[Xchange] %Array | F.0015.0010
%Array | F.0015.0010
One of our most popular publications is our periodical %Array - a mix of
news, reviews, charts and ASCII Art. When we first established it,
we hoped to publish it monthly, but we've been struggling to maintain a
bi-monthly /quarterly schedule since, due to pressure of work.
With a view to restoring the monthly schedule we recently compiled a core
team of contributing writers to assist in %Array's production. This issue
is the result of their hard work. We hope to return to the monthly schedule
over the next couple of issues and have uploaded past reviews to the Fallt
website in addition to publishing additional, non-emailed reviews.
Past %Array reviews - in handheld friendly format, optimised for mobile
devices (via Avantgo, www.avantgo.com) - are available here:
10(10/2002) = 100(+)
2002 was an interesting year musically, with no shortage of works - both
published and unpublished - arriving at Fallt. Casting a backwards
glance we asked ten Fallt contributors and collaborators to shortlist their
ten favourite releases from the past year. Contributors include: Pimmon,
Richard Chartier, Taylor Deupree, Alejandra and Aeron, Fehler, si-cut.db and
100(+) works, all worth exploring, are available here:
Ian Andrews | Ceremonial [Fallt, CDR]
Ian Andrews is a Sydney based artist who has been producing film, video
and sound works since 1981. Lately his work has branched into Flash
with the generative audio/visual compilations 'ether-1' and 'ether-2' and
his 'narrowband' online album 'Radiohack' (http://radioscopia.org).
'Ceremonial' is his first printed CD album under his own name and the
inaugural release on Fallt's 'Ferric' burn-to-order series of CDs.
Having listened to 'Radiohack's' (self-)composed sputter, my expectations
were duly set only to be wrong-footed by the driving rhythms and easy
fluidity of 'Ceremonial'. Truer to say that it glides like mercury; take
'Gynoecium', 'Working the Hole' and 'Andevoranto' and file under Propulsive
Dub. Andrews also uses melody; 'Da' is in the same vein as the former but
smoother, flirting with pop-lite inflections and easy listening vocals.
But for all 'Ceremonial's' aerodynamic sleekness not much is left unflecked
by digital grit and off-centre interventions. 'Departure', slower and
grittier than most, takes things under water and ticks over on slapped bass
twang. Finally, with a hint of Vladislav Delay circa 'Entain', 'Jaffa' burns
slowly, its chords rippling in the middle distance whilst we view in a
grainy photo or through a smudged lens the memory of a picnic in a park when
birds were singing and glasses chinked convivially.
Well paced and thoroughly immersive.
Fennesz | Field Recordings [Touch, CD]
Not field recordings per se, rather an attempt to cast the spotlight
onto some of Fennesz' other, perhaps less well known, activities -
particularly his remixes - and cast a backwards glance over several notable
contributions to compilations that might otherwise have slipped beneath
The reproduction of his critically acclaimed 'Instrument' EP (originally
released on 12" vinyl on Mego in 1995) is reason alone to own this
compilation. As if that weren't enough, Touch have generously drawn together
a host of remixes and contributions to a number of compilations making
'Field Recordings' an indispensable release.
'Menthol', from 'Clicks & Cuts Vol. 2', shimmers and throbs in true Fennesz
fashion - heat haze electronics, scattered tonal fragments suspended
in molten glass. 'Betrieb', remixed from Ekkehard Ehlers' album of the same
name, is four minutes of swirling chords, distended and set atop low end
buzz. 'Surf', from Ash International's 1997 compilation 'Decay', a
shuddering cascade of multi-timbral hiss unwinding slowly but surely...
Fennesz' restrained electronics are the digital equivalences of Morton
Feldman's gently-unfolding aural soundscapes or Mark Rothko's captivating
canvasses. He resists the urge to over-produce, building careful
compositions which are beautifully understated. His light touch, nuanced
ebbs and flows, and distinctive voice unquestionably seductive.
