BREKEKEKEXKOAXKOAX – We Used To Be Such Good Friends


This impossibly named collective – founded in 1996 – recognizes its leader in Josh Ronsen, a Texas-based sound and mail artist who also happens to be an active force in the outflow of unadulterated music and writing (he publishes an online webzine, Monk Mink Pink Punk, and an email newsletter, Austinnitus). The record contains about 73 minutes of music divided in four tracks. “Haifa Hi-Fi” features Ronsen on electric guitar and clarinet, Jacob Green on oboe, organ, “misc instr” and electronics, Glen Nuckolls on acoustic guitar, banjo and violin and Genevieve Walsh on flute and snare drum. It’s pure improvisation, that which many are convinced to be playing but don’t even get close: approximate shapes, detuned strings and unpretentious approaches to a collective imagination that lasts the space of a moment allow the music to fluctuate in search of a definition that never materializes. The four parties look for critical tresholds and hidden places, from which they seem to observe their reciprocal self-response to the complete lack of a so-called “style”. Moments exist when the creature tries to spread the wings and learn to fly without success, due to an undescribable frailty that is also the true, essential beauty of the piece. “Figure or failure II” is a short solo work for turntable, voice, electronics and computer – all by Ronsen – boiling with discreet electronic possibilities and subterranean interferences under a fixed droning hum that stabilizes the matter in an engrossing self-replicating cycle, unfortunately ending too soon. “Tuesday on Sunday” is a quartet of electronics, oboe/organ, electric guitar and computer (respectively by Vanessa Arn, Green, Ronsen and Bill Thompson). Uncertain guitar arpeggios nourish a growingly tense layering of acute dissonant frequencies that generate a distressing sense of unexpected and untold; the repetition of selected patterns renders the music a little more permanent in memory, but the feeling remains one of decay and forgetfulness, reinforced by a pretty murky equalization, until the whole fuses into a final ejaculation of stridency. “For I.D. II” is a solo for bowed bass guitar that closes the show with the most frictional music of the whole CD, a roaring upheaval of granular harmonics and harsh resonances accompanying a bad trip through minimal hopelessness.


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