Exposé Online banner

Barton Rage / Bill Laswell — Realm I
(M.O.D. Technologies , 2015, DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2015-12-23

Realm I Cover art

Polish-born musician Barton Rage launches his proposed series of collaborative recordings with this digital release on M.O.D. Technologies. This meeting of the generations (Rage was born in the 80s, Laswell in the 50s) is a thoroughly modern construction, full of twitchy percussive sounds, undefinable chords, and deep atmospheres. Most of it is very abstract, lacking melodic themes you can latch onto, but latching onto things is not what this music is about. It’s about closing your eyes and opening your ears and soaking in the imaginary landscape. None of the six tracks lasts over ten minutes, and each has a slightly different palette of sounds. “Waters of Mirage,” for example, features what is almost certainly a guitar with its tone so mutated (or mutilated) as to be nearly anonymous, and there’s a groove on some kind of low instrument (we’ll just assume it’s Laswell’s bass) to go with the loping, spastic drums. At times, the bass is more recognizable, usually a fretless laying down unhurried grooves amidst the whirl of sound. Other aspects that can be found scattered about the surface of this realm resemble vintage analog electronics, with ring-modulated frequency shifts, feedback, and a feeling of randomness. But much of it is clearly digital in nature, jumpy and tweaked. All of which is irrelevant, as it all sounds like it belongs together, and working out the details doesn’t enhance the listening experience. The bottom line is just that it sounds fascinating, and any fan of electronic music should enjoy it (unless they’re stuck in a particular rut like Berlin-school or pure ambient). Future volumes of the Realm series are slated to involve Japanese trumpet player Toshinori Kondo, Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer, and Swiss drummer Alain Ackermann – if they’re as interesting as this one, I’m along for the ride.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Bill Laswell, Barton Rage

Latest news

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Phideaux - Fiendish, Ghost Story, Chupacabras, 313, & The Great Leap – Even if you've never heard of Phideaux, you already know one thing about them. They are a busy little band – though sometimes I wonder if "band" is the right word. It's almost a solo project of...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues