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final A4 performance and "focus" reviews

January 23rd 2015 - the suitcase event at eyedrum (Atlanta GA) - a record release concert by FE<MALE FOU featuring opening acts Ex Black Natural (w/Graham Moore of Blossoming Noise), Stephen Fenton and Michael Payne. Prior to the Fe<Male Fou set, a bearded and rather well fed A4 took the stage for the last time. The final AllFours releases - “focus” on Vitrine and the upcoming retrospective ALL FOR NOTHING - were set for 2016 deployment. 

FOCUS (VT23) CASSETTE REVIEW by Allen Mozek

“Material readily accessible.”

Vitrine is honored to present "focus", a much-needed retrospective of source tapes, raw material and test recordings from A4, the working title of interdisciplinary visionary and mail art linchpin Eric Blevins. The click of cartridge music. The atmospherics of space from room to room. Obnoxious voices. What at first registers as sensory drift builds to accumulative significance. Blevins helped pioneer the inclusive innovations of the mail art era both via collaborative work and later through his own imprint, the essential suitcase recordings. A dedication to a hands on method of manipulation via tape and printmaking during the form’s many fallow periods across the past twenty years positions his body of work, in 2016, as all the more revelatory. Vocal loops begin as satire, stammer towards sensual overload and cycle back to the feint of communication. “A victim of automation. We’re all getting used to letting the computers do our answering for -“ Tape cut. Blevins shares an infectious horizontal dissonance with Joke Lanz and Rudolf Eb.er’s Psychic Rally transmissions, as well as the magnetic reconfiguration of frequent collaborators TAC and Yeast Culture. focus draws on tapes stretching back to the eighties, blending obsessive loops, abstracted environmental recordings and absurd collusions of acoustic guitar, keyboard and malfunction. All Fours on Vitrine. Vitrine on All Fours. Limited to 100 copies. Sold out at source.

 

VITAL WEEKLY review by Frans De Waard

For a moment I thought someone sent me something new by the Dutch punk band by the same name (from the mid 80s), but I soon realized this A4 stands for All Fours, the musical project of Eric Blevins, which he apparently no longer maintains; the cover says 'allfours was eric h. blevins 1982-2015'. Earlier work was released by Blevins' own label Suitcase Recordings, with some long intervals. The forty minutes of music on 'focus' (no capitals) is a 'agglomeration of source tapes, raw material, rough drafts and false stops/starts recorded from 1982 to 1989' and it includes also some work he did as Absolute Ceiling, together with James Ellis (editors note: There is no material by Absolute Ceiling on this cassette. All sounds are by A4 - no collaborations here). There are no individual tracks to be noted on this release, and the whole thing is more a collection of snippets that run twenty minutes per side. While these are source tapes,raw sounds and such, one should not understand this as something of rapid editing of a few tapes stuck together. It's rather a minimalist take on musique concrete and sometimes it goes via the use of loops, which play for some time, almost making it into a 'piece', such as the opening of the B-side, which may be a bunch of field recordings. And sometimes I had the impression that sounds were used to cross-fade from one part to another, which worked quite well, I think. The whole tape works best if one takes this as one long, forty-minute sound collage of electronics, field recordings and editing, again, in the best tradition of musique concrete. 
If that was it for All Fours then this is a great farewell. (FdW)

new A4 cassette release

a collection of A4 archive material from the dusty vaults of suitcase will be released on VITRINE in February. the C40 cassette features source tapes, raw material and test recordings from 1982 to 1989 that were compiled and edited in October 2015. there will be a second (and final) A4 retrospective release forthcoming on suitcase later in 2016.


New review of "Sucker Mule" from Stomp & Stammer...

FE<MALE FOU “Sucker Mule’s Dreadful Murder” LP (Suitcase) Review by John Sewell

(Stomp & Stammer) February 2015

As Fe<Male Fou, Italian guitarist/noise artist/composer Filomena Rubino traffics in sonic textures that once would have been classified as industrial music – back when “industrial music” was more akin to musiq concrete: the sound of assembly lines, colliding freight trains and/or the shifting of tectonic plates.

