Review – Anther i8u + tomas phillips(petite sono) 2006 – by Frans de Waard, Petite Sono


Tomas Phillips is not a new name for me, but since his previous release with Tobias C. van Veen (see Vital Weekly 499) I learned that he has had various releases as Sea Optic, Lisbon and Eto Ami (in collaboration with Dean King) and that there is a solo release under his real name on Trente Oiseaux (which we probably missed out on). These days he works with Tobias C. van Veen, Dean King and i8u. Behind i8u is France Jobin, who had a release on Multimedia Pandora (see Vital Weekly 216), Piehead Records (Vital Weekly 325) and Bake Records (oddly not reviewed). Besides making music, she also works with installations and web art, not as separate things, but it can be seen as one big work. She has played around the world (Mutek, Transmediale), but things have been quiet for some time. Maybe the quiet time was used by her to record this album with Tomas Phillips? On the cover (housed in a larger carton box) it says ‘headphone listening suggested’ and normally that is not well-spend on me, because I like to walk around when I want when listening, or hop from chair to computer and back, but in this case it would indeed be a good suggestion to sit back, put that headphone on and have a careful listen. I8U and Tomas Phillips play a nice game of silence. Even when you crank up the volume considerably, things hoover still at the edge of silence. Sometimes a peep comes up, white static emerge from the swamp and something nothing happens at all. ‘Merge’, the final piece, seems to the one with most activity with what seems also the track with the most clear synth lines and what could be a slowed down rhythm. In terms of music, regular music, this track is the most ‘ambient’, whereas the other two are more abstract and microsound. This trio of tracks is a pretty strong collection that deserve to be listened too with headphones indeed and a good glass of wine within reach and two candles in an otherwise dark room.

(FdW) (Address:

-Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly

Review – 60 artists protest the war (ATAK) 2003 – by Roel Meelkop, Vital Weekly

Well, the title really says it all: this CD contains 60 tracks by 60
artists and they are all protesting the war (the war in question
being the invasion of Iraq by the so called allied forces), simply by
being present on this disc. The initiative for this compilation came
from Keiichiro Shibuya, himself a musician and working for the ATAK
label. Of course, it is easy for people to come up with a one minute
sound bite and yes, it has been done before, but somehow, this
sampler seems to be better than the others I have heard before. This
is probably due to the artists involved and the order in which they
are presented (even if this was decided entirely randomly). It would
go way too far to name them all, although that could be enough for
many people to order the CD at once. Let me suffice to say that
everybody that matters is on it (well, almost everybody) and that it
is a pleasure to listen to. It was my personal pleasure to listen
with the cover in my hand and try to guess who's who. At which I
failed miserably of course........All those opposing the
aforementioned war will have to buy it anyway, so all the others will
have to depend on its quality. Very well done! (MR)
Oh well, here's the list anyway: roel meelkop/shirtrax vs.
shirtrax/keith rowe + toshimaru nakamura/stephan
mathieu/pomassl/slipped disc/bernhard gunter/kim gascone/doron
sadja/yamataka eye/numb/steve roden/steinbruchel/go taneda/akira
yamamichi/tiziana bertoncini + thomas lehn/yuji takahashi/freiband/cm
von hauswolff/keiichiro shibuya/motor/stilluppsteypa/coh/mikael
stavostrand/radboud mens/miki yui/andreas tilliander/minimalistic
sweden/nao tokui + take3tsu nagano/frank bretschneider/evala/taeji
sawai/fennesz/kenneth kirschner/i8u/john hudak/aoki takamasa/mitchell
akiyama/burkhard stangl/goodiepal/hideki nakazawa/aelab/christof
kurzmann/jos smolders/masahiro miwa/janek schaefer/tv
pow/pix/kimken/saidrum/merzbow/m.behrens/maria/klon/mondii/richard di
sant/christophe charles/william basinski/carsten nicolai/yasunao tone.
Adress: or

