Sunday, May 31, 2009

Keith Berry - The Ear That Was Sold to a Fish (Crouton, 2005)

The Ear That Was Sold... is one of a handful of texturally intricate releases that British sound artist Keith Berry has issued either of his own name or as Brown Bunny. Delicate and deliberate in pace and seemingly low on events, the nine pieces here unravel in much the same way as stray notions do when one is on the brink of sleep. The body of each piece here is filled by a drifting drone mass underneath which a gentle rustle of incidental events occurs. Each of the nine is constructed with a rare level of patience and concentration, resulting in a rather subtle but interconnected whole. The disc was issued in a small box containing several blue flower petals, revealing a refreshing fragrance upon its opening.

The Ear That Was Sold to a Fish

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hands To - Nahza (Manifold, 1996)

Hands To was an early project of Jeph Jerman, occurring roughly alongside his participation in City of Worms. At its most embryonic state, the recordings were sampler and tape based, though as Jerman's interest in the acoustic interactions of objects manifested itself, so too did Hands To drift in that direction. Nahza came during that latter stage, built from a string of recordings made in various environments where man-made objects interact with one another at the hands of Jerman. Though the actual objects used remain unidentified, the sounds seem to be the result of friction and striking and tend to convey sources of metal and stone. The recordings were made with a significant gain level, allowing the sonorous nature of the environment in which they were made become a part of the listening experience.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Philip Corner - Playing with the Elements (Edition Lebeer-Hossmann, 1985)

Something slightly out of character here from Philip Corner, whose non-instrumental works tend more often toward explorations of metal objects, these find Corner either in nature boy mode or in the lab/kitchen. The first was recorded by Bill Fontana, with whom Corner has frequently collaborated, and features an upclose rendering of several rocks being rubbed together along with Corner's breath as he guides the rocks along. Certain works from Akio Suzuki comes to mind, as well as more recent interests by Jeph Jerman among others. The two recordings that follow deal with applying heat to objects. The first captures boiling water, with the proximity of the microphone creating a rather immersive sound environment that steadies as a rolling boil is reached. The final is of the heating of stone to make terra cotta and is far more gentle a listen. Corner issued these recordings in a decorative box that also featured a small cloth bag containing several stones, a card insert, and the scores to these works.

Playing with the Elements

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bill Fontana - Australian Sound Sculptures (Edition Block, 1988)

Another document of the always innovative Bill Fontana, here presenting in reverse chronological order two works from his formative recording experiences in Australia. The first is an installment in his Acoustical Views series of pieces, similar in many ways to Landscape Sculpture with Fog Horns in its pooling of eight locations into one. Inherent to these works is a notion that consistently appears in Fontana's work, that of "hearing as far as you can see." The second piece, recorded in 1976, marked the point when Fontana's interests shifted toward this eight channel aural perspective. These recordings of Kirribilli Wharf in Sydney are built with eight microphones inserted into cylindrical holes in the whart, producing percussive sounds as the waves close the openings. Fontana then replayed this recordings in various settings around Sydney, several years later playing them as part of an exhibition at the Whitney.

Australian Sound Sculptures