CD Reviews

Wednesday 7th April

April 7, 2010

Ok so some music… I will admit, that after giving it a few spins a week or so back it was Brian’s little review of the Birgit Uhler / Gregory Büttner 3″ CD called Tehricks on Gregory’s 1000Füssler label that encouraged me to dig this one out of the pile and play it some more. I’d quite enjoyed it on first listen, though I am a fan of the 3″ format in general and tend to find myself gravitating towards music released on cute little discs (this one, being red and semi-transparent is particularly cute) more than most. However, reading Brian’s review I noticed something I had not spotted before as I had not paid any attention to the accompanying press release- Büttner, who works with a laptop played his sound contributions to this set of three short pieces through a series of tiny speakers placed inside Uhler’s trumpet and so used as mutes. This is a clever little idea, probably not original, though apart from Seymour Wright and Martin Küchen’s penchants for putting radios into the bell of their respective saxophones I can’t think of a recording example of this being done before.

So, when I first played this through a few times, while it did occur to me that the sound of the two musicians was very nicely balanced I had no idea about the method used for creating the music. Listening back now though, with this additional knowledge I do think that the laptop sounds we hear have an acoustic edge to them, a resonance you would expect from being placed in such a vibrant position. Am I hearing things though? Does this new information really make me hear things I did not before? I listened carefully the first few times around so why did I not pick up on what I hear now on those occasions? If I was told that the duo recorded the music stood in an underground cave would I then hear different elements again? How much of what I hear is really there, and how much just a case of my brain tricking itself into what it wants to hear? I am very much interested in this area of thought, whether a certain kind of “applied” listening can reveal different things in a piece of music. I suspect here that I can indeed detect elements of the sound that result from the recording techniques that I didn’t pick up on directly beforehand, but then I also wonder how much I mentally amplify these elements above and beyond what there really is to hear.

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CD Reviews

Friday 21st August

August 21, 2009

In my eagerness to say nice things about Sebastian Lexer’s great album I forgot to say that I managed to relax quite a bit yesterday, taking a walk along the canal in Oxford for a couple of hours, and then sitting in the coffee shops of various bookshops reading and writing for a couple of […]

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