Monday 25 March 2024

Non-Music Roundup (Mar 24)


Hello everyone. Here's my latest roundup of outstanding non-musical goodness for you all...

As usual - if you like what you see/hear, please considering supporting these great artists & labels by buying their albums and following them on Bandcamp and/or social media.


Vorval - Judden

(self-released, 2023)

Vorval (a.k.a Andy Fray) is a British avant-garde sound artist that transforms field recordings of everyday noises into stark atmospheric compositions of abstract minimalism.

'Judden' is Vorval's debut album. It consists of two 15-minute long pieces of non-musical abstract minimalism. In this album you will hear simple field recordings that have been manipulated, transmuted and warped beyond recognition. The end result is two dark, sprawling, fascinating sound compositions, full of haunting atmospheres and abstract audio phenomena. You will hear all sorts of mysterious vibrations, eerie drones, swells of distorted noise, churning machinery, distant bangs, dark echoes, industrial grindings, surreal environmental ambience and psychedelic sound phenomena.

'Judden' is a strange and mesmerizing album of haunting drones, ominous rumbles and avant-garde noise experimentation. I'm truly impressed by how this artist can turn such plain ordinary sounds into this surreal world of cinematic darkness. A stunning debut album, and an eerily intriguing listening experience. Really looking forward to what Vorval does next...

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Marta Zapparoli - Interdimensional Generated Space

(Dissipatio, 2023)

Marta Zapparoli is an Italian experimental sound artist, radio artist, improviser, performer, and independent researcher based in Berlin. She creates her sound works using a variety of sound media, such as shortwave radio wave resonance, natural and urbanistic field recording, tape machines and self-designed antennae.

'Interdimensional Generated Space' is an album consisting of one 29-minute long composition, created using recordings of Natural Radio phenomena(VLF) in Norway, mixed with studio recordings using a self-made crystal radio, specific light, detectors, motors, and antennas to simulate a technological audio version of the Northern Lights.
This composition begins with a deep low rumbling drone, wavering and drifting around a desolate space. Then you will start to hear a series of strange modulating radio transmissions and undulating frequencies, shimmering away in their eerie dissonance. After a while some subtle ambient white noise, crackling/rattling sounds and an ominous drone emerges through the mix. As the piece progresses, it gradually becomes more suspenseful and intense. Eventually you will begin to hear all sorts of dark pulsations, swells of distortion, distant howling tones, warbling frequencies, bizarre modulations, motorized hums, noisy tremulations, broken transmissions and layers of ambient hiss. 
In the final stretch of this piece, the soundscape fills with frightening squalls of cacophonous noise, haunting drones and various stuttering sonic abstractions - pulsing, merging and overlapping, until the final couple of minutes when it all dies down and you're left with some tiny rattling sounds, fading radio signals and a lone gentle drone...

'Interdimensional Generated Space' is a fascinating sound composition of otherworldly atmospheres, deep space tones, surreal textures, celestial ambience and abstract noise phenomena. These slowly-evolving atmospheres and constantly fluctuating soundscapes makes for a deeply haunting and immersive listening experience.

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Anne-F Jacques + Gabriel Drolet - remonter le chauffage 

(Scatter Archive, 2023)

Anne-F Jacques is a sound artist based in Montréal, Canada. She is interested in amplification, oblique interactions between materials and construction of various contraptions and idiosyncratic systems. Her particular focus is on low technology, trivial objects and unpolished sounds.
Gabriel Drolet is a musician from Montréal. He mainly uses the double bass to interact with sound in the environments in which he finds himself. Lately he has been interested in the exploration of just intonation, as well as the wide variety of acoustic phenomena he hears in the realm of quiet sounds.

