ulrich troyer / reviews / NOK 2020
ulrich troyer


NOK 2020
(released 10/2020 on 4Bit Productions, Vienna)

„NOK 3 (remastered)„ was featured in „6 Music Recommends“ on Mary Anne Hobbs’ BBC Sounds (October 22nd 2020)

Airplay via Fango Radio (I), Parish News (UK), OE1 (A), Steve Barker’s On The Wire BBC Radio Lancashire (UK), The Institute of Spectra-Sonic Sound (USA), Radio Mercure (FR), BYTE FM (D), FBi Radio (AUS), INDIEDROME (FR), NOODS RADIO (UK), RADIO HANNOVER (D), Radio Klara (BE), Radio Z (D), RCV (FR), Source Fm (UK) & BBC Radio (UK)

„Originally released in 2000 on the great Austrian label MEGO before it dissolved and reformed as Editions Mego, Ulrich Troyer's debut release (as Uli Troyer) was a cute little 3" CD called NOK. Mostly clicky glitch-beats, it had only a little of the dub influence that's pervaded his music since, but it's a very fine bit of European glitch and it's need to see it re-released in vinyl+CD(+digital) form now, with bonus tracks and a couple of new remixes. Obscure Austrian glitch artist (*ahem*) Christian Fennesz contributes a lovely ambient take as of his usual style (complete with smeared guitar).“ - Peter Hollo, Utility Fog, FBi Radio, Sydney (AUS)

„Don’t Nok the Rok - Reviewer favourite Ulrich Troyer from Vienna usually draws admiring prose from our resident writers with his warm and slightly humourous takes on dub mixing, but today he’s here with NOK 2020 (4BIT PRODUCTIONS P009), which is much more of an experiment with glitch electronica. If that sounds like a throwback to 20 years ago, you’re not wrong; NOK was Troyer’s debut for the Mego label in Vienna in year 2000, when it emerged as a six-track mini-CD with a cartoon cover and suggestion that the music be used as a soundtrack for an imaginary animated movie. The record also received an honorary mention at the Prix Ars Electronica that year. Now here it is again, issued on vinyl for the first time, remastered, and bolstered with extra cuts – including some earlier (1998) unreleased material, and two new remixed tracks, one by the Mego demigod himself, Christian Fennesz, plus another by Stefan Nemeth of Radian. For some reason, the album information is also printed in Japanese, and there’s a zany frog image on the cover. Bracing, minimal click-and-cut malarkey; the music has a real purity and clarity, and manages to create barely-there rhythms and slightly dubby effects in a sketchy, diagrammatic manner. The first 8 tracks are so stark and pared-down that when Fennesz’s guitar-heavy remix comes floating in, it’s almost a shock for us to suddenly wallow in such lush chords and textures; Nemeth’s interpretation steers us back onto the stern, no-nonsense pathway, though, even if he does dirty things up with his naughty amplifier hum and buzzy digital belches. Very strong set, highly recommended. Distributed worldwide by Kudos.“ - Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector / March 2021

„Wer Troyer kennt, weiß dass man immer alles Mögliche bekommt, aber bestimmt nicht das, was man erwartet. So schwanken seine VÖs vom reinen Geräusch bis zu Dub-ähnlichen Beatmonstern, wie Teile seiner Alben Serie Songs for William. Die alten Aufnahmen klingen fantastisch, ich habe keinen Vergleich zu den Originalen, aber denke mal, dass diese hier ziemlich perfekt sind. Die neuen Stücke fügen sich ziemlich nahtlos ein und bieten sechs weitere Minuten dieses spannenden Klangkosmos.

Die Remixe sind dann ein anderes Kaliber. Hier werden die Sounds mehr dazu benutzt, nahezu neue Songs/Klanggemälde zu erschaffen. So klingt “NOK 9“ wie ein opulentes, sehr angenehmes Ambient-Rockstück, bei dem die Klänge Troyers den Untergrund bieten. “NOK 10“ bleibt etwas mehr dem Experiment verhaftet und fügt Breakbeats und sphärische Droneelektronik hinzu und kreiert so einen dunklen Soundtrack. “NOK 11“ bezieht sich dann auf das Einstiegsstück des Albums und reduziert dieses auf die perkussiven Klänge.

 Wie immer ein interessantes und spannendes Werk, welches die Anfänge Troyers in Ehren hält.“ - Wolfgang Kabsch, MusikAnSich (D)

„A vent’anni di distanza dalla sua uscita, con questa rimasterizzazione condotta sui tape DAT originali, Nok suona ancora contemporaneo e significativo. Ha il sapore di pitture rupestri provenienti da un mondo che non riusciamo più a decifrare, un’era lontana eppure così vicina, che continua a parlarci senza farsi capire; tremila a.C. o duemila d.C. poco importa, tutto è lontano e a portata di mano in questo presente bizzarro che è uno scorrere strambo di emozioni e timori.

