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Lockwood & Kubisch * Vantzou & Bennett (CV & JAB)

Vantzou - Bennett

Inaudible

ANNEA LOCKWOOD & CHRISTINA KUBISCH – THE SECRET LIFE OF THE INAUDIBLE

Gruenrekorder is a German label “promoting soundworks and phonography. Phonography considers nature/the environment as an acoustic experience, loaden with musical sounds”.
I don’t think a more fitting label could be found for the release of The Secret Life Of The Inaudible, the double CD set by Annea Lockwood and Christina Kubisch. The recordings can be categorized as ‘field recordings’ but it’s not as easy as going ‘into the field’ and ‘press record’ (most good field recordings aren’t, by the way). And both these artists have been around since the beginning of these kind of sonic explorations (Annea Lockwood was born in 1939, Christina Kubisch  in 1948). Both are legends in their own fields, the true first generation of sound artists.

The pieces on this album are soundscapes created using these recordings of the (usually) inaudible. Lockwood and Kubisch “decided to exchange sound materials and left it open to the other what to choose and how to mix it into a new composition”.

“Annea’s sound material was coming from sonic ultra and infra ranges and was speeded up or shifted down in order to become audible, my [Christina’s] recordings are analog and were made directly on site in different cities. The sounds we use are all strange and powerful and they go together as if they were especially made for this collaboration.”

For the listener, the soundscapes open up a completely new world. A world you didn’t know you were part of, and sounds that you normally would never be able to hear. As an example, Wild Energy begins with a recording made by the SOHO spacecraft: 40 days of solar oscillations (acoustical pressure waves) sped up 42.000 times, and ends with ultrasound recorded from the interior of a Scots pine tree.
Other sound sources include volcano tremors and gas vents, earthquakes, VLF chorus waves and whistlers, bat sounds, etc (Annea Lockwood‘s input) kinds of electromagnetic waves (subway station, server room, power station, shopping centers in various cities, seismic research centers,  the countryside during a thunderstorm after electricity had broken down, etc (Christina Kubisch‘s specialism).

The result is a fantastic journey into uncharted aural territories.  Hearing the sound of all these frequencies also raises the question what effects they might cause on the environment, and on ourselves:
“Until now what kind of influence the sources of these normally hidden waves have on us is not much explored. It is up to the listener to find out more about it.”


ANNEA LOCKWOOD – WILD ENERGY (with BOB BIELECKI) (excerpt)
 


CHRISTINA KUBISCH – BELOW BEHIND ABOVE (excerpt)


Vantzou - Bennett

CHRISTINA VANTZOU & JOHN ALSO BENNETT (CV & JAB) – ZIN TAYLOR’S THOUGHTS OF A DOT AS IT TRAVELS A SURFACE  Also on Spotify

Christina Vantzou‘s new album No. 4 has just been released (more on that later this week), but this collaboration with John Also Bennett is very well worth checking out also.

The ten tracks on the album were created from material that was recorded on occasion of the completion of one of the black and white wall drawings by Zin Taylor.
Each track corresponds to a specific section of the “particularly ambitious 90-meter panoramic wall drawing”, but the tracks are seamlessly sequenced to form one single 42 minute composition in 10 parts. Each of these parts has a somewhat different atmosphere and energy, “rarely lingering too long in a fixed formation, like Taylor’s nuanced mini-murals”, yet the album is strikingly coherent.
There’s a beautiful interplay of the synthesized sounds versus the more naturalistic – the sounds may come from different sources but behave like friends, not counterparts.

The music is “played with an air of otherworldly detachment, as though such beauty was materializing purely of its own accord.” The resulting album demonstrates how engaging electro-acoustical music can be.

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No Accident in Paradise

NAIP

Contemporary electronic music is firmly rooted in Germany – I guess no one will argue that.

So is No Accident in Paradise, a four person “Live Ambient System”, or freeform ambient music project. 

No Accident in Paradise combines live electronics and keyboards with sampled electronic music recordings and rather stunning visuals by Robert Seidel. They perform at unusual locations that perfectly fit their music: check the video of the Therme Bad Schandau performance (below) for a good impression!

Their sets are carefully crafted, and the music is a well-balanced combination of sampled material and live improvisations.
You may hear fragments of sounds that are vaguely familiar, but in a new context. The keyboard improvisations add the additional live element that so much electronic performances lack.

Two live mixes (totalling 3 hours) can be downloaded from their site http://www.noaccidentinparadise.com/

Musically, No Accident in Paradise covers a wide range of ambient/electronic styles. At some moments, there’s Tangerine Dream-like sequenced patterns (the closing sequence of the Bad Schandau set brought back fond memories of a long forgotten Edgar Froese record).
But there’s also drones, environmental sounds… sometimes the rhythm track builds up to a ‘loungey’ feel, but then again slowly dissolves into immersive ambient sounds.

Three hours is a long time, but I had no problem listening to these sets without losing interest. So they’re definitely worth the download!

Probably, this NAIP crew will not easily be found performing outside of Germany. Viewing the video of the live set in Bad Schandau, is a satisfying alternative.

You can find their live recordings at http://www.soundcloud.com/noaccidentinparadise
and the live session visuals at https://www.vimeo.com/naip

… or just start by visiting the No Accident In Paradise website

NO ACCIDENT IN PARADISE live @ Liquid Sound 2009

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Robert Henke – Atom/Document

Ambientblog

Robert Henke - Atom 

Robert Henke’s previous works (Layering Buddha / Signal to Noise / Piercing Music / Floating Point – not to mention Monolake’s music) almost makes “Atom/Document” a blind buy.
However, the music on this new album is quite different from the previous releases. So be prepared!

The album opens with […flicker] spreading a massively deep drone. But the drone only returns in [convex], and in the closing track [_exit]…and there’s quite a lot of beating, pounding and clanking inbetween.

The origin of this percussive sounds lie in the performance it is part of: Atom, created by Christopher Bauder.
A performance like this must be quite an unforgettable experience: imagine a matrix of 8×8 helium balloons, illuminated from within with LED’s and creating patterns directly related to the musical signals.
That’s a strict conceptual rule: each percussive element triggers a LED. (There are also floating elements, without any direct connections to the leds).

The computer controlled height and light of the helium balloons, in strict relation to the sounds you hear, will undoubtedly be very very impressive.
(There’s a video on the robert henke website to give an impression. Never mind the sound of that, just look).

But that’s exactly why this should have been a (surround sound) DVD! Isolating the sound from this performance leaves only one third of the experience!

Is the music alone interesting enough? That, of course, is a matter of taste. There’s some seemingly generative high pitched piano motives on [shift_register] and [first_contact], dubby techno hiss rhythms on [metropol] and [diagonal]….
Interesting enough, but in the end the deep electronic drone of [_flicker] and [_exit] work best for me. 
My advice: listen to the full release before you decide to buy. And keep your fingers crossed for an Atom performance in your neighbourhood.

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