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Revolutions In The Head

by The Stone Tapes

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Groundbyte 04:10
Ø Zone 05:03


All music by:
Edward-Ka Spel
Frans De Waard
Ninah Pixie
Philip Knight

Recorded at TeKaSky Studios in Nijmegen, Netherlands, late October 2018.

Ninah first prepared her collection of sipsi reed flutes, before bonding at the studio Crumar organ (also a Pixy!), with all it's stuttering (broken!) idiosyncrasies.....

Frans conjured textural movement by mixing multiple cassette players and I-Pad.....

dAS experimented with contact mics and sound boards, feeding his computer to his looper....

Edward conducted a ballet of custom voice samples and played software synths.....

Phil surfed the aether-static world of circuit bent radio, and powered up the analog synth armoury.
The recordings were mixed by Frans, and the sound mastered for CD by Edward.

Cover artwork by Phil...and much thanks to Astrid, and to Sascha.



released October 28, 2019

“Revolutions In The Head” represents the almost transcendental result of “Discipline In The Studio” as members of The Big City Orchestra, Legendary Pink Dots And Frans De Waard (Modelbau, Kapotte Muziek and much more) combined to create a stream of 60 minute soundtracks for a TV station in San Francisco .
If that sounds like a recipe for chaos, then think again. The concentration involved was almost terrifying, but the satisfaction displayed when that clock hit the magical 60 minute mark seemed like a glorious release.
All the music here was recorded in The Silverman’s Attic studio .
Das And Ninah of Big City Orchestra instigated the project and flew to The Netherlands for these sessions.
The first hours involved them, The Silverman and Frans while Edward Ka-Spel joined for the last part of the penultimate session and the final hour.
Edward had literally just got off the train from London, tiptoed upstairs, unpacked his keyboard and various devices, connected the wires as soundlessly as possible and found his patch in the cauldron. The “Hellos” were delayed as only 30 minutes had passed of that particular musical voyage.
When the music was over, there seemed to be a general consensus that this meeting of minds needed to be heard by a wider audience. A big thank you to Frans for the hours he spent editing to make this release possible.



This is a unique collaboration between dAS, Edward-Ka Spel, Frans De Waard, Ninah Pixie and Philip Knight calling themselves The Stone Tapes (an unlikely combo of The Big City Orchestra, Legendary Pink Dots and De Waard). I’m unsure if this is a one-off project but Revolutions In The Head sounds stunning and nu-psychedelic. It’s trips the mind with blurred voices and siphoning synths, deep breathing, transistor radio frequencies and plenty of leftfield spirit.

Tracks like Groundbyte make rings and reverberate into new modified shapes. The watery trickling like a late night shower permeates into the darkness. While some of these folks may have worked together in the past, as a unit they bring their alternate worlds into focus by finding (un)common threads. It’s sometimes switched-on, dazed but never confused, combining drone with understated industrial knob fiddling.

Snaking Down Bourbon is a drunken jam fusion, a mish-mosh of orchestral warp and aching metaphor. But wait for the sizzle of The Clock Always Stops At Zero to find its light. Between static and harmonization is the unknown, and that’s where they find themselves, in the grind, afloat. Just in time for the liquified ambient ending which is deftly haunted.




Contemplating the band name and album title, you would be excused for thinking this album was created by a bunch of acid heads in the sixties. And, in a sense, you are right as most collaborators to this ‘avant-garde supergroup’ have their roots in that decade where it was cool to smoke dope, play the table in the nude and mumble incoherently about Timothy Leary. But this album is not a product of the sixties, it is in fact very much a contemporary ‘head-album’. Recorded in October 2018 by dAS, Ninah Pixie, Frans de Waard, Edward Ka-Spel and Phil Knight, ‘Revolutions in the head’ is a ‘chance meeting’, if you like of kindred musicians. dAS, also known for his work with the mighty Big City Orchestra, utilizes contact microphones, which are fed into the computer. Ninah Pixie, also member of Big City Orchestra, plays flutes and organ, Frans de Waard, omnipresent, plays an array of portable cassette players fed into the computer, Edward Ka-Spel contributes vocal loops and soft-synths and Phil Knight plays radio and analogue synthesizers. The recording sessions lasted for several days and were mixed by De Waard. So where does all this technical information lead to you might wonder. ‘Revolutions in the head’ is a 40+ minute transcendental head trip breathing a calm, blurred atmosphere of circular, hence the ‘revolutions’ in the title, synth waves, frequencies and radio sounds. That ‘revolutionary’ circular sound aspect is more or less the central theme here, embellished with, at times Nurse With Wound-like sounds, reversed tones, modified analogue squeeks and bleeps, static and a quieter bit with sequenced chords (my favourite part of the album). Even though the album is divided into tracks, I prefer to review the music as one large piece, as to me it works best that way. De Waard has done a remarkable job creating this album out of the original sessions, even if I noted losing some of my attention-span after about two-thirds of the album. However, to have these four, perhaps unlikely, bedfellows in one room and on one album certainly works, creating a very listenable and pleasant sound sculpture. At the same time, I cannot help but wonder what the result would have been if each participant had gotten more out of his/her comfort zone and played, for instance, the other person’s role: for instance, had Ninah done the tape work and Frans the flute. Maybe that would have led to more of a revolution, more unease and more challenge in their collaborative journey. But as it stands, ‘Revolutions in the head’ is a great and enjoyable documentation of a ‘chance meeting’ between five people who have earned their credits in music. The 300 copies of this album will no doubt find eager takers among Big City Orchestra, Legendary Pink Dots and De Waard-fanatics.




