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Marcelo Radulovich - "HELLO"

Chilean-born Radulovich crosses the line to the positively mythopoeic. Characteristically working with a mix of samples, loops, processed sounds and field recordings, Radulovich has built Hello around percussive patterns and looped and treated samples of the word "hello." But into these formal parameters Radulovich has crash-landed a bizarre magic unrealist exploration of the invented prophet Titicacaman: a myth so potent that fragments have burst their bounds.... The music dances in a crazed Bataille-like sunshine of looped "hello" chants, found sounds, telephone dial-up tones, primal screams and marketplace banter.

     - The Wire, 12/2002

In the tradition of some of John Zorn's experimental group recordings, this album succeeds at various levels in its ability to combine disparate sounds, including noise, in a coherent whole. Like Zorn, Marcelo Radulovich acts in the joint role of performer and catalyst/leader, combining clips and snippets of sound at an alarming rate. Radulovich's palette is unique, using some everyday sounds, such as a ringing telephone, snippets from Country singer Hank Williams, and static, and throwing them together in a big pot. The results may not be charming, but they are intriguing and even discombobulated, disturbing and tormenting: In a word, fascinating. Words and phrases are endlessly repeated, horns blare from the rafters for split seconds, and ambient tones intermingle with it all. Along the way, Radulovich inserts what he calls phonographies, which are excerpts from live scenes, such as street musicians in Costa Rico, or a random aural snapshot of downtown San Francisco. While it may appear oddball at first blush, there is such variety and a sense of wonder that it somehow pulls together delightfully. There are no melodies (at least that last for more than a few seconds), and at times the repetition of some of the less challenging electronic sounds is either soothing or somewhat tiring depending on perspective, but ultimately, it is like the weather in so many American cities: If you don't like it, just wait a few minutes (or in this case, seconds), and it will change.

     - Steven Loewy, All Music Guide

Dense electronic sculptures, intricately detailed and bent on destroying your eardrums on this CD in from the "Accretions" label. Latin-tinged electronic grunge, if you will. It's very interesting, actually, especially on tunes like "Earthworm", which could be the soundtrack for a movie of the same name (imagine that). Radulovich seems particularly effective at manipulating the electronics to emulate the scene he's imagining, in a sonically visual way, rather than a mental image. I can (nearly) see that damn worm wiggling to th' samba of answering machines & touch tone pulses that runs in the background. The sound quality is excellent, nothing missed, nothing muddled. I should forewarn you, though... if you've never listened to experimental sonics before, you may want to start with something more gentle. Those who've been riding th' waves of sound experiment for some years now will agree with me when I say that it's HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Definitely not what you'll be expecting, with twists & turns even the most jaded listener will find pleasantly surprising.

     - Rotcod Zzaj

Marcelo Radulovich HELLO (Accretions) This one has extensive mythological liner notes, and beautiful illustrations that are reproduced so small that they‚re almost lost. What it sounds like is a highly hallucinatory, constantly shifting sound collage of noise, found sounds, instrumental and vocal improvisations, percussion, turntables, and more. When there are instruments present they are often tweaked beyond recognition, sometimes it‚s chaos that congeals into a form for awhile before dissolving again. Shimmering schools of blue rubber fish wiggle through the bright orange water, loops of whooping mumbels add up to a noir tension with chattering ghosts, a small engine powers the songs of birds, and botanical wonders are produced by wishful thinking. Floating out of your body high in the tops of the trees, but constantly reminded of your mortal form by the repeated „Hellosš peppered throughout.

     - George Parsons, Dream Magazine

Other than the base allusions of the names construction (furthered by pictograms) the Titicacaman is a strange late 20th century figure who you can read about on the cover and on his own site, a mixture of parallel history, mysticism and science fiction. The material on Radulovich's album furthers his interest, expressed over a number of albums reviewed here (208, 210, 2001_11) in sample and improv based studio manipulations.

