ants, ice, eggs, oscillations

May 1, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 1 Comment
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Alas, I remain ill.  No need for further details or more moaning.  Suffice to say I’ve been signed off work by my doctor for another week and little vials of my blood have been taken for some occult purpose.  Ugh.

Naughtily, I went out to the Ceramic Hobs gig on Saturday night but used up all my available energy in so doing and had to leave early.  Still, it was a great night.  Two car loads of people came down from Newcastle so I got to talk to Hasan and Ben Jazzfinger, Lee Culver and Mike Vest (Bong, Basillica etc.) as well as the usual Leeds crowd.  The music was all terrific with Jazzfinger being properly awesome: half an hour of super-dense drone. Hasan literally had his head inside the speaker.  A more detailed review of the night, with photos, can be found over at Idwal Fisher.

One of the non-musical highlights of my brief time out of the house was a conversation with Seth Cooke (co-curator of Bang the Bore) in which we talked about the sort of hyper-detailed oddities and field recordings he currently finds himself listening to.  The following day I restoked the conversation via email and Seth kindly sent a bunch of recommendations.  This list of links has provided me with such a lot of pleasure over the last couple of days that I found myself cut-and-pasting it into other personal emails.  Once I started doing that, it’s appearance as the centrepiece of a blog post was crushingly inevitable…

Seth sez:

As to artists who utilise ingenious methods to record microscopic sound events (usually completely unprocessed), or who frame the commonplace in a manner that makes you wake up and pay attention, or who put microphones in positions impossible for the human ear…

The ants eating an apricot recording (editor’s note: this one was mentioned in conversation and led to the email exchange) is by Jez Riley French, which I think is self released on his own label Engraved Glass (he’s vaguely local, resides in Hull). But for convenience’ sake, it’s on his Soundcloud.

This is one I reckon you’ll love (it’s from one of my favourite albums of this year so far) – an excerpt from Stephen Cornford’s Binatone Galaxy exhibition (released on Senufo Editions, I think), in which he fitted tape decks with self-amplifying cassettes so that the turning of the cassette motor is amplified. Very beautiful, very musical (editor’s note: I do love it, you may too).

Lee Patterson is also great – he got a lot of unexpected mainstream attention when he released Egg Fry on Richard Pinnell’s Cathnor label. Egg Fry is fantastic, highly recommended – teeming with detail, the frying/cooling egg sounds like an army of insects and unexpectedly synth-like. And here’s a few streams that are also pretty damn good.

Here’s some unbelievably beautiful recordings of ice cracking on a frozen lake, from Andreas Bick’s website. Fucking amazing stuff (editor’s note: I concur.  Sounds so ‘radiophonic’ it is hard to believe it is a natural phenomenon).

I quite like Wire-writer Will Montgomery’s stuff, too (editor’s note: ‘Wire writer’?!?  Heh, heh – how quickly we forgive, eh?). Some lovely frogs he’s recorded here.   His Thames recordings available from the Compost and Height blog.  Bill Fontana has also done some fun stuff around the Thames.  Eric La Casa also excellent in the water recording stakes.

Here’s a modestly successful one of my own, difficult to capture accurately because of the massive difference in dynamic range between the wash cycle and the spin cycle.  Length, on this occasion, due to preserving the narrative of the machine’s process and presenting the recording for what it was – plus it seemed patronising to assume that a listener couldn’t handle listening to the process unfold in its own time. If you want to skip out the detailed, hypnotic but highly repetitive riff section then you can see where the action starts on the Soundcloud wave form. The final oscillations are epic (editor’s note: indeed they are, Seth’s washing machine puts many noise artists to shame).

Hope you get a kick out of at least some of that. What a beautiful sounding world we live in!

I couldn’t agree more.


P.S. The version of the classic Adam and the Ants logo above is by jakeford.

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