Not A Laughing Matter But Rather A Matter Of Laughs
2000 Fire Inc. CDEP

Track Listing:


Special guests are Andy Diagram of Spaceheads on trumpet and the Japanese female pop singer Hanayo. Recorded at STEIM and MostlyWood in Amsterdam, and the MostlyWood mobile in Hannover from 1998 to 1999.



The newest e.p. from enigmatic Icelandic experimentalists contains four untitled tracks (equalling 23.5 minutes) and very little info (though the FIRE, inc. website reveals a bit more... "Special guests are Andy Diagram ofSpaceheads on trumpet and the japanese female pop singer Hanayo." A cloud of lightly squealing feedback tones billows and drifts all around 1, then sharply breaks and fades to reveal whispery female counting.

Brassy tones spurt and drone from the hissy, drifting core of 2 (4:16), to be joined by staticy rhythmics then fading to a wavering whalesong expanse. Barely audible subfrequencies extend through the first six minutes of 3 (8:42); that thin-though-murky fog slowly grows in strength and eventually encounters some bleepy cross-tones which fade and return. Low frequencies at low volumes also course through 4, a deliciously isolating space which still seems to be thrumming in your skull after the track has ended.


I actually start liking this EP format for CD (I am probably too much influenced by the length of LP's), because of their limited time span. Somehow it seems that a lot of releases in this format are more concise than their longer brethren. Track one of four starts with a high sound panning slowly, which is cut off by some clicks and ends with a very deep bass and a women's voice reciting numbers. This is also cut off and we're in track two, with trumpets and short hisses. Some of the trumpet sounds have been edited and are layered with the others. The hisses form a rhythm and some other noises are added. There is a strange, but strong atmospheric quality to this track. Some more rumbles and hisses enter and then a voice. All very clear and crisp. Track three starts with a deep rumble again. Beeps fade in and everything stops. Then the rumble starts again on an almost Lopezian volume, although there are a lot of dynamics in this sound. Later a mid frequencies rumble sets in and then the beeps again. The bass stops, the beeps go on, with a silence every now and then. A very subtle and gentle track. The last track starts with a real subsonic bass, almost inaudible, but certainly perceptible. A low panning hiss is later added and then both fade away. This must be the most subtle Stilluppsteypa release yet. And a very good one.