David Lee Myers’s “Reduced to a Geometrical Point” reviewed by Vital Weekly

Sometimes I need to repeat myself (I don’t mind), and surely I wrote the next thing before: ever since I stumbled upon music by David Lee Myers, I am a big fan. I guess it was already with his LP, ‘Engine Of Myth, for the unlikely label Recommended Records (not always known for the most out-there sort of electronic music). That was under the guise of Arcane Device, which he continued throughout the nineties. For many years, he releases under his given name. What I found fascinating about his music was that he used feedback, but in a much different way than those who called themselves power electronics, say Whitehouse or Ramleh. There was more control and less abuse; almost like a grandson of the fifties and sixties composers of serious electronic music. On this new release, he works with the notion of “audio constructions [that] seem to encourage a posture of staying in the moment. This has proven to be a fascination over time.” You can call it music for meditation, but Myers says he doesn’t like that. He also says that “as I began the present sonic explorations, a quote from metaphysics scholar Frithjof Schuon kept coming to mind: “You must detach your life from an awareness of the multiple and reduce it to a geometrical point before God.” Certainly, Schuon was not referring to any particular Judeo-Christian vision of a supreme being, but rather, whatever ultimate creative force of the universe must exist. So becoming “reduced to a geometrical point before God” was a concept that resonated for me while working on the pieces.” The working titles he used, ‘Geo 1’ etc, became an Earth reference, maybe adding meaning to the music. Maybe not. Myers uses “feedback matrics, oscillator banks,  and multi-processing”, which is not much different from when he started, but maybe the means are a bit more sophisticated? This is not really meditative music, of course, certainly not when the volume is put to a level that has a bit more presence. I am sure some people love their meditation to be loud, but the music as played by David Lee Myers is at times too dirty and strange to do such a thing, but, yes, people are strange as mister Morrison once sang, so for all I know, people might find this an excellent soundtrack for some deep meditation. I enjoy such things differently, I guess, not being too much interested in meditation (which, despite advancing age, and peers doing so, still is not a thing for me), but I enjoy my minimal music a lot. The variation played by Myers is one of considerable force and bruitist style, but also with some finer sustaining powers, sticking into a sound for a while, before slowly morphing into something else. It may no longer have the raw power of his earliest work (which also back then quickly toned down), but it is still a most enjoyable ride for about an hour or so. Maybe not really a big surprise anymore, but yet another high-quality work by one of the best when it comes to playing imaginative electronic music and with a strong voice of his own. (FdW)

via Vital Weekly

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Yiorgis Sakellariou’s “Degti” reviewed by Blow Up

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“Deriva” reviewed by Revue & Corrigée

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Yiorgis Sakellariou’s “Degti” reviewed by Music Map

Yorgis Sakellariou ha un curriculum interessante: musicista, artista del suono, accademico. Una figura affascinante. Poi ascolti questo album (uscito per Crónica Records) e ti cadono le braccia. “Ma, Matteo è un album sperimentale!” la mia vocina interna decanta ciò. E la mia risposta, per dirla all’inglese …and these birds!

Ho capito che non si ascolta della sperimentazione come se si ascoltasse Ramazzotti (non ho mai commesso questo errore, di ascoltare Eros, intendo), però “fare sperimentazione” non vuol dire fare qualsiasi peto sonoro che ci passa per la testa.

Quello di Sakellariou non lo è affatto, a essere precisi. Tuttavia, se non fosse per la solita spiegazione che accompagna l’opera, uno non lo apprezzerebbe per niente.

Entriamo nel dettaglio, sono registrazioni sul campo in Grecia e Lituania, ma potrebbero essere delle registrazioni fatte all’Ilva di Taranto o alla Alfa Romeo di Arese. Non farebbe alcuna differenza. Sono rumori di fabbrica, in cui l’artista chiede all’ascoltatore di reimmaginare le registrazioni, create apposta senza ragione.

Yiorgis sostiene che la parte meccanica materialista si trasforma, evolvendosi, in qualcosa di spirituale. Io direi che dobbiamo reimmaginare i suoni, perché suoni ce ne sono ben pochi. In termini tecnici la chiamerei una “parasederata” per non essere volgari. Senza ombra di dubbio, come esibizione susciterebbe molto più interesse, ma non era obbligatorio farci un album. O forse sono un grande ignorante. Come diceva il commendatore Zampetti: N.C.S. Non Ci Siamo. (Matteo Preabianca)

via Music Map

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“GML Variations” reviewed by Neural

