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Michael Gendreau - Discography

Michael Gendreau

Michael Gendreau 05.07.08 on Oblò Sonic: Culture Resistance! CD, Cinema Oblò (Lausanne Switzerland), 2008

tddm 2xCD (two compositions each by Michael Gendreau and Francisco Lopez), Sonoris (Gujan Mestras, France), 2008

Voûtes CD, Cohort Records (Monticello IN USA), 2008

First Day (Polis) on Destroy Athens CD, Antifrost (Athens Greece), 2007

drowning / untitled #185 LP 2xCD (one composition each by Michael Gendreau and Francisco Lopez), CIP, 018LP, 2006

VITOJ CD, Auscultare Research, aus022, 2005
» press
document courtesy of Groundfault
» reviews
"It's been a while since we've heard any material from San Francisco sound researcher Michael Gendreau, althought he has certainly kept himself busy since his impeccable last release 55 Pas De La Ligne Au No. 3 which explored the innerworkings of old turntables. His day job as an acoustics technician takes him all over the world in order to analyse the low frequency impact of industrial machinery upon architectural structures and highly sensitive optical devices; the obvious benefit of this trade is that Gendreau's perception of the particular frequencies is incredibly refined. Gendreau put this skill into practice during the 2003 Activating The Medium Festival at SFMOMA where he found the resonant frequency of the McBean Theater and effectively rattled the entire building, much to the consternation of the head curators worried that their prized Philip Guston paintings might leap off the walls.
Vitoj is Gendreau's first album since that aforementioned 2002 release and features three distinctly different situations that Gendreau handles in very specific manners. The first piece is a real-time exploration of the micro-dynamics of air compressors. Amplified through the technical sensors he uses when studying infrasound vibrations, Gendreau's air compressor emits toxic hisses, metallic clanks, and electrical static that could easily be confused for the processed drones of the Hafler Trio or John Duncan. However, Gendreau does add a gleefully destructive side to his work, as he fully opens the valves of his air compressors on several occasions, unleashing a torrent of noise as dense and tumultous as Merzbow and Masonna. The second piece exhibits a much greater restraint to the point of rendering the buzzing whirls of a old Victrola to nearly inaudible levels. The final entry is a Lopezian field recording mutation of the din of an industrial landscape morphed into a nightmarish ambience. A mighty return for Mr. Gendreau!"
Staff writer at Aquarius Records
» audio
Audio clips from VITOJ at Aquarius Records

noceur on Bogatiri CD Zeromoon, 2005
» reviews
"On va commencer par présenter le premier artiste, Michael Gendreau, que l’on découvre à cette occasion. Acousticien par sa profession, son oeuvre musicale tient principalement dans le groupe Crawling With Tarts, actif pendant une vingtaine d’années dans un registre expérimental, ambient, voire noise. Il mène maintenant une carrière solo, tout en restant dans le même style, et délivre ici avec Noceur une pièce d’un gros quart d’heure d’ambient minimale, composée en majeure partie d’infra-basses et de sifflements aigus produits par des générateurs d’ondes et des moteurs... C’est très abstrait, très expérimental, et la part ambient de cette pièce risque d’être gâché pour certain par le choix des sonorités."
Fabrice Allard, 5/10/2005
» audio
Audio clip from noceur at Zeromoon: MP3 clip

RE: 55-66=99 on Dissolution Tapes The Musique Concrete Ensemble Remixed CD Zeromoon, 2004
» more information
entry on Dissolution Tapes The Musique Concrete Ensemble Remixed CD at Zeromoon

Noyant (excerpt) on Zeromoon Sampler III : An Explanation of Difficult Music CD Zeromoon, 2003
» more information
entry on Zeromoon Sampler III : An Explanation of Difficult Music CD at Zeromoon

55 pas de la ligne au n°3 CD, 23five, 2002
» press
document courtesy of 23Five
» reviews
"Throughout the '80s and '90s, Michael Gendreau worked extensively in the East Bay avant-noise project Crawling With Tarts, often constructing surreal experiments with idiosyncratic pop-babble and tape collages of art-damaged noise. For Gendreau, the turntable became an ideal instrument for his explorations; and soon, he began working with the archaic technology of lathe cut, handcrafted vinyl. Often the results were bizarre, if sporadically successful recontextualizations of homemade instrumentation, radio noise, and anti-pop. Recently, it seems as though Gendreau has put Crawling With Tarts on an extended hiatus, due to his increasing attention into the field of vibrations diagnostics and consultation. This incredibly technical arena has lead him to researching the problems of acoustic noise vibrations upon highly sensitive pieces of optical equipment, which could present faulty analysis due to the tiny, but measurable effects of environmental noise (air conditioning ducts and heating vents in particular).
55 Pas De La Ligne Au No. 3 finds Gendreau bridging his current activities of acoustic diagnostics with his once prolific avant-turntable collages. It appears that Gendreau has hooked up a number of accelerometers -- technical devices used to detect, measure, and catalogue any number of vibrational frequencies -- to a series of battered record players spinning his handmade vinyl. Gendreau's accelerometers are so sensitive, that they pick up, not only the interaction between the needle and the record in question, but also the muffled whir of the thick rubber band stretching between the motor and the turntable plate. The results found on 55 Pas De La Ligne Au No. 3 are astounding, with eerie mechanical drones, minute needle crackle, and the occasional, but always unnerving upsurge of quiet voices floating though the din like the EVP sounds from The Ghost Orchid of purported recordings from beyond the grave. One of the best records of 2002, and now available once again!"
Staff writer at Aquarius Records
» audio
Audio clips from VITOJ at Aquarius Records

(as Crawling With Tarts) ASAR + ISA on Destroyed Photograph CD Impulse To Injury Recordings 009, 2001

(as Experts of Legitimization) Breathe on Commercial Ad Hoc CD, Seeland Records 513CD / Cha-Bashira HAB015 / illegal art 003, 2000
» more information
entry on Commercial Ad Hoc CD at illegal art

(as Crawling With Tarts) Service remixed by Zero Times Infinity on The RegurgiTapeEstries (A Remix Vortex) CD True Age Records TAR 011, 2000

(as Crawling With Tarts) In their sleep they are free 7”, Povertech Industries px-002, 1999
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px-002 7" Release date: May 1999.

This record was hand cut on a 1940’s era Bell Re-Cord-O-Phone lathe in the ASP studios. Grooves on Side 1 are cut into concentric "C"s, so that no groove makes a full 360-degree arc. Play can be varied by decalibrating the turntable tracking control. Side 2 is mostly silent, with a few words and phrases cut discreetly into it. Edition of 325

(as Crawling With Tarts) End Loop Haiku on Soundbox 2 Video CD, Kiasma (Museum of Contemporary Art at the Finnish National Gallery), 1999

(as Crawling With Tarts) Trecher track on Turntable Solos CD Amoebic AMO-VA-01 (Tokyo Japan), May 7, 1999
» more information
entry on Turntable Solos CD at Amoebic
» program notes

(excerpt from a letter)

"The piece is called Trecher Track. It was made with my home disc cutting machine, so it exists in original form on wax-coated aluminum. The version you hear on the CD has been realized in two steps, two methods of adding information (noise) to the final recording: 1. BLUNT NEEDLE (disc cutting), 2. SURFACE NOISE (playback). That is, once the disc was cut, I had to make many attempts at getting the proper playback, with several different turntables and at different speeds. The variation and complication in playback is partially explained by the title (see below). Trecher Track was cut into the disc in tiny segments. Ideally one can think of a segment, or sample, of constant speed and information, such as one could produce by splicing pre-taped segments of magnetic tape. Disc cutting machines are different; they bring acceleration and inertia into the equation. In order to cut a continuous line, constant speed between segments cannot be maintained. Instead, the cutter accelerates up to the control speed (terminal velocity: 33 or 78 RPM), and then decelerates when switched off. We divided Trecher Track into two sections, 33 and 78. But because the segments are so small, and because of the inertia of the machine, with one exception we never reach terminal velocity. However, the rate of acceleration is a function of the terminal velocity; this dependence gives distinction to the two sections.
Trecher Track: a specific pathway (e.g., groove) which cannot be deviated from (except by tunneling, or perhaps skipping dimension), but which has be cut so as to be as difficult to pass through as imaginable without being impassable."

