CD (E65)

These recordings were made as part of a proposed file-sharing
collaboration with Austrian sound artist Helmut Schäfer.
The recordings were abandoned after Schäfer’s death in April
2007 but largely due to his original interest and enthusiasm,
newly-recorded sections were added, with the final edits and
mix completed later that year. Schäfer does not appear on
these recordings, but the final tracks have been completed
with the initial discussions for the collaboration very much in
mind. Improvised and recorded in early 2007 in London by
Philip Julian (G3 PowerBook/software). Beautifully mastered
by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service.

For Helmut Schäfer (14 August 1969 — 20 April 2007)

See also
Out of print

Edition of 300 copies

“Eight beautifully-constructed tracks of abstract sound.
They have poise, poetry and deliberation — others take
—Vital Weekly


In the beginning this was meant to be a collaboration between
Phil Julian and Helmut Schäfer, the sound artist from Austria who
committed suicide in 2007. While the dramatic event forced the
project’s abortion, Julian — armed with G3 PowerBook and related
software — decided to add the finishing touches to what he had
already recorded until that moment. At first, listening to the crunchy
distortions and repeatedly clashing interferences of the initial episode,
my mind threw out a classic “oh no, another useless laptop release”
reaction; but your reviewer couldn’t be more wrong.

Secede is indeed an excellent album, all the constituents utilised
respecting an even-handed dosage which allows noise and
harmony to coexist — and, in truth, the latter often seems to be
born from the former, to the point that certain sections caused
serious entrancement despite the hypothetic inhospitableness of
Cheapmachines’ timbral choices. Music informed by a congenial
type of grittiness, the one that leaves us curious to know what
comes after, paying attention to how the plot thickens, trying to
understand what the original components might be. And there’s not
only sheer overdriven granularity: the gorgeous deep reverberation
of the fifth track is an example of welcome digression, shifting the
whole to somewhat brooding atmospheres. An intelligently realised
record, lacking any kind of exaggeration, which should be exemplar
in suggesting the raising of the quality bar to many computer-
sheltered dabblers.

Massimo Ricci at Touching Extremes

Like everything in the Cheapmachines catalogue, Secede is murky,
granular, opaque. White noise has a constant presence. Although
there are furious crescendos, they’re sparingly introduced, and
Julian spends more time placing tiny details that throw the noise
into relief. At the end, he rails against the dying of the light —
Exeunt is a bracing, boiling eruption that’s part dentist’s drill and
part pneumatic hammer.

Chris Sharp in The Wire

It’s sort of divided into two parts: the first four tracks are rough
and gnarly electronics, excellent harsh tumbles along a spiky trail,
full of detail and interest. There’s then a brief calm, a cut full of
rich hum. The next two tracks are airier, full of metallic, echoing
pulses and hums, hollow and foreboding. The final combines the
two approaches into a mighty burr, a roaring grind like some
massive drill worming through stone. Good, tough disc.

Brian Olewnick at Just Outside