(Broken Face no. 13) Omaha, Nebraska improvisers Naturaliste are back with their second full-length installment, this time on the Public Eyesore imprint. The multi-textural "A Clamor Half Heard" initially is a lot harder to get into than the debut album since all the tracks have a number of differing hues floating alongside one another. Some sections are celebratory and joyful while others are disturbingly abrasive. Constructed from towering drones emerging out of subtle string layers and electronics we get the sonic equivalent to a meteor shower spitting out sparklers that leave smoky vapor trails of different colors across the sky. After staring at the sky's fireworks for a good while the colors unite into an ambush of freeform cosmic patterns where the instruments are no longer easily identified. Live improvisations from reeds, violin, synth, guitar, feedback, bells and more create a challenging but very rewarding listen, sort of like the link between Sandoz Lab Technicians and Vibracathedral Orchestra. Whether Naturaliste decide to build future arcs of sound the same way or move onto entirely new territories, they can count me in as a regular visitor. - Mats Gustafsson
(Vital Weekly no. 318) Naturaliste has a kind of fluctuating band membership. On these five tracks, the bands has between four and six members. It's difficult to discuss the instruments of Naturaliste. Although guitars and bass may be it, I would be too suprised if they all have shortwave, home made circuits, tape loops and walkie talkies to generate feedback. All of these tracks were recorded live in concert. Naturaliste plays extensively with the use of feedback in a rather lo-fi mood (the concert recordings were made with a microphone and through the mixing board) which enhances this further of course. It works best when it's gets nice and moody such as in the third track (which will be the only one I write here: "Fischer, the only one not inebriated, stammered in disbelief "But I'm sober!" as the sadistic bartender cut him off early in the evening" - and they are all like that, except "Static Beauty" - Naturaliste do like their cartoons I guess) and works less if it's a more frentic wall of noise. This free improv music fits nicely the ranks of Blowhole and Borbetomagus but operates from their own perspective. -Frans de Waard
(Blastitude no. 12) Full disclosure: I hung with these guys back in Nebraska some. Helped put out their debut CD-R, and played some shows with 'em. During track one I was feeling like I wasn't going to be in the mood for a blaring AMM/ominous drone that ran 10 minutes. Track two features a more stripped-down trio, sounding almost like just one person, playing weird little electronics sounds, whines and whimpers, squawks and glitches. The sounds and sparseness are excellent but at seven or so minutes some focus is lost. Track three is also pretty long but has a nice feel, like worker-drones moving big pieces of heavy machinery around during a slow-paced job. Then comes track four, which might be the best single thing I've heard from 'em (although the 4th/last track on their Last Visible Dog release is gonna remain REALLY hard to top). Track five, the last track, starts out with a nicely disorienting 'live show at a house party with the tape recorder in a different room' effect with people talking and who really knows what's going on. A cavernous hum starts emerging. It silences the talkers and then grows into a blaring rumbling -- the same thing that started the CD. Track five is the first half of track one. I happened to be listening on my car stereo player, which just loops the discs if you don't take 'em out, so as soon as the track ended the CD started again, and I realized what was going on. Underground folk fans might wanna know that Simon Joyner is in the ensemble for this sly wraparound piece -- that might be him contributing some sweet occasional vocals about "St. Anne's flowers" during the first half. (Side note: The tragicomic long-form track titles poetically reveal just how indebted Nebraskan artists are to booze. I can speak from experience.) - Matt Silcock
(All Music Guide) Nihilist noise makers: that¹s the best description for Naturaliste¹s sonic attacks. The collective from Omaha, Nebraska combined guitar feedbacks, demented turntables, radios and lo-fi noise to create A Clamor Half Heard -- only if you¹re deaf! This CD-R release from Public Eyesore culls five tracks taken from three shows in September and October 2001. The line-up changes from one piece to the next. Lonnie Methe, Christopher Fischer and Charles Lareau form the core. Alternative folk singer Simon Joyner (playing who knows what), Josephine Joyner and Chris Deden are also regulars. David Downing and Mario Aldefer make guest appearances. Radio transmissions occupy a key-role in the group¹s music, especially in ³Static Beauty² where AM static screams alone in the end. The approach evokes a messier Nihilist Spasm Band or something very close to the noise vaudeville of Denis Poposhpop. Sound quality is poor throughout -- minidisc and microphone in front of the stage poor. Understandably it doesn¹t affect the music much, except in ³Andy, a Bit Weathered...² where better sound would have allowed us to scrutinize some interesting toy interplay faintly heard under the roaring guitars. The players don¹t always sound like they know where they¹re going, but the first and last pieces have their moments. - François Couture
(Eld Rich Palmer no. 11) The series of guitar oriented music was broken down by Naturaliste. To say it straight - this is great, and finally it fits perfectly with my expectations of Public Eyesore for noise treatments, which are most successful, by the way. Naturaliste play improv music, or live electronics, or noise, whatever, but the truest may be the fact they play it all at same time and do so in their specific manner. "A Clamor Half Heard" features five live tracks that brings a tumult of unidentified sounds generated from acoustic (a great violin!) and electric gears as well electronic equipments. As I already said, the group's music ( the line-up is different in each track) runs the whole gamut from abrasive, noise washes through multi-layered sonic constructions to a soundwork with feedbacks, distortions and TV confessional-like samples (when described, it seems to be like Whitehouse, but I would rather refer here to XV Parówek). Great! - Krzysztof Sadza