La preziosa rimasterizzazione porta con sé tracce bonus di rilievo. Si tratta di altri “Nok” tempestosi e complessi, magistrali e taglienti, di difficile interpretazione ma assolutamente coerenti all’interno del progetto originale. Provenienti dal medesimo periodo storico, il triennio 1998-2000, per Troyer estremamente produttivo, questi pezzi inediti forniscono ulteriori indizi riguardanti la direzione del progetto di Troyer, non semplice da comprendere e leggere; sono lampi insidiosi e graffianti, totalmente immersi in quell’elettronica avant e minimalista che in quel finale di millennio era così gravida di timori e di ansie.

 A completamento di questo grande progetto si aggiungono alcuni remix particolarmente intriganti. Il grande Christian Fennesz remixa “Nok 9” suggellandola con la sua firma inconfondibile e raffinata, concedendo al brano la sua personale visione di sperimentazione e di studio dei suoni e dei ritmi. Stefan Németh costruisce “Nok 10” attraverso un incedere avanguardistico, sospettoso e fumoso, pieno di simboli oscuri e sinistri, che appannano la visione e portano ulteriori dubbi all’ascoltatore. La conclusione di questa ristampa è affidata a uno “Skeleton Mix” di “Nok 1” intitolato “Nok 11”, minimale e glaciale, il sigillo definitivo che riporta la palla al centro e il discorso all’inizio.“ - Samuele Conficoni, MusicMap.it

"Ulrich Troyer's "Nok 2020" is a remastered and extended take on his first ever EP release "Nok" which was put out on the circuit as a 3" Mini CD via the influential MEGO imprint back in 2000. Now available on vinyl for the first time we see the original six tracks 'soundtrack for an imaginery cartoon' once again provide crisp, super clean and modernist Clicks'n'Cuts alongside swampy, probably Max/MSP-triggered, morphings versus a stripped down to the very core hyperdigital Dub approach in all its remastered glory even though this specific Electronica sound has fallen out of fashion and can be traced back immediately to the enthusiasms, thrills and explorative, adventurous nature of the dot.com-years and the fast forward evolution of broadband internet connections and therefore a new era of new global communication whilst "Nok 7" and "Nok 8", both previously unreleased and recovered from original DAT sources, provide a welcome and well fascinating addition to Ulrich Troyer's acclaimed firstling with their slightly gooey, yet partly even tongue-in-cheek approach to a newly opened sonic realm. Furthermore we see Christian Fennesz catering a characteristic, guitar-driven, hazy, shoegazing Ambient / Post-PostRock rework for panoramic sunsets, the "Nok 10 (Nemeth Remix)" weighs in a harsher, more Industrial-leaning take on vantablack digital darkness whilst the concluding "Nok 11 (Nok 1 Skeleton Mix)" introduces original Subaquatic Swamp Dub to highly advanced dancefloors and is bound to become a proper hit in experimental club settings for a reason. How have two decades even passed since this was released in its original form?" - Nitestylez (D)

„Auch erst gute 20 Jahre nach der EP, erscheint dieser Tage die LP in voller Länge und experimenteller Bit-Gewaltigkeit. Das ist schon außergewöhnlich, was der Wiener da von 1998 bis 2000 fabriziert hat und lässt sich am ehesten umschreiben mit pulsierender Elektro- Akustik. Während man bei „Nok 3 (remastered)“ noch eine flowende Grundrhythmik spüren kann, die am ehesten einem Dub-Ansatz folgt, wird es bei „NOK 4 (remastered)“ zusehends schwieriger zwischen all den Impulsen und durch die Gegend schwirrenden Töne, Klängen und Effekten einen Beat zu erkennen – doch der erschließt sich nach einer Eingewöhnungsphase. Und dann lernt man den Wert und die Qualität dieser bahn-breakenden Aussagen und Ansätze noch stärker zu schätzen. Dazu kommen Remixe von Fennesz und Nemeth, die sich bestens in das Gesamtkonzept einreihen. Definitiv etwas für die nächste Klanginstallation, die den Besucher auf verfremdete Pfade führt. Experimentalismus am Rande der Kongenialität. Mein Tip: Das Unterwasser Bleepepos „NOK“.“ - Carsten Becker - FAZEMAG 105 November 2020, Seite 61

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