Music for Shopping reviews

The Milk Factory: “The intense sonic assault from Ratkje and Marhaug defies definition and conventions. A deluge of analogue and digital processing and concussed pseudo-rhythmic sections, built of elements of theremin, samples and sounds recorded on minidisc whirlwind in a mind-blowing maelstrom, as tracks merge into each other and develop over the full length of the record. Of this autistic chaos, it is almost impossible to isolate any particular element. As the pair methodically lacerate their soundscapes to experiment with the notion of noise, the listener is left baffled by this constant barrage of information, yet strangely, when the album finally comes to a close, the silence that follows appears far more disturbing than these sonic disruptions.”

Eld Rich Palmer, Issue 12: ” In a duo with Lasse Marhaug of Jazzkammer she points the barrel of the satire gun at the common ritual of the Western societies. Ugly design of the artwork (anti-artwork I would even say), ugly colours, photos showing Ratkje and Marhaug loaded with shopping bags, and the music that would cause the sales slump should it ever live up to the title function. These six pieces is the sonic litter the big cities citizens find themselves in, but amplified, accelerated, magnified to hyper grotesque proportions and what is most important, curbed by humans who have an artistic vision and know how to realise it. The lightness, freshness and gleefulness of this album are a proof that Ratkje’s claim to gain positive energy from noise isn’t empty words.” (Przemek Chojnacki)

PREQ: “The work of Maja Ratkje and her accomplices in the field of noise has begun to intrigue me. Her solo CD Voice must take most of the responsibility for this. Listening to it has become a sort of daily compulsion. I don’t know if it’s healthy but I love it. Such is the nature of compulsion. Like shopping. And Ratkje, along with Jazzkammer’ss Marhaug, has constructed a soundtrack that ought to be heard in every emporium or mall where people gather to indulge. They know what people want, so they have created pieces like “The Street Parade Massacre” and “Spunk Rock Goes Total Shock Monster”. Ideal for browsing the racks in your favourite high street store. I think people would appreciate the accompaniment of desiccated samples belching out against trembling Theremin as they sip latte in air-conditioned comfort. You may feel that the world is moving at the wrong speed. Did someone tamper with the escalator ? No, its just the rampaging “Femail Popcorn Demon” littering the aisles with an arsenal of analogue effects and muffled explosions. And they treat you to the sight and sound of “Sweet Music And Lonely Bear With Ghost”, the perfect companions for a trip through both designer outlet and bargain basement. And for serious purchasers this is only available in a limited edition on heavy duty vinyl. That’s my kind of shopping.” (Paul Donnelly)

Groove: “Early noise document from Ratkje. This is probably the first noise related record Ratkje has appeared on. She has later conquered some attention on the Norwegian noise/improv scene with extensive touring and releases in different constellations. This record is filled with what some might call classic noise. Some extemely trips are taken, mixed with more delicate and subtle parts. Field recordings from a trip to Tokyo (home of noise), containing spoken words in Japanese and ambience from probably a shopping mall, are giving this record an extra dimension. Released as LP in a small number of copies this one is regretably hard to find. A delicate record documenting what has proven to be the start of a creative partnership involving Marhaug and Ratkje; the king and queen of Norwegian noise.” This capsule review is based on the full length, Norwegian language review by Carl Kristian Johansen, published 17.01.2004

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Popopdrops: “Groteskt opphissende støy fra Ratkje på theremin, stemme, analoge effekter og minidisk og Marhaug på computer og samplere. Antar drivet og spontaniteten kommer av at det hele er tatt opp live, no overdubs, som de sier, og dette er sant å si noe av det mest hårreisende vi har hørt siden Lasse Marhaug var ung. Våpenhandelmusikk? Dødsbra.” (Bjørn Einan)

Groove: “Lydbildet befinner seg stort sett i de øvre sfærer av frekvensspekteret, den blir aldri skingrende som Lasse Marhaug/Jazzkammer tidvis kan være, men har funnet et behagelig leie som gjør at støyen når helt fram. Det varieres mellom hektisk cut up og lengre og svevende støylandskaper, en fjær i hatten er at det myldrer av lyd i alle kriker og kroker av lydbildet. Det gjør dette til en spennende opplevelse. Side to er spekket av opptak fra det som må være innsiden av japanske kjøpesentre, ikke identifiserbare samtaler og andre kjente ukjente lyder fra andre siden av kloden. Plata avsluttes med en samtale (Ratkje?), der en japaner blir stilt spørsmålene om støymusikkens betingelser i Japan, og hvor mange utøvere som opererer innenfor begrepet. Svarene blir overskygget av nok forstyrrelser til at man ikke får med seg hva han svarer. Egentlig jævlig irriterende, men veldig effektfullt. Det hele får et preg av å være et lydfossil man altså kan tolke noen svar ut av, uten at man kommer helt til kjernen. Så et aldri så lite antropologisk dokument i lyds form er dette også.” (Carl Kristian Johansen)

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