Archive materials from one of the most mysterious musicians in electronic underground, dating from 1988 to 1991. Each piece composed by Gen Ken Montgomery is the result of domestic alchemy, transforming some ugliest environmental sounds into artistic images of impressive beauty. His instruments are just prepared toy synth, but also from time to time laminator, icebreaker, radiator, film projector and so on. These recordings were made in Conrad Schnizler studio in West Berlin, and also live on stage there, in time of Germany reunion.
Release date is 24st November 2007. Limited edition of 500 copies in jewelcase.
Price is 13US$/10€.
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Gen Ken Montgomery has been active in the experimental, electronic and noise scenes since the early 80s. Montgomery was the founder of Generations Unlimited and an original co-founder of Pogus Productions
, respected experimental music labels. In 1989, he founded Generator, the first sound art gallery in New York City, where he created a home for sound artists and noise makers who were part of the thriving international cassette culture of the 80s. Since 1996 he has published recordings by sound artists in collaboration with Scott Konzelmann (Chop Shop) releasing them through Generator Sound Art
Montgomery is absolutely genuine; he has no training in traditional music or art. He was never a follower of any direction or school. Instead he founded his own school of off-beat DIY-electronics, driven by irresistible curiosity and ingenuous enthusiasm for sound experimentation and process-oriented performance. His interest in the nuances of the listening experience and sound composing attracted him to anything able to produce sound. He began his sound exploration with electronic toys and synthesizers and was fascinated at an early age with household gadgetry. Rather than listen to fashionable music at parties, he preferred to tune into the sounds in the kitchen: toasters, pots, fans, juicers and other domestic electrical appliances as well as detuned radio and TV signals and street sounds heard through an open window. The fact that these sounds could be recorded, duplicated, manipulated and diffused through space cast a spell over him, resulting in his presentations of immersive concerts performed in total darkness into which he incorporated the sounds of everything he could access in daily life: crayons, pencil sharpeners, teapots, refrigerators, fuse boxes, train stations, termites, etc. His ever present objects of affection are small electrical machines like the ice crusher (Icebreaker) and the laminator (The Sound of Lamination).
Through cassette trading, networking and Mail Art, Montgomery developed relationships and collaborations with such luminaries in the underground music scene as Conrad Schnitzler, CHOP SHOP, David Lee Myers, Al Margolis, John Hudak, Istvan Kantor and G.X. Jupiter-Larson. In the mythical Kingdom of Elgaland-Vargaland founded and proclaimed by CM von Hausswolff and Leif Elggren, Montgomery uses an acronym of Gen Ken — Egnekn — to oversee the Ministry of Lamination, where he “officially” documents a sonic archive of laminations. The Ministry of Lamination transforms the listening process into an object d’art — creating unconditional events, haphazardness and coincidences which seem to be no coincidence at all — especially when the sounds of these non-musical objects confuse the listener, stimulating new actions and thoughts. These objects are normally not intended to produce sounds, sound is just a side effect of their work cycle.
Many of Montgomery’s cassettes, records and CDs have been released in limited editions on small labels outside of mainstream distribution on such respected labels as De Fabriek (Holland), Staalplaat (Holland), Tellus (USA), Banned Production (USA), Firework Edition (Sweden) and Discos Esplendor Geométrico (Spain). Other recorded works are available on his own A.T.M.O.T.W. label (Art is Throwing Money Out The Window) and Generator Sound Art. A 20-year retrospective double CD “Pondfloorsample” was published by XI, Experimental Intermedia (USA).
"The constant hammering and chiseling of the Berlin Wall in late 1989 and a dramatic New Year’s Eve celebration in Berlin inspired me to compose this piece using only my dirty, spray painted and cranky old Casio MS-10 keyboard which had been modified to become a crude synthesizer by Don Slepian. I had repeatedly tried to bring the MS-10 into East Berlin but was always sent back, probably because of the dangling electronic modifications built onto the keyboard.
"Drilling Holes in The Wall" was created as an 8 channel Cassette Concert – 4 separate stereo tapes designed to be played and mixed through 8 separate speakers — at Conrad Schnitzler's studio in West Berlin. I performed "Drilling Holes in The Wall" in New York City at Generator Sound Art Gallery in January 1990. The original cassette edition was released by Generations Unlimited in 1990 and included a photograph of a gaping hole in The Wall.
"New Age Machines" was recorded at Conrad's Schnitzler's studio in Berlin during the summer of 1988 and was also composed as an 8 channel Cassette Concert. Part One was originally released as the A side of the LP "Beyond My Ken" on Discos Esplendor Geométrico label in Spain. Part Two was previously unreleased.
"Icebreaker" originally recorded at Studio P.A.S.S. New York City in December 1991 with an Artist-in-Residency grant from Harvestworks, Inc. "Icebreaker" was presented as an octophonic sound installation in total darkness at the Generator Sound Art Gallery, New York City from March 20 to April 5, 1992. "Icebreaker" was performed in collaboration with Lary Seven at Gargoyle Mechanique and was also heard at Art in General as part of their Music in the Box series of audio in the elevator. An excerpt from "Icebreaker" was released on Mini-Mall, Tellus CD #27, and on the Tellus Tools LP. A live recording was also released on Staalplaat in 2001. "Icebreaker" is available in its entirety as a 4 CD set on the Generator Sound Art label. This excerpt is a re-mix that has never been released until now.
"Don't Bring Those Things", is an excerpt from a live performance at the Erlöserkirche in the DDR in 1986. I made the concert thanks to the generosity of friends who lent me their equipment after I was forbidden to bring my Casio MS-10 and other instruments through The Berlin Wall."