New release: Marc Behrens’s “Aiear”

Airplane noise interrupted my early outdoor sound recording attempts in the forests around Frankfurt. And so, after a while, I figured I would kick the pastoral, turn the concept upside down, and specifically record the airplane noise instead.

Aiear was planned as a field recording project since 1996. In 2023 I resumed the project and composed the piece as a preamble to the Clould cycleAiear and the five movements of Clould together consist of 95 minutes of electroacoustic music, five microstories, the libretto for its fifth movement, a number of aerial photographs and text charts, and a performance concept including the first three movements. The title Clould convolutes the words “cloud”, hinting at humankind’s fascination of supposed supernatural cloud beings, and “could”, a potentiality. Historical mythologies about supernatural beings that supposedly lived in clouds or created them are placed in the context of 21st century airborne mass transport. Such air travel propels large groups of human beings — passive by force — through a space that once belonged to mythological beings and energies. And to the clouds, of course. The title Aiear is a convolution of the words “air” and “ear”.

While I composed Clould with sounds from inside airports and airplanes in flight, including disembodied voice announcements, Aiear is based on the sounds of airplanes just taken off or descending in order to touch down, recorded from the ground. In those phases the jet turbines produce various glissandi, unnerving when looking for quietness, but interesting when carved from the full recorded sound spectrum and used as elements for the composition — dismechanized engine noises, complementary to disembodied voices.

Aiear is now available as a download or stream. Clould is available as a pre-order.

Philippe Petit’s “A Divine Comedy” reviewed by Felthat

Cover of the album "A Divine Comedy"

Philippe Petit took up on a truly epic endeavour – both Dante Aligheri’s Divine Comedy and Gustave Dore illustrations for this classic work have been an inspiration for his newest work beautifully released as a double cd by Portuguese label Crónica based in Oporto, Portugal.

It is a long set of narrative pieces which Philippe has masterfully reorganised and put together by using different compositional techniques. Using all sorts of musical inputs such as electronics, prepared piano, some modular synths (?), spoken word he managed to tell the story of Divine Comedy in his own individual manner, as an experimental landscape of curiosities and details that highlight the dramatic narratives of this classical work. On the other hand – his own impressions from Gustave Dore’s work put this album into a completely different orbit of something analytical – treating graphical work of the illustrator on an equal level with Dante’s work.

Highly nuanced and complex work that has its own individual taste. And as in all Petit’s work – it gets only more and more interesting track by track.

via Felthat

Jos Smolders’s “Textuur 2” reviewed by Anxious

Ten album jest drugą częścią serii, w której badam procesy usuwania dźwięków z ich oryginalnego kontekstu i cięcia ich na małe kawałki. W ten sposób dźwięki zostają oddzielone od swojego źródła i tym samym oderwane od tego, co pierwotnie reprezentowały. To, co jest dla mnie interesujące i stanowi wyzwanie w tym projekcie, to znalezienie obszaru, w którym reprezentacja znika, a dźwięk staje się abstrakcją. Gdzie to jest, zależy od oryginalnego dźwięku. Już w latach 50. Pierre Schaeffer badał tę kwestię i wprowadził termin objet sonore jako obiekt, który ma własną właściwość dźwiękową. Ponadto Schaeffer zdefiniował również objet musicale, który jest stanem po manipulacji obiektem dźwiękowym i przekształceniu go w byt muzyczny. Można powiedzieć, że objet sonore jest surowcem, a objet musicale produktem pośrednim lub końcowym.

Zacząłem czytać teksty Schaeffera w 1981 roku, po wysłuchaniu Symphonie pour un homme seuli uświadomieniu sobie, że dzikie eksperymenty dźwiękowe, które przeprowadzałem w moim małym mieszkaniu, miały historię sięgającą późnych lat czterdziestych. Szukając więcej informacji, znalazłem tylko jeden francuski tekst, który dostałem z biblioteki. Skserowałem wszystkie strony i zacząłem czytać, powoli, powoli, ponieważ nie poświęcałem zbyt wiele uwagi na lekcjach francuskiego w szkole średniej. Zawsze uważałem, że idea dźwięku oderwanego od jego fizycznego źródła jest kłopotliwa. Ilekroć słuchałem muzyki konkretnej, wciąż rozpoznawałem źródło dźwięku ze wszystkimi jego fizycznymi i psychologicznymi konotacjami. Więc jaki rodzaj gry był tutaj rozgrywany? Najwyraźniej nie do końca „załapałem”. Ale uwielbiałem słuchać nagrań i przez lata tworzyłem swój własny styl muzyczny.

