some reviews of paper & plastic are below
THE WIRE #315 MAY 2010 Soundcheck. Eric Blevins began compiling Paper & Plastic in 1991 for his suitcase imprint, only to see it finally released nearly two decades later. Throwing a light upon the Noise, collage and sound art scene of the late 1980’s and early 90s, the release was originally scheduled for 1998 in time for a performance in Atlanta from Yeast Culture, tac, Achim Wollscheid and Blevins’ own project A4, but that was thwarted by a botched mastering job.
Fortunately the delay has benefitted the work, as strains in the global underground have since taken up the same strategies found here of mangled tape, performative acoustic noise, outsider intentions and mistreated instruments. By skipping over the use of sonic errata from the clicks ‘n’ cuts school of early laptop jocks, Paper & Plastic neatly links these Old School analogue sounds with the noisemongering of today.
The Paper disc features longer works with more emphasis on the space around the scrapes, hisses, drones, and squalour. In the Small Cruel Party track “Lrpisti Ipp Pauaeeteq”, crunches from shards of glass and metal sit above long-decay echoes within some bunker or catacomb, transforming a simple formalist exercise in spatialisation into an unsettling piece of abrasive agitation. Yeast Culture offer a slice of their occluded ritualism with dubby delay patterns, sodden atmospheres, and minimalist junkyard gestures.
Razor-sharp edits position short, sharp tracks from Sudden Infant, Wollscheid, z.B.u.a, A4, Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock and Merzbow for a more frenetic programme of Noise concrete techniques on the Plastic disc. So abrupt and shambolic are these tracks that it’s difficult to discern where one ends and the next begins. As a result, this half stands as a well-conceived concoction of Noise-junk and analogue abuse.
STOMP & STAMMER 2010 Do the sounds of pipes clanging, leaks dripping, gears grinding, and cats being disemboweled by rusty utensils – all at once – give you a big ol' stiffy? Then you, friend, don't get laid as much as you could. You also need to pick up Eric Blevins' new two-CD compilation of tape culture noise artists, Paper & Plastic. Begun in 1991, Blevins was set to release the compilation in '98 to coincide with a noise-fest he arranged at the Red Light Café, but apparently the tapes were mastered at the wrong speed – to which I respond, "who would know the difference??" Anyway, here it is 2010 and Blevins is finally releasing P&P on his Suitcase label in a package high on art but low on details. Most of the participants hail from far-flung locales (as best I can determine, Blevins, as A4, is the only Atlanta artist represented), and the mood ranges from freakishly soothing to bloody bothersome. All I know is had they been blasting disc two's disjointed industrial collages every day at Gitmo we'd have been given Bin Laden's whereabouts years ago.
SOUNDPOOL 2010 V/A: Paper And Plastic (Suitcase 2xcd) An excellent double disc compilation showcasing some of the mid 90's finest. Featuring Ios Smolders, Yeast Culture, Small Cruel Party, Rudolf Eb.Er., Emil Beaulieau, tac, Kapotte Muziek, and plenty of others. Most of the content seems to revolve around prime era acts from Anomalous, Apraxia, and Petri Supply's rosters. Equally as well compiled as curated, Paper And Plastic plays like a composition all its own with each disc flowing seamlessly from one track to the next (a rather lofty task for a double disc set featuring such a diverse array of sounds). Packaged in a painted DVD case with booklets and printed inserts by Incubator.
