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

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Landberk - One Man Tell's Another – From the opening moments of this CD, it is obvious that this Swedish band has greatly matured. The follow-up to 1992's well received but unspectacular debut Lonely Land, One Man Tell's Another...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues