1404 Claudio Rocchetti | Klaus Janek "Reisenotizen - Aus Dem Land Der Mitte



Recorded during August 2011 In China, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

The tour was supported by the Berlin.Senate Cultural A.airs Department.

Edited by Klaus Janek and Claudio Rocchetti during 2012.

Mastered by Mauro Martinuz.

Design by www.burbulla.com, Berlin

Audio CD, 6 panels digipak
30 minutes+
Release date: November 2014
12 Euros + shipping order 

Related resources:
Musically connected
Sabine Ercklentz | Andrea Neumann "LAlienation"


1403 Goh Lee Kwang | Tim Blechmann "Findars"

Recorded by Tim Blechmann live at Findars Art Space, Kuala Lumpur, on  February 15, 2014.

Mixed and mastered by Tim Blechmann

Photos by Bannai Roo

Photo location at Findars Art Space. Mural painting on the wall by member of Findars and friends. Artworks appear on the photos by Tey Beng Tze and Lim Keh Soon

Layout by Goh Lee Kwang

Thanks to Findars Art Space

Special Thanks to Goethe Institute Kuala Lumpur.

Goh Lee Kwang

Tim Blechmann

Audio CD, 6 panels digipak
30 minutes+
Release date: October 2014
12 Euros + shipping order 

Digital Download: Bandcamp

Related resources:
Also By Goh Lee Kwang | Tim Blechmann DRONE

Also By Goh Lee Kwang
2013 逆耳 New Ear
2011 反之亦然 _, and Vice Versa
2011 The Lost Testimony of Rashomon
2009 推敲琢磨Hands
2008 Draw Sound (Drawing book with 3"CD)
2007 Good Vibrations
2005 Punk Guitar... with bonus track!!
2004 Internal Pleasures

Geographically connected
Gregory Büttner "Pochen - Oder: mit nachschleifendem Zwirnsfaden die Treppe hinunterkollern"
Lasse-Marc Riek "Harbour"
Sabine Ercklentz | Andrea Neumann "LAlienation"

Amplifier buzz, squiggles and drones, curious weird ambient bent electronics - remind me of Michael Prime, stuff on Staalplaat, Barooni, et al. ~ Alan Freeman

1402 Gregory Büttner "Pochen - Oder: mit nachschleifendem Zwirnsfaden die Treppe hinunterkollern"

Pochen - Oder: mit nachschleifendem Zwirnsfaden die Treppe hinunterkollern
[German for Throbbing - Or: Roll Down the Stairs with Looping Twine]

I recorded the sounds for this piece in March 2011 at the „Performance Arts Forum“ in France. The PAF is housed in a former convent school, which was built at the end of the 19th Century in the village of St. Erme in Picardy. After the convent school and a hospital during World War I, various temporary uses and a long term of vacancy, the PAF was founded in 2006 as a workplace for artists.

During my three-week stay, I kept sneaking through the 6.400 m2 building: From the attic to the basement, from the small private chapel through the various rooms and artists‘ studios. I examined the old monastery acoustically, recorded sounds and improvised together „with the house“. The role of the house kept moving between sound generator, resonant space and instrument. I recorded breathing wood planks or flickering light switches, explored the different resonant cavities, made metal cabinets resonate or prepared out-of-tune pianos. From the recorded material I worked out a composition, which, organized in chapters, permeates the house acoustically and connects found sounds, digital processing and experimental performance techniques into a „throbbing“.

All music by Gregory Büttner (2011-2012).

Another version of the piece was commissioned by WDR3 Studio Akustische Kunst. Premiered July 2013.
Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi.
Photos and cover design by Gregory Büttner, photo inside middle by Anja Winterhalter.
Thanks to Goh Lee Kwang and Guy Saldanha


Promo Clip

Audio CD, 6 panels digipak
40 minutes+
Release date: June 2014
12 Euros + shipping order 

Related resources:
Geographically connected
Goh Lee Kwang | Tim Blechmann "Findars"
Lasse-Marc Riek "Harbour"
Sabine Ercklentz | Andrea Neumann "LAlienation"
Goh Lee Kwang | Tim Blechmann "DRONE"

Vital Weekly
Gregory Büttner from Hamburg is a composer and performer, as well as the label boss of 1000Füssler, but here is mostly a composer. For three weeks he stayed at the 'Performance Arts Forum' in France, housed in a former convent school. He explored this apparently big building by playing sounds in small corners, big halls, but also recorded the doors, planks, and electricity switches as well as prepared out of tune pianos. The result is a piece of music that lasts forty-one minutes and which holds somewhere between sound art, electro-acoustic composition, improvisation and field recordings. It starts out with just more loosely organised sounds - we are entering the building - but there are also more long form sounds, more resonating electro magnetic fields for instance. Or working with an iron bar on a fence. It seems to me none of this has been electronically altered or processed, but changes come from moving around the microphone and perhaps some equalisation. Sometimes the piece seems a bit too fragmented for my taste. Maybe I would have enjoyed a bit more dialogue between these sounds and perhaps less scattered around in single out pieces. It's however, altogether, quite a fine work.
- Frans De Waard -

1401 Rodolphe Alexis | Stéphane Rives : Winds Doors Poplars

I Warehouse Doors
Field recordings from l’Usine, artistic residency centre in Tourneufeuille, France, 2012
II Autorail
Field recordings from the line Györ-Pannonhalma, Hungary, 2012
III The Poet House
Field recordings from La casa del Poeta, Trasmoz, Spain, 2010
IV Solid Steel Sculpture
Field recordings from l’Usine, Tourneufeuille, France, 2012
V Poplars
Field recordings around Pannonhalma’s arboretum, Hungary, 2012

Wind Doors Poplars is an experimental composition project initiated by Rodolphe Alexis. It brings together materials ruled by different natures and approaches.
First, the preexisting "recorded sounds": field recordings collected over a year and set as a frame for composition.
Then the "given sounds": a minimalist improvised instrumental gesture by Stephane Rives, bearing his distinctive solo signature. This material was recorded as a "Reminicence”, with absolutely no connection to the above-mentioned sonic framework.
The compositional stage was an attempt to reinstate our elementary listening process towards both sets of sounds, in a broad perspective that questions the very act of listening and the mechanism of improvisation.
This  is not a "musical" project in the classical sense, in which we would have sought to skillfully and effectively bring together separate textures. Each element exists independently, within its own register and raw power. This new syntax can, indeed, generate a listening shift towards a new territory.
- Stephane Rives & Rodolphe Alexis

Saxophone on all tracks was recorded at Tunefork Studios, Beyrouth.

Soprano saxophone : Stephane Rives
Field recordings & editing : Rodolphe Alexis

Graphic Layout : R.A

Promo clip

Audio CD, 6 panels digipak
40 minutes+
Release date: April 2014
12 Euros + shipping order 

Related resources:
Geographically connected
Eric La Casa / Cédric Peyronnet : Zones Portuaires
Battus / Marchetti / Petit : La Vie Dans Les Bois 
Pascal Battus : Simbol / L'Unique Trait D' Pinceau
Eric Cordier / Seijiro Murayama : Nuit
Eric La Casa : W2 [1998-2008]
Jean-Luc Guionnet : Non Organic Bias
Eric La Casa / Cédric Peyronnet : La Creuse
Eric Cordier : Osorezan

Musically connected
M.u.r.m.e.r. : Framework 1 - 4
Lasse-Marc Riek : Harbour

Word(s) :
Vital Weekly
Field recordist Rodolphe Alexis already had some releases, and here he works with Stephane Rives, the soprano saxophone player. They work strictly separated from each other; the two have no connection in a studio. At least that's what I understand. The two have been sticking their musical pieces together quite randomly. It works together quite well, I think. On the one hand these field recordings, all described on the cover, recorded between 2010 and 2012 in France, Hungary and Spain and which have a fine texture. The rumblings of gates, wind, railway lines and such like work great with the saxophone playing of Rives. In 'Autorail' it's very lengthy, very noisy almost in a sine wave like manner, and sometimes almost like being entirely absent in 'Poplars'. Perhaps only in 'The Poets House', we hear the saxophone more dominantly than the field recordings. This could a hit and miss release, but I think in these five pieces it works wonderfully well. The whole John Cage/random approach wasn't also convincing to me, but obviously there is a possibility I am wrong. This might be such a case.

- Frans De Waard -

1303-2 Seijiro Murayama:::: Broken Iteration

CD1 :
1, Rayn
2, Your Broken Tube

mastering: soundworm

1, Gémination brisée
2, Sonis nisus

recorded at Hotel Pupik, 2011
mastering: Makoto Oshiro

drawings: François Bidault

thanks to: la Fonderie, Arteleku, Školská 28, Ftarri, JazzaJ,  Water and Land - Niigata Art Festival, Menza Pri Koritu,  Instants Chavirés, YANVII, Cie Catherine Diverrès, Macao,  Tuad, Hemiola, m viktoria, Hotel Pupik.

Seijiro Murayama 2013

2 x Audio CD
120 minutes+
Release date: December 2013
18 Euros + shipping order

Also by Seijiro Murayama
Eric Cordier / Seijiro Murayama: Nuit

and it's a beautifull CD!
~ Jérôme Noetinger

Seijiro Murayama "Broken Iteration" is surprisingly good subway music.It rebuilds the subway in its own image: clatterings and scrapings that are never exactly the same all the time, yet that seem outside of time, until they suddenly stop and start again according to a hidden logic.
~ Mike Bullock

Vital Weekly
Seijiro Murayama, the Japanese percussion player who lives in Europe. According to his website he has three fields of interest: "1, non-idiomatic improvisation (that includes idiomatic researches about it, or workshops on it), 2, electro acoustic composition, 3, plural disciplinary collaboration (with words, images, body movements etc)" and it would seem to me that these four pieces here are a combination of 1 and 2. It says recorded at Hotel Pupik, 2011, which may suggest a live recording, but for all I know (and I didn't investigate) it might also be a studio. Which brings the second subject on board: is this played live (in concert or in studio) or is this the work of over dubbing? That is a question that I find very hard to answer. Murayama's playing is very minimal and we do recognize indeed the element of percussion instruments, and Murayama explores his instruments with great care. It has a fine meditative character this music and it explores in depth the textures of the instruments. Murayama doesn't use his drum parts as a drum kit, but plays one or two separate elements with brushes, sticks or objects and explores them. But over the course of a thirty minute piece, he picks up a new device to play and continues with that.
- Frans De Waard -

