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act 160 á ultra milkmaids á pop pressing á cd


1...2...4...6..., my electric ladddy land, go go ..., ... guitars, gard massy p., kra ..., ne(n)ver, ... ak, pop star, balade, my personal tv system, slo_drum, %, new w(m)ind.
+ video 'pop star'

ultra milkmaids started in 1993 as a trio. the third member, oliver, left the group in 1997 and the remaining brothers jan and rodolphe turned the former punk/noise/ambient/rock formation into the soundscape-oriented project we know today - take the 'peps' cd on duebel or the 'disco_2k ep' vinyl on ant-zen for example. but besides the many various releases and collaborations as u.m., the brothers are also active members of the surf-rock bands: 'the star and key of the indian ocean' and 'the surfin' barmaids'.

u.m. had already announced 'pop pressing' in interviews: "maybe our music became more 'listenable'" -- they said. to answer the question "what do you mean, listenable?" there was... "pop! rock! dance music! choose your own!"

are you still reading? good! maybe you think that u.m. is 'closing the circle' by returning to their guitar-oriented roots but what we have here is not quite a circle - maybe it is an ellipsis? an egg? or something entirely non-geometric !

but let's be brief now: undeniably, 'pop pressing' is still the milkies at their best. the first tracks contain the atmospheric soundscapes that listeners of 'peps' are familiar with. pure electronica as it seems - until 'go go...' where u.m. shows their virtuosity in creating these soundscapes with flageoletted guitars, a short saxophone intercourse and the usage of the good old analog delay every 80s-guitarist knows so well... you are still reading and you are hopefully still listening - but wait what is this? it is track 10. if you already have the ant-zen compilation 'daruma', 'my personal tv system won't be that surprising, but if you don't - yes, this is still the u.m. psychedelia, but no, this is not stereolab playing drums, electric bass and rhythm guitar - here you will find the postrock-basics with the electronica add-ons, perfectly combined. and if you liked the milkies' personal tv system, you will love the final track of this album - an aural greeting from the egg's top to sonic youth...

discography ultra milkmaids 01.2004:
2004. cd. pop pressing. ant-zen act160
2003. cd-r. v/s part II. verato project 015
2002. cd-r. 03/02/usa. u mohol records 07
2001. 10". disco_2k ep. ant-zen act110
2000. cd-r. v/s part I. ignis projekt di 01
2000. cd. peps. duebel whol8
1999. cd-r. 98>97. taalem records 02
1999. cd. vorely relay (remixes). noctovision records 07
1998. cd. mort aux vaches. staalplaat
1998. 7". jain umpoulet. drone records 025
1997. k7. nadine. rendezvouz radikal records 01
1997. k7. sheila gripp. l'a production records 04
1997. cd. vorely. noise museum records 015
1997. 12". borray ep. noise museum records 010
1996. vhs. the chicken in the kitchen. u mohol records 04
1996. k7. yorjc jyrpurporoc. la deviation totale records 07
1996. 7". lou. u mohol records 03
1995. k7. l collant di franco bombana. u mohol records 02
1995. k7. le paquet ciral. u mohol records 01

ultra milkmaids website:


once upon a time in a perfect world there was this movie from the cohen brothers called 'the man who wasn't there'. told the sad story of a man executed for a murder he was innocent of after actually killing someone by accident -his wife's lover- and having his wife committing suicide before being executed for it (what a plot ain't it). a melancholic movie about how things happen and how you sometimes should do something to prevent them from happening. or maybe you shouldn't do anything cause they're going to happen anyway. or whatever you do other sad things won't fail to happen. this man smokes all day, says few words, has grey hair, never smiles, like beethoven sonatas and he's a barber. and all this mess in his life begins because he's offered the chance by some kinda old rouŽ to become a millionaire with dry cleaning stores... which leads us to this um album, because 'pressing' means 'dry-cleaning' in french and i suspect what you see on this record cover actually is a picture of a laundry/dry-cleaning store. in a perfect world, the cohen brothers would've used this beautiful record as the soundtrack for their beautiful movie since it would've fitted perfectly, with its nostalgic reversed guitar loops, its echoing delays and sweet tunes. this is no perfect world, so wish this wonderful record good luck with me before the next cohen brothers movie is out (who would've said i'd like anything from ant-zen -i like this one probably because ant- zen isn't printed anywhere on the cover :-)).
il ritorno degli ultra milkmaids riserva una graditissima sorpresa ed un netto cambio stilistico, che li vede impegnati nel loro album pi melodico ma anche maggiormente ispirato. eppure potremmo addirittura parlare di un ritorno alle origini, dato che la band nasce nel 1993 come trio dedito al comune noise-rock, per poi trasformarsi in un duo di derivazione post-rock ma con un approccio minimale e di confine. "pop pressing"  dunque il disco in cui le due passioni dei fratelli jan e rodolphe vengono concretamente alla luce fin dalla opening-track "1...2...4...6", in cui le astrazioni sono immerse in un›aria decisamente rarefatta e sospinte verso progressive aperture celestiali. l›indirizzo pi concretamente melodico - ma pur sempre spostato verso l›attrattiva della destrutturazione - arriva con l›accoppiata di "go go..." e "... guitars", in cui un tappeto ritmico regolare viene calpestato da violenti feedback e casuali tocchi di tastiera prima di scivolare ancora una volta sotto una cascata di piccoli, lucenti suoni digitali ("gard massy p." e "kra..."). "nenver" mischia atmosfere sacrali ad interruzioni perfettamente silenziose e ci introduce ai bellissimi paesaggi nebbiosi e malinconici di "pop star", traccia che senza ombra di dubbio potrebbe appartenere al catalogo della kranky records. questo stesso brano  da considerarsi il centro concettuale dell›album e viene accompagnato da un video sgranato e surreale, in cui la macchina da presa compie lentissimi movimenti dagli effetti ipnotici su un anonimo spazio urbano. ma il vero cambiamento si ha con la seconda parte del disco: "balade" si rivela un brano folk per chitarra registrato in un lo-fi stridente che non ne inficia la romantica bellezza, mentre con "my personal tv system" si conclude con successo il percorso verso l›indietronica di matrice americana. "slo_drum"  giusto un intermezzo che per un attimo rievoca le straordinarie visioni sature di colori dei my bloody valentine, mentre in "new wmind" gli ultra milkmaids si scoprono ammiratori degli yo la tengo ma con una naturale predisposizione per i suoni accartocciati. "pop pressing"  decisamente un disco riuscito, che tenta di percorre nuove strade senza paura di sperimentare soluzioni scomode. (michele casella)

als trio 1993 gegrŸndet und 1997 zum duo verkleinert, haben die ultra milkmaids mittlerweile das geschafft, was so manch anderer band nie gelingt. sie haben einen unverwechselbaren sound kreiert, an dem man sie in fast jedem ihrer songs sofort erkennt. die band besteht aus den beiden brŸdern jan und rudolphe, die neben den ultra milkmaids auch noch in zwei surf-rock-bands spielen. genau das ist eigentlich verwunderlich, wenn man die soundlandschaften kennt, welche die ultra milkmaids heraufbeschwšren. doch bei genauerem hinhšren sind gewisse parallelen zu erkennen. die ultra milkmaids haben sich dem ruhigen electro-pop-rock verschrieben. ihre musik ist fast immer entspannend und lŠsst stets etwas melancholisches mitschwingen. die gitarre ist manchmal nur schmŸckendes beiwerk, manchmal bauen die songs komplett auf ihr auf, mal ist sie nach der flageolett-methode gestimmt, mal analog verzšgert. vielleicht kšnnte man es so beschreiben, dass das duo seine eigene art von surf-rock mit den ultra milkmaids verwirklicht, wenn auch nicht aus jedem song seine wurzeln heraus hšrbar sind. das neueste werk der ultra milkmaids, "pop pressing", ist nach einigen cds in eigenregie, mal wieder eine offizielle veršffentlichung bei einem label. gerade auf ihrem neuen album hat sich das duo wieder mehr den gitarren verschrieben, auch wenn sich beispielsweise "my electric laddy land" ganz allmŠhlich in eine art sehr helles und stark abgewandeltes glockenlŠuten steigert und die gitarre hier nur ganz selten zum vorschein kommt. aber songs wie "pop star" laden zum trŠumen ein und wecken sehnsŸchte. schade nur, dass nicht alle stŸcke auf "pop pressing" von dieser qualitŠt sind. manchmal wird es schlicht zu eintšnig. bei "my personal tv system" und vor allem "new w(m)ind" klingt der surf-rock sehr deutlich durch. beide sind auch die belebtesten songs auf dem album. gerade bei letzterem wird man sehr stark an sonic youth erinnert und wenn man der plattenbeschreibung trauen darf, kann der song auch als auditiver gru§ an sonic youth verstanden werden. "pop pressing" ist mit sicherheit kein gewšhnliches album, hat aber seine lŠngen. (veit)

vital weekly nr. 409
the milkies, as the members of ultra milkmaids call themselves, are being watched by me on an irregular basis. sometimes i hear some of their music and then it may take it maybe two years or so, before i hear something new. fact is that at least one of their productions, "peps" is highly regarded by me: a true landmark in the world of warm, glitchy popmusic. i used the word 'warmbient'. but after that i didn't hear that much new work by them, except for some odd historical work. so where did 'peps' go into a 'pop pressing'? the ultra milkmaids still have the warm, glitchy sound, but it seems to me that they extended the music with the use of real instruments, saxophones, guitars and drums for instance. however at the center of all of this sudden innovation is still the computer and still works overtime - processorwise. the milkmaids play no less than fourteen tracks in thirty-eight minutes, yet to say there is a gabba-gabba hey laptoppunk going on, not really. the tracks are short and to the point, each has their own central theme and then we move on, until we end in 'new wmind', in which the milkies other interests (playing in a surf group) leaks through. this album is quite a leap forward from 'peps'; this is how we like them: a small catalogue of releases, and each is a significant step forward. progression rules. (fdw)

vital weekly
many musical territories have been crossed during the first decade of existence by french band ultra milkmaids. starting back in 1993 as a hardcore punk band the project moved across experimental free jazz into a techno-based sound sphere until they decided to find themselves somewhere in the borderline between electronic and acoustic sound expression. where ultra milkmaids' excellent "mort aux vaches"-edition from 1998, were heavily based on electronic sound and less on the acoustic expressions, their latest release titled "pop pressing" seems more focused on the acoustic instruments even though the electronic sound-sphere still seems important for the band. musically "pop pressing" almost seems like a trip into the back catalogue of the milkmaids ending up with a nicely balanced post-rock meets ambient-style. guitar seems like an important instrument to fulfil the musical expression on the album. first of all manipulated and processed but also being played in a more traditional way the guitar as a sound source are melted into a flowering world of micro sounds all ending out as ever flowing soundscapes of vital richness. sometimes the sonic expression turn away from the floating ambientscapes into more concrete acoustic-based compositions with drum patterns and short saxophone interventions. as a last little treat on the album comes a music video to one of the album's best tracks, "pop star". so all in all a very nice little gem from ultra milkmaids. (nmp)

