Helicopter Drones

Helicopter Drones

Claudio Curciotti’s Field Abuse Volume 1: Helicopters (Impulsive Habitat) begins as many Sunday mornings begin, some jazz playing on the turntable. A track from John Patitucci’s Line by Line gently plays in the background till the helicopters arrive and the home-made bombs start exploding. Curciotti’s Helicopters ostensibly is a field recording of the European protests from last year in Barcelona and Rome. Using the helicopter sounds, Curciotti is able to paint the protests as the police state versus the people. The album fades out to the celebratory ringing of church bells, but even this gets overshadowed by the drones of the helicopters.

My one issue with this release is that it has been released under the Creative Commons No Derivative license. There are two reasons. Number one, if an artist samples another work, they should allow others to sample their work. It’s just simple courtesy. The second reason is more political. These are recordings populist protests, this type of thing is made for Creative Commons, specifially allowing derivatives. Also, Curciotti has many of these recordings available as a remixable sample pack at his website, Field Abuse. There is a fantastic soundmap of the Rome protests.


Artist: Claudio Curciotti
Title: Field Abuse Volume 1: Helicopters
Netlabel: Impulsive Habitat
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Download mp3: zip
Release Date: 13 January 2014

Auditive City

Auditive City

We as a species have a fondness for yesterday. With Juan Manuel Castrillo’s latest release, Horizontales, takes a look backward, rather, he tilts his head to the side, cups his ear and tries to listen to a by-gone era. Interestingly, there was a recent project called The Roaring Twenties that grabbed sound from a variety of sources in New York City and created a soundscape of New York in the 1920s. But back to the subject at hand.

Castrillo’s Horizontales, on Impulsive Habitat netlabel, is more of a re-imaging of what a city use to be. Castrillo writes:

Birds, covered wagons, horses and street peddler chantings with many others used to compound large cities sonic atmospheres before industrial development. Irregular fresh rhythms from human activities were plentiful. Those sounds, from centuries ago, described situations and told stories were rich in information, varied and contained many particularities as result of local conditions. The murmur of machinery with it’s buzzings, squeaks and rumblings brought with itself the line, the repetition…

Horizontales is filled with man-made drones and other ethereal sounds plucked from the our soundscape laid bare to our ears. It is wonderfully expressive and shows that recordings of our urban life can just be as beautiful and exotic as a nature recording.


Artist: Juan Manuel Castrillo
Title: Horizontales
Netlabel: Impulsive Habitat
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Download mp3: zip
Release Date: 3 January 2014

An AoS Podcast: 10 August 2012

A podcast made on 10 August 2012 featuring the experimental music and field recordings  from the Creative Commons / netlabel scene of the last week.

Podcast: http://archive.org/details/aos003 or at Mixcloud.

[mp3j flip=”y” track=”An AoS Podcast: 10 August 2012@http://archive.org/download/aos003/aos003.mp3″]

Below is a list of albums as they appear in the podcast.

Josh Varnedore’s Manataka (Absence of Wax)
Paul Wady’s The Terminal Beach (Linear Obsessional)
Ryan Jordan and Luke Moss’ Live from the Crystal World Salon (Open Sound Group)
Sinux’s Supermotion (Música Dócil)
eüa.3’s Hatemosphere (Earsheltering)
Diving Bell’s Diving Bell (h-a-z-e)
Cagey House’s Mostly I Like Everything (Bump Foot)
Nick Fells’ Other Islands (Never Come Ashore)
Giovanni Lami’s I Misteri (Impulsive Habitat)

The CC licensed photograph is by Pandiyan

Displacement, Chance and Error

As I was getting ready to write this post, I started thinking about how I could describe the work of Dario Moratilla. Is it possible? Is it even worthwhile to attempt to do so? The bio at Impulsive Habitat says:

He bases all his music in the manipulation of the digital audio and displacement of many field records and the possibilities of chances and error as a factor of the music. His music is organic and develops, it denotes a great use of the new technologies mainly in the experimental software use.

