deMego001silvia fässler & billy roisz skylla
DeMEGO 001 [2008] (CD)

11 tracks
pink umbrella
rusty spoon

Total Time: 53:11

all tracks by silvia fässler & billy roisz
recorded & mixed June 2007 by dieter kovacic at Fleetinsel/Hamburg
except ‘jimijohnnyfreddy’ and ‘kirre’ – recorded 2003 at sperrmücc studios/Vienna.
mastered by martin siewert at Motone Sound Services/Vienna.

artwork by clare cooper


review on

Silvia Fässler & Billy Roisz – skylla

CD – editionsMego

The sonorities, on the whole very invasive and digital, as well as the crackles, drones, intermittences, fluxes and skipping frequencies, together with other refined forms of auditive microemergencies, give merit in ‘Skylla’ for the rigorous application to Silvia Fà¤ssler and Billy Roisz, who are not new to the artistic scene of the most ‘alternative’ Vienna, the former as curator of exhibitions and events, the latter as a video-artist. In confirmation of the extreme versatility of the laptop approach, even if at its first experiences in the musical field, the duo significantly exhibits ideas of composition which are definitely not banal, articulated into abstract modulations and finest patterns, stuffed ad hoc with guitar samples and turntables, finally going through not “punitive” tonal variations of the listenings, all of them focused on the specific pleasantness of the experience. The musical technique is by now the territory of many different knowledges (involving aspects which are even apparently outside the typical musical culture), then the concept of ‘composition’ goes back to more figurative and direct meanings, a creative combinatory act resulting from one’s own personal routes and from the ability of relating efficiently the sounds to the artistic expressions of the contemporary age.

Aurelio Cianciotta

Review on

The first in Editions Mego’s new limited edition series ‘Demand’, this release is a collaboration between Viennese artists Silvia Fässler and Billy Roisz who go head to head with their laptops blazing, summoning up the kind of digitised din that made the Mego label in its original incarnation such an important outlet for cutting edge computer music. Despite sounding challenging and very much a record of the present, there is something about the album that harks back to that old Mego roster, largely because it succeeds at being both experimental and oddly, rather fun too. After a nineteen second intro comes ‘Pink Umbrella’, a warm bath of interference and crackle, laced with more tangible, analogue sounding artefacts (guitar and turntable are both credited as sound sources), only for the beautiful ‘Megrim’ to fire up next, sounding thin and raspy, but somehow cinematic, embracing the beautiful crispness of its brittle digital sound sources. This is noise music that opts for detail and sophistication over brute force, so you won’t find yourself fatigued by overblown distortion or twittering modulations. Instead, you can expect an album of adventurous, impeccably engineered sound that harkens back to a golden age of laptop music, while still thinking ahead. Very highly recommended, but limited to just 500 copies….

review on

Viennese girl duo who craft an incredibly detailed piece of contemporary computer music. Sourcing guitar and turntable through their custom built Max patches. It being on Mego suggests exploration of extremes, but not so. Sure, there are moments where it peaks into the red (‘Schwarzchild’), but on the whole this is really playful stuff. Occupying the higher end of the frequency spectrum means everything sounds crisp and close to the ear. Industrial rumblings on ‘Kirre’ suddenly plummet the listener into sub-bass territory, whilst the beautifully ambient ‘Syne’ reminds me of Ryoji Ikeda. Tense, tactile and genuinely experimental.


Review on octopus

Silvia Fässler & Billy Roisz
skylla (Editions Mego / La Baleine)