as pop pressing opens, i wonder if my cd player is damaged. "1...2...4...6" lurches and disappears, and i have to struggle to find the lyrical thread in the damaged melodies which stutter and burp from my speakers. then, suddenly, "1...2...4...6" is gone, and i'm dropped into a field recording of birds. when the guitar melody surfaces once more -- several minutes into "my electric ladddy land" -- the digitized breakdown of its sound is still there, filled with hollows and excised chunks that leave empty spaces within the body of the melody. my ambience is disturbed by digital artifacting: this is the effect the ultra milkmaids have on records. during interviews over the last year or so, the ultra milkmaids have threatened to do a pop record. those familiar with the milkmaids -- brothers jan and rodolphe, who operate without a number of safety nets including the security of a familial name -- know that their method of glitching minimalism hardly encompasses the idea of a pop record. those familiar with the milkmaids have waited for pop pressing with a hint of apprehension and glimmer of caution. as it turns out, pop pressing is music that has been bleached into near silence before being randomly sliced into a thousand splintered bits. the ultra milkmaids recorded a "pop" record and then disassembled it -- leaving pieces out, destroying whole phrases and instrumentation, performing cut-up operations with the precision and arbitrariness of a skilled surgeon whacked out of his mind on speedballs. "nenver" is a tone and drone piece fabricated from the extranenous tape of the brothers tuning their instruments. all sound has purpose and possibility for the milkmaids, and the broad drones and particular finger-picking of a slightly tuned guitar become a wash of ambient sound, a coalescing of the musical atmosphere prior to a more refined recording session. the first minute of "pop star" is nothing more than the hum of an amplifier, waiting for input. the milkmaids channel kevin shields into the studio and the guitar unleashes a storm of sound, the thick layers of sound colliding and echoing like the endlessly multiplying brooms of disney's fantasia. the acoustic "balade" starts in the country with its single guitar and bird song. but they are invaded by the echoes of "pop star" as the shimmering wall of guitar noise wanders into the pastoral landscape. "my personal tv system" is a bit of surf music buried beneath a shivering buzz of static energy as if the surf were included, transcribed as digital noise. the final track, "new wmind," is a nod to sonic youth and scenic and dick dale even, a coherent instrumental landscape which would one could find on any of their records. it is only in the final minutes that the ultra milkmaids apply their stuttering, slicing methodology again, reminding us of their intent: pop pressing is all about breaking songs down, breaking songs apart, and discovering how much can be removed before the melody loses its cohesion. here lies fractured listening. (mark teppo)

finalement, ant-zen ne fait pas que dans l'electro post industrielle, et possde dans son catalogue quelques curiositŽs qu'il serait honteux de rater. pop pressing fait partit de ces anormalitŽs qui nous offre ce qu'il y a de plus prŽcieux, musicalement parlant, de nos jours : l'originalitŽ. experimentales jusqu'ˆ la mo‘lle, les pŽrigrinations dŽcalŽes du duo franais apporte, comme toujours, un vent nouveau, soufflant avec tŽnacitŽ sur les braises encore ardentes d'une electronica dŽcolorŽe et remaniŽe avec juste ce qu'il faut de folie et d'atypisme. nappes nŽbuleuses, drones hystŽriques et calculs improbables donnent aux 14 plages du cd un gožt d'inŽdit et de jamais entendu, bienvenu et apprŽciable. parfois minimaliste et ŽpurŽ, parfois saturŽ et compacte, le son des "milkies" n'a pas grand chose d'anodin. l'Žvolution musical du groupe est tout de mme impressionnante et le sentiment de libertŽ totale qui se dŽgage de leurs rŽalisations est ˆ saluŽe. manipulations sonores en tout genre, volontŽ affichŽe de ne rien laisser au hasard et atmosphre filandreux sont les ma”tres mots. et malgrŽ cette profusion de mŽlodies concassŽes et autres sequences anachroniques, on ne ressent que trs peu le besoin de repres. on se perd, on divague, on dŽrive, langoureusement apaisŽ par la limpiditŽ cristalline qui se dŽgage de pop pressing et des guitares cosmiques, aux allures de supernovas en pleine expansion. reste ces excursions groovy, que sont ou encore my personal tv system, invitant l'auditeur sŽduit ˆ entrer dans une danse des neurones toute hypnotique. en long, en large et en travers, une rŽussite encourageante qui ne demande qu'ˆ tre poursuivie.

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