David Seidel aka Mysterybear explores feedback in his latest release, The Quiet Sun on the Vuzh Music netlabel. I first wanted to write about the album without mentioning Jimi Hendrix, but it was through Hendrix that most of us older folks first heard feedback as part of a song. For me it was sitting in front of my Dad’s HiFi (yes, it was a HiFi) and listening to Hendrix’s “The Star Spangled Banner”. It wouldn’t surprise me that this specific Hendrix dissonance helped shape and warp the mind of this impressionable listener when he was seven years-old.
Seidel’s album begins with a controlled assault on the senses with “Apoapsis” that didn’t remind me of the first time I heard Hendrix, rather it helped solidify what the definition of experimental music: the audience is constantly being placed in the position of redefining what music is. This is the exact beauty of what Creative Commons experimental music has to offer. It is with albums such as The Quiet Sun and countless other experimental Netlabel releases that the listeners get to explore new and astounding sonic thresholds every day.
The even-numbered tracks on The Quiet Sun are improvisations and field-recordings that utilize feedback, not so much for their sensory overload, but as respite the structured turbulence of “Apoapsis”, “Epicycle” and “Periapsis”. Overall, The Quiet Sun causes a disruptive joy.
Title: The Quiet Sun
Netlabel: Vuzh Music
Released: 21 April 2013
Back in February, I reviewed mysterybear’s Complex Silence 12 which, using drones, explored binaural beats. On Sunday, Dave Seidel aka mysterybear embarked on an experiment with another binaural beat instrument, the Tibetan singing bowl. As Shakati explains in her blog, The Secret Lives of Singing Bowls:
. . . actually a Tibetan Singing bowl produces several frequencies. Most bowls (but not all of them) are tuned to a flatted fifth, also known as a Tritone. So, the “struck tone” of a singing bowl is a contradiction in terms, because when struck, a singing bowl produces a chord, or interval.
With a the singing bowl resting on bubble wrap and a contact mic under the bowl, Seidel began experimenting. The result was the 9 minute track, “A Bowl Full of Void” that he shared with all on SoundCloud. This isn’t the Tibetan singing bowl you’re familiar with, but if you have listened to any of Seidel’s work, you wouldn’t expect it to be. Seidel recorded his performance live as the drones seemingly loop around themselves like the proverbial dog chasing its own tail but in some sort of quantum world, the dog simultaneously catches his tail and chases it.
mysterybear’s “A Bowl Full of Void” (mp3)
Seidel explains his setup for the track:
.I had a Tibetan singing bowl resting on some folded bubble wrap with a contact mic under the bowl with a small vibrator stuck into the fold of the bubble wrap. The output of the contact mic went through the Drone Lab and the ring modulator into a mixer channel. I also took the carrier output of the ring modulator and used it as an oscillator, through a distortion pedal and then into another mixer channel. The mixer’s effects loop consists of a flanger, then delay, then reverb. The output was spread across two amps (a guitar amp and a bass amp with a separate sub-woofer cab).Recorded live in the garage (doors wide open)on a Zoom H4, unedited and unprocessed except to chop off the first eight minutes or so and start with a short fade-in.
| Photographs are courtesy of Dave Seidel |
I’m just getting started in this whole SoundCloud thing, so bear with me. The attempt at this post is to share with you some of the things I’ve found and listened to from a variety of artists who participate in the netlabel world. I realize that most, if not all, of these tracks will disappear in the near future, but that’s okay as this is very much a living post. When then do disappear, I’ve left links to the artists or netlabels that originated the track so you can go and listen to other works by them.Hopefully, I’ll return next Sunday with a new batch of tracks from SoundCloud for you to enjoy.
Mystified’s “Falling Into The Darkest Night Excerpt”
C. Reider’s “Romney Phase Upstage”
Mary Jane Leach & Dave Seidel’s “Duo for Droning Geminis (Live at The Stone)”
Benjamin Dauer’s “Washing Over”
Animula Vagula’s “Radiowaves (Pickpack)
| The photograph used with this post by Thiophene_Guy is licensed under Creative Commons
There are drones and then there are drones. mysterybear’s latest, Complex Silence 12 (Treetrunk Records), is of the latter. This is some straight-edge heavy drone for only the experienced netlabel user out there. These binaural beats created in, I believe, csound would cause a typical American family to flee their home. This I know. But for me, it’s luscious, sweet and beautiful. Does that make me wrong?
The first track, “Gyre II”, by Dave Seidel aka mysterybear was originally part of an exhibit this past January at the Jean Paul Slusser Gallery. At over 18 minutes, “Gyre II” insists on the listener’s attention. Though I have listened to the entire album through speakers, I have definitely found it more enjoyable to listen to using headphones. It is through this absorption of sound that the undulations grow and ebb, that the drones transform themselves from wave patterns to music.