CD Reviews

Friday 6th March

March 7, 2009

Early this morning I played the Dropp Ensemble disc through twice more, this time at volume. Such a great disc if you ask me, just beautifully composed music. I heard from Adam Sonderberg this morning and he told me that indeed the music was pieced together using recorded parts made all around the world, with only Adam and Salvatore Dellaria privvy to the final product before the disc was released. I just think its a superbly balanced recording, with the placement and weighting of its individual parts on a par with a well written string quartet. So good. Last year Sonderberg and Dellaria undertook a project that lasted (I think) eighteen weeks posting a piece of music as an Mp3 file each week at this site. I haven’t listened to much of the material there yet myself, but the little bits I’ve heard are quite different to their work as Dropp Ensemble. I’ll try and listen sometime soon.

The unlistened-to music versus spare time ratio continues to get more top heavy every day. I did make my way through one new CDr release today though, from everyones favourite Japanese conceptual fun label Encadre. The release is a two disc set entitled (for reasons I can’t fathom) I’ll keep it with mine and is by the label’s curator Takefumi Naoshima.

The idea behind this release is quite a cute (and I think original?) one. Basically one piece of music has been spread across the two discs. Each disc contains sections of sound, interspersed with sections of complete silence. Where there is sound on one disc there is silence on the other, and vice versa. So essentially if you were to play both discs at the same time then you would not hear any silence at all. Naoshima explains all of this on the CD liner notes, though the notes end with him stating that simultaneous playing of the two discs is not actually his intention. Right.

After reading the notes I figured that what I would do is rip each disc into Logic and sequence them together to see what the end result sounded like. However after listening through to the first disc (Naoshima specifically asks that they are listened to in order) I just didn’t bother, simply because the sound elements of the two discs does not change, consisting of a Yoshimura-esque high pitched feedback whistle and a bit of background hum. So on the first disc we get a few minutes of silence, then the whistling, then silence, then the whistling, without any progression at all, on and off throughout the disc. The second CD uses exactly the same sound, but as a mirror image of the first. So playing both discs together would just result in one long whistle. That’s it really.

The music of the Encadre label has probably annoyed more people than any other over the last couple of years. There are accusations of pretension over what they do, as well as many claims that they don’t make music at all. The basic idea behind this release had me interested for a while, and done differently this could have been an intriguing release. It is typical of Naoshima and Encadre however that the music does anything but fulfill my hopes and expectations. That is what they do best. Make of the end result what you will, but there are few labels capable of leaving me completely bemused as consistently as these people do. If there is any value in that I’m not sure though.

This evening I got myself a three-day pass for the Otomo/Sachiko residency at Café Oto on Monday to Wednesday next week as they are selling fast. I am still not sure if I will be able to attend. If I make it to one or more of the shows it will only be after a hectic dash into the city from Oxford after work. I think I need to really try and make the effort though as these gigs will probably be something that shouldn’t be missed. We’ll see how it goes.

By the way I heard back from Goh Lee Kwang about a week ago regarding the Wiring my ear to the ground set that I wrote about over a few days here in January. I’ll write something about what he had to say here at some point his coming weekend, and will also listen to another of his CDr releases as a few still sit here unplayed.

Comment (1)

  • Alastair

    March 9, 2009 at 5:13 am

    I don’t know if it helps, but ‘I’ll Keep It With Mine” is a Bob Dylan song, first released by Nico on her “Chelsea Girl” LP in 1967 also I think recorded by the Zim earlier but not released until later.

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