1304-2 Eric La Casa & Cédric Peyronnet Zones Portuaires

Recordings Le Havre (France) March 2010 | Liège (Belgium), September 2010

CD1 éric la casa 2011 (revised in summer 2013)
1. Le Havre radio 01:25
2. Le Havre 2 22:30
3. Liège témoins 01:51
4. Liège 2 15:48

total time 41:35

CD2 cédric peyronnet 2012-13
1. kdi dctb 255 [d] (Le Havre 2 rmx) 10:06
2. kdi dctb 255 [f] 11:16
3. kdi dctb 258 [b] 18:48

total time 40:10

Thanks to : Emmanuel Lalande - Festival Pied Nu (Le Havre), Alexandre Galand, Pierre-Charles Offergeld, Yves Poliart and La Médiathèque (Liège)

2 x Audio CD
80 minutes+
Release date: November 2013
18 Euros + shipping order

Special notice: We are getting feedback, it happened that CD1 might unreadable/unplayable on certain model of CD player! If this problem happen to your copy, please contact the label (even it you purchase it from our distributors), we will send you a download link to the CD1, and offer you a 50% discount on another purchase of Herbal releases. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Related resources:
Also by Eric La Casa and Cédric Peyronnet
La Creuse

Also by Eric La Casa
Eric La Casa: W2 [1998 - 2008]

Musically connected
Murmer: Framework 1 - 4
Lasse-Marc Riek : Harbour

Geographically connected
Battus / Marchetti / Petit: La Vie Dans Les Bois
Pascal Battus: Simbol / L'Unique Trait D' Pinceau
Eric Cordier / Seijiro Murayama: Nuit
Jean-Luc Guionnet: Non Organic Bias
Eric Cordier: Osorezan

Just Outside
Field recordings with a difference, a two-disc set, one given over to each musician. La Casa alternates two short tracks (less than two minutes) assembled from radio transmissions in the first case, with lengthier ones sculpted from urban/industrial parts of Le Havre and Liege. And "sculpted" is the word that comes to mind. Sometimes with a (welcome) axe. I talked with La Casa recently (he literally lives around the corner from me in Paris) and, among many other things, we spoke of the well-documented difficulties I have with trying to make qualitative judgments on field recordings (not to mention other stuff!), a matter he agrees with. In a recording like this one, part of the "solution" is the sheer plasticity of the sound, the very moldedness of it. But also, of course, the choices made and the resultant disjointed narrative aspect that obtains. It's determinedly man-made but with the kind of eerie resonances that are unexpected consequences of human activity, including a booming interior hollowness in otherwise varying spaces. The listener is very much carried along here, hurtling often, the drastic changes in dynamics causing one's "aural stomach" (!) to drop. The ferocity and quasi-mancing presence in the first long track is mitigated somewhat in the second, a greater concern shown for various textures sliding across one another, accompanied at moments by wonderful, ultra-low booms, muffled but powerful. I was absolutely absorbed by it. I may not be able to quantify it, but when it comes to field recording, this is what I'm talkin' about.

The Peyronnet disc is something rather different. While it may have been constructed from the same source material (it was recorded in the same two cities, in the same year), Peyronnet seems to process the sounds more overtly than La Casa. The first two tracks, each about ten minutes long, are ok though they sound more or less like slightly less effective versions of those found on Disc One. But on the last track, Peyronnet lurches at right angles to his material, creating a vast, sighing drone that reams our space for six or seven minutes before expiring, leaving behind a empty, nighttime landscape in which you can discern soft footsteps and gently lapping water. Quite lovely. Matters settle down into an interesting kind of nondescript area, general sounds in a large space, maybe outside, machine engines and associated clatter leading to what sounds for all the world like a drumroll (I take it that it's not) shattering into soft rubble. A strange, otherwordly and very enjoyable piece.

A fine set, then, definitely worth checking out.
- Brian Olewnick -

The number of sound sources available in large harbour areas such as Le Havre in France and Liège in Belgium is immense. The coexistence of natural elements, uninhabited areas and industrial areas allow for special and interesting audio captures. In most of these cases the captures originated in locations that relate to the presence of human activities. The recording of many of these captures in Zones Portuaires was structured by the daily work schedules that dominate the areas, and many were captured in places normally forbidden to the public. Eric La Casa and Cédric Peyronnet decided to work separately: the work is divided into two different CDs, the result of live events that took place in September 2010 at the PiedNu festival in Le Havre and in the Chapelle Saint-Roch in the beautiful francophone city capital of the Walloon region. In both cases, the results are really fascinating and the people at Herbal International (the label that produced this release) should be very pleased. The site-specific investigation is developed with extreme coherence and the complexity of the work generates additional value thanks to the quality of the sounds and sequences, which are wonderfully framed and subjected (apart from a few cases) to some light and refined editing. The passages are filled with several dilated recordings but also with different kinds of audio emergencies and sounds: echoes, overlaps, winces, etc. Although such techniques are common heritage of an artistic wave that has been defined in a very coherent and sensitive way, the touch of the author remains individual and perceptible.
- Aurelio Cianciotta -

Vital Weekly
The release seems to be a split release in which case both artists work with the same source material, being recordings from the harbors of Le Havre in France and Liege in Belgium. In Cedric Peyronnet's case it is said these recordings were used in a concert in those cities, which lead me to believe that he did those recordings and worked with them, and then asked LaCasa to work with the same recordings. I might be entirely wrong and maybe its a coincidence that both have recordings under their belt from the same cities. Of the two I started with La Casa, who is someone, and here I am guessing again, who uses field recordings pure as they are but mixes them together and not presents them as they are. This mixing leads to a soundscape and La Casa is a fine master of that particular trade, I'd say. Lots of resonating sounds - easily found in a harbor I would say - which La Casa waves together like drones, but suddenly break up with a swift change over in the sound world and starts building an entirely new piece, within the same piece. Somehow I don't think he uses any processing, but the multi-layered aspect of his sounds makes it sounds like so.

Peyronnet on the other hands seem to me someone who uses some sort of electronic/digital manipulation in his treatment of the sound material, even be it in the drastic equalization of the sound. In recent years Peyronnet, under the moniker Toy Bizarre, offered a variety of approach to field recordings (perhaps unlike La Casa, who seems to be more or less be using one technique, but extremely well) and this is also what we have here. Drastic equalization, short delay, maybe a bit of reverb, or perhaps more complex computer treatments which don't sound like that - which is always fine I should think. Whereas La Casa in his pieces separates Le Havre and Liege in strict pieces, Peyronnet easily blends it all together. Here we have some drone like approaches too, abrupt changes, but somehow it all seems to be a bit more abstract in approach, and works a bit less as a narrative. Having said that, it says nothing about the quality itself of course. In both cases we are dealing with some excellent soundscapes.
- Frans De Waard -

Le Son Du Grisli
C'est sous la forme d'un « double split » – chacun des artistes se réservant un des deux disques associés dans cet album en diptyque – qu’Eric La Casa et Cédric Peyronnet rendent compte d'un projet collaboratif mené au Havre (en mars 2010) et à Liège (en septembre la même année), entre ports et usines de recyclage.

Bien loin des déambulations curieuses ou des promenades documentaires, leurs pièces respectives confinent, par un subtil travail de composition (condensation, agencement, progression), à de musicales et littérales évocations – tout comme leur cartographie sensible de La Creuse, publiée en 2008 par le même label. Si La Casa entre-tisse ses enregistrements, jouant d'une belle combinatoire des présences pour créer une prenante scénographie du sonore, Peyronnet extrait du matériau de quoi « écrire », comme dans le dernier volet de sa contribution, une suite où viennent éclore, dans la succession qui les dévoile puis les ravale, de poétiques instantanés ; assemblés, ils transportent.
- Guillaume Belhomme -

NECD1 Goh Lee Kwang: 逆耳New Ear



Back in "Hands", I was tried to explain how the works been created, make no different then other arts form, it's by hands; Then I got nothing to say about "Vice Versa", because whatever it is, it can be vice versa; And "New Ear" is for ears.

Instead of music, I'd call this a thought.


2, 3753

2 x Audio CD
130 minutes+
Release date: August 2013
18 Euros + shipping order

Related resources:
Also by Goh Lee Kwang
2011 反之亦然 _, and Vice Versa
2011 The Lost Testimony of Rashomon
2009 推敲琢磨Hands
2008 Draw Sound (Drawing book with 3"CD)
2007 Good Vibrations
2005 Punk Guitar... with bonus track!!
2004 Internal Pleasures

The new 2-CD release by Goh Lee Kwang for Herbal International includes more than 130 minutes of abstract minimal sounds: drones, hums, acute whistles and glitches – highly synthetic elaborations that the author calls “Vurnmmkied”. The sounds seem to be balanced in a steady way, combining static digitalisms, whose interpretation is difficult, with loops and iterations that are reminiscent of avant-garde minimalist music from the sixties. According to the release notes the author had no intention of creating an easy listening experience. Listeners are forced into enlarging their perceptual range, paying attention to multiple elements simultaneously. We are presented with volumes changes, alternations between empty and full spaces, breaks and twists. In the second CD the field recordings and the buzzing noises (dark beats on the edge of the sound spectrum) become even more difficult to deal with. The Malaysian sound-artist usually makes installations featuring these types of sounds, often in conjunction with visuals. He focuses on the edges between natural sound and recorded sound, digital and analogue, electronic and acoustic, moving in an area of thought where languages are deadlocked and the audience must use personal taste and experience to fill the gap left by the author. The project is not made for everybody, but those you who have the courage to take a listen will find some interesting passages.
- Aurelio Cianciotta -

Just Outside
An obscure, hermetic release, this. Two discs, some 130 minutes with two version of something called "Vurnmmkied" (google returns only hits related to his recording) and a thirty-minute track called "3753", with the following commentary on the label site: "Then I got nothing to say about "Vice Versa", because whatever it is, it can be vice versa; And "New Ear" is for ears." Does "Vice Versa" = Vurnmmkied? No idea. There is an ear on the back cover.

The first disc is largely given over to a very rough static sound, more broken electronics than static as such, I think, though on occasion you can just make out what seems to be snatches of field recordings and light metallic jangling. Once in a while the sound completely drops from one or another speaker. Upping the volume increases the level of interest; my visual analogy became peering through a Brillo pad with a high-powered microscope. About 25 minutes in, it enters a looped phase, a dull, thin clang marking each iteration, fuzz gradually becoming more predominant. At times, you almost get an effect similar to early Riley or Reich tape experiments. It does on a long time though, a really long time. I'm not sure if there's actual change or if one's brain begins picking out different sounds and patterns--I think the change is there, you simply have to make the investment in concentration. Moving one's head (ears) also matters. I admit almost dying when, in the last 15 or so seconds, one speaker leaps to sudden, extremely loud, life. After all is said and done, I was glad to have heard the work--it's a tough go but worth it.

