Unhuman Sounds

Unhuman Sounds

When I listen to C. Reider’s Linguism (Treetrunk) which focuses on the speech disfluences of Morm Chomsky such as sturrering, umms, ahhs, and filler, I want to reach out and grab Chomsky and yell, “Get on with it!” Reider recently posted his 2003 work, Aughtet, on the Archive and it doesn’t force me to impatiently scream at my portable listening device.

It was nice to listen to this work as vocal experimentation seems to be more prevalent in the netlabel scene than ever before. (I realize that I am probably only hearing what I want to believe to be there.) Reider tells us that that Aughtet is made up almost entirely if human mouth sounds, so I guess it reaches the Ivory soap litmus test of 99% pure. Even though Aughtet is smoother than most vocal experimentation out there, Reider has transformed human vocals into other sounds, not human sounds, effortlessly disarming the listener with his particular sonic view.

Artist: C. Reider
Title: Aughtet
Netlabel: Vuzh Music
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Release Date: 2003
Download mp3: zip

Abstract Denouement

Abstract Denouement

Leo Bettinelli and Jaume Muntsant‘s Wingu begins with a slight crackling and other sounds which then evolve into walk. This is quite apropos as throughout Wingu we are being brought along on a sonic journey that effortless changes its point of reflection. (I would have liked to use soundscape though that word is as misused as experimental.) Bettinelli and Muntsant’s aural passages could be considered collage in construct, but we’d be wrong in that assessment — Wingu‘s acoustic architecture is tight, seamless and always belonging.


Artists: Leo Bettinelli and Jaume Muntsant
Title: Wingu
Netlabel: Vuzh Music
Released: 01 July 2013
Download mp3: zip

Feedback in the Sun

Mysterybear - A Quiet Sun

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.

Artist: Mysterybear
Title: The Quiet Sun
Netlabel: Vuzh Music
Released: 21 April 2013


Returning With Some Self-Promotion

As some of you may know, I have most recently begun a new job. I realized a few weeks into the new job, that even though I’ve been gainfully employed for a long time (knock on wood), I’ve been doing almost nothing for the last few years. So it was a shock to the system at my new job as I had to gratefully step it up a several notches. Things or, rather, my life have settled down again, work is going along great and I’ve finally carved out time to write reviews of new Creative Commons netlabel music. In the mean time, check out two releases of mine. Back in March, I released Home Drones on Treetrunk and in September, Backyard Improvisations came out on Vuzh Music. Please give them a listen if you’d like.

If you are unaware of The Easy Pace, it’s a feed of sorts of Creative Commons netlabel music that focuses on experimental, improvisation and noise releases.

Removing Noise from Noise

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[mp3j flip=”y” track=”Buddha Reduction 1@http://www.actsofsilence.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/01-Buddha-Reduction-1.mp3″]

Artist: C. Reider
Title: Buddha Reduction
Netlabel: Vuzh Music
Released: 07 July 2012
Download mp3: zip

Schrödinger’s Flow

Listening to The Euphoric Hum’s Flow (Vuzh Music) several times, I was thinking of multiple ways to describe the sound. As any blogger or netlabel curator can tell you writing about music, describing it in a way the gives one the feel of what the musician has accomplished, is extremely difficult. Yeah, I know, boo-hoo for me. This difficulty is why bloggers sometimes resort to genrification of albums but this has its own traps. Flow is an album that refuses the boundaries of language — it is just electronic music. Flow is everything you might think electronic music is and, at the same time, everything electronic music is not. Stephan Dragesser aka The Euphoric Hum writes, “Often my pieces are based on little loops, and the tracks are based on long sessions experiment with sounds, to bring the sound in a form, make a track, is always a problem for me, because I can basically get lost….” Getting lost is apropos of everything and nothing when writing about Flow.

[mp3j flip=”y” track=”Syngeneic@http://www.actsofsilence.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/01-Syngeneic.mp3″]

The Piano Sounds Like a Beer

What happens when you take a piano, crack it open and add an experimental artist? The good news is that I have two possible answers to that question.

The first listen is to Saffron Slumber’s Piano Drones 1 (Vuzh Music) which has Kevin Stephens aka Saffron Slumber turning the piano into a drone machine of sorts — apparently you can make a drone out of anything. As simple as it sounds, but the sounds are far from simple, the two tracks are comprised on Stephens running his fingers along the exposed strings of a piano.  Stephens writes in the liner notes:

On touching the string with my fingertip, I found that it brought out all of the overtones of the string. The recording starts slightly after this discovery, and you can hear my using both the pad of my finger and my fingernail.

The drones build up quietly and somewhat singularly as the different waves begin to mesh with the degradation of other waves. What gives these drones a depth and a space carved out in sound is the resonance they gain from their source, the piano.

[mp3j  flip=”y” track =”Saffron Slumber – Part I Drone 2@http://www.actsofsilence.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/02-Part-1-Drone-2.mp3″]

While Stephens extracts drones from the piano strings, nothing from a piano seems off limits in  Martin Rach’s Trash Piano (Modisti). Not only are strings rubbed and strummed, but Rach uses parts of the piano percussively and even seems to reach for near by objects to add to the sound.

[mp3j  flip=”y” track =”Martin Rach’s 1@http://www.archive.org/download/modisti_25/Modisti_25_1._trASh_piANo_1.mp3″]

Though quite dissimilar works, I believe they go together quite well.