AQUARIUS RECORDS May 2010 V/A Paper & Plastic (Suitcase) 2cd Here's to persistence! Eric Blevins of Suitcase Records began curating Paper & Plastic, a compilation from the global experimental-noise-collage-drone-n-destroy underground back in 1991, and thought that he was coming to a conclusion by 1998 when he had organized an installation / happening / performance thing in Atlanta with Achim Wollscheid, Yeast Culture, TAC, and Blevins' own a4 project that was to coincide with the release of this 2cd set. Unfortunately, the mastering was done at the wrong speed (remember DATs?) and the project was shelved for well over a decade. Whatever the reason Blevins had for the long delay, it remains unstated. Surely the artwork that Abo of Yeast Culture provided must have caused some of that delay, which is pretty ridiculous / stupid / awesome with its numerous hand-painted, silkscreened, and hand-stamped inserts and envelopes stuffed in the oversized DVD clamshell (which is also screened and painted); but would it be realistic to say this would take a whole decade? Is this why Abo started up the Incubator press once again (remember those Yeast Culture and Small Cruel Party cassette reissues from early in 2010)? Who knows? Ultimately, this is just another long-winded introduction to inform you that the contents within are fucking great.
So, there's Small Cruel Party, Yeast Culture, Sudden Infant, Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock, Emil Beaulieau, Native X (supposedly featuring the Hafler Trio's Andrew McKenzie), Inzekt, TAC, a4, Kapotte Muziek, Chop Shop, Agog, Ios Smolders, and what noise compilation wouldn't be complete without Merzbow.
The material is split between the relatively droned-out, more spatialized Paper disc and the volatile, jump-cut frenzy of the Plastic disc. Los Angeles home-taper Agog offers a NWW-styled collage of cut-ups from found object manipulation that slides nicely into the damp field recording of subterranean drips from Ios Smolders. Blevins' a4 track is a minor-masterpiece with a sustained drone of hazardous environmental rumbling girding a patient scrabbling of various objects. Very simple, but very compelling. Such a strategy had been perfected by Small Cruel Party, who turns in a recording of crunched textures that sounds like a macro-recording of and army of ants crawling over a pile of safety glass, while deep echoing booms within some huge concrete structure resonate underneath. The Yeast Culture meditation on industrial wastelands settles upon crusty flutes occasionally popping above a mechanical grind and accreting dinscapes. Chop Shop's corroded drones of noxious low-end bursting into ferric noise completes the first disc in exemplary fashion.
On the Plastic disc, Achim Wollscheid offers 10 miniature "brakes" most being just a couple seconds long. These shortened bursts of rasping noises, serve to further slice and decentralize the listening experience of the already abraded, punctured, infernal noises that come by way of numerous tape-cut ups, turntable abuse, Dada sound poetry, vocal screaming, electrical ruptures, shortwave static, distortion pedals, and generalized noise-junk from Emil Beaulieu, Merzbow, the Schimpfluch members, Kapotte Muziek, and the like. Blevins should be commended for curating such a fine noise album out of so many different artists, as it's virtually impossible to discern when the tracks begin and end. Seamlessly cut-up noise is definitely a contradiction, but definitely a compliment!
VITAL WEEKLY JANUARY 2008 Paper & Plastic BOXSET. Although some may find it absolutely unnecessary, a nice package is better than nothing. A handmade packaging can be such drag - the Vital Weekly HQ has some prime samples to show to people. Somebody who is known, at least to some of the older readers that is for creating the most bizarre handmade packages is a man named Abo. His label/band Yeast Culture didn't release much (a 10" and Lp by himself, a Kapotte Muziek LP, a Hands To LP and a double 7" compilation, as far as I can remember), but they all had a great combination of handmade work and silkscreens. But Abo seemed to have disappeared, just as did a small cassette label from Atlanta called Suitcase Recordings. I am talking late 80s, early 90s here. Not a big deal. People come, people go. Loose their interest, their money, their idealism. Perhaps a pity for those who were promised a release, but they might have put it on something else later on. When opening today's mail, it was like going into a time machine. The box that came out