Textuur mój objet sonore nie jest obiektem trójwymiarowym. Jest przedstawieniem czegoś innego, jak słowo, (niekończący się) rytm lub (niekończąca się) fala sinusoidalna. Objet musicale jest (dwuwymiarową) powierzchnią. Powierzchnia z teksturą. Moim zdaniem powierzchnia jest całkowicie niematerialna, ale ma cechy związane z powierzchnią, takie jak gładka, szorstka, ścierna, nierówna, przyczepna, przebita, mokra itp.

Pomysł muzyki jako reprezentacji powierzchni zrodził się po przeczytaniu serii wierszy Yucatan Carla Andre, które napisał w latach 1971-72. W prawdziwie konkretnym stylu poezji, Andre przedstawia nam bloki słów w czerni i czerwieni starannie rozmieszczone na powierzchni papieru. To, co najbardziej uderzyło mnie w tych wierszach, to fakt, że litery i słowa wydają się zatapiać z powrotem w wizualnej formie. W zależności od skupienia czytelnik albo ogląda abstrakcyjny kształt, albo czyta słowa i litery. Wydało mi się to bardzo interesujące, ponieważ (dźwięk) ludzki głos, słowa, znaczenie i reprezentacja często odgrywają znaczącą rolę w mojej pracy. Tutaj artysta wizualny i poeta zdawali się pracować nad tym samym pomysłem z innej perspektywy. Pisząc do Andre, prawie wdałem się z nim w ostrą kłótnię, ponieważ zdecydowanie nie zgadza się z tym, że został nazwany przedstawicielem poezji konkretnej (jak przypuszczałem), a kiedy zrobiłem uwagę na ten temat, metaforycznie zatrzasnął mi drzwi przed nosem. W każdym razie.

Po podjęciu decyzji o wykorzystaniu powierzchni jako objet sonore długo zastanawiałem się, jak przełożyć moją interpretację Jukatanu na wymiar muzyczny. Właściwie cały rok 2021 i znaczną część 2022 spędziłem na myśleniu, eksperymentowaniu, zbieraniu i odrzucaniu. Następnie, pod koniec 2022 roku, odwiedziłem wystawę prac Josefa i Anni Albersów w Den Haag. Chociaż przede wszystkim poszedłem zobaczyć obrazy Josefa Albersa, prace jego żony Anni wywołały pomysł, że mogę użyć „tkania” jako sposobu na wytwarzanie pożądanych dźwięków. Przynajmniej była to metafora, która wskazała mi drogę wyjścia z mojej zagadki. Tkanina pokazuje wzór na powierzchni, ale w powiększeniu wciąż można zobaczyć oryginalne nici. Nici mogą być dowolne, o dowolnej szerokości i długości. Tkanie może być tak swobodne i tak zwarte, jak tego potrzebujesz.

W tym projekcie chciałem zbadać proces zanurzania muzyki tanecznej w środowisku elektroakustycznym. Podobnie jak w innych projektach, w tym przypadku najpierw ustawiamy scenę z kilkoma zestawami, a następnie rozdrabniamy i rozpuszczamy ten materiał, aby zbudować nowe tekstury dźwiękowe. Kolekcje w Textuur 2 składają się z części rytmicznych oraz podstawowych dronów sinusoidalnych. Permutacje są mieszankami tych oryginałów. Przebijające dźwięki różnych elementów rytmicznych spotykają się z ciężkimi beczkami gęstych i ciemnych dronów sinusoidalnych. Okresowo skutkuje to ładnie zbalansowanym pejzażem dźwiękowym, ale częściej doświadczamy brutalistycznych starć.

via Anxious

New release: Jos Smolders’s “Textuur 2”

We’re very happy to announce the release of Jos Smolder’s Textuur 2 his second release in this series in Crónica. This album is part 3 in a series where Smolders investigates processes to strip sounds from their original context and slice them into tiny bits.

