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62 Eulengasse - PW 21
Release Date: 5 May 1995
Time - Cage 51.48
all tracks written by Pete Namlook & Tetsu Inoue
Okay, I was a bit taken back when I cranked up Time - Cage. I was expecting a follow up to Shades 2, but heard something quite different. Perhaps there was a shift in the dominating element- maybe more Namlook than Inoue- which is not bad mind you! I like it very much, and I recommend it highly- it was just a bit more somber and subdued than I had expected. Anyways, this is one loooong track which goes with the somber melody for a good while until it begins to deconstruct into some darker environments. There is a small rhythm present which works very well- complimenting the dark rumblings, echoes, etc. It is like being in a huge chasmic space- hearing all the ambient noises, winds and echoes. Very nice indeed. Towards the end of the track the melody resurfaces and things slowly dimish and fade out of existence. Ah, now xxxx was what I had wanted to hear the first time around. Whew, I breathed a sigh of relief. Again there is a subdued and flowing melody, but the moodiness is gone- replaced by that still tranquil feeling I always get (the Inoue syndrome as my friends call it). This is a beautiful piece, flowing along, long single notes fading in and out. Wow. Then around 8 minutes, things begin to change and shift. Rumbles begin, echoes. And then the melody is gone. I kinda wish it had stayed for a bit longer. Now xxxx is something quite scary- music for an alien landscape or something. Dark and really really deep. Hmmm. Hey, bring back that other stuff! All in all, I enjoy 62 Eulengasse a lot, despite the fact that it is more environment than ambient.
(review by rdudley)
This has long been one of my favorite FAX releases along with Jet chamber. Letting the cat out of the bag, I give them both 10/10s for ambient style. These CDs could be playing on repeat in the background of my office, my home, wherever- and I wouldn't get tired of them. Each sets a mood for me which isn't worth describing - it'll be different for everyone - but just that emotive quality is enough for me to give them both my highest recommendation. Very chill, Jet Chamber has a bit more going on in it than 62 Eulengasse - but it blends in with the overall tones to produce something so background and "normal" yet so comfortable and controlled, like technology integrated successfully with it's organic surroundings. 62 Eulengasse, being more subdued than Jet Chamber, provides an organic environmental ambience like being in a crowded room of people, where everyone is being absolutely silent. There's an almost tangible feel to the room, and sounds come and go, but there's nothing overtly happening. Wish I had the words to describe this better.
(review by Michael Lekas)
One of the most overlooked and overshadowed works in the popularly triumphant FAX catalog, 62 Eulengasse stands as possibly the most intriguing of all of the now-legendary live sessions of collaborators Tetsu Inoue and Pete Namlook. Next to such highly-touted predecessors as 2350 Broadway and Ambiant Otaku, a work with such emotional and technical contortion as this cannot help but be regarded as an eccentricity. Although infused with the spirit of the FAX classics, 62 Eulengasse reaches into new territory and further ideas of improvisational electronics. This music is much more gripping than the meandering sprawl of 2350 Broadway, more cerebral than the distilled narcotic relaxant of Ambiant Otaku. Full of twists and subtlety, this uncommon disc is not immediately accessible but is full of rewards for the analytical listener. Unconventional ambient composition, surprisingly raw emotions and a blessed lack of Namlook meddling combine to create a very memorable journey into the realm of sound theatre.
