Primary Instrument: Electronics
Tim Olive has been writing about himself in the third person since the beginning of this century, when he left his minimal-prog-noise-rock band Nimrod, rejecting periodic rhythms and tempered pitch in favor of improvisation and open forms, exploring the full sonic possibilities of steel strings, magnetic pickups and simple analog electronics.
Extensive live action in North America, Asia, Europe and Australia has provided opportunities to play with a wide range of musicians in event-specific one-off contexts, as well as ongoing live and/or recording collaborations with Katsura Mouri (ex-Busratch), Alfredo Costa Monteiro, Kelly Churko, Takuji Naka (ex- Culpis), Jeffrey Allport, Francisco Meirino, Yukinori Kikuchi, Kazuya Ishigami, Cal Lyall and others. Recent collaborators include Madoka Kono, Crys Cole, Haco, Darren Moore, Takahiro Kawaguchi, Jin Sangtae, Ryu Hankil, Choi Joonyong and Che Chen.
A Canadian residing in Kobe, Olive has CD releases on Japanese, European and North American labels, receiving positive reviews in Musicworks, Signal To Noise, The Sound Projector and The Wire magazines. Upcoming releases include recordings with Mouri, Bryan Day, Horacio Pollard, David Brown, Ishigami, Lyall and Guilty Connector. He recently launched his artist-run label 845 Audio.
Difference and Repetition Laptopper and TestToneMusic boss Yukinori also goes by the name Dexter, and listening to the scary shit he gets up to here with Canadian expat guitarist/electronician Tim Olive, it’s not hard to imagine him moonlighting as a serial kiiler himself. The album title is also the name of french maitre a penser Gilles Deleuze’s celebrated thesis, but if you’re into that post-structuralist stuff and buy records accordingly, you should be warned that this is about as far from Mille Plateaux (the record label) as you can get. From the opening “Wolf In Center Page”, which disappears into silence without warning about halfway through only to return to bite your ears off, via the menacing thuds of “Ontology” and the low queasy growl of “Multiples” to the banshee shriek of “Ghosts”, it’s a rough ride, nasty but nice. (Dan Warbuton, The Wire)
Duo work from Yukinori aka Dexter and leader of Japanese underground group Billy? and Mr. Tim Olive. High computer tones go up against doomy electro/drone stylings, paranoid late-night surveillance atmospheres, the sound of live electricity and tense drawn-out test tones. The closing “Ghosts” is one of the most beautifully hysterical shots of post-tongue electronics this side of Ryoji Ikeda or Borbetomagus. Wow. (David Keenan, Volcanic Tongue)
An inscrutable record on which it’s not clear who is playing what across seven anonymous tracks with titles like ‘Small room’, ‘Shining’ and ‘Ontology’ which don’t give much away, but the music is fascinating and varied electronic emissions, full of invention and great deliberation – sometimes vaguely noisy, sometimes sternly implacable deep drones, their monotonal surfaces roughed up with skittery details. Olive’s distinctive playing is usually characterised by a very extreme form of disconnectedness, but many of these pieces exhibit a more continuous full-bodied roaring, the sort of activity you would expect from a team of gigantic beetles if they were ten times as large and refitted to produce electronic signals through their antennae. Natch, I gladly welcome such outsize coleoptera into my lair any day of the week. (Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector)
Seven tracks of fairly harsh, knifing electronics that, at its best, provides some enjoyable lacerations. The brief opening track, for instance, ends with piercing keens, like metal scraped with metal, but very high, extremely sharp. The second offers respite, with (enticingly) awkward, low rumbles. Yukinori, who I don’t believe I’ve previously heard, and Olive work together seamlessly enough; no instrumentation is provided (I assume a combination of laptop and open electronics) but the music comes across as of a piece in any case. My preference is on those marginally quieter cuts, 2, 4 & 6 here, where the pair stretches things well, allows the crackles ‘n’ hums some space and gives more of an impression of letting things ambulate on their own rather than directly controlling them… All in all, a good tough recording, this one. (Brian Olewnick, Just Outside)
The Specialist Over the course of the thirteen tracks, Olive patiently explores the sonic possibilities of his set up. He moves from quiet vibrations to cacophonous clangs of metal on metal. His approach reveals the details of the sound without the emotional grandstanding that often accompanies such explorations by some of his noisier peers. The result is an organic collection of sounds, exploratory and revelatory in its subtle accumulation of detail. (Chris Kennedy, Music Works)
A short but intense record of all-out sonic experimentation…His research is serious, in depth, and produces crude yet complex sounds that are not brutal at all. This is the strongest album I have heard from Olive yet. Impressive. (Francois Couture, Monsieur Delire)
Tim Olive seems to be a talented musician with a musical style he has come to over a period of time that brings in many of the expected traits of an improvising electric guitarist but then moulds them into his own voice. Fans of that gritty, misfiring electronic sound so popular amongst younger North American improvisers will enjoy it quite a bit I suspect. (Richard Pinnell, The Watchful Ear)
Supernatural Hot Rug and Not Used (Tim Olive and Bunsho Nishikawa) Using homemade tools to coax noises from repurposed instruments, they produce a thoughtful racket full of scrapes, clangs, blips and cartoonish boings. That last element is key, as without the wry humour, the album’s reductionist style could sound dry. Instead, Olive and Bunsho’s cacophony often suggests Raymond Scott as an improviser. (Marc Masters, The Wire)
Hard to believe that this range of extremely unusual and unfamiliar sounds is being made simply with one electric guitar and one electric bass. Truly experimental, these musical conversations defy common sense; the duo keeps on exploring all the time. (Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector)
This disc rages with eight nasty improvised interventions in just under forty minutes; it’s a terse, inventive statement brimming with energy and imagination. There are no lines, no grooves, nothing of the sort. These fellows play machines, sound generators pure and simple. A fascinating, unexpected pleasure of twisted noise resounding from the slag heap. (Jason Bivins, Signal to Noise)
Eagle Keys (Tim Olive and Francisco Meirino) Olive’s last outing with Bunsho Nisikawa, the intriguingly-titled Supernatural Hot Rug And Not Used, was mysterious and compelling; Eagle Keys is even better. It’s superbly paced, carefully constructed and above all sounds terrific. Check it out. (Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic)
Since I last spewed about Tim Olive, he’s put together the great Supernatural Hot Rug And Not Used (and a great self-titled album) with Nishikawa Bunsho, which I implore you to seek out if you haven’t. This is his new project, and it’s the standard kind of high-level, attentive improv that Olive has trademarked… Olive knows how to coax smart shit out of his equipment and his colleagues, and Eagle Keys is perhaps the best example of one of his most unique talents – the ability to mix and match sounds so that nothing ever sticks around too long, but no contrivances or artificial shifts ever emerge. (Marc Masters, Noiseweek)
Everything (Tim Olive) does seems to end up suggesting some real steps forward for the improvisation genre, rich in possibilities and exploratory notions. Regardless of who he plays with, he always offers useful platforms for ideas to develop. (Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector)
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