Various Artists | fb50

Fals.ch | Data Storage 3

http://www.iis.fhg.de/amm

For several years Mego spin-off Fals.ch has offered an idiosyncratic take on software-as-audio/audio-as-software utilising the Fraunhofer Institute's MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 Codec - better known as MP3 - as a medium. For those still suffering 56k connections, Fals.ch's periodical samplers in the form of 3" data-saturated CDs are indispensable.

The second of these intermittent periodicals is 'fb50' (a catalog number; nothing more, nothing less) and with contributors including Evol, General Magic, Francisco Lopez, Gescom and CD_Slopper there's no question that what's on offer is likely to be challenging audio.

A simple, but complex, .html interface offers a multicolour avenue to the data on the CD which includes MP3s, .movs and a copy of the CD artwork in .pdf format (should you prefer to look at it 'authentically' on screen than hold a 'fake' in your hands). Along the way you'll encounter TXT, DCR, JPG, GIF files and a file by Gescom whose suffix is all but indiscernible.

The audio on offer ranges from the shortform stutter rhythms of Barcelona duo Evol's '(341+27+91)-(154)-(100x3)+(1)' to a lush recording by B.Low (Pulsinger/Tunakan/Peyfuss) '2.1' that collides abstract drones, field recordings and distant beats across forty expansive minutes. For '2.1' alone this compilation is worth owning. Like a twisted Orb outtake it spirals out of control, sucking in musical melodies like an audio vortex - running the gamut from lo-fi breakbeat to drifting ambience, by way of wistful piano sonatas.

Given the emphasis on data, it would be interesting to see future issues further exploring visuals analogous to the audio on offer and, perhaps, introducing written commentary (however corrupted). The visual pedigree here - CD_Slopper, Tina Frank and Farmers' Manual - is certainly established and offers an idiosyncratic visual outlook. An fb100 wishlist might comprise: SWF, TIF, PCT and, of course, the obligatory PSD.

[CM]



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