“Juryo: Durée de la vie de l’ainsi-venu” reviewed by Musique Machine

Here’s a sombrely presented CD (pro-pressed and printed) on Crónica. The imagery, and explanatory notes on the back cover, suggested to me that Juryo: Durée de la Vie de L’ainsi​-​venu koxx might be an album dominated by field recording, and whilst it very much is, in one sense, sonically it’s really quite different. The album is largely constructed from field recordings from across Asia, sometimes processed, sometimes raw. The second, third, and fourth tracks are inspired by a chapter of the Lotus Sûtra – a famous text of Mahâyâna Buddhism – whilst the first, Tanit Astarté, ‘is a quotation from Antonin Artaud’s book Héliogabale, and refers to the moon goddess, as described in Phoenician myths.’
This first track, does indeed stand apart from the rest of the album, to the extent that I wonder whether its inclusion was a good idea, really… This isn’t because it’s inferior in any way, but just that the remaining three tracks together might have been a more coherent, stronger release. Regardless, Tanit Astarté is quite similar to its companions: droning electroacoustic sounds, alongside more kinetic sections. The only issue I have – and it’s not only very personal, but also rather fundamental – is that the actual sounds themselves are not always interesting. Indeed, across the entire album are sounds which remind me of a certain effect filter, which produces a resonant timbre not unlike a steel drum. It’s possible that many of the sounds are just field recordings processed in this way, and certainly that would account for some of the wonderful movement that it is to be found on Juryo. However, it’s unfortunately simply a sound that I don’t enjoy, so Tanit Astarté – for all of its swirls and intricacies – is not something that will ever stay in my stereo very long.

The remaining three tracks fare much better. This is in part due to the interspersing of recognisable field recording elements amongst the synthesized sounds. So, folded in with the drones and modulating judders, we can also hear: flutes, street sounds, waves (or trees in the wind…), religious ritual, animal noises, voices, and the radio. These anchor the more abstract elements, and provide welcome colour in the tracks, which are all to the longer side of things. Whilst there are definitely melodic elements at work – the beginning of Taisi Funeral has a dreamy feel – the pieces are overwhelmingly textural and abstract. However, rather than exploring anything abrasive or frenetic, or minimal or quiet, Mieville occupies a tangled middle ground – tangled in the sense that Juryo is at points minimal, quiet, (nearly) frenetic, (nearly) abrasive, but never in thrall to any one direction. (Perhaps the most abrasive elements are the odd drop-outs (or cut-offs) during Murasaki, which jolt the listener, although frankly in an annoying way.)

Initially, I was very non-plussed with this album, but after many listens, I’ve come to appreciate it’s depth. It’s not an easy listen, there are no cheap thrills here, but it’s a release that covers quite a bit of ground – as long as your ears can excuse that certain sound that mine can’t… Martin P

via Musique Machine

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Futurónica 193

Episode 193 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, May 26th.

The playlist of Futurónica 193 is:

  1. Pan Sonic, Säteily / Radiation (2004, Kesto (234.48:4), Blast First)

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

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“Stikhiya” reviewed by Touching Extremes

Because of their often undefinable nature, most field recording-based albums cannot be committed to memory. Still, the few artists who can really operate a studio to produce materials worthy of being positively absorbed act as invisible aids for the listener to retrieve – you guessed it – memories. At this exact point stands the work of Yiorgis Sakellariou, a man whose depth of ear is proportional to his skillfulness in eliciting momentous transitions through acquired, processed and reconfigured sounds.

After decades spent analyzing hundreds of releases supported by the intrinsic voices of our environment, the experience tells that Sakellariou is now one of the genre’s bosses. The main reason is the ability to coordinate the sources and synchronize the effects of sonorities ranging from crepuscular to sizzling, from hardly audible to thunderous. Even more notably, he manages to design rigorous compositions via a palette not implausibly varicolored (read: replete with bells and whistles). Both tracks here incorporate the kind of reminiscence-inducing hums and rumbles, industrial reiterations and inauspicious pulsations that, in a matter of minutes, pushed yours truly back to the times of juvenile pondering in a Tuscan country area whose silence was only broken by the murmured mantra of remote marble factories. It’s not a case of identicalness of situations, though; what I’m talking about is the power of summoning typical of certain acoustic assemblages. In this regard the Greek soundscaper is a master of the game, his maturity as sonic organizer increasing from a release to the next.

