The New & Avant-garde Music Store

Review

Jeremy Keens, Ampersand Etcetera, no. 2000_2, January 1, 2000

After a period of silence my favourite 3" label, the one which in many ways defines the medium for me, returns. These doses of about 20 minute musique concrète provide stimulating and very varied acoustic pleasure - from complex tape manipulation through to subtle electronica. For this latest release, Eric M has been given access to the whole “Cinema pour l’oreille” series and created a new work from extracts.

Across the four tracks there are some moments where the source can just about be recognised (this is especially so with the ducks in the fourth part) but on the whole they have been processed and fragmented, to create a glitchy piece, reminiscent of Samartzis or Thomas. The sounds tend towards the higher pitch and rapid change - fragments come and go, the tracks build in intensity and have moments of quiet, stuttering putters and voices ghosting in.

The movements on the disk are long, short, long, short, although the activity and treatments within tracks are similar. The long (about 7 minutes) first features clicking in one speaker which builds, while voice fragments emerge from the other. The squeaking builds in intensity, accompanied by whining and piano parts, before a crackling end. Part two continues with crackles and beeps, while the longest third part has a more varied structure. It opens with voices jumping and an almost mechanical putter which grows and then stops. An almost silent middle section (low volume drones and pulses) follows before some very rapid sound pieces - birds, clicks, organs - dance across the soundspace. A gentler final section features swirling segments and birdsounds. The high tones used and the rapidity make this an unsettling listen, but also very dramatic. A fitting continuation of the series - a nice challenge of manageable proportions.

I don’t usually quote press releases, but I read this after I wrote the above, to which it adds some balance and mystification. “Frame is the result of a work that originates in the audio CD medium itself: ‘Anomalie numérique et du support lui-même’ (‘Digital anomaly and anomaly of the medium itself’); it was produced within the specific frame of hijacking the CDs from the Metamkine “Cinéma pour l’oreille” series. The work is composed of four parts that can alternately be played back randomly. Within the footprints from the series can be found, as well as a whole set of improvisations for three CD players and effects. All the elements were compiled, re-edited on MiniDisc and then played back randomly in various ways. Various forms of superimposition were useful afterward to the pace of development of the track: 1. Acoustic sound recordings were made during a performance in the studio. 2. Work on one or many jammed frames, produced by the CD players (themselves “bip.cd” CD players). 3. Further developments of jammed frames from specific parts and varying in duration from short to longer, played back using one or more CD players, as well as some work following the same principle, applied to the whole set of audio devices this time, and played back at various speeds. Some of the sound materials result from various manipulations of the CD medium itself, such as using oil, glue, etc., in order to distort (or fault?) the mirror and divert the trajectory of the laser. Different parts were mixed and filtered using a sampler, recorded back on MiniDisc and delay, and then played back using the techniques described earlier. I think it’s needless to add that the final result was edited using a well-prepared sampler. This was for the technical side. A Sunday of boredom, gray and rainy, in a room on the fifth floor of a suburban tower with fixed partitions, tearing themselves at the slightest moanings of an anxious baobab: that is for the content and the artistic direction of the project.”

… my favourite 3" label, the one which in many ways defines the medium for me…

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