“Shattering Silence” reviewed by Fluid Sonic Fluctuations


Hi, I’m going to continue today with the next release in my now ongoing series of reviews of releases on the CRÓNICA label. Today I have for you this 2010 album by MOSAIQUE by Portugese artist Jan Ferreira who records here under that name MOSAIQUE. The album download is in 16-bit/44.1kHz CD quality and also comes with the cover artwork in good resolution and a PDF file detailing this album and the tracks and credits of this release. The PDF describes that MOSAIQUE uses various tools and resources to create his music, which include feedback manipulation, analogue synthesis and distortion. I found especially the feedback manipulation and distortion aspect of this working method interesting so I donated a few Euros and bought this free / pay-what-you-want download release. And this album definitely didn’t disappoint me.

SHATTERING SILENCE is an album with a clear signature sonic palette to it made up of noises, feedback, whirrs, crackles and many drones. What I noticed about this long 104 minute album in general is that while it is cohesive as an album, it also does feel a bit like an archival compilation of tracks as there is 3 types of tracks that the album switches between. There are abstract, experimental pieces, Drone focussed pieces that are sometimes more focused on the Noise, other times on the Drone side of things and there are tracks that feature beats and more “straight-forward” melodic development. Sometimes certain textures or sounds pop up in multiple tracks but the music is still varied and doesn’t sound repetitive. SHATTERING SILENCE starts off with Semendia, a track that features a lot of screeching noises but also pleasant yet also sharp analogue synth drones cutting through the taste-fully stereo panned electrical noises. MOSAIQUE often keeps things melodic on this album, but on this piece he finishes the music with a section of raw noises, pretty soft in texture but crackly too. Axis Tilt is a glitchy piece full of more stereo electrical sound manipulation goodness, but it also builds towards a whirring drone near the end that is accompanied by a second mysterious melody underneath the glitchy sonics. Hidden masked melodies occur at various times on this album, often being sampled music recordings from AM radio or other lo-fi grainy melodic fragments. It gives the music an interesting new melodic dimension that keeps it interesting, captivating and never lets the music become repetitve boring noodling with electronics, but instead there’s progression here. Ithom is a droning track that is very intensely whirring, there’s an awesome melody going on underneath the electricity as well that sounds like a recording of a choir performance. Awesome track that has quite a lot variation in melody during it’s 12+ length, cool drone. Mundo is one of the tracks on here with a beat, droning and whirring again but also with a nice introspective melodic side to it, the groove is relaxed, glitchy and catchy and it adds a nice rhythmic touch to the album’s sound. Typus und Form is a minimal piece that is very focused on high frequency sounds and fast clicks and glitches through the stereo field, nice piece. Ropea mixes all kinds of funky AM radio recordings, electrical sound and melodic Noise together in a pretty dark dramatic sounding piece with plenty of drone in it too. Also look out (or listen out) to this pretty romantic piece of orchestral music underneath the Noise that pops up around half way into the track, pretty humorous in a strange way, creative stuff. Photon Hills is like a metal cloud of static electricity, touching everything around it, subtle melody and changing behaviour of the sounds. Fissures focuses a lot on the high frequency spectrum of sound with plenty of Noise, feedback and drone variations, as well as that nice whirring movement through the stereo field. Recoil is a glitched up piece that through various harmonic distirbances works towards a consonant drone ending, pretty funky in its rhythm actually and playful. Tessian is a piece with a “critical” sound, dark textures talk off danger and the piece builds towards a layered siren drone of harmonic and phase manipulation. Golden Vertical is almost poppy in its sound, a pretty accessible track, straightforward in its melodies, but also very well made, catchy and nice, the electrical whirrs more organized and a bit like a glitch / Braindance style track. Beasts is a piece that literally sounds like beasts eating all the equipment into glitches, bits and broken Noise, fun piece. Gravity and Grace is a collosal Drone piece, very nice sharp phased sound with plenty of chord and sound manipulation shifts, very very nice track. Sinum is the last track on the album and again a rather melodic piece, tho faster moving, a mixture of drone and electrical Noise. It’s a little awkwardly placed in the tracklist at the end though, as it doesn’t sound like a “closing track” a lot but nevertheless a nice piece once again.

SHATTERING SILENCE by MOSAIQUE is an album that really does shatter silence in many spots but is also atmospheric and introspective in its creative electrical sounding mixture of drones, whirrs, noises and glitches that form a signature musical language that moves from captivating melodic to more abstract but also exciting and playful music. A great listen for people interested in the more musical approach to using feedback and various equipment noises and with its extended length also a great Noise meditation session. Orlando Laman

via Fluid Sonic Fluctuations

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Soon in Crónica: Isabel Latorre and Edu Comelles’s “For Pauline”


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“Crossovers” reviewed by Fluid Sonic Fluctuations


Hello, I’m back once again and today I’ve got another great release on the Portugese label CRÓNICA for you. The 2012 Various Artists compilation CROSSOVERS which compiles a big selection of collaborative performances from events organized by British sound artist Simon Whetham as part of his project Active Crossovers. The compilation download is in 16-bit/44.1kHz CD quality and features the cover artwork in good resolution as well as a PDF file with the full tracklist, release description and credits. This a pay-what-you-want release on the Bandcamp page, you can enter 0 to get it for free but it’s also good to support the artists and the label by paying for it, as a donation for their good efforts, like I did.

CROSSOVERS is a compilation album of various sonic approaches and styles, but what is definitely clear about the general sound of this compilation is that the music and sound art often has a rather Ambient sound to it. While not all 23 pieces on the compilation are relaxed and meditative, many pieces carry a kind of peaceful atmosphere with them, even with the free improv spirit lingering in many pieces the music is rarely harsh or abrasive in a Noise direction. With its total length of 3 hours and 4 minutes the compilation does demand quite a lot of patience from the listeners, however I found this compilation to be quite the smooth listening experience and while there are a few pieces on here that I didn’t find as interesting (and left my attention wandering off a bit) the music in general is varied, creative and captivating. In many ways the compilation takes listeners on a journey that crosses the perception of sound and music but can also be a good accessible guide to listeners (like me) who’ve only about just started digging into the Sound Art releases out there and showcases the many immersive ways these artists use, shape and manipulate sound. So what was the approach of organizing the collaborations on this compilation? Well, as Simon Whetham points out in the PDF file, all artists collaborate with artists they’ve never collaborated with before, in pairs. Besides this, Simon also asked the participating artists to follow a kind of structure in the performance which enables both collaborators to move from solo 1 (first performer) to collaboration to solo 2 (second performer) and in my opinion has also given the pieces a kind of good base with which the perfomances sound more like polished finished pieces than freely improvised pieces that may or may not work. While complete freedom can indeed cause amazing music in improvised music, the few rules for the collabs on this compilation definitely shaped the sound in a positive coherent way that also never blocks the freedom at the same time.

CROSSOVERS starts with a collaboration between Andi Chapple and Dominic Lash on track 1, it’s a decent piece and there’s an interesting interplay between delayed “clapping” watery percussion rhythms and violin improvisation, not one of my favourites however. So, we’ll move to track 2 on which Simon Whetham (who appears on many of these collabs himself) collaborates with Nurse With Wound member Colin Potter, it’s a great mixture of mysterious distorted Drones fading in and out an ambience of what sounds like “metallic” birds. It sounds a bit like the soundtrack of an alien landscape made of both metal and organic materials that hides its own secrets. On track 3 Simon is collaborating with Jonathan Coleclough, a pretty lowercase piece full of subtle vinyl crackling, clicks and small metallic sounds spread over the stereo field that feels like a peaceful massage of the ears by a sonic abstract painting of small objects. On track 4 Felicity Ford and Mark Durgan create a nice trippy piece of (lo-fi) music infused with hiss that sounds similar to 60’s psychedelic synth experiments, a lot of quirky liquid sounds combined with sharp “electric” impulses by Felicity Ford. Felicity Ford is active nowadays with her ongoing project Knitsonik in which she combines her knitting art pieces with sound art. Which is definitely audible in the needle impulses in the collaboration. Martin Franklin and Cheapmachines created a cloud of sound that sounds like earth in its texture mixed with electricity and industrial machine sounds. A slightly rough yet also calm piece that flows as a drone yet also progresses in the changing crackling, whirrs and other artifacts moving around. On Track 6 Rebecca Joy Sharp and Philip Jeck combine Rebeca’s harp performance and Philip’s warm sonic resonant clouds of sound into a piece that feels both Classical but like a Contemporary Classical composition in alternate universe filled with soft hisses, bells, resonances that embrace the harp in a warm hug of sonic particle dust. On track 7 Simon Whetham and Antony Hall collaborate on one of my favourite tracks from this compilation. It’s a piece full of feedback, hisses as well as naturally occuring “Noise”, what I liked the most about this piece however tho is the way it slowly progresses into what sounds like a storm happening. The last part with all the wooden hinges sounds also feels like a wooden house moving and being affected by the heavy wind of the storm. Track 8, the collaboration piece between Rodrigo Constanzo and Mark Pilkington is a funny piece, what starts as a calm electro-acoustic piece featuring live glitching of musical phrases moves to a pretty hilarious part of free jammming with drums and quirky synth sounds that sounds plesantly silly but also not annoyingly random. Playful and fun. Anton Hunter and Igor Hax’s collaboration on track 9 is another favourite of mine. The snowstorm piece as I would call it, it’s full with mysterious wind sounds as well as acoustic percussive texture that flows unpredictably like a snowstorm yet also gradually, in a captivating cinematic piece of music. Simon Whetham and Richard Ormrod’s collab on track 10 is pretty enjoyable but the free acoustic improvisation in the piece didn’t quite work as well for me as in other pieces, so I didn’t like this one that much. On track 11 however Simon Whetham and Rhodri Davies deliver a sweet sonic picture filled with crumbling rocks and glassy harp resonances, abstract but also exciting in its progression. Markus Jones and Ollie Dover’s collab on track 12 is again not bad, but not my favourite kind of free improv style. Track 13 with Ben Gwilliam and Phil Harding is also again, not my favourite, with the high frequency sinewave manipulation masking the details of the music more rather than enhancing it, in my opinion. Track 14 however is a sweet piece of music with Simon Whetham and Iris Garrelfs in which Iris’s vocal manipulations are particularly unique and interesting, combined with rustles and long resonant drones. Fascinating piece. The collaboration between Lee Gamble and Scanner on track 15 is probably one of the more obvious ones on this compilation, but the piece is definitely captivating and seemless in its sound, warm distorted hissy drones combined with glitches and quirky electronic effects. It’s also the only piece on the album that has a steady beat going at some point. Solid good piece. Both track 16 and 17 are pretty soft pieces of lowercase aural experimentation and while pleasant didn’t work for me unfortunately. The collaboration between Simon Whetham and Bela Emerson on track 18 sounds like an electro-acoustic boiling pot of sound, it’s very enjoyable in its mixture of liquid, metallic, resonating sounds that keep changing like some magic potion of textures. Duncan Harrison and Paul Khimasia Morgan bring a nice piece on track 19, highlight of this piece is the high frequency glitch+sine pattern that sounds like a scanner device, scanning data or other equipment that makes soft sounds while working. It gives a kind of safe feeling in the atmosphere of this piece which is often pretty sparse in its sound but features some unexpected bursts of sounds as well as deep underlying vibe of mystery. Track 20 with Alexander Wendt and Slow Listener features interestingly resonating harmonics as well as field recordings of a supermarket and also a distant police siren, nice touches to a good piece. Simon Whetham and Skjølbrot’s collaboration on track 21 is a sweet glitchy Ambient piece. On track 22 Ekoplekz and Bugbrand bring some proper modular analog spaciness, Bugbrand is nowadays a developer of analog synth modules so in this case it’s definitely a collab in more than the music itself alone. Proper synth Noise weirdness over 16+ minutes that is rather stretched out but very enjoyable and intense to listen to, awesomely psychedelic. The last track, by Kathy Hinde and SJ Esau is also very nice, Kathy’s nature-inspired percussive acoustic “system” slowly flows itself towards the rhythm of the song that SJ Esau forms with it, which very bright and pleasant. Great ending track of this compilation.

CROSSOVERS is a rather enjoyable and thrilling ride of a compilation that often surprises, inspires and immerses in the wide variety of sonics these artists all conjur up together. While I didn’t like all the pieces, I really do appreciate all the effort put in by all artists to give us all these unique collaborations. A good recommended listen for everyone interested in getting into a proper morning, afternoon, evening long listen of the rich sonic landscape of experimental music and Sound Art.

via Fluid Sonic Fluctuations

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New release: Tamtam’s “Rheingold”


Living for more than 20 years in Germany means to get in touch with its big myths and traditions. The Nibelung saga is one of the major ones, leading you back and forth to Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, one of which key-points being the treasure buried in the Rhine river.

The starting points for this composition were recordings with a hydrophone, listening to the sounds of a heavy industrialised river and producing field recordings on the banks of the Rhine, in an area where the so-called mythological Rhine starts. The piece is structured in five movements or waves, evolving like the flux of the sluggish Rhine.

Tracklist:

  1. Tamtam: Rheingold (27:39)
  2. Eosin: Erda (09:01)
  3. Maile Colbert: Tam Tam Tuning (08:51)
  4. @c: einhundertvierundzwanzig (für Tamtam) (11:31)

Rheingold was composed and produced by Tamtam in 2017:

Sam Auinger: sampler, field recording;
Hannes Strobl: electric upright bass;
Featuring Robyn Schulkowsky: selfmade gong.

The Rheingold remixes were composed using Tamtam’s original recordings.

Erda was composed by Diana Combo, 2018. Original recordings by Tamtam, recordings found online, samples from the record Fools, by Antoine Chessex, and The Cut, by Birds of Delay.

Tam Tam Tuning was composed by Maile Colbert, 2018.

Einhundertvierundzwanzig (für Tamtam) was composed by @c (Pedro Tudela & Miguel Carvalhais), 2018.

Rheingold is available as a limited-release tape and as a download.

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Síria’s “Cuspo” reviewed by Bodyspace


Para ouvir em posição fetal.

A humanidade tem uma relação complicada com a sua saliva. Não temos pudor nenhum em trocá-la num beijo, quando em momentos mais íntimos, ou em ceder à tentação mamífera de lamber as nossas feridas, mas encaramos como um bruto sinal de desrespeito – senão mesmo de ódio – o facto de alguém nos cuspir em cima, a não ser que sejamos punks, principalmente os da estirpe “palerma”, que vêem nisso um sinal de respeito. Já para não falar da expressão colada a cuspo, quando o assunto é algo mal enjorcado…

Essa relação amor-ódio pela saliva parece estar presente em “Cuspo”, o tema-título que encerra o primeiro álbum de Diana Combo sob o nome Síria. Aqui, um único verso é entoado de modo repetitivo e carregado de eco, sobre uma sonoridade electrónica quase muda e tenebrosa: Se eu soubesse que ias cuspir-me na cara, eu teria aberto a boca. Há uma atitude desafiante por parte de quem canta, mas também de aceitação da saliva em si; abre-se a boca para que a saliva perca essa conotação de nojo; cospe-se figuradamente na cara de quem literalmente nos cospe buscando uma reacção. Uma espécie de diz-me lá essa merda à minha frente, filho de uma grande puta.

Um desafio que também se encontra em “Gloria”, versão do tema de Van Morrison como cantado por Patti Smith, que aqui é desconstruído até à raiz: fica apenas a voz e um ritmo ténue, spoken word sobre ruídos rangentes. Até lá chegarmos há o susto, a solidão escura – porque a ausência de luz é assustadora há milénios – da tríade “A Lua Da Eva” / “Canção Da Mulher Cão” / “Raiva”, onde são as palavras e, sobretudo, os efeitos dados à voz que conferem essa aura que percepcionamos como maligna, mesmo que possa não ter sido essa a intenção da artista. Um pouco à semelhança de “It’s A Fine Day”, poema de Edward Barton cantado por Jane Lancaster, antes de ser transformado num hino eurodance.