Despite the similarity of title, "Vurnmmkied II" is a different beast altogether, beginning with wavering, midrange sines and progressing to subtle, quiet vibrating patterns, almost sounding like slowed down insect life, but just as likely to be motors of some sort. The sines take off into the ether, leaving behind the faintest of taps, only to plummet back in more complex weaves, deeper and smoother, with a Radigue-ish aspect. This, in turn, fractures into ever more brief buzzes soon offset by bell-like tones, the buzzes looping into a static, simple pattern. As before, this is more or less maintained for a good while, in this case about ten minutes out of thirty. Perhaps more difficult to even possibly get into than Disc One but still strangely attractive, decidedly at variance with much you're likely to encounter elsewhere. Another drastic shift occurs in "3753", all woolly, amorphous electronics, like billows of soft e-bow feedback, finding a low branch and just languishing there. Easily the most approachable of the tracks, it may also be the least satisfying as, while pleasant, it doesn't quite provide the gristle of the first two, feeling more like a sweet proffered as a reward.
- Brian Olewnick -

Vital Weekly #900
I have some more 'trouble' with the double CD by Goh Lee Kwang, the owner of Herbal International. For instance, why are these two discs released together? I read on the website: "Back in "Hands", I was tried to explain how the works been created, make no different then other arts form, it's by hands; Then I got nothing to say about "Vice Versa", because whatever it is, it can be vice versa; And "New Ear" is for ears. Instead of music, I'd call this a thought." That doesn't shed much light on it. CD one has a piece called 'Vurnmmkied', CD two has a piece called 'Vurnmmkied II' and '3735'. The two pieces with that odd title might be linked together. CD one lasts almost seventy minutes and at one point only has music on one channel for quite a long part. This whole piece and it's thirty minute 2nd part seems to be build from field recordings, which gradually seem to be alienated into something that sounds more like sine waves, and in the 2nd part has a cracked rhythm towards the end. Kwang takes his time to create this and I would think perhaps its a bit too much time here and there with not always an interesting variation of information. Unless of course there is some element of Zen involved here, which I fail to get. My favorite is the thirty minutes of '3735', which is also a sine wave like experiment, but then in the lower region of the sound spectrum. You could think this piece is something that Eliane Radigue could also have produced, but then perhaps Kwang does it a bit more single minded. I didn't think this was his masterpiece, and it could have been shorter, even perhaps with the two pieces 'Vurnmmkied' trimmed to forty minutes and the complete '3735' to be fitted on one CD.
- Frans De Waard -

1302 Jason Kahn:::: Things Fall Apart

Jason Kahn: Drum set, voice, metal objects, radio, mixing board, contact microphones, magnetic coil, speaker, computer, chairs, plastic bags.

1. Catcher 5.03
2. Im Raum 2.01
3. Dreaming Of 3.36
4. Message For 4.24
5. We Fall 2.51
6. Mornings 5.45
7. Split Hum 5.22
8. Calling 3.27
9. Semblance 2.22
10. An Arc 2.26
11. Wait 1.52
12. Speaker 13 4.06
13. Last Drum 5.55
14. Night 3.47

(Promo clip, flac)

Recorded in Kunstraum Walcheturm, Zürich, Switzerland on April 14, 2013. Mixed and mastered May 2-31, 2013.

Cover design Jason Kahn.

Many thanks to Patrick Huber / Kunstraum Walcheturm.

Audio CD, 6 panels digipak
50 minutes+
Release date: 20 July 2013
12 Euros + shipping
Inquiries from shops and distributors welcome.

Related resources:
Also by Jason Kahn
1101 Beautiful Ghost Wave

Geographically connected
1202-2 Murmer:::: Frame Work 1 - 4

Line note:
Back in 1981 I was studying at the University of London in the School of African and Asian Studies. One lecturer had us read Chinua Achebe's novel “Things Fall Apart.” Aside from the book moving me immensely, the title stuck with me all this time. And for the past couple of years I've been turning these words over in my mind, as they seemed to speak so much about what is falling apart around us, in terms of social structures, economies, the environment, even whole nations.

Often when I start thinking about a new work I begin with a title. The sound of the words or their meaning give me a sense of direction to work in. Chinua Achebe died in March this year, and perhaps his passing prompted me to finally get working on this CD. But though I felt these words spoke to me, I still couldn't get a grasp on what they were saying.

The novel “Things Fall Apart” deals with the imposition of British colonial rule over a region in Nigeria and the eventual demise of that society, where, quite literally, everything that bound the indigenous populations together through religion, culture and family falls apart. For me, though, I wanted to apply the words “things fall apart” to a way of working, or, perhaps more accurately, not working. What happens when our preconceived notions, all our carefully laid-out plans, even the place we choose to work, fall apart? When in the moment it seems we have finally begun only to find that we have to start over again, forget all our clever ideas and re-think from that moment on to the next? When things falling apart becomes the creative process in itself and this lack of cohesion offers the clearest path to discovering something new?

This was the situation which faced me when I arrived at the Kunstraum Walcheturm to start recording. The Kunstraum Walcheturm is an art space located in the center of Zürich, not far from the main train station. The building itself belongs to a former Swiss army barrack, built around a large courtyard spreading out in front of the Kunstraum Walcheturm, which used to house the army's stables. The room I recorded in is large: 320 square meters with with a 3.80 meter high ceiling. Both floor and ceiling are of wood, giving the room very warm acoustics, aside from the fact that the floor creaks tremendously when one walks over it! I've performed many times in this room, heard many concerts there and know its sound very well - or at least I thought I did.

A few years ago I used the room to record two pieces for the cassette “Walcheturm” on the Banned Production label. At that time, though I was attracted to the sound of the room, I think my primary concern was to just have a quiet place to record in. Patrick Huber, the director of the space, recently offered it to me again during a pause in his production schedule. In fact, only a very short pause of one day. So I took this as an opportunity, with what I thought were all my ideas ready to realize.

Arriving the evening before to set up my instruments and recording gear, everything was quiet. For once, the adjoining restaurant didn'thave a disco going or some boisterous event. The sounds of the city barely registered from outside. Unfortunately, it was late and I was too tired to start recording. I decided to return in the morning and get an early start.

When I arrived the next day, the first thing I noticed was the many horse-drawn wagons parked directly in front of the Kunstraum Walcheturm and all around the courtyard. Zürich's annual Sechseläuten parade was about to start in a few hours and the courtyard provided a convenient place to park the horses and wagons until the parade got rolling. The jingling of all the horses' bells and their insistent neighing and whinnying filled not only the courtyard but the inside of the Kunstraum Walcheturm as well. Obviously, there was no way I could start recording now. Instead, I decided to walk around and make recordings of the ambiance there, hoping I might use this for the CD. I'd originally been thinking of just using this day recording as a means of collecting material to compose with later. The idea of recording complete pieces direct and unedited wasn't on my agenda at this point.

I finished recording and went to grab a coffee. When I returned, the horses and wagons were gone but now a huge wedding party was slowing filing into the restaurant next door. And this wasn't just any wedding party, but a Tamil wedding party, complete with a band and what looked like at least a couple hundred guests! It seemed now that things were truly falling apart for me, as when this party got going I would surely not be able to record anything except maybe the party itself. But, amazingly, the party wasn't that loud and deep in the recesses of the Kunstraum Walcheturm's main room I was able to start working.

Walking around the room alone now I slowly felt how the acoustics of the space and the sensation of being there cast something akin to a spell over me. The idea of just collecting a bunch of material to work with later now seemed completely irrelevant. I decided that wanted to work with the room, activating the space with my sounds and in turn letting the space activate me with its atmosphere and acoustical possibilities.

The pieces on this CD were recorded “as is,” which is to say I didn't re-work them. Just some basic equalization and editing of the empty space before and after each piece's beginning and end. None of these pieces were planned, which doesn't mean “improvised” (though they were) but that in most cases I really didn't have any preconception of what I wanted to do over the course of the day, instead letting my intuition and the room itself guide me from one piece to the next. The idea of working with my voice really only occurred to me as the experience of spending so many hours in the space began to grow on me. I felt prompted use my voice, that the space practically demanded this from me. When the party next door finally dispersed later in the evening, I left with a very silent space - which made it possible to do some of the quieter takes on the CD. The piece “Night” was the last piece I recorded that day.

So, yes, in the end many things fell apart here: the actual feasibility of the recording space, ideas for working - even to the point that I tried approaches which I'd never pursued before. Much fell apart but in the end this collection pieces miraculously came together.

Jason Kahn
June 2013

Chain D.L.K.
I was not very familiar with Jason Kahn's work, but the liner notes provide considerable background into the project. In case you were wondering, yes, this album was inspired by Chinua Achebe's novel 'Things Fall Apart,' and yes, there was a brief perception that the recording session had fallen apart (noise from a wedding party next door, horse carts clattering outside), but the result is still quite satisfying. The liner notes state that there was minimal processing and no overdubs in these compositions. As such, it makes sense that these tracks would be raw and really stripped down and that is what we have here. The tracks here range from vocal sounds, percussion improvisation, to noisy field recordings. The sound sources attributed to this recording include: 'Drum set, voice, metal objects, radio, mixing board, contact microphones, magnetic coil, speaker, computer, chairs, plastic bags.' Where some field recording projects suffer because of the lack of variety in the compositions, Kahn manages to draw the listener in by combining things in interesting ways. For example, 'We Fall' mixes improvised percussion with quiet singing in a way that seems almost intimate. Several of these tracks use percussion and ambient sounds to good effect, such as 'Wait,' with its vocals and cymbals and 'Mornings,' with field recordings punctuated by drone and percussion. Other tracks use the voice more as an instrument than as a way to convey words, such as 'Night' with long, droning singing reminiscent of Arcanta and 'Calling,' which features long, sustained calls of notes held for a long time, which ends with yells. Overall, this is interesting experimental music and good improvisation. This album weighs in at around 53 minutes.
- Eskaton -

The Sound Projector
Many aspects there be to Things Fall Apart, a record by Jason Kahn documenting his live activities at a performance space in Zurich from April 2013. The first records I heard from Kahn showcased his brittle and crisp percussion work in various performing and collaborative improvisation contexts, but he’s since widened his ambitions and become a sound artist and composer. Here, there’s plenty of percussion work for sure, and also electronic sounds (quite primitive ones, perhaps generated by his magnetic coil and speaker setup), amplified and non-amplified vocalising experiments, noisy buzzes produced by a short-wave radio set, and non-musical sounds produced by non-musical objects, such as plastic bags which rustle about in a compellingly mysterious manner.