GML Variations by Miguel Carvalhais and Pedro Tudela stems from an initial composition presented alongside other works in a public screening at the Casa da Música, in Porto. The focus of this event was the Robotic Gamelan, a complex instrument developed in 2008/2009 by Rui Penha, José Luís Azevedo and Miguel Ferraz that involves a network of robots capable of playing the Javanese gamelan. The unusual apparatus, originally designed for use by people with reduced mobility, is controlled by a computer that sends serial information using Max/MSP and can be operated by performing simple movements, captured by the sensors that are incorporated into the system. The piece was presented in January 2018 and shortly after recorded in the same location. Carvalhais and Tudela returned to that recording several times, manipulating and processing samples, adding original materials and finally developing the four variations and the final track on the album. Many of the new sound structures were latent in the composition and the duo had to do nothing but make them manifest, impressing a different perspective on the same work. What seems obvious to us is how the very clear percussions evolve into digital sounds, creating somewhat strange and fascinating amalgamations, with iridescent layers, often overlaid by electronic noise that surrounds the gamelan sound. If a gamelan is an entity whose instruments are built and tuned to play together, even the electronics in this case adapt to the tones and atmospheres produced by the robotic set of instruments. In these GML Variations, the technique of contrasting acoustic instruments and digital developments in an exaggerated manner is never used. The quality and coherence of @c’s compositions are always outstanding. In listening the electroacoustic elements blend beautifully with the ethereal, abstract and spatial digital treatments. Not satisfied, Pedro Tudela has also released a box set reminiscent of the great installation awdiˈtɔrju held at MAAT, the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, in Lisbon, whose vinyl release once more includes a studio remix of installation samples.

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New release: Yiorgis Sakellariou’s “Degti”

Degti was premiered on September 12, 2019 at Vilniaus Degtinė, a vodka factory in Vilnius, during the Muzika Erdvėje festival, with an audience consisting solely of Vilniaus Degtinė employees. Degti invites listeners to re-imagine the recordings made at the factory not as a soundtrack of labour, monotony and production but as a ghostly presence, purposely created to be purposeless. It celebrates mechanical character while attempting to remove links to specific sounding objects. This dual identity within the machines, partly material and partly transcendental, unfolds in compositional time during which matter transforms into spirit while spirit is embodied in the machines.

Be Pavadinimo was composed in 2019, based on environmental sounds recorded in various locations in Greece and Lithuania. Variations of the piece were performed in POKŠT Gallery in Utena and in Kirtimų Kultūros Centras in Vilnius.

Yiorgis Sakellariou is a composer of experimental and electroacoustic music. Since 2003 he has been active internationally, publishing solo and collaboration albums and presenting numerous sonic performances. He has composed music for short films and theatre plays, led workshops and moderated soundwalks.

His practice focuses on the communal experience of listening and the communication between composer, audiences, performance spaces and the rest of the physical and supernatural world. He only performs in absolute darkness, fostering an all-inclusive and profoundly submerging sonic experience.

He completed his PhD at Coventry University (April 2018) with research that drew inspiration from ethnomusicological and anthropological contexts and explored the sonic symbolism and socio-aesthetic settings in ecstatic religious rituals in relation to field recording, electroacoustic composition and acousmatic performance.

Yiorgis Sakellariou is a member of the Athenian Contemporary Music Research Centre, the Hellenic Electroacoustic Music Composers Association and the Lithuanian Composers Union. Since 2004 he has curated the label Echomusic. He is currently a lecturer at Vytautas Magnus University (Faculty of Arts) and at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (Department of Composition).

Degti is now available as a limited-release tape, a download or stream, from Crónica and the usual places. The tape includes an exclusive extra track, Degti (reprise).

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Yiorgis Sakellariou’s “Degti” reviewed by African Paper

Crónica bringen am 22. Juni eine Arbeit des griechischen Komponisten Yiorgis Sakellariou auf Tape heraus. “Degti” ist eine aus zwei elektroakustischen Soundscapes (und einem in der digitalen Versioin nicht enthaltenen Bonustrack) bestehende Arbeit, die vor knapp zwei Jahren in der litauischen Brauerei Vilniaus Degtinė aufgeführt wurde – wie üblich bei Sakellarious Werken im abgedunkelten und so auf die totale Akustik zurückgeworfenen Raum und mit einem ausschließlich aus Mitarbeitern der Brauerei bestehenden Publikum.

Die hier vorliegenden Aufnahmen, die das Soundmaterial der Aufführung enthalten, wurden ebenfalls in den Räumen der Brauerei und mit verschiedenen der dortigen Objekte gemacht. Ihre nachträgliche Unkenntlichmachung in einer dunklen Klanglandschaft transformiert die Fabrik in einen schemenhaften Ort und lässt die klangliche Dokumentation als Geisterarbeit (man muss vielleicht nicht den etwas inflationär und zweckentfremdet gebrauchten Begriff Hauntology verwenden) erscheinen lässt.

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Dan Powell’s “Four Walks at Old Chapel” reviewed by Music Map

Dan Powell è un sound artist originario dell’Essex e di stanza a Brighton. La sua produzione musicale si distingue per il ricorso a una combinazione di field recordings, frammenti elettronici autoprodotti e percussioni e per l’attività nel campo dell’improvvisazione elettroacustica.