(Ampersand Etcetera 2002_10) Something of a doubly appropriate title for this Omaha group as at times the mix is a bit murky – most seems to have been recorded live, and over two days - and most tracks end quite precipitously. It opens with a freeform group piece (the track titles are excruciatingly long, except for one)) which indicates the general direction they are heading: there seems to be some wind in there, guitar, percussion and violin, and quite strong electronic effects that work mainly to create drones and feedback, supported by the other instruments. After a noisey opening it becomes quieter and rolling along, with some voice, before squeally electro and a cut off. The second track (briefly titled, 'Static beauty') is a solo(?) electronica piece, tapes loops and squeaks, manipulated voices, bips, a kazoo like sounds, whoops and squeals. Back to the group with more guitar and electronic noise, the violin more obvious, pulsing and moving with a machine whirring that signals the end. Drone feedback tones in the next piece, with rattling percussion, some tape effects creating a shifting wall of noise. And the final track is more messing around, gently appealing with more voice, some popping sax and louder passages. The pieces are all around 10-12 minutes long, which seems about the right length for the improvised noise drone that Naturaliste create. There is plenty happening, with enough to attract stimulate and occasionally annoy the willing listener (and if we weren't ever annoyed by music we would probably not wonder if we are exploring widely enough). - Jeremy Keens
(Chain D.L.K. 10/21/2001) Packed in a very nice cover, "A clamor half heard" collects five live tracks (recorded in September and October 2001) for 54' total. Naturaliste is a radical impro ensemble featuring Charles Lareau, Lonnie Methe, Christopher Fischer, Josephine and Simon Joyner, and Chris Deden. David Downing joins on track 3, and Mario Aldefer on track 4. The cd is, like, 90% feedback and 10% instruments, loops and sparse noises. Really lo-fi and muddy recording, so it really sounds like a huge wall of distortion with a few different elements struggling to be heard. A free-flowing sax can be traced in track 1, 3 and 5. Track 2 is just manipulated radio waves & signals at times combining in some kind of rhythmic pattern. Track 3 is more feedback, radio, winds and possibly some tape loops (but it could be the radio). Track 5 is the most interesting one, less aggressive and more dilated, with some delays and tranquil moments creating a slightly psychedelic mood. But the cd as a whole is a nasty piece of hisses and nerve breaking impro solipsisms. Kind of Destroy All Monsters or Dead C recording in a basement with a cheap walkman and distortion pedals borrowed from Cock ESP. - Eugenio Maggi
(Ibol no. 4) definitely a clamor, but i don't see how it could be less than 110% heard. manipulated radio, guitar/feedback, unidentifiable distortions brass/woodwinds, percussive objects and more form this 3-6 piece improvisational nightmare of a group. 5 tracks recorded live late 2001, all in the 9-2 minute range. - Bob Saunders
(Neozine no. 18) A pleasant din of drunken clamor. These are 5 live improv noise tracks which are chaotic freeform, but hold enough continuity in the strange and moody backdrop to form a pleasant atmosphere. It feels like a long line of traffic trapped in the fog. It can be sparce in places, but the better moments are thick and inpenetrable(bouncing around encompassing waves of sound and very individualized noise particles that are trapped inside.) Everything just rings with dynamic but disorderly life. A bit slow and screechy for the average joe, but I can really sink deep into the depths of this thing and discover lots to doo in the world that it creates. - CHC
(Aural Innovations no. 23) Naturaliste are a noise-art ensemble from Omaha, Nebraska and the tracks on A Clamor Half Heard were recorded live in 2001. Wailing, noodling saxophone, electronics, guitar, percussion, and undetermined other instrumentation (I heard a violin at one point) make for a huge glom of experimental noise and bits of free-jazz. Feedback and floating minimal patterns are key elements as are devastating noise assaults. There are lots of interesting ideas here though it didn't consistently hold my attention throughout. Noise-art of this type is usually difficult anyway and it's hard to articulate what works, though I can say that the most interesting parts were when evolving noise patterns were combined with multiple other sounds, giving me more to focus my attention on than just a huge wall of white noise. The inclusion of percussive clatter at any point proved to be a bonus and the saxophone usually helped make things more interesting. But my hands down favorite track was "Static Beauty". It sounds like a shortwave radio dial being blasted up and down the band, but done so in a rhythmic way that produces interesting results. Kind of like turntable scratching with a shortwave. And "jamming" with the saxophone makes for a surprisingly smooth blend. - Jerry Kranitz
(Improvijazzation Nation no. 61) Your mood will have to be bent to listen to this particular clamor... if "holler", "screech" & "bawl" are the listening modes you enjoy most, you'll hear more'n half of this. Th' trouble is that if you want some music in betwixt the pain expressed on this album, you'll have to imagine it... 'coz the whipsaw meanderings assembled herein will make you think you were at one of those torture chambers in suburban San Francisco. Does it have any "socially redeeming value"? Probably not. Will anyone enjoy it? Only those with hoods on their heads. Is it original & "different"? Couldn't BE anymore original, & it re-defines "different"! Listeners who wanna' hurt their ears will contact the PUBLIC EYESORE label! Rotcod Zzaj - Rotcod Zzaj
(Dead Angel no. 52)
TTBMD: This is very cool. This sounds like somebody beating up a deranged accordion.
