songs (for Drag City). More on that next moonth. I guess his new solo platter is a lot more 'simple' music, or conventional than the content on this massive collaboration.

Unidentified Again is a monstrous, 4-wheeled vehicle. Heavy on the experimental/noise/improv side. It is a double vinyl epic, sides A to D, with one long composition per record side: "The Turning Night", "Myths in Translation", "End of the Landscape", and "Long Lain in the Stream". Phillip B. Klingler, April 2015: 'I first met Jim O'Rourke in 1989. We corresponded by mail and would talk on the phone frequently. Jim was in college at that time and he was very excited about music. He sent me mixtapes, we would talk about his love of Van Dyke Parks, his work with KK Null or Henry Kaiser. I also remember he sent me Godflesh' Streetcleaner album which he likened to King Crimson's Red. [...] We talked about collaborating, but...' Years went by, but some three years ago Klingler and O'Rourke got in touch again, and Unidentified Again started to happen. O'Rourke supplied Klingler with some 'source material', and PBK started to work with it. "The Turning Night" starts brutal, but turns into discreet modulation of quiet noise, which is tickling, pinning and plucking your eardrums. The night is shifting and gliding by as the sounds twist and turn. "Myths in Translation" keep on the calm noise sticking, and I imagine myself/tourself/anyone - the listener - lying on a flatbed bench ready for some acupuncture treatment. Tiny needles are slowly pinned to your muscles, to alleviate pain and (hopefully) to treat physical and emotional 'conditions', or to bring you somewher, someplace... to some different state of mind. All you have to do is to lie still, close your eyes, wait and see what happens. Just relax to await some effect. It's for sure a physical journey, as you float away with the intensity of the soundscapes. The intensity rises, before everything calms down again.

"End of the Landscape" is 'located somewhere else'. This is like being in some factory environment. Machines punch and run in a monotonous cycle. It is noisy, yes, but the noise is not extreme. This is noise as comfort, or through various grades of calmness. I guess sound treatment is the best alternative medicine around. As I have been through numerous tests and scans (my head) over the last few years, I can easily recall the position of lying there, hearing the sounds and various noises of the machines testing you. "Long Lain in the Stream" is maybe the scariest part, but the hints and tints of melodic patterns also has this comforting, soothing effect. This is also the part where most things happen, and go on in several directions - most of the time. Here are many variations along its long stretch. You don't get time to become bored.

Unidentified Again is a tough listen, but while you are at it the meditative effect is quite evident. This his hard-core experimentalism, for sure, and it takes quite some time to consume the matter or sound and its 'substance'. This is abstract noise-art collages, yes, but it is also a progressive movement for mind and body. If you are up for a nightly soundtrack for some 80 minutes, this could be it. This is far from unpleasant, even if it's way off from your regular comfort zone.

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