Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Three 3" minis and a standard, new from Cathnor:

Adam Sonderberg - say no

An archival release from 2000-01, originally issued on Longbox. Interesting for me, as I'm a big fan of Adam's work over the last several years. The first track is great, very quiet, I imagine using some field recordings overlaid with soft pops; holds up beautifully today, very impressive for the time. A trio of brief cuts, one with Salvatore Dellaria on record player, another with Boris Hauf on computer, are less interesting in and of themselves but make ok elements in the suite of five presented here, sharp and crinkly. The last and longest features Geraldine Vo on accordion and if it's not quite so successful as the first, its intriguing combination of drones, lumpiness and subtle harshness points the way toward future Sonderberg work.

Mark Wastell - After Hours

One wonders how much simpler you can get, yet I find these 15 minutes very satisfying. A tubular bell with some computer processing, apparently, sounding in waves, the bell strike having had its initial attack blurred so that it wells to the forefront every 30 seconds or so, then it lolls there, like liquid finding its place in a jostled vessel, before the next muted peal. Totally easy to imagine this, in lesser hands, descending to new-agey levels, but somehow it doesn't. Don't ask me why.

Burkhard Beins/Michael Thieke/Luca Venitucci - Roman Tics

Percussion/objects/zither, clarinet/zither and accordion/preparations, respectively. Despite the Scrabbleisciousness of the interior design, this was the one of the bunch I couldn't quite get behind. Nothing seemed to gel for me, though there were several points where things appeared on the verge of doing so as when Beins initiates one of his fine, scraping drones several minutes in. It's a disc I might have preferred at greater length with more time for development.

Phil Durrant/Lee Patterson/Paul Vogel - Buoy

One fine, solid release here, excellent from start to finish. Durrant (self-made software samplers and treatments), Patterson (field recordings, amplified objects and processes) and Vogel (clarinet and electronics) construct five marvelously varied lattices of sound, gritty and dusty here, liquid and roiling there--sometimes simultaneously--with great depth and detail and unfailingly fascinating texture and sequencing. Vogel integrates his clarinet beautifully throughout, especially in conjunction with a series of low, fluttery sounds deriving from (I think) wind/water tapes and electronics in the third track. But there's not a dull moment to be found, one evocative soundscape after another. Check it out.



robert said...

I got all of these a few weeks ago and enjoyed them to varying degrees. Buoy and the Sonderberg were the best of the lot IMO as well but I found Roman Tics to have been a lot better then I expected (I think it was the horrible name and the banal (sorry Richard) cover that led to that expectation. The Wastell I thought nice enough, it could serve fine as background music, but thin with zero depth.

Anyway what I really wanted to post about was the first track on the Sonderberg disc. It isn't really all that silent at all, it has incredibly low end tones running through it. These completely, and I mean completely disappear when I've listened to it on my small stereo or on headphones that don't reproduce that low. But on my primary stereo it is amazing and rich. Really a great effect, I was really surprised when I listened to it one headphones at work and it just sounded like a few pops and clicks in an ocean of silence.

Brian Olewnick said...

Interesting, I'll have to re-listen; I did pick up a good bit of quiet rumbling but I don't think it was as strong as you described. Incidentally, Adam informed me that, in fact, no field recordings or processings were used, just a no-input mixing desk. Shows what my ears know.

Richard Pinnell said...


Banal, adjective - So lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring

Are there really that many album covers that feature details of circus carousels and scrabble boards?

FWIW that cover has been better received than any other I have ever designed. I'm not sure why as I think I've done better but there you go. Once you put something out into the world varying people see it in different ways I guess.

Richard Pinnell said...

Brian, while we are on the subject, did you notice anything unusual about that Scrabble photo?

Brian Olewnick said...

If you mean the overabundance of certain letters, like "C", bien sur.

btw, I had no problems with that cover; actually thought it a refreshing change from the normal, more monochromatic eai covers (not that monochromaticism is a bad thing)

Richard Pinnell said...

Well spotted.

The "extra" letters are basically other wooden tiles turned over with the required letter hand-drawn onto the blank reverse side by myself, ruining the set in the process! the things we do for our art...

The "c" in Michael is the most obvious one.