Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Exceed The 150-Word Limit And You’re A Dead Man – Briefs, Shorts, Capsules, Nutshells, Etc.


Deep Listening

Pauline Oliveros, Peer Bode and Andrew Deutsch, recorded at Kingston’s Deep Listening Space in Kingston, 2003. Three dissimilar approaches for a loosely psychedelic kind of electronic inventiveness in which misshapen identities, weird samples and spoken word are fit together with synthetic secretions and vocoders. Oliveros’ accordion fuels her computerized Expanded Instrument System to produce capricious tonalities, the nature of the pieces changing according to the spur of the moment: not only timbral disorder but also sections with a relative propensity to unclearly divine dimensions are enjoyed. This mainly occurs in the final “Video Voice”, in which sounds from earlier Oliveros’ compositions get interlocked with elements from Stephen Vitiello’s Light Meter recordings in an ode to innocent amazement. Elsewhere it’s just skilled noise, not always on a level of excellence.

ZILVERHILL - + Eötvös +


Never heard of Zilverhill until receiving this artefact – issued July 2008 - which is mainly constructed upon loop-based soundscapes, mostly with a penchant to post-industrial moods that might sound great or low-cost, depending on your transitory individual disposition. Despite the label’s recommendation of listening via headphones – lots of amassed constituents in there, but realizing what they are somehow diminishes the pleasure – the music works better as a classic “aural enrichment of a surrounding milieu”, possibly while you’re hazy-minded - or even doing something else. The distressing quality of some of these pieces will then mutate into a parade of stridently tolerable sounds. I still feel that 70 minutes for this kind of stuff are unwarranted, though; there’s not a proper compositional endeavour behind the general tones and - regrettably - this is always clearly perceivable, thus attributing a “barely sufficient” judgement to the work.



Fifteen minutes of processed urban field recordings (Buenos Aires, La Plata), subway stations and electric devices. The composers specify that these metropolitan landscapes were captured at late night and in the evenings, and it shows: the music is indeed shrouded by a veil of foggy dampness, in spite of the noticeable details. A very well made grouping of sources, a substantial choice of succeeding events that testifies to Calarco and Juárez’s keen ears and sensibility; yet I can’t help but thinking that there’s absolutely nothing that strikes a nerve, or that is conspicuous enough to separate this work from the thousands that are being released today in this sonic area. This doesn’t cancel the fact that that Termosistor is an entirely pleasant, brief trip haloed by dim lights.



Another 3-inch from this nice Italian label. Tomas Phillips gifts us with the perfect ambient soundscape for a tranquil evening, showing the way in which this type of record should be thought, projected and realized to the masses of aspirants. A few sparse elements, not transcendentally new (rarefied piano, soft-spoken electronics, gorgeous cloudy washes amidst extreme quietness, looped cicadas, water-based sonorities) yet assembled with sobriety, class and architectural sense, making for the deepest melancholic reflections heard this side of the finest Eno. Gentle touches of grace, all the more welcome in times of excessive preoccupation and constant haste, mixed with morphing growths of frequency auras that stimulate the mechanisms of reminiscence buried inside. One of the rare instances in which I didn’t smell a fraudulent use of commonplace in this kind of production: no routines here, only refined allure. A very good work, definitely recommended.