Síria’s “Cuspo” reviewed by Groove

Die Ebenen des Dazwischen sind Orte von Geistern und Erinnerung. Besonders heimgesucht sind Klänge aus obsoleten (im Tech-Jargon: obsoleszenten) Tonträgerformaten wie Schellackplatten oder Chromdioxid-Kassetten. Die aus und mit diesen Medien produzierten „hauntologischen“ Inhalte spiegeln Stimmungen von nostalgisch, melancholisch und morbide bis hin zu düster und unheimlich. Diana Combo aus Porto hat sich unter dem Alias Eosin auf genau solche konzeptuell appropriierenden, hauntologische Klänge aus alten Schellack- und Vinylplatten spazialisisert. Das Tape Cuspo (Crónica) unter Combos anderem Alias Síria führt den dunklen Spuk in das Territorium von Indie-Ambient à la Grouper oder Ekin Fil, also eine Lo-Fi Produktion, viel Hall auf Stimme und Instrumenten sowie ein rauschender und knisternder alter Analogsynthesizer als Soundbasis. Also düstere und introvertiert-verschreckte minimalistische Folksongs aufgenommen mit einer 4-Spur-Bandmaschine im Schwimmbad zwei Häuser weiter. Frank P. Eckert

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“For Pauline” reviewed by Fluid Sonic Fluctuations

Hello, I’m excited to present to you my first advance review on this blog of an upcoming release, in this case on CRÓNICA. This is the new Limited Edition Cassette and Digital Album release by ISABEL LATORRE & EDU COMELLES titled FOR PAULINE, it will be released on both formats on November 20, but I can give you all an advance review of what you can expect from this excellent new 47 minute tape. The version I’m reviewing here is the promo version of the Digital Album, which is in 16-bit/44.1kHz CD quality and comes with the cover art in good resolution as well as a promo PDF file detailing the release.

FOR PAULINE is a tape which became a tribute to legendary American composer, accordionist and experimental music artist Pauline Oliveros who passed away in 2016. As written in the PDF file, the first piece Isabel Latorre Plays Pauline Oliveros (Live recording 27.05.2017) is a live recording by EDU COMELLES of ISABEL LATORRE’S performance at Ensems Festival 2017 in which she interpreted Oliveros’ Deep Listening theories and philosphy. The piece was commissioned by COMELLES in 2016, but when Oliveros’ passed away in November of that year, the music suddenly became a tribute to her. And, indeed the piece is a really well fitting tribute, full of intense resonating tones and harmonics, tonal tension and occasional dissonance. LATORRE’S accordion at points sounds almost electronic, at other times purely acoustic and organic. In waves the piece floats, progresses, rises and falls full of rich textures, sometimes whirring like electrity, the accordion fluttering around a sharp drone. The music builds to a tense cloud of dissonance until it falls into silence and in the second half builds from the sounds of air flowing throw the accordion to a stretched drone accompanied by LATORRE’s voice. There’s some lovely phasing going on in the resonances and harmonics within the accordion’s wave of drone, giving it a texture that’s both sharp and flowing, the drone moves forward with more diffuse noisy accordion mechanics sounds waving through the drone like wind rattling leaves of trees. The drone then fades out into quiet soft high harmonics, into a quiet sonic feeling of piece. A very good performance, which definitely also recalled a lot of Oliveros’ works with resonances and harmonics fluctating and mixing as can be heard in the electronic pieces on Important Records’ box set Reverberations. La Isla Plana is the piece by EDU COMELLES, created using samples of LATORRE’s accordion, as well as a Shruti box. Just like the first track, it’s an intensely droning piece, though this one is a bit more continous in its progression and there’s more gradual flow to it. The drone features acoustic tones but also tones that are slightly glitched up in the mixture. It’s a pretty jumpy way of glitching but it works. The first half blends in all these sounds in various harmonic combinations, waves flowing like the see. Acoustic and electronic manipulation blended into a subtle sharp glow of rich sonics. The second half fades into one melodic pattern that gets repeated as a focus and keeps building the sonics on this, with waves of hissing noisy sound and sharper phasing drone fading into the foreground, the sound image also gets deeper and wider in this second half, very impressive, captivating and entrancing drone that tightly grips you in a gorgeous cloud of sound. The piece also ends in a soft ambience of phasing harmonics, almost fading into just one note of the drone mixture, all out into the distance. Awesome piece.