These approaches are offered up as stand-alone episodes in the suite. But the record also documents his use of the room, which from his description appears to be the ideal space guaranteed to delight the heart of any electro-acoustic performer – the floors and ceiling of the Kunstraum Walcheturm are made of wood, it’s a large space, and “the floor creaks tremendously when one walks over it”. In short the acoustics are very warm and wet. Without doubt Kahn is “playing” the room throughout, and no more so than on track two simply called ‘Im Raum’ where he appears to be dragging tables or chairs across the floor, thereby staging a two-minute impromptu recreation of La Monte Young’s ‘Poem for Chairs, Tables, Benches, etc’.

Kahn’s exasperated sleeve notes document his misadventures trying to stage the performance in the first place, where the whole evening was almost ruined by a litany of unfortunate mishaps and sonic intrusions, and to some degree the piece represents his triumph as he snatches victory from the jaws of defeat, where The Enemy are represented by wedding parties, horses and carriages, and disco music. The title refers to a personal philosophy he’s carried around with him since his studies at SOAS in 1981, inspired by reading a novel of this title by Chinua Achebe.
- Ed Pinsent -

Vital Weekly #900
Now here is something new from Jason Kahn. Over the past decade or so, he's been known as drummer and analogue synth player, but most of time his percussion playing was rather vaguely present and the result was more often than not a more or less drone based musical pattern. Not, of course, I heard all of his work. This new release is quite different. Here we have fourteen pieces, all of which are quite short, say between two and six minutes, of Kahn playing around in the space of an arts organization in Zurich called Kunstraum Walcheturm. They have creaky, wooden floorboards and a wooden ceiling and throughout warm acoustics - according to the liner notes, which describe the various circumstances before the recording could actually take place, as sometimes you plan things but don't happen that easy, when 'things fall apart' and you have to start all over. Here Kahn actually plays the drums, percussive bits and bops, improvised, but also uses a synth and radio set up, and even uses vocals here and their. Sometimes he combines some of this together and works with the space itself, even when the sound seems always near the microphone. There is an intimate, warm sound to the music indeed. I must admit I am not blown away by the singing and chanting here, but these pieces are kept to a minimum anyway. Otherwise I think this is a great release of some great improvised music using conventional and unconventional means. Music that is about action inside spaces. Great release altogether!
- Frans De Waard -

Just Outside
Kahn certainly has enough releases under his belt but, to his credit, lately he's often been coming up with significant variations of themes he may have overused in the past. Earlier this year, he found himself in a large room in Zurich where he had hoped to make a recording only to find a cavalcade of external sound sources, from horse-drawn wagons with their bells to a burgeoning Tamil wedding party--things falling apart enough to quash any routine recording notion. But he liked the room, the acoustics therein, the atmosphere, so he determined to make various unplanned recordings, kind of sketchbook style, remaining in the space well into the night when things quieted back down.
So we have fourteen untreated "drawings", averaging about four minutes long, Kahn using parts of his percussive.electronic arsenal but also voice, chair, plastic bags, etc. While one gains a kind of looseness not usually present in his work, one necessarily loses a bit of cohesion, not a problem if considered as snapshots over the course of the day. Sometimes he's a good free jazz drummers ("Dreaming Of", "Wait", the latter with voice), sometimes a radio tuner ("Message For"). He sings--tunes ("We Fall"). Does it teeter on the edge of too casual? Yes, I could see that reaction. On the other hand, I can imagine being secreted in the rafters of the building, discreetly listening to the welter of activity below, remaining fascinated throughout, perhaps scared when he full-throatedly yells and groans into the eaves ("Calling"). By the time "Night" occurs and Kahn lets loose with a loud, almost cantorial wail, I imagine the listener is either very aggravated or a little bewitched. I might fall somewhere between, but I'm glad he took this opportunity and happy to have heard it.
- Brian Olewnick

Sound Of Music
Tjusningen med Kahns album Things Fall Apart består i den positiva enkelheten – att klart och tydligt förmedla något i text som färgar det klingande till vacker poesi. Textkommentarerna till skivan serverar ingången, där Kahn börjar med att återberätta det starka intryck som romanen Things Fall Apart av Chinua Achebe gjorde när han läste den för mer än trettio år sedan. De senaste två åren har titeln, mer än innehållet, präglat Kahn, vilket han relaterar genom utblickar mot omvärlden och påminner oss samtidigt om den mörka era vi befinner oss i, där sociala strukturer, världsekonomi, miljö och hela nationer håller på att falla sönder.

Medan romanen behandlar hur en kolonialmakt demolerar den fasta grund som en gång sammanförde ett folk – religion, kultur, familj med mera – använder Kahn ”things fall apart” som en arbetsmetod, eller snarare ett sätt att inte arbeta. Således ställer han frågan: vad händer när våra förutbestämda antaganden, våra noggrant kalkylerade planer, går om intet? Och riktar vidare uppmärksamheten mot vad som händer när detta ”things fall apart” – i sig själv – utgör den kreativa processen.

Upptakten till att dessa frågor ställdes var en planerad cd som Kahn skulle realisera i Kunstraum Walcheturm i Zürich. De initiala idéerna gick emellertid om intet med anledning av två mycket oväntade händelser som utspelade sig intill inspelningsplatsen – först en årlig hästparad(!) och därefter ett gigantiskt bröllop. Nej, det var inte Kahns dag – men ur askan reste sig en flammande impuls, vilken drabbade honom när han slutligen hade intagit Kunstraum Walcheturm för inspelningen.

Det är förstås den där tomma tavlan som Kahn kommer dragandes med, men utfallet kan man ju inte veta, varför det blir både poetiskt och övertygande: ”Walking around the room alone now I slowly felt how the acoustics of the space and the sensation of being there cast somehing akin to a spell over me.” Sålunda bestämde han sig för att arbeta med rummet genom att aktivera utrymmet med sina ljud och likaledes låta rummets atmosfär och akustiska möjligheter påverka honom.

Things Fall Apart består av fjorton delar, där den längsta klockar in på 5 minuter och 55 sekunder. På ett elegant vis har Kahn distribuerat de olika spåren så att lyssnaren följer honom med växande intresse. Albumet öppnar med en röstimprovisation titulerad ”Catcher”, där Kahn stöter ut starka ljudströmmar, vilka mestadels uppehåller sig kring två karaktärer – susande ”tssss” respektive brännande ”ch” (som i Krzsystof). På efterföljande ”Im Raum” låter Kahn flytta runt stolar utmed golvet medan en knappt hörbar frekvens i det övre registret skär konstant men försiktigt, vilket kontrasteras mot tredje spåret, där ett jazzkit trakteras skickligt med mycket sizzle ride i förgrunden.

Det fjärde stycket introducerar lyssnaren för brus och buller från en radio, som låter mer nyansrikt än man kan ana. Förmodligen har ett mixerbord använts för att utvidga klangmöjligheterna, medan rummets funktion som resonanslåda är svårbestämd (man anar rummet). När vi anländer till den femte delen, ”We Fall”, återknyter Kahn försiktigt till tidigare instrument, genom att använda rösten tillsammans med slagverk – emellertid sjunger han melodiskt och jazzkittet har reducerats till metalliska klanger och en dominerande virvel, vars karaktäristiska ljud får en särskilt fyllig klang i rummet. Stycket som följer, ”Mornings”, introducerar ytterligare en ljudkälla bestående av ett metallobjekt som Kahn sätter i rotation. Lyssnaren anar objektets form, densitet och storlek, men att veta vad det är förefaller mycket svårt. Utfallet är både säreget och oväntat.

En otämjd ström av radiobrus, elektronik och slagverk möter vi i stycket ”Split Hum”. Det påminner en aning om Parker/Lytton eller Lytton/Lovens duetter, men då Kahns föresatser skiljer sig från dessa, blir utfallet naturligtvis ett annat, framförallt betraktat till den kommunikativa aspekten. Efterföljande ”Calling” består i soloröst, där Kahn intonerar olika enskilda toner och håller ut dem.

Konsekvenserna av rummets akustiska förutsättningar innebär att övertonerna förstärks och ”sjunger”, vilket kanske är första gången på albumet som lyssnaren får ta del av rummets resurser ordentligt. Metallklanger återkommer i avsnittet därpå, vilket avlöses av ett stycke med det roterande objektet tillsammans med prassel från plastkassar. Instrumentariet tillika klangfärgerna permuteras således vidare mellan de olika delarna, som på ”Wait”, albumets elfte och mest konventionella spår, där trumsetet spelas elegant i snabbt tempo, tillsammans med melodiflämtande röstinsatser. Vackert och lite oväntat, samtidigt som liknande tendenser har förekommit tidigare på skivan. Mot denna lilla pärla ställs transistorbuller/brus i ”Speaker 13”, men kontrasten är varken besvärande eller förutsägbar, vilket leder oss över i ”Last Drum”, som får mig att tänka på Morton Feldmans ”The King of Denmark” i sitt utförande med sökande händer och fingrar som försiktigt vidrör slagverk och objekt. Likheterna stannar förstås där.

