BLACK LUNG silent weapons for quiet wars (005)
David Thrussell's silent weapons for quiet wars are dark, melodic and textural backdrops for a series of conspiracy theories both real and imagined...
E.P.A. black ice (019)
Darrin Verhagen, in tugging on a thread of viciousness which has lain subdued and understated for most of Shinjuku Thief's backcatalog, was surprised to pull up a 42-minute slab of sonic violence which is as unmerciful as it is exquisitely crafted. Under his new power electronics pseudonym 'e.p.a.' we find a finely balanced tension between visceral chaos and deliberate nastiness.
If all the Shinjuku Thief albums which preceded it suggest the ghostly existence of a dark world, "black ice" delivers the map, the accelerator and the searing pain upon arrival.
"E.P.A. is Darrin Verhagen, a.k.a. Shinjuku Thief, who as a sound composer has always infused a certain intelligence into his recordings. Albiet with e.p.a, Darrin has shunned the more considered & academic aspects of his trade by releasing an album of unadulterated harsh noise. Forming the first part of the "black | mass" trilogy, this aggressive little number contains an unrelenting sonic barrage to incinerate your eardrums, & literally pound your internal organs if the listening suggestion is adhered to ("play loud - no headphones!"). Utilising layers of furious high frequency distortion & incessant feedback, the tracks present an aural aesthetic that flits between being barely controlled, through to chaotically free form. With 7 tracks at 45 minutes, this is an unforgiving sonic ride not for the faint of heart. Constituting an all out assault on the senses, the final question is: are you game enough to take this on?! 4/5" —Richard Stevenson, Fiend
ALAN LAMB and … [see below] night passage: demixed (011)
Four minimal, dark, ambient remixes of Alan Lamb's raw wire footage by ryoji ikeda, thomas köner, lustmord (brian williams and paul haslinger) and bernhard günter.
Treatments of raw wire footage from dorobo 013. demixed and edited with respect.
"Strongly recommended!" —Vital (Netherlands)
"For his 1995 Primal Image disc, Alan Lamb recorded the violent rhythms of periodic waves rippling and undulating through telephone wires in the desert wind. On Night Passage demixed, the latest release from Dorobo, Lamb traveled back to western Australia for the same type of pulsating source material. However, this sonic starting point was given to other artists, including Lustmord and Thomas Koner, to remix. … These musicians stripped the wire resonance of its original, wasteland birth and plunged the embryonic sound into foreign locations. For instance, Ryoji Ikeda's "#13" extends the communicative reach of the wires beyond the ionosphere and into outer space. The main components of the track are dark, shivering drones that hang like icicles in front of your stereo speakers. Eventually, these icy stalactites become reflectors of alien transmissions; soft beeps can be heard throbbing gently in the background like a secret code unwilling to be deciphered. The most enigmatic selection on the disc is 'Untitled 1/96' by Bernhard Günter. The twenty-minute track is composed of pregnant silences and barely audible clicks and hums. If Lamb's interest was the sound of reverberating wires, then Gunter's focus is the tones wrapped within the wire's insulation. … 'Untitled 1/96' is the musical equivalent of listening to electrical currents course through each individual copper fiber and the microcosmic decay that the strands experience as heat is released through thermoelectric interaction. This track, along with the other three cuts, give vision and credence to Lamb's closing statement from the Primal Image liner notes, that "it is probably not too far fetched to suggest that wire music is an aural embodiment of some of the most fundamental dynamic laws of the universe." —Michael Woodring, Interface version 4.1 (USA)
PROFESSOR RICHMANN succulent blue sway (006)
Taking technology as its starting point, this spinoff project of shinjuku thief was used to support the vis a vis Dance Canberra's 1994 season. A blend of industrial dance, ambient techno and dark atmospheres. [Music by darrin verhagen. Digital editing by franc tétaz. Vocals/text written and performed by m'chele morgan.]