FOR PAULINE perfectly encapsulates Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening concepts and experimentation with natural and modified resonances into an enjoyable and deep listening experience of excellent electro-acoustic music. It’s a tape release of music that Olveros herself would have definitely loved herself too, I feel and is a great work that continues the legacy of research, experimentation and music with which Oliveros inspired many musicians. An excellent recommended tape. Orlando Laman

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“Roha” reviewed by Gonzo Circus

Gewoonlijk gaat Andreas Trobollowitsch voor zijn composities uit van eerder opgenomen improvisaties – met instrumenten en voorwerpen – en ‘gevonden geluiden’. Dat deed hij bijvoorbeeld bij eerdere albums (met de duo’s Nörz en Acker Velvet) en dat doet hij ook bij zijn solowerkstuk ‘Roha’. Ditmaal schijnen de voorafgaande improvisaties en gevonden geluiden echter vrij rechtstreeks, ‘ruwer’ op de plaat te zijn beland. ‘Roha’ ademt in elk geval een sfeer van experiment en speels uitproberen. Dat betekent ook dat ‘Roha’ de indruk wekt eerder een verzameling losse geluidsonderzoeken te zijn, dan een album met een logische opbouw in composities. Dat is overigens geen kritische veroordeling. Hij presenteert ons een album vol ideeën, helder in hun beperking, zich telkens zich richtend op het detail. De ene compositie bestaat uit een repeterend loopje en willekeurig geplaatste klanken en klinkt als een moeizaam, met gepuf en gekraak voortploegende machine; een volgende keer vormt een metalig geratel een dichte, snerpende drone. Metalige slagen en snelle pulsen vormen een industriële compositie, die humoristisch eindigt als een afslaande motor; snaren en toetsen van een (geprepareerde of kapotte?) piano leveren een herhalend lijntje en een gebrekkige melodie, langzaam oplossend in een geluidsbrei. ‘Roha’ pakt, in zijn afwisseling, uit als een consistent album met plezierige, mooie, kleine en vooral dwarse composities. Trobollowitsch nodigt uit tot herhaald beluisteren en verkennen.

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“Ification” reviewed by Fluid Sonic Fluctuations

Hi everyone, this is the last part of my Crónica review series (for now). Today I’m putting the focus on this 2008 album by Pure called Ification. The album is again presented in the same 16-bit/44.1kHz sound quality as the physical CD release and includes the album cover in good resolution and PDF file with album details and credits of course.

