by Metamkine


Frogoroth = Dave Phillips, Yannick Dauby, Slavek Kwi & Sylvain Van Iniitu.
Frogoroth un nom qui sonne comme celui d’un dieu oublié ou d’un groupe de métal nordique !
Frogoroth c’est un univers musical sombre et mystérieux, intense et distordu, réalisé à base d’enregistrements de terrains et principalement de batraciens considéré comme la représentation “des différents stades du développement psychique, le passage à un état supérieur.”
Frogoroth utilise aussi des instruments électriques pour mieux triturer tout cela !
250 copies.


        by Ed Pinsent
from Sound Projector

The Frogs Who Desired A King

The Belgian label Ini.itu sent us a batch of their final releases in 2017 – it seems they’re giving up production. We did hear from them around 2010-2011 with some of their unusual records, which featured heavily-treated field recordings and an interest in Asian climes, sometimes coming up with conceptual twists to make the package more interesting. For instance, the Mutations LP which teamed up the Swiss noise musician Dave Phillips with Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, a marginal and highly unorthodox entomologist, to produce bizarre sound portraits of insects underpinned by contentious theories about them.

Before us today is the album Frogoroth (ini.itu #1601), which is the very last release on the ini.itu label. It’s themed on frogs. Some years ago we noted Merzbow’s Frog + CD, which came from his never-ending eco-friendly phase, and transformed and amplified the croaks of frogs into his typical blasts of heavy, pumping, noise-action. We’re not too far away from that territory with the opening track here, ‘Frogowrath’ created by Dave Phillips (him again). He’s assembled a large number of frog recordings from his travels in Asian countries and crunched them together in a suffocatingly dense mass, then added some “metal” rock guitar riffs. In places it chugs along like a water-buffalo stuck in neutral, with its frustrating and impotent (though noisy) repeated loops. Serious metal fans will be disappointed by Dave’s cramped, sarcastic take on the genre. But you may enjoy the ultra-swampy textures evoked by these layers of croaks. You can almost feel the humidity of the jungle, so vivid are these captures.

Yannick Dauby also starts out with field recordings of frogs on his ‘Amphibians In The Throne Room’. He did it in Taiwan and added electronic instrumentation to the work. It’s part of a much bigger frog-related project he’s involved in, apparently. No idea what he’s trying to prove. Who knew that these humble croakers could be such a rich source of information? Like ‘Frogowrath’, this one too is overpoweringly thick and clotted, barely allowing the listener to breath as it piles on the croaks by the bucketload. Unlike Phillips, Dauby has no interest in indulging his “power noise” predilections, so there are no chugging rhythms to speed you on your way. Instead, a detailed sprawl spreads out before us like an imaginary map.

Slavek Kwi has shown up on these pages now and again as Artificial Memory Trace. He turns in a lengthy piece called ‘Tasman Firedance In The Brain’. Of all the players so far, Kwi comes closest to putting the frogs in context, by which I mean we can hear more the surrounding environs of these croaking devils. That’s deliberate, since he wants to call our attention to a lesser-known ecological threat, that of a certain fungus which is killing off the frog population around the world. His work, like Dauby’s, is part of an ongoing series which he calls ‘Anouran Protest Songs’. I found this the most approachable piece on the album, it’s got a lot more breathing space, and its strange beauty is undercut with a bittersweet sense of loss for the frogs, if his claim about this deadly fungus be true.

Sylvain Van Iniitu, label owner, closes the set with ‘Fire Burn And Cauldron Bubble’. Did I mention there’s a “witchcraft” subtext to the release? Well, evidently Sylvain wanted there to be one, even extending his concept to the press release which prints a few lines from Macbeth in support of it. Plus there’s the font used for the title, which is a vague nod in the direction of Black Metal genres. Frogs may or may not have featured as ingredients in a witch’s cauldron ever since the publication of Malleus Maleficarum in the 15th century, and Sylvain is not only keen to bring us up to date, he would like us to think his actual compositional method resembles a witch’s brew. He prints his credit list as a recipe of sorts, alluding to the stages of “maceration, putrefaction, and psychoplasmic surgery”. Fine words, in support of some rather ordinary and formless sonic murk. However, he does keep the album more or less on track with his vague sense of malevolence, evil stewing endlessly in a fevered brain. The image of frog skeletons on the cover was supplied by Yannick and have been overlaid with a lurid green film to advance the supernatural aspirations of this release. From 8 May 2017.



        by Frans de Waard
from Vital Weekly 1082

JESUS IS MY SON - SOLAH#2 (LP by Ini.itu)
FROGOROTH (LP compilation by Ini.itu)

So, Ini.itu kicks the bucket. You all love to buy LPs, so why didn't you buy any from this label, or
just the ones you knew already? I am sure economical reasons are the ones to close this venture,
and I think it is a pity. Nineteen releases, with some distinctive design; let's hope collecting a
complete set of Ini.itu will become a thing in the future and that they slowly will get rid of all of
these release. The outline of the label was "Asian electronics / experimental / drones / reshaping
traditional instruments / & field recordings", which is showed quite well in their catalogue, ranging
from pure field recordings (Lopez, Dauby, Artificial Memory Trace), to electronics (Courtis),
traditional instrument manipulation (Freiband) and remix of an 80s electronic gamelan project (by
Wieman). A diverse set of releases, but it works wonderfully as a whole label, I think.
    Jesus Is My Son, being the musical project of Gregory Duby (in the past a member of K-
Branding, now active with Zoho, and having his own label, FF HHH), and he's a guitarist. The
previous occasion I heard his music, in Vital Weekly 733, I was not so impressed by it. I didn't see
the relation between him being influenced by Olivier Messiaen and his solo electric guitar, describing
the music as something of which 'not a single minute that could really interest me here'. But this
new one, without any guitar in overdrive modus, he plays some interesting folk inspired tunes.
Overall the mood is quiet and subdued. I couldn't say if any of this is really folk like, but it sure
sounds great. Most of this music sounds rather sorrowful I must say, like's already foreseeing the
closure of the label, but these six pieces are also melancholic and sometimes just plain sweet. Now,
I would think, such a release ticks of all the right boxes, a man with a guitar, no experiment, limited
edition, LP sized, hipsters of the world unite and get this. No download code. Ah, yes, that's what
is holding you back. Damn. This is an excellent album!
    In the old days labels started with a compilation, Ini.itu decides to end with one. Four artists
act as 'four amphibian headed horsemen, channelling frogoroth through their sonic veins' and I
believe in some way these people work together, as I saw a concert listed by them. However here
they have their own musical piece. Dave Phillips kicks off proceedings with a particularly dense and
noisy piece of rainforest recordings from Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Ecuador, Switzerland, and
the latter is where he recorded the guitar and distortion, which he also managed to cramp into
this. Frogs, tree frogs and toads recorded in Taiwan, follow it and also some electronic instruments,
all as recorded by Yannick Dauby. On the other side we have an 'Anouran Protest Song' by Slavek
Kwi (also known as Artificial Memory Trace), which is about 'voicing concern in the face of the
threat of amphibiab chytrid fungus decimating the frog population worldwide, and those frogs,
assuming that's what I hear, sound quite rhythmical but perhaps pitched down (probably not)
and forming a deep rumble, perhaps not unlike a marching, protest song. Quite a powerful music
piece this one. The last words go out to Sylvain van Iniitu, who, as Blindhead, had the first release
on Ini.itu (see Vital Weekly 649) and now has a 'maceration at Cannibal Caniche', also a slightly
more dangerous piece of field recordings and I was thinking that indeed we had no take on the
harshness of field recordings on this label, so perhaps it is only fitting to end on a more furious
note. Sad to see this label wind down, but it has been a very good run and quite an achievement.
And let's hope they will all turn into collector’s items and some day, somehow there will be a
follow up to all of this. (FdW)