Time - Cage - - - The disc fades up quickly to reveal a softly undulating lake of sound. In his analog heyday, Inoue was masterful at creating these sorts of regal vistas of multi-harmonics, and this is clearly no exception. Immediately the mind's eye is mesmerized with a massive soundbulk that expands and contracts simultaneously, organically. Bands of less melodic noise set up a lateral composition, forming a canvas upon which the following 74 minutes of music will paint itself. After a short interval of cloudlike drifting in this duo's classic manner, something strange happens. A small electric chirp crops up directly in the middle of everything, completely stealing focus. Like it or not, this sound has gall to show itself so blatantly! Rhythmically duplicating and very monotonous, this element is a long-term guest of the time-cage. Prying attention away from this upstart, we see that the hole through which this noise entered has freed several more: a pitch-shifted percussive pattern, a momentary hi-hat. Activity is starting to form. A metronome within the space. As the minutes pass and the stage of sound is perused, the atmosphere is rich and full with blankets of harmony surrounding the central pattern-cluster. This cluster, as well as nearly everything else in the piece, is being subjected to various realtime manipulations. Everything is very cohesive, the composition resembling a collection of seeds within an apple. Eventually the stillness is broken by the intrusion of accentuated drum hitsthat are quickly submerged in a cavelike space, marking a transition into darker areas of music. (Time - Cage and 62 Eulengasse in general are permeated by such focus-stealers such as these, and at first they may irk the listener. Given time, however, it is possible to grasp their meaning and compositional purpose. Like bright yellow dots in the middle of a black wall, these elements challenge our preconceptions and force the mind to expect the unexpected.) By now all mental focus is shifted to the center, on a pulsating confluence of improvisational noises. Vestiges of peaceful atmospherics linger on the periphery. None of what is going on here is overtly musical; many of the sounds come and go rapidly, contributing in more of a textural manner than in any logical one. All at once, our canvas is violently ripped right up the middle by a piercing knife-stroke of sound! A startlingly well-placed touch by Namlook, who by now we almost forgot was even involved. Listening carefully, the aftermath can be heard and the light background textures gradually descend in pitch like rain running down a window. The high-pitched knife-stroke comes back down again! The spontaneity is somewhat startling, but by this point this wildly erratic theme is becoming familiar. As though these brutal swipes marked another transition, things get even more abstract, introducing a medley of ghostly warbling passages that ripple and vibrate all over one another. The twists do not stop and all of a sudden all is quite still. Here at the 33-minute mark, who knows what to expect?
Slowly...several stints of barcode-like ambience clear the palette for a high-BPM percussive sequence to enter. Another anomaly that miraculously gains justification. After a long absence, the Inouean lapping-cycle illuminates once again in a beautiful and almost tangible fog of sound. The time-cage begins its release of the listener, opening into a gently rolling landscape of expressive reprises and percussion-streams. The chirper takes a final bow after having disappeared some 15 minutes prior. After seeming so distracting in the beginning, its existence was completely forgotten until now. This is characteristic of Inoue's ability to introduce and delete elements so subtly and with such precise continuity that the listener simply takes everything for granted. It all seems so incredibly natural. The resolution of the track is deliciously smooth. Streams of watery energy drain forcefully into a dark place of mysterious echoes and half-human reverberation. Sense of direction is now completely abstracted and in this context the former confusion of the time-cage seems much more logical than once it did. 52 minutes has passed in what seems like 30.
xxxx - - - Again the enveloping is immediate; a welcome cradle after the apprehensive darkness outside the time-cage. An air of insectile chirps and whispers adds softness to strong promontories of melodic grace that quickly threaten to change their humor to austerity. An advancing wall of ambiguous noise begins to dissolve the lullaby, eating between its component parts. Suddenly atonal abstraction takes the fore and the tranquility is left behind, replaced with a surface of grey trepidation. Shadows begin to descend upon this new potent canvas, summoning up glimmering threads of sound. As quickly as it took hold, the veil of static force gives way to yield yet another view of unease. Unearthly swells share a vast stage with muted vocal gibberish. Sparse note-dots hang stark and suspended in space. The disc fades away on quite a dark note as breathy echoes die away in the right channel.
62 Eulengasse is wonderful for its creativity, its spontaneity, its unpredictability and its drama. The constant workings with the notion of context are fascinating! In what context is something too loud? In what context is something too quiet? In what context is something too subtle? In what context is something too naked? The variety and challenge set up by this disc create an atmosphere of musical intellectuality that is all the more impressive due to its improvisational nature. Perhaps in the same manner which live recordings can contain the most raw emotion, so can improvisation alone stumble upon the most profound ideas. 62 Eulengasse is just as noteworthy as its more famous brethren, perhaps more so, and is indeed justified a place in the lofty FAX canon.
(review by Auraphage)
The best work I have heard from either Pete Namlook or Tetsu Inoue. It moves slowly, through endless seas of music, then breaks down into little bits of noise which nevertheless fail to captivate because the rhythms and tweakage are so expressive. I think it eats Organic Cloud alive in its crib.
(review by einexile)
Just bought this today, and am listening to it for the first time. The synthesized cicada is something of a minor irritation, but otherwise this is a thing of beauty. Mostly serene, with hints of darkness at various points along the way. Minimal percussion so far (I'm about halfway through the first track, "Time - Cage"). Great atmospheric sounds. Recommended.
(review by Kevin J. O'Conner)