Closing with 'Codeine', his contribution to the remix/version album
accompanying Stephan Mathieu and Ekkehard Ehlers' 'Heroin' re-release on
Orthlorng Musork, is perfect. Musical narcotic you'd willingly become
John Hudak | Birds and Reeds [Aesova, 3" CDR]
During this fading year the music of New York based artist and composer
John Hudak became a favourite listening experience for me. A pioneer in the
field later labelled '.microsound', Hudak has been actively developing his
musical language since 1985 in addition to creating installations for white
cubes, public spaces and the virtual rooms of the world wide web and
What becomes immediately striking is the clarity in his work: all of Hudak's
music I know grows from one single, small source of audio, often acoustic
events captured en plein air. His processing of material seems to focus on
magnifying small, but evident details to the point where those hidden sounds
become a world of their own, inviting the listener to wander around, forget
oneself and probably get lost until one comes to the point where you
suddenly recognise where you are - in a field of 'tall grasses', looking at
the ever changing sky from underneath the mirroring surface of a 'pond', or
having the radio send up coded signals 'from where I am'.
'Birds and Reeds' seems to come from the opposite direction. Based on
recordings by Regina Beyer made at different ecological areas of a closed
landfill in Staten Island we obviously hear birds, reeds and the wind in a
landscape. But this landscape seems to be formed of tin foil, the birds seem
to be part of a slowly spinning metal mobile. Compared to his other
releases, Hudak allows his source material to be itself, but nevertheless in
its strange concreteness the music seems like reverbations from another
time, another place than this, like a field recording engraved on a wax
'Birds and Reeds' presents one track of twenty minutes duration and yet
again this little sounding object finds itself spinning in my room for
hours and hours. Hudak's musical work is one of a very pure and therefore
difficult kind. Once you've found your way in however, it is highly
rewarding, probably even addicting.
Pure | Noonbugs [Mego, CD]
'Noonbugs', by the Austrian multimedia artist Pure, is a near 60 minute long
cinematic experience in sound. Opening with insect-like sounds - that
recur throughout and contribute to the overall feeling of the work - it is
mainly a dark melancholic dirge with foreboding orchestral drones, sounds
like water drips, and even a woman's chorus.
At its mid-point we have a reprieve from the heaviness with a bell-like
sound - a state of suspension and limbo that leads to a rhythmic
environment. More textures take over, another set of rhythms, ending with a
texture very much like the one in the beginning.
'Noonbugs' is like a film without a story, parts of which can be listened to
as background, but with other parts underlying an unseen drama. The fact
that this work is so much like the score for a film makes 'Noonbugs' an
exercise in visual imagination, and certainly a fitting soundtrack for the
present state of things in the world... apocalyptic.
A sound and video artist, as well as a lecturer on object oriented computer
language programming (Max/MSP/Jitter), Pure will be touring Scandinavia in
tu m' | Blue in Green [Aesova, 2 x 3" CDR]
Nature, organic, might constitute the underlying theme for the excellent
'Blue in Green' by Italian duo tu m'.
tu m' seem to fit best in the world of loosely structured, abstract,
glitch-based electronics similar to works by well known and recognised
artists like Pimmon, Motion and, at moments, Richard Chartier. 'Blue in
Green' appears focused on the theme of nature, but remains sensitive to past
accomplishments including their recent release for French label Cut, '01'.
Comprising two 3" CDRs - one tilted 'Blue', the other 'Green' - and with a
total play time of thirty eight minutes and ninety eight seconds, the
average track time is around seven minutes. Each track moves the listener
through various sonic fields of textured noise and rhythms. Expect to hear
soft tones, organic rhythms and soft field recordings lovingly processed
with an exact ear for detail.
Overall tu m' manage to balance a wide variety of sounds, rhythms, textures,
tones, noise and silence into a pleasant freeform set of tracks that
place the viewer into a tiny active world that feels like a spring day after
the rain out in the countryside.
Stephan Mathieu | Die Entdeckung Des Wetters [Lucky Kitchen, CD]
The first part of Touch - a work consisting of four parts: 'Into', 'Love',
'Inside' and 'Touch' - 'Into', creates an atmosphere that reminds me of when
I once visited Prague and travelled from church to church, viewing the
various interiors of the individual churches. Occasionally there would be an
organ playing music prior to a church service, that seemed to be playing
themes and variations on a simple melody.