Le dossier de presse le dit, Skylla est un monstre. Un ovni, oserions-nous m�me ajouter (encore que sur Mego, on soit habitu�, rappelons-nous Kevin Drumm ou KTL), tant sa profonde originalit� et sa diversit� stylistique passionnent, pratiquement de bout en bout (� l´exception de “Schwarzschild”, trop voyante r�miniscence du bruitiste et ennuyeux Palimpset de Yasuano Tone & Hecker – 2004). Confrontation, brillante autant que fugace, de sons g�n�r�s par ordinateur et moulin�s � la guitare et � la platine, cette premi�re collaboration musicale – au sens le plus abstrait du terme – entre deux membres �minents de la culture alternative viennoise fait carr�ment voler en �clats tous les pr�jug�s entretenus par les r�fractaires � toute id�e de progression sonore. Empreints de musique concr�te (on songe souvent � Pierre Schaeffer), mais aussi des travaux de Peter Szely et de toute la sc�ne ind�pendante du pays de Kai Fagaschinski, les onze variations de ce fantastique disque prom�nent leur auditoire dans une promenade fantastique entre pulsations de compteur Geiger, bande son imaginaire de l´incontournable Solaris d´Andrei Tarkovski et, r�f�rence indispensable, le Phantom Orchard de Zeena Parkins et Ikue Mori (la harpe de la premi�re en moins, bien entendu). Le pire, c´est que le meilleur est sans doute � venir.
(Fabrice Vanoverberg)

Review on

Erfreulichst, dass bei Mego auch heute noch Audio erscheint, das konsequent, kompromisslos und avanciert seinen Weg geht. Das Debut dieser beiden Wiener Subkultur-Sukkulenten lotet die Interaktivität von Gitarre und Turntable mittels einer großartig-stimmigen Minimalität aus, die keineswegs trocken und fad ist, sondern ihre Verbindungen aus ganz eigenen Säften zieht. Digitale Monotonität und Multilinearität verbinden sich zu hoch anregenden Texturen – die Scheibe gehört definitiv zum Besten, was derzeit an prozessierter Musik hörbar ist!

Review on

Silvia Fässler & Billy Roisz: skylla

Ideas in the purest possible form: All elements are engaged in a pristine dance of abstractions.

Standard dictionaries on experimental music will provide you with definitions like: If it’s loud and distorted, then you can call it Noise. So what, then, is “Skylla”? Its title references greek mythology, its methology hints at improvisation, its aesthetics are minimal and its sounds built from granular waves and sonic microparticles – many will find this plentitude confusing.

The approach of Silvia Fässler and Billy Roisz on their collaborational debut album is well aware of its implications, of course. Obviously, these two experienced players from the Vienese underground have not decided upon their source material on the grounds of “trueness” or street credibility. Rather, their interplay is guided by a kind of concentrated seriousness which has nothing in common with the occasionally puberal gestures of the genre.
Seriousness in this context means: Not straying from the chosen path, sticking to your initial vision and ignoring egoistic aspirations. These ten tracks (plus a 25-second-short opening piece) are consistently made up of surgically clean cuts, white noise drones, parasitic frequencies pitched to the level of tones and raw noise stretched into fluctuating rhythms. Sometimes, birdsong-like melodies will pop up to play twelve-tone scales in random order or a groove will appear from the depths (most noticeably on the slowly simmering “Rusty Spoon”). But most of the time, all elements are engaged in a pristine dance of abstractions, continually engaging and disengaing, as the music cuts through the fabric of banality.

There is nothing organic about this exchange at all, neither in the production or the timbres at the disposal of the duo, nor in their process of communication. “Skylla” remains a cool beast on the outside, screaming minutely chosen syllabels at its crowd, never exploding with rage or drooping its head in despair. Fässler and Roisz have dusted all human fingerprints off their samples and restricted the action radius of their music to a mechanical breath: Exactness is favoured over explicit emotions, rational choices are deemed more important than the thrill of outbursts of intuition.

This technique, on the other hand, allows them to take off to a level of their own. Unbound by traditional means of expression, Fässler and Roisz can let their arrangements develop in any which way they want, change course within the wink of an eye and steer their sounds into subtle and surprising collisions. Most of all, it lends a transparency to their actions which directs attention away from the trivial image of two musicians playing in the same room together and towards nothing but music itself.

By turning towards “Noise”, the performers are able to present their ideas in the purest possible form without any external distractions. Played at higher volumes, “Skylla” of course gains a more physical and aggressive tone, which places it side by side with more traditional exponents. But overalll, this album sets the record straight in terms of easy classification: There are worlds of nuances hiding behind the standard dictionary definition in this case.

