CD Dark Circuits Bunker Orchestra
Hans Tammen & Dark Circuits Bunker Orchestra: Ten Minutes Late With No Bus In Sight And No Taxi Either
See label page here: http://goldbolus.com, listen & buy on Bandcamp below.
Recorded Oct 21, 2016 at the Bunker Studios, Brooklyn: http://thebunkerstudio.com
Recording Engineer: Todd Carder, Recording Engineer Assistant: Nolan Thies.
Artwork by Rob Keay – http://cargocollective.com/rob_keay_art
Produced by Laura Feathers
Titles are from poems by Richard Brautigan, and from Michail Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita.
Chuck Bettis – Mother32
Chris Penalosa – Eurorack, Mocante
Laura Feathers – Moog Little Phatty
Mike Bazini – Random Tone Generator, Pocket Operator PO-14 and assorted electronics
Nick Berry – Sidrassi Organ
Matthew Gantt – Eurorack
Sofy Yuditskaya – Heart Monitor & Pure Data
Greg Neeld – Atari Punk Console
Lorenz Fish – Modified Moog Etherwave Theremin
David Keay – drums
Hans Tammen (concept, composition, binary conducting)
Hans Tammen has conducted and written for large ensembles of electronic instruments for way over a decade. In June 2016 he led an ensemble of performers primarily using modular synthesizers at CultureHub in Manhattan as part of Make Music NY. This collaboration proved so fruitful that those involved determined it ought to be preserved for posteriority, and went to a studio to record it. “Ten Minutes Late With No Bus In Sight And No Taxi Either” represents a focusing of the initial musical impulses of this group, the Dark Circuits Bunker Orchestra, which features Chuck Bettis, Chris Penalosa, Laura Feathers, Mike Bazini, Nick Berry, Matthew Gantt, Sofy Yuditskaya, Greg Neeld and Lorenz Fish, adding David Keay on drums, with Hans Tammen using Earle Brown’s open form conducting idea to direct and shape the music.
The Answer Is In The Beat
Lengthy compositions played by a gigantic orchestra of synths (including Euroracks, a random tone generator, and a modified Moog Etherwave Theremin) as well as some very unhinged, impulsive drumming. Tammen is credited with “concept, composing, binary conducting”. There’s clear guidance to these recordings; it’s obvious that someone is telling the musicians when to be calm and when to explode and go crazy. When the drums get manic and the synths swell and saturate, it all provides an ultraviolet head rush. Probably the best track overall is “Kafka’s Hat”, a pretty thorough mix of heavy rhythms, musique concrete-like synth-work, and outer space overdrive. “Black Magic and Its Full Expose” is nearly 18 minutes, and interrupts interstellar voyagery with brief moments of far out, frenetic drumming which could’ve been recorded at some sort of carnival. The whole album is highly inventive and never predictable, and sounds like it was spontaneously created by humans in love with the possibilities of technology as well as intense, sprawling rhythms.
Original Link Here
But I can’t think of any other ensemble of comparable size. So, in that sense it is unique what we are witnessing here. ‘Ten Minutes Late With No Bus In Sight And No Taxi Either’ consists of six works. In total about 63 minutes of electronic escapades. Spacey atmospheres dominate in ‘Poker Star’.‘Kafka’s Hat’ is a beat driven excursion with a prominent role for drummer David Keay (early collaborator with Moore and Gordon in pre-Sonic Youth times). What makes this one special is first of all, its unique sound spectrum built up from numerous electronics instruments. I enjoyed it for the wave of sounds, strange sequences and constructions of different electronic sounds.
Full Review here.
New York City Jazzrecord / George Grella
The best and only real way to categorize this album is that it is a Hans Tammen. The leader is a composer and his combination of ideas and materials would in mainstream company of any genre be eccentric, except his focus, rigor and sense of humor make them fascinating and meaningful.
This is an album of Tammen’s compositions for an ensemble made up mainly of musicians playing modular synthesizers alongside drummer David Keay. Live modular synthesizer is already atypical and the instruments are gathered in forms that Tammen leads using, as he notes, “Earle Brown’s open form conducting”. Roughly, that means scores that fall along the range from notated to graphic, with sections laid out in a modular fashion, enabling the conductor to reorder and/or repeat things on the fly—not far from Butch Morris’ Conduction method.
Musically, the result is echt-Tammen, weird and wonderful and wonderful in great part because it is so weird. Keay lays down a propulsive rock beat and on top the ensembles’ Euroracks, Pocket Operators, Moogs (there’s a “Modified Moog Etherwave Theremin”) and more burble, squawk, rattle and soar.
Despite the unusual means, this has the excitement of a great live jam. There are individual tracks like “Poker Star” and “Black Magic and Its Full Expose”, but everything runs together as a piece, the orchestra playing as an orchestra. There are churning peaks and compelling valleys, everything has a coherent musical shape, a purposeful trip to an unexpected destination.
The quality of the music speaks for and defines itself. Once it starts playing, it’s difficult to turn it off, it’s always interesting, especially as one’s reaction often balances at the point of disbelief, an “is this really serious?” question. The answer has to be in the next note and the next. Of course it’s serious, that’s what makes it so fun.
Full review at www.nycjazzrecord.com September 2018 issue.