We've updated our Terms of Use. You can review the changes here.

Bat English

by The Elks

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      €5 EUR  or more


  • Cassette + Digital Album

    electric blue tape. edition of 100 numbered copies.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Bat English via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 8 days
    edition of 100 

      €7.50 EUR or more 


Geneva #1 03:52
Geneva #2 22:29


released May 11, 2017

The Elks
Liz Allbee - trumpet
Kai Fagaschinski - clarinet
Billy Roisz - electronics & e-bass
Marta Zapparoli - tapes, reel to reel tape machine & devices

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Elks came together for the first time in Berlin in 2014. In 2016 they had the chance to climb upon a few stages, and two of those live encounters were caught on tape. The A-Side of Bat English gives a good glimpse of their thrilling live set at the Konfrontationen Festival in
Nickelsdorf, Austria. A few months later the quartet travelled to Geneva to play an intimate show at the touring musician’s favourite Cave12, as heard on Side B.

From the experimental music scenes of Berlin and Vienna one might expect a rather reduced and elegant sound world. But these Elks have other ideas in store, and don’t mind to get their antlers a little dirty. There is no fear here of the loud, the dramatic, or on occasion, some boorish braying. Though they may still tip-toe gently on their hooves or whistle a delightful tune to mock some clueless humans.

"Bat English" is the second album by The Elks, coming out as a fast and sweet limited tape release. Next up for the Elks is their soon-to-be-released debut album "This Is Not The Ant" (CD on Mikroton Recordings in Autumn 2017).

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

All music by The Elks
A-Side recorded by Hans Holler live at Konfrontationen, Nickelsdorf on July 21st, 2016
B-Side recorded by Benouz live at Cave12, Geneva on October 12th, 2016
Edited and Mixed by Liz Allbee and Kai Fagaschinski
Mastered by Dieter Kovacic
Cover artwork by Liz Allbee
Layout by Marta Zapparoli
Antler drawing by Kai Fag...
Many thanks to Hans F., Friederike, Hans H., Sixto, Marion, Yvonne, Benouz and Dieter

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


The belling of a stag in a forest at night is a uniquely spine-tingling sound. What we hear as prelude to The Elks’s debut tape release Bat English is an interpretation of a stag’s long distance wailing, but close-up, so spittle in the throat is audible. I’m guessing this unnerving fanfare is the work of Liz Allbee’s trumpet, but Marta Zapparoi’s tape manipulation could also be involved. The wind gets up and the forest closes in as Billy Roisz’s noise drones and Kai Fagaschinski’s patient clarinet start to contribute. Sci-fi hornets buzz around and far-off church bells build the menace. Then, 15 minutes in, a subtle morphing takes place, and a hint of muted trumpet lounge jazz drifts across the picture, as if from a radio after a car crash.
The Elks are yet another permutation of the ever shifting Berlin noise and improv scene. Allbee and Zapparoli already collaborate as PareiDoliA, while the last time I saw Roisz’s classy feedback video and bass guitar was last year at an Unconscious Archives event. Fagaschinski (of The International Nothing) is the quiet acoustic guy here, but his steady long notes or strangulated multiphonics sit perfectly as a vulnerable human element amid the pent-up storm building behind him. The other three have no qualms about kicking up an almighty onstage racket, but Bat English works so well because it documents a collision between this fierce tendency and the reticent echtzeitmusik house style. This release is a teaser before The Elks’s album debut This Is Not The Ant arrives this autumn. It offers four substantial tracks from live shows last year in Nickelsdorf, Austria and Geneva.
Moving with unified purpose through dramatic, sometimes epic music, The Elks are not averse to moments of humour, reflected in Allbee’s striking cover art: an elk gazes mournfully into a living room where a fox is enjoying a brandy. They’re particulary good at creating a sense of vast space. As the tape ends we seem to be staring across a city, as Roisz’s bass meditates and a tiny wittering bird turns in for the night.
by Clive Bell in July 2017

