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Doing the Splash


The Megaphone & Knock 'em Dead labels present the fifth release from improvising trio Konk Pack. Konk Pack are a two-thirds British and one-third Austrian "organic" improvisational group. Their music can be very delicate and light but when they get hot and bothered, it's like being inside of a hurricane, an earthquake and an electrical storm, all at the same time. All three members of Konk Pack have been improvising for decades with musicians like Lol Coxhill, Cecil Taylor, Tom Cora, Alan Silva, Evan Parker, Marcus Schmickler, Fred Frith, and Charles Gayle. The way that they improvise together is like a swarm of bees or a school of fish (sometimes piranhas). This is not intellectual music. Konk Pack draws from deep reserves of experience and expertise: from Tim Hodgkinson's prog roots in Henry Cow to his post-punk RIO reinvention with The Work, from Roger Turner's roots in the UK's experimental scene working with improvisational music legends like Derek Bailey, Cecil Taylor and William Parker, and from Thomas Lehn's analog explorations with German electronic music composer Markus Schmickler and his work with the Ex. Because of, or perhaps, in spite of, their incredible resumés, Konk Pack's work is still singular among all electro-acoustic improvisation occurring today. Their music is an exercise in extreme dynamics that range from spacious and semi-silent tonal streaks to full out onslaughts that open doors to vast tidal waves of static, set to crash straight into the audience. Thomas' synthesizer sometimes crackles like an old AM radio in a hurricane amidst the shrieks and shudders Hodgkinson tears from his lap steel. Roger Turner's percussion could be anywhere from thrashing out a crying anarchy as though he is drowning in his band's own conjured undertow to pulling gentle creaks and whistles from the stretched membranes before him. For sheer depth of sound, breadth of vision and raw skill, practically any given American Underground or Japanese noise outfit could right now be eating their dust. Tim Hodgkinson (lap steel guitar); Thomas Lehn (analog synthesizer), Roger Turner (drumset & percussion). Recorded at Café OTO, London on December 18, 2012.