2-NV-P033M(0-20KC)preRAII-S (remix of Ralf Wehowsky's Nameless Victims) on RLW: Tulpas 5xCD, Selektion, SCD 024, 1997
» more information
entry on RLW: Tulpas 5xCD at Selektion

(as Crawling With Tarts) 3 Hare on 8-Tracks of Fury 8-track tape, Commercial Failure, 1994

various text-based works on Orchard 7 telephone message tape, Orchard, 1994

Orchard 4 (music accompanying readings by George Angel and Tim Fitzmaurice) cassette, Orchard, 1993

Rojelio 2i on The Freeway Compilation Tape cassette, IMA, 1992

Parallels on Postal Sound Surgery (with Mike Hovancsek) cassette, Pointless, 1992

C-G P.1 on Wakened By Silence cassette, Charnel House, 1991

Taiment DéVidément videocassette, Institut américain de curiosité comparé, 1991

with Crawling With Tarts

Ludiques Manifestes CD, Lunhare (Italy), 2008
» program notes

Program notes CWT live CDR for b/b. MG 12 Apr 99, revised 24 Sep 07

Crawling With Tarts Ludiques manifestes (Concerts in Oakland)
  1. "First Song"  (25:00) Merchant’s Bar, 26 June 91
  2. "Second Song"  (11:30) Merchant’s Bar, 26 June 91
    • MG: tapes, radios (shortwave and amateur frequency ranges), semantic satiation loops, percussion, tube drum, bowed electric spring, chalices, processing, oscillator, shielding
    • SD: percussion, squeaky hinge, instruments, voodoo box, chalices
    • CN: samplers, delay loops, radio (scanner frequency range), percussion, guitar, processing, tin whistle
  3. "Ports of Pleasure: Stravington"  (4:10) Paradigm, 17 June 92
    • CN: samplers, loops
    • MG: clarinet, drumset
    • SD: pastry molds, mixing bowls and water bottle
  4. "Ports of Pleasure: Limp Drum Love"  (4:40) Paradigm, 17 June 92
    • SD: bagel molds on rod
    • CN: samplers
    • MG: drumset, bass string percussion instrument, cliff’s amplified spring
  5. "Ports of Pleasure: Lost Treasure"  (5:20) Paradigm, 17 June 92
    • MG: bowed amplified spring, tapes, bass
    • SD: pearls, ashtray
    • CN: loops and samples
  6. "Lug Music: Glue 4"  (1:40) Heinz Afterworld Lounge, 10 Sep 92
    • CN: lyman loops
    • MG: tapes, ring modulator
    • SD: bass creaking ship
  7. "Lug Music: Lug 5"  (1:50) Heinz Afterworld Lounge, 10 Sep 92
    • SD: feedback bass
    • CN: guitar
    • MG: drumset
  8. "Lug Music: Glue 5"  (2:40) Heinz Afterworld Lounge, 10 Sep 92
    • MG: SJ loop, ssss and phone machine tapes
    • SD: bass
    • CN: drone samples
  9. "Lug Music: Lug 6"  (7:30) Heinz Afterworld Lounge, 10 Sep 92
    • CN: drone samples, guitar
    • MG: drumset, cassette ciselant
    • SD: fuzz and feedback bass
  10. "Lug Music: Glue 6"  (1:50) Heinz Afterworld Lounge, 10 Sep 92
    • SD: presence
    • CN: chorus
    • MG: cassettes ciselants


  • Merchant’s Bar 26 Jun 91
    • hostess: Lorrie Murray
    • recording: CWT
  • Paradigm 17 Jun 92
    • host: Jim Tracy
    • recording: Meiklejohn Pate
  • Heinz Afterworld Lounge 10 Sep 92
    • hostess: Lexa Walsh
    • recording: CWT and Chris Clougherty
Remixed and Edited by MG March-April 1999

Ochre Land, Blue Blue Skies and Grand Surface Noise Opera Nr. 7: The Decadent Opera (Rococo) CD, Pogus, 2006

here on Rewind and Pause: Cassette Culture Compilation Volume 1 2 x CDr Cassette Culture, 2006

The Pink Line on Live from the Afterworld 2xLP Electro Motive Records, 2000
» more information
entry on Live from the Afterworld 2xLP at Electro Motive Records

The Cord on Badaboom Gramophone #2 CD Compilation CD Ba Da Bing!, 1997
» more information
entry on Badaboom Gramophone #2 CD Compilation CD at Ba Da Bing!

I am Telephoning a Star CD, ASP 31, 1997 (edition: 1000)
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ASP 31. CD (44:33)

This CD contains 15 tracks ranging from a few seconds to several minutes in length. There are a variety of different types of pieces: percussion, turntable, electronic, text-based, motor-and-styrofoam, and others, all of an "experimental", or grainy, nature. In some ways it represents a condensation and simplification of several styles used in our previous recordings. Edition of 967.
» notes

Comments on the haiku pieces

Each of these uses the 5/7/5 syllable count and non-rhyming criteria as a generating element of their form. In addition, the first, Drum Haiku, is based rhythmically on Raymond Queneau's haiku in the English translation of Exercises in Style. The second, End Loop Haiku, is an all-turntable haiku that takes advantage of the mistakes of amateur recordists from the '40s and '50s who left an end loop at the end of their disc recordings because they weren't watching and cut right up to the label. I have considered each loop as one syllable. The sources used to make Haiku™ are '60s-era advertising and employee training discs.
M. Gendreau, 20 February 1994
» reviews

"CWT are a sympathetic duo from [San Francisco], California doing their stuff, without caring about what is hot or not. They released a whole bunch of CD's, and here is another odd one: 15 tracks spinning in 44 minutes. There is acoustic, improvised sounding stuff, along with weird record playing stuff (as on their Grand Surface Noise Opera). Their concept for this one is beyond me, but maybe it's just highlights of what CWT is capable of. By putting out short tracks we get a nice birdview of their many sounds and it never bores. So if you ever need one CWT CD (and you do!)––then this is it."
Frans de Waard in Vital

"...Incredible. Possibly CWT's best yet. Encompassing material close to 'Motors' to more or less abstract tracks. Even briefly coming close to good ethereal rock (but of course never too close). Strongly recommended."
David Dodson of WJUL FM 91.5

"A perpetual favorite. Every release by Crawling With Tarts is sparsely layered with bits of found noise and manipulated natural sounds. But it's as unlike most noise bands as it is any other genre of music...As an example, there's 'Radio Compressor Test Nr. 4.' It's a 45 second track that keeps almost completely silent, except for three subsecond bursts of radio station sampling. Then there's the brilliant and fun 'Drum Haiku' that delivers a real 3-5-3 arrangement of toy noises and tinny bells. 'Fielding Variations' Nrs. 1, 2, and 3 are all different recordings of what may well be a motorized grindwheel. While Nr. 2 is an extended droning cycle of noise, Nr. 1 and Nr. 3 are closer to the sound of a mole trying to get a piece of fluff out of its nose. With 'Text Kernel Nrs. 1 and 2,' the band switches to voice manipulation, taking short snippets of speech and sewing them together. The result is something only vaguely identifiable as English. A few rare tracks here include guitar melodies and more traditional sounding music, traditional that is, if you are used to someone vacuuming the hallway while you're trying to listen to a record."
Chris W. Becker in Factsheet Five

"Crawling With Tarts offer us I am telephoning a star, an indescribable gathering of seemingly random compositions constructed from the oddest variety of sounds you could imagine...it's really quite wonderful..."
Greg Clow in Feedback Monitor

"...Most peculiar. Definitely a recording for the adventurous in spirit..."
The Moon Unit in Dead Angel

"Couple à la scène comme à la ville, Suzanne et Michael Gendreau sont les Ike & Tina Turner de la scène californienne. Non pas qu'ils affichent des platform-boots hautes comme des grattes-ciel ou que Michael baffe Suzanne. Non, non! C'est que, complices comme ils sont, la formule duettiste leur donne un fabuleux son. Un des meilleurs entendus depuis Harry Partch, le gourou aux instruments innommables, et Young Marble Giants dont Colossal Youth est un chef d'œuvre de production. Crawling With Tarts, c'est un peu ça: un mix improbable entre des constructions contemporaines aux instruments inhabituels (qu'ils fabriquent sûrement eux-mêmes) et une aura de funky lo-fi minimaliste qui dégage un effet monstre. Les pains de la basse et du chant de Suzanne, craquants, évoquent l'ambiance de l'album solo-piano de Cindy Hall de Smog: une fraîche intimité. L'impression qu'elles sont à côté et que juste après on ira prendre un café et tchacher sur la hausse du prix des robes. A en oublier que Crawling With Tarts est avant tout, en dizaine d'albums en temoignent, un projet conceptuel de première qualité. Qu'ils investissent des locaux de galeries et d'écoles d'art pour des performances où les instruments sont d'ancestraux tourne-disques tournant à différentes vitesses pour le meilleur de l'expérimentation, de l'improvisation et du hasard. Qu'ils sont à la croisée des disciplines artistiques et qu'ils sont reconnus dans un milieu pourtant sévère pour leur talent innovant. Groupe injustement méconnu, Crawling With Tarts apprend à écouter autrement. A vous de vous mettre dedans."
Marie-Pierre Bonniol in L'Indic

"More unfathomably sweet noise from the happy couple of Suzanne Dycus and Michael Gendreau. Wonderfully diverse and impossible to pigeonhole, this moves through sparse banging & clanging, scuffed-vinyl noises, artpunk of the Swell Maps/Pop Group variety, pastoral acoustic tunes and more. Even with the sometimes jarring diversity, the album progresses naturally from beginning to end, clearly imbued with immediate personability."
Douglass Pearson in Blackjack Poo Poo List

"It's quite a minimalistic mix that's uncategorizable and alive with mood and subtlety"
Todd Zachritz in Godsend

"Sorta' spooky percussives melded with almost Oriental strings lead in to some echovox stretches that phase in & out of a "wash" effect. The kind of music you hear in deepest REM sleep, the stuff dreams are made of! Grand excursions to the farthest galaxies, in a "subdued" sort of fashion...very subtle, highly shaded. This gets a most highly recommended for fans of exploratory music."Dick Metcalf in Improvijazzation Nation

