v/a: The Politics of Disappearance

CD: Radio Khartoum khz301

In an ever more jumbled world, sometimes it's what you can't see that's most important. The Politics of Disappearance is a meditation on location and visibility: the hidden and the lost, the things no longer here, and things which are elsewhere. A soundtrack is projected on an inner ear, momentarily cutting through the urban barrage of image and noise to find a fleeting equilibrium between leaving one place and going to another. For our soundtrack, we seek this balance, a sensation not unlike feeling the presence (and absence) of a departed lover in the fragrance of an old shirt.

The Politics of Disappearance is the fourth volume of 18fps, a series of imaginary soundtracks produced by Radio Khartoum. In line with the current volume's pursuit of the "neither-here-nor-there", the series title paradoxically refers to the projection speed of silent films. Within the series, The Politics of Disappearance also marks the conclusion of the "drifter" trilogy, which also included 1998's Transmarine (which featured music by artists like Le Mans, Louis Philippe and Quigley) and 2000's The Stations of Abandoned Days (Cinnamon, Chocolate Barry, etc.). As with all volumes in the series, all tracks on this album are exclusive.

The Pierres is the alias of Jacques Pierre, Frenchman in exile and a recent addition to the Norwegian act Nice System. On the sweet but abrupt instrumental which opens this album, Jacques is assisted by Christoffer Schou of Nice System/ Remington Super 60. Although his current priority is completing Nice System's second album (scheduled for release in 2002 on Norway's Trust Me Records), Jacques tells us that he and Christoffer are also working on a set of "dirty" songs for The Pierres, "like a mod garage band using drum machines". Quite a turn? We shall see…

Cavil is Gareth Cavill, who came to our attention through his work on a pair of excellent compilations put out by The Vespertine label. Gareth's song contribution here is the fragile "Here Nor There," whose guitar and keys evoke a music box, while the bass reminds of rhythm of the rails felt in a sleeping car hurtling through through a darkened unknown countryside. French label Acetone is set to release his debut album, Laughing in the Morning, for which Cavil traded his usual recording environment – a tiny Leeds room filled with semi-functional instruments – for a shed in the French countryside. "It involved," says Mr. Cavil(l), "trailing 100 metres of electric cable through a damp field…which added the possibility of electrical death to the proceedings."

Dakota Suite, also based in Leeds, revolves around the nucleus of Chris Hooson. On "I Turned Away So That I Might Not See", Chris' musical vision is vividly realized by instrumentalist Colin Dunkley, whose woody cellos bring to mind Simon Fisher Turner's lovely Caravaggio soundtrack. Meanwhile, slow piano chords breathe with the muted pulse of the sustain pedal. It reminds us of the relaxed yet haunting tone of Music for Egon Schiele by the American band Rachels. Dakota Suite have quite a few releases out on labels like Glitterhouse and Badman, though we discovered them, like Cavil, thanks to our friends at The Vespertine.

Julien Ribot is a young Marseillaise pianist/singer/arranger who now works in Paris by day as an illustrator. By night, Julien composes and recomposes fantastical songs which grow more complicated each time we check back, nowadays reaching upwards of 60 tracks on a single song. "Autrepart est un lieu sans histoires" – a music box fantasy in which Julien is swept away on a current of floating guitars, strings, infant squeals (expertly blended with the guitars) and distant trumpets – is an early recording from 1998. A radically different version of this piece (re-titled "Capers") appears on Julien's first album, however, this recording stands out from the later incarnation as an essential moment all of its own. Julien's album, L'hotel Bocchi, is variously available and unavailable from French label Ici d'ailleurs. By this we mean to say that it is pretty much unavailable outside Japan. Julien's work for Japanese singer Kahimi Karie – two songs written and produced for her 2000 album, Tilt – may be slightly easier to track down.

Christine is the ongoing project of Didier Duclos, whose instrumentals have previously featured on The Flight of Everson K and Transmarine, making him the first artist to appear on three separate volumes of the 18fps series. Dider's guitar work also frequently adorns Watoo Watoo recordings (including Picture of a Lost Friend released on Radio Khartoum in 1999). Didier's track here provides a short breather, something to clear the air after the intensity of Ribot. This wash of ringing guitars makes us think of what Maurice Deebank might have done had he not disappeared after Felt.

Spring were a Paris based band with a Spanish-born English-raised singer, who recorded predominantly for Madrid's Elefant Records, with licensings to Bungalow in Berlin and March Records in New York. L.O.V.E. was the final track from the band's first album, Tokyo Drifter. The version featured here is from a Spanish radio session, and strips the song down to just a guitar and Alex's sweet voice. Intimate, understated and timeless. Spring split in 1999.

For further information about the artists or label, interviews, etc., please contact Radio Khartoum.