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Sound and Stone * Dialog Tapes II

Sound And Stone

Sound And Stone

VARIOUS ARTISTS – SOUND AND STONE  Also on Spotify

With the release of Sound And StoneSteven M. Halliday concludes a two years research project of the Fessman Sound Stones for his thesis submitted to the Huddersfield University.|
Hannes (and his father Klaus) Fessman‘s ‘Klangsteine’ are fascinating sculptures that are not only very beautiful to watch but also to listen to. They produce an incredible deep resonating sound seemingly connected to thousands of years of the Earth’s history, and which seem to have therapeutic effect too: since 2009 the effects on Alzheimer memory treatment, micro circulation, increased white blood cells muscle relaxation and depression are investigated. The stones definitely produce a ‘mindful’ sound…
The stones of Hannes and Klaus Fessman were a continuation and further exploration of the research of Elmar Daucher in the 70’s and 80’s (more on this later).

Sound speaks louder than words, so instead of spending more words on how beautiful these stone sculptures can sound, it’s probably better to watch this introduction video by Hannes Fessman himself. It’s 11 minutes long but definitely worth watching (and listening) to the end:

 

For this compilation album, the sounds of these stone sculptures were sampled and then the ‘virtual sound stones’ were given to some of the world’s most forward-thinking music producers’ to work with. And that’s an impressive array of artists indeed: Jasmine Guffond, Paul Jebanasam, Tomonari Nozaki, Leyland Kirby, Machinefabriek, Monty Adkins, Yves de Mey, Farwarmth, and of course Steven M Halliday himself.

The result is an intriguing collection…. of electronic music.
And exactly this is what intrigued me: I’m sure the original deep, organic, resonating sounds of the stones are used throughout, bit still this feels like electronic music in the first place. Understandable, of course, since they worked with samples as their basic material, they do not play the stones themselves. On second thought this isn’t a real surprise: “unfortunately, the logistics of getting the Hannes stones around Europe became impossible. Not only do you need a flatbed truck and crane to transport them, but there is also a considerable cost involved too.”
So the samples would have to do as the base material – and so the original sounds are manipulated and reconstructed into these new pieces, with each artist’ own sound characteristics.

As much as I love listening to this album, I still think it would’ve been great if some of the original sounds were more prominently included in this album (like demonstrated in the video above) too. The sound of the stones is so ‘complete’ that one may wonder if further treatments of these sound can really add anything to that.
This is perhaps why the download of this album also contains a sample pack of the original sounds. If you have a sampler, DAW of can process samples in any other way, you can create your own version of the Sound Of Stones. (The cassette version does not contain these samples for obvious reasons, but if you buy the cassette version it is included with the digital download. Problem solved…)

As an extra, it might be interesting to mention Stephan Micus’ album The Music of Stones‘ from 1989. On this album Micus uses Elmar Daucher‘s resonating stones, and with ECM’s immaculate recording they can be heard in full effect. Being Stephan Micus, this music is more eastern-oriented in style (adding shakuhachi and tin whistle) and not as ‘experimental’ as Steven Halliday’s collection, but if you’re interested in musical stones you should definitely check it out too.


Dialog II Eilean Dialog Tapes II Dauw

VARIOUS ARTISTS – DIALOG TAPES II: EILÉAN / DAUW

Three years ago, the labels Dauw and Eiléan released the first Dialog Tapes‘: a collection of tracks working together in various combinations, collaborating to create the music they love with like-minded souls. According to the labels’ release policy, the Dauw edition was released on tape and the Eiléan edition on CD. A great concept, demonstrating that many artists share a musical vision and can work together regardless of geological borders.

The same applies to Dialog Tapes II, released after the same concept. Ánd on the same physical editions – but if this is the first time you read about this you can forget about physical that because those already sold out.
Don’t worry too much about that: the digital downloads remain available and it’s all about the music isn’t it?

Like Dialog Tapes I this release-pair should be considered as a single unity: a double album release on two different labels/media. The one is not complete without its other half.
Almost all of the artists are performing on both albums with a different partner. With a few remarkable exceptions: Autistici (only on Eiléan) and Yadayn (only on Dauw). And Monolyth & Cobalt and Dudal break the ‘change partner’ rule by re-appearing as Dudal & Monolyth & Cobalt. 