TMU: There are an awful lot of people making funny noises here and i'm not entirely sure what they're doing. Free jazz on the wing, freestyle. Lots of oompahing and squeaking. Melodic zephyrs for an army of rocking chairs. HEEWACK!
TTBMD: This is a live recording. Would have been very nice to have been there to witness the action.
TMU: It sounds like they were meshing together well.
TTBMD: Yeah, a couple of the guys are really... they're drunk, dude. Some of the song titles are like a story about how drunk they are at this performance. But this one is called "Static Beauty."
TMU: They do sound as if they've had a few.
TTBMD: This next one is called "Fischer, the only one not inebriated, stammered in disbelief 'But I'm sober!' as the sadistic bartender cut him off early in the evening."
TMU: I guess that tells us everything we need to know, don't it? Are these seriously like, fucking bird calls in this song? Or am I just too hopped-up on go pills and paint thinner? Is that the problem? Is that, maybe, do you think, like, possibly, THE GOD DAMN SHIT POKING PROBLEM?
TTBMD: Sounds like he's searching for change on the beach. It's the sound of -- it's like a field recording of some cranky old men from the retirement center going out to the beach and hitting each other with the metal detectors. Drunk old men. Drunk old farts. Searching for buried treasure and finding only bottlecaps. Getting into fights over goddamn bottlecaps.
TMU: I don't hear anything now. Oh wait, someone's dismembering a sax or something.
TTBMD: This one is called... wait, this is still the second song. Let's try "Charles, unable to reach the right level of consumption he expected, played within the confines of sobriety." Damn catchy title. Easy to remember.
TMU: But probably more poetic than the title of that horribly obscure, cult tune by Electric Goat Felcher i've been listening to all week.
TTBMD: You mean "All Good Subatomic Particles Dipped in the Blood of the Goat Forswear the Atomic Ass Oath of Eternal Deviance While the Children of the Night Rock and Roll Over With the Great God Pan While Wearing Korn T-Shirts in Bitchin' Cameros?"
TMU: Yes, that one.
TTBMD: Dude, that song blows turds.
TMU: But it's cult. It's very fucking cult.
TTBMD: I've been possessed by someone else. What's going on?
TMU: We now return to our original programming... what's with all the hovercraft noises? Do we even know what song we're on? Are we all confused? It's that paint thinner, isn't it? You told me this wasn't the pure shit....
TTBMD: This is an excellent CD. Visit Public Eyesore's site and contemplate all the fine products they have.
TMU: A wise suggestion, o my brother. I'd like to add before we move on that this is a fine example of the ensemble playing in the free jazz realm so often favored by the stylish cats at Public Eyesore. These people know how to make the sounds of the Other World. The vibrations of the Great Snake.
TTBMD: They have great packaging on this too, and this artwork is a bit more straightforward than some of the label's stuff. This has definitely got a more ambient yet abrasive feel to it.
TMU: I detect the proton strands of Sun Ra in the cosmic goo sloppin' around here. Sun Fuckin' Ra -- He is IN the motherfuckin' HOUSE here! HEEWACK!
TTBMD: Sun Ra would be proud.
TMU: Now I am possessed by the Headless Chicken of the Seven Churches! Kculc kculc!
TTBMD: Hey, I like Church's Chicken!
TMU: Did the hovercraft land yet?
TTBMD: It will never land. It is a journey that never ends. A flight of consciousness destined for a star that doesn't exist.
TMU: Their plaintive wailing saxophone is but one of the bitter reeds in the mighty Pipe of Doom that Erich Zann built back in the day! Oooo, the sound grows hypnotic... my inner chicken swells with pride as the egg grows....
TTBMD: (stares with disbelief)
TMU: I think perhaps we should continue our question onto the next CD. Our work here is done. The egg has been properly irradiated. Soon... The Goat Spore hatches, doom childe.
TTBMD: Um.... onward.... - RKF