New release: @c’s “GML Vars. Live”

As a preamble to @c’s upcoming album, GML Vars. Live documents Pedro Tudela and Miguel Carvalhais performing its source materials and compositions. GML Variations will be available next March as a limited-release CD and is now available for preorder.

GML Vars. Live is now available for stream or download!

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Øyvind Brandtsegg’s “Nancarrow Biotope” reviewed by Soundexpeditionen

Und nun etwas komplett anderes.
Diese Musik hab ich seit Dezember hier liegen. Mehrmals angehört und ich wusste sie nie so richtig zu fassen.
Die Musik von Conlon Nancarrow ist mir bekannt, aber auf einer Orgel?!?
Ich muß zugeben, dass ich mit dem ersten Hören dieser Veröffentlichung so meine Schwierigkeiten hatte.
Ich mag Orgelmusik, schon als Jugendlicher bin ich gern in Orgelkonzerte gegangen.
Vor allem, wenn modernere Musik wie Messiaen gespielt worden ist.
Allerdings ist diese Musik für Pfeifenorgel, Disklavier und Elektronik schon sehr speziell.
Aber da hier auf diesem Blog doch mehr ungewöhnliche Musik und auch neue Musik vorgestellt wird, ist das genau das richtige. Wer also das Neue und Unbekannte liebt, der sollte diese Herausforderung annehmen.
„Vector & Intervals“ wäre ein guter Einstieg, aber das kann auch ganz falsch sein.

via Soundexpeditionen

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Øyvind Brandtsegg’s “Nancarrow Biotope” reviewed by Salt Peanuts

American iconoclast composer Conlon Nancarrow’s «Studies for Player Piano» is a series of 49 études for a mechanical piano, exceeding human performer limitations, composed between 1948 and 1992 and often relying on mathematical formulas and overtone series. These «Studies» emphasize in a playful and acrobatic manner, often with provocative and complex sounds, that the use of a mechanical piano does not necessarily lead to the automation of the music.  Nancarrow (1912-1997), who was also a jazz trumpeter and his work inspired John Cage and Frank Zappa, said that his «essential concern, whether you can analyze it or not, is emotional; there’s an impact that I try to achieve by these means».

The Norwegian composer-performer Øyvind Brandtsegg, who works in the fields of computer improvisation and sound installations, orchestrated Nancarrow’s «Studies for Player Piano» for pipe organ, Disklavier and electronics. Brandtsegg transferred the punched paper rolls that Nancarrow has coded with his own hands for the experimental «Studies» into midi-files using algorithmic improvisation software he had written. Since Nancarrow’s «Studies» require an extraordinary degree of articulation due to the complex rhythmic passages and high tempi, Brandtsegg often had to adjust every single note due to the slight differences in timing between the organ pipes he used in the two concerts that document «Nancarrow Biotope». These concerts were recorded in the highly resonant spaces of the Stavanger Concert Hall and the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim in October 2019 and April 2020.

«Nancarrow Biotope» offers Brandtsegg’s arrangements of 12 of Nancarrow‘s «Studies» plus two corresponding compositions by Brandtsegg and three more by Brandtsegg and pipe organ player Petra Bjørkhaug. The tasking process of transforming and arranging Nancarrow‘s «Studies» charges these exquisite compositions with weird, but hypnotic and celestial qualities, sometimes even with irreverent spiritual veins or letting these «Studies» come close to jazz territories. Furthermore, the interpretation of these «Studies» by the reverberating, mechanical-controlled pipe organs opens these refined «Studies» to urgent and powerful, rhythmic improvisation strategies. Nancarrow’s timeless and prophetic «Studies» shed, again, an insightful perspective on the way we use or struggle with automation and mechanization within our modern society’s expressive aesthetics.

«Nancarrow Biotope» is released on cassette (plus download option) by the Portuguese label Crónica. Eyal Hareuveni

via Salt Peanuts

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Francisco López’s “DSB” reviewed by Rumore

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Rutger Zuydervelt & Bruno Duplant’s “L’incertitude” reviewed by The Sound Projector

On L’Incertitude (CRÓNICA 157-2020), we have the pairing of two very productive Europeans Bruno Duplant and Rutger Zuydervelt, collaborating together for the very first time and producing two long sides of music / sound on a cassette, whose titles might be tinged with existential doubt. French composer Duplant often comes our way via the Rhizome.s label, a home for ultra-minimal and very challenging compositions, and we recently heard him team up with Pierre Gerard on the Soleil Clandestinrecord. Based on past performances, I tend to imagine Duplant is quite remorseless and ruthless in executing his cryptic, inscrutable plans, which may be why I found L’Incertitude surprisingly approachable and accessible. I shan’t say that it’s a tape packed with calliope tunes and exciting beats, but neither is it an example of his characteristic severe blanked-out style. To put it another way, there’s plenty of content and the content keeps changing. There’s also a user-friendly dimension to the work, which might be attributable to the Dutch drone-maestro Zuydervelt; whether recording as himself or as Machinefabriek, this very talented and able fellow always manages to arrange his layers and his collaged elements in patterns that make sense to the listener, even when dealing with quite abstract subject matter.

Even so, L’Incertitude does manage to insinuate that aura of metaphysical doubt, that grain of sand in the machinery, to bring us closer to that existential frame of mind so prized by every self-respecting French intellectual since old “laughing boy” J-P Sartre ruled his quarter of Paris with an iron rod of the mind. Sonically and musically, I think we get to that point through the wilful combination of unexplained and unusual elements (including a goodly dose of field recordings and found tapes) in among the musical drone which meanders like a babbling brook – unless it’s the water recordings that have planted that suggestion in my mind. In fine, our two composers see life as strange journey whose purpose is unclear, but it’s not a pointless one; and they make their observations in a spirit of genuine enquiry, without ever alienating us with cold tones or threatening minor-key drones. The label notes want to stress that D & Z arrived here through an extremely natural and organic process, based on intuition and mutual trust, without any intellectualising, pre-planned charts or discussions, and we’re all richer as a result. Ed Pinsent

via The Sound Projector

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Francisco López’s “DSB” reviewed by Vital Weekly

The title doesn’t tell us much more than Francisco Lopez’  myriad “Untitled” works do; I’ve no idea what DSB is an acronym for, if it’s even an acronym at all. So I’m really unsure what this album is all about… which I imagine is fine with Lopez. While many of his previous albums have little by way of cover art, this one has an image… is it a blue sky? Or a painting? Or… who knows? Looking for context seems to be beside the point, so I’ll accept “DSB” as pure sound and not attempt to discern more from it than an experience of listening. The first side is a college of domestic machine clanking, airplanes (sourced from… a war movie?), engine roar, the hum of empty hallways, burbling water and gusts of air… each one treated as an isolated episode with sudden jarring edits from one sonic space to the next. “DSB” is not obviously organized with a dramatic though-line, as many other Lopez works are. A noisier section about 3/4 of the way into the first side that pairs breaking glass and irregular thump with what might have been hurricane-force winds could have been the focus of an entire piece. Unfortunately, it cuta off abruptly, shifting focus to an entirely different density… and then again… and again… and I started to wonder if the editing was random. Side two picks up where side one left off, with small someone-shifting-their-weight-in-a-chair movements accompanying a distant cyclic whine. After seven minutes of this, Lopez changes the channel again and we’re listening to a worn copy of “Changez les Blockeurs” on a record player at the bottom of a lake… and incongruous heavy breathing (hey, I like that TNB record also, but… keep it to yourself, okay?)… before more jarring edits that seem unrelated to one another… and we end on a battlefield with a sudden stop. Most Lopez albums are challenging. I expect to not have an easy listen, to have all the pieces spelled out and handed to me. “DSB” is no exception. But when this ride ended, I was left wondering what I just heard. The second time through didn’t make anything more clear. Was there cohesion to the source material that will reveal itself to me after further listens? Or is the episodic nature of the composition significant to a theme of war or machines or… is it purely sound and I should accept it as exactly what I heard and nothing more? Lopez certainly isn’t saying. But where other Lopez albums make a visceral impact without so much as a title or cover art, I feel that “DSB” would benefit from some context. (HS)

via Vital Weekly

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Øyvind Brandtsegg’s “Nancarrow Biotope” reviewed by Nettavisen

Veldig annerledes – veldig fascinerende

Jazzfolket kjenner igjen navnet Øyvind Brandtsegg fra samarbeid med Kristin Asbjørnsen og Krøyt og Live Marie Roggen. Her møter vi professoren fra NTNU i en totalt annerledes setting.

Jeg bryter sammen, om ikke i krampegråt så i alle fall lett hulken, og tilstår at jeg beveger meg ut på relativt tynn is i forbindelse med denne musikken og denne utgivelsen.

Det har seg nemlig slik, og her må jeg ta forbehold om at det er mulig at jeg tråkker gjennom den nevnte isen allerede her, at den musikalske forskeren Brandtsegg, som jeg husker som vibrafonist fra før, har tatt for seg musikken til den amerikansk/mexicanske komponisten Conlon Nancarrow (1912-1997) og tatt den med til helt nye steder.

Nancarrow var spesielt kjent for stykkene han skapte for såkalt player piano – sjølspillende piano. Pat Metheny har også jobba i dette musikalske spenningsfeltet og hans “Orchestrion”-prosjekt har så avgjort et visst slektskap med det Brandtsegg har skapt og og “spiller” her.

I løpet av to konserter, en i Stavanger Konserthus og en i Nidarosdomen, trigger Brandtsegg orgelet til å spille – når ikke domkantoren i Nidarosdomen, Petra Bjørkhaug, spiller orgel sjøl. Det er med andre ord EDB-maskina til Brandtsegg som sørger for at orgelet spiller og at det er både spennende, fascinerende og unikt er ingen overdrivelse. Vi snakker MIDI input – skjønner? Tangentene rører seg ikke, men musikken som kommer ut er som om tangentene hadde blitt spilt på. Tøft og veldig annerledes.