Things Fall Apart avslutar med ”Night” för soloröst, vilket påminner om ”Calling”, men istället för entoniga borduner, väljer Kahn att variera tonhöjden i ”Night”. Jason Kahn sjunger och rummet svarar. Det är särskilt i soloröststyckena som konsekvenserna av rummets akustik framträder. Undantaget en fylligare ljudbild och eko, kan vi vanligen bara ana hur det avgränsade utrymmet skänker ljuden nya egenskaper. Jag upplever emellertid inte heller att de akustiska förhållandena är det mest väsentliga utifrån lyssnarens perspektiv. Av större intresse är istället vad som händer som konsekvens av att Kahn väljer rummet som spelpartner, vilket för honom innebär ett annat sätt att lyssna, kommunicera och spela. Resultatet är ett originellt verk som intresserar. Mycket.
- Kristoffer Westin -

Bad Alchemy
Diese, im Andenken an Chinua Achebe (1930-2013), den Autor von /Things Fall Apart/(1958, dt. /Okonkwo oder Das Alte stürzt/), besonders engagierte Musik von Kahn entstand im Züricher Kunstraum Walcheturm, den ehemaligen Ställen einer einstigen Kaserne. Ein Raum mit ganz besonderer Akustik, den Kahn aber nur am 14.4.2013 nutzen konnte. Woran ihn stundenlang lärmende Pferdekutschen inderten, die davor warteten, um sich in den /Sechseläuten/-Umzug einzureihen. Endlich abgezogen, begann im benachbarten Restaurant eine tamilische Hochzeit mit Musik. Bevor nun aber Kahns Pläne ganz zu zerfallen drohten, begann er eine Reihe von Improvisationen, mit fauchender Stimme, mit scharrenden Stühlen, virtuos trommelnd und tickelnd, wie man es lange von ihm nicht mehr gehört hat. Für 'Message For' und 'Speaker 13' moduliert er brausende Radiowellen, verrauschte Stimmen, pratzelnde und zischende Impulse. Beim rappeligen 'We Fall' und zum rasenden Drumming von 'Wait' hört man ihn sogar zart ein Kirchenlied anstimmen. Er schaukelt und bedongt eine Klangschale und zerrt Krimskrams über den Boden, mit sonor-kakophonen Kippeffekten. Bei 'Split Hum' mischt er gezielte Störimpulse und Radionoise mit rumorendem Gepauke. Wenn er den Raum mit Rufen auslotet, heißt das natürlich 'Calling'. Bei 'Semblance' krimskramst er mit Metallstücken, wie ein Dagobert Duck mit seiner ersten oder letzten Handvoll Talern, bei 'An Arc' mit Metall und Plastiksäcken, wie ein Obdachloser mit 'n paar Habseligkeiten. Bei 'Last Drum' klickert und zwitschert Kahn mit Metall, setzt zwischenhinein einen heftigen Schlag und ein aufrauschendes Crescendo. Nur um weiter wählerisch zu krimskramen. Beim finalen 'Night' singt er noch einmal mit großem Oh und Ho den Raum aus. Darum geht es doch, Lebensräume und Spielräume, und wie sie prekär werden und zu zerfallen drohen. Kahn signiert seinen Tag in diesem Raum mit einem "I".
- Rigobert Dittmann -

Improv Sphere
Dans la plupart des travaux de Jason Kahn, on trouve ce dernier crédité à de nombreux instruments/outils. Son travail minimaliste de recherches de textures en lien avec l'espace de diffusion empêche souvent de reconnaître les sources. Sur ce dernier solo intitulé Things fall apart, Jason Kahn renoue avec tous ses instruments, ceux qu'il avait un peu délaissé (la batterie, les objets acoustiques), ceux qu'il utilise régulièrement (radio, table de mixage, ordinateur et micro contacts) ou encore ceux qu'il n'avait que très rarement utilisé (comme la voix). Et cette fois, ils sont tous clairement reconnaissables puisque Jason Kahn propose quatorze courtes pistes, où seul un élément ou un dispositif très léger est utilisé.
Les quatorze pièces sont très variées et disparates : on trouve aussi bien des recherches très abstraites à base de fréquences radios, ou d'amplifications saturées d'objets, que des pièces pour batterie qui renouent avec la pulsation et le rythme, ou encore pour les pièces vocales (très surprenantes et belles) un retour au lyrisme et à la mélodie. Néanmoins, quelque soit le mode de jeu utilisé, Jason Kahn joue surtout sur la diffusion du son dans l'espace et prend énormément de soin à choisir chaque son. Une grande attention est portée à la réalité physique du son, de l'espace dans lequel il est projeté, et à l'interaction de ces éléments. Toutes les pièces sont donc quand même reliées par cet intérêt minutieux pour le lien qui existe entre le son et l'architecture, aux phénomènes et aux mouvements acoustiques en général. Et c'est ce qui fait certainement tout le charme de la musique de JK, cette attention précise et méticuleuse au son, pris dans ses dimensions physiques d'un côté, mais aussi poétiques pour ce que chaque son évoque et pour les émotions qu'il suscite.
Chaque pièce, même si elle est courte, est très soignée et réfléchie. Elle n'est pas beaucoup développée, mais on sent le travail qui s'est accompli derrière. Et c'est l'autre intérêt de ce disque je pense. Pour quiconque s'intéresse de près ou de loin au travail de JK, c'est passionnant de percevoir comment ont été travaillées chacunes des propositions soniques qu'il a pu faire. Car en séparant chaque élément, on perçoit d'autant mieux comment il a pu les utiliser et les intégrer dans des structures plus complexes auparavant. Et en utilisant une matière plus réduite, on perçoit aussi d'autant mieux comment il travaille le rapport du son au lieu d'enregistrement.
Quatorze pièces très variées et passionnantes pour les amateurs de JK. Une session d'enregistrement éclairante et intéressante, qui nous révèle certaines méthodes et certaines facettes insoupçonnées de son travail. Mais même sans s'intéresser aux travaux précédents de JK, ces quatorze miniatures sont en elles-mêmes suffisamment riches et denses, précises et attentionnées dans leur rapport à l'espace, pour valoir le coup d'oreille.
- Julien Héraud -

Monsieur Délire
I wish I’d made that record myself. It resonates in me in incredible ways. I have rarely said or felt this, but I wish I had the talent to make this record. Jason Kahn, left alone in a large empty venue, dives into a string of short solos using a drum kit, found objects, simple electronics, and voice. Yes, his voice: three solos – two of pure singing, one of tone-less utterances. I had never heard Kahn use his voice on record before. Each piece is a lesson in the art of selecting sounds, letting them soak in silence, and turning them into a work. And Kahn pulls off this magic trick fourteen times in a row.

Ce disque, je voudrais l’avoir fait moi-même. Il résonne en moi d’une manière incroyable. J’ai rarement dit ou ressenti cela, mais j’aimerais avoir le talent pour faire ce disque. Jason Kahn, laissé seul avec lui-même dans une grande salle vide, se plonge dans une série de courts solos à la batterie, aux objets, aux électroniques, à la voix. Oui, la voix: trois solos de voix – deux de chant pur, un de bruissements et de chuintements. Je n’avais jamais entendu Kahn utiliser sa voix auparavant. Chaque pièce est une leçon dans l’art de sélectionner des sons, de les laisser s’imprégner du silence, et d’en tirer une œ uvre. Ce tour de magie, Kahn le réussit quatorze fois d’affilée sur ce disque.
- Francois Couture -

Le Son Du Grisli
Où il enregistra jadis Walcheturm – salle du même nom, à Zurich –, Jason Kahn est récemment retourné pour Things Fall Apart. Trois-cent-vingt mètres carré rien qu’à lui… ou presque, puisque la rumeur d’une manifestation en préparation dans la ville et celle d’un mariage célébré dans un restaurant proche bouleversèrent à la fois et ses attentes et ses projets.
Espérant pouvoir à un moment quand même disposer du silence (ce sera le cas sur Night), Kahn se souvient avoir lu Chinua Ahebe et décide, sous son influence, de laisser les bruits courir et puis d’en ajouter (voix, batterie, objets divers, micros et enceintes, radio…). Au premier doute succède ainsi un « laisser faire » qui pourrait s’inscrire dans le développement de son œuvre : passé de la batterie à l’électronique, Kahn pourrait-il envisager à l’avenir sa pratique instrumentale comme un simple marquage (de présence) par le son ? Simple hypothèse dont l’évidence perd en force à l’écoute de Things Fall Apart : quatorze pièces sorties du Walcheturm, c’est-à-dire d’un endroit où « tout » échappa à Jason Kahn ce 14 avril 2013.
S’il ne renonce pas à marquer son territoire, Kahn accepte de lui laisser une marge de manœuvre qui fera effet sur son expression : c’est alors comme si bruits de bouches et chants improvisés, vibrations (pas, chaises traînées au sol) et tremblements (solos de batterie), conversations attrapées au vol ou prières contrefaites, peu à peu le ramenaient au monde. Effaçant doutes et inhibition, l’astreinte commande ainsi une série de saynètes (défaites, nonchalantes, insouciantes puis affirmées) qui, même si parfois désarçonnantes, finissent par accorder une expression personnelle et particulière au monde (et non plus au seul espace) qui l’environne. Et c'est alors que le silence se fait.
- Guillaume Belhomme -

CM Mag
Акустический альбом от Джейсона Кана (Jason Kahn). Это примечательно, ведь за последние лет пятнадцать все привыкли к его электронной ипостаси. Раньше он много играл на барабанной установке, а в конце 90-х выпустил даже сольный диск “Drums and Metals”. То был полностью записанный в акустике альбом, но звучал как электронный — Кан использовал короткие фразы, монотонно повторяя их или же гудел на тарелках и так далее. Прекрасный был альбом, предвещавший активное исследование “электронных” возможностей акустических инструментов, чем в нулевые занимались очень и очень многие импровизаторы. Но не сам Кан, который предпочёл подойти к традиционным инструментам со стороны электроники: снимать резонансы контактными микрофонами, обрабатывать записи.
Я слукавил. Новый альбом не полностью акустический. Ударная установка, голос, металлические объекты, радио, микшер, контактные микрофоны, магнитная катушка, динамик, компьютер, стулья, пластиковые пакеты. Да, Кан не поленился притащить всё это в студию. Кстати, записано за один день. Почему же я употребляю для всех этих средств слово “акустика”? А вот возникла мысль, что теперь Джейсон пробует найти новый звук для электроники, чтобы она звучала максимально естественно в акустической среде. Чему, надо сказать, немало способствует и место записи, а именно большое деревянное помещение с прекрасным натуральным звучанием. Раньше Кан использовал электронику и добавлял акустику, теперь всё наоборот.
Джейсон активно использует голос. Возможно, это начало нового тренда, сейчас многие инструменталисты вдруг “запели”. Кан делает это ненавязчиво, не делая вид, что он Фил Минтон (Phil Minton) или кто ещё из тех, кто приходит на ум, если речь заходит о вокальных техниках в импрове. Кан просто издаёт звуки так, как ему нравится; в этом суть. Поёт, пусть и нестройно иногда, пусть смешно, но ему это нравится. И так же ему нравится: ворочать стулья, настраивать радио, играть околофри-джаз на ударных, нойзить на электронике, импровизировать с гонгами и тарелками, пускать белый шум. Всё это традиционные средства. Всё это уже было и у самого Кана, не упоминая других.
Но главное, чем этот альбом прекрасен, заключается в следующем: Джейсон производит звуки с глубочайшим спокойствием, без всякой суеты. Это смиренность и точное осознание того, что ты делаешь, стоит многого. Ничего лишнего не хочется убрать, ничего дополнительного добавлять не требуется. И всё записано за одну сессию: отличный результат. Но, справедливости ради, скажу, что альбом-таки на любителя. Поклонники электроакустики Кана будут скорее разочарованы, как и ценители акустического импрова. С другой стороны, это говорит лишь о том, что Джейсон вновь находится где-то между тем, что есть. Это ценно.
- Илья Белоруков Ilia Belorukov -

The Wire
Kahn's sleevenotes for this, his first solo percussion in a while, convey so much backgrund information about the overdetermining the listening experience. The title references Chinue Achebe's novel, which was in Kahn's thoughts following the writer's death earlier in 2013, and which became a theme of the session, which took place in a room in a Zurich gallery, and which was stymied first by the preparations for the public parade, and then a Tamil wedding in an adjoining restaurant. The album's tracks adopt a range of approaches, moving between free jazz-like percussion, shortwave crackle, manipulation of what sounds like a steel bowl, and movement of metallic objects on a variety of surfaces.
- Nick Cain -

1301 Machinefabriek:::: Stroomtoon II

 "In December 2011 I recorded the album Stroomtoon, which was released by the French Nuun label the year after. The music was constructed using recordings from improvisations with a setup that I was trying out for upcoming live performances. It's actually the same setup that I still use nowadays, consisting of an old Phillips analogue tone generator and a selection of effects pedals.