A maggio di quest’anno, Dan Powell ha pubblicato un album registrato tra il 2016 e il 2018 alla Old Chapel Farm, nel piccolo villaggio di Tylwch, in Galles. Il concept alla base di “Four Walks at Old Chapel”, uscito per la label portoghese Crónica, è quello di mettere in musica l’esperienza in una fattoria di Tywlch, dove Dan Powell si è recato con sua figlia Bea. Lì, i due hanno raccolto oggetti vari rinvenuti in zona e li hanno radunati in una capanna di paglia situata lungo un corso d’acqua e con essi hanno registrato piccole parti musicali, per produrre una vasta gamma di brani dal sapore molto intimo, aggiungendo registrazioni di campo realizzate sempre nei dintorni, con l’ausilio di un pianoforte.

Nel suo studio di Brighton, quindi, Dan Powell ha lavorato su quei suoni nel tentativo di comunicare quel senso di mistero e di rivelazione sperimentati durante la visita, anche nell’ottica di raccontare la connessione con la terra, la natura in generale e le altre persone incontrate durante la visita. Il prodotto finale restituisce esattamente queste sensazioni, dai suoni naturali di “Walking from the Hut to the Piano” a quelli più lineari e stratificati di “Rumbled at the Gate, Escaping to the Barn”, passando per l’atmosfera a tratti cinematografica di “Emerging from the Valley into a Rainshower” e arrivando alla più breve “The Piano Grits Its Teeth”.

“Four Walks at the Old Chapel” è un esperimento parecchio coraggioso, ma riuscito. Tuttavia, per comprenderlo al meglio, è necessario conoscerne le ragioni e i significati più profondi. (Piergiuseppe Lippolis)

via Music Map

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Yiorgis Sakellariou’s “Degti” reviewed by Vital Weekly

Without giving the information too much attention, I just started playing this new cassette by Yiorgis Sakellariou. I heard quite a bit of his work over the years and the quality is quite high, so there is not much to ‘worry’ there. Also, as I know much of his work is based on site-specific recordings, I thought it would be nice to guess the sort of location. I was wrong; on both accounts, as it turned out that the two main pieces here are from various locations. The third piece is a reprise of the first, which is the title piece and here he uses recordings from a vodka factory in Vilnius, Degtiné, which lends its title to the music. I could not have guessed this was a vodka factory, but a factory, yes, I guessed that right. The other side, contains, ‘Be Pavadinimo’, consisting of environmental sounds recorded in various locations in Greece and Lithuania. In both pieces, we hear ‘traditional’ Sakellariou elements, one of which is the collage approach he applies to work with sound. Various blocks are created and within each section, he transforms the sounds little by little, until it cuts or fades to the next section. Another trademark element is the strong dynamics of the music, ranging from quite loud to very quiet. In the ‘Be Pavadinimo’, these are mainly recordings from nature and natural events, a campfire, wind and the rustling of leaves.
Sometimes the cassette has a bit of difficulty with the low-end of the music (compared to the Bandcamp download), but it works well. In the title piece, there is a great interaction between sounds recorded from some distance and very close by, space versus machines. And machines offer monotony, but in the hands of Sakellariou, this monotony works in favour of the piece. The workings of the factory, distilling and bottling are something that becomes clear once you know the sources, and it has a surprising ‘industrial music element’ to it, especially towards the end of the piece. Two great pieces, of course, once again, and I preferred ‘Degti’, because of the quite different sound material used. (FdW)

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New release: Dan Powell’s “Four Walks at Old Chapel”

Old Chapel Farm is an adventure in living which aims to bring people closer to the fundamentals of human existence: the creation of food and of shelter. It is a bridge reaching forwards into a newer, more sustainable way of being in a rapidly changing and highly populated world.

As a family we have been visiting this place every year since 2011. In 2017 I decided to produce a piece about Old Chapel Farm as part of my series which focuses on personal experience of a space.

On our trip in 2018 my daughter Bea and I collected objects we found around the site and gathered them together in a straw bale hut suspended over a stream in a wooded valley which the farm’s owners made available for us to use. We recorded small performances with them, brushing, scraping and rubbing them to produce a wide range of intimate sounds. We also made field recordings around the site, including using a piano which had been exposed to the elements for some time.

Back in the studio in Brighton, I arranged the recorded sounds into a new work. I wanted to try and communicate some of the mystery and revelation I’ve experienced on my visits, and the connections I feel with the land and people I encounter when I visit the farm.

Tracklist:

  1. Walking from the hut to the piano (11:55)
  2. Rumbled at the gate, escaping to the barn (7:13)
  3. Emerging from the valley into a rainshower (8:10)
  4. The piano grits its teeth (3:56)

Recorded at Old Chapel Farm, Wales, 2016-2018 by Dan & Bea Powell. Composed and produced by Dan Powell, Brighton, 2019. Mastering and cover by Miguel Carvalhais with photos by Dan Powell. Thank you to Fran, Kevin & Merlin Blockley, the Powell, Parker and Henderson families.

Four Walks at Old Chapel” is now available as a limited release tape, and for download or stream.

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