of it, looked like Abo's work. Sticky tape, small objects, envelopes - a little box of Pandora. It turns out to be the result of a compilation that was supposed to be released a decade (or more?) ago, but despite a launch party in 1998, it was never for sale. Now it's released in a truely unique box. As easily you can spend the whole time listening and watching the various ingredients of this box - papers, objects, photo's. The line up reads as a who's who in experimental and noise music of a decade ago (I do realize some are still active as such): Inzekt, Sudden Infant, Wash Your Brains, Runzelstirn And Gurgelstock (these four represent the Schimpfluch label, who is probably on par with Abo when it came to crazy packaging), Small Cruel Party, Yeast Culture, Agog, Chop Shop, A4 (the man behind the label), Ios Smolders, Das Synthetische Mischgewebe, Merzbow, Das Synthetische Mischgewebe, Emil Beaulieu but also more forgotten names as TAC, Native X, z.B.u.a., Appi. Achim Wollscheid provides some of his more crazy conceptual approaches on the CD called 'Plastic'. Now I come to think of it, a lot of these are still active in experimental music (some less noise oriented), so Suitcase did a good selection. Some of the tape/collage/experiments may be naff and dull, but throughout it was a strong statement. By the end of every year, I always get sentimental, play old music (though not always of the likes of this) and reminisce about the past. In that respect this box does wonders. (FdW)
VITAL WEEKLY MAY 2010 Paper & Plastic "Standard" Edition. The story of Paper and Plastic is just as interesting as the release itself. Suitcase started in 1982 with releasing music of a4 and from 1988 through 2000 they organized numerous live events. After 12 years of silence Suitcase restarts as a CD label. Paper and Plastic is a two disc audio project that began in 1991 featuring rare and unreleased material by some of the most prolific and innovative sound/visual artists from the international experimental tape culture era of the eighties and nineties; Synthetische Mischgewebe, Yeast Culture, z.B.u.a., Achim Wollscheid, Small Cruel Party, Ios Smolders, Agog, Chop Shop, Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock, Wash Your Brains, APPI, Kapotte Muziek, Emil Beaulieau, Inzekt, Native X, tac, Sudden Infant, Merzbow and All Fours.
A4 (All Fours) selected of all the audio and visual material and created the packaging design in collaboration with Incubator and Petri Supply. Abo of Yeast Culture silkscreened each individual copy. The original art includes 2 CDs inside a clear silkscreened dvd case, handmade inserts, a folio of original color silkscreened postcards and a 16 page booklet. The booklet looks like a catalogue of an exhibition/art event with a proper lay-out. The artworks are well created by Dada-Action Group, but the relation between the artwork and the booklet is far. Both kind of artworks are well done - a more artistic design of the booklet makes the release more interesting. Back to the music…. In 1998 Suitcase organized an event at the Redlight Cafe in Atalanta and only 15 copies were available for sale during that evening. Unfortunately the copies were mastered at the wrong speed, so now it is time for a reset. The contributions at Plastic are interrupted by short noise cuts of about 6 seconds and Plastic gives a great summary of noise-musicians during that period. The building of the CD is well considered and tracks blend together. Only the track of Native X is a stranger between the others. The track is played on distorted guitars and recorded with low-profile equipment. Paper has more diversity and the "Rustle" of A4 is one of the most intimate tracks I have ever heard. The breaking and cracking of material, a dark soundlayer, the sound of crickets and the breathing through the nose of the musician are beautiful ingredients of this piece of music. The compilation is really a gain for the collectors and lovers of music during that period. (JKH)
MAGNETIC STRIPPER reviews
THE WIRE June 2011 “Size Matters” review by Brian Coley
Magnetic Stripper Extended Play-R Suitcase 7”
Debut of the solo electronics project created by James Ellis following his departure from Tennessee (and from the duo Absolute Ceiling). Now based in San Francisco, Magnetic Stripper’s music owes certain allegiances to Bay Area synth-a-booty of the late 1970’s and early 80’s, but it lacks the cuddly dynamics that ruined some of that stuff. Extended Play-r definitely sounds olden and non-academic, but is good in a serious way.
