Two interlocking pieces dedicated to Hans Keller,
Desmond Leslie and Lester Bangs.
I Only Asked uses an interview recording — questions only —
to modulate various sound parameters, and is a reworking of
a piece first performed at Café OTO, London in March 2011.
Hatchet Job is based on a computer speech recording of all
the negative reviews Moliné has penned for The Wire magazine
in the last ten years. These amount to around 50,000 words.
Diagram & Moliné (E125)
Crritic! on Vimeo
Edition of 200 copies
Mastered by Jacques Beloeil
The Wire has a bit of a problem on its hands: many of
its own writers are themselves artists who make music
that this magazine covers. At once the situation is a
conflict of interests, and a testament to how close to
the music these writers are, how embedded in their
respective scenes they’ve become. For the ten years
Keith Moliné has been writing for The Wire, he’s also
been playing guitar and bass in Pere Ubu. In addition,
he’s appeared live as a solo performer and produced
several CDs under his own name. Crrritic! provides
another layer to the complicated questions of ethics
and perspective in music journalism. The CD consists
of two computer based compositions: the first, I
Only Asked, contains processed recordings of Moliné
questioning interview subjects for features in this
magazine. It begins with the words, “Um... Wha,
wha, um... Wha, what’s the concept behind that?”
His voice quickly dissolves into a swirling mass of
stuttering DSP. The second, Hatchet Job, is barely
discernible as speech although the source beneath
all the processing is the text of every negative
review Moliné has written for The Wire.
So how do I review this release? Well, Moliné has
already done my job for me. By writing about it am
I simply adding another layer to the prank? Or am
I falling into the trap he’s set for me? The jokey
spelling of the title – perhaps a reference to riot grrrl!
— suggests Moliné thinks there’s a possibility for
radical politics, or at least some incendiary potential,
in criticism, but I think the album would be more
complicated if the words weren’t just a meaningless
blur. It would be more satisfying to hear him really
pan some records. But then again, I have my biases.
William Hutson in The Wire