Info Four Releases from Mimeomeme 
"Four releases from Mimeomeme"
compilation album
Mimeomeme (mim1)
"Decibel Festival: May 24, 2007" by Seattle Phonographers Union
"Measuring Widths" by Eric Leonardson & Steve Barsotti
"Magma Plumbers" by Atlatl
"Bypass" by Steve Barsotti

fn issue August 2010
'Active Crossover II' - compilation
'Amarok' - Francisco López
'Sub City 2064' - Erdem Helvacioglu & Per Boysen
'Halation' - Capricornus
'Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble II' - Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble
'Lava' - Markus Mehr
'Yara (Remastered)' - Marsen Jules

Mimeomeme is a Seattle, Washington based label dedicated to disseminating “…unusual sound art made by an eclectic collective of artists involved with phonography, no- and low-fidelity recordings, raw digital data, plunderphonics, primitive analog synthesis, noise, infrasound, tape cut-ups and other oblique, not-yet-classified sonic epiphenomena.” The label’s artistic core of activities seem to center around Chicago transplant Steve Barsotti, who is the director of audio production at the Art Institute of Seattle. I mention this because all four releases are very high quality, a common thread among all the releases reviewed below.

The Seattle Phonographers Union comprises five live performances (all in Seattle) recorded from 2004-2008. The disc is not compiled in chronological order, which I also find interesting. Listening to the album repeatedly, I could not determine if sequencing really made that much difference, since each track created its own unique sonic trajectory and flow. Each live performance is a collaboration between five to ten artists, most of which appear throughout the entire CD. Quiet to loud, close to far, then urban to rural seems to be general sequence of dynamics, but not necessarily in that order. These phonographers morph and weave a fabric in space, that sounds believable or sonically congruent. Perhaps this is an agreed upon principal, but I have heard some phonographic collaborations, where selecting sounds to disorient was a modus operandi.

Eric Leonardson and Steve Barsotti collaborate on a release called Rarebit and anyone familiar with Leonardson will notice this has a more brooding and dark sound. His homemade springboard is omnipresent but seems to only speak at a growl in the lower registers or with delicate whispers. Near and Distant relations slithers along as some evil serpent is sneaking up on is prey. The Six Leggers moves sporadically at first, agitated and tentative the piece slows to a crawl, only to stumble into a lengthy exploration of concentrated metal scraping and pings.

Atlatl aka Phil Hendricks works in the world of chaotic circuits. On Draws the Atlantic his approach is minimal, despite the complexity of synthesized palette, Hendricks allows each sound to wiggle and carve out its own path. Rhythms are created then sabotaged, and re-emerge with completely different timbres, via crackled stereo beat patterns. Atlatl relies on restraint, never allowing the noise to overwhelm or topple the composition. Falling closer to the lower-case aesthetic, which champions less-is-more, Atlatl does break from the normal DSP glitch sounds, by creating textures that have a circuit-bent feel.

Along These Lines is a solo release by Steve Barsotti. Naming the song titles Boundaries, Bridges, Terraces, and Bypass, architectural features, sets a specific type of expectation. Barsotti seems to approach each of the four songs from a different compositional technique. Boundaries is filled with low tone percussive and string plucks, that may have been reversed and slow down with digital sound processing. Boundaries is slow moving and demands attention and listening on head phones will reveal more intricate detail, like slight phasing effects on tape hiss. At first, Bridges is brimming with activity and bouncy delayed-out electro acoustics, until a mesmerizing drone enters the picture with what sounds like homemade kalmiba ushering the listener across an ambient divide. Reaching the halfway mark, Barsotti pulls back and gradually strips all the sonic elements away, until there is practically complete silence. The highlight of the release is a twenty four minute track called Terrace and sounds like it is composed of several carefully layered field recordings. Barsotti brings in a melancholy synth loop to great effect, which starts to make the piece sound like a pop ambient song, but just barely. Bypass in contrast the rest of the album is a loud frenetic glitch piece if you will. Whereas the preceding three had a meticulous sense of composition, Bypass lets all rules go with great abandon to pummel the listener in grating noise.

Review by Derek Morton


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