Recorded at Zack Studio, St Gallen on 27 March 2000.
Front cover design (reproduced above) by Shanti Marlar.
Otomo Yoshihide has explored the nature of sound in many different ways during his career. A student of the brilliant guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi, Otomo formed the hugely influential group Ground Zero in 1990, leading the project through numerous incarnations until its conclusion in 1998, as documented on the epic Last Concert (Amoebic). Over the last few years, Otomo has become increasingly interested in minimal wave-based electronics, as heard in his Filament and I.S.O projects. Other projects which he is currently involved in include his New Jazz Quintet, who play standards from composers such as Ornette Coleman, Gerry Mulligan and Eric Dolphy, as well as original tunes by Otomo, all refracted through his unique sensibilities. Otomo has also composed numerous soundtracks for movies, and has written numerous articles and essays for Japanese music publications.
Swiss duo Voice Crack (Norbert Möslang and Andy Guhl) have been playing together since 1972. In 1977, they released the then underappreciated Deep Voices LP (FMP, reissued on CD by Urthona), which they created largely with acoustic instruments. Since 1983, they've been exclusively working with "cracked everyday-electronics", modifying and/or abusing numerous small household machines in order to produce extreme, unique noises. Voice Crack's current projects include their longstanding collaborative partnership with Borbetomagus, poire_z with Günter Müller and Erik M., as well as their solo work, well documented with such superb recent releases as Below Beyond Above (Urthona) and Shock_Late (Entenpfuhl). They also have a collaborarative disc in the works with Jérôme Noetinger and Lionel Marchetti, which will be released on Grob in 2001.
Bits, bots and signs documents the long overdue first meeting of these pioneers, recorded in March 2000 in St. Gallen, Switzerland, although as Möslang says, "from the beginning, it was as if we had played together for a long time." The three musicians generate gently pulsing rumbles, piercing whistles and lingering whines, fusing these varied sounds into a series of expansive panoramas. The striking cover drawing was created by Swiss artist Alex Hanniman.
"Otomo Yoshihide and Voice Crack expertly weave a brittle fabric of sound, unifying notions of instant composition with the radiating randomness of live electronics. Useful sonic "flaws" fold in upon themselves giving these works a vocabulary of fresh electronic elements that come across equally as well placed, spontaneous, and compelling. Electro-acoustic improvisation at its most fragile and leveling extremes." - I-Sound.