I just changed music to material in that last sentence - because from some angles or views the album is a fairly noisey and confusing collection of sounds. This is a view that I would expect few readers of &etc to take (though their friends and family might!) From most angles there is, though, little 'music' here, though there are many musical moments. No, this is a carefully and delightfully constructed work, electroacoustic musique concrete whatever, that uses a variety of sounds to create dense and delicate works of art. Aspects of sound or construction recur to provide an over-arching structure to the work.

While the whole is to intricately intertwined to fully describe, some of the shorter tracks are more easily entered - 'Greeter' is fast and beaty with chopped voices forming a rhythm loop (a method used quite often, and of the linking themes) while a sampled laughter and percussive tones run through, or the more serious 'Amp' with slow rolling loops, voices saying 'close' (I think - variations on 'hello' form another anchor through the set) with serious and moody piano. 'Cante marito' is a short burst of squeaky squarrly spooks.

Use of site recordings are a feature of a number of tracks - crowds and noise or local musicians - and are placed judiciously within the context of Radulovich's manipulations. 'Rice and beans' places a street person in the context of the voice rhythms and tones, or in 'Discoteca' which shifts into some wild loops, piano and mad rhythms. These were recorded mainly in Costa Rica and provide a South American atmosphere that reflects the cover story.

Complexity and density are the main roads travelled with tracks exploring diverse regions. 'Ziplock tub' opens with strings and percussive tata, a scream of 'hello' (or is it 'help'?) leadds to zithery noises and chopped voices, the components merge and we are then in a market with vocal/nasal chant that takes us into 'Earthworm'. Here we get closer to music, as singing and Hawaiian guitar hide behind clattering machines, that shifts into mixing around percussion, sax and trombone components with sqrls and tones in a dense crowd. In 'Extract hell out of o' there are wing flutters and bird calls, crackling, a sitar-like tone and voice loops which create a lounge-hell weirdness.

'Caterpillar' is a long and slowly developing piece from a limbo of voices and swirls through percussion and squeaky toys into a metallic ambience and voiced rhythms. A Theremin-tone controls the 'Dervishes' who are surrounded by barking dogs and a calypso influenced rhythm. The final track, 'Version 115B' is something of a summary overview that has similar structures but more flow in the musical elements (driving bass, twangy guitar, sax and drums) which ends rather anticlimactically with some trombone burbles. But then it opens into an unlisted 7 minutes of Radulovitch playing around with 'Hello', different intonations stresses etc, while also playing with the tape - echoes tones little loops layers - that become a word-poem-song that makes a perfect closing statement for the work.

Radulovich spent around 15 months on this project, and the results demonstrate that. It is an intricate work that makes gestures towards accessibility but is not a simple listen, while never straying into thoughtless confusion or ill-considered confrontation, and provokes in the best possibly ways. Another powerful release from Accretions.

     - Jeremy Keens, Ampersand etcetera

Whatever this artist may have hinted at before has been realized on this album. Perhaps the saddest thing is that this may indeed be the most widely appreciated album of his career. I seriously doubt he can make the same impact later as he does with this album.

There's a balance on this symbiotic collection - while there are some seriously disquieting moments (screams, sudden bursts of noise coming from who knows where, far-side human voices) there's also a wonderfully seductive approach to rhythmic composition.

Noises are both layered into the rhythms and act as segues between musical pieces. There's one voice - presumably a location recording, which sounds like MAX GOLDT's pervy toady character enjoying life on The Street.

