Boomkat Product Review:
A most timely reissue from the Editions Mego camp, arriving on the heels of Russell Haswell's Second Live Salvage album. This was Haswell's first solo album and collects a variety of performances captured across the globe. The album quite rightly met with great acclaim within the electronic music community upon its original release in 2002, receiving an award at the prestigious Prix Ars Electronica, and these few years on sounds as fearsomely creative and challenging as it ever has. Haswell tends to get branded a sound artist, perhaps due to his involvement with installation work and his association with Brit art luminaries like Tracey Emin and the Chapman Brothers, but it's a shame he can't simply be thought of as a musician or a composer. Although his work is difficult, noisy and ferocious, alongside his peer and collaborator Florian Hecker he's making some of the most beautiful and complex electronic sound out there, and while the term 'noise' is still very much applicable, this stuff is several cuts above the customary barrage of effects pedals and howling distortion that seems to have become the stock and trade of contemporary noise brokers. As with that other great Mego live release Farmers Manual's RLA, the pieces here take the form of either high quality line recordings or more lo-fi room recordings, capturing the music in all its snarling glory together with crowd noise. The compromised fidelity of '07:53:60, 1998, 121, London' seems to be a processing technique in itself though, and the performance has been edited as if to highlight the idea that the sounds from the audience and the gritty crackle of the recorder is as much the content of the piece as Haswell's original onsite outpourings. Essential listening for all fans of extreme computer music.