“Praxis” reviewed by Fluid Sonic Fluctuations

Hello everyone, it’s time for another review in my by now monthly Crónica review series. This time we got this excellent album called Praxis by Cem Güney. This is a release on CD packaged in a three panel cardboard gatefold sleeve in which the CD is beautifully housed between two holes and which features sweet artwork on both sides as well as the tracklist and credits. The package is stored in a resealable plastic sleeve so you can store the release neatly after listening, very nice.

Praxis is a curious album of electro-acoustic, sound collage and sound art that while I was listening to it sounded quite like an album split in two sides of music. It’s got a pretty clear first half that is “bright” in a way, with the second half being “darker” I noticed. The album kicks off with this excellent piece called A Phonetic Theme which cuts from vocal samples to various other manipulated noise, music, glitches, field recordings in quite a dadaist sound collage kind of manner, really creative and enjoyable piece, pretty funny too, with one man saying “vinegar” at one point. Great glitching and timestretch effects in this one too, Güney goes pretty wild in here. Impulse is a much more gradual piece which features a lot of high pitched sounds, included sine wave beeps, clicking and shaking sounds, as well as a mysterious vibrating repeated motive, stuttered music samples and glitches and various other sounds popping up and then disappearing after some time. What I like about this kind of style is that the progression is pretty slow over time but there’s a lot of sonic colours in the music and it’s got this wild quirky vibe, feeling a bit like the lab of some mad genius professor. Undulations (dedicated to Janek Schaefer) starts of pretty dramatic with a looped vinyl music sample with a lot of tasty crackle sounds added in the mixture too but then moves to a lighter funkier kind of bright drone, in the beginning still accompanied by the vinyl crackles. What makes this drone so funky is the squelchy filter bass synth that’s accompanying the drone with varying tones, alongside the drone all kinds of harmonic and diffuse sounds float in and out including a great resonant “sequenced” resonant series, whooshing sounds as well as field recordings that pop up only once or twice, like the genius addition of the shop P.A. attention sound added at one point in the piece. With the mechanical industrial like sounds in the mixture the track feels quite like the sonic picture of a relaxed day in some workshop where people work wih various kinds of machinery. very peaceful. Visceral (In A Figurative Sense) is more similar to the atmosphere of Impulse combined with a more Industrial edge, an organ / synth drone combined with various high pitched clicks and bloops as well as more machinery sounds, a quirky and playful soundscape of a workshop, nice sound. Factitious Phobia features a very nice low rumbling bass that starts off as these intense “beats” that fade in and sped up making up the very low bass sound of the track. This track can definitely already be seen as a start of the darker side of this album, featuring a more mysterious and abstract atmosphere, a focus more on sound textures and sonic manipulations than melodic content. The piece features various metallic and clicking sounds this time more ear-penetrating and a bit more harsh in the metallic side of it, another interesting element is the Turkish (?) music radio samples that pop up in the mixture at some point and while the delay piano notes near the end of the piece sound pretty funny the piece is still in darker territory than the tracks before, it still feels like a metal workshop setting though, but this changes in the tracks to come. Adaptations features many high frequency sounds, sometimes at earpiercing frequency and is based around a “hovering” mid frequency drone, a theme in the track seems to be space and astronauts as there are also some samples used from an astronauts communication system. Adaptations of more a sound art kind of piece with a lot of emphasis on the high and mid frequency manipulation of sounds to create new spacy and also crunchy sonic shapes, mysterious and intense on the ears, cool stuff. Praxis continues in this style with a lot of high frequency manipulation and LFO manipulation all abound in this piece, a very physical experience of sound, great track. Behold Now Bhikkus, The Sounds of Nada Yoga features a sound that is more like a meditative religious ritual with the extended male vocal choir samples drone in the drone, this is accompanied however by chopped and glitched vocal samples and buzzing manipulated sounds and another second resonant drone that comes in in the second half of the track, mysterious and dark music again, but very nice. Somewhere Between The Middle is more sonic manipulation again, though much longer and with more layers and progression, there’s a mixture of various sounds used, field recording samples (including a pitched up car wiper), delay time / feedback manipulation and other synthetic and organic sounds, all accompanied by a mid frequency drone. Very nice piece again full of curious sonic adventure to dive into and nice closing piece of the album.