Turning apparent monotony into a supernatural occurrence is a rare gift. Within the incommensurable chasms of the self, a method survives to expand perceptions beyond the limit of asinine speech. All it takes is locating the right frequencies. Stikhiya represents an excellent instrument to get delivered by the “obligations of performance” linked to the downgrading aspects of counterfeit socialization. Plunge into it fearlessly. Massimo Ricci

via Touching Extremes

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“Stikhiya” reviewed by Chain DLK

“Stikhiya” is a pair of soundscape compositions comprising layered environmental found sound with additional electronic elements that sound sometimes like arcing electricity, sometimes like industrial gas processing, sometimes like the interference caused by mobile phones on unshielded audio cables. Repetitive mechanical processes occasionally form firm rhythms, ignored by their sonic neighbours. It’s an uncomfortable inserted juxtaposition that changes this work from ambient to uncomfortable.

Despite being labelled as only “part 1” and “part 2” there are smaller sequences within, and abrupt and distinct changes that jolt your consciousness just as you are beginning to tune out. On their own the environmental sounds are often quite prosaic- empty, everyday spaces with distant road noises and indistinct plastic hits. It often feels rather ordinary and familiar. Only fleeting glimpses, such as the odd whistling tones in the final minute, feel ethereal.

“Stikhiya” has all the commonplace elements of a soundscape arrangement but unfortunately it fails to shine as a self-contained work due to its uninviting awkwardness. Stuart Bruce

via Chain DLK

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New release: Yiorgis Sakellariou’s “Stikhiya”

“Having realised the errors in rational knowledge I found it easier to free myself from the temptation of futile theorizing” Leo Tolstoy (1880)

I understand this phrase as an expression of Stikhiya, the word used by Russian poet Aleksandr Blok in early 20th century to describe the fundamental value of primitive immediacy. Contradictory to intellectualism and rationality, Stikhiya is emerging from organic holistic experiences, it is perceived as an unfathomable and formless force that creates awe and inspires myths.

When music is experienced as Stikhiya, its cathartic power opens up expanded realms of reality and leads to what Iannis Xenakis has called a “truth immediate, rare, enormous and perfect”, perhaps even to ‘enthusiasm’, the Greek word that means divine essence within.

Yiorgis Sakellariou, London, February 2017.

Yiorgis Sakellariou is an electroacoustic music composer. Having a background in classical and Mediterranean folk music, he came to develop his personal language during the early 2000s. Since then he has been active internationally being responsible for solo and collaboration albums, having composed music for short films and theatrical performances, leading workshops and ceaselessly performing his music around the globe.

His practice is founded on the digital manipulation of environmental recordings. His palette of sounds is all encompassing; from vibrating rail-tracks to refrigerators’ static, and from noisy waterfalls to the humming of insects.

Yiorgis Sakellariou is a member of the Athenian Contemporary Music Research Centre and the Hellenic Electroacoustic Music Composers Association. Since 2004 he has curated the label Echomusic.

Environmental recordings and composition by Yiorgis Sakellariou, 2015-2016. Environmental sounds recorded in Czechia, Thailand, Greece, Lithuania, Estonia, Morocco and the Netherlands. Additional electronic signals recorded in London. Composed and mixed in London.

Cover art by roav. Mastered by MC.

Stikhiya is available as a limited-release tape and as a digital download.