So don’t be misled by my classification of Fe<Male Fou as industrial music. When I say “industrial”, I’m talking about the teeth gnashing jouissance of Test Department, Nurse With Wound and Throbbing Gristle – not the processed, cartoon metal-with-beats of Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails. Or something.

Of course, all of this generic classification and reclassification is the talk of music nerds. And, baby, I’m one too. I digress.

Whether or not what you’ll hear on Fe<Male Fou’s “Sucker Mule’s Dreadful Murder” is music or noise per se, well, it doesn’t really even matter. None of the album’s six tracks are straightjacketed by conventional verse-chorus-verse structure. There is no narrative arc, no beginning or end per se – at least, not a conventional one. Sure, there are climaxes aplenty. But I wouldn’t say that any of the tracks really resolve. Well, if obliteration is your idea of resolution, then maybe.

The album’s six tracks more as affect than as sonic discourses unto themselves. The lyrics are buried among layer upon layer of dissonance, one among many elements among a multilayered collage of feedback that connotes dread, alienation, fear, or some kind of nastiness. This is to say that “Sucker Mule’s Dreadful Murder” is something you’ll feel – but won’t be able to put into words. (Hence, the challenge of writing this review.) Fe<Male Fou delivers the perfect soundtrack for a slow, one-way ride on a creaky elevator to hell.

Yes Rubino creates noise. The thing is, the noises she creates aren’t the result of some happy accident. Sure, there’s probably an element or two of happenstance among her architecture of drones. But for the most part Rubino is in total control. This woman really knows how to torture a guitar. And as we all know, a harsh mistress can lead the willing servant along a pathway to untold pleasures.

Fe<Male Fou’s label Suitcase, is a longstanding institution of America’s experimental/noise sub-underground. The mysterious Atlanta-based label has released piles of lovingly packaged musical curios in various formats over the years. Only the adventurous need apply. For a glimpse into this claustrophobic, terrifyingly opaque artistic netherworld, visit suitcaseaudiovisual.com. (John Sewell)

 

New reviews of SUCKER MULE...click photos Below

Creative Loafing Atlanta by Chad Radford
The New Noise review by Massimiliano Mercurio

English Translation of New Noise review...

When I heard that the (real) first official album of Filomena Rubino alias Fe <Male Fou would come out for the historic Suitcase Recordings, immediately in my little head bounced the animated film "An American Tail". Yes, that's right, that tiny little mouse Russian who emigrated in search of fortune.

Three hundred copies in black vinyl for the American debut, really compliments. The album is called Sucker Mule's Dreadful Murder and, because of my bad English, the meaning was incomprehensible to me In fact I asked for the translation directly from the source: seems to mean "the terrible murder donkey silly". Forget it, it was better in English! Despite the title, the disc has something evil and murderess, and although Fe <Male Fou is a solo project (better: a kind of Carrie to Brian De Palma), I had the feeling that Filomena was accompanied by a backing band formed by Thirteen Ghosts bad, imbardati style "Hellraiser". It is a small serial killer who, in the throes of hysterical impulses and through its bloody guitar-shaped blade, noise builds corrosive massacring the audience participant. The discomfort-noir never ceases to accompany her ("Furtive Madman") and frequencies alienating and sharp "Slaving Flesh Wheel" recall certain moments drugged and psychedelics Abel Ferrara in "Driller Killer". Remnants Mediterranean or fertile crescent playing with reflex shots diamond saw ("Mania") are the last memories of that "Pornosonico" that we admired in the few previous releases, many of which are self-produced. Closes the album's sublime suites (15 minutes divided into three acts suicides) industrial / noise ("Worm") from the effects reverberated mo 'stalagtites dripping with crystals of pure titanium. I know it's hard, but try to imagine slabs of ductile iron radioactive surfing on lava flows.

It came out at Christmas, but we will evaluate it as a disk of 2015. It is already finished the transgressive and, in some ways, melancholy "Pornosonico"? No, because this killersonico (fancy that eh) sounds pretty darn anarchic and violent. Dearest Fe, personal curiosity, but when composing the  songs, maybe you had in mind the cover of the first album of Killing Joke?