Ification is a much shorter album than the previous releases I reviewed, although its 58 minutes running time is still longer than average and I definitely had a good listening experience with this album. Over the 7 album tracks Pure’s music crosses various genres like Noise, Dark Ambient and electro-acoustic music. It’s definitely an interesting mixture of sonic textures and rhythms on this album but there’s also a good cohesion in the music as there’s a recurring theme of manipulated acoustic or electric instruments that binds all tracks together into a whole. First track Fire is a curious one, chopped up blocks of guitar Noise chords in an unpredictable rhythm. It’s pretty barebones, minimal and short but still a fun piece to start with. Second track After the Bomb dives into much more atmospheric territory with reversed pads that sound like run through an MP3 compression filter. The piece slowly builds as a drone, high frequency blips fade in and soft sirens can be heard. Then ringmodulated manipulated drums come in, playing in an improvised way. Amongst these are also bursts of Noise, not very harsh but definitely noticable elements of crackling texture. It definitely feels like a situation of uncertainty, if we take the track title After the Bomb, less like terror after a bomb would go off but more like this feeling of uncertainty. An intriguing piece that flows very smoothly in this unique mixture of sounds. Approximation follows, a piece that does sound a bit like a Contemporary Classical composition with the low horns and high glassyy string like sounds. A pretty mysterious droning piece that varies constantly between two or three chords, there’s some dark percussion in here as well. It definitely gives off a tense feel but also shows a bit of the low point I found about some tracks on this album. This low point is the sometimes slightly confusing structure of the tracks, so in the case of Approximation the way the music progresses feels a bit vague to me at some points. The low horns, high string sounds that are sometimes in upwards and downwards waves in frequency are combined and follow eachother but don’t feel entirely connected in what sounds they make. Fortunately though this confusion is reduced by the abstraction inherent in the music, so while I couldn’t follow where the music was going in some of the tracks, the atmosphere and vibe the textures give off is still inspiring and captivating to get into. Blind Flight is a darker piece that besides drone also features quite a lot more Noise. The piece is more continous going from a hollow metallic drone to crunchy whining Noise with Industrial overtones. The piece then moves towards tense string ambience in which the Noise fades back in, crackling even more, buzzing like a big Industrial turbine hall towards a metallic ending. Sonomatopeia features vocals by Alexandra von Bolzn and features a lot excellent synth and Noise experimentation in a frightening high frequency drench cloud of sound. The piece moves from glassy and buzzing to diffuse Noise into sharp synth drone ending with heavily distorted and flanged Noise. The vocals are mostly textural experiments Alexandra does with her mouth, in the end culminating in some distorted wordless screams. It’s not the most extreme kind of vocals I’ve heard but they definitely do add a nice organic, alien kind of texture and tension to the music, nice. Next track End, is a long Drone piece that has this lovely diffuse resonating and ticking beginning that’s very deep and moves into a distorted and buzzing drone. The buzzing is nicely low and intense on the ears. Cool thing is that this drone actually shifts to a different tone not too long before half-way into the piece, only establishing the pitch of the piece after some time. This sharp drone then gets accompanied by washy distant percussion and metal resonance. The drone sometimes goes gets filtered with a Low Pass Filter of its high frequencies to focus more on the background and then goes back into sharpness again. Again very mysterious and dark music that develops gradually but also really keeps a great deep distant spacial soundscape going. And that is also what I like about a lot of the music on this album too, the space caused by the reverb on the piece gives the music a more distant and deep sound that can still be equally harsh but also gives more of a feeling of a huge or infitely big space these sounds move in. Iron Sky is the final piece and it’s the noisiest one. Kicking off with a section of excellent rhythmic noise choppy rhythms made up of distorted noise and heavily distorted acoustic drums the piece gets into harsh screeching Noise mayhem full of high frequency crunch, punchy drums with quite some bass in the kick. The last three minutes of the piece are particularly harsh and intense, an awesome chaos of Noise waves mixed with heavily modulated acoustic instruments. An explosive and fiery finale to the album.

Ification by Pure is an often dark album of electro-acoustic Drone and Noise infused music. It’s an experience that could perhaps use some more structure in the composition ocassionally but this is made up for with an excellent original sonic signature sound by Pure. An enjoyable and thrilling varied ride through dark sonics for anyone looking for experimental music with a deeper, darker and more live feel to it. Orlando Laman

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“Homem Fantasma” reviewed by Fluid Sonic Fluctuations

Hey again, here’s yet another part of my CRÓNICA review series, today focussing on this 2011 album by @C HOMEM FANTASMA. @C is the (in this case) electroacoustic duo of Miguel Carvalhais (one of CRÓNICA’s founders) and Pedro Tudela. The album is presented here in a 16-bit/44.1kHz CD quality download and includes the album cover in good resolution as well as a PDF detailing the album and also featuring credits.

HOMEM FANTASMA is a curious long 1 hour 52 minutes album of music and sound art that like the description says it not necessarily continous in a traditional way, rather being more like a kind of cycle of mutiple cycles that start and end at unpredictable moments. The three tracks are titled 78, 79 and 80 (probably pointing to @C’s works being titled as a continuous series in abstract numbers). First track 78 sounds like a mystery situation build up off a wide variety of sounds, mechanic, objects, drones, acoustic instruments. The music is extremely layered and is at times slowly paced, other times quicker in its pacing. This piece to me conjured up an interesting feeling in me, it’s somewhere in between peaceful and threatening. The drone in this piece is layered with a lot of both acoustic and electronic percussive abstract sounds but they don’t seem to be percussive in a traditional sense. More like mechanics taking on a life of their own, having a personality. A big part of this music is made of sounds that you seem to recognize but are hard to distinguish being actually real or to explain what they are. For fans of glitch, the last part of 78 contains some lovely clicks and sonic minimalism, look out for those pingpong balls in there as well. 79 is the big construction site piece, it’s filled with drones, whirs and machinery sounds that sound rather alien and manipulated. Just like 78 it’s a long track and it gets you into this trance state all focused on this mechanical and synthetic resonances combined with organic sounds. Of particular highlight in this track is the stuttery drilling sound that appears in some spots in this piece. Like 78 this piece ends more quiet and minimal in a mixture of “smaller” sounds in a smaller space, more liquid, abstract and imaginary sounding too. @C’s pieces on HOMEM FANTASMA are really dense with sound and progress a lot over these long pieces, always something happening yet never moving in a fast way. The trancelike ambience and pacing of this music also gives it a quality that you can listen both focused on the music but also sometimes let your mind wander off a little and let these strange sonics seep into your subconcious to conjur up and manipulate curious new thoughts and images. Another common part of the three piece is the usage of high frequenicy sounds, often laid over the rest in the mix as drones that are often pretty sharp and intense on the ears but do add some shine and luminance to the sound. Last piece 80 is much darker than the two pieces before and more synthetic sounding in a small room. 80 is more rhythmically focused and features more Industrial sounding machinery and mechnical sounds, some pleasant clanging sounds too, like classic 80’s Industrial. The drones in this piece go from sharp to filtered, diffuse and mysterious The piece is more minimal in its progression, less organic sounding too, so the repetition in the rhythms did require some more patience of me. However, because of the way the three pieces aren’t flowing into eachother or continous evolving in a traditional manner, you can always relisten and explore sections of the music again and see what new listening experience you will have. You could even try to shuffle these pieces and rearrange the album as an experiment. But however you listen to it it’s definitely a unique and captivating album.

