VA: Quit Having Fun
Boring Machines

Almost two-and-a-half hours of electroacoustic experimentalism, Quit Having Fun includes new and unreleased tracks by an impressive roster of innovators, among them Telekaster, Gultskra Artikler, Philippe Petit, Sparkle In Grey, and Annelies Monserè—a mere tip of the iceberg, however. Restlessly churning, industrial-tinged electroacoustic explorations dominate, though guitar-based post-rock and vocal songs appear too. Different pieces will stand out for different listeners, but ones that make the strongest impression on me include the following: Arbdesastr's “Other Floors” (a powerful five minutes of intense soundsculpting and, enriched by glistening electronics, strings, and piano, emotive vocal balladry by Paolo Campagnola), Sparkle In Grey's “The Last Cloud” (supported by guitars and laptop effects, Franz Krostopovic's electric violin soars over a stately marching rhythm in a Graz live performance captured on June 10, 2007), Rom:U's “Better Than A Stick In The I Against I” (cloudy ambient setting of Crimson-esque guitar and phased guitar treatments), Arterial Red's “Out of the Picture” (melancholy space ambient and synth gleam), Gultskra Artikler's “Mlini” (a dreamy, classically-tinged, acoustic-based instrumental that evokes Mlini, a small place near the sea in Croatia), and Die Stadt Der Romantische Punks' “Guitar Act 2” (a ten-minute guitar ambient-drone setting by Giardini di Mirò member Jukka Reverberi that builds from a quiet beginnings into a fireball before retreating).

Which is not to suggest that the remainder isn't worthy of your attention. Annelies Monsere's somber vocal-and-piano-based ballad “New Home” is memorable, as is Iris Garrelfs' boldly experimental quasi-choral setting “Beachball.” There are multiple field recordings-enhanced settings (Le Reve Reveille's “L'avenir,” Andrea Marutti's “A Depressing Study in Wandering Wonders,” Kluge's “Inner Voice”), guitar-driven variations on spectral ambient and post-rock (Wizards Tell Lies' “The Correlator,” Coma Stereo's “Ghostly”), plus a vinyl-based workout (Philippe Petit's “Needle in Pain”) and analog synth mini-epic (Unknown Celebrities' “Starship”). Near project's end, Telekaster (Matthias Grübel) dives into a sea of granular noise and voice samples filled with tiny pockets of melodica, strings, and piano (“A Shift in Shapes (Praeludium)”). The collection features no shortage of experimental material worth exploring, in other words.

February 2010