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IBM, "The Oval Recording"

Bruce Gilbert met up with Ilpo Väisänen and Mika Vainio of Pan Sonic during the Disobey nights where they performed individually. Since then, they've both played out together live and processed analog emanations for a John Peel session. Although the title is an acronym for their three foremnames, it is also obviously a continuation of their interest in the intersection of art and law.
Bruce seems to steer Pan Sonic away from cleaner tones and into the rougher more distorted textures they tend to save for climactic moments. IBM falls somewhere between the title track of Gilbert's phenomenal 'Ab Ovo' & the onslaught of nis noise opus 'In Esse' in terms of (un)easy listening, but maintains more of a semblance of continuous rhythmic structure. It makes the excellent new Pan Sonic CD 'Aaltopiiri' seem somewhat genteel in comparison. If fellow Wire and Dome man Graham Lewis' Ocsid project sometimes summons the sound of rampaging elephants then this is a mammoth stomp to the end of the tusk jousts. They are not just fiddling about, that's for sure! This will not go down well with the pop tone zone, but is probably easier to chew than the forty minute 'Soli' from 'In Esse'. It could be useful to compare it to the live Pan Sonic / Gilbert tracks on the 'Rude Mechanic' CD (Piano) - good as those tracks were, IBM is more focused and effective.
The 7" has two faster beatier tracks whilst the LP has three extended noise workouts which are really too dense to be described as drones. Parts sound like Pan sonic munched by grunge pedals. That Gilbert electric saw sound which seems like the death cry of CD's mangled by endless layers of distortion is alive and kicking and kicking and kicking. Who needs titles anyway?
The collaboration was recorded in 1998 at Vainio's London flat overlooking the Oval cricket ground. (Presumably the thwack of rubber on wood was heard between takes, but you'd never guess.) Perhaps due to Pan Sonic's opinion that "Too much digital processing 'eats' the sound" this release appears only as a pair of lavishly packaged 12" and 7" vinyl records on the ever eccentric and essential Mego label. Words of warning - if you get it by post be careful which way you open the sleeve (it has a kind of reversible gatefold design) as the 7" might fall out on the floor like mine did! No audible damage done - its so noisy you'd probably never notice anyway!