HOMEM FANTASMA is a great 1 hour 52 minutes ride of music and sound art combined into abstract cinematic events that can inspire your imagination, let you discover the environment we live in in a surreal manner and is a new original way to perceive how music flows. A great listen and definitely recommended. Orlando Laman

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“For Pauline” reviewed by Vital Weekly

When I started to play this tape, I first assumed it was blank; it took quite some time before there was any music to hear, even when the volume was turned up quite a bit. This is a split cassette but there is also something that makes that both sides belong together. Latorre and Comelles worked together on a project in 2016 and Comelles did some recordings of Latorre’s accordion. Comelles asked Latorre to play a piece by Pauline Oliveros for a festival he was curating and during the preparation Oliveros passed away (November 2016) and so the concert became a tribute. That recording is on the first side here, as said, starting out very quiet. But slowly the sound becomes audible and we arrive at something that indeed sounds very Pauline Oliveros.
The music is meandering about, the accordion expanded by electronics, creating richly textured music but also with a firm foothold in the world of improvised music, sometimes hectic bouncing all over the places and in the end section Latorre also adds her voice. On the other side we find Edu Comelles with a piece that is a combination of shruti box and samples from Latorre’s accordion. This piece is a more controlled environment in which computer generated sampled play drones along with those with a more manual touch. These drones have a slightly eastern feel to it, I think, and despite the fact that some of these sound perhaps digital, there is overall a warm feel to this piece. A mournful tone in what is surely an excellent threnody. Spacious, endless, sustaining and yet also seemingly always with minor changes. (FdW)

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“Lengvai / 60 x one minute audio colours of 2kHz sound” reviewed by Fluid Sonic Fluctuations

Hello again, I’m back with the next volume in my review series of Crónica releases, today I have for you this double CD album Lengvai / 60 x one minute audio colours of 2kHz sound by Lithuanian sound artist Gintas K. The 2 CDs are housed in a clear jewel case that also includes a 4 page booklet with more images of the album’s abstract cover artwork.

Lengvai / 60 x one minte audio colours of 2kHz sound are two pieces that each take up one disc of the 2 CD set, a total of 2 hours 5 minutes of music. Lengvai being described on the back of the jewelcase as a rhythmic and textural post-techno inspired piece, while 60 x one minute audio colours of 2kHz sound is a more conceptual sound art piece that also literally does take up the 60 tracks on Disc 2, all with other 1 minute variations of 2kHz sound. This 2 CD set is definitely an interesting and enjoyable varied release of music that kicks off on Disc 1 with the first part of Lengvai (easily or easy in English), titled Lengvai.

