The newest release on Trunk Records is easily one of their most unique and important to date. Noise Art
is a stunning collection of fourteen sound works by multimedia artist Jeff Keen, best known to many as an experimental filmmaker, yet whose dense collage aesthetic also often found him working in text and sound. Keen, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 88, comes across on Noise Art
with brilliant fusions of text cut-ups and dirty, DIY electronic synthesis, heavy on texture but also displaying a chaotic rhythmic hypnotism. The results often remind me of William Burroughs let loose in Raymond Scott's Manhattan Research laboratories, displaying a very punk-like embrace of chaos on the surface; with deeper inspection and study, however, one begins to recognize the intense skill and craft that has gone into the editing of these pieces. Keen plays with and cuts up his own speaking voice, as well as the voices of anonymous TV broadcasts, machine gun fire, radio static, gurgling, buzzing synthesizer textures, fragmented machine rhythms, and other assorted onomatopoeic ephemera. These recordings are simultaneously primitive yet refined, familiar yet alien, avant-garde yet strikingly pop. While certainly not to everyone's taste, this is a hugely important document of one of Britain's unsung creative multi-disciplinarians, and this collection will hopefully help to elevate his status as more than just an outsider oddball. This gets my highest recommendation.
-Mikey IQ Jones
"Song Of The Plasticator"
"Omozap To Plasticator"
"An album of unreleased music made by Jeff Keen,
one of the UK's great avant garde artists. This is music found on
cassettes in his studio after his death. It was made by Jeff (throughout
the 1980s) using field recordings from his local amusement arcade:
radio, TV, films, an Atari, a ZX Spectrum, a delay unit and a WASP
synth. This is the first Jeff Keen album ever issued. Jeff Keen is one
of the great undiscovered artists of our times. A missing link between
the Dadaists, Cocteau, Warhol, Picasso, Jack Kirby,
and just about anyone else you can think of. Jeff made art every day of
his life. Art seemed to explode from him, and he worked across all
mediums with boundless creativity and very much his own style. He
developed his own graphic, visual, and spoken art language. The BFI
(British Film Institute) have issued a 4DVD set of his films. His
collages and paintings are currently being exhibited in Brighton, New
York, and Paris. The Tate has started buying his work. He's now dead and
his stock is quickly rising. The music on this release was made in and
around the 1980s, using methods unique to him; in his ramshackle studio
he'd have a mic, a radio, an Atari, a ZX Spectrum, a WASP synth, effects
units and his own very unusual mind. He mixes field recordings with his
very own language ("Bltazwurds") and takes on the characters he
developed over his artistic life. This is very much an art/music
release. The sound is a little like the industrial albums made in the
late 1970s and 1980s, intense, odd, other-worldly, unpredictable.
Includes notes by Jonny Trunk, and an important essay by David Toop and recollections by Will Fowler of the BFI, who worked closely with Keen."