The second night began with a lecture from Vienna's Bernhard Gal
on the history of sound installations, illustrated by snippets of Satie,
Harry Bertoia and La Monte Young. Gal also
set up an installation in a secluded room, called Zhu Shui, or Making
Tea. Four different tea kettles on hot plates with timers set to turn
them on and off created a wide range of whistles and overtones, which
seemed to resonate through many of the festival's live performances. (..)
Abbey (The Wire, UK 01/2001)
most are strikingly original, notably Bernhard Gal's
"Zhu Shui" (an installation featuring four whistling kettles
brought to and taken off the boil), Russell's own "bp 70/32"
(whose sound sources include a discarded cell phone running out of batteries
Warburton (Paris Transatlantic, France 01/2003)
highlights include works from Gal (with an
excerpt from recordings of an installation of amplified teakettles and
hotplates set on timers, in which the boiling water and the cooling metal
becomes the action in question) (..)
Break out of the trance and climb the stairs to the back, where four boiling
teakettles, situated spatially on timed hot plates, gurgle, spit and screech
in an animated dialogue. Like Sound Field, Vienna-based sound artist
Bernhard Gál's zhu shui (Mandarin
for "boiling water") is meant to be walked through. As orientation
changes, so does the hypnotic landscape. (..)
MacBlane (New York Press, USA - May 28th, 03)
Sound-2002 Compilation - reviews
well-researched and beautifully produced and highly recommended collection
of accomplished music."
THE WIRE, UK
"The finest compilation of its kind."
"A compilation that is as good as any compilation I've ever heard...Experimental
electronic music rarely gets more interesting or more enjoyable than this."
"This set may scare some, and may induce others to sleep but
by far it is one of the highest quality collections of the year, taking
needed risks with a developing genre."
"The thing that gives you a real headache are the linernotes and
track list. Hardly readable through the nice arty farty design. Why should
these things always be so difficult?"
Pick of the year 2002
Perfect Sound Forever, USA
the Songs of Silence
Music generated on a computer is usually associated with the thumping
beats of techno. But a quieter aesthetic is emerging. It's so subtle you
can hardly hear it. "Lowercase sound" is the name given to a
loose movement in electronic music that emphasizes very quiet sounds and
the long, empty silences between them. Created largely by scientists,
techies and experimental musicians, lowercase recordings are frequently
based on the magnification of minute sounds through a computer, typically
Listen up: Toshimaru Nakamura's "nimb #20" (sounds from a mixing
board feeding back on itself with no inputs).
Recent compositions include a bubbling symphony of boiling tea kettles,
the gentle hiss of blank tapes being played through a stereo and the soft
bumps of helium balloons hitting the ceiling.
Listen up: Bernhard Gál's (aka gal)
"Zhu Shui." (Zhu Shui is Mandarin for 'boiling water.' All sounds
originate from boiling up and cooling down tea kettles.)
One recent album was so quiet, listeners wondered whether it actually
contained any sound at all. "Lowercase resembles what Rilke called
'inconsiderable things' -- the things that one would not ordinarily pay
attention to, the details, the subtleties," said Steve Roden, the
Los Angeles artist who coined the term. Roden is responsible for an album
of paper being handled in various ways. Called "Forms of Paper,"
the recording was originally commissioned by - no kidding -
a public library in Hollywood and it has turned into one of the most prominent
recordings of the genre. Lowercase recordings are often based on scientific
subjects: an amplified anthill, a mobile phone running out of power and
the soft pops of bacteria being flash-frozen in dry ice and methanol.
Using contact mikes, composers record teeny-weeny noises and amplify them
with software such as DigiDesign's Pro Tools. The sounds are then chopped
up, looped, stretched, repeated or delayed to create minimalist, near-silent
musical compositions. The results demand deep, concentrated listening,
but can be surprisingly affecting.
Listen up: Bob Sturm's "Outer buoy wave conditions at Torrey Pines
California State Beach during November, 2001."
The music is reminiscent of works by John Cage, the minimalist modern
classical composer. But unlike Cage's silent composition, "4'33,"
which caused a scandal during its 1952 première, most lowercase
compositions do include sounds. "It allows you to hear sounds you
would not normally pay attention to," explained Josh Russell, a scientist
and lowercase musician. "It changes your perception. A lot of sounds
now sound musical to me that did not years ago. You become aware that
the sounds themselves are beautiful."
Listen up: Otaku Yakuza's "In the Space of a Second" (1000 samples
a millisecond long each were put together to make a complete "song"
of 1 second in length with silence added before and after).
Russell, a 31-year-old biochemist from San Diego, runs a leading lowercase
record label, Bremsstrahlung Recordings, and has just released a second
compilation of lowercase compositions called Lowercase Sound 2002. Russell
put the first compilation together for members of a lowercase mailing
list. He was pleasantly surprised when the 500 copies he made sold out
in just two weeks.