The rhythms are medium paced grooves which weave instruments and 'found sounds' into the mix like some slow food mixer combining ingredients, making the entire into a creamy swirl of odd bedfellows. At times it reminds me of the theatrical image-stimuli which UN DRAME MUSICAL INSTANTANE hinted at but never quite achieved. At other times there's a feeling of 'Electronic Jungle' - a complexity of slowly intermingling patterns created by people like BOURBONESE QUALK and TALKING HEADS - the audio equivalent of machete-ing your way through thick, dark, damp undergrowth, sucking in damp, almost poisonous air while you strain all your senses just to make out the environment. And yet this 'jungle' is most definitely urban - filled with human voices and the sounds of settlements (but no city noise pollution - cars, factories, thronging masses and construction work). Maybe RADULOVICH has humanised the Industrial rhythm, injecting Progressive Jazz extremes into what had traditionally be a cold, inhuman sound.

JOHN ZORN gives this album the thumbs up is no great surprise - this artist has a very similar approach - forcing composition to and beyond the extremes, this is like NAKED CITY or PAINKILLER composed under almost clinical conditions in a top studio. Masses of squiggling serpentine noises wrestle in painful death throes, juxtaposed next to peacefully haunting wave washes. There are even moments which remind me of the likes of factor X - messing with looped images while pushing things to the extreme. Difference here is that RADULOVICH has his hands on state-of-the-art gear and can make any amount of accumulated mess sound pristine.

The last album to blow me away like this was probably JIM PLOTKIN's FLUX project - it seemed to push the parameters to the extreme without collapsing into all-out chaos. MARCELO RADULOVICH pulls off a very similar trick here, making an album which pushes the limits not so much because it dwells in extremes, but because it manages to do so and sound consistantly enjoyable, making you want to play it again and again.

     - Antony Burgess, Metamorphic Journeyman

The San Diego art community is making its presence known with an abundance of recordings that push the envelope of creative improvised music. Marcelo Radulovich is an integral member of that group of musicians who infuse spontaneously evolving music with a multiplicity of other art forms to produce performances that are at once challenging and provocative. On Hello, Radulovich introduces percussion, sampling, voice, turntables, and various processing techniques into the equation, resulting in an example of the art form that falls just shy of noise jazz but has substantial substance to qualify in the improvised arena. Co-conspirators Nathan Hubbard on percussion, Jason Robinson on reeds, and Michael Dessen on trombone enter the fray regularly on the 11-cut session to cause the music to take consistently twisting turns of direction. Radulovich is an extensive advocate of sampling, and voices such as those of Hank Williams and other beings crop up at unexpected times amidst a bevy of rhythmic/arrhythmic sequences that have a source not easily definable in this computerized age.

Anguished shouts of terror are likely to be heard within the electronically dominated tunes. These occur typically on solo pieces where Radulovich throws in everything but the kitchen sink and ends up with a surprisingly approachable form of free expression. Percussion is a dominant force on the set, with Radulovich also enlisting Marcos Fernandes and Robert Montoya as partners in this pulse-driven example of life in outer space. The continual drone from the processing sets a backdrop of uneasiness while random vocal insertions instill the feeling of insurrection.

One way to tackle all this strange cacophony is simply to let the sounds wash over you unabated. The swarming mass of tonal centers comes together in a gigantic collaboration of industrial-strength sound, whereupon it all begins to make sense. Radulovich is on a psychedelic fantasy trip on Hello, and the ride can be thrilling or unnerving depending on your tolerance for newness. As creative artists, he and the others are on a mission, and its success depends solely on the receptiveness of the listener.

     - Frank Rubolino, one final note

Sound/graphics/visual artist and musician Marcelo Radulovich follows up last years (case of the missing) THUMB CD with more of his sound collage and sculpture journeys that incorporate music, ambient textures, field recordings, and more sounds than even today's technology should be able to produce. But really, what makes Marcelo's recordings so successful is the construction and flow of the assembled bits and parts. In some ways this is like a modern and more advanced version of the Residents' Eskimo, and indeed Radulovich is way beyond where the eyeballs were at that time (which was way ahead of their time back then). But that's a simplistic analogy as Radulovich covers a great deal of ground that explores many aspects of sound art and the possibilities for creating aural imagery and establishing mood and atmosphere through sound. Things can get quite harsh at times, particularly at the beginning where it sounds like we might be in for the grand tour of an insane asylum. But the ambient/ethnic elements are far more pervasive and there's also a significant ethnic influence as evidenced by the use of field recordings from Costa Rica.