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“Hiku Komuro, Hikikomori” reviewed by Blow Up

Vázquez è un (ehm) musicista galiziano autodidatta che traffica con computer e programmi per inventare suoni. In questo caso manipola samples da vecchi videogiochi. Il risultato è spaesante, una specie di ambient siderale più sinistra che giocosa, con suoni che sembrano nuvole galleggianti ora pulsanti ora eteree a cui si accostano distrattamente scampoli di rumori assortiti, a parte il keatoniano finale alla wall-e. (7) Girolamo Del Maso

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“The Waste Land” reviewed by Blow Up

L’etichetta portoghese inaugura la collaborazione com l’artista italo-svizzero con una musicassetta, una breve compilation in cui troviamo la rielaborazione di una registrazione per un documentario, una composizione che parte dai suoni di una miniera di carbone e un assemblaggio di suoni captati passeggiando tra Normandia e Parigi. La diversità di origine dei pezzi invece che disperdere la sensibilità “sonica” e compositiva di Forcucci finisce per valorizzarla, con il suo sense del tempo e dello spazio gravido di risonanze. (7/8) Girolamo Del Maso

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“Digital Junkies in Strange Times” reviewed by Blow Up

La carriera di Slavin continua articulando lo stesso discorso che il titolo ben rappresenta, lasciandosi andare in un quello che in mano meno abili potrebbe diventare un ammaso di cianfrusaglie sonore (canzoni R&B, field recordings, ekettronica manipolata, qualche tocco jazzy…). La vena giocherellona che scova tra la spazzatura che il nostro mondo sta diventando va di pari passo con un pensiero analitico, tanto preciso quanto leggero. Pure la durate dei 4 pezzi è curiosamente bislacca: si va dal minuto e mezzo di un frammento acustico (“Acousmatis”) ai 41 minuti dell’ipnotico vagabondo finale “Moonlight Compilations” (7) Girolamo Del Maso

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“Bittersweet Melodies” reviewed by Data.Wave

The worlds created by Ran Slavin are all part of the nocturnal universe and this album is definitely one of them. All twelve Bittersweet Melodies is a collection of unique stories between sunrise and sunset. Each of the tracks is unlike the other, some bitter and some sweet, as the title of the album suggests. Each track is a piece of a jigsaw, fitting in the front picture of the album art – a blurry image of a night city and a tropical island postcard from the 80s.

Our trip starts with the first track Saturday’s Dress. As the track progresses we leave the real world for the imaginary one.Category: Murdered Entertainers – is the soundtrack of a crime story with a twisted plot, eerie loops and paths, atmosphere noire. In Disruptive Lounge we hear the sounds of a string ethnic instrument mixed with the sounds of tuning of a radio, which does not get tuned in the end and instead untunes the whole track.

In Fake Sunsets we take a walk in the darkest hours before sunrise, listening to the music from some old movie and get to the next track Dubai Dawn. Sinatra Was Here reminds of Frank Sinatra in a wonderful film Cast a Giant Shadow (1966), where he had a short, but remarkable role.

Listening this album over and over again, it feels like the album describes a point, where the night turns into sunrise and back into the night. Slavin’s music calls for adventurous associations with illusionary and surreal cinema. Trying to understand this album is the same like wandering the streets of the city, which never existed. Slavin’s music is highly intellectual and urbanistic, it matches the pulse of the modern life, and yet there is always a mystery there, like a street close that you heard so much about, but could never find, no matter how hard you tried.

via Data.Wave

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“Nowhere: Exercises in Modular Synthesis and Field Recording” reviewed by RNE 3 Atmosfera

Durante su preparación, colocando el papel, mojando el pincel y moliendo la piedra de la tinta, el calígrafo está profundamente concentrado. Luego, cuando está listo, realiza el dibujo en unos cuantos movimientos rápidos.
Esta alegoría le sirve a Jos Smolders para afirmar que sus trabajos siempre han sido precisos, meticulosamente editados. En la última década aproximadamente, Smolders ha dejado la idea de una composición preconcebida / diseñada. Sólo hay una idea vaga antes de empezar a grabar. A través de su práctica Zen, Smolders se ha interesado en el enfoque descrito anteriormente. Tradujo el método del calígrafo a sus sesiones con el sintetizador modular. De ese modo, Smolders se concentra al conectar el parche y establecer los parámetros al inicio de una sesión. Entonces comienza los diversos movimientos sónicos, dejando que las cosas fluyan e interfieran sólo cuando sea necesario. Posteriormente deja los sonidos originales intactos tanto como sea posible, tratando de limitar los overdubs y la edición extensa. El flujo del ‘aquí’ y el ‘ahora’ le guía.

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