(Disaster Amnesiac) Wait, what? More product from the Public Eyesore/eh? Records nexus? If things continue apace over there, it'll be SST Records circa 1988 all over again! Pace yourselves, dudes! Not that Disaster Amnesiac is complaining, especially when really fine releases such at Temporary Presence by Naturaliste show up in the mail. This quartet, made up of Bryan Day, Christopher Fischer, Charles LaReau and L. Eugene Methe, seems to have, in whole or in part, convened in Shanghai a couple of years ago, borrowed some instruments from a shop there (presumably to be paired with whatever unique rigs these guys were able to get past customs), and laid down some heavy sounds. These sounds were then augmented with sounds from the group members' various studios, and the whole thing pressed up onto a nice, thick, black slab of vinyl for the public's consumption. That public should be very damn glad to have access to Temporary Presence, too. Well, at least those members of the public that enjoy improvised Electro-Acoustic and Noise sounds whirling about their senses. See, this work fires on all cylinders within those aesthetics. Within its mix of strange piano chords, percussive clatter, keening feedback, and disembodied voices, the album treats the listener to two sides of consistently gooey and downright deep sonic exploration. Each piece is paced in such a way as to hook your senses in. Once this happens, their effect burrows down further and further, taking your mind with it. Disaster Amnesiac has been particularly enamored with It's Just the Air Conditioner, side two's longer track. This piece lowers a sonic boom that is consistently mind altering. Seriously, when that track has played in my house, things have just stopped and I've been frozen into a state of pure, immersive bliss. It's here wherein all of the various elements just combine into a very compelling whole, one which is just so consistently psychoid and downright deep as to be a mind blower with every single hearing. Elsewhere, you have the mysteriously titled The Swallows Have Returned with its ominous thrumming electrics and warped piano, Vitals which features some cool, by turns glassy and popping percussion, and At the Worst Of It, which concludes things with a nice, thick atmosphere. All the tracks on Temporary Presence just exude this undeniable mood; clearly something special transpired at Sandy Music in Shanghai. Along with the great sounds, Temporary Presence benefits from a rich and sumptuous package that has some great Bryan Day asemic writing and cool type face. Dunno if the inner sleeve insert is just a blur by design, but that's kind of cool in its own way as well. As usual, Disaster Amnesiac is chuffed to be on the receiving end of another package from the House of Day. Temporary Presence checks all of the boxes for me. Seek this one out, as it probably will for you if you're at all inclined to dig the kind of psychedelia that Naturaliste are so adept at dishing up. - Mark Pino
(Vital Weekly) When I reviewed a cassette by Pay Dirt in Vital Weekly 1262, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that Bryan Day was involved with a bit of noise. On the back of that, he wrote to me to tell me about some of his earlier experiences in the land of noise, when he was performing as Sistrum in the late 90s. He also worked with Takashi Aso and Brian Noring, from FDR Tapes label. In 2002, he moved to Omaha and joined Naturaliste. Some quick research I reviewed some of their music (Vital Weekly 318 and 359), but there haven't been any new releases in fifteen years. Recently the group reconnected in Shanghai, of all places, and recorded music together on January 21, 2019, which was "mixed with individual improvised tracks recorded in Beijing, Oakland, Omaha, Pittsburgh and Shanghai, which I assume is where the various members work. These members are Bryan Day, Christopher Fischer, Charles LaReau and L. Eugene Mathe. The recordings were made in an instrument store, but it also saw them play "thrift store electronics, box fans, amplified phone books (being torn apart), garbage bags of broken wine bottles and a fair amount of audience provocation". Whatever else was added later on, it all makes up a most curious record of many layers of mostly non-musical sound, no structures and chaos without noise. You may think I don't like this, but, to be honest, I love it. Over there someone plays a few keys on the piano, in another corner someone is playing a bit of synth, or rolling a few objects over a floor, while someone opens the door to record the traffic outside. What makes the music more difficult to listen to, is the difference between close by and distant sounds, occurring at the same time. For me, that is something that makes this a great record. The sheer non-musicality, the chaos, the objects as instruments, the whole notion of various locations sounding at the same time, are all a guarantee that with every round of listening there is always something new to be discovered in this music. I played this one every day over the last week and I haven't got to the bottom of it yet! Bryan Day's Public Eyesore is one of the labels to release this, along with Almost Halloween Time (Italy), Gertrude Tapes (United States), and Unread Records (United States). - Frans de Waard
(Noise Not Music) Sitting conceptually somewhere between Partial’s LL and R.O.T.’s Klein Eiland (and musically between early AMM and Melkings), Temporary Presence is a release that is claustrophobic only in regard to its origins. The recordings were captured over the course of a night in a rented-out music store, an approach that certainly implies some essential limitations, but the four inimitable members of the long-running but sporadically active Naturaliste project transform their finite supply of materials into shifting masses of abstract sound that extend well beyond any possible permutation of four-walls-and-a-roof. Plenty of the participating personnel have made names for themselves in the field of convention-defying instrumentation, especially inventor and miniature installation engineer Bryan Day, but the stuffed shelves and corners of the unidentified shop offer many a traditional flavor for the bubbling stew: considered strikes on both the inside and outside of a classical piano, jagged rakes across the strings of an off-tune zither (at some points I was fully convinced the next thing I would hear would be “ME is a meadow meal”), extended-technique violin, and more. As if the diversity of the purely “musical” elements wasn’t enough, Temporary Presence also evokes both defined and undefined space with additional auxiliary intrusions intentional and otherwise; a cavernous, spectral recitation here, the horn of passing car there; uncomfortably close clatter one moment, distant and detached din the next. Some say their spirits still haunt the building to this day— “Oh don’t worry about all the shit falling off the shelves for no apparent reason, we have a bit of a ghost infestation. No, no, they’re not poltergeists, not pranksters; they genuinely believe they’re making music.” - Jack Davidson
(Bad Alchemy) Public Eyesore ist schon auch die Spielwiese für Bryan Day als Instrumentenbastler & Improviser selber, aber an sich ein weites Feld, gespickt mit bekannten, ja prominenten Namen: Nels Cline & Elliott Sharp, Henry Kaiser & Alan Licht, Jack Wright & Bob Marsh, Alan Sondheim als ESP-Legende, Bill Brovold, Anla Courtis, Michael Gendreau... 1998 bis 2005 hatten sich Day, Christopher Fischer, Charles LaReau (Das Torpedoes) und Lonnie Eugene Methe (Rake Kash) in Omaha zu NATURALISTE verbunden, einem "Psychedelic junk-folk"-Kollektiv, andere sagen a minimalist, almost academic drone band, um neben "Performs LVD31" auf Last Visible Dog noch eine Handvoll Kassetten und CDrs in die Klangwelt zu streuen. Viele Jahre später, im Januar 2019 und ausgerechnet in Shanghai, rappelten die Macher von Public Eyesore in SF, von Unread in Pittburgh, der von Foreign Lands als Gastgeber und der von Gertrude Tapes in Omaha sich wieder zusammen und erzeugten Temporary Presence (pe147/GT/Unread/AHT, LP). In Gemeinschaftsproduktion, ko-publiziert mit noch Luigi Falagarios Almost Halloween Time in Bari, einem Label, das mit "Portraits From the Quarantine" (4 x Cassette), 71 (!) Songs aus vier Kontinenten, gegen die Covid-19-Lähmung ein solidargemeinschaftliches Megazeichen gesetzt hat. Naturaliste gestaltete ihre Reunion über Nacht in einem Music Store, mit ungewohntem Zugriff auf Piano und Pianola, auf Erhu und Guzheng. Für Dreamscapes mit träumerischer oder auch schulmäßiger Klimperei und perkussivem Klingklang, lärmig verdichtet durch Zuspielbänder mit ominösen Windungen, dröhnenden und flattrigen Akzenten, suggestiver Verunklarung. Fauchen da gespenstische Stimmen, rumort da ordinärer Alltag? Elektrospuren surren, Drähte werden repetitiv geharft, überrauschte Stimmen bleiben unverständlich, Metall dröhnt. Drahtdröhnklang kaskadiert und plonkt, eine Gitarre tönt mit, eine Katze pingpongt Piano, das Ganze ein psychedelisch gekrabbeltes Mantra, ein trunkenes Schiffswrack, das an eisernen Tauen zerrt. Ein Stimme regt zum transzendentalen Meditieren an, Orchesterschwaden und Geigen laden zum Träumen ein, die Gitarre trillert. Alles nur esoterisch verdrahteter, kakophon gestörter Kabbes [ich spiele da nur mit 'Buying Cabbage']? Drones winden sich, Feedback kurvt und pfeift, Hall wabert, Gitarrensound mit eingeschlossen, nicht zeitlupig, aber doch zähflüssig, halluzinatorisch, dazwischen eiserne Kommas. Zuletzt und 'At the Worst of It' nochmal ominöses Raunen, windschiefes Geklimper, drahtiges Kratzen... Der Instrumenten-Shop, nein, die vier Köpfe als Musik- und Geisterhaus, durch das amorphe Protomusik oder verdämmernde Postludien driften. So wenig zu fassen, so unmöglich zu halten wie Rauch oder Nebel. - Rigobert Dittmann
(Lost in A Sea Of Sound) An old piano works well when played with intensity. Keys striking taut wires trying to play above the swirl of cacophony. Temporary Presence produces an aural atmosphere filled with mechanical devices, clicking, chiming, breathing out a haze of electronic spirit. And then the essence of consciousness, ongoing thought from those who gather to create these sounds and influence of those who are no longer physically there. The connections to the vintage past both surges then dissipates, dimensional portholes drifting pass like clouds in front of the sun. Temporary Presence finds solace in a world weighed on by beauty in deterioration of discarded things. Alluring imperfections coming into being through times pressure of environmental fluctuations and those with the vision to channel this to our ears. The project Naturaliste was formed in 1988 and played together through 2005. Temporary Presence is their first body of work in over fifteen years. Not sure of the members making up the band twenty years ago, but the group behind this newest composition is Bryan Day, Christopher Fischer, Charles LaReau and L. Eugene Methe. Each of these artists with their own vast experiences in bringing sounds to our ears from the fringe of acceptance. The focus of Temporary Presence is the aural weight it carries while still being digestible by the surrounding world. These tracks combing instruments we know with sounds and processes mysteriously advanced. And from what is not understood, there is an element of fear. Following this path of thought, Temporary Presence would read and initially listen as a push towards a haunted environment filled with skin crawling sonic clatter. After listening through a few times, thoughts become more glued to how the individual sounds are created and brought together. What initially seemed otherworldly has now become clear and present in the place we are now. The congruence in sonic atmosphere from beginning to end is the real pleasure Naturaliste have shared. This composition brings you to experience a strange and fascinating place, never pushing to far but consistently maintaining the aural space they have traveled and worked very hard to share. After describing sounds for a while now, i think this is the first release done with four labels sharing the work. These are Almost Halloween Time, Gertrude Tapes, Public Eyesore / eh?, and Unread Records & Tapes. I did not see Temporary Presence available for purchase from Bari, Italy's Almost Halloween Time, but the other three labels have links to pick this up. Also this a very limited edition of only one hundred pressings housed in beautiful two color screen printed covers. - Ken Lower
(Brainwashed)Founded as a band in Omaha, Nebraska in 1998, Naturaliste's first release in over 15 years is certainly a drastic departure from the local, improvised shows the group was responsible for. Rather than those frequent, though often dubiously captured recordings, Temporary Presence is not only a highly quality document of fully realized artistry, but also a document of where the band is so many years later. The band, consisting of Bryan Day, Christopher Fischer, Charles LaReau, and L. Eugene Methe have mostly departed the Midwest, with recordings captured in Omaha, Beijing, Oakland, Pittsburgh, and Shanghai brought in by all four artists comprising a significant portion of Temporary Presence. The record's title not only references the nature of these often found/incidental recordings, but also that the remainder of the album was recorded by the quartet within a rented musical instrument shop in Shanghai. The result is six pieces of music that encompass a bit of everything sonically, from identifiable, played instruments, to abnormal processing, and a bit of unidentifiable field recordings and ambiguous chaos. The piano and oddly pitched bells/chimes on "The Swallows Have Returned" contrast the rattling vibrations and hard to define noises here and there. Combining expansive spaces to chaotic electronics and slightly rhythmic knocking it is certainly dense, but never feels formless or unstructured. "At the Worst of It" is similar in its piano paired with noise, but the voices (and the monstrous treatments to them) makes it a different matter altogether. The group turns up the creepy factor on "It's Just the Air Conditioner," which minimizes the howling expansive sound and treated guitar that appear. Compared to other pieces on the record the sound is more streamlined overall, and perhaps that focus is what makes it eerie overall. The mood is similar on "Vitals," which is heavily reverberated pulsing electronics. Mixing in a heavily treated guitar (or bass), knocking objects, and what could be an electronic piano here and there, and the sense of mystery borders on malignancy. One of the characteristics I found most captivating about Temporary Presence is the way Naturaliste combines the use of instruments that were obviously recorded in a group/combo setting with the far more ambiguous processing and recordings done independently. It is an excellent balance of identifiable layers with the mysterious that at times might seem like pure chaos on the surface, but a deeper listen indicates a clearer sense of unity from all four performers.
(Continuo's Documents) US band Naturaliste apparently existed from 1998 to 2005 out of Omaha, Nebraska, and reunited in 2019 to record these sessions. For the occasion, the group was composed of musicians Bryan Day, Christopher Fischer, Charles LaReau and L. Eugene Methe. Most tracks are based on atonal piano playing and inside the piano experiments, over which a series of musique concrète sounds and analog synth washes add confusion and uneasiness, creating a rather disorienting, abstract soundscape. Among the instruments used, piano, electric guitar, found percussion, vocals, synthesizer and outdoor street recordings are recognizable, but often transmogrified by radical sound processing. Source tracks for the album were allegedly recorded in an instrument shop and later re-processed and assembled in studio with additional sounds, blurring the line between live and studio recordings. Ultimately, the album sounds rather analog to these ears, if perhaps marred by a slightly lacklustre final mixdown. The music on Temporary Presence is rather homogenous throughout and surprises are few and far between. Some great piano and guitar parts could have been singled out of the mix with proper EQ, I believe. Indeed, in line with European leftist avantgarde improvisation groups of the 1960s-70s (think AMM, MEV or even Stockhausen’s improv group), no demonstration of instrumental proficiency or solo outing is allowed here and everything is kept within an egalitarian, anonymous and abstract grip. Despite these strict proceedings, I find many things to like in this album, not least the superb integration of instrumental and concrete sounds, combined into a rich sonic experience for the listener. - Laurent Fairon