VITAL WEEKLY / MAGNETIC STRIPPER - EXTENDED PLAY-R (7" by Suitcase Recordings)
Eric Blevins was once known as All Fours, and also running the Suitcase Recordings label, and returned after a long hiatus in 2008. In 1982 he started along with one Jim Ellis as Absolute Ceiling, until 1984 and since 1996 the two work again. Another fourteen years later sees the first release by Magnetic Stripper, a 7" with four tracks on Blevins' own imprint. They seem to be stuck in old industrial music, armed with a few synthesizers and a rhythm machine. Think a bit of Esplendor Geometrico in the earliest days, crude formed electronic music with voices which are hard to decipher. I must admit I quite liked this, but then so I did with the old Esplendor Geometrico sound. The overall music and design: its all very much a product from the past but then presently made. A fine one. (FdW)
AQUARIUS RECORDS / MAGNETIC STRIPPER Extended Play-R (Suitcase) 7"
Given the look and sound of this short EP, Magnetic Stripper could be some terminally obscure DIY-industrial-synth project circa 1982, with the tinny drum machines, noisy blurts from various synths, and plenty of references to Absolute Body Control, Minimal Man, The Units, and Chris Carter's synth moments within Throbbing Gristle. But in fact, this is the work of San Francisco's James Ellis, currently working and performing today. There are four short pieces that would make for a great teaser for a forthcoming record, with the weird-science array of disjointed synth melodies and electro-static squiggling, all hanging upon skeletal drum machine pulses. The title track has more of a bedroom project New Wave feel with its motorik rhythms and percolated step sequencing. The other three tracks take more of an early SPK direction with all of the drum rhythms taking on a lumbering pace, minus the snarled noise and grizzly imagery. Both sides of the 7" end on locked grooves, and the single comes with a retro-looking button. Very cool.
LOUD & QUIET / MAGNETIC STRIPPER Extended Play-R (Suitcase)
Magnetic Stripper’s ‘Extended Play-R’ is a collection of odd and odder experimental sci-fi sounds. They’re loosely molded into four tracks, but blink between the sonar wobbles of the title track and the metallic fizz of ‘Nuclear Cataracts’ and you’ll miss the handover between what is essentially two intergalactic sound recordings of complete alien nonsense.
Not to worry; the b-side dials down the pretence as this San Franciscan heads for a planet a little more similar to that of Earth, where inhabitant like songs to have some kind of direction. Static-ridden electronics continue to fuel this spacecraft but the satellite squeaks of ‘Feel’ – that squeal like a dolphin chorus – are thankfully set to an industrial beat that has some intent. It almost feels sexy, in a cosmic prowler kinda way. The following ‘Another Step’ then does its best to fuck itself up by interrupting its voodoo house samples with repetitive goblin vocals. And it was getting so normal.
DISCOGs Review by pastysurprise Jan 20, 2011
Great single that somehow melds the terrain between eighties acts such as Minimal Man and Mark Stewart Group. There's a lot of sonic variety, including cool keyboard work and two locked grooves. If you miss the raw creative DIY electronic sound that characterized the 80s, then getting this new 7" will truly help bridge that gap.