Each Textuur project is built up in a similar fashion. There are two groups of sound. First there are the collections which consist of samples of the original material. The other group consists of various permutations. The samples from the collections are torn apart into threads of various widths and subsequently rewoven into a new synthetic fabric. Sound is thus stripped from its original value and meaning and resynthesized into a new texture. Each permutation is the result of a fresh approach and listeners are invited to design their own permutation or permutation of the permutation.

In Textuur 3 Smolders worked from recordings of an automated customer distribution system, in Textuur 2, Smolders investigates the immersion of dance music into an electroacoustic environment.

Textuur 2 is now available as a limited release CD, and for stream or download.

Hannes Strobl’s “Transformation Sonor“ reviewed by Ambient Blog

Without it being explicitly mentioned, one could say that Transformation Sonor by Hannes Strobl is also very much in line with the music and sound of Eliane Radigue:

‘Transformation Sonor explores the idea of process, of the slow transition from one musical situation to another, of transformation on the threshold of equivalence and differentiation. Expressive, outward gestures that allow the sound to fade into the background are avoided. Sound by itself beyond the perception of precise chords, harmonies or rhythms is at the centre of the composition’.

Berlin-based composer Hannes Strobl performs on his electric upright bass, creating a fascinating drone together with Elena Kakaliagou on French horn. These two instruments are combined with live electronics, ‘dissolving the boundaries between instrumental and electro-acoustic music’.

via Ambient Blog

Jos Smolders’s “Textuur 2” reviewed by African Paper

In den nächsten Tagen erscheint der zweite Teil von Jos Smolders’ “Textuur”-Projekt auf Crónica. Als Grundidee geht es um die permutative Überführung tanzbarer Musik in ein elektroakustisches Setting. Dazu heißt es in den Ausführungen des niederländischen Sounddesigners und Komponisten: “With this project, I wanted to investigate the immersion of dance music into an electroacoustic environment. Like the other projects, here we first set the scene with several collections and then shred and dissolve that material.

in order to build up new sonic textures. The collections in Textuur 2 consist of the rhythmic parts as well as basic sine wave drones. The permutations are mixtures of those originals. The puncturing sounds of the various rhythmic elements encounter the heavy barrels of dense and dark sine wave drones. This periodically results in a nicely balanced soundscape, but more often one experiences brutalist clashes”. Das Album erscheint als CD und zum Download, mehr zu den Hintergründen findet sich im Begleittext auf Bandcamp.

via African Paper

David Lee Myers’s “Strange Attractors” reviewed by The Sound Projector

Sometimes working under his own name and at other times working as Arcane Device, which he has done since the mid-1980s, New Yorker David Lee Myers creates music using feedback systems, most of which he makes and develops himself. On this recent album “Strange Attractors”, Myers feeds a mix of feedback, found sounds and other audio source material into a series of stereo digital delay units whose parameters Myers then manipulates in real time with low frequency oscillators, sample and hold controllers, and also good old-fashioned manual adjustments to produce four very eerie, unearthly and ever-changing soundscapes. As the album’s title suggests, the various strains of sound and noise in these tracks pull together yet also strain against each other, as if to travel their own separate paths, and a tension between attraction and repulsion develops. That tension exists all the way through the tracks, adding to their very alien quality and bringing intrigue and mystery as well. The four tracks are all very lengthy as well, none of them below thirteen minutes in duration, allowing us to dive deep into their dark terrain as their sounds lead the way.

All tracks are very different in tone and mood, and you can imagine them as soundtracks to particular visual experiences. “Equability of Powers” seems very much like a journey in space, in all its varied dimensions, both small and compressed dimensions and larger, more expansive ones. “Iniquities” is a mysterious metallic droning work, steady and penetrating, but revealing a benign side to its nature as other sounds and noises dance around the central droning spine which itself changes in tone, texture and hardness. “With Perfect Clarity” is another drone marathon but this one sometimes seems a little deranged, as if bit by bit it’s falling to pieces from within and the droning sound is desperately trying to maintain a steady direction. “Yet Another Shore” has a restful and serene quality early on as its sounds glide gracefully through (what I imagine to be) a slightly misty but not unpleasant landscape with the odd bumps here and there that cause a few skedaddles and hiccups in the journey. It does transform into something most wonderfully strange, like a humble caterpillar metamorphosing into the most remarkably gorgeous butterfly with translucent wings of constantly changing hues as they catch the sunlight at different angles. No matter how many changes the track goes through, it returns to its original restfulness as though completing a cycle.