The first track is the most minimal and microsound influenced part of Lengvai starting with filtered liquid synth ticks moving towards frequency manipulation of sine wave tones accompanied by a soft subtle glitch rhythm and sine chords that kind of sound like Dub Techno stabs completely reduced to the first building block of the synth sounds. Mysterious and abstract but also with frequencies playing with your ears in the sensitive part of hearing, the first part is a calm start of a composition that does get more rhythmic and varied very quickly. No spoilers yet in this first part however. Ilgiau Ilgiau features glitch drums with a very funky groove to them, stereo panned noises and high frequency beeps are also part of the mixture. The sound does remind me a bit of Ryoji Ikeda’s more rhythmic works but with a swing and a “rougher” sound design. The glitch beats drive the music towards three note synth pattern that feels very “homely” and comfortable but also pleasantly clicky. Near the end of this part the music moves towards a more diffuse drone that gets glitched up as well in the rhythm of the music. That’s one of the interesting aspects of Gintas K music, the abrupt chopping up or manipulation of sound and unexpected moments. It creates a very fun kind of playfulness in the music that keeps it from sounding rigid and cold. Kūlgrinda, the third part is a much longer part that features more intense Glitch rhythms that accompany a pretty funny kind of distorted synth melody that features a heavy Wah like filter effect (sounds like manipulation of the Body Resonance of the Scream 4 effect in the DAW Reason), as well as some heavy phaser action. Maybe a little cheesy in its sound but it gives the music a funky and also pretty humorous sound. After this section the music fades to a watery synth sound, very liquid, like a kind of device sucking out water accompanied by high frequency clusters of ticks. This crossfades into a distorted drone and gets accompanied by the glitch beat of the first section. Now however the sound of the full mix gets gradually more and more mangled into distorted, folding and trembling by the manipulation. The added high harmonics give the music a very nice adventurous vibe and I found this manipulation especially great. The full mix gets more and more distorted at the end, ending a full wave of warbly distortion, excellent. Fourth part Koto starts with a great drone mostly at the left side of the stereo image that gets heavily flanged, the flanger settings being manipulated in various patterns that add cool resonances and Noise like harshness to the sound. The music builds with a more sparse, polyrhthmic Glitch beat accompanying the drone. In the second half of this track the drone fades out and the music is more focussed on the glitch rhythm in which now also short tones are added for resonance. This second part also features it’s own microsections of repetition, giving the composition new twists of direction. The piece moves toward the end with a different drone, more similar to first track Lengvai, pure sound in a higher range of frequencies, soft beds of Noise add a bit of rain / wind sounds to the mixture, the piece then ends with only the drone and noise beds. Early Set is the final part of Lengvai and is also the longest track at 27 minutes 19 seconds length. Just like the pieces before, the music flows through various sections but with even more variation. Highlights in this part for me are the bird like sounds in the first half, that also sound like distant car alarms. Then there’s the awesome build up of Noise in the second half that speeds up in a big and loud way, very impressive to listen on speakers with great work in the bass too. In the last section of the piece there is a section of what sounds like music samples being combined with washes of Noise and rising high frequencies, harmonic and harsh at the same time, very nice. At the very end the piece breaks down to a minimal stereo glitch rhythm that gradually gets more and more distorted and mangled, even slammed. Until it sounds like microscoping broken black holes of sound. Great ending to Disc 1 of this release.

Disc 2 features the full piece 60 x one minute audio colours of 2kHz sound. Because the piece’s 60 tracks are actually part of the composition and sound manipulation method I will obviously now give an overall impression of the piece rather than go through all the seperate tracks. This piece was definitely a pretty unique listening experience, the 2 kHz sinewave sound is audible on pretty much all the 60 tracks, either pure or manipulated in frequency, rhythm or other ways. The length does of course make the piece a bit challenging because sounds at 2 kHz can sound rather fatiguing on the ears for a long long time, fortunately Gintas K creates quite a lot of variation in the piece, not only manipulating the 2 kHz sound itself but also adding other sometimes glitchy high frequency sounds to it. I guess the best way to describe how this piece felt to me is that it’s somewhere in between a physical experience of raw sound as well as rooms and other places where this sound might be coming from and environments that distort the sound. At one point the sound even gets really loud intense and fast in ticking, sometimes also sounding a bit like an alarm. In general it’s a really unique piece to describe and I definitely like it mostly, but especially at parts where the 2 kHz gets changed up. The more progression the better with this kind of sound. So definitely a unique but challenging piece, a good listen.

Lengvai / 60 x one minute audio colours of 2 kHz is an equally fun and unique listening experience of double album. Disc 1 is more accesible and suited for repeated listening but Disc 2 also does offer a great kind of study of sound that is at point just as playful and progressive as Disc 1. In any case, this is a great creative release of glitchy sonic work by Gintas K and a good listen, so check it out for sure. Orlando Laman

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“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

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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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