The Stroomtoon album still feels like an accomplishment. It's layered, subtle and considered, but I wanted to see if I could try a rougher sound, to capture the exhilaration I sometimes feel when performing live. So I recorded more material, picked out the best moments, and edited them without adding too much post-production. This time I really tried to keep things pure and even a bit raucous.

When the labels Fake Jazz and Superior Standards asked me to release material on lathe cut singles, I knew this would be perfect for the music I was working on. The length limitation of a 7-inch worked nicely for these pieces, creating to-the-point, rounded off stories in barely four minutes, with no room for bullshit. Music that's in a way simple but effective, maybe even with some sort of 'pop-sensibility', if I dare say so...

After making these six Stroomtoon tracks and having them released on extremely limited lathe cuts, I realised what a shame it was that hey were so limited, and that they weren't gathered on one medium, like the first Stroomtoon album. With the extra value of having them in a much better sound quality then the lathes, I decided to compile them on this cd, adding two other tracks that were released on lathe as well, my personal favorites 'Kreupelhout' and 'Toendra', and the track 'Stroop', that was made for a compilation. These extra tracks fitted perfectly with the new Stroomtoon material, and altogether, it doesn't sound like a mishmash, but delivers a coherent listening experience.

Then there's the art of Rebecca Norton. She got in contact when I was working on the material. Browsing her website, her 'the affine(s): small paintings' series immediately struck me as perfectly fitting the music I was working on. They're spiky, concentrated shapes felt like perfect visualizations of the Stroomtoon tracks. And that's when all fell into place."

1 Stroomtoon Tien
2 Stroomtoon Zeven
3 Kreupelhout
4 Stroomtoon Elf
5 Stroomtoon Negen
6 Toendra
7 Stroomtoon Acht
8 Stroomtoon Zes
9 Stroop

(Promo clip, flac)

Audio CD, 6 panels digipak
40 minutes+
Release date: May 2013
12 Euros + shipping order 

Geographically connected
1003 Roel Meelkop:::: Oude Koeien
0801 Beequeen:::: Time Waits For No One

Why Not Ltd
00017 Roel Meelkop: HARAMU/Drempel

Word(s) :
Norman Records
Machinefabriek doesn’t seem to be releasing as many things these days which is good cos you feel a little swamped sometimes when artists release so much. It’s a while since I’ve heard anything by him and I like to dabble every so often in his world of experimental sounds so let’s see what ‘Stroomtoon II’ has to offer!
This is the sequel to his pop smash ‘Stroomtoon I’. The music was constructed using recordings from improvisations with a setup that was being used for live performances consisting of an old Phillips analogue tone generator and a selection of effects pedals. The majority of the tracks on here have been released before as lathe cut 7”’s which have been and gone and are worth a mint I expect and I reckon they’ll work better as a compilation flowing into each other than they will on a bunch of lathe cut singles which you need to change every few minutes (yeah, I’m lazy).
There’s the usual barrage of strange sounds and manipulation on offer here to appease you difficult folk with variant ears. Occasionally there’s a melody-laden track (‘Kreupelhout’ for example, which is both warm sounding and evocative) but there’s a general feeling of foreboding throughout the album. The fact that it’s made with an analogue device does give the album a degree of warmth and soul you wouldn’t normally expect with this style of music which elevates it from the bulk of Mr Machinefabriek’s catalogue. As ever it’s great on headphones as the alien-like sounds creep from speaker to speaker. There’s elements of drone in there, some tonal stuff, some weird fuzz, some deep deep bass-like brown note sounds and plenty of crackles. Fun for all the family (not).
- Phil -

Ambient Exotica
Stroomtoon II is the second installment of Rotterdam-based designer and sound artist Rutger Zuydervelt aka Machinefabriek’s electricity-related otherworldly spaces, released in May 2013 on the Herbal International. The first Stroomtoon (2012) featured five harsh and glitchy tracks where only a magnifying glass could sharpen and uncover the hidden beauty in the gnarled frequency gallimaufry. Stroomtoon II, on the other hand, was never meant to exist as an album and is hence pieced together by three rare seven-inch works previously released on three different labels. These obscure cloak-and-dagger release tactics caused Zuydervelt to rethink this approach and make all of the tunes available on one single album for a much broader public to enjoy. Since Stroomtoon II is an accidental album, so to speak, is it torn between different states or even torn apart by the maelstroms of electric current? No, not at all. In fact, Stroomtoon II adds a new mood to the table that seems de trop, but ultimately fitting: gentleness. Instead of harsh, bone-destructing sonic sine waves, Machinefabriek decides to lessen their forceful impetus in each of the nine tracks, making room for multilayered drone structures, fragile clicks and cuts and genuinely embracing melodies. These synth structures are not catchy per se, but their surfaces and auras are poignantly benign. That said, Stroomtoon II is not exactly an album that lays wide open in front of the listener. Complexity and eclecticism go hand in hand, but since the tempo is usually downbeat, the panorama less furious and hefty rather than laden with protuberances which reside in a rather controlled system, this work feels almost aeriform. It is best enjoyed at home with a good pair of speakers due to the abyssal bass frequencies and the omnipresent plasticity. Read more about an addendum which crosses the path to ethereality while still containing all the electrifying characteristics of the original epitome.
Scrapping the numeral sequence of the tracks in order to create a story (or frequency) arc that is better suited in the given album format, Machinefabriek launches Stroomtoon II with Stroomtoon Tien, and the reason for this very track to be the initial gateway is comparably easy to carve out. Low sonic frequencies in the 30-40hz range slowly rise as the song progresses, highly dependent on the listener’s hi-fi equipment. This belly-massaging elemental force is accentuated by siren-like circular saw coils and a staccato shrapnel of dry pulses. These additions make sure that the listener hears at least something while listening with less optimal headphones on the go. Stroomtoon Tien is quite austere and unembellished, only reaching a more aggressive state in the second half with a cornucopia of electric current, foggy background drones and an increasingly tense oscillation overall. Stroomtoon Zeven draws from a similar array of tonalities, but appears more bubbling and swift-moving. Faux ship horns, acidic frizzles and blue-tinted pulsars in front of a black background remind of Zuydervelt’s collaboration with Jaap Blonk and their hodgepodge of spoiled dishes called Deep Fried (2012). In addition, spectral apparitions and Dark Ambient-oid whispers twirl within the boundaries, only to be regularly perturbed by zappy electric shocks of the clarion kind. Bit-crushed computer sirens lead out of the glitchy wasteland and let Kreupelhout take over the reign, a kind of underbrush and chaparral of low-slung plants. Natural verdure and harsh electricity, do they go together? They do indeed, as Kreupelhout is an unexpectedly melodious and mystical track with thin synth washes of relaxation and nostalgia. Everything seems pristine, only the reappearance of the stunning sough in the first half adds a kind of energy in adjacency to the ever-present diffuse blebs and clicks. Without any mean-spirited splinter in sight, Kreupelhout is the interim oasis of yore, drowned in melancholia, but flourishing.
Machinefabriek seemingly neglects the paradisal intermission and moves on to Stroomtoon Elf, a crooked abode weathering a nefarious storm. The miasmatic neon-lit screeches and gales are in place right from the get-go, their rising brazen three-note scheme is intertwined with electric glitters and an enigmatic drone structure in the second half which covers the blackness of the background only to present a new kind of shadiness thanks to its galactic reciprocation. Despite the crestfallen elements, Stroomtoon Elf is, I believe, designedly accessible, no matter how bad the aftertaste of this assertion may be. It feels stormy alright, but never overmasters the listening subject. This is more of an alkaline liquid than an acidic test tube. The same can be said about Stroomtoon Negen. There is indeed a reason Rutger Zuydervelt places these tracks in this fashion, as the sub-theme of mellowness continues with the album's first proper Drone track. Of course this kind of mellow prospect is still a polyfaceted one, draped in arcaneness, but nevertheless weirdly soothing. Swelling storms of electricity float in a riverbed of bass streams and related vesicles, and while there are no graspable melodies, the sound layers clearly morph and coalesce, fathom out the nuances and shades in-between their apexes and cusps. The accompanying sizzles and buzzes are lightweight and figuratively lofty, allowing the drone layers to unfold and fluctuate without floating around obstacles or barriers. The quasi-snugly string of Kreupelhoet, Stroomtoon Elf and Stroomtoon Negen is completed with the self-explanatorily titled Toendra. Residing between the realms of electricity, Tetsu Inoue’s whitewashed worlds and Thomas Köner’s glacial gloom, Toendra is delicately fragile and draws from a lot of interplays. The formerly energetic pops turn to icy crackles (or crackling icicles?), hints of reverberation paint an infinitesimal wideness, short gusts resemble the blurred sound of snorting, and blimey, the whole atmosphere is anything but dulcet. Avoiding a blazing brightness, Toendra’s twilight state still gleams as much as it relies on murkiness. And so ends a mellow hybrid phase of four Glitch-Drone critters in a row.
Stroomtoon Acht breaks the maudlin lachrymosity with a blizzard-esque exhalation captured in huge reverberation capsules that widen the depth of field decidedly, lessening the dryness in favor of a moist-vaulted cavity. Threnodic lamentos of specters echo in the distance, the atmosphere is almost New Age-like, Stroomtoon Acht is dead-serious about its physiognomy and unveils this tendency after roundabout 90 seconds when crystalline shards rupture and unleash aqueous globs of bile. The atmosphere is still comparatively laid-back, but the reason I do not count this track to the preceding Ambient gang of four is found in the hectic frenzy and rash disturbances, a curious remark given the otherwise splendidly transcendental, concealed dreamscape. Stroomtoon Acht might well be the most dichotomous track: focused yet stumbling, mild yet aggressive, echoey yet jejune. These constant conflicts ennoble its complexion. Stroomtoon Zes takes this incalculability one step further and reintroduces the listener to an almighty power that has only been featured in the opener, but was since then decidedly reduced and silkened: deep frequencies. They stomp and bubble hazily below the chiming sine tones and the incisive iridescence. Resembling the quirky scabbing of insects, the soundscape is hued in stereo-panned crackles, metallic dark matter pads and supercilious hisses. The finale is called Stroop and presents itself in the limelight with abysmally low bass drones and slowly oscillating 80’s synth effects that are prolonged for the whole runtime of over five minutes. A Shoegaze composition which unleashes power drones and big doses of oomph, Stroop is not in the slightest bit camouflaged, does not appear in a dualistic way. It is a simple-minded – but not simplistic – source of evil, adamantly dark, mercilessly rough and omnipotent. Its super-perspicuous existence ends with a downwards cascading buzzing whistle. No afterglow, no sustain or polymorph finish, Stroop ends all of a sudden.
Stroomtoon II confronts the listener with its own harsh reality that is obviously hyper-related to its next of kin and predecessor Stroomtoon, but the hypothetical question of whether Machinefabriek really had to come back to the formula of unleashing high energy volts, vaults and waltzs can safely be answered with a loud “yes!” Although there is no long centerpiece on this album as has been the case with Stroomtoon Eén, the patchwork origins of the material are perfectly masked. If I did not know about the limited releases gathered on this album, I would have sensed them nonetheless due to the progressive arcs and stylistically grouped units, but had drawn the wrong conclusion. Stroomtoon II is indeed soothing and silky to the trained ear of Glitch-perturbed Drone washes and lightens up over its course, although this could well be a psychoacoustic effect. After millions of – thankfully allegorical – volts blasted through the body, the listener is in a trancelike state, possibly even hypnotized to a minor degree. This work offers a wonderful collection of vignettes which still feels like a dedicated album, and this is a great achievement. Whether the tracks become lass baneful or the listener adjusts to the layers is not easy to answer, but regardless of the perceived temperature and turbulence of a respective track, Stroomtoon II feels cohesive and varied. Even the tracks that lack the term Stroom in their title can be smoothly linked to the energetic leitmotif. Favorites of mine are the aforementioned quartet of Kreupelhout, Stroomtoon Elf, Stroomtoon Negen and the momentary closer of that string of tracks, Toendra. Delicately glacial, with crunchy cracks and celestial crackles, melodies and affability, these tracks neglect the raucous rawness of the topic and weave it into a transcendental helix. Even if Roman numerals leave a stale aftertaste in music-related works, Machinefabriek’s Stroomtoon II is definitely devoid of such trains of thoughts. Recommended even to those listeners who were put off by the elemental steeliness of the first Stroomtoon artifact.
- Björn Werkmann -

