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act 159 · brian evenson with xingu hill & tamarin · altmann's tongue · cd

calling the hour, prairie, altmann's tongue, a slow death: prancing/the underground karst/on the wall

brian evenson: text and voice
tamarin: sounds, electronics, and processing
xingu hill: sounds, electronics, processing, and mixing

upon the circulation of his first short story collection, altmann's tongue (knopf, 1994), author and professor brian evenson found himself out of favor with his spiritual home ground, the church of jesus christ of latter day saints - the mormon church. since that time, evenson's incisive, acerbic writing about the medieval brutality of contemporary humanity has gone on to garner significant praise, and not a few distinctions.

the creation of altmann's tongue - which features brian evenson reading selections from several books through a sonic fabric created by xingu hill and tamarin - proved to be similarly cataclysmic, although of markedly different scale. on the surface, altmann's tongue appears to be a simple spoken word project backed by experimental sound design and post-industrial ambience of a distinctly harrowing nature. however, brian evenson's readings, recorded in an impromptu fashion in a sparse white apartment, begat an intensity of emotion that compelled xingu hill and tamarin to work for over three years on musical reactions that could equal the sentiment of evenson's recordings. musical reactions, ranging from morose synth rhythms to enigmatic drones. evenson's verbal recordings and the music feed upon themselves like the ouroboros, like the snake which grows by eating itself. ant-zen is proud to present altmann's tongue as a unique, compelling collaboration between a thought-provoking author and two exceptional sound experimentalists.

brian evenson:
brian evenson is the author of several books of fiction, including altmann's tongue, father of lies (four walls eight windows, 1998), contagion and other stories (wordcraft of oregon, 2000), and dark property: an affliction (four walls eight windows, 2002). his writing is best described as grotesque, beautiful and magical. he describes the life we see out of the corner of our eyes.

evenson is the recipient of a nea fellowship, an o. henry prize, and a glenna luschei prairie schooner award. his short fiction has appeared in the paris review, conjunctions, the quarterly, prairie schooner, third bed, the southern review, and a number of other magazines. he teaches in brown university's creative writing program, and is a senior editor for conjunctions.

brian evenson an introduction
download pdf dokument

xingu hill:
since 1995, john sellekaers has worked as a full-time composer, performer and producer. he has released nearly 40 records under various names, including xingu hill and dead hollywood stars. these releases have appeared on both european and north american labels. sellekaers has remixed a dozen songs for other artists, and his tracks are featured on 50 compilations. he has played more than a hundred concerts in europe, north america and australia. his music lives in the borderlands where atmospheric, experimental, psychedelic, and rhythmic concepts intersect.

john currently resides in montreal and runs the mastering studio metarc.

tamarin is daniel de los santos's (mostly) solo project, which utilizes repetition, samples, beats and noise manipulation. recently, tamarin has evolved into a project that is more focused on experimentation and what is and isn't 'music.' tamarin has two full-length albums (on frozen empire media), a 7' (on de los siete), and remixes on mad monkey and circumvent. in addition, there will be a collaborative cd with merzbow in early 2005 on frozen empire media.

daniel currently resides in chicago and was a cofounder of the following labels: mad monkey records (rip), cirumvent (rip) and de los siete (rip). he currently runs the art label plan dx-17.

ant-zen records will release altmann's tongue in cd format during february of 2005.

brian evenson:
xingu hill:

xingu hill discography:
16-bit golem. 7'. mirex records 11. 2003
the andronechron incident (w/ black lung). cd. ant-zen act132. 2002
this anxious space (w/ squaremeter). cd. hymen records ¥717. 2001
the andronechron incident (w/ black lung). 10'. ant-zen act92. 1999
alterity. cd. hymen records ¥708. 1999
relay. cd. nova zembla nz081. 1997
fiction. cd / 12'. nova zembla nz068. 1996
maps of the impossible. cd / 2x12'. nova zembla nz035. 1995

tamarin discography:
merzbow vs. tamarin. cd frozen empire media femcd12. 2005
the nationalist. cd. frozen empire media femcd5. 2003
rule the planet. 7'. de los siete delos01. 2001
fear of an extraordinary life. cd-r. frozen empire media fem16. 2001


