Philip Samartzis & Eric La Casa’s “Captured Space” reviewed by Blow Up

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New release: Arturas Bumšteinas’s “Orgelsafari”

Arturas Bumšteinas started the Organ Safari project in 2007, compiling recordings of various church organs into a growing sound archive. These recordings are later used in various contexts, such as performances, installations, radio programmes, and releases such as this. The organ sounds in this album were collected in February 2017 in Saxony, Germany, when Arturas Bumšteinas, Gailė Griciūtė and Paul Paulun travelled along the German-Czech border visiting churches. The semi-prepared improvisations took place on the pipe organs of several churches: Katholische Kirche Sebnitz, Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirchgemeinde Sohland an der Spree, St. Johanniskirche Zittau, Evangelisch-Lutherische Bergkirche Oybin, Hörnitzer Kirche, Kirche am Schloss Weesenstein, Bergkirche Seiffen, Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Scheibenberg, Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Großschönau, and St. Michaeliskirche Adorf. Performance-presentation of this Saxony Organ Safari tour took place in Schaubuhne Lindenfehls in Leipzig, in March 2017.

Supported by Lithuanian Culture Institute.

Orgelsafari is available as a free download and stream from Crónica.

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Philip Samartzis & Eric La Casa’s “Captured Space” reviewed by Loop

En el mundo de las grabaciones de campo el australiano Philip Samartzis junto al francés Eric La Casa trabajaron en el Parque Nacional Kruger ubicado al noreste de Sudáfrica. Allí Eric La Casa y Philip Samartzis estuvieron realizando registros de campo durante diez días para el álbum “Captured Space”.
Philip Samartzis es un artista sonoro con un interés específico en las condiciones sociales y ambientales que ocurren en las regiones remotas. 
En los últimos 25 años, Eric La Casa ha estado escuchando el medio ambiente y cuestionando la percepción de la realidad, así como expandiendo la noción de lo que es musical hoy en día. A través de su estética de capturar sonido, su trabajo encaja en los campos del arte sonoro y la música.
Para esta grabación se utilizó una instalación de sonido multicanal en la que se aprecian la vida salvaje del Parque Nacional Kruger con sus animales e insectos y afluentes, así como los vehículos que transportan a los visitantes y la comunicación por radio que tienen los vigilantes del parque.
El ser humano en este entorno tan vívido como peligroso, es como el homo sapiens cuando se iba de caza por la sabana africana, que podía ser blanco de los mismos animales salvajes que quería cazar.
Este trabajo logra capturar el medio ambiente para que el oyente pueda percibir a través de sus sentidos y crear sus propias imágenes de un mundo salvaje y fascinante. Guillermo Escudero

via Loop

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Philip Samartzis & Eric La Casa’s “Captured Space” reviewed by A Closer Listen

What is the role of wilderness in the imagination?  Is wilderness still wild if it is walled?  In a preserve, who are the captors, and who are the captives?  These are only a few of the questions asked by Philip Samartzis and Eric La Casa as they record the soundscape of South Africa’s Kruger National Park.

The recording starts with something that sounds like a warthog, along with a trickle, crickets and birds.  This will remain the most direct moment of interaction until minute fourteen, as collecting more of the local animal sounds proved maddeningly frustrating.  The duo were confined to cars and paths for their own protection, as are the citizens who live in the middle of the preserve, surrounded by an electrified fence.  But to see it from the animals’ perspective, it’s also a frustration, like having food behind glass in an automat and no way to reach it.

The wilderness is changed by the proximity of humans, as demonstrated in the intrusion of planes and jeeps. Visitors may go on safari or enjoy cooking in the local restaurants as other creatures salivate over them.  Nine minutes in, someone gets to go for a walk ~ but how far?  The mosquitos are buzzing and the birds seem agitated.  The “wild” becomes a tourist trap as the same time as it becomes less wild ~ yet without the tourism the area would become less protected: a conundrum.

The title can be read in multiple ways.  The artists “captured” their sounds; the residents “captured” a space in which to live and shop; the animals are “captured” in that they are restricted from wandering into certain areas; the captors become the captives as their own movements are restricted in turn.  The soundscape is rich and engrossing despite being a left turn.  Samartzis writes, “sound always seemed to appear from somewhere other than where we were. Always at a distance, concealed from view, and frustratingly elusive.”

