Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Some brief-ish notes...


Joel Stern - objects.masks.props (naturestrip)

Like some Southeast Asian fever dream, Stern's constructions throb, mutate and insinuate themselves under your skin. Wielding a range of sound sources from rabid dogs to accordion to dirt, skirting the ground between noise and melody, he comes up with a really fun recording and a couple of stellar tracks ("Dead Lakes" and the closing "Fortitude End", for me). Different from what I've heard from Stern before (which I've generally liked a bunch) and very enjoyable.


Loren Chasse - the footpath (naturestrip)

Evaluating field recording-based releases is always problematic. For me, it's often a matter of how evocative the sounds are, how they cause the natural sounds to resonate a bit differnetly than I might hear them or how they're placed in relation to one another or within one antoher...gets fuzzy pretty quickly, you see. Chasse's constructions here are fine, though they lacked the kind of magic I've encountered in, say, Tsunoda. Might require closer listening on my part, however, as I get the feeling I may be missing some relationships between the sounds. As is, there's one track I really enjoy (the fourth, possibly titled--hard to say for sure--"What caused my footfall..."). Curious to get others' opinions. naturestrip

And, via Lebanon:



Mawja (Michael Bullock/Mazen Kerbaj/Vic Rawlings) Studio One (Al Maslakh)

A solid, fairly quiet improv session from 2005 with a couple of real outstanding tracks, happily the longest ones, very fine pieces that more than hold their own with the slightest elements. Good job, a nice one to pair with the Feeney/Rawlings disc on Sedimental.


Christine Sehnaoui/Michel Waisvisz - Shortwave (Al Maslakh)

Altoist Sehnaoui join the late Waisvisz (here playing his own invention, "the hands" (sensors attached to his fingers, movement of which activates sounds) for five improvisations from 2006. My first encounter with Sehnaoui and, going from this, like many saxophinists venturing into this field, her music is better the more restrained it is, as in cut two, "Preciously Empty", which, as in the previous disc, is both lengthy (17 min) and true to its title. Nice dronage on the final cut as well. Elsewhere they (well, more Waisvisz than Sehnaoui) get a bit too gurglingly gabby for my taste but given that's likely their aim, they comport themselves rather ably.


Stephane Rives - Much Remains to be Heard (Al Maslakh)

When last heard from in a solo context, Rives was turning his conceptual microscope on small slivers of sound capability within his soprano. Well, he appears to have increased the magnification a hundred fold or so, now concentrating on the molecular level. A single piece (with several substantial silences), Rives begins with very high, sinelike tones, not all that far from a Sachiko performance and gradully fans out into adjacent clusters. There are times when it perhaps falls on the "science experiment" side of things, but then, on a few occasions, you suddenly find yourself amidst great and unusual beauty. Once about midway through, before you know it, there are four or five things occurring in a complex weave. Later, a low throb does odd things to one's ears. Very dense, tough stuff. Again, something I'd love to have heard live, to experience these sounds in a live space, but...Fine work. Rives remains the one saxophonist I'm most interested in hearing these days. al maslakh

3 comments:

Richard Pinnell said...

Chasse's constructions here are fine, though they lacked the kind of magic I've encountered in, say, Tsunoda. Might require closer listening on my part, however, as I get the feeling I may be missing some relationships between the sounds. As is, there's one track I really enjoy (the fourth, possibly titled--hard to say for sure--"What caused my footfall..."). Curious to get others' opinions

I think the Chasse album is very very beautiful, and makes for great background music when you're doing something else, but it lacks any really engaging elements. This is often the case with this kind of field recording. Chasse's earlier Hedge of Nerves is great though Brian- "made from the sound of 78 rpm surface noices, fire, surf and the wind in juniper and aspen branches"

--

The Stern disc is great, so much fun. Did you ever hear the Sunshine has blown project he was involved with Brian?

As for the three Al Maslakh discs, I've only heard the Rives, which is great. The other two are still on my shopping list I think.

Brian Olewnick said...

Yeah, whether or not field recordings should be engaging might be a question....my only other Chasse disc is The Air in the Sand, which I liked very much.

Yep, I have heard the Sunshine is Blown, which I also enjoyed.

saltwatersnow said...

I really did not like the chasse cd after thinking the air in the sand was great. What Threw me off was the inlcusion of small bits of guitar and other instruments into the tracks in what i thought were really uninteresting ways. The air in the sand had amplified tones placed in the wildnerness and that was a nice appraoch but something about the new one just felt light and slight and too sugary for me.
I listened to tarab's surfacedrift last night by coincidence and that is a classic of layered field recordings in my opinion.
j