Vital Weekly
Late 2011 Rutger Zuydervelt recorded his album 'Stroomtoon', partly as a way to test his new live set up of an old Philips analogue tone generator and effect units. 'Stroomtoon' was a series of improvisations and released about a year ago (see Vital Weekly 838). He still uses that set-up and in the slipstream of his album, he also recorded a bunch of pieces which found their way on three lathe cut 7" records for such labels as Fake Jazz, Superior Standards and Champion Version. But you know, lathe doesn't equal high quality but it does equal very limited, so these pieces are now collected on this CD, along with two more pieces from another lathe cut and a compilation track. The dedicated fan has of course all of these, but the average fan now can hear them too. These nine pieces are all considerably short, somewhere between four and five-some minutes, which works quite well for what Machinefabriek wants. He wants to explore a few sounds, while being locked inside a system of sound effects, and create a small number of variations with these manipulations. The objective is as always to create abstract, atmospheric music, which is something Machinefabriek happens to be very good at. Occasionally there is an over-use of reverb, such as in 'Toendra', which is then relies too heavily on the use of it and becomes a gimmick, but in the majority of the other pieces it works quite well. 'Stroomtoon II' is an excellent companion to the 'Stroomtoon' album, and it's fine to see this updated version compared to the lathe cut versions. If you were looking for something radically new, then you won't find it here.
- Frans De Waard -

Improv Sphere
Machinefabriek (Rutger Zuydervelt) est un artiste sonore et designer hollandais qui pratique les musiques électroniques et expérimentales depuis une dizaine d'années maintenant. Ce deuxième volume de stroomtoon fait suite à un album publié sur Nuun un an avant. Je ne l'avais pas écouté, je ne sais pas si c'étaient des enregistrements inédits, mais pour ce second volume publié par le label malaisien Herbal international, il s'agit de la réédition de neuf pièces parues initialement entre 2010 et 2012 sur des 45 tours en édition très limitée.

Cette réédition propose plusieurs pièces composées sur plusieurs années donc, et sont assez différentes malgré une ambiance que l'on retrouve au travers de chacune, ce que l'on doit à l'utilisation des mêmes outils (analogiques en majorité). Des pièces assez courtes qui vont de l'abstraction sonore ambient au drone en passant par des morceaux plus electronica à moitié pulsés, ou à moitié mélodiques. Il y a toujours une ambiance un peu sombre, fantomatique ou industrielle, caverneuse aussi et mélancolique, une atmosphère générale qui semble traverser chacune de ces compositions. Les neuf titres proposés n'ont rien de détonant je trouve, mais l'instrumentarium est très bien maîtrisé, c'est très propre, les univers sonores sont assez inventifs et personnels. En bref, neuf compositions électroniques singulières et personnelles, plutôt fraiches et très travaillées, mais qui manquent parfois d'une idée vraiment forte. Je trouve ça pas mal, mais je pense qu'il faut vraiment être fan d'ambient pour complètement savourer/apprécier (même si ça n'en est pas véritablement, beaucoup -trop- de codes propres à l'ambient sont présents).
- Julien Héraud -

Anhedonic Headphones
Stroomtoon II is a compilation of previously released tracks that were all put out on super limited edition lathe cuts. Right out of the gate, it means business—the opening track “Tien,” is filled with harsh soundscapes that recall the work of British producer The Bug (Kevin Martin) and his LP Tapping The Conversation.
Over the course of the nine tracks, almost all of them have an underlying sense of dread. The only song that relaxes a bit on that is “Kreupelhout,” which is built around static pops and warm, somewhat calming overlapped synth tones.
The overlapped, disjointed feeling appears in almost every piece, alongside Heavy droning, harsh feedback tones, white noise —thus making it easy to see Stroomtoon II as the album that will serve as the soundtrack to every bad dream you have from now on.

Monsieur Delire
Rutger Zuydervelt a donné une suite à son très bon disque Stroomtoon. Ici, une approche plus directe, qu’il dit plus près de ce qu’il fait en concert. Neuf courtes pièces à l’oscillateur et aux effets: simple, efficace, très bien construit. Il y a de quoi rendre jaloux les autres électroniciens. Toutes les pièces sauf deux étaient d’abord parus sur 45 tours gravés sur tour (“lathe cuts”).

Rutger Zuydervelt has produced a follow-up to his very good record Stroomtoon. This time, he has used a more direct approach, more in tune with what he does live (according to his liner notes). Nine short pieces made with a tone generator and effects: simple, efficient, very well constructed. Good enough to make other electronic artists jealous. All tracks had been previously released on ultra-limited lathe cuts.
- Francois Couture -

1202-2 Murmer:::: Framework 1 - 4

framework 1 - 4
the framework compositions are a series of experiments with untreated field recordings, exploring notions of musicality within the structures of found sound. the compositions were created with differing sets of self-imposed rules: framework 1 (whose sources were all recorded in paris, france in march/april 2003) was recorded, edited and composed entirely on a single minidisc with no overdubbing or alterations to the sounds or their relative levels; framework 4 (originally released on the soundwalk editions blog) is an experiment in sonic perception via the contrasts of resonance in different indoor and outdoor spaces; and frameworks 2 & 3 are both long-form works of multi-layered sonic environments originally commissioned as radio works (for the radia network and silenceradio, respectively). framework 3 also explores the use of voice as a musical tool within a larger public soundscape, and includes sounds produced by a group of workshop participants in an attempt to actively resonate and interact with a specific space, both of which call into question a recordist's position as passive spectator. as an artist working with field recording who considers himself a musician, these works were in some way a reaction against this idea of documentary or objective presentation of found sound. if every microphone is a frame, can the works born via their vibrations be disconnected from a recordist's perspective, decision, action, or emotion? these works could be said to represent a momentary perception of a place and time, or perhaps a conglomeration of overlapping memories and impressions of past moments, activities, and spaces.

all sounds found between 2003 and 2011.
vocal performance on framework 3 [swarm] improvised on a café terrace in the south of france by mari kalkun and piibe kolka.
sleeve design by lewisdoesdesign.com, with images by patrick mcginley.

disc 1
1, framework 1 [paris cuts] ::: 14:19
2, interlude [tengmalm’s owl] ::: 3:00
3, framework 2 [ce soir on va se faire chier] ::: 32:57
4, epilogue [seaside flagpoles] ::: 4:00

disc 2
1, framework 3 [swarm] ::: 35:00
2, interlude [thunder & cranes] ::: 3:00
3, framework 4 [4 spaces] ::: 15:00
4, epilogue [irrigation drain] ::: 4:00

(promo clip, flac lossless)

murmer (Patrick McGinley) is an american-born sound, performance, and radio artist based in europe since 1996. since then he has been building a collection of found sounds and found objects that have become the basis of all his work. in 2002 he founded framework, an organisation that produces a weekly field recording-themed radio show, broad- and podcasting around the world. in 2005, he began working closely with the artist-run organisation MoKS in southeast estonia, relocating there permanently in 2009. most recently mcginley has been giving presentations, workshops, and performances based on the exploration of site-specific sound (with the revenant project) and sound as definition of space. in live performance his interest in field recording has developed into an attempt to integrate and resonate found sounds, found objects, specific spaces, and moments in time, in order to create a direct and visceral link with an audience and location.

murmer's work is about small discoveries and concentrated attention; it focuses on the framing of sounds around us which normally pass through our ears unnoticed and unremarked, but which out of context become unrecognisable, alien and extraordinary: crackling charcoal, a squeaking escalator, a buzzing insect, or one's own breath. he works equally with spaces, objects, resonances, and people, in composition, performance, or simply collective action and experience, in exploration of perception via attentive listening.