"Somehow the phrase "Tart Chopping Hits" seems to come to mind repeatedly. I don't know where it came from... nevertheless, it aptly describes the homuncular sound of Crawling With Tarts, a … duo who seem to delight in compositing found sound sources into textural auralscapes. The opening "A Small Exhibition at the Worksite" is a gamelan-like conglomeration of rhythms and poundings. Other notable tracks include "Scenes from the Ottoman Empire," which melds ringing bells and squeaky hinges among other things, and "Fielding Variation Nr. 3," a rattling, snuffling sound which could only come from a robotic grizzly or a balky electric weedeater. Needless to say, this isn't for everyone, but it should satisfy anyone craving sounds that are unusual and mysterious; it's also far more approachable than distorted noise-fests like Merzbow."
Anton Warner in INK 19

Telephone Sequence Twice on The Patio Collection Volume 2 CD, Smilex, 1996

Small Quiet Music for Tabletops (e) on No Machine is Silent 2 x C60, Realization Recordings, 1996

Motorini Elettrici 2 x 7", Gyttja ooze-06, 1996 (edition: 500)
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ooze-06. 2x7" 45 rpm

The sounds in Motorini Elettrici are primarily the noise of friction between the rotating shafts of small high-speed AC motors and various large resonant wooden objects, a sheet of tinfoil, and a record player. These are then picked up from the objects either locally or remotely using contact mics. Most of the sounds as they are heard are solutions to the problem of reducing the speed of the motors, usually by simple means and at a high cost in efficiency due to the generation of heat. The original performance version of Motorini Elettrici is continuous, with only one pause, which is now between sides 2 and 3 of this set of discs. The records have been faced 1/3 and 2/4, for (optional) playback in the following manner: overlap sides 1 and 2 slightly, pause between sides 2 and 3, and slightly overlap sides 3 and 4. But in addition, these sides have been mixed and edited so that each can stand alone. Three-color gatefold sleeve. Edition of 500.
» reviews

"On this exquisite double Suzanne Dycus-Gendreau & Michael Gendreau use several 120 volt AC motors to startling effect, creating a purring, breathing piece of intimate beauty; at once abstract, and at the same time extraordinarily musical. Motorini is a real grower, and sounds which initially appear industrial in tone gradually become more organic and playful as things progress. There is an overriding sense of delicacy prevalent here, and a warmth of performance all too often missed by a lot of abstract music-artists. Despite the unconventional and conceivably limiting source material, CWT produce something intrinsically more aesthetic and well, soulful, than much of yr hard-headed music-concrete. The pattering rhythms and mammalian squeaks & growls of sides 2 & 3 in particular tend to emphasize this 'user friendly' approach. Two of the four sides are designed to overlap slightly "for an optimum listening experience", and "two turntables are required to properly execute". Further exploration is encouraged, and I, for one, will happily explore this delicate 4-course tidbit 'til the needle slices it into spiral strands. Currently seeking second turntable – will trade CD player."
Tim Cornelius in Opprobrium

"This release offers yet another side to these geniuses of the "letting sounds be themselves" school of music. Crawling With Tarts are probably best known for the Surface Noise Operas, but much of the band's history is made up of composed pieces for machines and found objects. Here are four sides of very different, but still linked, motors as sound catalyst. Through the use of home made resonators and extensions (structures / devices used to amplify or change the sound of the motors), a beautiful music is made in carefully composed fashion. If the ideas of "noise" scares you with thoughts of Merzbow screaming endlessly, then take a look into this realm of almost Cornell-box-like delicacy and precision for another perspective on the word."
Bob Boster in Tuba Frenzy

"Exquisite looking double 7" (it even has a spine!) from our favorite noise purveying couple, Michael Gendreau and Suzanne Dycus. Having long left the hint of pop behind they've also, with this single, abandoned the opera 78s and reentered the lab with a new problem in need of a solution. And found several. Expanding on their previous fascination with motors, here they pose the questions: How would you slow down a small high-speed AC motor? and, What would it sound like? The answer to the first question has something to do with large wooden blocks, tin foil, and a record player; the answer to the second lies among these four sides . . . Try this (single) at home."
Leslie Gaffney in Popwatch

"...lovely electronic tapestries..."
Bullet Train Magazine

Sarajevo Center Metal Doors CD, Realization Recordings RZD-019, 1995
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RZD-019. CD (67:08)

The three compositions on this CD, though quite dissimilar in sound and form, are united in the pursuit of musicality with non-instruments (and in one case, extended use of traditional instruments). 1-8 Ideomotors (19:52) is arranged in strict form for 24 found objects, each used to produce one tiny (but distinct) noise. Formally, Motors (9:13) is derived in performance using a deck of cards. The sound sources are small AC motors, the shafts of which are turned against various metals and taught strings. And finally, Sarajevo Center Metal Doors (36:58) is written for a quartet of non-specific instrumentation. A particular sense of background/foreground is explored, (mis)using violin, bass trombone, and lots of uncommon percussion instruments.
» reviews

"This is the most amazing thing I’ve heard in years.... The performers on this CD generated music and sound by assembling a variety of nontraditional instruments and orchestrating their use through a series of semi-random events, similar to Zorn’s Cobra, but where Cobra utilizes routine instruments, Crawling With Tarts makes use of a wide variety of found objects and intriguing metal goodies. Sometimes very playful, and sparsely laid out so you can appreciate everything, the music evokes an unlimited number of mental images. I know many of you out there won’t think of this as music, but to me these pieces are far more creative, even catchier, than anything on the radio today."
Chris W. Becker in Factsheet Five

"...The Sarajevo Center Metal Doors CD is a... demanding CD. It is based upon scores to be performed, but it somehow retains an improvisational touch. Silence seems to play an important role in all of the [three] compositions present here. Therefore this can not be regarded as an easy listening CD. For me it took several listening sessions to discover the beauty that is undoubtedly here. Probably one of the best CWT [releases] I [have] heard."
Frans de Waard in Vital

"A perennial stalwart on the experimental music scene, Crawling With Tarts' work is strange, provocative, impenetrable and baffling, generally all at the same time. Sarajevo Center Metal Doors is a near-minimal set of recordings using an unorthodox collection of instruments (whistles, cowbells, beans, stones, fish bowls, pans, saw blades, etc.) executed with reckless abandon and seemingly little regard for any Westernized notion of melody, harmony, or rhythm. Sounds exist in an unspecified plane, random discreet noises announce themselves and vanish; it's all in service of a new environmental aesthetic where one can stand the very definitions of 'music' on its head. What remains a mystery is how appealing these sounds truly are..."
Darren Bergstein in i/e

"The first piece Ideomotors 1-8 is a very minimalistic score based around a healthy amount of intuition and chance — not to mention a huge number of not-so-conventional instruments like pans, fishbowls, styrofoam, and beans. Motors is more abrasive with small motors being turned against various metals and strings. The title track is back to the minimalism... very difficult to describe as there's more to contemporary experimental music than [that of] death-fixated noise merchants. CWT may be 'composers,' but I'd bet they have an awful lot of fun too."
Todd Zachritz in Godsend

Enthusiasm cassette, Plankton (London UK), 1995 (edition: 100)
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(excerpt from a letter to Peter & Carman)

After finishing the recording (on the 25th of December) we are very pleased with its outcome. Much better than the live performances, due to new sources found since, and better quality of balance (more control). Enthusiasm ends up being 40 minutes long, as I look back over your letter I see that you request 60, which I agree is reasonable for the cassette medium. We had to section the piece not at one of its natural pauses, but it wouldn't have worked exactly for 42 or 46 either. Then we searched our brains momentarily for the thing to fill out 60 minutes and came to the obvious conclusion. Enthusiasm 1993 was written before Enthusiasm, yet while still under Vertov's influence. Later, the latter we decided better fit the title. We concluded that Enthusiasm 1993 could and should be presented in a singular form, a live recording. In fact, it is nearly all audience: they became a very important part of the piece due to the controversy it created (which we didn't expect entirely). Listen to it first, then read the following paragraph which briefly describes the scene; I think it would be good to appreciate it as a sonic event alone once at least (that is how we try listen to it now).

Enthusiasm 1993 was performed as part of a festival where each group was given only 15 minutes. Most of the other music was of an improvisatory nature, quite different in form and language than what we wanted to put across (purposefully). The piece does not have any performers in it (other than the audience as it turned out) after we start the machinery going. We then just leave. The machinery is two turntables playing hypnosis records (at once), a metronome counting seconds, plus a timer that turns on a bare bulb and a third turntable with a hypnosis record about half way through. The audience was divided in reaction throughout: half wanted to stop it, half appeared to be defending the piece's right to enfold: it may not come across on the tape but there were heckles and then defensive counter-heckles. There is a little "hoot" when the light comes on automatically. Later, someone unscrewed the bulb. Later still, someone screwed it back in. You can hear the metronome pulse speed up due to an audience member's interaction, and then resume counting seconds (or so) due to another's. Suz and I stood way at the back throughout so as not to be recognized or called to comment. It was fun. I guess what I like best about the recording is how the audience noise level slowly raises during our 15 minutes.

So, in the end, it works out well to have the two pieces paired.