"Prepare your senses for a wonderful journey." —Darkwave over metropolis (AU)
"Another great release from dorobo." —Manifold (US)
PHILIP SAMARTZIS residue (DLE1)
Residue. The distilled, essential remnants of some physical manifestation. one thinks of the dried and the dead—from the crusty spittle in the corner of your mouth to the ectoplasmic goo left after a paranormal occurrence. philip samartzis reverses this mortification through his intensely molecular transformations of location sound recordings. Simultaneously documenting his experience of place and the acoustics of space, he creates not merely a series of tonal landscapes (now the province of budget tour ambience) but a disquieting rendering of his psycho-acoustic impressions. Through sophisticated electroacoustic manipulation sans the technological fetishization which generally attends the field, samartzis has produced a radical inversion by transforming compounded sonic events - the crackle of leaf under your earlobe, a singer somewhere in a forest, a footstep on wet earth - into amazingly dimensional constructions. [Recorded at the danish centre for electroacoustic music, aarhus. denmark july 1997; at the insitut international de musique electroacoustique. bourges, france june 1997; and at the cicv centre de recherche pierre schaeffer. hérimoncourt, france june 1996.
PHILIP SAMARTZIS windmills bordered by nothingness (DLE4)
"Philip Samartzis' WINDMILLS BORDERED BY NOTHINGNESS (recorded at CEM, Netherlands) is an electroacoustic reminder of these altered psycho-acoustic states which one achieves by living within the noise of one's city. For noise is merely sound without apparent organization; the sonic without perceivable direction. Samartzis' strident processing of field recordings and an almost ascetic placement of aural shapes and tonal cues casts an imaginary wandering though the thunderous channelling of urban noise. Therein, one can discover much silence, peace, calm. … Both the urban and rural can be massive, monstrous, maniacal in their unleashing of sound effects, whether it be across darting traffic or undulating pastures. One need not adhere to the Futurist dictum of noise as the orgiastic celebration of steel, smoke and steam. The pre-Industrial figure of the windmill stands as a rich cipher for social and industrial endeavour: a mechanical Gargantuan of creaking wood, flushing water, grinding gears and billowing wind. In Samartzis' piece (via a knowing reference to Ilhan Mimaroglu's polyglottic compositions), such textures grow, hover, fade as he fuses and blends the recognisably organic with the acoustically unreal. Most interestingly, the editing of the sounds against silence—a strategy of 'bordering' the sonic with nothingness'—suggests a sonic cartography with great fluidity and sensuousness. It becomes a city in which I would gladly live." — Philip Brophy
PHILIP SAMARTZIS/SACHIKO M artefact (DLE7)
Artefact is a collaboration between improvisers sachiko M and philip samartzis. Sinewave and noise generators interact to form a textural foundation for explorations into degradation, distortion and rupture. Commenced in paris in late 2000 and completed in melbourne one year later, both composers bring an ascetic sense to each track's formation allowing the minutiae of sonic detail to evolve gradually, gently modulating between sporadic and dense moments of activity. [Limited edition of 600.]
SHINJUKU FILTH junk (p305)
A compilation of industrial dance, nasty techno and spannered soundscape, composed over the years spanning "bloody tourist" through "succulent blue sway."
SHINJUKU FILTH raised by wolves (193:6)
Verhagen's new soundtrack throws caution to the wind and rips out the pancreas with a grapefruit knife. Massive industrial dance-grooves underpin vicious soundscrape cut-ups scanning from Italian short wave transmissions through Australian police CB confusion. Power mix of industrial, rock distortions, passages of disturbed strings, and the shinjuku filth approach to sonic slash and flame make this soundtrack just as comforting as the theatrical production. [Composed and performed by darrin verhagen, 1997.]
SHINJUKU FILTH zero/stung (193.7)
Two recent dance soundtracks from the schizophrenic mousepad of dorobo supremo. "Zero" skitters from seductive soundscapes spiked with violent techno eruptions, fractured and edgy drum and bass, through to super-cool glitched funk. Stung's etymological approach to detail renders it a little more "lower-case" than its partner, with it's exoskeletal crunchiness softened by a more lyrical use of rhythm, texture and melody. An album bordered by the distant threat of "raised by wolves" and the considered subtlety of "p3", "zero/stung" ultimately rests as an album more unashamedly enjoyable than either. A limited edition pressing of 1000 only, reversible metallic cyan artwork to represent either album, and the drop-dead design sexiness you've come to expect... [Music composed by darrin verhagen.
