Music for Loving reviews (in English, German, Russian)

The Wire, issue 247, 2004: “Ratkje’s electronic encounter with expert noisemonger Lasse arhaug in an Oslo studio last November generated a welter of turbulence, captured live without overdubs on Music For Loving. That title raises the prospect of seductive subtleties but the music’s rawness is more accurately conveyed by the third track’s title, “Interference; Swapped, Stripped And Fucked”. The CD begins with a scarring sonic gouge that establishes an outlook of urgent intensity. Ratkje and Marhaug revel in a tide of pollutants, crosscurrents of acoustic grit and grime, colliding streams of untamed signals that refuse to signify. Samples proliferate – sheep, Steve Reich, insistent foghorn, Heavy Metal, airline announcement, fairground organ, earnest piano – all are soundblasted, lashed with wild noise. Within the appearance of accident, distinct forms coalesce, compositional spirit asserting itself precariously and ambiguously on the brink of auditory chaos. Using voice or electronics, Ratkje frolicking at the ragged edge of the moment shouldn’t be missed.” (Julian Cowley)

Igloo, Microview volume 16: “OK, I admit, I noticed the picture of Flipper (er, a dolphin) on the inside cover artwork before even sticking the disc into my PC for the full feature. It was to my surprise that the first thing I noticed about Music for Loving was what appeared to be only sounds that such creatures would understand when they speak amongst themselves. But seriously, “A Hymn, May Be Classified as Influenced by Baroque” is hardly a critical commentary of hard criticism; it’s like the second coming of Godzilla fighting an army of generically oversized Teletubbies armed with cans of Silly String. Oh my! Recorded in Oslo, my immediate reaction was a fat smile. It’s one of those recorded forms that just takes hazardous technical difficulties to the umpteenth level. This is the noise record of the year. Pixelated, muddy, awkward, fricticious, its all in there; like a mystery stew of aural delights. Chaos personified, remixed and served as an elixir alongside yodeling nonsense and random sky scraping air rides from Mars. What’s this about “Sliced Minimalist Meets Sheep”….etc? I am truly speechless; this is just fucked in half!” (TJ Norris) “Birds do it. Bees do it. Even noisy Norwegian-ese – well, you get the idea. Even one listen to the careening, abrasive sounds of Norway’s king and queen of sonic mayhem is sure to supercharge your lovelife. For adventurous romantics only.”

Vital Weekly, number 429: “Now Mr. Marhaug he is a noise man. And in the person of Maja Ratkje he found a noise chick. Maja is a member of Spunk and Fe-Mail, and recentely making a CD with Jaap Blonk. Here the two return to their laptops as the source for the noise music. Apart from the usual dose of feedback and treated acoustic objects, there is a wide variety of plundered sounds to be heard, under which I recognized some Steve Reich is ‘Sliced Minimalist Meets Sheep and Easy, Cool and Dancing Diva’ (titels chosen with some care). There is a great variety in approaches to noise in the seven pieces on this CD. ‘4-23, A Tribute To Arnold Schönberg In Heavy Syrup’ is for instance a slow piece in which acoustic elements work towards a crescendo. ‘Let it Be’ processes guitar riffs and the title piece is a plunderphonic track in it’s purest form. A fine work of good noise made by those who can.”

Fabulous Jackpot Records: “The second collaboration between these two Norwegian noise artists seems a little bit like a fearsome trick. The kissing snails and simple heart on the cover do nothing to signal the tremendously unsettling, occasionally horrifying sounds of the CD. Arhythmically shifting between electronic squall, sub-amateur hard rock, unintelligable dialogue and stunted dance beats, “Music For Loving” makes physical contact seem like the most heinously unappealing act possible. If it is a trick, it’s an unmatched success; if it’s not, someone has made a terrifying mistake.”

themilkfactory: They did it once, and it worked brilliantly, so they decided to do it again… and again. Maja Ratkje and Lasse Marhaug, both established avant-gardists, noise terrorists, relentless sonic explorers, are in their own right admired for their respective body of work. Their first documented collaboration, Music For Shopping, released on limited edition vinyl two years ago, saw their worlds collide in majestic effusions of noises. Investigating sonic terrains familiar to both of them, yet meeting somewhere between their respective grounds, this album was a mind opening experience, even for seasoned noise aficionados. Two years on, it is not one but two further collaborations, released in the space of just over six months, which the pair is presenting. Music For Loving, published on German label Bottrop Boy, was the first to appear, mid 2004, while Music For Faking is now being released on Canadian imprint C3R. Recorded live in Oslo in just one day each, in November 2003 and July 2004 respectively, with no overdubs, both albums are delivered raw and untouched. The cover of Music For Faking pictures Ratkje and Marhaug sporting full grin, illustrating the playful atmosphere of their collaborations. Although both accomplished and respected musicians, they refuse to take themselves, or their art, seriously, preferring instead to continuously challenge each other into more staggering assemblages. Collecting interferences, field recordings, processed noises, samples, and other sound sources and amalgamating them all, Ratkje and Marhaug confront traditional perceptions of music, firmly placing their work out of context and focussing on the essence of improvised music. This results in both albums being incredibly organic, with sonic textures, ranging from silky analogue waves and highly polished digitalised noises to abrasive distortions, treated vocals – including screams – and radio interferences, continuously provoking cutaneous reactions. It is difficult to disassociate these two albums, so close are they in essence. Both Music For Loving and Music For Faking provide dense atmospheric soundscapes, and both are equally frisky. However, of the two, Music For Loving appears slightly more contrasted, in part rougher, more abrupt than its follow-up, and elsewhere softer, more delicate. Yet, the soundscapes of both records constantly fluctuate between sonic assault and delicate restraint, often in a same piece and often without warning. Perhaps not records to put in every hands, these collaborations between two of the most important experimental musicians of their generation are equally as intriguing, challenging and impressive not only by the scale of these records, but also by the sheer joy that transpires from their relationship. Noise can be fun, and Maja Ratkje and Lasse Marhaug prove it again and again.”

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de:bug: “Süßer Titel, oder. Auf dem Cover sind zwei Schnecken, die sich knuddeln. Aber wenn man die CD anmacht, fetzt es einem erst mal die Ohren weg, dann gibt es ein kleines Schlumpfkonzert, dann bratzt es im Hintergrund und oben in den digitalen Höhen, die fast wie Rauschen klingen, und in dieser Art hyperaktiver Operette zwischen den Stühlen geht es auch weiter. Sehr merkwürdig, dieser Sound. Manchmal sogar ein bisschen übertrieben kollagiert.”

Machine Radionoise: Приятные во всех отношениях люди произвели на свет пластинку, приятную во всех отношениях. Она легка, иронична, в меру гротескна и насквозь проникнута эпикурейским шиком. “Music For Loving” была записана вживую в студии норвежского квартета импровизаторов SPUNK. Этот диск продолжает серию совместных пластинок Ласса Мархауга (JAZZKAMMER) и Майи Раткье (FE-MAIL): двумя годами раньше на Syneastethic Recordings вышел винил “Music For Shopping”, а совсем скоро в каталогах появится третья серия совместных посиделок, на сей раз “Music For Faking”. По всей видимости, парочка решила сопроводить своей музыкой все стороны существования среднестатистического жителя мегаполиса. Ещё раз акцентирую ваше внимание на том факте, что весь материал – семь композиций общей продолжительностью в сорок шесть минут – был записан в один присест и благоразумно избавлен от дальнейшей лакировки. На двух лэптопах изготовлена высококалорийная смесь, в состав которой входят: harsh noise, hard&heavy, bastard pop, cut-up&collage music и масса мелко порубленных приправ. При первом же прослушивании были отмечены многочисленные факты рисайклинга, смешавшего в одну кучу минималистов, Антона Шенберга, овец, The Beatles, Шиву, баллады о любви, традиционную индийскую музыку. Эта всеядность граничит с нарочито кичевой продукцией, которую производят такие проекты лейбла Cock Rock Disco, как DONNA SUMMER и DURAN DURAN DURAN. Пример высшего пилотажа в этой сфере – произведение “Interference; Swapped, Stripped and Fucked”, в котором единым фронтом выступают прогрессив-рок и залихватская плясовая в исполнении неизвестного гармониста. Несмотря на клубящийся здесь хаос, человеку, знакомому с музыкой основных проектов музыкантов, несложно будет вычислить, кто именно из участников дуэта ответственен за те или другие фокусы. Ни ускоренные фрагменты чужих мелодий, ни сэмплированные фортепианные этюды адептов додекафонии не смогли скрыть характерный авторский почерк, наработанный за годы музицирования. Диск без оговорок рекомендуется как ценителям позитивно настроенного noise, так и тем, кто ведёт жизнь настолько же пёструю, как и эта музыка. С походами за покупками, сексом и любовью.

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