I’ll simply namedrop the other performing artists here, in order of appearance: Olan Mill, Øjerum, Humble Bee, Toàn, Stijn Hüwels, Offthesky, Benoît Pioulard, Josh Mason, Machinefabriek, Emmanuel Witzthum, R. Beny, Omar El Abd, Steve Pacheco. I’m assuming that these names are enough to get an idea of the resulting sounds.

The remarkable result of this shared musical vision is that these two albums also sound as if it was one single group of artists performing: there are variations in details, other accents, but generally speaking the music is all in the same vein – a coherent compilations without unexpected extremes.
All of these artists have been releasing their music on these labels so if you’re familiar with the labels you know what to expect. An ‘attempt to connect a musical field through its own creative forces. It’s about connectivity and making new unexpected musical ties between individual actors’. 

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Eilean & Dauw Dialog Tapes

Dauw - Dialog Tapes

In recent years it is not uncommon that artists work together without meeting each other in real life. On-Line collaboration is a common working method: sending work-in-progress to each other until it’s ready. It’s one of the many wonders the Internet brought us.

But as far as I know, two labels collaborating together in this way – matching their artists to work in duos on a collaboration track – has not been done before.

It’s a bold project by Eilean Records and Dauw to match 15 of their artists and let them make 14 collaborative tracks that are released as “Dialog Tapes” on two different media: a CD from Eilean and a Cassette tape from Dauw.

It’s a matching pair – the one should not be listened without the other. Just consider it a double album released on two different media – by two different labels…
No need to think about that too long, by the way: the physical editions will probably be sold outby now (though there may be some copies of the CD left at Experimedia or Stashed Goods). But luckily both releases are still available as a perfect pair of digital downloads.

Dauw - Dialog Tapes

One might expect a somewhat hectic clash of extremes when so many artists are paired, but it’s not. On the contrary: the fourteen tracks are pleasantly varied, often lo-fi, seemingly improvised, introvert, but néver dull, soundscapes.
The labels  – ánd their artists, at least those participating here – clearly share their view of what contemporary soundscapes should sound like!
(A honorouble mention is in place here for the mastering of Ian Hawgood)

14 tracks by 15 artists working in duo’s must mean there is one duo involved (Sokkyo is Heine Christensen and Ciro Berengues) which means that two tracks are created by a trio, not a duo. Not that that really matters, it’s just for those that want their math to be correct…

So, each artist that is present in two different combinations, each interacting with what the other party does best.
And beyond that, it is great to see labels not competing but working together.

The artist names to wet your appetite (find out the combinations yourself):
Stijn Hüwels, Danny Clay, Ruhe, TwinCities, Miguel Isaza, Monolyth & Cobalt, Wil Bolton, Leigh Toro, Aaron Martin, The Humble Bee, Sokkyõ, Masayaka Ozaki, David Andree, Dudal.

As demonstrated by this release, the result can indeed be much greater than the sum of its parts.

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Machinefabriek – Dauw (videoclip)

Dauw

What do you see when listening to ambient music?
I guess most answers would be something like: landscapes.
Desolate, comforting or alien, depending on the kind of ambient music.

I guess some of the images will be triggered by the track title.
So – what would a videoclip for Machinefabriek’s “Dauw” (“Dew”) look like?

when clicking the YouTube link to the video by Joost Meijer for this track, I was prepared for some abstract impressionist landscape shots. But I was not prepared for a heartbreaking story of an elderly couple growing apart.

Dauw - video

Strikingly beautiful shots of a couple living in a deceivingly peaceful and utterly dutch farm environment.
The clear irritation of the woman (well-known dutch actress Kitty Courbois), the inadequate denial of her husband. And ultimately the desolatie decision leaving both people helpless.
This is not a comforting video.

But if fits the soundtrack very well: however peaceful it may sound, most of the music created by Machinefabriek (Rutger Zuijderveld) also has a hidden sharp edge somewhere.

This video(which by the way cannot be embedded, so just view it on Youtube, preferrably in HD mode!) is created with the help of the Videoclipfonds, a fund where artist can get support for creating a videoclip.

Apart from this Machinefabriek video there are some more striking videos to be seen on this channel.

I especially recommend watching ‘Beguine’ (De Kift).
The track for this surrealist video is sung in dutch.. so here’s a clue for international listeners: “M’n lief verliet mij vannacht” translates as “My beloved has left me this night”.

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