Andy Ervik


20th May 2004
reviewer: Andy Ervik
rating: 5 out of 5
published by: Audiobulb
released: 22nd March 2004
  1. Rodolphe Küffer - Content
  2. He Can Jog - June (That Is When The Smaller Sparrow Began To Cantilate)
  3. Marion - Singalong Tammy
  4. Claudia - We Lost Him, But Kept Going
  5. Disastrato - C(CH)OAIPBA,KOA,C(CH)(S+AM)
  6. Oti - Large Open Spaces
  7. Bllix - Document.Write
  8. Diagram Of Suburban Chaos - Wishing A Disease
  9. Henry Leo Duclos - Ever Since
  10. Autistici - Breath Holding On To A Window
  11. Build - A Development With A Grid Of Streets And A Shopping Center Heart
  12. Prhizzm - Half Asleep
  13. Room - Your Open Face
  14. Effacer - Fire At Sea

Audiobulb is a newly started electronic music label, run by David Newman (aka Room), it features artists from all over the world making ‘exploratory electronic music’. Their first two releases (Exhibition # 1 and Exhibition # 2) were released online on their homepage for everyone to download free of charge. Receiving critical acclaim for both of the online releases here is their first CD, featuring 14 of the label's artists doing one ‘switch’ each.

The music on the CD is much like their two first releases: whimsical, glitchy and complex. Most of Audibulb’s artists are in the vein of Leafcutter John; using organic and warm sounding electronic glitches over beautiful ambient melodies. Most of the artists also seem to have a distaste for the repetitive nature of electronic music, refusing to stay with one beatline for even a few seconds.

The compilation starts with Rodolphe Küffer’s “Content”, made up of cut up sounds, sparse melodies and a manipulated voice coming in and out of the mix. On the second track He Can Jog shows that he has made immense progression since the online releases, combining one of the CD's most beautiful melodies with crunchy beats. Marion was one of the artists I liked most on the online releases, her “tur” track featuring a wonderful pizzicato melody reminiscent of the one laid down by Aphex Twin in “Goon Goompas”. Here she once again does everything right; her electro-acoustic music sounds even more realised than Leafcutter John’s!

The Claudia track chosen for this compilation was not a lucky one, as the sounds don’t quite fit together and it is too repetitive. However Disastrato is another one of the artists that seem to have evolved quite a lot since the mp3 releases. Here he sounds more focused and his juxtapositions are a lot more engaging than before, as he gives us his audio monsters made up of tiny clicks and switches. As on one of his online tracks he also features here an autistic child, this time blowing his nose over the music.

Oti does not make glitches like most of audiobulb's other artists, he makes field recordings. Here he has recorded what seems like a summer day with a trickling brook, birds singing, children playing and a gentle melody. On initial listen it sounds very idyllic, but as the bird song and water die away and you are left with only the children and the melody it all becomes a bit worrying; why is Oti for instance watching these children play? It feels much like you are watching the children yourself, hiding in the bushes so as to not let them see you.

Bllix displays another track with slowpaced ambient pads and IDM beats. She manages to just keep enough variation to uphold interest from the listener, which is more than one can say about the next track: Diagram of Suburban Chaos – Wishing a Disease. DoSC has been hailed as the best of the artists on Audiobulb, and his two tracks on the online releases were indeed excellent. This track however, suffers from a lack of variation; it all sounds quite generic and much like a standard IDM affair. Henry Leo Duclos provides more wrong-placed beats and clicks, which sound good enough on their own, but a more evocative melody would have been appreciated.

Autistici continues in the same vein as on his online releases, making long holding melodies and microsounds. More than any of the other artists, Autistici makes visual music, provoking images with each of the sounds he uses. Build is next with intricately patterned glitchy IDM over an organ melody. Phrizzm is also featured, with the most suggestive piece since Leafcutter John’s merry-go-around “Dead Men Can’t Talk, They Can’t Do Anything” and Labyrinth’s drunken “Vibra 502”. The track “Half Asleep” does as the title suggests, sounding like you are nearly falling asleep, with the tempo dropping as you close your eyes and nearly fall asleep, then it bursts back into speed as you realise what is going on and try to elope the somnambular status.

Room has also added a track to the CD called “Your Open Face”, with a very emotional melody and crunchy IDM beats. The ending track is from Effacer and it displays Asian percussive instruments over a slowpaced melody. After a while it tends to bore a bit and really does not serve well as an ending track to the CD.

All in all Audiobulb display immense originality and will most definitely be a major part of the electronic music scene in a few years. Comparisons with other artists and labels are not easily made because Audiobulb do most things very differently from everyone else, but the similarity between many of the artists here displayed and Leafcutter John is a good one. Both he and the artists here seem to take great pleasure in making the electronic music sound extravagantly warm, complex and humane.

The free mp3 releases and the CD can be found by following the link below.

More Info