At the time of this writing, I am just mastering the dubbing cassette, but have no idea of what the cover will be like, nor the accompanying text. So I'll give a bit of the story behind Enthusiasm and some of the reasons why we are so interested in Vertov's work. I was watching his film Man with a Movie Camera again two days ago and was again very impressed by his language: the images of this silent film never speak directly (and there are no intertitles), but only have meaning in relation to the other images immediately adjacent. In other words, the meaning is somewhat linear, but resides on a different level, as implied, than the images themselves. As it is in this film, each "element" of meaning (i.e., part, word, or sentence of the linear "story") requires several of many separate shots to get across. It is an interesting multilevel, multipaced movement. Anyway, that describes just one aspect of Vertov. [I am listening back to the dub of Enthusiams 1993 at this moment and the last thing is the announcer at the show saying loudly "Crawling Avec Tarts"...I wonder if it is too obnoxious?] To continue...Vertov might be considered to be a dogmatist, but I think that is unimportant or irrelevant. If anything he is an idealist...not a bad thing. His ideas and images are brilliant. As regards politics, socialism was a different thing then than it is now. It is hard to understand his almost fascistic support political ideals. But they are easily subservient to his creative ideals (no matter that they may have been meant to be in the service of a political system [I footnote here that I am mistrustful of all "systems", especially political]; so was Eisenstein, whom Vertov assailed in writing for his lack of inventiveness.) And the concept of "montage" ranks among the greatest intellectual advancements (intellectual recognition, really) in recent history.

Enthusiasm is a film made by Dziga Vertov in 1930. It is the first sound film made in Russia. The film exists, and is even available on videotape, though I haven't seen it for a long time. There are various notes about it, including the text upon which our piece is based, in his book Kino Eye. I don't personally own this book at the moment, a roommate now absent owned the copy from which we photocopied the text. So, much of what I am about to recount is either from nonspecific recollections of reading through the book, or from correspondences realized later upon reflection.

Vertov is actually a failed sound collagist. This is significant. He made attempts at composing with sounds found on "stenographic recordings" (which, at that time, would have been on discs). But he was unable, in the mid 20s, to get a decent recording quality even after just two generations of montage. So he turned to film, which was much more flexible and had a higher fidelity, even if it was in a medium for a different sensory organ. His desire to work with his new conception of combinatorics was that strong. He made several silents, including newsreels (Kino Pravda) and Man with a Movie Camera mentioned above, before 1930, when had arisen the first opportunity to make a sound film. By that time, he had conceived of film as having two separate "pillars", the image and the sound track, which could be asynchronous but related. In Kino Eye are reproduced each of the two pillars of Enthusiasm, the visual track entitled Symphony of the Donbas, and the audio track called Sound March. Each text is a description of the action, either in visual or sonic terms depending on the case, which he would later enact in his film. Each is a separate, though related, composition.

Our take on this is as follows. First, we completely ignored Vertov's realization of the text Sound March used in the film Enthusiasm, and based our piece on the text alone. We chose to use disc recordings as the primary sound source as a tribute to Vertov's sincere attempt to do so (and given up well before the subject film was conceived). We decided that since the abstract text alone was to be our basis, we would 1) not try to synchronize anything with the film or original soundtrack, and 2) not try to use sources that are historically and locally relevant to Vertov's time and place. These considerations are also practical: we have not seen Enthusiasm for quite a while, and we simply found it more interesting to base the source selection on what we had available from our collection (this has changed, incidentally, from the earliest performances (as mentioned above) as new sources have been found). As it ends up, many of the sources locate our version in France during the 50s and 60s, though with great variation.

Though I do not remember if it is explicitly stated in the supplementary text of Kino Eye, the story told in Enthusiasm is pretty clear irregardless of the abstract nature of the text of Sound March. It basically describes in sound the fall of the Romanov Dynasty, and through the direct action of the people in the street, the rise of Bolshevism, events occurring more than a decade prior to the composition of the text. The text is in four sections (as our rendition of it is), roughly describing:

  1. Russia before the October Revolution, with religion as one of the dominant ideological powers;
  2. the beginnings of strikes and termoil, army divisions reconsidering their allegiances;
  3. the destruction of icons, removal (by force) of all vestiges of the previous order, beginnings of the restructuring of the ideological order; and
  4. further construction of the Soviet state.
Again, this is just what I glean from the text (it is also simplified: much more is described). Now that the composition is finished, I want to end my abstinence and review the film (I actually have a copy of it somewhere on videotape), and reread Kino Eye, just to see what corresponds and what doesn't. Variations will be interesting; the last thing I would want to do is simply "perform" the text literally and with strict respect to Vertov's realization.
Michael Gendreau, 12.30.94

Grand Surface Noise Opera Nrs. 3 (Indian Ocean Ship) and 4 (Drum Totem) CD, ASP 27, 1995 (edition: 1000)
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ASP 27. CD (73:02)

This CD contains two large-scale operatic works for (mostly) turntables. Attention is focused on the quality of surface noise as a textural (binding) element (and for use as a formal signifier, the content of the discs). Grand Surface Noise Opera Nr. 3 (Indian Ocean Ship) (47:30) contains only the noise from (and subsequently, the sounds recorded upon) exquisitely worn discs, except for an occasional plate bell used to mark otherwise concealed transitions. The disc content in this opera is mostly amateur 78 rpm disc recordings, and a few institutional discs, spanning from 1942 to 1982. Grand Surface Noise Opera Nr. 4 (Drum Totem) (25:25) is for discs (surface noise) and percussion, and features the recorded debut of the 3-meter ham can cordophone. The disc content is primarily institutional, functional, and historical, spanning from 1960 to 1977. Edition of 1000.
» reviews

"Entire operatic works composed primarily of found sounds and vinyl surface noises––it’s an idea that would have certainly delighted the late John Cage, and should probably send pretty much everyone else heading for the hills. But, lo and behold, composers/performers Michael Gendreau and Suzanne Dycus-Gendreau have fashioned a live recording of a 1993 Mills College concert that’s surprisingly listenable––so listenable, in fact, that the experimental and aleatory aspects of the music appear to take a back seat to the quiet, pleasant exchanges among the performers. The first piece consists almost entirely of turntables, only occasionally punctuated by a refreshingly irritating plate bell, while the second brackets a similar sound collage with a hard, percussive "overture" and "postlude." Don’t be fooled by the sarcastic sampling of Art Linkletter in the intro; this is a light, engaging, at times winsomely musical avant-garde recording."
David Shirley in Option

"This is some very engaging sound collaging that utilizes institutional discs, drums, chalices, a 3 meter ham can cordophone, and some very old, very strange samples. Looking to create a completely surreal ambiance? Is the commentator for Nova, National Geographic, or Washington Week in Review boring the shit out of you? Well throw a couple of toaster pastries in that there toaster, shut off that TV sound, and get ready to start Crawling With Tarts."
Sonar Map

"Oakland’s Crawling With Tarts were always a bit perplexing to me. Having heard both their experimental cassette releases and their 7" pop songs, I had the mistaken suspicion that they were two different bands with the same name. My confusion was finally cleared up by the excellent Mayten’s Throw album (1994), which contained both songs and explorative pieces. Operas 3 and 4 is the second in a series of "Grand Surface Noise Opera," collages made from old records––dusty voices from your grandparents’ attic, Wurlitzer waltzes, mysterious marimba, and even good-old Art Linkletter, all with the nostalgic scratchy hiss of 78 rpm records. With an ear for song and melody (unfortunately a rarity among many practitioners of this sort of sound composition), Crawling With Tarts use repetition of rhythms and melodic motives for structural development. There are rumored to be two more imminent Crawling With Tarts albums on two other labels; keep your ears open."
David Newgarden in CMJ

"With almost every recording that I put on for review, I immediately get a mental image to go along with the music. I rarely include it in the review as it's usually just my personal association. This disc, however, brings up such a strong picture that I'm sure it will help explain the music. The first of the two pieces, the 47 minute "Grand Surface Noise Opera Nr. 3" makes me think of walking through an abandoned but still functioning exhibit of talking displays; something like the World's Fair or an older version of The Epcot Center. You can hear the strained whirring of all the machines in operation as they talk to you, giving you the various details of modern life and trying to sell their miracle products in vain. It's a work similar to something Negativland might produce but with less traditional music. The followup piece "Nr. 4" is a noisy, brash collage of drums, tinkling toy cymbals, and truck horns that make a bizarre performance of experimental sound. A brilliant alternative to almost everything else on the market."
Chris W. Becker in Factsheet Five

"Negativland e Tape Beatles trovano finalmente degni rivali in materia di "plagiarismo" creativo nei californiani Crawling With Tarts, il cui nuovo album (sulla falsariga del LP Operas) contiene due lunghi brani per giradischi e percussioni, in cui vecchi dischi amatoriali o didattchi e fruscianti 78 giri vengono riciclati in ricercati e piacevoli collages, molto più attenti alla strutura formale e alle sfumature tonali che alla natura tematica dei materiali impiegati."
Vittore Baroni in Rumore

