Reviews

Blue Field Entopic Phenomena

Michael Rodham-Heaps on freq.org.uk (2016)

This is the first 46,000 Fibres release in 11 years and it’s been well worth the wait. I first experienced ‘the fibres’ back in 1995 snapping up their debut offering Emanates at a local record shop that has long since disappeared back into the anodyne dullness of town. A strange brew that exacted a curious pull – a joy of glinting directions and vascular honeycombs. Now years later I’m pleased to say they are back with a brand new slice of improvised action, culled from a recent two hour session.

It’s a hushed reverential start , sparsely checking out it’s composites before lifting the lid off proceedings in the second track. A sense of adventure following on a banquet of slash oblique fairies chugging the frets Arto Linsay stylee and whipper-snapping percussives. A colourful spectrum strung out on a basslined continuum, all Sunburned Hand of Man solidity shot (ooooh now i miss those peeps) giving the fruity uppers plenty of keeling opportunity to put the cat amongst the pigeons. Dribbling the dandy in moist chucks of ear goodness, 13 minutes that could have easily sprawled well beyond it confines.

Pulling mantle from Realignment, Aqueous Humour rasps it’s flanged circulars to a brothy detachment of retinas peek-a-boo(ing) eeling electronics. A short interlude from which Haiad grabs the limelight completely in a slow throttled raga oozing random percussives, easing out to some meaty tribal footfalls and teasing apertures – a sparring of chords and wow lazers spittooning plenty of diagonal distraction to a booming finality. A satisfying chuck of reactive improv, the ghosts of which finger their way through, are expanded upon as the rest of the album plays out in a mellow chain of harmonics that kerb-crawl withering lights through your cranium.

Love the way ‘Neutral’s’ undulatory spaciness drinks in those emerald glitters of guitar, to be overtaken in a deep churchy drone to which little shards of agitated chord accent. A firm favourite of mine as its Hypnotic tropics silver nitrate in elastic spans and korg harpies.

Determinism shares a similar vibe, bound in mellow rebounds of lyrca keyline/guitar, swinging a spacey canopy. Opening out to a Atem like cosmos of sustained goodness and swarf fingering comet. Immersive goodness that sends glassy telegrams to some other dimension. A droning speaker buzzing harmonium milking some uber tasty polarizing geometries and jazzy halflings.

The short noisy excursion of Peripatry follows before easing you out of the albums grip with seductive free-fall sunshine of Halocline – a plucky bass / drum combo overrun in fanciful guitar. A conversation of sideways glances and meaningful stares. The focus slipping piscine-like between each musicians contribution. A Papa M like amalgam that grasshoppers betweens, knits algebraic equations from its dancing curves. Understated magic of the highest order… a joy -shaped-go-go of Neu like hammers to sizzled arps and monotronic deflations. Leaving you eager for more, as all improvised goodness should…

Editor : probably the best review we’ve read…it impressed us so much it was read out as an introduction to a recent concert!

Listen to this album here

Reconstructed : Dyscfunctional LP dysc 4

Richard Sanderson for Resonance (1999)

46,000 Fibres have been a lurking presence on the outskirts of the improvised, electronic & out-rock scene for the best part of a decade now. Treated with distaste & even distrust by some members of the left field community who prefer to keep within their own solidly erected borders, the Fibres have a special talent together open minded musicians from wildly different genres. A recent concert saw them augmented by three saxophonists-unusual enough in itself, but the fact the saxophonists were the great Lol Coxhill, art punk maniac Ted Milton of Blurt & Nik Turner of Hawkwind didn’t raise half as many eyebrows as it should have done.

This new LP (vinyl only) sees the core members Tonal D. ( synths), Nick Rowan (guitar) & Leon Maurice-Jones (percussion) augmented by two further electronicists and a resultant new direction. The new 46,000 Fibres sound is drenched in electronics, from hard digital bleeps to cosy analogue sequencers, making them sound contemporary whilst harking back to the space rock which is such an obvious influence. Side One (16) gives us three examples of the kind of drifting proto-ambient pieces this group excels at, while Side Two (78) brings in the more propulsive stuff. Spirit is the stand out track: opening with a glistening drone from Rowan’s guitar, a drum machine unexpectedly cuts in and out as the piece thickens with glistening electronics. Ironically the drum machine actually plays patterns reminiscent of the metronomic drumming that used to be scattered around their previous recordings. Happily Maurice-Jones seems comfortable playing amplified objects and increasing the depth of their sound field.

The trademarks of the Fibres are still there-Tonal D’s ancient Maplin kit-built synth gurgles and spits out flurries of noise. Rowan’s free improv-derived guitar work eschews racks of pedals relying on a cutting treble attack and spacious well placed notes. Probably the most self-effacing guitarist to step the boards, his playing is always fresh and inventive.

This is the Fibres most focused release yet with a deeper and clearer sound quality. If you’ve got a record player, this is an excellent place to start exploring, if not rest assured that a CD won’t be far behind.

Editor : The concert with the three sax players at The Garage in March 1999 did not happen…Ted Milton was absent for this. However, a 27 minute improvised studio recording, with narration by Milton, remains in our archive.
Reconstructed remains a vinyl only release…


above: cover for the rare 3 CD box set, below: the 3 individual CDs

The 5th anniversary Concerts : with Scanner / with Lol Coxhill / with Nik Turner

Matt Ffytche in The Wire (1999)

Three live gigs to celebrate the fifth anniversary of London improvisors 46,000 Fibres, aka Tonal D. (synths), Nick Rowan (guitar), Leon Maurice-Jones (drums) and Maibo (sampler). Each CD, along with with the gig showcasing a guest star (Turner & Scanner from the Red Rose Club, Coxhill at the Garage) contains an extra archive track.

The Scanner show is my favourite here, mainly because 46,000 Fibres’ nuanced weirdness and industrial gloom seem perfectly matched for his slowly building ambient soundscape and telephonic ghosts. Hearing these disembodied voices in amongst the sharper surreal chips and whoops of the improvisors is rather like AMM supporting the Royle Family.

The Coxhill performance on soprano sax is the most abrasive-sparrow chatter, argumentative bluster, whines and squeezed notes run in against Maurice-Jones’s ethnic industrial trance grooves.

Turner, whose same plaintive wobbling electro-sax led Hawkwind’s search for space in the early ’70s, uses broader strokes – psychedelic overblowing and echoing against a more rockist flow and freeform abstraction from the Fibres, opening into a murky backdrop for the sax’s whining cadenzas.

Editor : The Turner set was at the Garage, Highbury not as stated above…

Listen to excerpts from these albums here…

…& buy them here, here & here

Elitism For All : Dyscfunctional 10″ dysc 2

The Wire – June (1998)

Of the four British artists showcasing a track apiece here, Scanner is the most oblique, his sound collision on “Mantra” sounding tense and compressed with it’s noisy samples squeezed into the spaces in between echoing slabs of sound.

46,000 Fibres punctuate linear synth sounds with freeform guitar over a shuffling, neo-rockabilly drum pattern. It doesn’t quite gel as a combination of machine and organic music, but it’s an admirable attempt to discover something new through such unexpected juxtapositions.

On the flipside Diary’s “Rats” sounds uncomfortable: their lurches in tempo don’t sound entirely planned. On the contrary, it feels like the song is about to slip out of the group’s control, with curiously ranted vocals adding to the sense of imminent collapse. Appliance steal the show with ” Weightless Conditions”, for the way they bounce violent sonic outbursts off a gritty, compulsive groove.

Editor : The Fibres wouldn’t have put out a recording that ‘didn’t work’…!

Diaphanous

R.M. in the Newsletter of the British Harry Partch Society (July 1996)

We have received a communication from the above group, 46,000 Fibres, who have dedicated their latest CD to Harry Partch.

The 72 minute+ CD is made up of edited improvisations, re-constructed. The sound is kind of lo-fi electronics reminiscent to me of Faust, Throbbing Gristle, Metabolist, AMM, (if my references are a bit old so am I). A trace of Henry Cow if I’m not mistaken.

At times there’s a rhythmic structure created by the drums, maybe building slowly, powerfully, gathering the other instruments into a musical avalanche of sound or simply keeping the group cruising down the tracks. At other times the music ambles whereever it’s fancy takes it. Glissando electric guitar. Repetitive synth squeeks. Foregrounded loud and rhythmic, backgrounded formless and quiet. Amorphous chill-out meets ambient techno.

You can sense the excitement that can come from collective improvisation as ideas emerge, get picked up, suggest new ideas or get superseded by new ideas.

Why is it ‘for Harry Partch’? Not because it has any ambition to reproduce his style or approach, it doesn’t identify itself as being in any strict alternative intonation, (it wanders in and out of music and noise), there are parts that are percussive but they exist within the rock idiom.

Is it for Harry Partch for the same reason many of us do many things-a response to the inspiring power of his creative force.

Editor : The reason we sent them this was because Harry Partch indirectly gave us our name & have total respect for this musical pioneer/outsider of uncompromising music…Plus this review may have subliminally named our vinyl album: Reconstructed.

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Lockjaw fanzine No. 3 (1997)

Live, improvisational, avant-garde, sometimes with an experimental rock angle to it, though always remaining improvisational. The drum work is what holds the tracks on the !st section together and allows the room for interplay from guitar, double bass, synths & soprano sax from Lol Coxhill to work so well. Even though this not my kind of thing, it’s clear they are exceptional in the field of music they perform. The tracks on the second section are more cosmic and moodier in their free-form. This section I personally enjoyed. Compelling improvisation that shows the attitude and integrity has stayed intact for this unique group.

Editor : they also enjoyed the Emanates CD!

Emanates

From the press release for the launch of Emanates

” I am certain I saw the shadowy figure of Sun Ra dancing with Elvis Presley over the mixing desk the night they mastered the album “ Robin Rimbaud/Scanner

” I’ve got it, but I haven’t heard it, yet “ Julian Cope

Editor : Robin is teetotal. Julian is not!

Their music reflects their lives and the city, combining the brute force of rock and fluidity of techno with the intuition and spontaneity of free improvisation…They flick through the range of emotions like the random tuning of a radio – at one moment quiet and meditative, the next harsh and unsettling. Creating music as a means to reawakening the feelings and thoughts that lie hidden in the subconscious, they see their work as a way to realisation…
The sounds drawn from the ancient and the modern. A synthesis of influences from medieval instruments to the diesel engine…

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Rubberneck No.18

Emanates uses improvisation as a means to making connections between rock, techno, avant-garde electronics, ambient and noise genres. What sounds like a recipe for a potentially unwieldy, eclectic mix, turns out to be handled expertly by this London based five piece: RW Clarke, Eddie Green, Leon Maurice-Jones, Nick Rowan and Tonal D.. Some phrases are driven by a strict techno-like pulse, but that is constantly undercut, brutalised or partially masked by a plethora of unpredictable guitar abrasives, electronic meshes and wandering radio signals. The fourth piece unleashes a powerful, racing rhythm reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s old VSC3 in ‘On The Run’. They draw incandescent soundscapes with much aplomb, too.
This is an exciting direction for improv to be taking and demonstrates that in the right hands feverish eclecticism can produce striking results.

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Alan Freeman in Audion magazine No. 31

An improvising rock band from London, the strangely named 46,000 Fibres present an anguished and intense music that kinda sits somewhere between early Nurse With Wound, Neu!, Faust, AMM and you name it-if it’s weird or aggressive they seem to be influenced by it. Casper Brotzmann, Main, Skullflower etc. I guess you get the idea. It’s the kind of music that could gain an audience in rock, jazz and the classical avant-garde circuits. The only problem is how to digest over an hour of such music, not that it’s all thunderous, there are quieter atmospheric moments. It’s the atonality and shrillness of it all. Last time I listened at a loud volume all the way through I ended up with a headache!

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Editor : two sort of differing appraisals. The Fibres like the extremes of expression…. finely balanced…

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