VA: BiP_HOp Generation Vol. 8

Like past volumes, BiP_HOp's eighth Generation chapter weighs in at a hefty 79 minutes and features a generous share of established and lesser-known artists. As before, contributors span the globe (Murcof, Minamo, and Tu m' hail from Tijuana, Japan, and Italy respectively) with each granted about 10 minutes to state an oft-provocative case. Much of the collection is devoted to densely textured soundscaping of generally epic length with only the Tennis pieces somewhat beat-oriented.

Placid waves ebb and flow hypnotically throughout Murcof's (Fernando Corona) “Constelaçion” until, eight minutes in, the mood subtly shifts as becalmed tones subside to let a swelling vortex emerge. Prodded by an incessant one-note piano ostinato, “Footfall” by electroacoustic quartet Minamo spreads organic plant-like tendrils over a bucolic, 14-minute landscape. An at-times frenetic ‘scape bursting with gamelan bell strikes, kalimba plucks, melodica exhalations, and see-sawing strings, “The Tactile Qualities of Light” resembles a tour through Mitchell Akiyama's instrument factory during a particularly intense production period, while Strings of Consciousness, an explorative octet featuring BiP_HOp head Phillippe Petit, begins with a moody vignette (“One lost night on a lonely country road, looking for a short-cut that he never found, David Vincent has seen The Residents”) before settling in deeply with the glacial “A Dark Grey Moon Light.” In a meditative style that mirrors Murcof's opener, Klimek-like guitar shudders sweep across slow-burning shoegaze cauldrons until the piece erupts into a remarkable squalling roar. Though the name Tu m' carries Dada associations (it was the title of Marcel Duchamp's last painting), the music of Rossano Polidoro and Emiliano Romanelli is anything but a collection of accidents and chance configurations; if anything, the three entrancingly lush electroacoustic settings the duo contribute here argue that their music grows ever more polished with time. Finally, after a too-long absence, Ben Edwards (Benge) and Douglas Benford (si-cut.db) reconvene for two striking Tennis matches. The lurching dub undertow and smeary ashes of “Open Sesame” aren't unfamiliar but the overlays of sonar pings, voice croaks, and shuffling noises certainly are, while the somber, subtly funky shuffle “A Guide to Losing” is equally micro-detailed though more subdued by comparison. Volume 8 signifies no dramatic advances, then, upon the BiP_HOp Generation template but signals no drop in artistic quality either.

October 2006