Jacques Beloeil/Michael Anacker
Belgium £13 (including postage)
Europe £15 (including postage)
Rest of world £17 (including postage)
Edition of 300 copies
“Sound is conceived neither as an effect nor as a substance, but rather as a coming-into-being and a temporal extension. What is conceived as coming-into-being is becoming but not yet is.
Just as a house or a ship and other multitudinous things that are in a state
of becoming are not said to be. So then, sound is nothing. But now since there is no sound, neither is there a note, which was said to be a fall of sound on one pitch. Since there is no note, neither has a musical interval been established nor consonance nor melody nor the genera derived from this. Because of this, there is no music…”
— Sextus Empiricus,
Against the Musicians
The title of this joint venture between Jacques Beloeil and Michael Anacker refers to the fact that their composition
lasts exactly half an hour, each passing minute signalled by a synthesized voice counting down from thirty to zero, at which point the piece ends. Actually it’s
a little bit more interesting and irregular than that: the first intoned ‘thirty’ doesn’t actually appear until 0'30", and as there are in fact thirty-one spoken numbers (thirty counting down to one, and then
a final zero), you can see that each section lasts slightly less than a minute. But, anyway, the spoken countdown serves not only to mark the passing time — it doesn’t take long to guess that when it reaches zero the piece will be over — but also to articulate the work’s structure, each intoned number triggering off
a change of process and texture. Many
of these are themselves related to pulse
and the idea of number, or extracts of speeches discussing numbers, the whole piece then being a kind of meditation
on metre and rhythm. It’s enjoyable and accessible (maybe too much so in places — can’t say I’m overly fond of the last five minutes, whose hocketing octaves sound a tad too early Mute for me), and all
the more impressive for having been recorded live in December last year at Gent’s wonderful new music venue,
De Witte Zaal.
Dan Warburton at Paris Transatlantic
This is a fascinating 30-minute excursion which takes us deep into the wastelands and marshes of the human brain.
It’s a series of episodes (some treated field recordings, barely recognisable) combined with ominous low-key electronic music, often propelled by
a devilishly slow pulsebeat. When a
robotic voice tonelessly utters a number at strategic intervals (we appear to be counting down from 30 to zero), you’ll
be stopped dead in your tracks like
a deer trapped in the headlights. A real chiller... in its understated way, this icy piece feels almost pathological in its determined attempts to undermine our shared sense of reality.
Ed Pinsent at The Sound Projector
I had kind of enjoyed the screwy Beloeil release [E64; see Out of print] last year,
a Casio-driven joyride of sorts. Here,
we have a disembodied, synthesised voice counting down from thirty, once
a minute, while things fall apart around ‘her’. Tumbling metal, escaping steam, other distorted voices, a regular heart-beat thud, etc. There’s a filmic, dystopic feel at play, inevitable in this countdown set-up and it works well as far as it
goes, though it has a distancing effect. The steady rhythm becomes more pronounced below ‘10’, the music
edging toward the tonal, with a smidgen of Glass. ‘0’ is, inevitably, reached, the electronic rhythm having simplified to
a resonant blip and the piece ends.
Brian Olewnick at Just outside