This is Intonarumori’s first full length release. It’s about frigging time. The project has been around since 1990. This is an unusual album for Intonarumori because it represents material that was all recorded live in concert recorded straight from Intonarumori’s board. Listening to the album it’s almost impossible to believe that the first three pieces were all recorded by one person. There are layers and shifting textures, ambiences and spaces. The second half of the album represents a work created for small chamber ensemble (Cello, Violin, Toy Piano, Found Percussion, and two vocalists) to celebrate Paul Celan. A very different sound and very unexpected from Intonarumori. This CD was released on December 21st, 1999.
[reviewed with Neil Campbell's Excerpt From the NeverEnding Bowed Metal Song]
Less focused in their approach, the Seattle based Intonarumori nevertheless tread similar musical ground. Spacious guitar and other treatments do it to you subliminally with deep, underwater vibes. At times spooky, this self-titled, 10 track collection could be the lost soundtrack to any number of Stan Brakhage films. Pop a few, start up "Dog Star Man" and kick it with Intonarumori. - Jeff Fuccillo
A collection of mostly live recordings comes to us from Seattle, Washington in the form of Kevin Goldsmith under the guise of Intonarumori (for you avant garde buffs, its what the Italian futurist Luigi Russolo called his noise-making instruments). It sits somewhere between more formal composition and more traditional musique-concrete techniques (surprise, surprise) but this self-titled disc has the added bonus of being absolutely breathtaking in parts. The introduction to the first of three solo tracks by Goldsmith, obliquely titled "GTR," (perhaps because it features lots of processed guitar?) is absolutely mindblowing - think the most melodic and uplifting parts of the current crop of post-rock favs (Godspeed You Black Emperor! comes to mind almost immediately) and you're on the right track.
The second set of recordings were performed with the Paul Celan Suite, and have a distinctly bizarre appeal, and involve everything from a chattering choir to droney processed string instruments, a little Sousa and what sounds like Marc Almond harassing barnyard animals with a stapler. In other words, it's really very good. If you dig music that falls between "difficult" and "beautiful," (a la Nurse With Wound and the like) go pick this one up.- Michael O'Connor
AMBIENT SOUNDSCAPES AND EXPERIMENTAL CHAMBER MUSIC: This unusual self-titled CD is divided into two sections. The first includes three ambient experiments, each over thirteen minutes in length. "CEL" especially stands out with a spooky atmosphere that transforms from dark ambience accented by warped tinkering chimes to muffled ghostlike marching band standards underneath a wash of drones. Then heavy and powerful dronescapes take over and eventually give way to an intriguing deep male vocal sample. The other two opening tracks are much more minimal dark soundscapes. The second part of the CD is the "Paul Celan Suite," which is a four movement piece for a small experimental chamber ensemble.
"Black Milk" opens the suite with two contrasting female voices - one high and almost operatic and the other deeper with almost spoken intonations. These two voices carry on throughout the suite and hold the experimental sounds together. Overall, Intonarumori, which means "noise intoners" in Italian, is a creative and often unexpected approach to sound sculptures.- Octavia
The "band" with the intimidating name here (the name is Italian for "noise intoners," a name for machines built by the Futurists in the early 1900s; the machines were designed to recreate the sounds of the industrial age) is the musical vehicle for Kevin Goldsmith, nominally a cellist (i think), but obviously many other things as well, judging by this disc. My perspective on Kevin is somewhat interesting: I have known him for years as the guru behind Unit Circle, but was totally unaware of his own musical endeavors until he appeared as a guest on a Mason Jones track from the first album released on my own record label. Goldsmith's contribution to the track in question (it's called "a slow, wide vibration" and it's on the album MIDNIGHT IN THE TWILIGHT FACTORY; feel free to go buy a copy if you're so inclined and hear the droning soundscapes yourself) was sufficiently of interest that i became curious to hear more of what he's all about... and lo, here he is. Witness how the black hand of fate weaves its forbidding death-snare....
I don't know much about Italian "noise intoners," but from the droning, reverbed sound of "GTR" alone i can see why Mason was keen to work with Goldsmith -- this is trippy, disorienting stuff without the hippie trappings that sometimes makes psychedelic music mildly annoying. Intonarumori supposedly "combines elements of post-classical, experimental, ambient, and industrial music," and i'd largely agree with that (especially the classical and ambient elements), although i'm not too sure about the industrial part. "GTR" opens with clear, bell-like guitar (???) tones and gradually branches out into shimmering drones punctuated by odd background sounds, ambient tones most likely generated by cello, and other stuff too opaque to classify. Layers of sound come and go, and eventually the drones and chimes subside to make way for an actual cello movement that fades into nothingness. Similar effects appear in "CEL," which could be seen as another movement in a larger piece. "E2E," the third solo Goldsmith effort, inverts some of those elements and adds distant percussion of sorts, spreading the sounds out in the mix to impart a vastness of space; the effect is something akin to listening to experimental musicians rehearsing in a cave beneath a railway station.
The remaining four pieces on the disc -- "Black Milk," "Where I," "Go Blink," and "Discus" -- are all part of a larger piece ("Paul Celan Suite"), and employ additional musicians, although i frankly have no idea what the others are actually playing or who is singing (the words are by Celan, hence the title). The piece opens with a forbidding drone that anchors the seemingly random sounds dropped in from time to time and the wailing, layered voices that chant and sing. Bell-like tones and percussion appear again in the second part, along with actual rhythms from the cello (well, i think it's the cello); here the vocals are less layered and more droning. The third part opens with minimalist sounds like rhythmic heavy breathing and a woman's spoken words; as she speaks and the rhythm continues, drones fade up into the mix, only to die away soon after she stops speaking. This leads into the fourth part, a chaotic assembling of cello grunts, strange sounds, and an evolving sense of song structure once the vocals enter the picture... sort of like AMM with modified instrumentation, possibly.
My only complaint with the album -- and it's not so much a complaint, really, as a wish -- is that it would have been nice to have liner notes delving into the meaning/inspiration behind the suite. I'm so ignorant i only vaguely know who Paul Celan is, and i could have used some education. Then again, perhaps the intent was to provoke the listener into seeking out the information independently, so perhaps the lack of notes isn't so bad after all...