The part of the paragraph above that strikes me is the “displacement of many field records” along with “the possibilities of chance and error as a factor of the music”.  In Moratilla’s Trazos (Impulsive Habitat) we are brought into a soundscape the is absolutely manufactured but it’s essence is fundamental and integrated with the world around us. Trazos is a work that composes around the mundane and brings forth strange and rare sounds of our existence.

[mp3j flip=”y” track=”Trazos@http://impulsivehabitat.com/releases/050/ihab050-01-dario_moratilla_-_trazos.mp3″]

Artist: Dario Moratilla
Title: Trazos
Netlabel: Impulsive Habitat
Release Date: 01 August 2012
Download mp3: zip

Sounds Along the Periphery

Michael Trommer’s Outskirts (Impulsive Habitat) listens to the edges of the city, the depths of its boundaries. Based out of Toronto, Trommer is a sound artist who has also released work on some of the best netlabels around: con-v, test tube, Stasisfield, Audio Gourmet and others. Working with a variety of microphones (contact, hydrophone and induction) in Outskirts, Trommer melds the natural and the man-made worlds to create a soundscape the pops up alive even though so many of its sources are mechanical. One of the interesting aspects of Outskirtsm  is the use of  some infrasonic sound — that is sound below 20 Hz which is the low end of human hearing. The artists suggests in the liner notes that listener wear headphones which, as I experienced, allows a certain amount of pressure to build up on the eardrums to simulate the hearing of infrasonic sound. I know I shouldn’t be surprised that the folks at Impulsive Habitat have put out such another good release, but, damn, the quality of each release is astounding and Trommer’s Outskirts is no exception.

This Is The Release You Were Looking For

There are a dozen or so artists who I can recommend their new work without listening to it. Christropher McFall is one of these. But never fear, I have listened to McFall’s The alpha is strong and amplifying beta on the always interesting netlabel Impulsive Habitat. McFall writes in the liner notes that the pieces that make of The alpha is strong and amplifying beta “were composed primarily from field recordings rendered into digital formats and then subsequently transferred to hydrolyzed tape fragments. The tape fragments were then reassembled into loops and overlayed to form a series of looped multi-track alignments.”

Yeah, I don’t know what hydrolyzed tape fragments are and I don’t know what goes into the making of a Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying either one. The tracks from The alpha is strong and amplifying beta are manipulated field recordings layered depth upon depth; sounds nestled among their unnatural kin to provide an architecture of phonography that we finally hear as music. But as I said in the beginning of this review, me recommending a work by McFall is not really that important, the past work of the artist is recommendation enough. This review is really just a gentle reminder to you to download this McFall’s The alpha is strong and amplifying beta if you haven’t done so already.

[mp3j flip=”y” track=”Array@http://impulsivehabitat.com/releases/033/ihab033-03-christopher_mcfall_-_array.mp3″]

Sounds as Material


As anyone who has read this blog carefully would know I am a big fan of field recordings and their innate musicality. There aren’t many of use who feel that way, but there are a few. Two different labels, both of which happen to originate from Portugal, last month set out to show the “tunefulness” of field recordings. Both releases — Humeka’s m-area (Editora do Porto) and Christopher McFall / David Vélez’ Credence (Impulsive Habitat) — take field recordings apart – almost to their atomic level – and then piece them back together in to music. Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard that before.

Humeka’s “Mum Phoned Me Tonight” (mp3)
http://www.archive.org/download/edp040/Mum_Phoned_Me_Tonight.mp3|artists=Humera|titles=Mum

The track above by the French DJ Humeka, processed his beats and glitches through various communication devices (cell phones, answering machines, etc.) to make these sounds come alive in a most interesting way. As the liner notes state, “From the streets of Paris to the private messages, this is a very sophisticated and tasteful way of putting technology to good use.”

McFall / Vélez’ “Credence” (mp3)
http://impulsivehabitat.com/releases/025/ihab025-01-christopher_mcfall_david_velez_-_credence.mp3|artists=Christopher

While Humeka put his sounds together in a more traditional musical format, McFall and Vélez, both of whom are accomplished field recorders (or phonographers), process their recordings and then build a 30+ minute ambient piece of music. It’s a graceful track and one that the listener would not be able to tell came mainly from field recordings.