new music reviews authored by paul khimasia morgan

Friday, 9 February 2018

A 1000füssler quartet

Straight outta Hamburg, comes what appears to be the final four releases on 1000füssler before Gregory Büttner sadly seems to have opted for an indefinite hiatus.  The back catalogue is full of top-flight names such as Seth Cooke & Dom Lash, Adam Asnan, Birgit Uhler, Asmus Tietchens, Roel Meelkop and Büttner himself.  1000füssler is a label that concerns itself with the sound of objects, activities, ephemera, occurrences, often this is in the form of field recordings, sometimes not.

Goh Lee Kwang
Radio Station EXP
GERMANY  1000füssler  028  3” CD  (2015)

Sounds of rainfall in Kuala Lumpur “re-composed and manipulated” by Goh Lee Kwang.  The connection between rain and radio is not an obvious one perhaps, but there are connections between atmospheric conditions and signal quality so maybe that is part of what is being alluded to here.  Kwang has managed to successfully transmogrify his rainfall recordings into a bleak kind of static.  Echo or doubling effects seem to be employed here and there, generating a brutalist crescendo.  This evolves over roughly two thirds of the piece’s duration; the source material getting more and more saturated with processing until it ultimately experiences a sudden massive boost in the high frequency range which gives the effect of what it might be like to have a massive bag of rice break over your head.  After this monumental event horizon has passed, Kwang allows all manner of sonic detritus to remain; gently swirling around like the flotsam and jetsam of a shipwreck the morning after a storm.

Simon Whetham
GERMANY  1000füssler  029  3” CD  (2015)

Simon Whetham endlessly traverses the world performing, recording and teaching leaving in his wake a respectable quantity of audio documentation on multifarious imprints.  This posits the question of whether “sonic art” is a contrivance designed at the whim or as a by-product of the primary work of practitioners like Whetham?  Or perhaps “contrivance” is simply a handy term for his working method here sounding objects. Which involves a very direct, constructional input from the artist.  The last couple of times I have seen Simon perform, he made good use of objects he found in the performance space – this “accidental”, or latent, palette of sounds.  The material on Contrivance, though, could be generated from industrial machinery or field recording sources or, again, simply the result of Whetham’s actions and interactions inside a gallery space.

Yan Jun
On 3 pipes
GERMANY  1000füssler  030  3” CD  (2015)

Two pieces made up from recordings of the pipework in his home and at The Shop, Beijing.
“Both tracks were heavily modified during the mastering process.  The original materials contain strong noises from the recording equipment.”  This suggests to me that the sounds captured from the pipes themselves were very quiet, and the noisefloor of the recorder is intentionally or unintentionally present.
Nonetheless, the results are very interesting.  Track one sounds processed, by which I mean it is not drowned in a sea of digital effects, rather the accidental artefacts of the recording itself are given equal priority it seem to me.
The start of the second track sounds like my old water heater which immediately brought back memories of making recordings of that myself about six years ago but also the frustration of having to rip it out and replace the entire heating system shortly afterward.  That was a cold winter.  Yan Jun’s recording allows the periodic interruption of the heater pumping water interspersed with calm.  At one point you can hear a phantom telephone ring which gives an idea of the amount of processing during the mastering process – a lot.  It’s not obvious on the loud sections in the same way as on track one, but yes it is heavily processed.

Diatribes & Cristián Alvear
Roshambo (trio)
GERMANY  1000füssler  031  3” CD  (2015)

Cyril Bondi, Laurent d’incise Peter, (who are Diatribes), and Cristián Alvear react in many interesting ways to a score written by Bondi and Peter.  Bondi uses a range of percussion, Peter his laptop, and Alvear his customary Spanish guitar.  I’ve written elsewhere at some length about the amazing sounds Cristián Alvear coaxes out of his guitar, and having arranged a Brighton concert for Diatribes in 2015, you can probably guess I’m a big fan of their work.
The piece ebbs and flows in a fashion reminiscent of a piece from the Wandelweiser group of composers, utilising space to allow each action to fully resonate.  Crests and troughs, like waves breaking in an eternal cycle of energy sustain and release.  What Michael Pisaro’s A Wave And Waves might sound like in super-compressed form, sketched on the back of your library card.

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