vital weekly 471
"Altmann's Tongue" is the collaboration between the professor and author Brian Evenson and the two sound artists Xingu Hill and Tamarin. Based on the first short story collection by Brian Evenson titled "Altmann's Tongue" (1994), the album contains the spoken word by Brian himself and the atmospheric soundtrack by Xingu Hill and Tamarin. The stories of Brian Evenson are grotesque and dark. Therefore the choice of letting Xingu Hill and Tamarin do the soundtrack makes sense, since both artists usually works in the dark and dull area of ambient sound. Musically the album is first of all built on subtle drones of noises and concrete sounds, reminiscent of Xingu Hill's collaboration-project with Black Lung on the soundtrack for the movie "The Andronechron Incident". Using the album as background listening quite soon becomes drowsy and uninteresting, because of the low frequency sounds layers and the ongoing speech. With some intense listening on the other side, the strange world of "Altmann's Tongue" becomes quite an interesting experience, adding a whole new dimension to the art of literature! (NMP)

wreck this mess
voilà un disque que l'on ne s'attendait pas à trouver chez ant-zen. et pourtant, ce label ne s'est pas seulement fait une spécialité en matière de "rythmes technoïdes", d'electronica "puissante" et autre "musique industrielle". le quatrième pôle musical que cette plateforme affiche fièrement est intitulé "chilling ambient". et c'est à cette catégorie que se rattache cette production atypique qui s'inscrit dans la lignée de la tradition américaine du spoken-word. écrivain, traducteur et professeur, brian evenson est notamment l'auteur d'un recueil de nouvelles sulfureuses intitulé altmann's tongue. à l'époque, il était mormon et prêtreÊ! ce qui lui attirera les foudres de très sectaire eglise de jésus-christ des saints des derniers jours (des lions pour les chrétiens !). désormais, il ne cesse d'écrire pour dénoncer "la gangrène et la pulsion de mort" du fanatisme religieux qu'il conna”t trop bien (cf. l'anthologie contagion à para”tre au cherche midi). des textes apocalyptiques mais finalement drôles et humanistes puisqu'il privilégie "la poésie malgré tout"... on s'en rendra compte à l'écoute de ces lectures distillées sur fond d'ambient-electronic, bizarroïde et forcément torturé, conçu par xingu hill & tamarin (sounds, electronics, processing & mixing)Ê! anglais indispensable. (ld)

der autor brian evenson ist mormone, wird jedoch von der mormonen-gemeinde aufgrund seiner texte verschmäht. evenson schreibt obskure, teils gewalttätige geschichten, ohne jedoch die gewalt darin zu verherrlichen. vielmehr ist sie ein mittel, seinen bizarren, mystischen und dennoch auf den alltäglichen wahnsinn ausgerichteten erzählungen und gedanken eine greifbare form zu geben. brian evenson ist obendrein professor für kreatives schreiben und erhielt für seine geschichte "two brothers" den o. henry award. "altmann's tongue" ist sowohl der titel dieser auf ant-zen erschienenen cd als auch der eines von evensons büchern, denn er trägt auf diesem album einige seiner kurzgeschichten vor, die sowohl dem buch "altmann's tongue", aber auch anderen entnommen sind. um das ganze nun in einen musikalische kontext zu bringen, kommen die namen john sellekaers und daniel de los santos ins spiel, besser bekannt als xingu hill und tamarin. die aufnahme von brian evenson entstand aus dem stegreif, xingu hill sowie tamarin schufen die musikalische untermalung. um das groteske seiner kurzerzählungen zu unterstreichen, liest evenson anscheinend ohne jede emotion. diese anscheinende emotionslosigkeit weckt umso mehr gefühle beim zuhörer, der sich diesen seltsamen erzählungen schwer entziehen kann. in verbindung mit xingu hills und tamarins minimalistischen aber unheimlichen sounds eine sehr seltsame melange. "altmann's tongue" strahlt eine extreme kälte aus und das nicht nur aufgrund der brutal-grotesken geschichten. tamarin und xingu hill tun alles, um die stimmung entsprechend auszumahlen. wie rückwärts gespielt, wachsen manche geräusche an, um dann abrupt abzubrechen oder klingen wie infernalische chöre. ein geradezu beklemmend wirkender soundtrack...

xingu hill und tamarin haben sich voll auf die bedrohlichen kurzgeschichten von brian evenson gestürzt. und haben am bissen drei lange jahre gekaut. wie untermalt man geschichten von lustmorden, religiös verblendeten toten-treks in der prärie, einem philosophierenden gelegenheitsmörder und abgestumpften banditen ohne effekthascherei und ohne filmmusikklischees? "altmann's tongue" ist die antwort. vom autor selbst gelesen, entsteht spannung aus zwei punkten. einmal ist evensons vortragsstil unemotional und neutral. so gar nicht den morbiden und hartgekochten charakteren und handlungssprüngen gerecht werden wollend. warum, fragt man sich? zweitens, regiert abstrakte experimentalität die musikalische illustration. vertracktes sounddesign für semantische nierentritte. in der synthese ist man sofortig im klebrigen netz des dreiergespanns gefangen. es erinnert in der sachlichen art an otomo yoshihides vertonung der shimada masahiko geschichte von einer vertrockneten mumie, deren tagebuch preisgibt, dass sich ein mann langsam zu tode gehungert hat. die präzise auflistung der symptome des langsamen, körperlichen abbaus erinnert an die peniblen beschreibungen der genauen tötungsverläufe bei evenson. und musikalisch bleibt man ähnlich abstrakt. nur nicht zu viel emotionalität erwecken. das könnte ja den zuhörer manipulieren. viel elektro-akustisches hantieren und elektronisches verfremden. packt mich ungemein. steven jesse bernstein für die laptop-generation. (tô)