"You know all those radio broadcasts that drifted off into the stratosphere during the 1950’s and are theoretically still floating around out there? Well Crawling With Tarts must have built a rocket ship and orbited the earth scooping them up, putting them and a bunch of home movies that they got from Goodwill into a big shopping bag which they then used as a piñata, and then they finally found some guy to put it out on CD. Clock DVA started out [sic] this way, with overlapped multitrack info overload, but they didn’t do it quite as cleverly or listenable. Of the two tracks (lasting well over an hour) the best part is the end of "Indian Ocean Ship" where it sounds like you’re in an inner-tube far from land eavesdropping on a party taking place nearby on a ghost yacht. This is not music nor is it pretty, but should interest those who take their sound seriously."
"TP" in Snipehunt

"Warning: not intended for consumption by those who use the word "weird" in their daily vocabulary. Performed live at Mills College in 1993 by the composers, both of these operas use as many as four turntables simultaneously playing an assortment of institutional records (the sort that usually feature anything but music), and one-of-a-kind transcription discs (the predecessors to Dictaphones), with percussion used as an accent. These "primary form generators" are layered and faded in and out at predetermined intervals, giving them a function analogous to traditional instruments capable of producing sustained textures. The result is a deep and mesmerizing soundscape."
Peter Johnston in Out Of Bounds

"This is, without a doubt, one of the most strange compact discs I've ever heard. I speak from experience, having heard some of the most bizarre compact discs available. This is the only band I've ever heard who actually go as far as to sample a turkey. Hearing this album puts you in a mood that could only be described as wacky. There are two pieces on this compact disc. The first one has the turkey and the second one has a nice tribal beat. The first track also contains all sorts of strange bird sounds along with many other oddities that form a nice sound collage. If you like your industrial on the weird side, here's a recording for you."
cipher in Industrial Nation

"One of the latest releases from this couple, this CD contains the third and fourth in CWT's series of "Grand Surface Noise Operas," created by mixing sounds from a variety of sources, primarily old albums. A nice touch here is that the CD booklet includes [part of] the "score" for each piece, giving the listener an idea of how much planning went into the music––these were not improvisations. It's worth noting that this was recorded live, which isn't evident in the good recording quality. Opera Nr. 3 is subtitled "Indian Ocean Ship" while Nr. 4 is "Drum Totem." However, I won't attempt to describe the pieces, as it would be necessarily cursory and futile. Suffice it to say that Michael Gendreau and Suzanne Dycus-Gendreau mix sounds as disparate as Art Linkletter, Morse code, trains, bells, drums, and many old amateur recordings of spoken phrases, lessons, lectures, and more. Each piece no doubt tells a story of sorts, though it's hard to say what. Future listens will I'm sure fill in the details, and the depth of this CD is just part of what makes the listening experience enjoyable."
Mason Jones in You Could Do Worse

Madeleine CD, Sulphur (Silent Records) SR9472, 1995

Mayten's Throw CD, ASP 23, 1994 (edition: 1000)
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ASP 23. CD (52:02)

Mayten’s Throw includes proto-songs, motors pieces, and other things. There are eleven numbers on this disc. Edition of 1000.
» reviews

"Conceptual brilliance this intriguing is a rare find. I had thought that Crawling With Tarts was fairly new...formed by partners Suzanne Dycus and Michael Gendreau and with only one EP (entitled Operas...) under their belts. I've since found that I was very wrong and that the couple has put out [22] cassettes of music since 198[3] and has been reviewed in a ton of cassette-only and underground 'zines. I'm only glad that I'm finally privy to the combination of found-sound manipulation and equally brilliant pop songs (which they do also, and better than most!). Take your Pork Queen, yer Charalambides, and some TVP pop––then step up a level. That's where we're at right now."
Leslie Gaffney in Popwatch

"Proof that love can be a beautiful thing. Suzanne and Michael create a music so intimate and unique and without pretension, one feels like an antique lamp sitting in their living room, a silent observer to their intuitive musical voyages. Mayten’s Throw has a deep arm in the pail of pop, though CWT pop, a kind of child-like, off kilter charm that has a bare bones instrumental approach, enhanced by Suzanne’s soda fountain voice. Cello, sax, and odd percussion make up the more drifty instrumentals, recalling much of the spirit of ESP groups. Think of sand castles, wet dogs, mild mushroom trips, and midnight walks to the convenience store. Less "experimental" than the uncomparable Operas, this still displays the same care and vision. When music is so dominated by ego, hipness, attitude, concept, and genericism (yes, I am talking about the underground, too), CWT’s breath of fresh air smells and sounds downright exquisite."
Rob Forman in ND

"Fuzzy noise paired with a finely-tuned sense of melody makes for music that is experimental and softly appealing, both discordant and concordant. Crawling With Tarts combines these elements with joyful abandon, abruptly leaving a verse/chorus structure to flow into a deliberately sloppy avant-garde section. Although the form is that of a much more awkward record, Crawling With Tarts’ two main musicians––Suzanne Dycus and Michael Gendreau––ensure that not only are the ideas original, but that they are comprehensible as well. Each song contains some intriguing element, from the clattering drum taps of The Bean Threaders to the lo-fi rock on Cotton Flys to the cocktail jazz feel that slides into acoustic folk on They Kill And Think. Crawling With Tarts straddles the line between obscure and pop with flair, and the resulting Mayten’s Throw is a very listenable piece of experimental noise."
Megan McLaughlin in CMJ

"California's CWT are a very underrated group, creating unpretentious, experimental, yet very accessible sounds...whereas previous releases separated their "soundscape" and "pop" sides, this CD (their first) combines the two––interspersing the odder "weird noises" with honest soft-edged melodiousness. Surprisingly, it works too. CWT's "noise" isn't harsh––it's more open-ended and flowing, nearly tribal in feel, as they mess around with old records or other altered organic sounds. Great stuff––both highly recommended and individual."
Todd Zachritz in Godsend

"Five tracks into this thing you'll run across New Islands, a catchy pop song with floating female vocals over riff-crazy guitars. So what's next? A John Cage-ian piece that builds piano and electric squeal from sparseness to a real wall-rattler. Those are the two ends of Mayten's Throw's spectrum, and surprisingly it's a compelling one. As numerous smug musicians have proved, it's easy to throw together an album of conglomerated sound while claiming that anything can be music. Much tougher is throwing together sounds that somebody else will care about. Maybe looped sounds, clicking percussion and droning horns seem worn out, but in CWT's hands they have a new life. There are only a couple of half-hearted moments on this album; most of it has the clear structure and clever surprise of a good abstract painting. Even the album's unexpected pop songs don't suffer from the condescending tone that too many avant-gardists think are more appropriate for more conventional art. CWT's modesty may be its most attractive feature but it is one that means listeners will have to discover the music on their own."
Lang Thompson in Option

Noche Gato III on Town & Country #1 2 x 7", Sedimental, 1994
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entry on Town & Country #1 2 x 7" at Sedimental

The Dream of the Fallen Soldier on America The Beautiful CD, RRR, 1994

Moniliform Thread of Miribilis Jalapa on Accidents Have No Holidays cassette, Povertech, 1994

Motors V3i on (Y)EARBOOK Volume 3 CD, Rastascan, 1993
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entry on (Y)EARBOOK Volume 3 CD at Rastascan

Operas LP, ASP 26, 1993 (edition: 1000)
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ASP 26. 12" 33 RPM

Operas is an LP of 4 dramatic pieces that use turntables and particular, particularly worn home-made 78s as one of the principal form generators. Other instruments are then added to the surface noises. Edition of 1000.
» reviews

"...a very fetching LP...This is the aural equivalent of those movies that are designed to be projected onto yr closed eyelids. The sounds here move around behind an array of obscuring curtains, w/ pieces of ‘found’ sound emerging like palimpsests from amidst delicate & jittery ‘live’ music. The manipulations of records on this are unlike any conceptually similar work being done with turntables & the combinations of noise that are invented here are elegant & original."
Byron Coley in Forced Exposure

"...the music was made using 78 RPM records, ‘especially one-of-a-kind amateur-cut disks made during the ‘30s through the ‘50s’. To this CWT add instruments, mainly percussion and concrete sounds. It is through this combination that this record is not your average sound-collage of records, but a well balanced unity of all elements put in... "
Frans de Waard in Vital

"Wonderful Operas! Noisy!...When I was listening to Orses Opera (very loud) yesterday, my neighbors who live on the floor below were exasperated and decided to take vengeance––they poured water into the doorbell, which caused a short circuit, and then the bell rang for 10 minutes until we dried it out with the help of a candle. It was really cool––my dad was all nerves and whole time asked me, why I listen to such depraved music."
fax received from a Russian DJ working in Moscow (translated by Jeff Surak)

"...Both an album of entertainment and, if not a milestone, then a good example of an esoteric genre..."
Antony Glenn Burnham in Soft Watch

"...This is experimental music that doesn’t follow the ‘industrial’ or gloom/doom paths. CWT produce a happy sort of noise, full of life, wonder, curiosity, and bewilderment. A rich and individual blend of cultures and influences. Recommended."
Todd Zachritz in Godsend

"Suzanne and Michael have created a complex and ornate universe by using old 78 rpm disks and players as sound generators to which they embellish with differing handmade instruments. Many of the tracks are rich with scratches, bumps, and unusual surface noises giving a warmth and playfulness to the pieces. This can be compared to Marclay’s disk collaging, but here there is a greater sensitivity to transporting the overall work into something new. Highly recommended."
Rob Foreman in ND