The Stone Tapes is the project of Ninah Pixie and dAS from Big City Orchestra, Edward-Ka Spel from Legendary Pink Dots, Frans De Waard and Philip Knight.
A mix of interesting and accomplished personalities can be a tricky terrain but the whole album is a gem. Starts with strong synth lead in "Trapped in the Wall" - a good start - then moving on to hauntological narrative of voices and prepared sounds with a bit of radio waves in the next track.
"Groundbyte" is pretty noisy track of sound sculpture - abstract and raw.
"Late 4 Assembly" is somewhat magical arpeggio of wonder - lightweight and sounding like a trance soundbox.
These are but a few of the tracks that open up a great album where all the participants nicely jumble up different pieces of the puzzle they create collectively.
A souvenir, a gem, something that is both rare and unique enough to be remembered more than well.




In Nijmegen als Gastgeber: Phil Knight, The Silverman. Und ein Nachbar: Frans de Waard. Dazu zwei Gäste, die als Namensgeber - THE STONE TAPES - und Anreger des Ganzen aus Alameda, CA, angeflogen kamen: Ninah Lynn Hollenberg, besser bekannt als Ninah Pixie, und dAS. Er ein Big-City-Orchestra-ler Spaßvogel der ersten Stunden und - laut Don Campau auf Livingarchive, the most important underground music figure on the west coast scene. Sie ubuibifiziert spätestens seit sie ihn 2000 heiratete. Bei "Trixxy Pixxy" hatten sie dem Lord of Chaoss gehuldigt, mit Daevid Allen (den dAS als my musical sage verehrt) und Phil Knight. Sowas verbindet. Sie packte ihre Crumar-Orgel und ihre Flöten aus, dAS stöpselte den Computer in den Looper und hantierte mit Kontaktmikrofonen und Sound Boards. Knight griff zu Analogsynthie und Circuit Bent Radio, de Waard zu Kassetten und i-Pad. Auf halber Strecke schlich sich Edward Ka-Spel dazu für Klangtupfer mit Stimmsamples und Software Synthie, es müssen ja nicht immer Legendary Pink Dots sein. Nein, Revolutions in the Head (ACU 1015) verdreht einem den Kopf nicht mit merkwürdigen Songs, sondern mit Dröhn¬wellen, mit 'Crystal Math'-Psychedelik, dem daliesken Versuch, die Uhren zu schmelzen, in die Leere, die 'Ø Zone', vorzustoßen. Hauchend und murmelnd, mit verrauschten Stimm¬fetzen, Störimpulsen, erratischen Ansätzen von Beats, die sich verflüchtigen in verhuschtem Noise, in verzerrten und vertrillerten Frequenzen. Cut-ups aus verschlierten Schnitten, stehende und schwankende Wellen, brummige und brodelige Klangalchemie. Ganz dem Atmen hingegeben, hingebreitet zwischen qualligem Orgeln und welligem Klingklang. Grillen? Vögel? Oder sind das nur noch ohrgestöpselte Natursamples als Stillleben für elektrische Mönche? Pfeifende, zwitschernde Einschüsse, kratzige Loops, dumpfer Beat, windschiefe Orgelcluster, alles, um das Basiliskenauge zu verschleiern, den versteinernden Blick zu trüben. Auf indischem Bordun, flirrend, zeit- und raumvergessen, mit dennoch pa¬nisch hohem Pulsschlag. Und wieder hauchend und sirrend beruhigt, fauchend beunruhigt, von Radiofrequenzen gestreift, changierend zwischen meditativ und unheimlich.




Revolution In The Head is a highly anticipated album by The Stone Tapes, a supergroup constituted of dAS and Ninah Pixie (Big City Orchestra), Edward Ka-Spel and Philip Knight (The Legendary Pink Dots), and Frans de Waard (Kapotte Musik, Beequeen, Goem). These profoundly skilled artists have applied numerous distinguishing technics and procedures to the sound, so Ninah primary served her selection of sipsi reed flutes, before bonding them at the Crumar studio organ, then Frans implored the wide apparition of sonic textures by combining versatile cassette players and I-Pad. dAS experimented with contact mics and soundboards, and also assigned a computer to the looper. Edward accompanied a hatful of custom vocal samples and performed software synths. Phil has manipulated and programmed a circuit-bent radio and powered up the analog synth armory. All these recordings have been processed by Frans and mastered by Edward for the purposes of the compact disc. As you can see, these multidisciplinary artists have quite unconventional approaches to the entire recording process, but also their appearance in avant-garde music differs between themselves. Revolutions In The Heads sounds both mysterious and extraordinary in its marvelous form, the sound encompasses ambient, drone, musique concrete, but you may also detect various sonic manipulations mainly presented in the very background of these recordings. The entire ambiance is fulfilled with static white noise, television and radio sequences, multiple explorations in expansive space of synth noise, so the complete recording maintains the retro-sounding vibe. Still, the essence of The Stone Tapes is heavily based on the foundations of ambient music and the undivided attractiveness lays in the skillfulness of these legendary individuals. Luckily enough, Revolutions In The Head has been published on a compact disc by Attenuation Circuit, a magnificent recording label based in Augsburg, Germany which regularly shapeshifts the catalog with the most impressive recordings in the recent history of sound art explorations.




