Pauwel De Buck
Belgium £13 (including postage)
Europe £15 (including postage)
Rest of world £17 (including postage)
Edition of 500 copies
Mastered by Themistoklis Pantelopoulos
Mecha/Orga is the project of Yiorgis Sakellariou. Since its inception in 2003, Yiorgis has released a number of albums and performed his work internationally. He is actively involved with contemporary
and experimental music in Greece through his CD-R label Echo Music
and as a member of the Centre of Contemporary Music Research and the Hellenic Electroacoustic Composers Association.
Adam Asnan (UK)
Grumbles, Lapses (2009)
This work, as its title suggests, can be best described as a presentation of materials analogous to a grumble,
rustle, gurgle or rasp. As the dialogue
and interplay between these materials takes form, periodic lapses give way to variations of perceived obedience and stillness. The retention and encourage-ment of selected artifacts (produced by technological idiosyncrasies or human agency in operation) provide for extra dimensions of punctuation, interruption and diversion. By allowing the sounds of the apparatus to remain, a juxtaposition between the acousmatic window and its inherent artificiality is suggested. With
a predilection for the classic theoretical/ aesthetic framework of musique concrète, Adam’s work focuses primarily on the variable natures of sound capture, exploration and projection, often utilising
the playback device and/or loudspeaker as an instrument in itself.
Pauwel De Buck (Belgium)
Neenah Foundry (2008)
Neenah Foundry is a multi-channel composition constructed from field recordings which were made in the courtyard of an apartment building and
in the cafeteria of Sint-Lukas art academy in Gent. The premise for this work was the contrast between these two sound environments. Due to the enclosed nature of these spaces, the surrounding sounds of the city were heavily filtered; only a residue was audible in the court-yard. The overpopulated cafeteria,
in combination with its bad acoustics, created a complex frame of sound reflections and textures.
Joshua Convey (USA)
Tone Change on Pops’ Farm (2008)
New York-based Joshua Convey
creates textural, rhythmic and, perhaps surprisingly, melodic compositions by weaving traditional instrumentation (guitar, harmonica), field recordings and electronics to create moody tension between the different sounds. Joshua is also a member of Fessenden, a trio with Stephen Fiehn and Haptic’s Steven Hess.
Adrián Democ (Slovakia)
Dve prosby (Two prayers) (2003–4)
For flute, soprano and string quartet
Adrián begun studying composition in Brno (Czech Republic) in 2003. Since then, his work has been commissioned and performed across Europe. He is
also an improvising player of the fujara and other traditional Slovakian wind instruments.
This very interesting collection opens
with the tense and grinding drones of Greek experimenter Yiorgis Sakellariou. The metallic, sustained sounds are presented in the guise of iterated strings
and harmonics, before the second track, by Adam Asnan, introduces rough juxtapositions and field recordings in Grumbles, Lapses — a very abstract improvisational composition, stinging
and vibrating through its strong passages. Pauwel De Buck also employs field recordings, nicely treated but still containing partially recognisable elements, sampled in a backyard, with
an ethereal inspiration and a remarkable style, created with a certain rarefaction
of the sound textures. Ticks, deaf auditory emergencies, tonal patterns and metropolitan ‘catches’ are the backdrop
of the dense articulations of Joshua Convey. The selection ends with Adrián Democ[’s]a post-classical approach (soprano, flute and string quartet), modulating imperious scores imperceptibly disturbed by the sound
of the audience.
Aurelio Cianciotta in Neural
Greek dronemeister Yiorgis Sakellariou’s offering is brief and refreshingly active, his trademark sustained tones here embellished with a frosting of jangling metallic strings originating from what sounds like it could be some kind of zither. The timbre is mid-’90s Paul Panhuysen, but the harmony is mid-’70s Steve Reich – though there’s nothing wrong with that, as far as I’m concerned. London-based musique concrète composer Adam Asnan studied with Denis Smalley, but the rough surface friction juxtaposed with raw field recordings of his Grumbles, Lapses
(2009) would seem to indicate he’s as familiar with recent developments in improvised music from Tokyo and Berlin (both Burkhard Beins and Taku Unami come to mind) as he is with the back catalogue of François Bayle. Pauwel De Buck is one of a number of fine sound artists based in and around Gent in
Belgium, in whose Sint-Lukas art school he made some of the field recordings used as the basis for 2008’s Neenah Foundry. The others hail from the courtyard of a nearby apartment
building, the inspiration for the work
being the contrast between the two sound environments. The source sounds have obviously been mucked about with and seriously treated, but they’re still
recognisable (just), and carefully edited into a coherent and satisfying 18-minute span of music. Field recordings are also
used as raw material in Tone Change
on Pop’s Farm (2008), by New York-based Joshua Convey. I’m not sure if
that apostrophe in the title is in the right place [it is!], but every sound in Convey’s 11-minute composition certainly is, from the inscrutable rattles and roar of passing traffic that try to obscure the delicate pedal points and sustained harmonies to the distant guitar strumming left behind
in their wake. The odd man out here is Adrián Democ, a young composer hailing from Slovakia. His Dve prosby (Two prayers; 2003–4) is a traditionally-scored
five-minute song setting for soprano,
flute and string quartet, in a rather airy live recording somewhat marred by audience noise. I’m tempted to refrain from making the usual remarks about dour, Eastern European new (neo-?) classical music, but let’s just say Shostakovich still casts a long shadow.
Dan Warburton at Paris Transatlantic
Mecha/Orga’s 8:36 sounds as though
[its] built from [a] sine tone along with, perhaps, wires vibrating on metallic surfaces, though his site suggests enhanced field recordings. Whatever,
the piece is quite enchanting, kind of
like taken a sliver of early Reich,
a vibraphone portion say, and inflating
it. Nice. Field recordings certainly figure into Adam Asnan’s Grumbles, Lapses, rather like a slide show, sections flitting by, naturalistic scenes abstracted by displacement, disruptive, uneasy,
some appearing with the abruptness of
a struck match. I get the sense of very tight control here, admirable and a little
oppressive at the same time. Interesting work. Yet more field recordings make
up the material for Neenah Foundry,
by Pauwel De Buck, though here the result is airy and ghostly, not heavy, though brooding. A strong piece, both
troubling and lovely. Joshua Convey,
a member of Fessenden, probably uses
a few as well in his Tone Change on Pops’ Farm, a wonderful piece beginning with shimmering tones that form the substructure for a huge load of more irregular sounds, including bluesy guitar, though that throb never quits. A beaut.
The final track stands quite apart:
Adrián Democ’s Dve prosby (Two Prayers) for flute, soprano and string quartet. Plaintive, tonal and very
moving, at five minutes a kind of
Eastern European blessing on what’s preceded. Why it’s here otherwise, I’ve
no idea, but I’m glad it was included; good compilation, worth hearing.
Brian Olewnick at Just outside