LaBelle/Webb – Radio Flirt – CD – Room 40

 

www.room40.org

Radio Flirt essentially picks up on themes originally visited by Robin Rimbaud’s now infamous Scanner releases on Ash International more than a decade ago. Famed for their incendiary and intrusive nature, Scanner made his reputation with a series of highly charged and voyeuristic recordings of “found” voices, that ranged from the strange and surreal, to the downright ordinary.

La Belle and Webb have taken their Radio Flirt installation piece, and re-presented it for mass consumption in CD format, re-jigging a kind of personal, narrative poetry, and threading it through a fabric of feedback, radio static, and all manner of electronic soundscaping in much the same way as Scanner did all those years ago.

Contrary to the accompanying press release, that boldly states that the piece is “..an intimate audio experience that aims for the heart and explores the emotional geographies of listening..” I found much of the work here to be sterile, and somewhat staged, almost theatrical in nature, and lacking any of the grit and sharply focussed realism embodied in the Scanner recordings. Perhaps I am drawing an unfair comparison here, and maybe this is just not my cup of tea, but without the voices, and vocalisations, this would have been a much stronger piece, as the bulk of what is being said has little or no tangible reference points, and very little emotive strength. Technically, there is little to challenge, as the recording is crisp and superbly executed, but it’s all just a little too “artful”, and contrived, and for me never got to a second listen (always the litmus test). I’m sure Messrs LaBelle and Webb will no doubt challenge my perspective, but for me, this just wasn’t working, and juxtaposed with raster noton’s recent “Coh Plays Cosey” vocal excursion, which demonstrates a highly original, and incisively creative approach to the medium, Radio Flirt pales in comparison. Very sorry. BGN

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About whiteline1

WHITE_LINE was set up three years ago, in order to play and promote the work of artists and musicians working under the banner of "minimalism", in all its many guises. This has led to a regular and highly successful mix slot on the Garden of Earthly Delights radio show in the UK, and guest appearances on Resonance FM (frequenzen show). We now aim to extend the remit of the mix slots by reviewing (as often as possible) material that encapsulates and crystallises the minimalist ethic, and hopefully we'll be leading artists and audiences alike towards a deeper appreciation of this and other marginalised genres. I welcome your comments, and criticisms, and would love to hear from labels and artists who would like their work showcased on the show, or reviewed here. We regret that due to time constraints, we cannot review everything that is sent to us, but will endeavour to give exceptional work an "honourable mention" at the very least, and links to quality sites that we think worthy of mentioning. I am trying to support labels and artists as much as possible by promoting their work, not least because I am a stereotypical "struggling artist" myself, but also because there are so few younger artists entering this particular scene, and there is a danger of it becoming the sole domain of a handful of forty somethings who really ought to be doing something better with their time! Having worked for most of the more reputable underground magazines in the early 90's, I was never afforded the luxury of taking time and care over reviews, as deadlines and column space were always hanging like the sword of Damocles over me. With WHITE_LINE, I have the luxury of being able to review when I have time, and I am receptive to a particular mood, and hopefully this will reflect in the quality and length of some of the reviews. If you like what you see, please link to me to encourage more traffic through the site, and cross promote whatever is happening out there. Address for promotional material: 45 Drovers Walk Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 8BB UK

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