Finding itself in similar territory we have The Stone Tapes where the ubiquitous Frans de Waard joins dAS, Edward-Ka-Spel, Ninah Pixie and Philip Knight in an improv session from which the edited tracks here are the end result. Philip Knight’s analog synths give us big dollops of heavy Schulze wash, Edward-Ka-Spell introduces sampled found voices, de Waard cassette tape manipulations, Ninah Pixie a broken Crumar organ, dAS feeds his computer with the looped sounds picked up by his contact mics. All eight tracks have something to offer and are again, meditative, soothing even and worthy of many repeat spins. ‘A Thousand Decimal Faces’ becomes a nocturnal swamp walk with the sound of rain, distant thunder, a lonesome foghorn, ‘Groundbyte’ is warmer and more uplifting, ‘Crystal Maths’ [geddit?] is awash with radio swill and gaming soundtrack doom, perhaps my favourite of the eight is ‘Shaking Down Bourbon’ with its heavy and doughty drone with tinkling milk bottles thats a thredony to deflating ballast balloons.




Of The Stone Tapes nu een gelegenheidsproject is of een nieuwe band, heb ik niet helemaal kunnen achter halen. Het bij Attenuation Circuit verschenen ‘Revolutions in the Head’ is volgens mij in ieder geval een eerste proeve van bekwaamheid. Zo onbekend als de groep moge zijn, zo bekend zijn de leden. Mannen en vrouwen die hun sporen ruimschoots hebben verdiend in de meer creatievere uithoeken van het muzikale landschap.

Allereerst de uit Engeland afkomstige Edward Ka-Spel en Philip Knight, ooit de oprichters van het ook echt legendarische The Legendary Pink Dots. Ze maken echter ook deel uit van het vanuit San Francisco opererende Big City Orchestra, waar ze Ninah Pixie en dAS van kennen. Verder levert Frans de Waard een belangrijke bijdrage aan dit album, een man die zich al decennia beweegt in de wereld van de experimentele elektronica, onder andere als Kapotte Muziek. Dat ik hierboven rep over een gelegenheidsproject – of is dit The Stone Tapes gewoon een uitgeklede versie van de Big City Orchestra? – komt omdat dit album een opdracht was van een TV Station in San Francisco. Dat zou overigens jammer zijn, want dit is een meer dan bijzonder album van een al even bijzonder kwintet.

Een soundtrack van een uur, verdeeld over acht stukken. Over de individuele bijdrages lezen we het volgende: “Ninah first prepared her collection of sipsi reed flutes, before bonding at the studio Crumar organ (also a Pixy!), with all it’s stuttering (broken!) idiosyncrasies…… Frans conjured textural movement by mixing multiple cassette players and I-Pad….. dAS experimented with contact mics and sound boards, feeding his computer to his looper….Edward conducted a ballet of custom voice samples and played software synths…..Phil surfed the aether-static world of circuit bent radio, and powered up the analog synth armoury.”

Lees deze opsomming zorgvuldig en beluister dan de muziek, te beginnen met ‘Trapped in the Wall’. Juist, met geen mogelijkheid zijn die individuele bijdrages te onderscheiden in de stroom van klank, opvallend behaaglijk overigens. In ‘A Thousand Decimal Faces’ krijgt door het inzetten van de menselijke stem, natuurlijk uitgebreid bewerkt, het geheel iets bevreemdend. Aansluitend creatieve ruis met een lyrisch aspect. ‘Groudbyte’ heeft een ambient element in zich, als het gaat om de sfeervolle klankwolken, maar spreekt eveneens het duister aan. Het duister dat ten volle naar buiten komt in ‘Crystal Maths’. Zware gitaarklanken, wolken van ruis, zang uit de verten. En is wat we daar op de achtergrond horen een botte tandartsboor? In ‘Shaking Down Bourbon’ gaat het er allemaal weer wat harmonischer en zeker ook sfeervoller aan toe. In ‘The Clock Always Stops At Zero’, valt behalve de wat sombere geluidswereld, het repetitieve element op, recht doend aan de titel. De donkere klankwolken in ‘Ø Zone’ vormen een passende afsluiting van dit boeiende album.





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