For all the hours Nietzsche must have spent hunched over his notebook, many of his most important revelations occurred to him in the great outdoors. For instance, his theory of the eternal recurrence dawned on him while he stood beneath a boulder. In one letter to a friend, a young Nietzsche describes another moving experience in nature: to avoid a storm, Nietzsche stayed for a few hours in a small hut. While lightning struck around him, Nietzsche watched as the owner of the hut slaughtered goats. "I felt an incomparable upsurge; I realized that we actually understand nature only when we must fly to her to escape our cares and afflictions. What was man and his restless striving to me then! What was that endless 'thou shalt,' 'thou shalt not'! How different the lightning, the wine, the hail - sovereign powers, without ethics! How happy, how strong they are, pure will, unclouded by intellect!"
It's not surprising that industrial experimentalists should often associate themselves with Nietzsche; the writer's moody temperament mirrors the dark imagery associated with industrialism. But more meaningfully, Nietzsche's radical doctrine of will provides the foundation that makes experimental music possible. Nietzsche's super-charged will can build bridges over any terrain and breathe meaning into any matter - musical rules and conventions become hollow when the inspired musician creates. Without the will, experimental music is trash; with the pure will, even the most disparate and unlikely elements can become beautiful.
I can't quite claim that the musicians on this comp are as powerful as lightning, but there are definately some sounds here that inspiredly defy tradition. Released by the Japanese Livevil label in 1991, "Pure Will, Without the Confusions Of Intellect" features international experimental veterans at a time of explosive growth in electronic technology. (Five MP3s follow the jump.)
IX-Ex-Splue - Shaped By Two/Three/Four (MP3) - With six members, its good that this band knows how to exercise restraint. While the mix is often dense and intricate, sparser sections (and silence) are used to great effect. Mangled drum loops figure in largely with support from sample manipulation and a slew of electronic noises. Can anybody provide historical info on this band?
Dislocation - Depth/On The Move (MP3) - Another large group who often performed with video artist Kiyokawa Keishi. Complex ambient drones on this track with recurring sax freakouts. As with most of these tracks, many experimental styles are nicely tied together.
PGR - Invisible Cities (MP3) - Poison Gas Research, then solo moniker of seminal ambient technician Kim Cascone. At this particularly prolific point in his career, Kim ran the groundbreaking Silent label and edited sounds for David Lynch and Thomas Dolby. Pure ambient microsounds, the most minimal track on this record.
Architect's Office - AO 705.4 Live in Boulder (MP3) - Glitched out samples soaked in ambient static, digital bleeps, hypnotic synthesizers and what I can only identify as the aural equivalent of smoldering wreckage. Like Cascone and Dislocation, AO was notable for collaboration with various visual artists, among them pioneering avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage.
Hirose + Otomo Duo - Duo No. 1-No. 14 (MP3) - Junji Hirose's acoustic self made instruments mean that this track features textures unlike anything else on this comp. Yoshihide Otomo, also a multi-instrumentalist, works with turntables and CD players; though the liner notes don't mention it, I'm pretty sure tape manipulation is also involved. Excellent plunderphonic work abounds - I recognize samples from Zappa, Webern and Homer Simpson in here. Any readers recognize anything else?