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Banabila Exclusive: Dissolve (Free Download)

Installation View

MICHEL BANABILA – DISSOLVE
(AMBIENTBLOG EXCLUSIVE!)

Ambientblog is very proud to present this exclusive download from Michel Banabila: a 38 minute soundscape created for Gerco de Ruijter‘s installation called Dissolve

Dissolve  is an installation by landscape photographer and filmmaker Gerco de Ruijtershowing landscape images filmed in the Alamosa Valley, Colorado, near the Great Sand Dunes. The shore of the mountain lake is shown in time-lapse images of one full day, from early morning darkness to nightfall, comprised into 4 minutes.
Using animation technique, the reverse image is added, so the mirrored landscape changes position with the real at about three-quarters of the movie. From there, the next sequence starts in mirrored mode until it is swapped into its original mode. This way, the images are shown in endless succession.
The landscape and its mirrored image are tilted 90 degrees, so ‘form and landscape are interwoven in a poetic, abstract experience‘.

Dissolve was premiered on the Holland Animation Film Festival (HAFF) in March 2017, as part of the Expanding Animation exhibition, presenting installations that combine animation, film and fine arts.

Dissolve   Dissolve   Dissolve   Dissolve
(click images for full size)
 

Because the tilted landscape image is detached from its natural context the eight minute installation can induce a meditative state which is deepened by the soundscape Michel Banabila created especially for this installation. The length of the film (8 minutes) is different from that of the soundscape (38 minutes), so the soundtrack is slightly different with every iteration of the loop.

Banabila‘s Dissolve soundscape reminisces some of Brian Eno’s generative works: repeating notes that appear at irregular intervals, embedded in multi-layered drones and deep rumbling sub-bass sounds. Indeed: ‘music that is as ignorable as it is interesting.’ It’s a soundscape one can lose itself in, an atmosphere enhancer that can be put on repeat – and thus it’s a perfect companion to De Ruijter’s detached landscape stills.
One could argue that this is not a ‘characteristic’ Banabila piece: he never before, to my knowledge, released a full-album-length ambient piece like this. (Until now, his X-Rated Manggha Mix was the longest ambient track with its 18:24 minutes).

It seems Banabila feels at home in whatever style he choses: in his works for films, dance and theatre, his more ethnic oriented collaborations, his present day focus on more experimental electronics, ánd in long-form ambient soundscapes.

The Dissolve installation is not the first time that Gerco de Ruijter and Michel Banabila worked together: many of Banabila‘s album covers are graced with stills from de Ruijter‘s aerial landscape photography. Floatand the recent Sound Years  are fine examples.
They also produced various other film and installation pieces together, like Crops, Grid Corrections and Ringdijk/Dike-Ring.
(An overview can be found here on this Banabila Blogpost)

Dissolve   Installation View
 



MICHEL BANABILA – DISSOLVE

This download contains Banabila‘s 38:30 version of Sound for Dissolve, and includes stills from the original video installation by Gerco de Ruijter. 

Please note that this download is intended for personal use only.
For non-personal and/or commercial use such as radio-broadcasts, soundtracks or any other kind of publication, please contact Michel Banabila (music) or Gerco de Ruijter (video stills) first.

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Monty Adkins – Borderlands

Borderlands

After “Fragile.Flicker.Fragment” (2011), Four Shibusa” (2012) and Rift Patterns” (2014) (all of which I heartily recommend listening), Borderlands” is Monty Adkins‘ fourth consecutive album on the Audiobulb label.
Before that, there were three earlier releases  – on Crónica, Radio France and Empreïntes Digitales  (as Mathew Adkins on the latter).
And from his website discography we learn that another digital release is to be released in March this year!

Quite an impressive catalogue that is, especially given the exceptional quality of all these recordings. Each has its own style, instrumentation and context and yet all have the distinctive ‘Monty Adkins sound’ – music “characterized by slowly shifting organic instrumental and concrete soundscapes”.
An unparallelled match between electronic and acoustic sounds, between the ‘natural’ and the ‘synthetic’.

Borderlands” presents a single 37 minute piece, commisioned for Totum One“: a 360° audio visual laboratory installation, “exploring virtual worlds using 3D headsets and new ways of hearing sounds.”  The installation is based on a text by Deborah Templeton “that explored liminal states of consciousness”, but this text is not present in this instrumental recording.

IOU - Totum One

The sound that visitors experienced at the installation will probably have been quite different from what you hear here, because  visitors had “tablet computers so that they could send a graphical satellite on a journey between 3-D “planets”, each of which emitted a soundscape – for example, the sound of streams and running water.”
These added sounds and effects are not included in the basic recording presented on this album.