Got a cassette tape called Bat English (NO LABEL) by The Elks. The Elks is another improvising “supergroup” that’s recently come together on an ad-hoc basis in Berlin. We seem to hear a lot of this kind of bonding taking place. Music brings people together. I suppose it happens a lot on what I imagine to be the “festival circuit”, which might not be anything like the 24-hour party I suppose it to be. In this case we have two of our favourite players, namely Kai Fagaschinski and Liz Allbee, along with the splendid Billy Roisz and Marta Zapparoli.
The quartet refer to themselves as “zookeepers” rather than musicians, a humourous aside which I assume comes from Kai, the clarinet King of Berlin. Recently when we heard from one of his projects, The International Nothing, the improvisers were aligning themselves with jungle beasts renowned for their tough hides – which is something I guess you need in this racket. American trumpeter Liz Allbee endeared herself to our heart with her eccentric and far-out appearances on the Resipiscent label, be it solo or in groups, sometimes teaming up with the bizarre noisester and music theatre player, Hans Grüsel. Lovely to get a few blasts from her “prepared trumpet” on this cassette. She and Kai are pretty much holding down the puffing wing of the fortress, while Roisz – who has been doing some fab work with Angélica Castelló lately – bangs out his Austrian electronic drones, supported by the other voltage-voodler in the act, Marta Zapparoli from Italy. She does it with tapes, intervening in the playback in real time to produce stunning sonics; look out for her work with Ignaz Schick on record.
Captured on the oxide are two recent (2016) sets recorded in Nickelsdorf and Geneva. It’s refreshing stuff…doesn’t seem to owe any allegiances to any current fads or fancies in the improv environs, and the emphasis is on constant invention, drama, shifts in tone, and even a touch of zany humour. The foursome seem very comfortable with other already and unafraid to break their own rules, not getting too precious about staying in the moment. One noticeable feature is that The Elks don’t wallow in samey drones or digital glorp, nor seem to exhibit much interest in the much-lauded “extended technique” thing. Instead, group collective effort all moves towards creating a fascinating, ever-shifting sonic surround-space, where many things and many actions are permitted (especially voices; might be pre-records, might be live, but voices are good), yet the work never becomes a pointless free-for-all bout of spewing and spouting. The Nickelsdorf side wins hands-down for me on account of its warmth, humour, inclusiveness and moments of plain oddness; though you may prefer the understated foggery and mystery which can be found on the Geneva tunes – incidentally recorded at Cave12, a venue whose name keeps coming up these days. Great cover art too, eh? It’s by Liz Allbee. Who wouldn’t want to have a fox standing on hind legs in your living room? 100 copies only, from 16th May 2017.
by Ed Pinsent in January 2018

In Berlin lernen sich die Leute kennen, das Gleiche gilt offenbar auch für Elche. Hier treffen wir auch auf den seltenen Fall des zweiten Releases, der schon vor der ersten Platte die Öffentlichkeit betritt. Kassettenschnellschuss. Apropos: Gleich zu Beginn vermeint man den Elch zu hören, es gibt etwas Geschrei unter den Jägerinnen, nach kurzer Diskussion erfolgt der Rückzug ins Unterholz. Die nächsten Schritte überlegen, lautet die Haus- bzw. Waldaufgabe. Das wundervoll gemischte Quartett schüttet aus vier Himmelsrichtungen Öl ins Feuer der Band, die Reduktion erhält den gleichen Stellenwert wie der Exzess, die Kontrolle wie ihr Verlust. Zwei Live-Aufnahmen haben The Elks für diese abenteuerliche Cassette verwendet, eine von den Nickelsdorfer Konfrontationen, eine aus dem Genfer Cave12. Und wer die offizielle erste Platte (auf Mikroton, Russland) nicht erwarten können will, kann sich an diesem Appetizer das Mütchen kühlen. Picobello!
by felix in June 2017