Praxis by Cem Güney is a varied and especially playful album of experimental music that goes through both light and darker ambience and creative sonic manipulation over 9 exciting tracks. The music follows a refreshing less “planned sounding” approach to experimentalism and conjurs up plenty of fun sonic imagery as well as delivers intense physical experiences of sound. A varied and nice collection of music, recommended listen. Orlando Laman

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Tamtam’s “Rheingold” reviewed by Toneshift

Such is the stature of ‘Des Ring Der Nibelungen’ that even the mildest utterance of Rheingold feels somewhat brazen, a laden-thrust to the overbearing musical resonance that word conjures: yet Tamtam’s work is entirely antithetical to the Wagner opera with which it shares a moniker. Based upon hydrophone recordings of the Rhine River, the listener is proffered an enchanting yet infinitely subtle world, a shifting, creaking mass that is amorphous by design. The source material serves both as a conceptual bed and compositional framework – the entire piece feels like a river, unfolding in waves of sound that build without drama, marking the mind with only the faintest trace upon their inevitable retreat. It is a highly evocative, highly visual work, and one that benefits from volume – under the right listening conditions you can almost imagine your body prostrated along the rivers bank, engulfed in the monotonous lap of water upon the bow of a boat.

This is in no sense a purist’s approach to field-recording, however. Whilst the recordings lack any overt processing, the inclusion of gong and electric bass accent and oppose the natural rhythms and timbres on offer, underscoring the soft crescendo’s that serve as the piece’s only real structural unity. The recordings are treated with a notable reverence, and whilst scrapes and drones of the instrumentation offer a broader and more defined musical palette, their performance is always secondary to the underlying qualities of the river, the repetitive, emergent motion of water.

As an album, Rheingold is perhaps boring – assuming we can for a moment reclaim that word, to remove its negative connotation and presume that, as with the work of La Monte Young, it points to an active capacity to exist beyond the border of interest or sense, a space of higher, transcendental engagement. Indeed, Tamtam’s work is reminiscent of Young’s, even as it invokes wildly different sonic materials – it carries the same focus on the microscopic, the same approach to temporality that forces its listener to abandon any comprehension of the piece as a whole. Every moment is lavishly ill-defined, a holistic experience that cannot be broken down into meaningful, free-standing parts. And whilst terms such as ‘organic’ or ‘sublime’ are used so frequently as to render them near-impotent, Tamtam’s work captures the vitality, the living presence of a physical location in a way few more straight-forward field-recordings can master. The sparse and textural instrumentation is embedded to completely into the Rheine that what emerges is a near seamless divination of composer and source, performer and site.

In addition to the main piece, the album offers three remixes, or perhaps, revisions, of the material. The first of these, Eosin’s ‘Erda’, eschews the dynamic, undulating life of its source material in favour of far more clinical, cold imagining that, if it lacks the inherent beauty of its source, is efficient and powerful none the less. Static to a fault, Eosin’s version adds layers of glitch and percussion that, rather than advancing the composition, seem to lock the listener into a not altogether pleasant funk, a faintly industrial soundscape that brings to mind the more textural work of Z’ev. Maile Corbert offers a restrained interpretation with ‘TamTam Tuning’, a work that seems at first so close to the original that it could almost be the same piece.

As it progresses, however, it becomes clear that there is some unusual, pronounced processing at play – some sort of phase or frequency alterations that steer the work in a new direction, without ever forcing its own footprint too firmly upon it. Embracing a sense of disorientation beyond the cyclical, repeating waves of its predecessor, Corbert adds a certain futuristic bent, as if the Rhine now sits as the backdrop to a Tarkovsky film, a somewhat alien, if no less organic, being. Finally, ‘Einhundertvierundzwanzig’ is the albums only remix proper, invoking a markedly different aesthetic and intent. Electronic percussion, spectral processing, and the use of samples, make for a buzzy, digital affair that somewhat squanders the source material – whilst not unpleasant, it is hard to see how his adds anything to the endeavour, with a final movement that feels utterly incongruous to the project as a whole.

This slight quibble aside, Rheingold is a wonderful, immersive listen, whose reverence to its source is such that it inhabits a uniquely unspectacular sound world, a beautiful, discreet, and texturally-rich tapestry that perfectly encapsulates and explores, in its own quiet fashion, the inherent life of the river from which it draws inspiration. Daniel Alexander Hignell-Tully

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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

via Fluid Sonic Fluctuations

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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

via Fluid Sonic Fluctuations

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