SHINJUKU THIEF matte black (021)
SHINJUKU THIEF medea (018)
Originally composed for a controversial staging of the classic Greek tragedy, "Medea" is Shinjuku Thief's most dramatic, dynamic and sinister work to date. notwithstanding its extreme violence, it might also be one of their most beautiful. Fragile melodies sung by boy sopranos float above demonic choirs and malevolent orchestras, only to be ripped apart by screaming sheets of industrial noise. Oscillating between lush musical seduction and a level of brutality as yet unprecedented across the band's backcatalog, "medea" will appeal to fans running the gambit of dead can dance, raison d'etre and in slaughter natives in one corner to merzbow, and brighter death now in the other. [Music composed and performed by darrin verhagen.]
SHINJUKU THIEF the scribbler (002)
Occasional bursts of factory noise, industrial rumblings and disembodied German voices form the backdrop to a minimalist reworking of Kafka's "The Trial." An album of dense filmic atmospheres and orchestral instrumentation. [music - darrin verhagen. arranged, performed and produced by darrin verhagen and francois tétaz.]
"Posesses the power and imagination lacking in many official soundtracks. Move over Elfman and Kamen." —TEQ (UK)
"Blunt musical structures with a breathtaking impact on your soul." —Audioview (Belgium)
SHINJUKU THIEF the witch hammer (003)
A classic gothic industrial album paying homage to both German expressionist film of the 1920's and supernatural horror from the 1500's. Dark orchestral timbres set into rich soundscapes, interspersed with outbursts of violence and power. "An impressionistic rendering of possession, exorcisms, ergot poisoning, witchtrials, pagan ritual and pacts with a fyfe player. … Intense reverberations of sound, veiled walls of deceit, and thundering crashes of vigor and trickling brooks all permeate throughout the symphonic, ominous Neo-Classical work." [Music composed and performed by darrin verhagen.]
"Essential...masterpiece" —Crewzine (Slovakia)
"Highly recommended" —EST (UK)
"Bizarrely enticing" —Alternative Press (USA)
"Excellent work on a biblical scale" —Audiodrudge (USA)
"Genius album. Mega-recommended" —Fight Amnesia (Germany)
"A marvellous euphoric creation!" —Audioview (Belgium)
SHINJUKU THIEF the witch haven (017)
The long awaited close of the highly acclaimed trilogy. Dark postclassical compositions, alternating between poignantly lyrical and furiously dramatic, set amongst disturbed supernatural soundscapes, and an unsettling cinematic sound design.
"'The Witch Haven' is the final piece in Shinjuku Thief's 'Witch' trilogy, and like the other releases in the series, it submerges the listener in a world choking on religious zeal and ancient superstition. Ghouls and lynch mobs roam this countryside at night, lurching over plague corpses and pagan altars. … The music is darkly orchestral, shifting from hauntingly romantic and expressive to violent and hideously absurd. Shinjuku Thief (Darrin Verhagen) builds on this uneasy balance with rich textures from acoustic instruments, such as the clarinet, viola and trumpet, setting a palpable evil to lurk in the tracks. … On 'Waking at dusk' the wails and whines from trumpet and strings are like cries emanating from an unkempt cemetery, with piano notes falling like raindrops on the tombstones. A persistent hissing skitters through the track, sounding like a needle scratching into the inside grooves of a forgotten record. Further along, 'The Witches' ladder' rushes past the ears like a blasting wind, carrying disembodied words that tangle and twist in the air. On 'The White Lady' these utterances grow into a litany of incorporeal weeping and shrieking, similar in style to Diamanda Galas' vocal attacks, though not as intense. 'Procession of souls' takes this supernatural pain and transforms it into a solemn requiem replete with lush strings and what sounds like processed bagpipes or accordion to add to the unearthly nature of the sorrow.
This mix of melody and abstractness - and of the electronic with the acoustic - leads to compositions that sound incredibly full, as if they were performed by an orchestra rather than by mainly one musician. 'The Witch Haven' is a stunning finale to the 'Witch' trilogy, as absolute and silencing as the reverberation of a coffin lid closing in a basilica. The only question left to ponder as the disc ends is why haven't horror and suspense film directors picked up Verhagen as a sublime choice for scoring their movies?" —Michael Woodring, Sonomu
A masterpiece of medieval orchestration, part three: The Witch Haven is the long-awaited finale to Shinjuku Thief's Witch Trilogy, a triptych of subdued Boschian elegance, preceded by the evocative, haunting sonicscapes presented on The Witch Hammer and The Witch Hunter. Maestro Darrin Verhagen incorporates a rich tapestry of sounds, including illusory atmospherics (found sounds: the wind through barren trees; incoherent whispering voices) and lots of string textures (primarily, viola and violin), aligning the symphonic music through passages that resonate with both classical and cinematic allegiances. Structure and disarray are also partners in the construction, keeping the listener constantly involved, especially over the psychotic intertwining of the elements on the final few tracks. —JC Smith, Outburn
SHINJUKU THIEF the witch hunter (009)
For the second release in the "witch" trilogy, shinjuku thief descend further into the nightmare world of medieval superstition, paranoia and vengeance. East-European violin, reflective passages of brooding ambience and occasional moments of hope are undercut by sheer orchestral violence and a chillingly bleak filmic landscape. [Composed, arranged, and performed by darrin verhagen.]