"Extremely innovative collection of four operas by...Crawling With Tarts who have been creating challenging sounds since 198[3]. Operas combines live instruments like cello and drums with ‘found’ sounds from decaying 78 RPM records to create exhilarating soundsheets...Crawling With Tarts incorporates multiple turntables operating simultaneously to create new sounds from aged, discarded records. Foreign language records speak over scratchy [ballet] exercise records and pianos flail in the background as record surface noise generates a rhythmic, ambient background. Crawling With Tarts are going way beyond the call of duty to deconstruct and reconstruct music from the past and present. Recommended."
Dave McGurgan in Yakuza

"In the underground experimental scene, this duo claim a particularly long-lived and typically unpredictable existence, which makes it more surprising that this is its first non-cassette release, apart from a 7-inch. Appropriately ear-twisting and ambiguous, Operas dredges up unsettling feelings of times past. That’s partly because CWT builds the music on Operas from turntables playing worn records, particularly amateur 78s with an inherent unpredictability of content. Unlike the musical collages of, say, fellow turntablist Christian Marclay, CWT’s pieces are more organic even when the records emit foreign languages, spoken instructions, or musical fragments from no conceivable song. CWT fills out the sound with more conventional instruments like a cello, though in a way that ties together the turntable sounds into a coherent composition. Perhaps having created these pieces for live performances made CWT focus on the way they flow and are received by listeners...this taut and well-executed album will convince you it has a reason for existing."
Lang Thompson in Option

"This record contains 4 "operas" composed for live performances using occasional instruments, 78 rpm record players, and a variety of records, especially one-off amateur recordings from the 30s through the 50s....File next to the Tape-beatles, or Cacophony 33? Perhaps. The side-long Grand Surface Noise Opera No. 2 needs no comparisons, and stands out on its own as a thoroughly excellent piece of work, that easily stands up there next to any other "found sound" music. It's a superb record..."
Brian Duguid in Electric Shock Treatment
» additional notes

Score for a live performance of Crawling With Tarts’ Orses Operaem> (as released on "Operas" ASP 26)

        *ta na ko ray [6x]
        tee dasss* [2x]
        ha rra con ya *ta na ko ray 
        tee dasss* [6x]
        ha rra con ya *ta na ko ray 
        tee dasss* [1x]
        ha rra con ya *ta na ko ray 
        tee dasss* [4x]
        ha rra con ya *ta na ko ray 
        tee dasss* [7x]
        ha rra con ya *ta na ko ray 
        tee dasss* [4x]
        ha rra con ya *ta na ko ray 
        tee dasss* [2x]
        ha rra con ya *ta na ko ray 
        tee dasss* [23x]
        ha rra con ya *
        tee dasss* [9x]
        ha rra con ya *....laaa na ko ray
        hee dasss* [6x]
        ha rra con ya *ta na ko ray 
        tee dasss* [2x]
        ha rra con ya *
        tee dasss* [5x]
        ha rra con ya *ta na ko ray 
        tee dasss* [2x]
        ha rra con ya *ta na ko ray  *ta na ko ray 
        tee dasss* [3x]
        ha rra con ya *
        tee dasss* [4x]
        *ta na ko ray 
        tee dasss* [2x]
        ha rra con ya *
        tee dasss* [1x]
        ha rra con ya *
        entre con le cha*peau [18x]
        sont mon tra ton le sha tee [5x]
        [string solo]
        sont mon tra ton le sha tee [1x]
        [short string solo - transition]
        an ti tu *ee yay [4.5x]
        [short transition]
        *pa pu malo...tun me la tak meses [18x]
        *eh musha pu marrow ma vala nic nay [6x]
        *pa pu malo...tun me la tak meses [2x]
        *eh musha pu marrow ma vala nic nay [2x]                      OVER ––>
        *pa pu malo...tun me la tak meses [2x]
        *eh musha pu marrow ma vala nic nay [31x]
        *pa pu malo...tun me la tak meses [12x]
        *eh musha pu marrow ma vala nic nay [15x]
        *prrriska...aa vi [16x]
        *pa pu malo...tun me la tak meses [1x]
        *eh musha pu marrow ma vala nic nay [1x]
        *prrriska...aa vi [5x]
        *eh musha pu marrow ma vala nic nay [7x]
        *prrriska...aa vi [1x]
        se top la car kona misha ma poh! [6x]
        la pa la pul la p*oh...[9x]
        *poh da sher ra morde [3x]
        too so...la poh
        la  pp* [3x]
        la poh
        rrre parle telle terre cor le hoe [6x]

1 snak, 2 rider cassette, IRRE-TAPES ITO94 / ASP 25(Kindsbach, Germany), 1993
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ITO94 / ASP 25. C46 CrO2. Release date: 1.17.93.

Contains a live version of Sarajevo Center Metal Doors, a 17 section color graphic notation score performed by the Tarts supplemented by members of The Clubfoot Orchestra, Zircus, and Speed The Parting Guest. Added bonus: linear and non-linear computer noises.
» reviews

"This cassette makes a nice counterpoint to a rainy day. It contains two pieces by Michael Gendreau. The music is framed (first and last cut) by E+E, described as 'linear and non-linear computer noises'. These improvisations seem to effect the part of the ear that has to do with equilibrium. Imagine the sounds of loud construction machinery heard while your head is underwater. These mechanical sounds occur as episodes with much space in between; this space being filled with the constant drone of a constant machine maybe in the next room. Some episodes sound like a small motor boat, or the blowing of bubbles through a straw with only a small amount of coke left in your glass but with the treble turned up. The center piece on the cassette is a live performance of Sarajevo Center Metal Doors, with performers Michael Gendreau and Suzanne Dycus (both mostly on percussion), Eric Bergkvist (mostly bass trombone), and Catharine Clune (mostly violin). A total of 48 instruments are listed as being played by the quartet. The piece occurs in 17 sections. In each section, one person plays all the way through, creating some kind of landscape, while each of the other three players perform smaller episodes within the section. Clarity is consistent throughout, and the sonic variety is impressive. Sometimes the landscape is drumming on a cookie tin, or slobbery trombone, or wheezing, bouncing, or the suggestion of milling about in a market. Bergkvist's trombone says, 'Hmmm...Whyyy? Whyyy?' with long blotchy human tone quality. Clune's violin is very focussed, often bouncy and personal. A high point on the recording is a harmonica-accordion duet by [Clune and Dycus]. They play in the same register, phasing rhythmically to create some gripping stuff. Gendreau is not an obvious percussionist. I get the idea that he is always thinking compositionally, and he uses an arsenal of sounds for positive effect and never as a gimmick. Even his scratching on metal (a sound which will exist in my personal hell) is curiously melodic. His clarinet playing, occurring twice on this recording, is frenetic and impressive. Suzanne D.G. seems to function as a muse: I can see her musing, creating, milling; using her collection of objects (including a victrola and a bowl of pottery chips) to conjure images for the other three musicians to work with. The 17 sections form a coherent whole because the musicians play with an impressive consistency of intent over the length of the piece. This cassette is highly recommended, especially if you are interested in music with imaginative sonic combinations."
Randy Porter in Freeway

"Now this is well different, not what I expected from a band with a name like that! This is like something from the 'serious' world of avant garde composition. The two pieces are written by one Michael Gendreau, one recorded live at the Kennel Club in San Francisco...You get lots of silence, intercut with sounds, all sorts of sounds. You wait, you listen, nothing, you wait, you listen, then something. The performers use boxes of pottery chips, saw blades, fishbowls, gas pipes, prayer stones, bass trombone, harmonica, violin, Helmholz resonator, and whistles...amongst other things. I'd love to have been at the gig! For those who take the avant garde seriously, this would be a breath of fresh air..."
Mick Regic in M+E Newsletter

New Caldonia cassette, SPH 058 (Oeiras, Portugal), 1992
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SPH 058. C46 CrO2. Release date: 7.2.92.

Side A contains "songs,"; B an improvisation for piano and 2 drum sets. With a full color cover illustrating flags from Suz' New Caldonian series.
» reviews

"Pop minimalism achieves a glorious resolution in the hands of both Suzanne Dycus and Michael Gendreau on this insanely good tape. The tone of these is arty and intelligent and appealing to a mind that likes to be confronted and comforted. The glory of imagination is caught by the seven short pop attacks on side one, whilst the longer New Caldonia on side 2 takes the whole side to develop its almost jazz like ponderings."
Staff writer in Stick It In Your Ears

"The two sides of this tape are quite dichotomous. Side one contains seven pieces with a loose sort of song structure. Clean guitars, acoustic drums, coupled with a strong bass along with Suzanne Dycus' fragile, unaffected vocals [...] Side two charts quite a different course, with the entire side given over to the title piece, played on acoustic piano with some percussion accompaniment. The pianist runs through a variety of styles, from fragmented tone clusters with percussive thumping, to slightly astringent romanticism, and then to minimalist tinkling and vaguely ominous lower register rumblings, again with percussive thumping. The piece ends quietly which may or may not be symbolic of something, but some nice sonorities and textures are explored en route."
Bryan Baker in Gajoob and Bill Tilland in Option

"Side A, being real 'songs,' is somewhat of a departure for CWT with guitars, drumming, and sweet vocals from Suzanne Dycus, and great pop melodies. It's lovely, minimalistic, and as pure as anything out there calling itself music. A sort of...freeflowing discord kinda bubbles in around the edges also keeping things even more interesting. Side B is improv music for piano and two drumsets, coming across as some sort of track to a dada movie. It's a beautiful excursion, filled with texture and life. More great stuff here. Highly recommended."
Todd Zachritz in Godsend

LSR8-11E6(5) on The Avant World Jazz Noise Project cassette, Pointless Music, 1992

Piano Motor #5 on Wakened by Silence cassette, Charnel House, 1991

Radio 45 7", ASP 22, 1991 (edition: 500)
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ASP 22. 7" 45 RPM. Release date: 9.29.91.

