Monday, April 30, 2007

Andrea Parker "Here's One I Made Earlier" (2007)

'Here's One I Made Earlier' [iTunes Link] is a collection of Andrea Parker productions, many of which pre-date her Mo Wax years yet still show her keen ear for haunting melody, abstract rhythms, found sounds and subtle atmospheres. Predominantly recorded alongside her long time studio partner David Morley, this collection of inspirational electronics unveils long deleted and lost gems from the vaults of such esteemed labels such as Infonet, K7!, Apollo (R&S) and Quatermass. From the beautifully brooding 'After Dark' to the floating introspective tones of 'Too Strange To Be Good', Andrea Parker shows just how diverse her musical heritage is. Known for her dark, experimental sets and sublime productions, Parker has pioneered sonic abstraction and electronic beats for some fifteen years now - the grandma of electro! An avid enthusiast of classic analogue synthesizers and drum machines such as the Arp, Serge, Buchla, Fairlights and of course the 808, she chooses them over the current fashion for software. She enjoys using found sounds that are sampled and manipulated. Her music production method is both unconventional and experimental: she has used the sound of her own sneezes, car tyres running over cat's eyes on the road and strapped a mic to the bottom of her car whilst going through a car wash to create bass tones. The result of this is an open-minded innovative view. Early on she collaborated on some electronic adventures as Inky Blacknuss (with Alex Knight) producing timeless gems like 'Blacknuss', and then formed Two Sandwiches Short Of A Lunchbox with David Morley on Apollo/R&S who went on to produce the classic EP 'Angluar Art' (Infonet), both of which can be heard on this new but old collection. In time she signed to Mo Wax, releasing the singles 'Melodius Thunk' , 'The Rocking Chair' , 'Ball Breaker' and the full length album 'Kiss My Arp'. Parker's productions have many emotions and sonic textures - a fact not lost on the film and advertising fraternity who have used tracks from her output extensively. Their uses and users have been diverse. From a track on blockbuster movie 'Vanilla Sky' where Tom Cruise is dancing to 'Too Good To Be Strange' (unfortunately for Parker he's her worst actor!) and Patrick Moore's 'Sky At Night' to a documentary on NASA and a mugging crime re-enaction on Richard & Judy, her music seems to fit in just about everywhere... including a toilet paper advert in Taiwan, a porn film, The Finnish National Ballet and used by the photographer Nick Knight. Renowned for her remix work, her victims have included Steve Reich, Depeche Mode, Philip Glass, Ryuichi Sakamoto, The Orb, Patrick Pulsinger, Lamb, Tipper, Mira Calix, The Secret Frequency Crew and Nomadic to name just a few. Also featuring on this collection are tracks from 'The Dark Ages' (2000), her mini album on Belgium's Quatermass label, a subsiduary of Sub Rosa and an unreleased nugget all the way back to 1991 in the shape of 'Time Zones'. Her popularity is also shown in the work she gets as a DJ. Parker is versatile, being able to play in dark dingy warehouses to more experimental music on stage with an orchestra. She has a wide variety of musical influences from The Ultra Magnetic MCs, This Mortal Coil, Drexciya, Delia Derbyshire (Parker's idol), Negativland, Nick Drake, ART, Arthur Russel, Clara Rockmore, David Sylvian and Lustmord to name but a few. Which means you'll never hear the same DJ set from her twice (although on some nights depending on what state she's in you may hear her play the same record twice!) Some of her more popular tours included touring with Radiohead, she's experimented live on stage with Bang on a Can, Philip Glass, Steve Reich and a legendary Stockhausen gig with Mira Calix. One off gigs have included playing at a party for director Roman Polanski, fashion house Gucci, the launch of Casio G shock watches, Coca Cola, to an assembly of 2000 architects at a convention in Switzerland. She also back in the day played in Paris and Hong Kong whilst mode 2, Futura and Stash painted works of art live. Parker got fined by the Miami sound Police for noise pollution and during a British Council sponsored tour of South America she survived being beaten up by bouncers, a drive by shooting and a small landslide. Whilst at Autechre's curated ATP she fell down two flights of stairs and knocked herself out unconscious! All in a days work! Luckily, her reputation as a DJ was confirmed by the high sales of her mix for K7's DJ Kicks series. The album showcased the depth of her musical taste fusing hip hop pioneers like Dr Octagon with cutting edge artists Gescom. Other artists included Man Parrish, Afrika Bambaata, Model 500, Drexciya, 69 and Dopplereffekt. The track she made for the mix 'Unconnected' nestles neatly into this collection of abstract melody and dark, murky beats to round of a sterling collection that showcases over a decades worth of experimentation and yet feels like a new artist album. Andrea Parker has always been uncompromising, passionate about the music and loaded with a don't-give-a-shit resolve. She is incredibly hard to pigeon hole: one minute she will be in the studio making dark, haunting yet melodic music, the next she'll be climbing mountains or even appearing in Clark's shoe adverts but underneath it all she still remains a die hard B girl at heart with a healthy appetite for clandestine sonic lab alchemy. She may well be known as 'no1darker' but there is always a melody and structure lurking in the background. Dark yet beautiful, the twelve tracks on display may well have been made earlier but they still sound as fresh as the day they were made.



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