While the music of Borderlands” was created to embark on a sonic space trip, the music has absolutely nothing to do with the usual kind of space music associated!
The heart of the piece is the sensuous multitracked cello playing by William Mace, subtly supported by unobtrusive electronic details and accents that slowly move (somewhat) to the foreground while the piece evolves.

The composition ‘comprises of six interludes and six extended panels, each comprising twenty-eight short melodic fragments. Each panel uses the same fragments to form new melodies and harmonies.” – but for the listener it feels – and can be enjoyed – as one single uninterrupted piece.
A piece in which every single detail has its place, a piece that conveys that everything is as it should be.
A very, very comforting piece.



MONTY ADKINS – BORDERLANDS (fragment: first panel)

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Janek Schaefer – Unfolding Luxury / Inner Space Memorial

Unfolding Luxury

In two separate vinyl album releases (also available as digital downloads), the Dekorder label presents a beautiful overview of the work of Janek Schaeferpresenting new pieces –  in some cases created by collating existing material.

In his work, Janek Schaefer has always focused on the multiple aspects of sound, exploring it using self-built devices he used to manipulate sounds in thought-provoking installations.
The audio recordings are only one-dimensional representation of his muti-media installations, which are often conceptual and visually attractive.

One of his earliest works (1995) recorded the fragmented noises of a sound activated dictaphone while it was travelling overnight through the Post Office. This piece (called ‘Self Storage’) was presented on an exhibition where he shared works with artists like Brian Eno and Laurie Anderson.
Since then, Schaefer’s many performances and exhibitions have earned him many prizes and awards.


Unfolding Luxury

Unfolding Luxury beyond the City of Dreams“, the first album of the pair, contains seven relatively short pieces (ranging from 3 to 8 minutes).
Within the calm atmosphere of these pieces, there are many fascinating sounds to discover. Sounds that come to life even more when Schaefer explains where they came from or what occasion they were created for:

A piece for his brother-in-law composed on the day he passed away (‘He had seen the white lights of heavens gatem but returned, and became fascinated by what he called God’s divine darkness in lifetime.’).

An orchestral drone piece ‘featuring an old French lady singing to her cats with an extra celestial chorus’.

“A Carpenters LP piano loop layered again and again over a high sky recording, which was recorded using a helium balloon floating in the clouds over the city, with raindrops”.

“The City of Dreams” seems to be reaching all the way up to heaven, with its multiple piano motifs “recorded live with my twin-arm turntable, additional overlays recorded with Mark Robinson on his old family piano.”

The closing piece for this album (“Beyond”) features a return of the Carpenter’s sample, this time mixed with recordings made in “Grand Central Station at closing time when the vast hall was deserted, and the full majesty of the acoustic space could be appreciated. Stillettos pass by forming polyrhythm’s, as the last train announces it’s departure…”

Janek Schaefer has the gift to present  well-respected serious sound-art with a deep emotional appeal, while not forgetting his relativistic sense of humor.

Inner Space Memorial

The title of the second album, Inner Space Memorial in Wonderland“, is a combination of the titles of the two pieces included, each taking up a full side of the album with about 20 minutes.

Inner Space Memorial”, created in honour of J.G. Ballard, is a monumental organ drone piece for which -in the original installation- ‘a pair of speaker cones were turned around to play back into the void of their cabinets.’

“Wonderland” is the finale piece of Schaefer’s Asleep at the Wheel…” exhibition soundtrack, with location recordings recorded on the footbridge over the M3 (the six lane motorway that was built right in front of his (J.G. Ballard’s) home while he was writing Crash and Concrete Island.

Compared to (the somewhat intrusive sound of) side A, this piece reflects the calm of a roadtrip at night: “A single majestic daydream that drives you forwards as reality undertakes you. A work that questions where our culture is heading further down the highway ahead. Ideal music for when you need to stay awake on the road.”

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Mark Polscher – The Pomegranate Tree

Pomegranate

Imagine this:

A museum dedicated to the ancient Egyptian art, with thirteen rooms (“fields”), divided in seven “areas”, with a 64-channel soundscape accompanying the exibition combining abstract and somewhat haunting electronic sounds with partly edited, partly montaged texts spoken from ancient Egyptian poems (with titles such as The Book of the Dead, The Prophecies of Neferti, The Teachings of Ptahhotep).

Sounds like a soundscaper’s dream, doesn’t it?