"Overwhelming...gorgeous. If only most classical music could mean as much as this. I think this guy should be shipped off to LA to show Mr. Ravel a thing or two." —The Wire (UK)
"A work of discipline and assurance and no little beauty, given an added dimension by its mysterious subtexts of found sounds and radio interference. indispensable." —The Wire [yearly wrap-up 1995] (UK)
"Top 10, office ambience 1995" —The Wire (UK)
"Like it's predecessor, a marvelously evocative album." —Al Crawford
"Enchanting, bewitching, darkness unveiled. essential" —Dark Angel (AU)
SHINJUKU THIEF the witch trilogy (003/009/017) 3-CD Box Set
Hinged, lined, stained wooden box containing all 3 albums, the witch hammer, the witch hunter, and the witch haven.
TCH abutilon (004) EP
Full of hip foreboding, the gothic industrial trance of TCH pursues its own vedetta with culture and contemporary soundscapes. From densely rhythmic to obscure and obsessive, 'abutilon' brings together remixes and pieces for theatre and performance. Evocative and sublime.
TCH sinflower (193:5)
TCH is Eryn Tooney - violin, text; Peter Breuer - machines, additional text.
TCH, also known as This Crepuscular Hour, returns to the music not with a whimper but with a scream. Ever since the release of the "Abutilon EP" several years ago, I've been anxiously awaiting an innovative full length album from this Australian duo and "Sinflower" meets or exceeds all of my expectations. As with most Iridium/Dorobo releases, the presentation and layout of the liner jacket and gatefold are stunning and seem to mesh with the musical theme of the album as if they were designed in parallel. Musically the tracks on "Sinflower" range across a wide array of empirical excursions into sound manipulation. Some tracks revolve around a sparse central percussion beat with vocal samples, natural ambient noise, and other odd filtered noises wandering in and out while other tracks utilize a more straight forward approach with their instrumentation as they slowly build their mood to a crescendo. Amazingly, the album is a very soothing and cohesive body of work despite the radically different approaches to composition taken throughout. "Sinflower" will unquestionably cater to those fans who enjoy a mixture of world beat, jazz, and avante-garde musical overtures.
Quirky rhythms, RH kirk-esque grooves, experimental soundscape, vocal cut up and postclassical violin. the long awaited follow-up to their acclaimed "abutilon" EP..
FRANCOIS TÉTAZ the motionless world of time between or the drunken taxicab of absolute reality (014)
Lowering clouds of shifting irradiated sound intermittently shot through with shards of noise and brittle detail. Originally commissioned for Shelley Lasica's 'behaviour part 6: square dance', an acoustic and spatial dialectic held in the Anna Schwartz Gallery, a stark white concrete and plaster shell. With a long reverb time and strong reflective presence, the solo dance piece was diverged and engulfed by the allusive soundtrack.
MATTHEW THOMAS p3 (DLE3)
"P3" is a piece which challenges perceived dichotomies: transitory yet continual, recycled yet new, organic yet inorganic, complex yet simple, fragmented yet whole. Building on the previous works of matthew thomas, this is another engaging and very beautiful piece of sonic exploration. [3-inch release, 500 copies only, packaged in designer japanese cases.]
MATTHEW THOMAS _remodulation (015)
"Continuing my search for beauty which emerges from the most unlikely places. A series of pieces which challenge the perceived disparity between music in its traditional sense, and contemporary electronic music. Manipulations of sounds sourced solely from the AM and FM radio bands. The use of the 'static' between the 'stations' and the 'silence' between the 'static' forms an elegant allegory for finding music and beauty in 'non-musical' tones and structures. Hopefully a set of works which have depth and appeal which goes beyond any interest in their technical and intellectual framework."