Review – grasshopper morphine (Piehead Records) 2002 – by Vils di Santo,

I8U: grasshopper morphine 
Piehead | PIE 004 | CDR
Subterranean rumblings greet you when you first hit play on I8U’s latest release. The low frequencies are peppered with staccato clicks that seem random at first, but rhythms slowly develop over the course of this opening piece. This sets the pace for an intense and engaging new release by this Montreal sound artist. Time moves slowly here: there are no sudden jumps, starts or fits to speak of. There are plenty of contemplative moments, where the sound fills your space with an incredible depth and presence, and there are plenty of dissonant moments as well, to keep your ears on edge. I8U has created some wondrous music here that challenges and rewards in the same breath. Highlights include the intense “grasshopper morphine,” the mighty “cattail furnace” and “cantname,” an incomparable closing piece if ever I heard one. Wonderful material from beginning to end, it’s a pity the disc is only limited to 311 copies. [Vils M DiSanto]

Review – grasshopper morphine (Piehead Records) 2002 by – Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly,


One of two new releases on the limited CDR Piehead Records label and twice
 by Canadian artists.

I8U, who has a real CD on Multimedia Pandora and
 a CDR on Bake Records previously (plus maybe others I don’t know) and
 who plays with Martin Tetreault, David Kristian and Guylaine Bedard
(a photographer). It was David Kristian who changed her way of 
thinking about music. Turning back to simple ideas and flows, she has
 eight new pieces which are best described as utter minimalism.
 Sometimes, as in ‘Numb Summer’ they take the form of one flowing
 chord, with added high pitched sounds, but mostly they take the form
 of a repetitive sound patterns. Not really to be described as
 rhythmic or techno inspired, but rather more dry clicks being 
repeated over and over. There is also a nice piss take at Nurse With
Wound’s Fashioned To A Device under the name of ‘Sun Dogs Rising’,
with the same intense feedback like drones. Very well balanced 
between rhythms and drones. (FdW)
 – Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly

Review – grasshopper morphine (Piehead Records) 2002 – by François Couture, All Music,

Review by François Couture

I8U’s third full-length solo album, Grasshopper Morphine, is also her most accomplished, compelling effort. The ideas she sketched in B have flourished into engaging esthetics. The artist aims at the intellect and the body. She doesn’t want to give you an urge to dance, she wants her electronics to find their way into your organs and affect you on a biological level. These are not crude experiments involving head-splitting sine waves or sub-bass tones that make you sick to your stomach. I8U’s approach is much more gentle and elegant; it could be compared to Francisco López at his most physical. For example, “Sun Dogs Rising” features a high tone becoming more and more insistent as the piece unfolds — it’s not alone, there’s a lot going on behind it, but at one point you focus solely on its increasingly menacing presence, wondering how much more it can grow before it devours you. In terms of less field recording-based, more electronic music references, Grasshopper Morphine evokes Ryoji Ikeda, Carsten Nicolai, and David Kristian‘s beautiful Room Tone. The synthesizers create their own rhythms (sometimes conflicting sets of them), but there are no naked beats here and no clicks & cuts like on B. This album can work well as ambient/background music and it literally opens up when scrutinized. High playback volume is essential to experience it fully. Recommended.

Review – grasshopper morphine (Piehead Records) 2002 – by I. Khider, Exclaim

Abstract electronic that is sound sculpting at it’s most laceratingly delicate and refined, like a box of loose scalpel blades. Following the textural yet highly atmospheric release B, grasshopper morphine is intriguing and sometimes downright physically painful to listen to. Some of the frequencies are so delicate yet barbed that it feels as though the sensitive inner nerves of the ears are being plucked and pinched. It seems that I8U’s music grows increasingly complex and intricate with every release, her work demands the listener’s full attention and receptivity with the strength of the craft residing in subtleties and detail. grasshopper morphine is definitely I8U’s most challenging, yet also her most beautiful collection of sound sculptures. In order to fully appreciate this recording, an environment with minimal background noise is strongly recommended.
– I. Khider, Exclaim