'remonter la chauffage' (English translation : turn up the heating) is their most recent collaborative release. It consists of one 24-minute (ish) improvised sound performance. The recording was part of an Anne-F Jacques installation, a part of her ongoing investigation into heat as a force at work around us...
At the beginning of the recording you will hear the artists shuffling about to find their positions, while in the background you can hear the ambient hum of some kind of heating system. You can literally hear the clicking of switches, as different systems, cells and fans are triggered to life. Without visual accompaniment, I can't say for sure who is doing what... but Drolet is credited as playing double bass, perhaps using the instrument for atmospheric effect - creating layers of haunting drones and unsettling ambient noise, while Jacques is in charge of the non-musical elements of the piece, and adjusting and modifying the heating systems. There's a lot of strange and dreamy harmonics and frequencies interplaying throughout this entire performance - it's actually weirdly melodic, while the whooshing of air ventilation and ominous mechanical drones drift in and out of the mix. It almost sounds like avant-garde contemporary classical at times... 
As the piece progresses, the ambience is constantly fluctuating, and the textures and tones keep shifting in fascinating ways. There's constant swells of feedback that seem to dance along while these shifts occur. Towards the end of the performance, more low-end bass drones become more prominent, before it all suddenly dies down and disappears...

'remonter la chauffage' is a uniquely broody, atmospheric and beautiful live performance, and a wonderfully bizarre sound experiment. I've never put much thought into how heating systems affect sound and performance, so this recording had me very intrigued and fascinated from beginning to end. A captivating listening experience.

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manja ristić & murmer -the scaffold

(Unfathomless, 2024)

Manja Ristić is a prolific violinist, sound artist, field recordist, published poet, curator and researcher from Belgrade, Serbia. She is mostly active in the field of electro-acoustics, instrumental improvisation & experimental sound related arts.
Murmur is the experimental sound project of Patrick Tubin Mcginley who is an American-born sound, performance, and radio artist whose work is about small discoveries and concentrated attention; it focuses on the framing of the sounds around us which normally pass through our ears unnoticed and unremarked, but which out of context become unrecognisable, alien and extraordinary...

'The Scaffold' is their collaborative album, consisting of two longform sound compositions made up of recordings from Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Estonia. You can read the full story behind this collaboration at the Bandcamp link below....
'zamišljena sjena vjetra' begins with layers of low, slow, shimmery drones and various sounds of human shuffling and other ambiguous sounds emerging out of the mix. Then you begin to hear some gurgling watery noises, tiny cracklings and environmental ambience, with some haunting reverberations going on. 
Throughout the rest of the piece you will hear (what sounds to me like) miniature locomotive chugging sounds, dripping water, soft dissonant drones, ambient room tones, rattling pipes, clacking wood, gurgling drains, tiny mechanisms grinding, metallic dissonance, mysterious echoes and a variety of crunchy textures and subtle weather noises. As the track builds and builds, it becomes more tense and eerie and suspenseful...
'kaugpääs; antenn' begins with a series of room sounds and raindrops which start off sounding light and gentle, but gradually becomes heavier and more torrential, creating an array of fascinating tones and frequencies, as distant thunder rumbles ominously in the background. Then you will begin to hear the subtle emergence of one of Ristić's lonesome drones, accompanied by the darkly atmospheric sounds of shimmering steel, banging doors, light percussive knocks on hollow vessels, whining birds, exquisite Gregorian Chant music, a train horn blowing (?) and other ambiguous environmental noises. 
From around the halfway point, you will hear the murmurous cacophony of a public gathering, passing footsteps, metallic clattering, water gushing from a toilet/fountain/sink, eerie whistling and rumbling drones of some kind of ghostly atonal noise.

'The Scaffold' is a broody and beautiful album of stunning field recordings, meditative dronescapes, atmospheric ambience and ghostly sound phenomena. The rich audio sculpting and lush production on the part of both these highly-skilled soundscape artists makes for an evocative and haunting listening experience.

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Masayuki Imanishi - Asphalt/Concrete

(Unfathomless, 2024)

Masayuki Imanishi is a Japanese sound artist. He uses paper, microphone, radio, field recordings, various found objects and tape manipulation treatment to create subtle yet powerful avant-garde sound art.