Muito resumidamente, Cuspo é um dos álbuns mais fascinantes do ano e a sua audição não é recomendada à noite e de luzes desligadas sob pena de o cérebro fritar. Este escriba é fã do Buyer’s Market do Peter Sotos e ia-se borrando todo. Paulo Cecílio

via Bodyspace

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Three performances to commemorate 15 years of Crónica


Next week, Crónica will celebrate its 15th anniversary with three performances in Salão Brazil in Coimbra (Thursday 11), SMUP in Parede (Saturday 13), and Céu de Vidro in Caldas da Raínha (Sunday 14). @c, Vitor Joaquim, and Síria will perform, showcasing some of their latest work.

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Tamtam’s “Rheingold” reviewed by Vital


Tamtam is a duo of Sam Auinger on sampler and field recordings and Hannes Strobl on electric upright bass and here they have a piece that deals with the old German saga, called Die Nibelungen, as immortalized by Richard Wagner in his opera cycle Die Ring Des Nibelungen. In the Rhine River lies a treasure buried and so for this homage (for the lack of a better word) they use field recordings made at the Rhine. There is also the self-made gong by Robyn Schulkowsky. The piece lasts twenty-eight minutes and on the second side there are remixes by Eosin, Maile Colbert and @C. Very much like the mighty Rhine itself the music moves in very slow waves; apparently there are five parts but that’s not something I heard. It has tranquillity here and the sounds, whatever they are, were played majestically. In Eosin’s remix the tamtam is used to create a fierce rhythm, along with some fine drones and Combo created an excellent piece I must say. In Maile Colbert’s remix it seems as if the water of the Rhine has been replaced by street sounds and @C as usual call out all laptops and amplify the waves and shorten them and thus a mechanical sort of drone is generated. The whole element of nature is gone within this powerful remix, but it resulted in a fine piece of music. (FdW)

via Vital Weekly

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Soon in Crónica: Tamtam’s “Rheingold”

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Síria’s “Cuspo” reviewed by Vital


While I had not heard of Síria before, I did hear Diana Combo, who is behind Síria, when she works as Eosin (see Vital Weekly 1131). Cronica writes that “in this project [she] joins her voice to the usual practice of combining vinyl records and field recordings, in a gesture of appropriationism that she has been presenting as EOSIN”, which begged the question for me: what is the difference then between Síria and Eosin? Right, there is the addition of voice. Ah. I wasn’t blown away by her previous release, which seemed to me nothing more than a DJ set; here at least she takes matters a bit further and this time around the vinyl sources aren’t easily recognized and in some case I would think that musicians gave her recordings to use, just as Svarte Greiner, Antoine Chessex or Joe Colley. I am not sure if there is something lifted from records, but who knows? Throughout these nine pieces are mostly introspective with a few sounds per piece, sea waves washing ashore, some crackles, a drone and with the voice of Síria improvising on top of that. She controls her voice quite a bit, creating more dreamy poetic sounds than something very open or loud. I quite enjoyed this release, especially on the second side there were some great pieces; I am not sure which, I believe ‘Gloria’ or ‘Senhora Do Almortao’. (FdW)

via Vital Weekly

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Síria’s “Cuspo” reviewed by FBI Radio


Diana Combo, previously known as Eosin, makes music using vinyl records, field recordings and occasional droney noisemakers of her own along with her vocals. Her new album for Portuguese experimental label Crónica sees her creating beautifully mysterious compositions using a series of avant-garde and experimental works from vinyl, crossing the experimental cello & drones of the great Svarte Greiner with the avant-garde composition of Antoine Chessex on the first track, and the spaced-out guitar & drones of Los Niños Muertos (André Tasso and Bruno Humberto) on the second – which incidentally really is a cover of the Patti Smith classic. Punk as fuck.

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