Listen up: Stephan Mathieu's "Flake" (the air from within a
The second CD will run to 1,000 copies. It features 28 different artists,
almost all from different countries. Between them, the compilations include
works by such lowercase luminaries as Roden, Bernhard Günter and
The movement grew up on the Internet and, in fact, wouldn't be possible
without it. "It is so esoteric, it would be very difficult for any
city to get a critical mass of people interested in it," Russell
said. "But out on the Web, it's easy to. I was going towards this
aesthetic for years but I thought I was going crazy. None of my friends
enjoyed it. But then I turned to the Web and I found a lot more people
turned on by this. I think that's been the case for a lot of people."
Lowercase sound hasn't made the racks of Tower or Virgin yet, but there
are hundreds of websites devoted to the movement or individual artists,
and lots of small, Web-based independent record labels. It is hard to
estimate the size of the audience, but Russell said there may be 10,000
lowercase fans around the world. A recent show at a coffee shop in Santa
Monica, California, attracted about 100 people to see three performers,
all using Apple PowerBooks. Macs are central to the creation of lowercase
sound. Many lowercase artists use field recordings and contact mikes for
source material, and they amplify and edit the soft sounds on Macs. "I
would say that along with all the other kinds of electronic music being
done these days in home studios and with computers, this work has blossomed
tremendously with the relative availability of Pro Tools (especially the
free download from DigiDesign), the lower prices of Mac hardware over
the last few years and the ability for anyone with any knowledge of computers
to simply sit down and make this stuff," Roden said. "The Mac
is the favored platform," said Russell. "Most people who work
with computer music use a Macintosh. This grew out of putting powerful
computers into the hands of ordinary people: People can create complex
scores at home in their front room and put out professional sounding CDs."
(..) Break out http://hotwired.goo.ne.jp/news/news/culture/story/20020531206.html
Kahney (Wired News, USA - May 29th, 2002)
Japanese version: http://hotwired.goo.ne.jp/news/news/culture/story/20020531206.html
2002 (CD by Bremsstrahlung Recordings)
deluxe package these boys have boxed for us. Not only do you get a 2xCD
set but you get a duplicate set (just like their 1st edition of this series)
to give away to the bud of your choice. This would ordinarily be a good
thing - but here it is freekin amazing. Why do I say this? Because you
would be exposing the unexposed to the sounds of the moment with artists
like Dan Abrams, Carl Stone, Francisco Lopez, Tetsu Inoue, Taylor Deupree,
Reynols, Kim Cascone and John Hudak included here among others. The finished
package comes in a nicely designed box with delicate transparent sheets,
each supplying information and quips about the tracks.
12Ks intimate Line Series disc one (subtitled 789 breaths) is a real headphone
listen. The quiet atmospheres from Gal and
Josh Russell simply merge into one another fluidly. It's not until Dale
Lloyd's Fleeting Recollections of the Snow Plain that a certain static
is generated that, in barely audible tonalities, nudges the dome of silence.
Seattle's Matt Shoemaker contributes the super subtle Charm, with the
resonance of the halo of a sulfuric asteroid. In its low whistling drone
its cinema is defined through its mid-track emergence and fizz, weighted
and searching. On m Electric Company (Brad Laner) takes all that Los Angeles
attitude for granted in its subversion of the beat. This completely ambient
track has a vaguely organic and endless horizon line. Closing disc one
is Hudak's Radio Past in which the source is an unknown wax cylinder recording,
maybe filtered, deliberately translucent - like a marching band in a can!
disc two (194,415,960 samples) emerges from the silence of Francisco Lopez
and Otaku Yakuza we are instantaneously rapt by Akira Rabelais' Disjectimembrapoetaeeatelich
a vernacular is built from static electricity. Its mini rumblings are
harmonized and multiplied, dissected and set free. Saarbrücken-based
Stephan Mathieu serves the infectious and repetitive duplicative Flake
made up of millions of teeny tiny particles of sound. Diapason Gallery
director and New York-based composer Michael Schumacher's Still is anything
but what the title infers. This quirky track sends numerous ecstatic sound
bubbles into the environment to implode, retract, multiply and move rapidly
about. The symphonic chamber of Japan-based Carl Stone rings on the laptop
created Tefu. The completely digital track has an organic core and a shifting
modality of happenstance. Taylor Deupree's Inharmil breathes by way of
timed apparatus. In its construction there is the low fidelity rumble
of what cautiously sounds like a distant factory with a flat bed engine
and conveyor belt on auto-run. There are subtle sharp flashes of fizzling
sparks, and the rest is atmosphere. Kim Cascone, the man who coined the
term 'microsound' searches and finds the convex and concave on Edge Boundry
#1. What sounds like an electronic jungle way past midnight seems to undress
itself with an awkward precision, a known conclusion. Sensuous glitch
for the masses. The fullest track here is Groundwater by Sweden's Jonas
Lingren based on the dramatic floods and breaking dams in Sundsvall 2001.
Here he has truly captured a live entity and embellished its roaring nature.
set may scare some, and may induce others to sleep - but by far it is
one of the highest quality collections of the year, taking needed risks
with a developing genre. (TJN)
Norris (The Instrumental Weekly, USA - 12/2002)