Various Artists
Bip-Hop Generation [v.5]

By Elizabeth Wells

This compilation is the next instalment in a conceptual ‘anthology’ put together by French glitch/minimalist label Bip-Hop. In keeping with the label’s interest in sound processes and experimentation over product, these pieces are abstract affairs, with a less-is-more approach. Yet after listening to it, I’m not sure how much I credit it with being ‘cutting edge’ rather than actually quite self-indulgent in places and in need of some judicious editing.

There are eight tracks, and the majority extends over 10 minutes. Only D’Iberville keeps his tracks on a tight rein and therefore doesn’t need to test his listener’s patience. Le Souffle C’est La Vie conjures up the sound of a carpenter at work, using some kind of planing device, and Gigue harnesses some playful discordant harmonies which sound like a defective arcade game, summoning up echoes of AFX’s more outlandish moments.

Other highlights are Tonne’s soundscape built up from staccato synth lines and unusual organic sounding percussive crunches and snatches of noise punctuating the gaps and sidling round the edges of the listener’s perception. Rechenzentrum imposes some uneasy listening with a menacing piece which incorporates a kind of tortured brass instrument which sounds similar to a human voice. Percussion consists of almost familiar household noises rendered alien by strange effects and leaves the listener with a sense of violence all the more strange for not knowing how it was produced.
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