Yet when the rain falls, it falls on all, a common drenching.  When the sun shines, it shines on all.  Creatures on the inside (however “inside” is defined) imagine eating those on the outside, and vice versa.  Samartzis and La Casa may not have captured the sounds they intended, but stumbled upon an equally fragile ecosystem, like Jurassic Park only one electrical failure away from entropy.  The seeming power of the controllers in the 25th minute leads one to consider other manners of walls: between host and guest, rich and poor, armed and unarmed, and how quickly these walls might crumble in a crisis.  *Crash* ~ “Control, control?”  (Richard Allen)

via A Closer Listen

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Mise_en_Scene’s “-O-R-G-A-N-” reviewed by Dark Entries

Mise_En_Scene is het project van de Israëlische geluidstechnicus Shay Nassi, alwaar hij zijn opgedane vaardigheden gebruikt om op subtiele wijze elementen van minimalisme en noise in zijn muziek te gieten.

De streepjes in de titel van zijn laatste werk -O-R-G-A-N- lijken te beduiden dat hij het woord wil ontleden. Zo is het Engelse woord ‘organ’ zowel een deel van een organisme alsook een lichaam op zich maar betekent het net zozeer een orgel.

Naast deze drie definities verbindt hij het woord nog aan vijf contemplerende associaties: harmonie, textuur, reductie, vermindering en nieuw.

Laat ons beginnen met de betekenis van het luchtaangedreven muziekinstrument. Het orgel was een van de eerste (al dan niet het allereerste) instrument dat systematisch de ontwikkeling van akoesmatische ervaringen mogelijk maakte, en tegelijkertijd tot zulke monumentale dimensies te groeien om de architectuur daadwerkelijk toe te passen en er met zijn resonerende kamer zowel luisteraar als artiest mee te overspoelen.

In verbinding met de betekenis als deel en geheel van organisme verkent Nassi deze polysemie via een iteratief proces. De ‘organs’ van zijn werk zijn in de eerste plaats harmonie en textuur. Deze zijn gebeeldhouwd en gerangschikt via meerdere processen van reductie en vermindering om een nieuw lichaam te creëren, een nieuw orgaan, dat achtereenvolgens wordt verfijnd door nieuwe iteraties van dezelfde prcoessen totdat het stuk voltooid is. De vier stukken die op deze cassette worden gepresenteerd geven een overzicht van de resultaten van dit proces, maar het proces heeft diepere wortels en kan worden geïdentificeerd in verschillende van zijn vorige werken.

De ontledingsdrang van Nassi vinden we boeiend, helaas komt het maar flauwtjes tot uiting op deze cassette. We mogen graag geloven dat de man zijn klassiekers kent, besluiten we bij de titel ‘Nature And Organisation’ op de B-kant, helaas ervaren wij dit album als nogal vluchtig geluidsbehang dat er zelden in slaagt onze aandacht vast te grijpen.

Naast de cassette is er ook een digitale versie verkrijgbaar, waarbij je een verder proces van interpretatie is toegevoegd, meer bepaald een remix van ‘Patterned Clouds’ door Adam Basanta. Dimi Brands

via Dark Entries

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Philip Samartzis & Eric La Casa’s “Captured Space” reviewed by Chain DLK

“Captured Space” comprises two ambient pieces built up from field recordings made over the space of ten days in and around the Kruger National Park in the corner of South Africa. Individual recordings have been layered up to create something denser than real life, but still essentially realistic. It’s a sonic portrait that, unsurprisingly, is dominated by the wildlife sounds from the generally tranquil sub-tropical park, gentle river sounds, and so on.

Crucially though, it doesn’t shy away from the interjection of human artifice- ranger trucks come and go, distant aeroplanes can be heard, tour guides speaking on loudhailers, and so on. Towards the end of the second part, the pulsing electric safety fence is almost full-on electronica in its droning. This is not purely “the natural world” and the work makes us consciously aware that we are sonic tourists.

The recording quality, incidentally, is absolutely pristine- this is the carefully processed stereo result of what was initially conceived as a multichannel sound installation, and it would be fascinating to step inside that space, though I’m unlikely to get that opportunity.

I’m honestly not sure what the animals we hear at fourteen minutes into the first part are, but their deep calls are loud and decidedly comical, a bizarre cameo in a generally relaxed environment. Between sounds like this and the conscious highlighting of human intervention, this precludes the work from working as a piece of chill-out ambient, and instead it begins to feel more narrative driven- a passively-told drama giving us an impression, rather than a message, of the natural world being pinched and encroached by humanity. The result is an unusual compromise, not too much of any one thing, a work that’s curiously both relaxing and unsettling at the same time. Stuart Bruce

via Chain DLK

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New release: Philip Samartzis & Eric La Casa’s “Captured Space”

Located in the north-east corner of South Africa, bisected by the Tropic of Capricorn, is Kruger National Park. Bordered by Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the subtropical park is approximately 360 kilometres long and 65 kilometres wide, and takes in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Aside from abundant wildlife, the landscape contains assorted vegetation including red and buffalo grass, mopane scrub, and a great number of Acacia, Baobab and Marula trees. Several rivers run through the park including the Crocodile, Letaba, Limpopo, Luvuvhu, Olifants and Sabie. Staggered across the expansive wilderness are bush camps and safari lodges, gift shops and restaurants, and various lookouts to view the flora and fauna.

