Friday, June 19, 2009

Joe Colley - Project for an LP (Edition ..., 2004)

A fun act of chance operations provides the fodder for both an installation and recording project by Sacramento-based Joe Colley. Beginning with two identical mini discs, populated with ten brief noise fragments, five extended blocks of sound, and five silences of varying length, Colley set the players to random and fed their signals into another recorder, with each player occupying its own stereo channel. This recording became the source for an installation, wherein three turntables equipped with a test press of the minidisc recordings were each situated amidst a pair of oscillating fans. The fans act on the turntables in two ways: they push the tone arm to and fro, resulting in an additional level of randomization of the material and more prominently in the scraping of the stylus across the LP surface; additionally, the tone arm amplifies the fan motors, resulting in an all-pervading hum. Two recordings of the installation were made, one by Eric La Casa as he wandered around the room, undoubtedly inflicting his own mode of hearing on the document, and another by Colley himself, sitting back and presumably basking in his decision-less freedom.

Project for an LP

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pierre-André Arcand - Eres + 7 (Avatar / OHM Editions, 1992)

These are the first in three installments from Quebecois sound artist Pierre-André Arcand's Eres series, the flagship expedition for two of his self-made instruments. Primary vehicle here is his Macchina Ricordi, a modified recorder that accomodates both the tape loops and simultaneous overdubbing that enable his impromptu modernization of Revue OU lineage sound poetry. Sometimes added to this are tones produced by his sounding book, a small metal box played by scribbling on its surface with a microphone heard most prominently on the beginning two pieces. These frantic washes provide a sound bed for Arcand to lay his guttural ululations, which become alternately scattered and hypnotic via the macchina ricordi's capabilities. In addition to voice, Arcard unleashes the macchine on what most likely is a violin, dicing the scrapes with anything but a precise cut.

Eres + 7

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ora - Morgendämmerung 10" (Die Stadt, 2004)

Though originally conceived as a project by Andrew Chalk and Darren Tate, for these recordings Ora is the latter incarnation of Tate and Colin Potter--the same duo who later became Monos. Assisting them on "The Sun Sheds a Golden Tear" are Lol Coxhill and Daisuke Suzuki. The piece is built from recordings of a storm, expanding the sonic artifacts of wind and rain into a densely murky sound mass on top of which eerie but gentle tones emerge. The second piece, "The Impregnable", is built from a more monolithic mass, augmented by delay-swept time distortions and growing progressively more harsh. Both of these 1997 recordings were originally featured on their 1999 cd-r New Movements in G, but excluded from the two Ora retrospective cds.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Gilles Gobeil - La Mécanique des Ruptures (Empreintes DIGITALes, 1994)

Gilles Gobeil's first collection of recordings covers a range of his electro-acoustic material dating between 1985 and 1993. Despite the broad time frame, the pieces are bound together by Gobeil's magnetic draw to bursts of sound, frequently of an industrial source or the Ferrari-esque door slam. His sonic events first present themselves as little windows into a scene, until some element leaps through the glass and leaving the prior sounds in a spiral of shards. This approach certainly makes for an action heavy listening experience, something that might exhaust some though I prefer work like to veer a little on the side of mania. A few pieces feature Suzanne Binet-Audet performing on an early electronic instrument called the ondes martenot, similar in sound though not construction to the theremin.

La Mécanique des Ruptures