DUSTED MAGAZINE “STILL SINGLE” JUNE 2, 2011 Magnetic Stripper – Extended Play-R 7” EP (Suitcase)
Self-proclaimed “VOX/ELECTRONIX (SYNTH DIY)” recorded over a two year span in San Francisco from one James Ellis, who has been at this music since its inception (his outfit Absolute Ceiling was active in Georgia in the early ‘80s). One would predict that with such a depth of experience, and drive to continue in music for an unheard decade, that the artist might be able to develop a voice apart from the current generation of acolytes. One would be right, too – Ellis has had Magnetic Stripper as an active project since 1996, and his compositional stance and personal energy gives these four songs carry with them the sense of discovery, if not mastery, that led on the first waves of minimal synth, acid house, bleep techno, and other styles of music that relied on this technology to creep out in dividends. Ellis seems to have more interest in weird oscillator sounds than actual keyboardsmanship, but the exploratory vibes make for some really intense atmospheric pressure when it all gets going. Comes with a 1” badge, both sides end in locked grooves. Cool record! (http://www.a4suitcase.com/magnetic-stripper.html)
JURGENDDR.BLOGSPOT.COM Wednesday, 6 April 2011 Magnetic Stripper: Extended Play EP-R (Suitcase)
In the first half of the eighties, he worked in Tennessee project Absolute Ceiling, behind which stood a pair of experimentalists: James F. Ellis, and founder of the cassette label Suitcase Recordings Eric Blevins (All Fours). After Ellis in 1996 moved to San Francisco and began performing under the pseudonym Magnetic Stripper (Blackhair DVD Collection), their cooperation slowly reversed. Until late last year, they teamed up again through a collection of four songs recorded during the years 2008 - 2010. The record, named Extended Play-R, and during January it came after the Plastic & Paper 2CD. Very precious memories in the industrial electronics with mysterious whispers and endless track, The New Flesh. Without it, here is a record just eight minutes, which is perhaps the only criticism of this release, garnished with pancake edition.
METROPULSE Knoxville by John Sewell July 27th, 2011 at 11:28
.Long-time scenesters will certainly remember Jim Ellis, the stylish artiste whose projects included Jack Kirby-influenced cyperpunk landscapes, clothing items that were requisite hipster couture for those in the know, tattoos, and, most of all, himself. Ellis was a mainstay of Knoxville’s punk/art/industrial scene in the late 1980’s and early 90’s. In 1994, he moved to San Francisco, where he has become a successful autodidact in the field of interactive multimedia technology.
Since 1996, Ellis has performed as Magnetic Stripper. Always appearing in self-designed costumes, he creates a jarring sound reminiscent of 1990’s glitch artist of the Mille Plateaux label and, especially, the pre-digital, computer-generated electronic noise of performers such as the The Normal, Factrix, Boyd Rice, Throbbing Gristle. All of the Magnetic Stripper’s sonic output – ranging from dubstep and krautrock to musique concrete, which is “industrial” in that it produces the factory sounds of jackhammers, buzzsaws, dentists drills, and steel presses-is created on sound-generation equipment constructed by Ellis himself. The name “Magnetic Stripper” comes from a malfunctioning reel-to-reel deck notorious for scraping the ferric oxide off the tape, aka the Magnetic Stripper Deck.
As “Magnetic Stripper”, Ellis recently released a 7” single on the suitcase imprint, an Atlanta-based label run by another Knoxville expat, Eric Blevins. The record has created quite a stir in the underground noise scene, receiving positive reviews in avant-garde leaning publications such as The Wire, and Dusted Magazine.
Interestingly, the record has a strong Knoxville connection. “Being still fixated with the electronic sounds of 1978 – 1983,`Extended Play-R’ is the record I would have made when I first moved to Knoxville from Johnson City in 1985”, Ellis explains. “Nuclear Cataracts” is dedicated to [Knoxville artists] Bruce Dillon, Kathy Freeman, and the SeeSeeEye. The B-side is alternative-universe soundtrack music for Kevin Niceley’s `Gospel World.’” (Gospel World was the name of Niceley’s Fort Sanders home, which served as an after-hours nexus/crash pad for hardcore punks and gender-bending gothic types in the 1980’s. Niceley later ran the Mercury Theatre and has just opened Niceley’s Tavern in Fort Sanders).
Ellis plans to extend the momentum of his first single with three upcoming releases: a cooperative project with Blevins called Absolute Ceiling (Absolute Ceiling has performed intermittently since its inception in Johnson City in the early ‘80s); a remastered version of the first Magnetic Stripper recording; and a retrospective DVD. The Magnetic Stripper 7-inch, as well as photos and a brief bio, are available the suitcase site, a4suitcase.com, and videos of Ellis’ scary-looking sonic contraptions can be found at trashaudio.com.