VARIOUS [see below] document 01:trance/tribal (001)
A cross-section of tracks influenced by nature, traditions and technology. Counter-culture soundbites, UFO reports and scientific frog studies merge with ethnic grooves, electronic sounds and a smattering of industrial attitude.
Features music by paul schutze, TCH, zen paradox, shinjuku filth and soma.
"As background music, these tracks are gently lulling, but more attention reveals a mass of affecting detail and structure that makes them even more enjoyable. check this one out fast." —EST (UK)
"One of the finest comps you're likely to find" —i/e (USA)
"One of the best ambient comps around. (heads the top ten)" —manifold (USA)
VARIOUS [see below] document 02:sine (010)
A Japanese outlook on ambience and isolation, taken from CCi and newsic labels. 10 tracks of soundscape, drone and unnerving beauty. Features music by ryoji ikeda, dumb type, yoshio ojima and satsuki shibano.
VARIOUS [see below] document 03: diffuse (016)
Artists: Troy Allan,.Thembi Soddell, Andie Reynolds, Bruce Mowson, Camilla Hannan, g_s, James Cecil, Sianna Lee, Phillip Pietruschka, 24k, Haima.
An interleaved compilation of dark and contemplative music from the Paynes Grey of Melbourne, Australia. Artists featured are all graduates from the media arts department of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and represent the next generation of Australian electronic composers. Eschewing the imposed division between academic art and the post-industrial 'underground', these artists effortlessly smudge the boundaries between lowercase, electroacoustic, dark ambience and glitch. As a result, the compilation comfortably travels in scale from epic cinematic soundscape (banking sharply over the blade runner skyline) through to the calm detachment of nano-technological activity and stasis. In keeping with the 'document' format, '03: diffuse' maintains the striking x-ray batswing design, metallic ink on matt paper and the 'reveal-cropped' front cover. [limited edition of 450.]
VARIOUS [see below] grain (DLE8)
Music by PHILIP SAMARTZIS, PIMMON, DARRIN VERHAGEN, and DAVID BROWN.
"The 'Grain' compilation highlights the work of four of Australia's eminent sound artists - with Philip Samartzis and Pimmon exploring delicate electroacoustic manipulations of field recordings, Darrin Verhagen constructing a fragile matrix of treated frame drum patterns, and David Brown dynamically deconstructing the 20th century postclassical soundpalette."
VARIOUS [see below] the year of silence (000)
A projekt: darkwave/dorobo collaborative release of material from the dorobo label. Features tracks from melbourne university dept.of zoology, paul schutze, shinjuku thief, tch, black lung, professor richmann, and alan lamb.
DARRIN VERHAGEN black frost (020)
If 'black ice' delivered the 'searing pain upon arrival' to the black|mass trilogy, 'black frost' serves as something of a gently uncomfortable antidote. Bordered by lowercase, delicate electroacoustic, sinecore and glitch terrain, frost presents material considered, precise yet modest in tone.
DARRIN VERHAGEN hydra (DLE5)
Original soundtrack for the new chunky move dance production which premiered recently in melbourne, australia, and will tour europe and america in 2002. Malevolent, dispassionately brutal and seductive by turn, hydra charts the fractured pathways of beauty against the backdrop of classical myth and contemporary technical malfunction. musically, the territory runs along the dark ambient borders of "soft ash", erupts into a merzbow-meets aphex twin assault, before setting into a serenely meditative stasis of gongs and abstracted shakuhachi.
DARRIN VERHAGEN p3 (DLE2)
Delicate electroacoustic and glitch explorations of shakuhachi textures. [3-inch release, 500 copies only, packaged in designer japanese cases.]
DARRIN VERHAGEN soft ash (012)
The first solo album from shinjuku thief frontman darrin verhagen. The movement through a range of compositional techniques is inspired by historical reports of a series of lethal atmospheric inversions, ranging from the killer fogs of London in the 1880s to the incidents at Union Carbide and Chernobyl. As the album unfolds, post industrial, electroacoustic and romantic orchestral themes become more surreal, ending up with conceptually inaccurate ambience/falsified atmospheric and rhythmic minimalism with sporadic ambient techno/glitch residuals.
Dorobo Records (and Iridium). Dedicated to the preservation of surreal sonic landscapes and the most obscure, experimental musical realms. For more information about the label, go to http://home.mira.net/~dorobo/dorobo.html.