Monday, March 13, 2006

Emil Beaulieau / Armenia - Split

Artist: Emil Beaulieau / Armenia
Release: Split
Label: Bizarre Audio Arts
Year: 2003
Format: CDr
Tracks: 2
TRT: 70:44

Bizarre Audio Arts and Armenia himself are known for split releases. Armenia has released splits with artists such as Government Alpha, Stimbox, and Pain Jerk, to name a few. This split release with Emil Beaulieau is perhaps one of the best. There are only two tracks to the disc; Armenia’s long 33 minute piece and Rons 37 minute live take consisting of three compositions. For general notes, Emil Beaulieau’s live take was recorded by Andy Panicsville.

Emil Beaulieau’s track, basically untitled, is a perfect example of how I imagine one of his live shows should sound like. I never, and probably will never get to see Ron play live, but this track takes me back three years in Chicago watching Ron dance with his machines, tickle the crowds ears, and gyrate his hips with the rotating sounds of his soft metal sounding loops. Throughout the live performance there are a lot of explosive crashes with scraping loops hiding in the background, sometimes the crashes are so loud that the PA cuts out, as noted by Ron himself. The only thing bad about this recording is the one "fan" that seems to be right next to the recording mic. After one of Ron’s compositions is over it sounds as if the guy is sitting right next to you. "Yaaaaaaa-hoooooooooooooooo!"

Armenia’s track, Los Ojos del Lobo, starts out right away tearing your eardrums and pulling veins out of your skull. Blistering scratches are rippled in high pitch frequencies and low bass rumbles are prevalent. This is only the first bit though. The track then switches to a very tactical click play of tweaks and hits, and then it starts with the vocal tone of Armenia, Armenia, Armenia, Armenia, that repeats over the first 15 minutes on the track. There are a few long breaks from this voice but there is always gashing sounds throughout. When the voice does appear it speeds up, slows down, pitches high and low and is done very effectively, like a techno beat almost. It doesn’t take anything away from the track and is great as just good background filler. The last 15 minutes of this track are awesome with this one loop that carries a lot of bass to hit. I don’t even get the feeling that this track is this long, and that’s a good thing.

The artwork is a simple cardboard sleeve with a picture of a couple that looks like it straight out of an LP print from Grease. The CDr is blank with no print, not even text from a black marker indicating what release this is, so don’t separate the two. Armenia’s track is defiantly more heavy hitting than Ron’s is, but I think Ron had more fun.