Yet, this is exactly what Mark Polscher realised for(/with) the State Museum of Egyptian Art (Munich, Germany) for the project named The Pomegranate Tree“.

“As an installed composition the music pervades all chambers of the collection and changes with the moments of the visitor to become his companion. (…). By moving through space the visitor becomes the choreographer of the piece, just as the piece accompanies and shapes the choreography of his visit to the moseum. The music converts the museum space into a stage, and integrates the visitor into its course.”

The installation exhibition opened in june this year, and will be performed in its original multichannel “gestalt” until 2019 once a month (so be sure to carefully plan your visit!).

But for those of us that will not be able to immerse themselves into this installation in Munich, a 63-minute 2-channel CD version of the project has been released recently: a luxury package with a 80-page booklet including introductory notes and the full texts in German as well as translated in English.

It clearly is not an easy task to translate a non-linear 64-channel soundscape installation into a stereo CD version. “The key task was to find a appropriate translation from simultaneity to linearity. How to proceed with distances and directions? How to find a correlation for the 13-room polyphony?”
And, of course, how will the soundscape hold if detached from its relation with the objects displayed in the museum?
The two different experiences may be uncomparable, but also without having experienced the immersive museum installation, the CD-version clearly conveys the mystery of ancient Egypt and its prophetic poems.

It’s probably no surprise that this is not exactly meant as ‘background’ music. The haunting texts (spoken in German) are accompanied by an abstract, eerie, and seemingly random soundscape.
It’s easy to imagine yourself completely on your own exploring the insides of a newly discovered pyramid – and I guess, like me, you won’t feel very comfortable in such a position. Especially when realising that “None comes thence, that could tell”!

What is maybe most fascinating in this project (and perhaps something any any historic exposition can only hope for), is that it manages to link the historic texts, that are thousands of years old, to present times. Which may be best demonstrated by these fragments from “Land in Upheaval”:

“This land is being ruined, and nobody
cares about it, nor speaks about it, nor sheds tears about it!
(…)
One laugh
s with a bitter laugh
one will no longer weep at death
and no longer fast for a dead man,
for everybody is occupied with himself.”

from The Prophecies of Neferti, Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty.


MARK POLSCHER – LAND IN UPHEAVAL

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Janek Schaefer – Asleep at the Wheel…

ASTW


Asleep at the Wheel

Janek Schaefer’s website presents an impressive list of site-location projects that are very interesting to investigate, because they demonstrate Schaefer’s perfect balance of concept, visual and sound.
(A few of them, Unfolding and Extended Play, were presented on Ambientblog earlier).

As the Artist in Residence for the 2010 Milton Keynes International Festival, Schaefer presented Asleep at the Wheel…’: a location project for which he completely transformed the deserted Sainsbury’s supermarket into a three-lane highway at night, a ‘ghost road of cars’, where the audio is played from the in-car sound systems. From the car seats, visitors could listen to presentations and interviews thematically dealing with sustainability and the future of the earth, and how we can be able to improve that future.

“The exhibition is a thought provoking and immersive sound installation for multiple car radios, that contemplates our future. Exhibited in a vast disused supermarket, three-lanes of cars dissect the darkened interior, as the multiple hazard lights illuminate the space, revealing the finite road of our consumer driven daydream.”


Asleep at the Wheel

This Asleep at the Wheel…’ installation project is extensively documented in a massive (and FREE!) 348 Mb download, which is divided in three parts:
The first directory contains all background information, photos and a documentary movie.
Another directory features the complete“In-Car soundtracks” (the spoken word soundscapes presented in the different cars) plus a soundscape called “The Ghost Road”  which features the sound that was heard in the hall outside of the cars.
Finally, the package also includes the digital version of the 40-minuteGlovebox Mixtapewhich, strictly musically speaking, is the most listenable when ‘detached’ from the installation, since it contains the soundscapes, without the the spoken word parts that require active attention.
This mixtape, by the way, is also available separately, as a real psysical audio cassette (available on the My Dance The Skull cassette label).

Not included in the download package, but still a very adventurous listen is the 20 minute “Audiotour”  that can be found on the Extra Info Page

And finally: for those collectors that can’t live without physical media, especially of the special edition kind, Janek Schaefer also presents the Audiofile Box Set edition, presented on an USB Car Key with a LCD Slideshow Keyring  (!!!). Using valuable resources for an electronic gadget like this might be a bit debatable regarding the project’s overall theme…but the limited edition package is also of irresistable beauty (ánd very very limited).


Janek Schaefer – Asleep at the Wheel – Car 2 In-Car Soundtrack

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