The album does need fairly deep listening as some sections can be very quiet, but you will be rewarded with a very rich sonic experience full of lively energy and adventurous curiosity. A very strange attraction indeed.

via The Sound Projector

New release: Hannes Strobl’s “Transformation Sonor”

We’re very proud to present a new release by Hannes Strobl, Transformation Sonor, a composition that explores the idea of process, of the slow transition from one musical situation to another, of transformation on the threshold of equivalence and differentiation. Expressive, outward gestures that allow the sound to fade into the background are avoided. Sound by itself beyond the perception of precise chords, harmonies or rhythms is at the centre of the composition.

Fine spectral textures and slow glissandi, continuous transitions from one sound state to another, unfold. The overlapping spectral sound fields, rhythmic beat patterns and microtonal layers become a metaphor for space and time.

Hannes Strobl works as a musician, composer and sound artist based in Berlin. The essential starting point of his music is the sonic potential of the electric bass guitar and the electric upright bass. Its characteristic expressive repertoire is expanded through the use of advanced playing techniques in combination with live electronics, dissolving the boundaries between instrumental and electro-acoustic music. One important focus of his compositional work lies on musical expression forms against the backdrop of urban sound spaces. On the other hand on installation works, where the starting point lies in the relationship between sound and architectural space. Since 2000 Hannes Strobl has been developing this concept together with Sam Auinger in the project TAMTAM. In collaboration with David Moss and Hanno Leichtmann the project DENSELAND was founded in 2008 and with Reinhold Friedl the project P.O.P. (Psychology of Perception) in 2012.

Transformation Sonor is now available to stream or download.

Roel Meelkop’s “Viva in Pace” reviewed by The Sound Projector

Roel Meelkop’s career as a sound artist stretches back some 40 years since he started the post-industrial project THU20 with four other musicians in the early 1980s, and later decided to dedicate his career to investigating sound and music while studying visual arts and art theory at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. Among other things, his discography as a solo artist and collaborator with others (including Kapotte Muziek with Franz de Waard and Peter Duimelinks) is staggeringly huge, and Meelkop’s recorded output since 2022 has been consistently steady and prolific. “Viva in Pace” is one of two solo albums Meelkop released in 2023, and its title (in English translation from Italian, “Live in Peace”) expresses an anti-war theme and Meelkop’s own frustration that, as one person out of billions living on Earth, he has very little control or influence over global events and the processes and decision-making that lead to outbreaks of conflict and war between nations or groups of nations.

Organised in four parts, of which three are quite lengthy, “Viva in Pace” is dominated by synthesisers though Meelkop makes use of electronics, modern and vintage, in parts. The album has a very minimal presentation in which passages of quiet or even silence are as important as bursts of angry noise or insistent drone. Listening to the four tracks, I do get the impression the album is bursting with conflicting tensions and feelings, all related to Meelkop’s own state of mind and anger when he recorded this work over 2022. What is the role of the artist or musician in situations where the world appears to be heading inexorably towards war because some parties with their own agendas, backing and manipulating governments and politicians, plan to profit financially from the outbreak of conflict? How can artists, musicians and others try to lead people back to the path of peace when everything appears to be against them? There is a lot of anger and despair in the music, especially in “Viva in Pace II”, there is loneliness and frustration, but there also seems to be some hope and a determination to keep going, to keep trying, if only to keep one’s head clear of confusion and one’s spirits from falling into depression.

Accordingly the album can appear uneven, starting very loudly on “Viva in Pace I”, maintaining a steady flow of noise and drone on “Viva in Pace II” and then going quiet or introspective on the remaining tracks with more fragmented sounds and noises. The album doesn’t exactly end on a triumphant note but perhaps the point of the work ending as it does is that we as individuals who care about the state of the world must make our own decisions as to what appropriate actions we should take to protest the directions and decisions politicians and other so-called leaders are taking and making that are dragging nations – and us – into unnecessary wars, violence and mass deaths.

nausika via The Sound Projector