Several new arrivals and one departureNovember 14, 2008
Life has been pretty hectic here again, hence the delay in getting that last post up online, and I’ve been to see another very good gig since then too that I need to write up before I forget all about it. One thing at a time I guess. This time of the year is always busy in my line of (dayjob) work and so one grabs the time when its there.
Here are a few quick comments on some of the music I’ve been listening to of late though, but first of all a plug for what looks like it what could be an interesting project. If you click here you can find the website for Nikos Veliotis’ new Cellopowder project, an interesting concept with echoes of self-cancellation in there. Here’s a brief description:
cello powder [the complete works for cello] is a â€œdurationalâ€ project in two parts:
part 1 – recording:
The sonic range of the cello is divided into 100 quarter tones. Every quarter tone is recorded for one hour. During this hour volume and timbre change [from soft to very loud plus pure tone to noise and back]. The sonic result e.g. 100 one hour drones will be mixed into one audio file [all 100 files will sound simultaneously] called â€œthe complete works for celloâ€ and pressed onto a limited amount of cds.
part 2 – performance:
The cello used in the recording will be destroyed [turned into powder] in front of a live audience (In Glasgow as part of Instal09) while â€œthe complete works for celloâ€ will be played back through speakers. The powder will be used to fill jars of approximately 250ml labeled, numbered and sealed. Every jar will be accompanied by a â€œcomplete works for celloâ€ cd. The number of cds available will be equal to the number of jars, the rest of the cds will be destroyed in front of the audience. The cello powder packs [jar of cello powder + â€œcomplete works for celloâ€ cd] will be available for sale. The price will be determined by the number of jars [price of the cello used divided by the number of jars].
The performance will be videotaped. The audio file of the â€œcomplete works for celloâ€ plus the unedited video file of the â€œcello powderâ€ performance will be available for free download through this website March 09 onwards. Cello powder packs [jar of cello powder + â€œcomplete works for celloâ€ cd] will be available for sale through this website March 09 onwards.
No end of CDs have arrived here of late, and if I’m honest I just haven’t spent enough time with any of them. One that did arrive yesterday and actually got played three times within a few hours of its arrival is blasen the duo disc on Another Timbre by Sebastian Lexer (piano+) and Seymour Wright (sax) Its too early for me to be writing at length on this lovely disc but I’ve heard enough to be able to heartily recommend it. I saw Lexer and Wright play a magnificent live set a week ago, tense, engaging, powerful stuff from these two highly talented long-term musical partners. The disc seems to be more of the same and is another winner from a fine label. Available here.
There’s also a release just out on the new Another Timbre CDr offshoot label Another Timbre Byways, a solo disc by Alfredo Costa Monteiro entitled Centre of Mass for cymbal and resonant objects. This disc sits here as yet unplayed unfortunately, but its nice to see Simon finding a way to get even more music out there into the world!
The Why Not CDr label, run by musician Goh Lee Kwang also continues to turn out new releases thick and fast and, generally speaking the quality is high. Two more arrived here this week, the first of which is a drone / field recordings duo entitled The Distance by the previously unknown to me duo of Alessandro Colbucci and Matteo Uggeri. Its a pleasant listen, looping acoustic drones take up most of the space in the music but the use of field recordings works well, even if they aren’t so original (the first thing we hear as the first track begins is the crackle of fireworks).
The other new Why Not disc comes from Tim Blechmann, the Berlin laptop musician who has recently been responsible for a flurry of interesting releases, a few of which have appeared on Why Not. This latest one, Replugged follows in the vein of his previous work which is centred around gradually changing, often low, bass heavy drones. If that description doesn’t sound so great I can only say that Belchmann’s choice of sounds is excellent, working within a very subtle narrow range.
Why Not releases are very much home-made articles, inkjet printed sheets of folded A4 paper with an everyday branded CDr tucked inside, but this is reflected in the price and is yet another great example of musicians working together to just get the music out there with a complete disregard for profit and the business mechanisms of the music industry. Support them here.
Goh Lee Kwang’s own Draw sound / coins release isn’t actually on Why Not but is connected to his other label, the more “professional?” Herbal International. I’m a little confused but also quite charmed by this little release, which consists of a small book (about 5″x6″) full of wild, child-like abstract scribbles. There are forty or so pages of these, and the title of the release perhaps suggests the images might be visual interpretations of Goh Lee’s music. Although I’m not sure what one is really meant to do with it its a cute little book, and even better there is a 3″ CD tucked in the back featuring a short piece named Coins. The music on the disc seems to have been made by recording the sound of coins being dropped onto a miked-up surface. So the coins, of different sizes and weights land at random, some with a thud, some with a tinkle, occasionally rolling around a bit before falling flat. Obviously this isn’t the most essential or important piece of music in the world today, but as a careful study of the audio properties of everyday objects its the perfect companion for the book.
The above brief mentions are of the sort that I have usually placed at the I Hate Music forum. I’ve begun to post them here because I’ve decided to take a break from IHM at least for the time being. IHM has been very good to me over the past few years, a useful source of information and friendship. I don’t want to make a big thing of my departure and I want to place on record here that I have the utmost respect for the hard work and effort Mark Flaum and a few others put into running the forum on a daily basis.
Managing a bristling, busy forum full of highly opinionated people isn’t easy at all, but I felt the need last week to politely voice my concern about the level of moderator intervention in the forum. Posts that I considered (and still consider) to be very challenging but not personally insulting were moved to a dark corner of the site. Not deleted, but hidden away in a place where few people go. I don’t run IHM of course, and I don’t make the rules, but I did feel that my contribution to the site had earned me the right to open a constructive discussion on this subject.
The fact that Mark disagreed with me about the content of the posts that were moved is not the reason I have chosen to take a break. IHM is Mark’s forum and he has every right to do within it whatever he chooses. The fact that we disagree on whether the posts should have been moved is unfortunate but not a big problem. IHM has never been perfect and I have often had problems with how things operate there. None of these issues have mattered enough to outweigh the level of enjoyment that the site has given me though.
What has upset me now however is the response I and others received after I voiced my concern. We were informed that Mark “didn’t care” if we had concerns about the way he moderated and it was made abundantly clear that nothing was open to change. I had a genuine concern about the direction taken by a forum I care for a great deal and felt my words and the words of those that supported me were swept aside as if they were irrelevant. A few other people also walked away from IHM including some people I have a lot of respect for. (and for the record I do not support Dan Warburton’s decision to retrospectively delete all of his past posts at IHM, thats just silly) However I do not want this to seem like I am part of any co-ordinated walk-out. My decision was mine alone and I left without a fuss a couple of days ago.
I wish to thank Mark and all at IHM for the years of great pleasure and inspiration I have taken from the forum. I will miss contributing dearly and apologise to the people that have asked me a question at the forum over the past day or two that I have not responded to. Again, I hold no grudges, wish everyone well and hope I feel able to return to IHM soon. This is no big thing. Mark’s biggest crime in my humble opinion was just taking IHM’s contributors for granted.
We move on.