CD-R Auricle AMACDR 008 DL deleted
duration: 79'19" compilation
by Alto Stratus (as Region 5) at Studio Gegend (1983-1984).
Alan & Steve Freeman: turntables, sound sampling, processing, string thing & motor, Yamaha CS5, Casio keys.
Region Five, Regione Cinque, Gegend Fünf, Région Cinq
This CD collates the choice material from Alto Stratus cassette releases originally issued under the guise of Region 5. Why Region 5? Well, the initial inspiration came from the Stockhausen opus "Hymnen" which featured four works "Region 1", "2", "3" and "4", which all involve varying amounts of processing to recordings of National Anthems. "Region 4" was the most inspiring of all, and we took those mixing techniques, applying them to classical records, first with the (Q.S.O.) release and later with solo works. In mixing and layering various forms of music at different speeds we also found a new way of creating music, a technique nowadays often labelled "plunderphonics".
Having no actual instruments, no mixer or effects, the original results were rather basic, and not always successful. The sources were records from our own collections, sound effects and library records, and a little instrumental work of our own. Largely though it was plundered, and some of it from rather crackly records. However, when you layer something over itself so many times, the impurities tend to meld. The original cassette, with the mis-spelled "Spazzio" took almost two solid months to complete. Although, it wasn't long before we started to regret doing some of it, as now we had the processing capabilities of a synthesizer and echo machine. During the busy era of September 1984, we started to mix together the techniques of Region 5 with the cosmic Adhara side of the Alto Stratus sound and came up with "Dietro il Silenzio" (Behind The Silence) a much more accomplished work, although largely synthesizer based. Later, with the correctly spelled "Spazio" the debut was reissued in a very different form, including new tracks and remixes, omitting many of the more avant-garde tracks.
As I also say on the Adhara CDR, at this time we seemed to be trying to create the illusion that there were several different artists on the labels we were handling. Region 5, although Alto Stratus incognito, became accepted as another mysterious project on our roster, and it seems that no one guessed for years. Curiously, we sold more in Italy than anywhere else. Until recently, no one guessed or commented on what any of the source music was, that was until Jim Tetlow purchased the "Dietro il Silenzio" cassette and pointed out quite rightly that the track "Death Zone" liberally plundered a certain Brian Eno track. When compiling this CD release I deliberately avoided any tracks that involved use of anything obvious.
As the pre-masters of these recordings no longer exist, this has all been dubbed and remixed from the cassette copy masters. Any slight drop-out is down to the age of the tapes, and I've attempted to eliminate the hiss and enhance the recordings giving them a wider dynamic range with added effects and reverb. I've also taken great liberties in the remix on some tracks, as now we have all the processing needed to give these recordings a new life and the feel that was originally envisaged, all with nice crisp and clean sound.
This "plunderphonic" technique is in wide use today, although I don't think many others have used it so subtly as we did. In fact, on "Dietro il Silenzio" we widely plundered recordings of our own, notably "Ground Zero" features a section from Steve Freeman's "Cataclysm" along with tapes from Adhara and some live electronics. We still use all these techniques today, as well as digital sampling and hand-wound turntables (a notable feature in many Endgame recordings). So, Region 5 can be seen as just another aspect in the evolution of Alto Stratus, another facet of exploration, here all neatly compiled as a great value 79 minute CD. Alan Freeman (18 June 2001)
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