Saturday, 6 August 2016

VoizNoiz - Urban Sound Scapes

Electronic. CD &12inch vinyl (Pork Recordings / Tone Casualties)

A thoroughly engaging, amusing and charming debut from new Pork signing Michael Banabila. Slightly more random than your usual Pork output, but still retaining the essential ingredients, Banabila strings together 20 soothing skunk funk oddities that delight and bemuse in equal portions. Tender beats, oddball samples, live instrumentation and vocal snippets weave together to make a warming abstract picture, one of those ones that looks good whichever way you hang it. (Nov 2000)

The strength of this fascinating found-sound pastiche will be enough to send fans of musique concrete, advanced turntablism, and trip-hop scouring the import bins. Most of the material that comprises these 20 tracks comes from field recordings of human voices speaking, singing, declaiming, and arguing, all of them reportedly made in the streets, buildings, and train stations of Holland and Yemen. The recordings are cut up and pasted together in sometimes eerie and frequently downright funky ways: the result sometimes sounds like a collaboration between Jon Hassell and African Head Charge (as on the danceable "Do Something About It" and the even more Hassell-ish "Sorokin Blues") and sometimes like a cross between Tricky and the Residents (as on the darkly funky and melodically quirky "Chickensoap). On "Where?" the snippets of speaking and singing are arranged by pitch, and the result is a sort of techno version of hocketing; it's an example of medieval technique meeting 21st century technology, and the result is wonderful. This is an exquisite album by an artist who deserves much wider recognition. (Rick Anderson).

KORTEX Electronica:
VoizNoiz c'est avant tout, des collages sonores mélodiques et urbains. C'est aussi Michel Banabila et une fantastique collaboration de musiciens de Rotterdam. L'ensemble ainsi crée s'aventure dans des territoires voisinants l'Acid Jazz, le trip hop et la peinture sonore abstraite. VoizNoiz c'est un film qui défile dans notre tête : l'ambiance cinématographique propagée par les différentes pièces de l'album s'impose à notre esprit et nous fait voyager un peu partout à travers le monde à l'aide d'un fond musical riche doublé de différents échantillons hétéroclites. Chaque mouvement est pourtant bien clair, et on peut facilement associer les pièces à tel ou tel événement fictif. VoizNoiz est un album diversifié qui bénéficie pourtant d'un solide fil conducteur qui permet à l'auditeur de ne pas se perdre au sein des myriades de sonorités exploitées par Michel Banabila et ses copains. Une belle et amusante expérience auditive. (Yanik Trudeau)

'Where ?' by MAITE KLIS & YUNFENG FU from Michel Banabila on Vimeo.

Post modern assemblage of found sounds and vocal fragments. Sound collage can often be more conceptually interesting than listenable. Michel Banabila handily avoids this on the unclassifiable VoizNoiz. He uses location recordings from Holland and Yemen, along with live guitar, voices, bass and percussion to construct what he calls "urban sound scapes". Banabila assembles riffs from found-sound and vocal fragments into oddly conversational grooves. This approach recalls Coil, but without their inward-looking menace. VoizNoiz is every bit as post-modern as the work of today's DSP-terrorists, but it's a much easier listen. (Kent Williams).

Holland's Michel Banabila is one of those rare musicians who can take an avant-garde conception and turn it into a highly entertaining work of art. VoizNoiz is a masterpiece of found sounds and voices used rhythmically and humorously with obvious nods to Jean Michel Jarre's classic collaboration with Laurie Anderson, Zoolook, without the dark psychological edge, and Coil, without the homo-erotic magick. VoizNoiz is an update of the genre into contemporary trip-hop, with touches of exotica and Asian house music. There is a slight Carribean edge in some parts, but the jack-hammer editing of the sound montage is so intense that by the time one is able to digest an influence, it has been replaced by something completely different. Think of a tropical island version of Tipsy, only more cartoony (which is no surprise as the executive producer is the legendary animator Gabor Csupo.) Though the CD is separated into 20 different tracks, I defy anyone to figure out which one is which without looking at the track indicator. It's like a lovingly unified vision of schizophrenia done Tex Avery style. (Wilhelm Murg)


The Pork folks discovered Banabila and flourished this remarkable disc with "Mono/Metro," a holler-sampling-and-contorting fragment of genius that Moby would stomp Fairfield County, Connecticut into the subsoil for. (Paul Cooper).


'Where ?' by TIM VAN HELSDINGEN from Michel Banabila on Vimeo.

Banabila, Club Cult, Moscow, 2005.

Pork Recordings

Steamsounds Publishing

Buy at CD BABY


Michel Banabila has an ear for sound and a pulse which runs through his fingers. Taking a nearly limitless number of samples, he finds a common pulse that they gravitate towards, and produces groovy - nearly trip-hop style - songs. There are no voices other than the stolen ghosts which become halting, tripping verse-chorus-verse arrangements under his skillful manipulation. "Voiz IX" is a wheezing street orchestra, a tiny marching band made up of two kids banging on trash cans, one over the hill tuba (worked over by a much younger player with a decent set of lungs), a couple of single-stringed guitars, a kid with an old radio sporting exposed wiring, and a drum major with a three-dollar megaphone. Banabila reworks all these elements (and the echoes which their street performance leave rattling down the long alleys) into something else, something a little less than a recognizable tune and more into a musique concrete abstraction. At the other end of the spectrum is the following track, "Speak," which hums along at 144 bpm, hammering and jabbering beneath a cut-up vocal track that speaks in starts and stutters. Like all good pastiches, you find comfort in the recognizable elements and thrill in their unexpected juxtaposition. Banabila's work on VoizNoiz II is a soundtrack to the urban chaos which is the overwhelming reality of city living. (Mark Teppo)

INK 19 : VoizNoiz 2
Considering you can give a whole group of people a fancy recording studio, tons of personal attention and pampering and they create audible crap, artists such as Banabila are all the more wonderful. His sophomore release in the Urban Sound Scapes series, Banabila recorded VoizNoiz 2 completely in his home studio. Mainly, sounds are used to create "words" of sound that speak in the language in which we hear. There is a world flavor, a little "trip-hop" label floating around, and one visionary artist behind every moving track. Creepy, loungy, jazzy, sexy, mysterious, fun, and artsy, this is for anyone who's bored with their current musical interests. This album makes you open so many musical doors. A few standout tracks: "Heavy Gravity," the bouncy, tribal "U Beat," sporadic "Speak," and "To The Angels." Learn a new language with Banabila, the language of sound. (Vanessa Bormann)


The second volume in Banabila's series of Urban Soundscapes is much like the first, a kaleidoscopically funky collage of found sound, aural experimentation, trip-hop beats, and promiscuous sampling. As on his first effort, a willfully bizarre sonic design sense is constantly counterbalanced by a thoroughly populist approach to the groove ‹ there is nothing on this disc listeners won't be proud to dance to and nothing that won't catch them by surprise if they listen hard enough. A few examples: the creaking door, splashing water, and severely altered voices on "Voiz VIII" that rub sensuously up against metallic guitars and a thick, slow groove ; the lurching, Tom Waits-ish "One for the Road," with its turntable-scratching and locomotive sample; and the slow-building "Dinoh Dinoh," which starts off with layers of deeply tweaked voice samples and slides into an irresistible mid-tempo breakbeat with horn section and Hammond organ. The avant-garde is at its best when it's funky, and funk is at its best when it's avant-garde. (Rick Anderson)

Steamin' Songs Publishing released October 9, 2001


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