Whatever is making the sound in all these pieces seems to have the quality
of glass when you fill a crystal goblet with water, dip your finger in,
and rub it around the top edge of the glass to get a steady tone. In similar
fashion, 'Into' creates a contemplative/meditative mood.
The second part, 'Love', sounds like the first piece turning in on itself,
folding, like one kneads dough... Different parts meet different parts, but
always remain a part of the whole. The same sound source seems to be used
throughout these four pieces. 'Inside', is close in feeling to the first
piece, with the addition of some sounds that remind me of air, under
pressure, escaping intermittently. A calming sound. I couldn't help thinking
of a factory of some sort, where something is being made with a machine over
and over again.
The concluding part, the title track, shares the qualities of the first
three pieces, with the addition of the feeling of the sounds warmed to the
texture of a string section: cellos. Composed in July 2001 as an
accompaniment to a glass exhibition held in an ancient glass factory in
Meisenthal, France, 'Touch' is now part of a permanent exhibition there.
The four pieces were played back through a small four channel speaker setup
in auto-repeat, which I'm sure is a perfect environment for listening to
'Die Entdeckung Des Wetters' has a heavier sound, like that of the
mechanical processing of something... Very meditative again, but flatter and
more drawn out than 'Touch', it contains a more omnipresent drone with
little delicate things being done in the distance. It is suitably
permanently installed in, as it was specifically created for, an old
ironworks, wherein hard coal was transformed into coke by means of baking in
hot ovens for 18 hours. The original loop of 70 minutes was played back
through a four channel system placed in the cokeries area of the ironworks.
O.Lamm | My Favourite Things (Remixes) [Active Suspension, CD]
Having already released a few gems on France's excellent Active Suspension
label over the past few years, Olivier Lamm has slowly been making a name
for himself, and rightly so. A computer musician who loves to deconstruct
everything from obscure Japanese pop music to classical symphonies, you know
you're just asking for trouble by having the likes of Steve Roden, Hypo,
Alejandra & Aeron, Team Doyobi, and Blevin Blectum remix work like this.
Coming to the studio with a palette of sound that will keep you guessing at
every turn, this remix CD can be compared to a couple of hyperactive
children let loose in the world's biggest music library with a couple of
samplers. Everything and the kitchen sink flies by, allowing just enough
time to recognize it before another sound takes its place.
Among the more interesting tracks: Noak Katoi's version of 'No medley, no
fadeout' which sounds like a running collage of a film projector and
microphone noise; Ms. Blectum's remix of 'bLammo, OverloDenied' which merges
pretty glitched out chords with warped tape loops; and Erich Zahn's remix of
'mnLi' that really pulls out all the stops with a fantastic mix of car
alarms, hip-hop, CR-78 breakbeats and clarinet (!).
Chalk up yet another excellent and interesting release from one of the most
dynamic and consistently impressive labels coming out of France today. If
you're the kind of person that loves a little cut-and-paste pyrotechnics in
your laptop tomfoolery, then this is something you should most certainly get
your ears around.
De-constructed pop music never sounded this much fun.
Ryoji Ikeda | op. [Touch, CD]
It will be no surprise to those familiar with Ikeda's sound work to hear
that his new release begins on a long suspended high frequency note,
but it will be immediately apparent that instead of this being another fine
collection of (what I jokingly term) the 'spatia-minima hearing
test-tronics' that he is well known for, this appears to be a very promising
next stage of works involving acoustic instruments exploring similar
Most who are familiar with Ikeda's previous work will find this new release
of compositions for string trio and quartet to be a seemingly logical
continuation of the sonic territory he has acutely explored before with
electronics. One difference some may find between the electronic works and
the string pieces is that they might evoke more emotion in some listeners,
whereas the electronic works stimulated only the intellect. Nevertheless,
some will still find 'op.' to be austere, cold, and only slightly warmer
than the electronic works, due in part by the string instrumentation.
This release presents 3 opuses - hence the title - and one 'prototype'
version of the first work entitled 'op. 1 for Strings'. All in all, I
personally find that these lovely, elegiac and thought-provoking works
accomplish what many a classically trained modern composer has not been able
or inclined to do: sustain and shift long meditative/contemplative passages
throughout the entire duration of their compositions without feeling the
common and somewhat academic need to display disruptive outbursts of atonal
Perhaps this is due, in part, to Ikeda not being a classically trained
virtuoso musician or composer? Perhaps classical music, as a genre, will
experience regeneration in a new generation of untrained composers
who aren't so steeped and entrenched in academic tradition? Ikeda's works
give me some hope, at least.