By Tobias Fischer


DeMEGO 001
Silvia Fässler & Billy Roisz: skylla CD

Demand is an Editions Mego sub-label specialising in limited editions, and of its first three releases, Viennese laptoppers Silvia Fässler & Billy Roisz’s ‘Skylla’ is preferable to Stephen O’Malley and Attila Csihars’s dreary ‘6�F Skyquake’, although it can’t match Gert-Jan Prins’s blistering ‘Break Before Make’. Fässler is a new name, but Roisz has contributed video and sonud to electroacoustic Improv outfit Efzeg’s three albums, and works with Toshimaru Nakamura in audiovisual duo AVVA-
‘Skylla’s splintered digital surfaces are contiguous with the lineage of laptop music one associates with the period when Editions Mego was known as Mego. Brittle crackles fray at the edges, sibilant tones are burned and splintered, crackles and hums meshed, decayed and rebuilt. But as the artwork – topographical maps cut and folded into scalene forms – would imply, Fässler and Roisz are surveying this lineage from another angle.
The duo flirt with ananlogue texture: Fässler is credited with guitar, which appears in disguised form on one track, and Roisz with turntable, which is responsible for the undulating loops which periodically surface, adding a structural element to latch onto. A handful of tracks’ frantic cut-ups and noise torrents approach the sensory overload, but the activity levels and pace of chaneg are generally kept in check. The two are happy to explore passages of calm or near-stasis, aiding the album’s digestibility; tracks like ‘Megrim’ also hint at an impish playfulness.
Indebted rather than beholden to the Mego back catalogue, Fässler and Roisz succeed in reassessing its idioms from a different perspective. A few of ‘Skylla’s passages may have you flashing back to 2002, but on the whole its an enjoyable and nicely executed piece of work.
Nick Cain

Review on Vital Weekly by FdW

SILVIA FÄSSLER & BILLY ROISZ – skylla (CD by Editions Mego)
Maybe you encountered the name Billy Roisz before? That might very well be possible, as he is part of Efzeg, the Viennese group in which he started as the man of the visuals, but also started playing music. Here, on his first release with Silvia Fässler (who has ‘various curatorial roles’ in the Viennese subculture’, which is all the information we get thrown), Roisz plays computer and turntable, no doubt in this order, judging by the music. Fässler plays computer, electronics and guitar, also no doubt in this order. The computer seems for both the most important instrument. And this is on Editions Mego, so we are not spared for noise. Things bounce off towards all corners of the room, in a quick cut up style. Guitar and turntable are used, but merely to generate sound; the building blocks for this computerized form of noise. Eleven tracks ranging from seventeen second to eight plus minutes, this captures the feel of noise, or punk even, but with a strong sense of improvisation.
Moving in between those parameters, this is quite a nice release, simply because it’s not tied to a certain genre, but takes the best of all, and make something of their own in a crude as well as gentle way. (FdW)

Review on sentireascoltare.coma

Silvia Fässler & Billy Roisz – skylla (Editions Mego, 8 gennaio 2008)
di Vincenzo Santarcangelo

L´andamento sinusoidale di brani come Pink Umbrella o Megrim ha un ch� di (para)scientifico. Embrioni sonori modificati geneticamente in un laboratorio asettico ed impersonale – un laptop – ed in seguito immersi in vasca biologica di chitarra e turntable. Cos� si divertono a declinare il verbo del noise Silvia Fässler e Billy Roisz, nomi storici dell´underground viennese giunti alla prima collaborazione musicale dopo anni di videoart e curatele nella capitale austriaca.
Skylla, come anticipano nome e immagine di copertina, � un mostro deforme di elettronica weird e divertita – a tratti autoironica (Silly) -, una sorta di risposta in chiave minore (o in termini di microsuoni) a quei rumoristi d´oltreoceano ancor oggi sulla bocca di tutti (Kirre, Schwarzschild). O, se preferite, una versione digitale e post-umana degli Smegma (Broomgroom, Rusty Spoon).
Forse non sar� supportata da quelle pose superomistiche che, in fondo, hanno fatto la fortuna di gente come Wolf Eyes e Prurient – e dunque difficilmente godr� di quella stessa visibilit� -, ma l´esperienza Fässler/Roisz sa regalare nondimeno momenti di puro godimento – percettivo prima ancora che estetico. Edizione disgraziatamente limitata a 300 copie.