'Asphalt/Concrete' is his latest release, consisting of two 15-minute long sound compositions based on field recordings taken from various locations in Osaka, Japan.
'Asphalt' begins with low wind-like murmurs, eerie atonal drones and swells of fuzzy noise that ebb and flow like mysterious waves. As the track progresses, you will hear ominous rumbles, trains chugging, faint birdsong, crashing sea waves, babbling rivers, distant traffic sounds, airy outdoor ambience, crunching footsteps, steel tinkling (kind of like a bicycle bell), puttering motors, crackling layers of noise, miniature rattles, soft flutterings, watery gurgles, and a plethora of other intriguing sonic abstractions... which ends in a peaceful atmosphere of beautiful nature sounds.
'Concrete' begins with layers of rumbling fuzzy drones and ghostly siren-like noises drifting through the spacious background. This is soon accompanied by a series of cavernous bangs and soft ambient tones emerging through the mix. 
Throughout the rest of the composition, you will hear lonely twitterings of birds, mysterious scratching and scraping sounds, haunting reverberations, mechanical hums, ominous sine tones, hypnotic bells and shimmering layers of broody atonal noise. 
At the halfway point, the audio environment dips and becomes almost silent, before some deep unsettling drones and gargling pulsations of noise rise up to the forefront of the soundscape. This piece is more darker and menacing-sounding than the previous one...but it does end with a similar, rather tranquil few minutes of airy environmental ambience, filled with sweet birdsong, lapping waves and the hustle and bustle sounds of daily life in Osaka.

'Asphalt/Concrete' is a meditative album of beautiful field recordings, skillful sound manipulation and atmospheric noise experimentation. Masayuki's surreal sound sculpting and audio collaging techniques make for an enthralling and evocative listening experience.

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Zhao Cong - 55355 

(Aloe Records, 2023)

Zhao Cong is an experimental musician living in Beijing. She uses a variety of everyday objects, amplified by pickups from a variety of microphones, to bring out unfamiliar and heterogeneous sounds.

'55355' is her latest release. It consists of four minimalistic sound compositions, created from four recording sessions that took place both indoors and outdoors.
Track 1 begins with the sound of mechanized humming, airy outdoor ambience and a series of muted thuds. As the track progresses, you begin to realize that this piece was possibly recorded inside a vehicle, or MAYBE these sounds are meant to replicate these familiar everyday noises? Whatever the case, you'll start to hear a motor engine chugging, more muted thuds, electrical buttons being clicked, high-frequency whining noises, car wiper blades being turned on and off, and electrical windows going up and down...
Track 2 begins with rapid fluttering sounds, atonal ambient hiss and the mechanical clicking of an indicator. The more the piece goes on, and the closer you listen - the more you'll hear slight shifts in this empty soundscape. You'll hear some subtletly occuring the background - metronomic clicking, quiet body movements and various fluctuations in the wavering hissing sounds. In the latter half of the composition you'll hear the artist moving and squeezing some unidentifiable object, as the drone of some small machine emerges through the mix. The piece ends with some environmental rumbles (possibly weather-related?) which creates a rather unsettling effect...
Track 3 begins the sound of electrical windows being opened, an idling engine, ambiguous squeaking sounds and some distant environmental drones... until more mechanical humming sounds emerge and give off a strange but intriguing series of small rattles and puttering vibrations. Then you'll hear more hissing drones and high whining sine tones, gradually gaining intensity. Towards the end of the piece you'll hear a cacophonous build up of atonal noise, with some scraping, shaking and rattling sounds added onto it...
Track 4 is a short ending piece, mostly made up of mesmerizing environmental ambience. It feels like being inside a car while driving through a busy city, which the recording could very possibly be... 
You can hear the familiar rumbles of busy traffic whooshing by, the vrooming of motor engines, various body movements, the metronomic clicking of indicators and the shifting of gears, until you're left with the lone sound of an idling engine and a car door being opened... which signifies the end of our journey.

'55355' is a uniquely bizarre album of tiny mechanisms, automotive electronics, environmental drones and minimalistic sound art. Cong's wonderful field recordings and avant-garde audio experimentation methods makes for a baffling yet fascinating listening experience.

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Amit Kalra - You Lie 

(Veinte33 Records, 2024)

Amit Kalra is a transdisciplinary artist.

'You Lie' is one 19-minute long sound collage comprised of discarded tracks from the process of creating video and sound works. Composed of manipulated clips from many public-domain western films, the sound comments on the genre and its tropes about control, civilization, and heroism - Kalra believes these films have shaped attitudes in the United States towards frontiers and the American Dream.

