“Stikhiya” reviewed by Vital


Let go theorizing, theories, rational reasoning. Strive for Stikhiya. Or: primitive immediacy. Then and there, organic holistic experiences (may) emerge, dixit Yorgis Sakellariou. It’s where unfathomable and formless forces of perception are at play; awe-inspiring, myth-making.
On his cassette Sakellariou manipulates field recordings from various sources; be it natural or technological/industrial, be it in the field or at home. The crash of a waterfall joins a fridge’s hum in a symphony of clashes and juxtapositions. Scratching and scraping, creepy and crawly, rumbling and bustling the aural zoo maintained by Sakellariou is teeming with lively action.
This projects a power of catharsis in as much as these works bear their elementary building blocks precisely to remain firmly rooted in reality, whilst rearranging these familiarities towards expansions of the real; a rarification, perfecting too – also in size of the sound field and scope of the emotional rapport. Sakellariou’s rawness of sound is worn on his sleeve; a throbbing heartbeat – the sound of what it means to be alive, hearing living – living hearing: here, now and with an eternal glimmer from the noise of stern stuff, from which epic is written. (SSK)

via Vital

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“Intuited Architectures” reviewed by Vital


From Scotland Graeme Truslove bridges the divide between fixed-medium electroacoustic composition and performance based on improvisation. From meticulous structuring of aural mosaics with sonic impulses placed at exactly the right time, place, texturing et cetera, Truslove moved into the realms of the recording and manipulation of these works. Consequently and rather ironically, as technology advanced, these treatments of performances in themselves became montage-performances, which turned to be possible source material for further performance, montage and composition.
With an ‘ensemble’ of energetic electronics, brimming with activity, slowly modulating, finely attuned in terms of texture and timbre (ranging from polished glistens to rough and raw barbs and wires), augmented with double bass, Truslove explores musical time and musical time scales. It’s all on display here, pretty much easy to hear in full frontal focus. That is: the evolution of synthetic tones, textures and timbres from Truslove’s performative-algorithmic machines. And also: the tweaking thereof, the searching, embellishment and/or destruction – the immediate present and the slowly unfolding development – the sound in and of itself and the placement in something much (infinitely?) larger. Size-wise by the way not per se in terms of a filled out, drummed up, jazzed through jumble or huge through-composed symphonic effort, but above all in terms of strategies of time.
Long lines and thin spikes and fat bubbles and short gurgles for example bounce around in short-term presences, but together these also weave and bob in and out of an almost droning aural field out of time, beyond eternal music, too. It’s thanks to Truslove’s amazing touch for timbre and timing Intuited Architectures retains a splendid organic touch and feel, carving out a fascinating niche somewhere in the corner of acousmatic and electroacoustic music where the greats of the musique concrète meet ‘classical’ composers. A must-hear for all fans of the releases by INA-GRM, Recollecion GRM and Unsounds. (SSK)

via Vital

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Futurónica 191


Episode 191 of Futurónica, a broadcast in Rádio Manobras (91.5 MHz in Porto, 18h30) and Rádio Zero (21h GMT, repeating on Tuesday at 01h) airs tomorrow, April 28th.

The playlist of Futurónica 191 is:

  1. Ø, Sisään (1994, Metri, Sähkö)
  2. Ø, Hornitus (1994, Metri, Sähkö)
  3. Ø, Kuvio (1994, Metri, Sähkö)
  4. Ø, JL-CSG I (1994, Metri, Sähkö)
  5. Ø, Muuntaja (1994, Metri, Sähkö)
  6. Ø, Hion (1994, Metri, Sähkö)
  7. Ø, Twin Bleebs (1994, Metri, Sähkö)
  8. Ø, Erit-Samat (1994, Metri, Sähkö)
  9. Ø, Lasi (1994, Metri, Sähkö)
  10. Ø, JL-CSG II (1994, Metri, Sähkö)
  11. Ø, Radio (1994, Metri, Sähkö)
  12. Ø, Asuntola (1994, Metri, Sähkö)
  13. Ø, Dayak (1994, Metri, Sähkö)

You can follow Rádio Zero’s broadcasts at radiozero.pt/ouvir and Rádio Manobras at radiomanobras.pt.