Programmeringsjobben Brandtsegg har gjort må ha vært av det voldsomme slaget – resultatet har i alle fall blitt usedvanlig stort og veldig annerledes. De som har lyst til et annet musikalsk sted og la seg utfordre på veien er hjertelig velkommen: “Nancarrow Biotope” og Øyvind Brandtsegg er svaret på musikalske bønner du ikke visste du ha hadde bedt.

Musikken er utgitt på kassett (!) og digitalt.

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Pedro Rebelo’s “Listen to me” reviewed by Kathodik

Il compositore e sound artist portoghese Pedro Rebelo, nel 2017 si è ritrovato a poter seguire un gruppo di ricerca sull’applicazione delle nanotecnologie nell’ambito della sicurezza alimentare presso l’International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory di Braga, avendo cosi l’opportunità d’immergersi nel particolare panorama acustico offerto dai laboratori in cui questa avviene.
Macchinari in fasi cicliche, stridori, sibili e riavvolgimenti, apparati di ventilazione, avvisatori acustici, camere di sospensione vibrante e frequenze fuori scala percettiva che la ciccia avverte.
Segnali in allungo che si cercano e gradualmente trovano, nell’ambito di specifici percorsi, raramente esplorati dal punto di vista dell’ambiente sonoro.
Bello nastro bello.
Tanto.

Marco Carcasi

via Kathodik

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New release: Øyvind Brandtsegg’s “Nancarrow Biotope”

“My essential concern, whether you can analyze it or not, is emotional; there’s an impact that I try to achieve by these means.” — Conlon Nancarrow

Conlon Nancarrow’s Studies for Player Piano were orchestrated for Pipe Organ, Disklavier and electronics by Øyvind Brandtsegg. The work with these compositions instigated further exploration of improvisation with these mechanic instruments in combination with improvisation software written by Brandtsegg.

As each Pipe Organ is unique, the orchestration is necessarily also unique for each instrument. Two concerts of this material – in Stavanger Concert Hall and the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim – show how differently the music is shaped to match the possibilities of these two instruments and venues. Nancarrow’s music requires a quite extraordinary degree of articulation due to the rhythmic passages and high tempi. Sometimes an individual adjustment of each single note would be required, due to slight differences in timing between organ pipes. 

Algorithms and automation are ubiquitous in our modern society, and Nancarrow’s compositions allow an interesting perspective on automation and mechanization within an expressive aesthetic context. It also sheds light on the necessity of manual labour of implementation and adaption to make the algorithms matter for human communication.

The improvisation software is based on relatively simple algorithms and serial techniques. It comes to life in the interaction with the live performer, where data is continuously updated from the performer action. 

An extensive description of issues encountered in the production can be found in the paper “An interface to an interface to an interface”. A documentation video from the Nidaros Cathedral production is available at vimeo.com/463046453.

Tracklist:

  1. Follow Me 2020 (Nidaros) (05:23)
  2. Study 36 (Stavanger) (03:26)
  3. Study 8 (Stavanger) (04:01)
  4. Study 41a (Stavanger) (05:41)
  5. Study 11 (Stavanger) (03:54)
  6. Study 2b (Stavanger) (01:23)
  7. Study 12 (Stavanger) (03:57)
  8. Study 21 X canon (Stavanger X Nidaros) (03:02)
  9. Follow the Lines (Nidaros) (06:53)
  10. Vectors and Intervals 2 (Nidaros) (04:56)
  11. Study 37 (Nidaros) (07:26)
  12. Study 6 (Nidaros) (03:10)
  13. Study 12 (Nidaros) (04:03)
  14. Vectors and Lines (Nidaros) (07:33)
  15. Study 2b (Nidaros) (01:21)
  16. Study 11 (Nidaros) (04:01)
  17. Vectors and Intervals (Nidaros) (05:09)

Credits:

  • Performed by Øyvind Brandtsegg, except tracks 1, 9, 14 by Øyvind Brandtsegg and Petra Bjørkhaug. 
  • Compositions by Conlon Nancarrow except 10 and 17 by Øyvind Brandtsegg; 1, 9, 14 by Øyvind Brandtsegg and Petra Bjørkhaug. 
  • Recorded in Stavanger Concert Hall October 19th 2019, and Nidaros Cathedral (Trondheim) October 31st 2019 and April 13th 2020. 
  • Recording engineers: Øyvind Grong (Stavanger), Thomas Henriksen and Øyvind Brandtsegg (Trondheim). 
  • Mixed by Øyvind Brandtsegg and Thomas Henriksen. 
  • Mastered by Karl Klaseie at Øra Mastering. 
  • Artwork by Skurktur / www.skurktur.com 

Nancarrow Biotope” is now available as a limited-release cassette and for download or stream.

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Roel Meelkop’s “Crossmodulated” reviewed by Gonzo Circus

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