A Crawling With Tarts record of songs including Lavender Bobby (from the out-of-print cassette Candy Tooth Ceylon), The Small House on Top of the Larger One, Cotton Flys, and Ground Sifting Wind. Sleeve is offset printed in lavender and olive. Insert with lyrics. Edition of 500.
» reviews

"This band is fucking amazing...A genuinely childlike joy of experimentation is everywhere on their recordings. It is the sound of grownups at play, a sound I never fail to enjoy. Simply as essential as early Red Krayola or the latest Yamatzuka Eye."
Mike McGonigal in Chemical Imbalance

"The first songs on both sides are great pop with a twist. I've loved this band for a while and can't imagine an easier introduction to CWT's sound than this single, with its immediate ‘A-sides’ starting off each side, and more experimental second songs closing out each side."
Carl Thien in Gull Buy

The Best of La Petite Mauvaise Chose Volume 1 cassette, ASP 1991

813 (ASP Films 1989-1991) videocassette, ASP 21, May 1991 (edition: 41)
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ASP 21. VHS video tape, (1:18:00). Release date: May 1991.

PXL2000 and 8mm films made by M. Gendreau and S. Dycus, and three videotaped performances by Crawling With Tarts are included in this collection. Also included is an adaption of House of Asterion by Jorge Luis Borges in PXL by P. Cavallero, S. Dycus, and M. Gendreau.

LSR8-11E6(3) on A Pointless Compilation cassette, Pointless Music, 1991

AA REDBOX PAHOEHOE cassette, ASP 19, 1991
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ASP 19. C62 CrO2. Release date: early 1991.

A Crawling With Tarts live radio broadcast using wind instruments, primitive percussion, and loops. Performed by S. Dycus, dAS, M. Gendreau, and Cliff Neighbors.
» reviews

"There is something ritualistic and narcotic about much of the work of Suzanne Dycus and Michael Gendreau. Here they've teamed up with droney noise guys Cliff Neighbors and dAS (Deathranch and Big City Orchestra) for some improvised primal noise. This is the sound genre I carry around in my head so it feels good coming back at me from two speakers. I think it is an ambient dance music almost any contemporary town dweller might want to dig into."
Glen Thrasher in Lowlife

"...Often sounding ritualistic then evolving into fits of delirium..."
RS in Factsheet Five

"Sounds to me like a primitive tribe caught inside a grimy subway station... Musically CWT combine wind instruments, tape loops, and primitive object percussion. It's a sound that's anything but mellow. Well done."
Staff writer in Godsend

Deathranch / Crawling With Tarts cassette, ASP 20, 1991
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ASP 20. C62 CrO2. Release date: early 1991.

Previously only available in bootleg, this is the official version of the collaboration between S. Dycus (CWT), M. Gendreau (CWT), P. Leeming (Dr), and C. Neighbors (Dr) recorded in May 1987.
» reviews

"PICK OF THE ISSUE: I just can't say enough about this 1987 collaboration between these two Bay-area groups. None of the pieces on this tape are titled, but the tape starts out with some rather 'industrial' clanking, humming, and rattling sounds assembled meaningfully and leaping out of the speakers in a true-to-life P. Children sort of way. Later we're treated to some melancholy and melodic lines, while the background is taken up by more of these vivid textures. Then a billowing roar/rumble takes over, accompanied by metallic percussion and grating sounds, and, later, some mesmerizing backwards string/guitar sounds. On this recording, four musicians merge in harmony to create a wonderfully organic work that seems to live and breathe its own."
Mark Lo in File 13

"...an eerily reverberant set of tone pieces. The sound is layered of dense and backwards tracks, throbbing cycles with feedback gyrations, metallic scrapings and slow destruction, all unfolding moodily..."
Phil M. Zampino in Factsheet Five

Marches Between Trains (Section IV) on Trains cassette, Exile (Lapel IN), 1990

LSR8-11E6(7) and LSR8-11E6(3) on Complication Compilation cassette, Suitcase Recordings (Knoxville TN), 1990

7.6.90(i)viii and 7.6.90(i)ix on Mighty Risen Plea LP, Sacred Frame (Tucker GA), 1990

Greed Tool Hand on Survive Behind Bars cassette, Eli Talgam (Jerusalem, Israel), 1990

Greed Tool Hand in the Lee of Icebergs cassette, ASP 18, 1990 (edition: 100)
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ASP 18. C52 CrO2. Release date: 3.17.90.

Music employing arctic exploration, parataxis, and temporal persistence. J-card packaged on quarter cotton paper and vellum printed in black and yellow. Numbered edition.
» reviews

"Slow, bewitching compositions constructed of ever-so-gradually evolving drum patterns, bass guitar-woven fabrics and sputterings, splashes of piano, sleepy voice, and spritzes of guitar. Improvisation and pre-conceived structures are nicely married throughout, with great attention given to varying density and tempo. The drumming/percussion is consistently interesting, as are the percussion sound sources (in their elusive identifiability)..."
B. H. Hart in Sound Choice

"From Oakland comes Antarctic exploration in the form of rhythmic improvisation for guitar, drums, piano, and various percussive instruments. The pieces range from droning rhythmic pieces to high energy interaction, with occasional female voice singing in a semi-abstracted manner above...High quality numbered inserts with Antarctic maps round out the package."
Phil M. Zampino in Factsheet Five

"...Though improv'd or semi-so, there's a hellish focus here which carries the tape. Melodies, no. Atmosphere, yes, rhythmic, usually. 'A Circle is Not Going to Appear as a Circle in a Curled-up Windblown Flag' features Suzanne's Patty Waters-like vocal with narrative..."
Jack Jordan in Option

(various music and interview) CWT on No Pigeonholes two cassettes, Loose Caboose, 1989

Mayday and Taking Soot Off the Blinds on Use Once and Destroy cassette, Bangaway (Atlanta GA), 1989

The Tudor Tapes cassette, ASP 17, 1989 (edition: 100)
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ASP 17. C30 CrO2. Release date: 6.14.89.

Set packaged in offset print paper boxes with newsprint inserts. Limited numbered edition of 100.
» reviews

"[On The Tudor Tapes] These songs (that's what I'd call them) offer spritely and wafting melodies rendered in organ, bell, guitar, and female voice...Almost classical sounding."
Lloyd Dunn in PhotoStatic

"CWT's cassettes are the musical equivalent of visual art sometimes beautiful, sometimes ugly and dissonant, always unpredictable."
Dino DiMuro in Sound Choice

Candy Tooth Ceylon cassette, ASP 16, 1989 (edition: 100)
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ASP 16. C83 CrO2. Release date: 1989

» reviews

"[Candy Tooth Ceylon] is both more eclectic and more accessible than most of their previous releases (neat trick, that). It has everything from simple piano studies to straight rock and roll to industrial to their more usual experimentation with the limits of music and scattered cultural experiments. If only supermarkets would play this instead of muzak the world would be a much more interesting place. Very polished..."
Mike Gunderloy in Factsheet Five

"Stark, haunting, ethereal, and mesmerizing tunes played on a variety of ethnic musical instruments. Minimalist, repetitive, but very melodic, with beautiful female vocals on several cuts..."
Dan Fioretti in Sound Choice

Bringing The Moon In on USA II cassette, Harsh Reality Music (Memphis TN), 1989

Grandma’s Brown Box 9.17.(3) on where it’s At ‘88 cassette, A/a (Jersey City NJ), 1988

Passing A Dreaded Point on Lowlife 14 Freetape cassette, Lowlife (Atlanta GA), 1988

Plowing + Tilling on Tellus #20: Media Myth cassette, Tellus (New York NY), 1988

Broom cassette, ASP 15, August 28, 1988 (edition: 49)
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ASP 15. C48 CrO2. Release date: 8.28.88.

Boxed with hand-dyed cloth and botanical samples. Limited numbered edition of 49. Hot sun music, insects, creaking ships, masking pulse.

Bled es Siba two cassettes, A/a aT 49, 1988
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aT 49. 2xC90 CrO2. Release date: 8.15.88.