de lydia lunch a black sifichi en passant par henry rollins, la confrontation du verbe et d'une approche musicale prospective a permis l'eclosion d'un genre sans barrieres ni definition veritable, le spoken words, jeu de mise en scene litteraire ou le fluide des mots se substitue et/ou s' articule a la motricite musicale. une experience renouvelee aujourd'hui, grace a brian evenson, xingu hill et tamarin, aux confins des spheres electroniques. visuel brian evenson / xingu hill / tamarin dans les musiques electroniques, si le projet commun de richard pinhas et maurice dantec autour du schizotrope fait date, il faudra aussi se souvenir de cette nouvelle aventure sonore reunissant l'ecrivain brian evenson et les musiciens xingu hill et tamarin. a l'ecoute, altmann's tongue laisse une impression unique tant le travail de sertissage des textes lus par brian evenson garde une unite emotionnelle qui vient combler de facon etonnante une distance temporelle pourtant bien reelle. enregistres de facon impromptue voila trois ans, les textes lus par brian everson, hypnotisent par leur rythme. la voix claire, rapide, metronomique, a peine entachee d'un leger filet rauque trainant, l'auteur nous emmene dans son imagerie tragique, vision desabusee et tortueuse jusqu'au grotesque d'une realite qui n'aurait comme conscience ultime que l'obsession de sa propre mort. entre le suicide macabre de calling the hour ou l'"insectophagie" d' into the karst, johnsellekaers et daniel de los santos tissent sur ces chairs de mots des lignes musicales plus discretes que les machineries electro-industrielles de leur projet respectif, xingu hill et tamarin, mais d'une reactivite qui subjugue. une atmosphere enigmatique, un defile composite de matieres synthetiques fugaces et de drones vibrants, viennent epouser les contours graveleux du flot de paroles de brian evenson dans un ballet magnetique, comme si le trio interagissait dans la meme piece, au meme moment. (laurent catala)

god help me, he thought vaguely. writes malcolm lowry. wow, i no kidding dreamed of being flayed last night after listening to the recording which is just astoundingly beautiful. the musicians and the deft effects that truly punctuate and adumbrate without every decreasing from the clarity of the telling- i could not imagine a more perfect match. it is one of the very few collaborations including a reading in which i didn't think the work was diminished. it's spare but scary and intense, the production. really gorgeous. you lucked out with those two (tamarin & xingu hill). you all made something remarkable together. thanks! yrs, f (forrest gander)

creepy, creepy and creepy. ant-zen wandered off into the desert wasteland and found a muttering prophet of the prairie. the madman of the waste (brian evenson) was brought back to the civilized world and put in a studio where he poured his invective out into a studio mic, layering spools of tape with his obscene and phantasmagoric tales. these spoken word visions are layered over fearsome industrial stirrings crafted in collaboration by xingu hill and tamarin. altmann's tongue is a fever vision of spoken word bombast over apocalyptic soundscapes. four stories of evenson's are put to music here -- "calling the hour," "prairie," "altmann's tongue," and the feverish twenty-two minutes of "a slow death: prancing/the underground karst/on the wall." xingu hill and tamarin, upon hearing everson's empassioned readings, took three years to build soundtracks which would properly augment the music -- truly collaborative sounds which would feed upon one another. as everson reads, the music sneaks arond you -- whispering in your ear canal, tonguing your earlobes -- and the real world vanishes into prairies of dark mist replete with the tape-loop groan of summoned spirits, the psychotic chatter of zombie desert rats and the howling restraint of a madman's oratory. i'm inclined to quote sections from the work to you, but can't decide on a few lines because they are all redolent with decay and surreal imagery. everson's world reminds me of the work of cormac mccarthy and robert coover but with more skin-crawling terror. this is not meant for home listening on headphones when you are alone. no, not by yourself. or at least not without all the lights on. stunning work. (mark teppo)

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