COMING SOON: FALSE FLAG RAPTURE
New full-length on the way in November 2021!
Following up on 2020’s critically acclaimed “Ballad of the External Life” LP, Rrill Bell’s upcoming outing on Elevator Bath is a complex amalgamation of acoustic source materials (metallophones, winds, strings, and brass), (cassette) tape treatments, and digital assemblages, which coalesced over a period of six years, starting from the artist’s desire to build a highly personal album around a turn-of-the-century recording of his late grandmother singing an impromptu hymn in Slovak dialect at a family gathering, resurrected from memory after lying dormant for 50+ years. Working through a family legacy of religious hallucinations/visions, the album (in spite of its tongue-in-cheek title) unironically explores themes of potentially staged transcendence, ecstasy of suspicious origins, vulnerability, inspired/anxious states of mind, fractured identity, doubt, rupture, redemption by proxy, and the dilemma of being forced to adopt a perspective in a contingent universe.
The music on “False Flag Rapture” is restless yet focused, shifting, evolving – like “Ballad…”, never staying in one place too long – and features a wide range of aural perspectives, as well as a strong sense at times of “listening with”, rather than merely “listening to”. Hyper-detailed, darkly tinged ecstatic/manic passages alternate with dreamlike chamber pieces and muted celestial drifts cloaked in an uneasy haze, with the occasional disarming reveal.
A labor of love begun in earnest in 2015 and completed in 2021, “False Flag Rapture” is a testament to abstract electro-acoustic music’s oft under-appreciated potential to treat deeply personal themes while connecting alienated human beings.
New record out now on Klappkart!
Rrill Bell’s latest album, Blade’s Return, the inaugural release on Berlin’s new Klappkart label, is an audio fable, a radiophonic narrative work relating the inner and outer reality of the handsaw Blade as he undertakes a journey back to the forest where he renounced cutting, to sing a song of regret and seek redemption. At the heart of the piece, which expands on the artist’s unique personal approach to the cassette tape as a highly malleable medium for sound production and deepens his previous practice of “augmented reality” and embedded location recording, is an in-situ exploration of the “singing” saw as an expressive sound source for experimental music.
Blade’s Return was conceived and primarily recorded during a two-week residency (sponsored by the SHAPE platform for emerging artists) in the woods of Saxon Switzerland, on the Czech/German border, in the summer of 2020.
Technically, the piece primarily consists of layered recordings of ad hoc tape/dictaphone installations made in the national park near Stadt Wehlen in southeastern Germany. Subtle, highly developed spatial recording and re-amping techniques, combined with meticulous assembly, editing and layering in post-production, yield surreal soundscapes of great depth and detail.
Musically, the hybrid piece plays with a range of inspirations and associations, from the lo-fi guitar-to-cassette-four-track music of Ash Bowie and Emil Amos to Rolf Julius’ outdoor interventions and beyond. Unabashedly “cinema for the ears”, Blade’s Return is equally inspired by the worlds of film and animation, from the classic Czech cartoon series Krtek (The Mole) to the psychedelic quest films and new westerns of the 1960s and ’70s to works like Fischli & Weiss’ Der Rechte Weg.
Klappkart is a new Berlin-based label initiated by sound artist Peter Strickmann. The label intends to release digital audio works from artists of various fields who share an exploratory approach to listening, soundmaking and storytelling. Each digital release is published in combination with a poster/booklet print edition. Klappkart #1, Blade’s Return, is available as a beautiful two-color riso-print booklet featuring narrative texts from the piece and accompanied by a download code, or as a stand-alone digital download from the label’s Bandcamp site.
BALLAD OF THE EXTERNAL LIFE
New record out on Elevator Bath!
“Ballad of the External Life”, Rrill Bell’s debut LP for Elevator Bath, takes its inspiration from the Hugo von Hofmannsthal poem of the same title (“Ballade des äußeren Lebens” in the original German), and features hybrid treatments of tuned percussion source material, swarm-like passages of next-level (cassette) tape manipulation, immersive micro-sound environments, delicate drone, embedded field recordings (ad-hoc dictaphone installations captured in various outdoor settings) and stolen moments from family events both heavy and casual.
New record out now on Gertrude Tapes:
For downloads and physical copies in the USA or thereabouts, please order from the label:
If you are in or near Germany, you can save on shipping by ordering a physical copy (including download) directly from me (follow the link in the player) as long as supplies last.
Vagabond Laws was recorded live in Budapest and Bremen in 2016 and 2017.