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“Hiku Komuro, Hikikomori” reviewed by Chain DLK


On paper, you might assume an album structured from old Nintendo game sounds and 1990’s-era VSTs would be cheeky chiptunes- but this Durán Vázquez album is nothing of the sort. ‘Hikikomori’ is social reclusion and while the atmosphere here is insular, and isolated, this isn’t the sound of somebody playing computer games. This is tense drone soundscape work- beatless, hollow, resonant, drawn-out synthetic tones with washes and twinkles.

The work has two sides, LP-style. On the first side, there are five tracks, four of which share the same name, “Solus Ipse”. The first of these has a glass-like wailing tones at the top end are so harsh that they are sometimes painful, telling you this work won’t function as an ambient chillout affair, the second introduces gradually crescendoing notes of tension and confusion. The third is more mellow, with distant string-like ebbs and occasional fragile percussive sounds. Brief interlude “Koroshiya” brings a hint of ethnic flute tonality, before the final “Solus Ipse” revisits the earlier disquiet.

The second side is a single 26-minute work, “Segunda Natureza (trebón, paxaros, electrostática)”, where the retro-chiptune sounds are really heard. This is mostly a more playful piece, still essentially a drone base but lighter, with arpeggio patterns, 8-bit-style percussive moments and occasional single-step bass notes akin to having somebody in the next room playing a classic NES. Moods do shift throughout, with some sections more sombre and the latter sections more sparse, but this piece manages to feel both more unique and more inventive.

It’s an album of two halves in which the second half is more recommendable than the first, but overall it’s a noteworthy take on the solitary drone soundscape form. Stuart Bruce

via Chain DLK

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“Hiku Komuro, Hikikomori” reviewed by Vital


Three new releases from Crónica take the listener from Portugal to Greece to Scotland. Geographically dispersed as the origins of these composers may be, the works hold a firm common Crónica thread in serving aural tapestries amongst the best in avant-garde contemporary music on the verge of composed acoustic and electronics music.
Durán Vázquez work a full year on his tape Hiku Komuro, Hikikomori. Asking himself questions, holed up with his gear. Can we know an aural world outside our own; the one we hear in our head? The one ears tell us is there; we hear inside? Is hearing a product of outside phenomenons getting in or could it be that we can never really know what goes on outside – i.e. not within our own brain, mind, soul. Solus Ipse. Wandering alone – never in real contact; or, oh well… that than is as much the real contact as we can get. It doesn’t get any more. That’s not to say it’s a good or bad thing in and of itself. It just is. And we cannot know, for sure. Really.
Vázquez conjures plains and fields of sparse instrumentation. Very high pitches are never thinning out the spectrum, which one might expect. Nor do these glistening glass organ like shimmerings and piercing tones project eerie connotations. These frequencies are those of which resonance is made. A transportation of rumblings and murmurs, pulling on the soul’s strings like perpetual high droning of eternal movement. Here dark skies are pushed away. Not per se to let the sunlight in, but to wipe clean the crowded and muddied slate. Vázquez seems to be aiming for an aural tabula rasa – far from emptied out or minimally reduced. His quintet of works on the a-side promote vistas of zen gardens with slight breezes and birds singing in animated dialog with an idiosyncratic stillness of ease always present – back- and foreground.
In his Galicia based studio Vázquez composes his works using samples of old video games as prime source materials, together with FM synthesis and other synths. On the b-side his acousmatic soundscaping has been impregnated with gentle use of bleeping noises and swooshes reminiscent of arcade space battle. The gently bubbling, slowly creeping tar- or lava like structure gives way to multiplicities of translations; the full spectrum from highly advanced sci-fi technological down to purely natural meadowlands teeming with wildlife. Like a fascinating soundscape of field recordings from field yet uncharted, unseen, unheard – most likely only existing inside Vázquez’ and our own head(s). (SSK)

via Vital

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New release: Durán Vázquez‘s “Hiku Komuro, Hikikomori”