It begins with a low slow rumbling drone that stutters and shimmers as it gradually gains intensity, and gathers different frequencies of accompanying noise along the way. The effect of this droning mass is booming and haunting, as you eventually start to hear more and more subtle layers of atonal ambience drift into the mix and slowly swirl around the soundscape. The frequencies of these layers vary slightly, creating a dark yet soothing atmosphere of rippling textures and muted eerie tones that ebb and flow like slow-motion waves... lulling you with its mystery and intrigue.

'You Lie' is a wonderfully haunting sound piece that I could listen to over and over and over. It's amazing that Kalra was able to manipulate and transmute clips from these western films into something completely different and unrecognizable, which in this case is a powerful dronescape, and an amazing piece of abstract sound art. An intriguing and enthralling listening experience. I'm looking forward to hearing more from this artist.

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Philip Sulidae - Circulator 

(LINE Imprint, 2024)

Philip Sulidae is a sound artist from Hobart, Australia whose practice draws on over a decade of sound art practice, focusing on field recording and acousmatic recordings. More recently, Sulidae has broadened this practice into installations that use found object and sculptural form.

'Circulator' is an album composed from found sound, sourced mainly from film - a stage set of fragments and passages tangentially linked. 
In these eleven compositions you will hear swells of crackling noise, ghostly ambience, broken radio transmissions, cavernous echoes, eerie winds, ambiguous rattles, mechanical humming, rustling paper, haunting vibrations, unsettling whispers, distant bangs and creaks, squalls of hiss, soft rumbles, trembling drones, alien-esque blips and bleeps, electrical zaps, dissonant frequencies and other strange environmental audio phenonema.

'Circulator' is a hypnotic sound journey filled with spectral dronescapes, tense atmospheres and exquisite noise experimentation. Sulidae's haunting sound design and minimalistic textural layering makes for a dark and compelling listening experience.

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Marc Baron/Mark Vernon - post-chance

(Erstwhile Records, 2024)

Mark Vernon is a Glasgow-based sound and radio artist whose practice is focused upon concepts of audio archaeology, magnetic memory and nostalgia.
Marc Baron is an experimental French artist that composes music for loudspeakers using tapes and analog processes. This work takes the shape of acousmatics concerts, radio broadcast, records, installations or specific live performances.

'post-chance' is their collaboration album - an abstract sound project comprised of unspooled open reel tape fragments that both artists sent back and forth to each other over the course of a year.
The album consists of one longform track, which begins with an ambient bed of fragile tape hiss, with some indistinguishable stirrings and movements emerging from it, making it come alive. Soon afterwards you will hear layers of deep swelling drones that sound like a lo-fi recording of a brass instrument. Once this fades away, you will hear a clattering cacophony of steel bell-like sounds, followed by more faint, distant, resonant bells...
Throughout the rest of the piece, you will hear fragments of warped choral music, decaying tape hiss, snippets of distant conversations, bustling crowds, ghostly voices, audio pops, booming bursts of distortion, bizarre sonic abstractions, frantic clacking noises, outdoor environmental ambience, ticking clocks, squealing whistles, demented tape manipulations, wailing sirens, weather sounds, eerie vibrations, atonal drones, distant bangs and other miscellaneous collaged sounds - all punctuated by peaceful quiet segments of near silence.

'post-chance' is a mysterious and mesmerizing album of abstract audio collaging, broken tape samples, ambiguous drones, lo-fi noise art and eerie sound phenomena. You can tell that this album is a labour of passion and love from both of these artists. They're constantly treading on new and unpredictable sonic territories,  never lingering for long on any one segment... which makes for a strange, enticing and immersive listening experience.

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Monte Espina - alquimia criolla

(presses précaires, 2024)

Monte Espina is the electroacoustic, free improvisation duo of Ernesto Montiel and Miguel Espinel, both Venezuelan-born musicians that now reside in North Texas.

