Sunday, February 12, 2012
Thomas Tilly/Jean-Luc Guionnet - Stones Air Axioms (Circum-Disc)
Intriguing idea--Thomas Tilly (whose recording of insect sounds from a year or two ago I was so taken with), has here, in collaboration with Guionnet, sought to "measure" the interior of the St. Pierre Cathedral in Poitiers using the amplitudes of organ-generated sounds as yardsticks. The theoretics are complicated enough that I haven't nearly the ability to go into them, but suffice it to say that I envisage the organ somehow "shooting" sonic rays into the apses, naves and chapels of the structure and being duly recorded by Tilly as they describe the space they traverse and the forms they encounter.
Is it silly to say that it sounds good? Well it does, as much as I'd have to guess that the effect would be multiplied in situ. The organ tones are garrulous, visceral, often sounding as if sourced from organs of the more corporeal kind. The first track is brutal, the sonic barrage caroming off the wall (possibly doing damage!) while the second subsides into smoky whispers, occasionally flushed out with large, groaning heaves. The third is more acidic, harsh, the piercing tones scouring the columns, peeling varnish form the old canvases, while the finale strays furthest from overtly organ-related sounds, including clanks, whistles, rubbings and such, though largely overlaying a deep, rich drone. It's huge and full; again, one can only imagine being enveloped in these tones.
A fine recording. I haven't been very keen on a lot of releases from this label--this is by far the best I've heard.
Stuart Chalmers - Fantasia (CDR)
A set of four dense tape collage pieces that seem to have been sourced willy-nilly from world music, industrial sounds, speech among a myriad of other things, sliced and smushed together into a compressed cake of sound, a sonic head cheese. Sometimes I'm reminded of Carl Stone's ventures in this direction from the early 90s, but there's more abandon here. It works well on the first track, less so on the second, where the vocal sample (which I insist on hearing saying "funky butt", though I doubt that's correct) sounds a bit silly, though the underlying, iterating throb (again, sounding very Stone-y) is very effective. Overt beats emerge, disappear in lieu of children playing and cd-skips, densify to an extreme degree, almost explode.
There were moments, I thought too much of a hodge-podge but whenever that occurred, it somehow gelled in the next few seconds. There's a free-for-all quality that gets overly busy at times but then generates some wonderful moments and this happens often enough that one comes to think of each aspect as necessary for the other in Chalmers' world. Interesting recording, worth checking out if the above intrigues.
chalmers at soundcloud
Eric Cordier - La Cite du Bruit (Universinternational)
A 3" disc melding sounds from an airshow and those from aquatic insects and other fauna, and I suppose a few things in between. There are also, I believe, defects in the disc causing little cd-ish blips. I say, "I believe" because you can never be too sure in this neck of the woods but it seems to me that the piece would be more coherent sans these small interruptions. Though, to be sure, I incorporated them into the experience and still found the results only intermittently gripping. There's a rich blend at hand and a reasonably interesting bleed-through between worlds but nothing too much that we haven't encountered before many a time. Admittedly, propellers and insects may just not do it for me.