Overall, Marcelo strikes an even balance between music, sound, and field recordings to create a listening experience that is hypnotic, mood altering, oddly thematic, and a great deal of fun. Keep spinning this disc and you'll catch new bits each time. And there's also a theme underlying it all with the main character being Titicacaman who eats bees and has a fold of skin that looks like a cows tit coming out of his forehead and never cleans himself after defecating. I didn't quite get it, being perfectly content to surrender myself to the wild and ever evolving aural experience, but those interested can read more about the "hero" at www.titicacaman.com.

     - Jerry Kranitz, Aural Innovations

Der Unterschied der heutigen modernen (anspruchsvollen, abstrakten) zur früheren modernen Musik (1950 - 1980) ist der, dass die Komponisten heutiger Tagegleichzeitig exellente Arrangeure sind. Im Falle von "Hello" würde ich fast sagen, dass die Stellung des Arrangements wichtiger ist, als die der Komposition. Marcelo Radulovich gehört zu den Musikern, die im Umfeld des Labels Accretions zwischen Free Jazz, worldmusic, Avantgarde und Ambient arbeiten. Marcelo geht dabei wie einige Labelkollegen aus den Vorstellungen von Musik überhaupt weit hervor und gebiert mit "Hello" (ein weiteres, viertes Mal) eine tonale Struktur, die von Lauten, Stimmen, elektronischen Verfremdungen, Loops und allerlei Resten aus Popmusik besteht. Das erstaunlichste dieser Produktion ist die unwahrscheinliche Reife des Arrangments. Wie diese Töne, Laute, Stimmen und elektronischen Phrasierungen ineinandergefügt wurden, verblüffent ungemein. Was so mancher Musiker als Störgeräusch wegfegen und löschen würde, erhält bei Marcelo besonderes Ohrenmerk. Doch weder greifen diese schrägen, beißenden, harschen Töne die Ohren stark an, noch sind sie überhaupt atonal zu nennen. Da fügt sich eine laute Stille, die beruhigender wirkt als die New Age - Lamoryanz sturernster Langweil-Komponisten. Eine interessante Ambient-Welt tut sich auf, die es mit Spannung zu entdecken gilt, wie der Soundtrack des eigenen Lebens. Wer jedoch denkt, dies sei leicht und oberflächlich getan, hat weder die Intention noch die Kunst von Marcelo Radulovich verstanden. Wer genau hinhört - und dazu gibt es hier viel Anlass - wird entdecken, dass diese Kulisse des geballten Lärms wie ein Theaterstück aufgebaut ist. Da bauen und lösen sich Spannungen, flechten und entflechten sich Verwirrungen, streiten und finden sich Gefühle. Radulovich ist Musiker und entwirft mit seiner Vorstellung von tonaler Struktur eine illustre, zwar fremde, aber doch irgendwie verwandte Art von Popmusik, die uns mit ihrer spannenden und melodischen Gefühlskulisse übertölpelt. Maschinen und Kinderstimmen, Fiepen und Brummen, Kratzen und Streicheln, Schlagen und Flirren - hier finden Laute zusammen, die besser nicht zusammengefügt werden können. Eine Entdeckung, die hoffentlich nicht unbekannt bleibt, sondern ihren Weg in die Ohren aufgeschlossener Hörer findet. Wer überrascht ist und sich der Musik öffnet, könnte plötzlich beginnen, Kunst interdisziplinär zu empfinden. Eine Schwelle, die nicht zu abstrakt gewebt ist, als dass man sie scheu meiden müsste. Nur keine Hemmungen - unbedingt testen!

     - Volkmar Mantei, Ragazzi Music


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