Ash 2.6CD2 - A Fault in the NothingReleased: 1996
2 x CD in plastic wallet + inserts
Since the 1940s Scientists have begun to understand that sub-atomic particles and anti-particles are constantly created and annihilated around us, out of nothing and with no cause. The entire cosmos has emerged out of 'nothing'. Most cosmologists now accept the 'Big Bang' theory of the creation of the universe. But what of the moment before the Big Bang? How can that moment be defined if pure energy came out of nothing? Our knowledge of the universe seems to expand at the same rate as the universe itself, as endless data streams in from space exploration and geological discoveries here on earth. But so correspondingly does our capacity to learn increase and so we actually know, or understand, less. Extrapolating this idea, we will in the end know nothing.
When matter and anti-matter meet they disappear to form a splash of pure energy in an act of mutual destruction...
Another worthwhile excursion into the world of Wozencroftian wrapping (Wrong! - ed.) which gently hugs two CDs in this new and rather extreme Ash/Touch release. In many ways it comes across as a companion to the Mesmer Variations which were released on this label late last year. The CDs are distinguished from each other by two small dots...one Black and the other White. Black Hole starts with a (the best) track (for me) by BERNARD GUNTER/john hudak. Just a little over 28'00 long it set me up for an evening of threshold listening... or so I thought, because the next piece is a soundcheck recording by Mr. Merzbow (quite fashionable in UK these days I'm told, and sure to help sell a bunch of these - as will the inclusion of Panasonic and Oval). I am convinced that Ios Smolders smiles while he works; the titles of his pieces are usually an indication of how broad his grin really is. Try this: 'Prelude a l'Apres-Midi d'un Phone'. Mark Behrens gently tenders seduction but not for long enough. Anthony Manning owns an analogue synthesiser. John Duncan continues to abrade like rough grade sandpaper...just when I thought he too was exploring (and perhaps starting to understand ) seduction himself.
White Hole, the other CD, has some exquisite tracks. It starts with a contribution from Panasonic - low thudfrob which is beautifully contrasted by Chris Watson's recording of ululating grey seals on The Isle Of May. Joe Banks as Disinformation (see: Ash LP Ghost Shells, and new CD out now) provides what sounds like the end of a record slowly being ground up by a blunt spike. 'Nix Zwei' by Rehberg & Bauer is a soft spray of surfnoise and something stretched - a gorgeous warm embrace. Mr von Hausswolf visits the Royal Chamber and flushes some grit. There is a live track by Ralf Wehovsky in which he carefully introduces sounds to each other in slower time. Oval do the usual (when will these boys invent yet another new technique...) before we are buffeted between the speakers by Daniel Menche whose staggered sonics and subsequent gentle freefall into mechanical space is the last cool breath on this CD. Ryoji Ikeda provides what can probably be compared to the audio equivalent of an earbud...pure cleansing frequencies which cleverly define the space they're played in. Achim Wollscheid...well Achim should have been somewhere else when this was compiled...the packaging includes an explanation of his piece which does nothing to improve the quality of the sound recording...no point in being clever if it sounds like shite..
Personally, I would have preferred a different sequencing of all these track and even 2 separate releases confining the brutality to one and the caress to the another. Never mind, it still retains the eclectic Ash/Touch aura of strangeness and is well worth getting a copy of." [MP]
"This CD is the second compilation from Ash International, creating a virtual meeting point between techno, noise and modern music, and comes from the label in the forefront of the experimental acoustic scene. Especially good are tracks from CM von Hausswolff and Ios Smolders and you should check out their solo stuff, and also Anthony Manning, Oval, Panasonic, Merzbow, Ryoji Ikeda and others. They all provide us with sounds which are their enterpretation of 'nothing'. You MUST buy this CD at any cost."
"Art CDs that reveal the invisible and leave you wondering if your CD player is broken. A Fault in the Nothing is a well presented 2CD compilation with photographs and pictures of sonic interference patterns in a plastic wallet. Better known contributors include Merzbow, Anthony Manning and Panasonic. Noises vary from shrill static to the howls of grey seals in a gale. Occasional vast gusts of dirty noise stretch speaker cones to their limit. Definitely a collection for connoisseurs of art noise and people who want to know what it's like to be inside an all-terrain vacuum cleaner fitted with afterburners."
New Powers # 19 (Canada):
"Another great thematic compilation from Ash International. The 2CDs and 9 cards of images/texts is inspired by "the parallels & contradictions between the Buddhist idea that nothing is a positive force and the recent scientific notion that matter was created as a result of a fault in eternal nothingness." A sound-level rollercoaster ride, from in-yer-face noise, to subtle hums and experimental electronix, from the best of underground industrialists, experimenters and electronic musicians. W/ Merzbow "Sound Check For Doushisha University Performance", John Duncan "Trinity", Graham Lewis "Bing Before Bang (etc. apres ski)", Chris Watson "Tarbet Gulley", CM Von Hauswolf "Hzz (Poly Populated DNA Fuse)", Daniel Menche "Alpha Zilch", Achim Wollscheid (P16D4) "10 out of 60" (from The Comprised Space), IOS Smolders "Prelude A l'Apres Midi D'un Phone", Panasonic "O+", Oval "Smooth Space Audio 0.7b", Anthony Manning "untitled", Disinformation "Theopany (Electric Storm 135 kHz VLF)", Bernhard Gunter/John Hudak "The Ant Moves" "The Black & Yellow Carcass" "A Little Closer", John Hudak, M. Behrens "Intermatter", Rehberg/Bauer "Nix Zwei", Ralf Wehowsky "Deleted Beauty" & Ryoji Ikeda "Untitled 071295". Images by: Merzbow, Jon Wozencroft, Chris Watson, Achim Wollscheid & more."