? | ? [Alku, CDR]
Periodically a surprise package arrives from Barcelona based Alku
recordings. Invariably a non-descript brown envelope, its contents are
anything but faceless, more often than not humorous parcels of fun.
Today's package features a faceless yellow cardboard sleeve containing an
unmarked CDR with 10 two minute tracks and an A2 poster with giant-sized
text not dissimilar to that found at Alku's gloriously minimal website
A self-confessed 'home label' - only releasing works on CDR - Alku have
nonetheless amassed a wealth of talent including, among others, Pita,
Merzbow, Wobbly, Beige and 2002 Prix Ars Electronica Winner Yasunao Tone,
whose 'Man'Yo Wounded 2001' was this year's Digital Musics Category Winner.
Perhaps Alku's most intriguing releases are those where they invite
musicians to contribute to a compilation that, more often than not, involves
conforming or reacting to a tightly defined brief.
I can't be sure who made what, but I'm happy it's that way. Like The Wire's
Invisible Jukebox, half the fun's in the listening and guessing. At a rough
guess I'd say: Track 1, perhaps Wobbly or Beige? Track 2, almost certainly
the distinctively virulent strains of Evol, (I love those digital insect
whines...). Track 3, comfortably distended melody, but who is it? Track 4,
the unmistakable sound of the Macintosh' built-in text-to-speech software;
as for the artist, I haven't a clue...
Track 5, pinprick audio - delicate fragments. Track 6, distorted melodies
sitting on top of decentred rhythms, again Wobbly or Beige? Track 7, sheets
of carefully modulated noise, very nice, but I'm at a loss to identify the
culprit(s). Track 8, minimal scribbles again (?). Track 9, Pimmon perhaps (I
recognise some samples here). Track 10, scroll-wheel shuddering pitch
The game could go on for hours (in twenty minute blocks), suffice to
say it's a lot of fun and I can highly recommend it. Now, if I could just
investigate a little further and find out who did what...
740 CHARACTER ASCII ART
This issues's ASCII Art is courtesy of regular Fallt collaborator
Christophe Behrens whose latest series of works 'Peep Show' will feature
alongside the work of New York photographer Richard Kern at Fallt
in mid 2003. The following is, "an edit of a UU Encoded file from one of
several newsgroups I've been plundering...".
BEGIN 644 MVC-486S.JPG
Each issue we ask one of our contributors to share their current
playlist with us. This issue we're grateful to regular Fallt collaborator
Akira Rabelais for, "a selection from his CD changer", ("I just don't
understand how you can expect me to listen to less than twenty CDs
at once though...!").
Homer | The Iliad (Read by Anton Lesser) [Naxos, 3CD]
Antenne | #1 [Korm Plastics, CD]
Harold Budd/Brian Eno | The Pearl [Editions EG, CD]
James Joyce | Finnegans Wake CD 16 [Irish Museum of Modern Art, 17CD]
The Autumns | In The Russet Gold Of This Vain Hour [Risk, CD]
Donnacha Costello | Together Is The New Alone [Mille Plateaux, CD]
Anthony Braxton | For Alto [Delmark, CD]
Schubert | Piano Quintet in A, 'The Trout' [MCA, CD]
Slowdive | Souvlaki [Creation, CD]
Nobukaza Takemura | Animate [Childisc, CD]
Molecular icons: "In their experiments, the researchers used a molecule to
store a black and white image, 32 pixels square...".
Thanks to all those who contributed to this issue of '%Array', in
particular: Gordon McEwen, A & R @ Alku, Akira Rabelais, Christophe Behrens,
Scott Allison, John Hudak, Dale Lloyd, Olli Siebelt and Stephan Mathieu.
%Array is published bi-monthly by Fallt and emailed to registered
subscribers. If you'd like to unsubscribe please contact us at:
unsubscribe@xxxxxxxxx and we'll remove your from our subscriber list.
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