This album was created from January and December 2016 in Vigo, Galicia, using digital media in a Windows laptop, and hacked VST plug-ins from the late 1990s. Samples from old videogames were used as source materials, recorded with the freeware emulator Nestopia (v1.40) by Martin Freij, FM synthesis with Sound Forge (v6.0) and other synthesized sounds created with the modular synthesis freeware application SynFactory (v1.16rc1) by Peter Wendrich and Ruud de Jong.

Durán Vázquez was born in Vigo on 1979. He started recording his work at the beginning of 1998, using self-taught methods and without prior musical formation. His work is mainly focused on audio creation, radio-art and live performances. Occasionally he composes tracks for cinema, sound-art contests, audio collaborations and his own audiovisual pieces and covers for demos. He produced the fortnightly radio program Radio Mil Colinas for Rádio Zero and Radio FilispiM, and later the Spanish version for Radio Rakumin.

He played at festivals like Sónar (Barcelona); LEM (Barcelona); Experimentaclub (Madrid); MEM (Bilbao); In Sonora (Madrid); RadiaLx (Lisboa); ZarataFest (Pontevedra); and sound-art events like ArtEx Sonora showcase (A Coruña). He also performed at LIMb0 (Buenos Aires); Ciclo Vibra; Natal dos Experimentais (Porto); Vigotransforma (Vigo), and venues like Contemporary Art Museum (Vigo); Maus Hábitos (Porto); Fine Arts Faculty (Pontevedra); NASA (Santiago de Compostela); Spanish Cultural Centre (Montevideo); Galery DF (Santiago de Compostela); Club Le Larraskito (Bilbao); Cervantes Institute (Berlin); Alg-a Lab (Vigo); Goethe-Institut (Lisboa); Casa Atochas (A Coruña); Vigosónico (Vigo); Teatro Ensalle (Vigo).

Mastered by M. Carvalhais. Cover art by Lia.
Durán Vázquez would like to thank Crónica for the constant support, and to friends Emiliano, Dani, and Alvar for supporting his ideas, even the crazier ones!

Hiku Komuro, Hikikomori is available as a limited-release tape and as a digital download.

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“The Waste Land” reviewed by A Closer Listen


As we wrap up our five-day field trip, we travel into unfamiliar territories ~ mysterious lands marked by strange and unsettling sounds. Your guides for these journeys: Luci Forcucci, Yannick Dauby & Hitoshi Kojo and smallhaus.

Luca Forcucci was given an unusual challenge for his journey into The Waste Land ~ to compose a film score based on an unidentified six minute field recording. He rose to the challenge by splicing, repeating, expanding and layering his source material until it became wholly his own. This title piece is now truly its own entity. But the album’s B side is even more stunning. “My Extra Personal Space” is a complex soundscape that travels back and forth between the streets of Paris and the Normandy coast, allowing for bizarre juxtapositions ~ helicopters and church bells, kicked bottles against streaming water. And then there are the birds. Usually when one encounters birds in field recordings, one experiences them as a joy ~ not so here. These birds seem to have flown directly from a Hitchcock movie. Throughout the mix, they emerge and retreat, watching from the trees and planning their next move. A dog is not enough to frighten them away. For one brief moment, the lapping of waves implies safety, but then the birds return en masse. In this wasteland, no one is safe. Richard Allen

via A Closer Listen

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Soon in Crónica: Yiorgis Sakellariou’s “Stikhiya”

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“Digital Junkies in Strange Times” reviewed by Sherwood


Mi avvicino con passo guardingo, fingo di non conoscere l’essere impalpabile che governa il mondo nel quale mi trovo. So per certo che al minimo cenno lui si volterà, cercherà i miei ricettori sensoriali e trovati, inizierà la danza circolare che pian piano avvolgerà tutte le mie difese trascinandomi tanto così, vicino alla sorgente della sua magia.

Succede sempre, immancabilmente da quando ho iniziato ad ascoltare i suoi lavori, nel 2009. Brock Van Wey in arte BVDUB espande nuovamente l’eco irresistibile della sue visioni, la sostanza metafisica che le compone e lo fa attraverso una delle più prestigiose labels in circolazione, l’italiana Glacial Movements che produce l’ultima possente produzione del sound artist americano: Epilogues For The End Of The Sky.

Il suo tratto, oramai noto, ha la capacità di non stancare. Al pari di qualche misteriosa soluzione chimica, una volta assunta richiede di essere riproposta all’ascolto per un numero svariato di volte. Ad ogni assunzione i particolari si sommano ai particolari, la base ambient allarga all’infinito le sue spire accogliendo al suo interno esplosioni musicali che si dilatano e abbracciano e si mescolano in un unico codice d’ascolto che si erge maestoso al limite dello spleen e dello splendore tardo romantico. Iterazione infinita, voci in loop, echi, droni e uso massiccio di melodia, questa la riserva immaginaria che serve per raggiungere l’angolo remoto dove termina il cielo.

La traversata continua, abbandonati i cieli infiammati dal dolce languore elettronico, mi ritrovo nel vasto territorio abitato dai suoni taglienti e dolorosi di Maurizio Bianchi che occupa una side delle due che compongono questo split EP prodotto assieme ad Abul Mogard. Due mondi decisamente lontani che hanno in comune un luogo d’origine: la fabbrica. Da sempre referente sonico per MB e la sua filosofia industriale, reale luogo di vita lavorativa per Abul Mogard, abbandonato solo dopo la raggiunta pensione.

Come sempre il suono di MB ci penetra da parte a parte, non permette tregua, si irradia lucido e diretto usando i canoni della ripetitività industriale. Tutto attorno il caos di un mondo in delirio che gira vorticoso attorno al ritmo della battuta imposta dalle macchine. Danza folle, trasfigurata belle èpoque meccanica, trionfo del vuoto dell’anima schiacciata dagli ingranaggi di un’ansia che appare come Hydra, creatura che si rigenera, ferita dopo ferita

Tutto si placa, all’improvviso. Una dolce, gentile litania sale lenta iniziando ad avvolgermi. Abul Mogard è qui, vicino a me. Lo sento. Ascolto le amate antiche onde soniche del suo synth modulare, la soffusa melodia del Farfisa, la grazia sconfinata di un suono che non riesco ad abbandonare. Il suo gesto artistico è colmo di antica gentilezza e celata poesia, la sua musica colloquia con te, ti permette di aprire pagine di lettura intima. Con lui a fianco ti commuovi pensando ad un passato per sempre fermo nell’attimo del ricordo.

Durante questo breve viaggio ho incontrato varie tipologie di sound artists ma quello che mi attende nell’angolo più buio e metropolitano del paesaggio sonoro che sto attraversando, è forse il più misterioso e complicato da capire. Si chiama Ran Slavin, principalmente si occupa di video installazioni, ma il suono ha sempre accompagnato il suo respiro.

Digital Junkies In Strange Times è il suo ultimo lavoro, l’ennesimo per la portoghese Crònica che lo distribuisce in free download via Bandcamp. Un titolo che meglio non poteva rappresentare l’attualità di un popolo curvo sul proprio pc, totalmente assuefatto al suono che quei circuiti producono, musica che veste perfettamente la taglia di questi strani tempi. Quattro traccie che non rispondono a nessun canone di genere, sbandano volutamente tra l’ambient, il jazz, il soul, la ricerca e l’improvvisazione. Un melting pot metropolitano nel quale stranamente ci si riconosce e ‘piacevolmente’ ci si immerge, convinti di far parte di un mondo abitato da junkies digitali, con i motori di ricerca sempre spinti al massimo della potenza. Mirco Salvadori

via Sherwood

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Soon in Crónica: Graeme Truslove’s “Intuited Architectures”

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