2 x Audio CD
110 minutes+
Release date: October 2012
18 Euros + shipping

Related resources:
Musically connected
Eric La Casa & Cédric Peyronnet: Zones Portuaires
Battus / Marchetti / Petit: La Vie Dans Les Bois
Eric Cordier / Seijiro Murayama: Nuit
Eric La Casa: W2 [1998 - 2008]
Lasse-Marc Riek: Harbour
Eric La Casa / Cédric Peyronnet: La Creuse
Eric Cordier: Osorezan

Geographically connected
Jason Kahn :::: Beautiful Ghost Wave
Jason Kahn :::: Things Fall Apart

The Sound Projector
Adopting a different tack to so many other field recordings that ‘put you there’, Murmer’s Frameworks first takes a ‘postmodern’ (note the inverted commas) turn by questioning why such motives exist. The notes that accompany this set of lengthy ‘experiments’ draw explicit attention to a) the variety of self-imposed creative ‘limits’ applied to each recording and b) the limitations in any recording ‘artist’s’ claims to objectivity. One sentiment presumably feeds into the other.

The first point is most evident in the first of the eponymous ‘Frameworks’ ([Paris Cuts]), with its minidisc provenance and linear editing. Here ‘experiment’ connotes a command of commitment from the listener during 14-odd minutes of sweat-browed concentration, sounding like the contents of a Dictaphone that’s been left recording in someone’s pocket during the delivery of a truckload of rattling scaffolding. Felt my bones rattle. The second Framework – insulated from the first by a peaceful interlude – is a differently jarring experience – a 33 minute odyssey of resonant locations (or locational resonances), from sports stadium chants to a tornado of insect whirring; an approaching storm to the aural brutality of an ear pressed close to a wall being drilled. The structure is juxtaposition sans segue, which is as intriguing as it is unsettling. In these situations it becomes difficult to trust one’s first response to so eclectic an assortment, which is why benefit of doubt was invoked and rewarded in the second half.

Relief arrives with the onset of multi-layering in ‘Framework 3 [Swarm]’ – the second ‘radio work’, which ‘includes sounds produced by a group of workshop participants in an attempt to actively resonate and interact with a specific space’; the point being to ‘call into question (the) recordist’s position as a passive spectator’.

Whether or not this should be evident to a layman like myself I know not. I prefer to regard the transition as the conscious evolution of the structure of the earlier pieces into something more organic and immersive. Strange sounds melt imperceptibly into one another while attention is buoyed upon viscous vapours; the eruption of a molten choir in the latter half of the piece is evocative of a sea of lost voices clamouring resignedly for the rare ear that can perceive them. The warp into the endless insect nocturne of the final Framework – which thematically parallels the more agitated heart of the second – is a judicious bit of navigation.

Doubtless, locational recording does necessitate a significant amount of artistic and technical subjectivity, and in light of this consideration – for better or worse – Framework 1-4 constitutes ‘experimental’ music of an authentic variety. Its incrementally organic tendency however – if only ostensibly – bears strong testament to the evolution of the attitude that informed the presentation of the recordings and thus arrives at something perfectly palatable. It’s quite a journey indeed.

- Stuart Marshall -

Aquarius Records
Patrick McGinley (aka Murmer) is a sound artist whose primary tools are field recordings and found objects activated within acoustically interesting spaces. While most of his impressive back catalogue of recordings finds him manipulating and treating those sounds into expressive drones and subtly dynamic collages, this double disc set is far more spacious and open-ended, given a slight shift in methodology. He explains in the liner notes that "the framework compositions are a series of experiments with untreated field recordings, exploring notions of musicality within the structures of found sound. The compositions were created with differing sets of self-imposed rules." Two of the four compositions deal specifically with voice, with "Framework 3" settling into a rather lovely passage of wordless vocal harmonics improvised in an open terrace by noted Estonian folk singers Mari Kalkun and Piibe Kolka. This track begins with a reprise of some of the sounds that McGinley used on his 2012 album What Are The Roots That Clutch, as heard in the dense burbling of water insects, building up through brightly resonant objects that shimmer with the minimalist fervor of an Angus MacLise composition. "Framework 2" is the other piece dealing with voice, with the grunts and wheezes of somebody snoring very loudly at the end of this 30 minute piece, which is mostly comprised of frigid wind-blown recordings and scabrous snippets of activity more on par with G*Park's ice-born recordings. "Framework 4" alternates between interior and exterior sounds emphasizing the psychological impacts of the incessant buzz of late-summer cicadas and the flourescent-tube hum of institutional space. Beautiful wanderings of sound that always have the potential to surprise, frighten, and delight.
- Jim Haynes -

Improv Sphere
Murmer (Patrick McGinley) est un artiste sonore américain qui réside en Europe depuis une quinzaine d'années maintenant. Son travail est axé sur des enregistrements bruts de sons quotidiens, qu'il parvient à écouter de manière unique. Avec cette série de quatre framework par exemple, Murmer travaille uniquement à partir de "sons trouvés", des field-recordings qu'il ne retouche pas du tout, et qui sont enregistrés de la manière la plus simple (parfois avec juste un MD). Il enregistre de longues scènes quotidiennes, banales, mais qui n'ont plus rien de reconnaissables à l'arrivée.

Le principe de composition est à peu près le même sur chacune des parties : on trouve deux pièces de 15 minutes environ et deux longues de trente minutes concentrées sur différents thèmes. Les unes explorent les différences de volume sonore, les autres l'espace d'enregistrement, ou encore l'opposition entre les prises de son intérieures et extérieures, etc. Si le premier disque à un aspect plus industriel (avec les bruits de moteur, de machine à écrire, de ventilation), le second utilise plus de sons animaux et naturels (comme le bourdonnement d'insectes, ou le chant de grenouilles et d'oiseaux). Mais peu importe en fait, car finalement, même s'ils sont bruts, les sons disparaissent derrière leurs propriétés sonores et leur dynamique lors de la composition.

C'est assez incroyable comme méthodologie et comme rendu je trouve. Chaque enregistrement est laissé tel quel, Murmer se contente juste d'en superposer un ou deux pour que tout apparaisse différemment - et même si un enregistrement est seul, il parvient toujours à apparaître pour autre chose que ce qu'il signifie. La musique de Murmer apparaît comme des longues compositions abstraites, de purs sons, quand bien même il s'agit à l'origine d'enregistrements aussi reconnaissable que des matchs de sports, des essaims d'abeilles, ou un orage. L'enchaînement des enregistrements est fait de telle manière qu'ils apparaissent tous pour leur propriété sonore avant tout, on sait qu'un enregistrement est utilisé parce qu'il a des caractéristiques lourdes, agressives, douces, graves, aigues, espacées, parce qu'il dégage un sentiment de proximité, d'éloignement, etc, etc. Peu importe ce qu'il signifie, l'enregistrement est toujours traité comme une matière sonore abstraite, et ce traitement le rend abstrait sans aucun besoin de modifications des sons en tant que tel (filtrage, effets, équalisation, etc.), ni de prise de son particulière.

Ces framework présentent un excellent travail de composition proche de la musique concrète et des intérêts que beaucoup de musique expérimentales portent aux notions d'espace. Une vision très particulière et étrange du monde, passée au filtre d'une composition unique des field-recordings qui renie leurs propriétés documentaires.
- Julien Héraud -

Vital Weekly
Patrick McGinley, also known as Murmer, has built since the mid 90s a body work of that deals with field recordings and electronics - in that order. Some of these works are based on pure field recordings, and these are gathered on 'Framework 1-4', a double disc with a good solid two hours of his work. Pure field recordings however doesn't mean that we have four long pieces of one sound event that goes on for an infinite amount of time. In some cases, for instance in 'Framework 2' and 'Framework 3' various events are layered so there is indeed a composition of some kind and in 'Framework 1' various events are placed in short fragments, one after another. We have the four pieces that make up 'Framework' as well as four interludes, the most recent of the four main pieces.    Pure sound scaping is perhaps not really my kind of music, I was thinking recently, and perhaps I like some 'adjustment' taking place, some interference or perhaps better: some kind of composition. It's perhaps as such that I like this Murmer quite a lot. It's not overtly composed in the strict sense of composing, but there have been adjustments. Especially when McGinley is layering various sound events together, such as in 'Framework 3 [Swarm]'. Then these sound events become music in my ears, they start singing, buzzing, and occasionally making a jump move and change the scenery. I prefer that over the more straight forward documenting of single sound events. A very fine work here, maybe a bit long altogether.
- Frans De Waard -

Monsieur Delire
L’étiquette Herbal International de Goh Lee Kwang vient de publier, dans sa série “concrete”, un double CD de Murmer (Patrick McGinley), maître de l’enregistrement de terrain. Framework 1-4 réunit quatre pièces de 15 à 30 minutes, entrecoupées de courts interludes et épilogues. Chaque pièce suit ses propres règles, ce qui fait qu’on a droit à du field recording pur, à du montage par juxtaposition et à de la superposition de sources. McGinley a l’oreille curieuse et baladeuse – les environnements sonores qu’il propose recèlent souvent une beauté intrinsèque qui ne nécessite aucune explication. Mais c’est lorsqu’il superpose les sources pour tisser une trame narrative (lâche, libre à interprétation, mais réelle) qu’il est à son meilleur, soit dans “Framework 2 (Ce soir on va se faire chier)”.

Goh Lee Kwang’s Herbal International label just released in its “concrete” series a 2CD set by Murmer, aka Patrick McGinley, a true field recording master. Framework 1-4 culls four 15-to-30-minute pieces, interspersed by short interludes and epilogues. Each track has its own rules, so we are treated to pure field recordings, edited and juxtaposed field recordings, and superimposed field recordings. McGinley has a curious and wandering ear – his audio environments are often beautiful in and of themselves, with any explanation being necessary. However, he is at his best when superimposing sources to weave a narrative (a loose narrative open to multiple interpretations, but a narrative nonetheless), i.e. in “Framework 2.”
- François Couture -