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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)