This stereo version of Captured Space is derived from a multichannel sound installation exploring two parallel environments – the natural and constructed. While the natural world of Kruger is wild and ferocious, the constructed world of roads and settlements is pedestrian, designed to keep visitors comfortable and safe from the daily struggle of life and death. From the vantage point of a car one can witness a remarkable habitat comprising a familiar cast of characters. Yet no matter how far or wide you travel, one cannot easily escape the spatial constraints of the car, or the high voltage electric fence encircling the tourist resort. While African animals are the mainstay of zoos around the world, at Kruger the animals are the vigilant keepers of an exotic mix of people confined to the smallest of spaces for their own self-preservation.

The sounds comprising Captured Space were registered over ten days while Eric and I leisurely toured the park seeking recording opportunities. What we hadn’t anticipated was how limited our movements would become due to the stringent set of rules regulating the park. It quickly became apparent our recording project would be as much about the places we were confined to, as it was about the fecund ecology we sought to register. Therefore, all our recordings were made from inside a vehicle, on bridges and in hides, and within the enclosures where we stayed each night. From these vantage points sound always seemed to appear from somewhere other than where we were. Always at a distance, concealed from view, and frustratingly elusive. Captured Space offers a kaleidoscopic experience of the South African wilderness solely through the infrastructure used to facilitate access to a world inhabited by strange and menacing creatures. A spectral world where the soundscape is caustic, days irradiant, and nights tenebrous. Philip Samartzis

Eric La Casa, Sound Recording
Philip Samartzis, Sound Recording
Recorded in Kruger National Park between March 18 and 28, 2008.
Mixed and mastered by Eric La Casa and Philip Samartzis, Paris/Melbourne 2018.
Special thanks to James Webb and the French Institute in Johannesburg.

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@c’s “Espaço, Pausa, Repetição” reviewed by The Sound Projector

Our Portuguese double act @c (Pedro Tudela and Miguel Carvalhais) are here with a new cassette called Espaço, Pausa, Repetição (CRONICA 150-2019). This one arose from an installation project which they did at the University of Porto. Apparently over fifty creators contributed about 300 “sound objects” to this project, and if @c are using these as the basis for today’s cassette, it’s no wonder it sounds so disconnected and bitty – like lots of small plates of raw fish in a Japanese restaurant. I’m never greatly impressed by these things which are described as “multisensory” and “immersive”, when all it amounts to is a bunch of speakers set in a frame in an exhibition space. I appreciate the idea that they’re trying to create an autonomous sound environment of some sort, but it’s not a very interesting one, probably because the original source materials are so banal and bland. Even so, @c deserve some credit for the effort involved in stitching together so many short, diverse pieces of sound in one place. Ed Pinsent

via The Sound Projector

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Francisco López & Miguel A. García’s “Ekkert Nafn” reviewed by The Sound Projector

On Ekkert Nafn (CRONICA 151 / TRONICDISEASE TD-3), two Spanish sound artists Francisco López and Miguel A. García collaborate on one of those sound-file swapping projects. Two long pieces are the result, apparently using the same source materials – there’s talk of field recordings, mechanical devices, digital transformation. López extends his for 31:53 and in terms of his ongoing no-titles-for-me-thanks project, he’s up to #351 already. Wild contrasts are the hallmark this time around; chaotic swirls of abundant layers, followed swiftly by near-silent stretches of mystery. I like the agitated sections, when they appear; they have a rather acidic menace, like copperhead snakes writhing in a vat. He names six separate international locations and one studio, and a date span of five years for this creation; López invests a lot of time and effort in tending his sonic garden. Conversely, García put ‘Applainessads’ together in far less time; hard to generalise about this abstracted stuff, but I guess he uses more filters than López, keeps his brain inside the box of the computer, and his piece sounds more indoorsy and occluded, which I do like. If López’s half depicts a bright desert sun, García reclaims the night, and a very desolate place it be. This solo laptop thing isn’t where he’s “at” right now, though, since emails he’s been sending me indicate he’s trying to move into group composition and have his ideas performed by others. By the way, the title Ekkert Nafn is an Icelandic way of saying “no name”. Ed Pinsent

via The Sound Projector

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Mise_en_Scene’s “-O-R-G-A-N-” reviewed by Blow Up

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