You can always count on the Sub Rosa label to release interesting stuff, and this newest CD from L-R and Radiomentale is easily one of the more bizarre and unique things that I've heard this year. The main source for I Could Never Make That Music Again are actually interviews done with electronic musicians who have created work from the past fifty years or so. Jean-Yves Leloup (L-R) and Jean-Philippe Renoult (Radiomentale) have been interviewing different artists for over fifteen years for the French music press, and this work finds them taking little bits from a bunch of different interviews and setting them to sound.
The backing music for each track is a little bit different, and the pieces move between longer, more droning tracks and shorter, more playful pieces that help to lighten the mood a bit. The release opens with the album-titled "I Could Never Make That Music Again," and the twenty-minute track is easily the focal point of the release. It opens with a long section of an interview with Fred Judd (a BBC sound engineer in the 60s) where he discusses the lack of interest in electronic music at the time. As the track builds in, filtered bits from old electronic records made in the 50s and 60s provide the backdrop, and spoken bits from tons of big names drift through and follow sort of a very rough narrative. In this track alone, Derrick May, Autechre, Matmos, Coldcut, Steve Reich, DJ Shadow, Richie Hawtin, Richard D. James, The Residents, and Christian Fennesz (as well as a slew of others) make an appearance, talking about everything from how they make their records to observations about how electronic music has developed over the years.
"Thousands Of Records" follows, and it's even more bizarre, with a backdrop created out of filtered samples from both an Indian forest and inner-city Paris while spoken word bits from David Toop fill things out. The track makes its point with the juxtaposition of the more organic sounds (which at times remind one of Francisco Lopez) and the urban cityscapes. "Cool Noises" works somewhat similarly, with background noises captured during an interview with Herbert form the backdrop to bits of interview with him.
As mentioned above, there are a few shorter pieces with both Mixmaster Morris (if you've seen Modulations, you know he's a bit of a merry prankster) and Simon Begg that lighten the mood a bit, but even the closer of "Soulmates" takes things into more drifting territory, turning separate conversations with Stephan Betke and Andrea Parker into a deconstructed conversation over quivering ambient drones. If you've seen the aforementioned Modulations movie, or read interviews with any of the included artists, it's not like you're going to get any deep insight from hearing the short snippets presented here, but L-R and Radiomentale have put together a unique sound document that isn't sheer novelty either. It's very ghostly at times, with just enough playful moments to keep it from being overly serious.