Monday, January 26, 2009

Max Richter – 24 Postcards in Full Colour

While some phone calls carry tear-inducing messages, what if the ringtones themselves caused welling up? Scottish composer/pianist Max Richter takes up the challenge of creating twenty-four brief works that can haunt you after their fleeting tones disperse. Richter’s notes about the album underline our current tendency to lose the musical message whilst analyzing the medium. The postcard is a simple consumer surface allowing the briefest of communication… but one of often deep emotional import. Each piece is a simple cluster of elements and instruments from classical composition, at times enhanced or scarred by shimmering electronic processes or the crackle of analog degradations. Their order is unimportant, Richter claiming they will eventually be given life as actual ringtones in prepared but still randomly ordered performances. The important part is that the music is communicative in its plaintive strings, its playful melodies, its hopeful tones. These are vivid recollections of bright moments, shared with an other you wished were there too.


Murcof – The Versailles Sessions

Knowing Fernando Corona mainly from compilations and remixes is to know a versatile electronic artist with a talent for marrying dubby minimalist beats to varied acoustic instruments. The rest of the picture has been gradually revealed, as in last year’s darkly epic Cosmos and this even more complex commissioned piece recorded for Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes festival in France. To suit the history of the Chateau de Versailles, Corona employed 17th century instruments exclusively. The harpsichords, violas, flutes and occasional mezzo soprano vocals have the sharp and polished presence of concrete sound documents. The fanfare and opening of “Welcome to Versailles” crashes and spirals, with the sound often stretching into long echoes. A sense of foreboding and displacement is seeded throughout the six pieces, especially later pieces like “Spring in the Artificial Garden” whose long harpsichord sustains bleed in the open air. Capping the event is “Lully’s ‘Turquerie’ As Interpreted By An Advanced Script,” a piece that draws a fife and drum squiggle into an increasingly electronic timeslip. As anachronisms go this recreation lives up to the grandeur of its inspirations.


Ulaan Khol - II

Steven R. Smith picks up where he left off in March with eight more untitled tracks of ceremonial guitar to storm the gates. Where Smith’s first release under this pseudonym featured hints of delicate folk acoustics, possible held over from his work in Halana Strana or Owl, another release this year under his own name, II is more about darker electric noise. Most tracks yowl with layers of distorted guitar that enfold one central psychedelic line as it dodges the branches of noise. Occasional drums and organ further enshroud the pathways or lift off like dark mist to reveal what lies beneath. These gyring tracks compare favourably to Alexander Tucker’s occasionally dense experiments with guitar stratification. As with I, each track is fairly brief, dispensing with build up and after effects and just burning from entrance to exit. In this way they appear as chemically smeared snapshots that hold more blurred detail than can be immediately absorbed, only poured over repeatedly to unlock hidden truths.

Soft Abuse

Friday, January 23, 2009

Surgery 73

The Fun Years
- Baby, It's Cold Inside (Barge)
The Caretaker - Persistent Repetition of Phrases (Install)
Library Tapes - A Summer Beneath The Trees (Make Mine Music)
Reigns - The House On The Causeway (Monotreme)
Dakota Suite - The End of Trying (Karaoke Kalk)
Robert Henke - Atom/Document (Imbalance)
Kangding Ray - Automne Fold (Raster-Noton)
Pixel - The Drive (Raster-Noton)
Jacaszek - Treny (Miasmah)
Bohren & Der Club Of Gore - Dolores (Ipecac)
Humcrush - Rest At Worlds End (Rune Grammofon)
Hemlock Smith & Les Poissons Autistes - Three Times Dead (Everest Records)

Track Listing

The Fun Years - The Surge Is Working [0:00]
The Caretaker - Lacunar Amnesia [8:10]
Library Tapes - Above The Flood [11:30]
Reigns - Mirrors At Night [15:22]
Dakota Suite - This Failing Sea [19:58]
Robert Henke - [First_Contact] [21:51]
Kangding Ray - Quarante [30:12]
Pixel - +40° 42 24.12 -73° 59 51.18 [33:44]
Jacaszek - Powoli [38:22]
Bohren & Der Club Of Gore - Welk [44:12]
Humcrush - Solar Sail [50:23]
Hemlock Smith & Les Poissons Autistes - Birmingham [55:38]

Listen to Surgery 73 click here

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Surgery 72

Alexandre Navarro - Arcane (SEM)
Emanuele Errante - Humus (Somnia)
Xela - In Bocca Al Lupo (Type)
Opium - Algorithms (Silentes)
Hauschka - Ferndorf (Fat Cat)
Sunken Foal - Fallen Arches (Planet Mu)
Grit - Expanse (Shoreless Recordings)
Taylor Deupree - Northern (12k) (Room40)
Nick Butcher - Bee Removal (Hometapes)
Natural Snow Buildings - The Dance of the Moon and the Sun (Digitalis)

Track Listing

Alexandre Navarro - Flying in a Dream [0:00]
Emanuele Errante- Primo Tema [5:04]
Xela - In Deo Salutari Meo (excerpt) [8:12]
Opium - Set On Less Then [13:48]
Hauschka - Weeks Of Rain [21:55]
Sunken Foal - Foathing [24:17]
Grit - Mind Mapping [30:26]
Taylor Deupree - Northern [34:39]
Tomas Bednarczyk - January [43:56]
Nick Butcher - Ryman [52:43]
Natural Snow Buildings - My Bones Are Yours [55:14]

Listen to Surgery 72 click here