Three hours of electronic - percussion - string music with a third Tart, Cliff Neighbors.
» reviews

"Crawling With Tarts have been putting out amazing works on cassettes for some time now...Yet nothing I have heard previously from this duo has struck home dead center in the way this three hour gem has...The music comes to life in the room between the listener’s ears. Repetitive, trance inducing, and powerfully moving, the sounds on these two tapes comprise one of the year’s major releases."
Glen Thrasher in Lowlife

"...the best tape this whole niche [referring to the underground cassette network] has put out..."
Alex V. Cook, KLSU

"A very rich experience..."
Mike Gunderloy in Factsheet Five

Yeux Shift Your Eyes on Disco Totem Volume 1 cassette, R.R. Products (Grenoble, France), 1988

Boots cassette, Sound Of Pig (Brooklyn NY), 1988

The Thicket on Zamisdat Trade Journal Volume 6 cassette, Zamico (Boulder CO), 1988

Squeeky Play Parts 1 and 2 on Tryst Volume 3 cassette, Ralph Records (San Francisco CA), 1988

Angry King on Insane Music for Insane People Vol. 17 cassette, Insane Music Collective (Trazegnies, Belgium), 1988

12.16.86 and Return To 16 on The Noise Collective cassette, Man’s Hate (Cambridgeshire, England), 1987

Crawling With Tarts at the Pagan Ranch video directed by John Martin with CWT and Kim Cascone, 1987

Haselrüte cassette, ASP 12, 1987 (edition: 45)
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ASP12. C60 CrO2. Release date: 7.15.87.

J-card package of cotton paper impressed with leaves. Music ranges from Puritan to a ritual performance Packing Away the Glass.
» reviews

"In the twelve selections, Crawling With Tarts show incredible compositional, improvisational, and emotional range. They run the gamut from bizarre folk-like nursery tales to noise arrangements to somber instrumentals to traditionally arranged rock numbers in their own messed up way...They appear to limit themselves to no boundaries whatsoever, and that is quite refreshing."
John Collegio in Sound Choice

"CWT plays long stretches of slowly varying instrumentation punctuated by wildly unexpected vocals: little stories, nonsense sounds, or chants about 'elephant number one...elephant number two-oo'...the moods it creates are all over the map."
Mike Gunderloy in Factsheet Five

Loneliness cassette, Calypso Now! (Biel, Switzerland), 1987

Donkey King (Venga) on Northern California is a Noisy Place Indeed cassette, Sound of Pig, 1987

Voccianna cassette, ASP 11, 1986
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ASP11. C42 CrO2. Release date: 12.26.86.

Subtractive and elemental music packaged with folded paper and sticks.
» reviews

"These folks put out the aural equivalent of mail art. You never know what's going to be on the next track, although the odds are good that it will be out of the ordinary. Black Beasts + Cobs is a moody number, evocative of jungles; Wenn ich gehen is a supremely annoying ode to the power of horns."
Mike Gunderloy in Factsheet Five

"Crawling With Tarts apply a vast array of ideas. There is no way of knowing from minute to minute what direction they will go. Still nothing sounds misplaced. The whole is as meticulously conceived, composed, and arranged as any home recording I have heard."
Glen Thrasher in Lowlife

"...a structured, ensemble feel. The percussion pieces are exceptional..."
Bryan Baker in Gajoob

To Sir With Love on The New Originals cassette, Materials + Processes (Toronto, Canada), 1986

Crawling With Tarts (L100X) cassette, Bloedvlag (Zaandam, Holland), 1986

Fête Galante on Tim Ski Project cassette, Tim Ski (Parma OH), 1986

Steam Bug Dance on Carnival cassette, Sound of Pig SOP 32, 1986

SMAK on International Sound Compilation 10 cassette, Man’s Hate, 1986

ρλινκυιση cassette, Sound Of Pig, 1986
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SOP32. C60 CrO2. Release date: 3.17.86.

Music utilizing semantic satiations and found sounds.
» reviews

"The tape is set apart by a wealth of ideas that replace the usual pounding single-mindedness...Too many to mention here, the changes have a slow smooth flow, somewhere between sad and scary, and are continuously engaging."
W. Mueller in Sound Choice

"...the real secret of this music is its ability to consistently produce the unexpected unsettling sound. In the tape this is often by use of either a waifish woman's voice (which seems to sing of psychological upheavals) or of distortion of vocal tapes, often to an elaborate degree."
Brad Goins in Raunch-O-Rama

Crane + Sons and Gentle Wind on Requiem #14 cassette, Requiem (Bodø, Norway), 1986

Ithurial’s Spear on Opiate of the Underground cassette, Materials + Processes, 1985

Piano pc, 4 hands arrangement on Wireless Spine Review cassette, Swinging Axe (Northridge CA), 1985

Loneliness cassette, ASP 10, May 25, 1985 (edition: ca. 45)

Tearoom cassette, ASP 9, November 12, 1984 (edition: ca. 65)

Teaparty cassette, ASP 8, August 25, 1984 (edition: 3)

Bombast from the Hut cassette, ASP 7, June 25, 1984 (edition: ca. 35)

Crawling With Tarts (L100X) cassette, ASP 5, 1984 (edition: ca. 55)

with -1348-

The Plague Years CD, Bake Records (Amsterdam), 2001

Gemeinschaftgefuehl cassette, DTF (Gaithersburg MD)

14f13 cassette, DTF, 1988

with 4tet

Eat cassette, ASP, 1991

with Allegory Chapel

The Satanic Verses cassette, Nihilistic Recordings (Zaandam, Holland), 1989

with Ron Anderson

PAK r 1/2 inch CD, Rastascan, 1996

with Antimatter

Our Lady of the Skies CD, Asphodel ASP 2028, 2006
» reviews
review at Dusted Magazine

with Big City Orchestra

Four Cassettes of the Apocalypse CD, Subelectrick Institute (Nicasio CA), 1991

Oblivion Realized cassette, Minus Habens-Ivan Iusco (Bari, Italia)

Animal Religion cassette, Ralph Records, 1988

Tunnel cassette, Ubuibi (San Francisco CA), 1986

Greatest Hits and Test Tones CD, Pogus (Brooklyn NY), 1994

(various included artworks) on Tryst Volume 4 cassette, Ubuibi (San Francisco CA), 1989

with Deathranch

This is what you were born for cassette, Skidloy (Santa Cruz CA) 1985

with Dreamland

God's Fools CD, Caliban (El Cerrito CA), 1994

Everything in the World cassette, PoodLeash (El Cerrito CA), 1993

with Foundation for Public Broadcasting

Party Size CD, Commercial Failure (San Francisco CA), 1994

with If, Bwana

The Bwana-All Stars Godfather Revue cassette, Sound of Pig Music, 1989

with Fred Lonberg-Holm and Eric Bergkvist

Trios 7”, Curious Music (Coralville IA), 1990

Coming and Going (by Stuart Saunders Smith) cassette, Sonic Art Editions (Baltimore MD), 1989

with Fred Lonberg-Holm and Tamio Shiraishi

Excerpt on Live from the Afterworld 2xLP Electro Motive Records (Berkeley CA), 2000

with Francisco López

tddm 2xCD (two compositions each by Michael Gendreau and Francisco Lopez), Sonoris (Gujan Mestras, France), 2008

drowning / untitled #185 LP 2xCD (one composition each by Michael Gendreau and Francisco Lopez), CIP, 018LP, 2006

Absolute Noise Ensemble 2xCD, Blossoming Noise BN012CD (USA), 2006

Untitled (1993) CD, Staalplaat (Holland), 1999

Azoic Zone CD, Geometrik Records (Spain), 1993

with Mario Marzidovsek

Crawling With Marzidovsek cassette, MML (Titova, Yugoslavia) ca. 1987

with New Carrollton

Lust for Life cassette, DTF

with RROPE

Over The Hill on Cool Beans! #10 – Every Fucking Song is Radio Friendly CD, Cool Beans Magazine and Records (San Francisco CA) May 1999

Mahagonny CD, Silly Bird Records (Berkeley CA) 1998

Low on KAOS Theory: Live On The Air In Olympia CD, cottleston pie/Mayonnaise (Olympia WA), 1997

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever 2x7”, Two Star Recording (San Francisco CA), 1996

Round the Bend in soundtrack to the film In directed by Jacques Boireau, 16 or 36 mm (San Francisco CA), 1996

Mercury and Round the Bend on Music for Swingers LP, Massacre at Central Hi (San Francisco CA), 1995

West Tone Song on The Patio Collection CD, Smilex (Los Angeles CA), 1995

rRope CD, Smilex (Los Angeles CA), 1995

Soundtrack of Step Right Up directed by Mike Hansel, 8mm film (Chicago IL), 1994

Soundtrack of Battery Davis directed by Scott Thiessen, 8mm film (San Francisco CA), 1994

Soundtrack of OK Nic directed by Scott Thiessen, 8mm film (San Francisco CA), 1993

OK Nic 7”, Fear Of Pop Music (San Francisco CA), 1993

Mercury on No Batch Required videocassette, Meatloaf Clog (San Francisco CA), 1993

with Speed The Parting Guest

Gate on Live from the Afterworld 2xLP Electro Motive Records (Berkeley CA), 2000

Live at the Berkeley Store Gallery cassette, ASP, 1991

with Ralf Wehowsky

Nameless Signals (EF/NC 16) on End ID about the media in the 20th century 2xCD Digital Narcis Ltd. DNCD20C (Japan), 1999

2-NV-P033M(0-20KC)preRAII-S (remix of Ralf Wehowsky's Nameless Victims) on RLW: Tulpas 5xCD, Selektion, SCD 024, 1997
» more information
entry on Tulpas 2xCD at Selektion

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