‘alquimia criolla’ is an album consisting of two longform sound experiments recorded in 2023... 
'al plomo limpio’ begins with the sound of steel tinkling, rapid vibrations and low ominous thumping noises against the backdrop of a soft fluttering drone. As the track progresses, you will hear a series of subtle percussive noises, cacophonous clangs, soft bursts of distortion, rapid clicking sounds, warped frequencies, delicate scrapes, dark rumbling drones, whistling feedback, glistening bells and soothing lo-fi atonal ambience drifting in and out of this eerie barren soundscape. At about the midway point, you will suddenly hear some sustained drones of (what I think is) either an accordion or a harmonium, adding a sinister and tense vibe to the already brooding atmosphere of the piece, which builds and intensifies as it reaches towards its dramatic conclusion. 
‘100 el dorado en mano’ begins with a series of accordion drones, crackling sounds, dissonant ambient tones and soft gurgling textures. Eventually you will start to hear a variety of other audio layers. You will hear tiny tingling bells, swirling wind-like noises, frantic rattling sounds, intense vibrations, sustained howling distortions, warped tones, decaying frequencies, muted scrapes and environmental ambience. In the final stretch of the piece, you will hear a crescendo of rapid percussive bangs, low distorted rumbles, steel flutterings and atmospheric howls, which slowly and gradually die down as small flourishes of warped melodies lull you towards the end.  

‘alquimia criolla’ is a beautifully mesmerising album of abstract free improv, atmospheric tape music and avant-garde sound experimentation. These two performances are so unconventional and exciting, and the sounds they create are so texturally rich…the whole things makes for such a tense and captivating listening experience.

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Reverse Image - The Silence that does not Exist 

(Khatulistiwa 赤道, 2024)

Reverse Image (a.k.a Y'ng-Yin Siew) is a sound artist from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She builds her works using analogue and digital equipment looking for the intersection between repetitive motifs and disjointed incidences.

‘The Silence that does not Exist’ begins with the intense cacophonous clanging of various steel bells, some sort of wooden clacking and hissing noise, resulting in a series of haunting metallic drones and squalling steel ambience… which rings unnervingly like some deafening siren… 
Throughout the rest of the album you will hear intricate layers of glitchy electronica, watery gurgling noise, stuttering ambient tones, psychedelic synthscapes, alien-esque atmospheres, fractured techno, low apocalyptic drones, rapid bleeping sounds, eerie echoes, unsettling dissonance and walls of harsh distorted noise. 
It conjures up images of abstract dreamscapes full of otherworldly beings, colours and shapes that come frantically rushing at you from all sides. The intricate textures, howling tones and strange musical complexity that Siew has managed to expertly weave together in this album will transport you to a futuristic surreal dimension, where time and space caves in on itself. The whole thing feels some kind of dark and twisted sonic world-building...  

‘The Silence that does not Exist’ is an intense and frightening album of atmospheric noisescapes, demented electronica and haunting sound art. The warped musicality and sonic abstractions, along with Siew’s remarkable sound design makes for an intriguing, mesmerizing and rather terrifying listening experience.

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Lalén Ríos Luna - Time is the formless void on which you float faster and slower 

(Porous Collective, 2024)

Lalén Ríos Luna is a prolific experimental artist, electro-acoustic musician & avant-garde improviser based in Fresno, California. He has released a lot albums under various monikers. His musical style tends to be a complex and bizarre mixture of experimental electronica, avant-garde electro-acoustic improvisation, ambient soundscapes, sound collage and free-form jazz.

'Time is the formless void on which you float faster and slower' is his latest release - an album consisting of five avant-garde experimental sound compositions.
It begins with shimmering ambient tones, fuzzy swells of distortion and layers of polyrhythmic percussive hits that are pretty reminiscent of techno beats. It sounds like it was created from small hollow objects being rapidly bounced and rattled. It feels very hypnotic, in a brooding and unsettling kind of way.
Throughout the rest of the album, you will hear cacophonies of tingling bells, abrasive electronic pulsations, unnerving drones, ominous vibrations, dissonant frequencies, tremulous tones, gurgling textures, mechanical clock springs grinding away, serene airy ambience, glitchy electronica, drifting echoes, desolate reverberations, haunting thuds, ambiguous vocalizations, subtle field recordings, strange scrapes and rattles, and explosive bursts of atonal noise.

'Time is the formless void on which you float faster and slower' is a strange and wonderful album of surreal sound environments, futuristic computer music, ethereal ambience, warbling atmospheres and avant-garde noise experimentation. A peculiar and spellbinding listening experience.

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