Review – Obstacle (Oral) 2002 – by TJ Norris, Soundvision

Limited to only 100 copies, I8U has contributed a fifty minute long track to our dense, temporal sound space. Characterized by quaking tonal forms and unpredictable minor peaks and shallow harmonics, this disc could be called post drone. This is macrosound redux. Parts distance and parts concrete/physical. The canvas is covered, every inch, making for sound in the fourth dimension. Canada’s i8u first presented her work live with video and animation. There are subtle hints of Ryoji Ikeda’s work with Dumb Type herein, but not at the sonic decibel level. This is a visual, sombient, refined take on the contemporary landscape. This is one of two releases from i8u this year (also Grasshopper Morphine on Piehead Records). As a live studio recording this disc has so many secrets. The sensory experience responds to an open field of urban sounds, railways, and mechanics. A gestural highway riveting in its endlessness.

More Info:

Review – Obstacle (Oral) 2002 – by François Couture, All Music

The first phase of the Obstacle project consisted of a web art collaboration between experimental electronica artist I8U and video artist Gigimatique. Obstacle Phase 2 is a longer concert version and this CD (a limited edition of 100 released by Oral the day the piece was premiered on-stage at the FIMAV festival in Victoriaville, Québec) presents a studio recording of the music. I8U derives all the sounds from field recordings made on bridges. The piece begins with an imperceptible sub-bass drone. Very slowly, other drones come forward. The characteristic buzzing of car traffic remains on the border of consciousness. It’s there, but just not quite tangible or defined enough to make it obvious. The piece continues to evolve through phases of expansion and contraction — a car trip through the streets of a suburb, where you slow down every 200 meters for a stop sign. In its last ten minutes, the piece builds up, first unveiling its source, then gaining decibels to end in a shrieking noise assault abruptly cut 27 seconds after the 50th minute. The form is not new, but I8U does it with grace, constantly holding the listener’s attention in her hands, even though the pace remains excruciatingly slow throughout. The quality of immersion during the first 45 minutes lulls one into an altered state. The finale, made of loops just a bit too obvious, sounds a bit gratuitous. Thoughts of Francisco López, Marc Behrens, and Stephen Vitiello come to mind. This album is not as strong as Grasshopper Morphine released a week earlier, but this is mostly because the extended piece format makes it less varied.

Review -Obstacle (Oral) 2002 – by Roël Meelkop, Vital Weekly

i8u- Obstacle phase 2 (CD by Oral)

Obstacle Phase 2 is actually a work of sound, video and animation,
but this CD only presents the sound part. One long track of flowing,
mostly dark sounds, with an occasional rhythm. The piece evolves
quite slowly and has an ambient feel, but on close listening, one can
hear subtle things that are not very ambient at all. Despite the dark
sounds, the piece doesn’t have a gloomy atmosphere, it has a pretty
concrete character. That’s what sets it apart from regular ambient.
The rhythmic elements are very minimal, so there is no danger
whatsoever of the track becoming flat or cheesy. The slow development
of the work does not cause loss of attention, on the contrary: the
tension is kept so well, that the whole piece is very captivating.
I’m very sorry I missed the performance with the visuals, because if
that was anywhere as good as this, it must have been a great show.
– Roel Meelkop, Vital Weekly

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Review – i8ub (bake) 2001 by WTB

i8u: b Bake Records  047  2001

i8u has been a guest on WtB? twice and is an important figure on the Montreal new music scene.   She deserves it.  She has a clear grasp of sound and her manipulations of deep sonic material are outstanding.  i8u is changing over time, and this latest offering gives us a glimpse into her new style. Bass pulses and granular, near distorted sounds throb away as i8u slowly performs some sonic tricks.   I like the disc, but there’s something a bit “incomplete” about it all.  As if i8u hasn’t quite got it all sorted out yet.  I’m looking forward to seeing where she’s headed.  I’d pick it up if you haven’t heard anything else, otherwise, hold out for what’s to come.