Mich knutscht die Fledermaus! Die vier, die einen da aus ihrer Wohnwagenhöhle anstarren, das können nur The Elks aus Brooklyn sein, 'Eaters of the Dead', getagt mit metal psychedelic rock punk? Aber es sind wohl doch unsere 3 Berliner + 1 Wienerin, mit der schon von Anubis gebissenen und bei den blood & guts-infer­nalischen The Liz versphinxten Trompeterin Liz Allbee noch als der Harmlosesten neben der cilantronischen Billy Roisz an Electronics & E-Bass. Der Metal-Albino entpuppt sich als die Tapemaschinistin & Chaos Pries­tess Marta Zapparoli (Splitter Orchester, aber auch Partnerin von Roisz bzw. von Allbee als PareiDoliA), der Satanist am Flügel als der Schall und Rausch beschwörende Kai Fagaschinski, Klarinet­tist bei The International Nothing und auch sonst eigentlich ein feiner Kerl. Zu hören sind ihre Performances beim Festival Konfrontationen 2016 in Nickelsdorf und im Genfer Cave12. Sie fallen gleich als brünftig röhrender Elch ins Haus, mit gestöhntem Gebläse und eisigem Wind. Aus der Trompete kriechen die Dämonen der Bruits secret, um Geheimverhandlungen mit dem tierischen Bodensatz in Body & Soul zu führen. Am Gegenpol erklingt zarter Schutz­engelgesang und Klarinettensound, eingesponnen in feinen elektronischen Schaum oder in Pulverschnee, eine träumerische Idylle, mit einer träumerisch gezirpten Trompete auf Bass­feedback, bandtonumschlauft. My kingdom for a lullaby? Nebulullaby? Verzerrter Funk­spruch, verhallende Kinderstimme, die Klarinette einsilbig, die Trompete tonlos, immer noch traumverweht auf gepixeltem Mikrobeat. Dann kauende Geräusche in der Fledermaushöhle, die sich auch von Störimpulsen nicht scheuchen lassen. Ist das noch Stimme, ist das schon Klarinette? Was eben noch crescendierte, grummelt und flötet jetzt leise an der Hör­schwelle, draußen Alltag im Regen, im Radio, mit Moped oder Kirchenglocken, drinnen subtile Höhlenforschung nach dem Geist eines Höhlenbären, nach dem Pulsschlag im Mutterschoß. Die Trompete presst, der Rauschpegel schwillt an, Allbee rhabarbert zu brausendem Noise, die Klarinette zwitschert, das Herz klopft, der Bass tupft in wieder eingekehrter Beinahestille. Draußen Sirene und Verkehrschaos, das auch das Drinnen bestürmt. Aber die vogelig bepiepste Stille entzieht sich, und The Elks entlassen mich in den Straßenlärm vor meinen Fenstern, auf den eine Amsel pfeift.
by Rigobert Dittmann in May 2017

In 2014 The Elks first came together; a quartet of Liz Albee on trumpet and preparations, Kai Fagaschinski on clarinet, Billy Roisz on electronics and e-bass and Marta Zapparoli on tapes, reel to reel tape machine and devices. It's the latter that is for me the unknown one. In 2016 they started to play live and did so in Nickelsdorf, Austria and Cave 12 in Geneva, Switzerland. Of both of these concerts we find cuts here, some twenty-five minutes per side. You would perhaps expect, based on the history of these players, something that is very quiet and subdued, leaning towards some ultra quietness, but they set out - bravo - to do something different. And doing something different, something out of the ordinary is what we like of course. The music is louder, grittier, more daring but without making a giant leap into the world of noise. That doesn't happen, but they are all on an adventure trail here, going out of their comfort zone and doing something different (well, obviously I can't speak for Zapparoli). It bursts, hisses, drones, and there is a constant presence of sounds, lurking beneath the surface when the volume drops but there is also a bit of violence (all relative of course, it's not japnoise), such as in the first section of 'Geneva', and a fair portion of the second part of the second Geneva section when they reach for something powerful. But as said, moments of introspection and quietness are never far away and throughout these seasoned players pay close attention to what the others are doing, creating an excellent dialogue in sound. This is some wonderful music.
by Frans de Waard in May 2017

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Liz Allbee: lizallbee.net
Kai Fagaschinski: kylie.klingt.org
Billy Roisz: billyroisz.klingt.org
Marta Zapparoli: martazapparoli.blogspot.de


all rights reserved



The Elks Berlin, Germany

The Elks are Liz Allbee (trumpet), Kai Fagaschinski (clarinet), Billy Roisz (electronics & e-bass) and Marta Zapparoli (tapes, reel to reel tape machine & devices).

The Elks are an experimental, electro-acoustic quartet from Berlin (3/4) and Vienna (1/4) founded in 2014. They played concerts in AT, CH, D and SWE and plan to conquer the rest of world very soon.
... more

contact / help

Contact The Elks

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Report this album or account

The Elks recommends:

If you like The Elks, you may also like: