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

Now, here’s a name that I haven’t heard in some time. Philip Samartzis was quite active some fifteen to twenty years ago as what was then called a laptop artist. Funnily the last time his name appeared in these pages, back in Vital Weekly 675, was with work also recorded with Eric La Casa. That was a trio, also including Jean-Luc Guionnet, and I wasn’t blown away by that work. Now the two of them return with a forty-seven-minute cassette of recordings made in South Africa. That seems to be a popular location for field recordings (do any of these field-recording artists worry about their carbon footprint? I once raised that question on social media, to which there was one reaction, ‘everybody should worry about their footprint’. I am sure young miss Thunberg would not agree). They recorded wildlife I’d say, but also rivers, trees and “bush camps and safari lodges, gift shops and restaurants”. The audio was used in an installation of which this cassette is a stereo version, which is all about the natural world (animals, rivers, trees) and the constructed world (roads and restaurants). They were limited in moving around in the Kruger National Park, everything was recorded inside a vehicle, another captured space, perhaps. yet there is nothing muffled or distant in these recordings. Instead, it is all very vibrant, moving around with extended choirs of cicadas singing, animals breathing, cars passing and people talking. Even if one was never in this part of the world, you have a pretty good idea of life over there. It is a very fine, no doubt, but like the previous, also not something you haven’t heard before. I was thinking that goes for many things reviewed in these pages and it is perhaps not a great argument. It is lovely stuff. (FdW)

via Vital Weekly

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New release: Mise_en_Scene’s “-O-R-G-A-N-”

Shay Nassi works as Mise_en_Scene and is based in Tel Aviv, where he studied sound engineering and subsequently put his skills to good use by producing music where he delicately integrates elements of minimalism and noise. Following a compilation of remixes, Leftovers (Reworked) (060~2011) and three solo releases, 443 (075~2013), Primary Fields (106~2016) and Constellation / Deformation (132~2017), Crónica is now proud to present -O-R-G-A-N-, as a limited release cassette and a digital download.

The word organ denotes the air-powered musical instrument that was one of the first (if not the first) instrument to systematically allow the development of acousmatic experiences, and simultaneously to grow to such monumental scales as to actually appropriate architecture and turn it into its resonant chamber, engulfing both listeners and performers. But organ also means a part of an organism and even the entirety of the organism. Mise_en_Scene’s -O-R-G-A-N- explores this polysemy through an iterative process. The organs of Nassi’s work are in the first place harmony and texture. These are sculpted and arranged through multiple processes of reduction and subtraction to create a new body, a new organ, that is successively refined through new iterations of the same processes until the piece is finished. The four pieces presented in this release present an overview of results from this process, but the process has deeper roots and can be identified in several of his previous releases.

A further process of interpretation is added by Adam Basanta’s remix Patterned Clouds (Adam Basanta’s Random Groups Rework), included as an extra in digital distributions.

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Haarvöl + Xoán-Xil López’s “Unwritten Rules for a Ceaseless Journey” reviewed by Kathodik

Il trio sperimentale portoghese Haarvöl (Pereira / Faria / Vieira) e il sound-artist, field recorder galiziano Xoán-Xil Lopez, in “Unwritten Rules For A Ceaseless Journey”, documentano una commissione per la commedia “Revoluções” del coreografo Né Barros.
Tre movimenti, rappresentazione del tempo che agisce: passato/presente/futuro (utopia/realtà/trauma).
Potenti e severe folate di suono metallico/dronante, cupo e incombente, denso di particolari e risuonante all’interno di micro movimentazioni organiche.
Nulla di particolarmente originale, ma fluidità e funzionalità dell’insieme congegnato (che sfonda il muro post-industrial), conducono quest’opera, al di fuori delle secche tipiche di settore. Marco Carcasi

via Kathodik

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Francisco López & Miguel A. García’s “Ekkert Nafn” reviewed by Musique Machine

Roger BattyEkkert Nafn finds two respected Spanish sound artists utilizing & manipulating the same selection of sound materials- taking in field recordings & electrical/ mechanical devices- to create two thirty-minute tracks, which highlight both parties distinct way of sound-working.The artists are here Francisco López- a Madrid sound artists/ field recordist who’s been active since the mid-1980s, creating a large & distinctive body of work. And Miguel A. García- A Bilbao based artists who has been active since 2008, but has equally built up a large body of work that blurs the line between electro-acoustic composition and improvisation.The release is a joint venture between Crónica & Tronicdisease, & coming in the form of a CD. This is limited to 300 copies and comes in a gatefold sleeve- though I can’t comment on this, as we were just sent a digital promo.

First up we have “Untitled #351”- which is the López track, and of the two this is the most eventful, unpredictable & at times jarring. The track begins with mixture of bleak scraping/ drilling tones, which are underpinned by a starkly fading drone- before we know it we get a sudden & urgent jump as we get a blend of forking tone descents, crackles, snaps & pops- which are later underfed by the unease shambling, almost harmonic drone element. As we move through the track we move to layered pile-ups of grating drillings, slicing machine sounds, and choppy wetness. As we get deeper in the tracks shifts & alters once more, but it all feels very composed & balanced as if we’re on a journey to some alien world that blends both machines & organic matter. We go from pared backs to stark rustling & organically hovering drone, abstract electro soundscapes, more plain noise textured moments, and blends of weird throbbing ‘n’ rustling percussion & of machine/ organic field recordings. I’ve always had a soft spot for López work, and the way he processes & arranged sound- and this piece once again is a most captivating & moodily shifting example of his art.

The second track here is of course from Garcia, and is entitled “Applainessads”. And with this track, we get a lot more linear, and at times dare I say predictable take on utilizing the sounds. Once again we have a mixture of machine-like drills, purrs & slices, and these are blended with hovering ambeince & simmering high pitched tones. We begin with a decidedly dense & murky feel, and as we continue on Garcia adds in more layers & sound elements- very much building the whole thing up, before dropping back down again- then at the end of the track we have shorter snippets of processed sound elements, which feel tagged on. Don’t get me wrong Garcia certainly knows how to creating a feeling of sour unease, and building tension- it just feels somewhat lacking after what López did with the material on the first.

Albums that see artists utilizing the same sound elements to create their own work are always interesting propositions- and while both pieces here certainly have their own value, I’m afraid the stand out of the two is  easily the López track. So as a result, it means as an album Ekkert Nafn feels somewhat unbalanced- with captivation leading to moody if slightly clichéd sound-scaping. Roger Batty

via Musique Machine

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Mise_en_Scene’s “-O-R-G-A-N-” reviewed by Vital Weekly

Behind Mise_en_Scene we find Tel Aviv based Shay Nassi, who studied engineering and then went on to produce music. He was/is part of a duo called Ket3m (see Vital Weekly 904). Boltfish released a very early release by Mise_en_Scene (Vital Weekly 574). I had not heard any other of his releases, so I can’t say too much about the leap his work made from the stutter beats back then to the four drone-based pieces on this release. The word ‘organ’ is traced here to ‘part of an organism’, ‘body’ and ‘musical instrument’. The instrument in question is, if I understood the press text all right, an air-powered one, and it works pretty well when it comes to pure drone music. I am not sure to what extent there are any processing going on here if any at all, but does it matter to know such things? I am, as you probably know, a sucker for many things drone-like, and easily pleased with such things, even when, looking from a distance, perhaps a bit more objective, thinking about such things as ‘in what way does this add something new to the world of drone music?” and perhaps the honest answer is ‘well, not much’. In all of these four pieces, three shorter ones on the first side and one long (18 minutes) on the other side, we hear something that we heard a lot over the many years of writing about music. The slow, glacial-like movements of tones, dark and ominous, start somewhere, stopping somewhere but without any contradiction or counterpoint. It is like a rock in space in floats through dark space. That is what you think of when you hear the word ‘drone music’; well, at least I do. Mise_en_Scene doesn’t surprise me but delivers a fine delicate cassette. It should grow into something more of his own, and not a carbon copy of some other things. (FdW)

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Francisco López & Miguel A. García’s “Ekkert Nafn” reviewed by Gonzo Circus

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@c’s “Espaço, Pausa, Repetição” reviewed by Bad Alchemy

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Francisco López & Miguel A. García’s “Ekkert Nafn” reviewed by Bad Alchemy

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Trondheim EMP’s “Poke It With A Stick / Joining The Bots” reviewed by Neural

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Trondheim EMP’s “Poke It With A Stick / Joining The Bots” reviewed by Kathodik

Un percorso di ricerca internazionale condotto da Øyvind Brandtsegg e promosso dalla Norwegian University Of Science And Technology, che esplora e amplifica tramite tecniche di analisi ed elaborazione digitale, le capacità di interazione/comunicazione tra musicisti.
Corde, voci, fiati, movimentazioni fisiche e svaria altra roba che una quarantina di artisti dopo una lunga fase di pratica, organizza lungo traiettorie di segnali acustici che si influenzano l’un con l’altro.
Una sorta di opacizzante sfarfallio, l’effetto prodotto dalla ricerca sulla massa sonora generata.
Dove nel primo cd, “Poke It With A Stick”, vengon esposte libere e crude fasi di ricerca e rilascio.
Tra svolazzi, detriti, inciampi e meraviglie in varia grammatura.
Mentre “Joining The Bots” è opera di taglio, raccordo e assemblaggio tra i flussi.
Parecchi momenti d’interesse non ortodossi, tra raschiamenti, contrasti, spintonamenti avant e qualche rara instabilità messa nel conto. Marco Carcasi

via Kathodik

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