VARIOUS ARTISTS: Bip-Hop Generation Vol. 9 (Bip-Hop)


Posted on Feb 13th 2009 02:00 am

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Various Artists: Bip-Hop Generation Vol. 9

Bip-Hop Generation Vol. 9
Bip-Hop Records 2008
11 Tracks. 70mins37secs

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In the ten years that Bip-Hop label boss Philippe Petit has been compiling Bip-Hop Generation volumes, the spectrum of artists and genres represented is pretty impressive: Murcof, Phonem, Accelera Deck, Schneider TM, Goem, Ilpo Väisänen, Wang Inc., Mira Calix, Neotropic, Twine, Taylor Deupree, Si-Cut.db, Bovine Life, Datach’i, Andrew Duke, Fm3, Scanner, Tu M’, Tennis and Petit’s own Strings Of Consciousness are amongst those who have helped make this a truly era-defining series.

As the label marks its tenth anniversary with an exclusive CD of material by Philip Petit and friends, with contributions from Bela Emerson, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Douglas Benford, Lydia Lunch or dDamage, and given away free to subscribers of The Wire with this month’s issue, this latest in the Bip-Hop Generation series provides another excellent round-up of contemporary music. Seemingly more focused on instrument-based music than any of its predecessors, which leaned openly towards electronic forms, volume 9 features exclusive work from Kammerflimmer Kollektief (Germany), Bip-Hop regulars Spaceheads (UK), Andrey Kiritcchenko from Ukraine, Italian formation Illàchime Quartet, Triosk member Adrian Klumpes (Australia) and a collaboration between Hauschka (Germany) and Antenna Farm (UK).

If the contributing artists come from very diverse backgrounds and evolve in genres spreading from electro-jazz to modern classical and from experimental laptop folk to electronic, the resulting album is once again a refined and acutely sensitive document of the current state of the experimental music scene. The opening twenty minutes of the album are occupied almost equally by Kammerflimmer Kollektief and Spaceheads, each contributing two tracks, one of the KK’s, the mellifluous A Dark Grey Moonlight In The Lowlands, being a remix of a Strings Of Consciousness piece. While the German ensemble opt for softly tainted pieces, Spaceheads, who have released three albums on Bip-Hop and one on Petit’s earlier imprint, Pandemonium, appear here in full jazz attire, occasionally evoking the smooth swing undertones of Jimi Tenor on Deep Blue Deep, but dispatch a much sharper and grittier groove on Urban Bull. After these, Andrey Kritchenko and Illàchime Quartet display some electronic-infused pieces, the former through extremely delicate and fragile compositions for acoustic guitar and field recordings, the latter via much more openly angular pieces, Cluster Pt. 1 and 2 in particular bringing to mind images of Autechre circa LP5 experimenting with avant-garde classical composition.

The last half hour is home to just two tracks, starting with the epic seventeen and a half minute electro-acoustic collaboration between Düsseldorf-based Volker Bertelmann, AKA Hauschka and the duo of Alastair Leslie and David Howell, both of south London and working under the Antenna Farm banner. Piano Glasses Laptop builds on Bertelmann’s piano-based work, which is then in turn textured, recontextualised or entirely deconstructed by Antenna Farm. At times, the listener is left with peripheral atmospheric debris, while at others, the mind is bombarded with dense clouds of noises and sounds. On the concluding piece, Together Under The Clouds Rolling In, Adrian Klumpes originally works from rarefied piano notes that seem to have been left hanging in mid-air, but as the flow becomes more substantial as more notes are added, he weaves layers of cascading pianos lines into a wonderful and elegant piece.

Nine volumes in, Bip-Hop Generation shows no sign of weakness. A former journalist and DJ, Philippe Petit has, in his career, flirted with many different genres, and it has undoubtedly rubbed off. His Bip-Hop Generation series is a essential document of our times, and is as relevant today as it ever was.


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