Thursday, August 28, 2014

Demetra EnglezouAudioReactor, 2011

3D graphics commissioned by the Iannis Xenakis Memoriam International Conference, European University of Cyprus, 2011. From the Escuchas Visuales: Una Experienca Sinestética online exhibition organized by Espacio Byte, Argentina. Watch HD full screen here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dirk Huelstrunk Müüü, CD-R, 33 hand numbered and signed copies, released by Atemwerft, ref. AM#001, Augsburg, Germany, February 2014

This is an age where Sound Poetry is taught in art schools the world over and is very much in danger of commodification – in the Marxist sense of unsalable things becoming salable. Some might even question whether there’s anything left to create in sound poetry that hasn’t been done in the past 100 years. But I think what sound poetry does to language is still very much needed today – exposing the fragility of the human voice, the little failures, occasional stuttering, etc. Because the computer apparently makes all the music we need, we tend to overlook the value of human performance, whereas to really engage with the basic constituents of the human voice, to challenge the meaning of words and the pertinence of human language are as valid practices today as they were at the origins (Dada, the Futurists, etc). The fact is, several of my favorite 2014 releases are sound poetry efforts of various kinds. This one is among the best.

Limited to 33 hand numbered and signed copies, the first edition of Müüü is the inaugural release on the newly launched Atemwerft imprint, a sound poetry label run by Martyn Schmidt in Augsburg, Germany. Dirk Huelstrunk (born 1964, based in Frankfurt am Main) is a German curator, lecturer, visual poet and sound poet with several full length CDs on Gruenrekorder. Huelstrunk creates un-dogmatic, modern sound poetry not afraid of a little help from technology.

In fact, it would be easier to describe this wonderful disc as a collection of musique concrète tracks based on “disarticulated voices” (Allen S Weiss). A rhythm emerges from a mere breath sample, a loop from a mere coughing, … via the use of repetitive, remorseless loops, fragmented vocals, radical speed modification, choruses build from the accumulation of multiple utterances of the same word, etc, Huelstrunk elaborates abstract vocal explorations from carefully selected samples and loops. So much so that, when his voice appears untreated, it is a deliberate surprise. In all cases, the simplicity of the means employed ensures great immediacy and proximity with the vocalist. Also note that, as an album, Müüü is painstakingly constructed, leading you from abstraction to intelligible speech, from noise to language, from a personal to a collective dimension (cf. bonus track).

[reviewed by continuo]

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Social Life of the Record, issue #2: Metal Ideas
44-pages zine published by Paraguay Press, Paris, Spring 2014

Contents:
Felicia von ZweigbergkThe Masters of Elevator Music
Pieter KockAcid Trax
Janine ArminTurned Out It Was A False Down
Ärkan NordinUneasy Listening
+ comes with Felicia von Zweigbergk's C60 cassette Metal Ideas.

Published by Paraguay Press, the imprint of Paris art gallery and bookstore Castillo/Corales, the second issue of The Social Life… collects 4 articles on music by contemporary artists and curators (I blogged about #1 here). Felicia von Zweigbergk's article is a nice meditation on the origins, philosophy and continuance of the ubiquitous background music known as Muzak that wouldn't have been out of place on Andrea Juno and Vic Vale’s Incredibly Strange Music (1994). Pieter Kock (aka Dutch DJ Peacock) contributes a collection of reminiscences and little known facts about Chicago’s Acid House sound – Kock edited the Persona ethnic music compilation coming with Özlem Altin’s The Primitive Mentality zine in 2007 (see previous post). In Turned Out It Was A False Down, her short essay on Denis Diderot’s Rameau’s Nephew, the book that inspired Michael Snow’s 1974 film, Janine Armin argues that Diderot might be the first art critic. By Uneasy Listening, Ärkan Nordin means horror movie soundtracks and their origin in 20th century contemporary music (Schônberg, Penderecki, etc). Discussing dissonance and atonality found in some of these movies, Nordin concludes that “the key element of horror music is to make the listener lose foothold”.

Not everything is perfect in this neatly designed zine, especially the aimless, amateur-ish electric guitar meanderings of the cassette, but I think The Social Life of the Record is on to something when giving contemporary artists and curators an opportunity to elaborate on music from their own perspective.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Odd records and tapes, via Canned Music aka Julio Gómez @ Pinterest

Nb: the Rush’n’Roulette 12inch record has 6 parallel grooves each with one song.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Masks (ca.mid-1970s)

A spiral bound book collecting a hundred unique, original masks created by architects, designers, writers, painters, etc, this flea market find came without cover or back cover.

Also: activities to resume shortly on Continuo’s documents. Stay tuned.

Friday, August 15, 2014
Milan Knizak – Snowstorm No.1,The Kitchen New York, 1979
Performed by (from l. to r.): Peter Frank, Robert Watts, Larry Miller, Philip Corner, Peter Van Riper,

Milan KnizakSnowstorm No.1,The Kitchen New York, 1979

Performed by (from l. to r.): Peter Frank, Robert Watts, Larry Miller, Philip Corner, Peter Van Riper,

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Michel Vogel - live UMLAUT Festival, Paris, 2011.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

David Behrman - Wave Train, for piano resonances and feedback (1966)
Excerpt from a performance for the BBC’s Hear and Now program, May 2014

Interprets: David Behrman, Christian Wolff, Takehisa Kosugi, Ilan Volkov

Check other 2mn clips in the series available here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Concert poster, London, ca.1975
Cornelius Cardew – Thalmann VariationsFrederic Rzewski – Coming Together/AtticaFrederic Rzewski – Variations on “People United Can Never Be Defeated”Yin Cheng-tsung – Three Arias from “The Red Lantern”

Concert poster, London, ca.1975

Cornelius CardewThalmann Variations
Frederic RzewskiComing Together/Attica
Frederic Rzewski – Variations on “People United Can Never Be Defeated”
Yin Cheng-tsung – Three Arias from “The Red Lantern”

Monday, August 11, 2014
Friday, August 8, 2014

Antonin Artaud / Marc ChalossePour En Finir Avec le Jugement de Dieu: Artaud Remix, disc preview, CD released by Radio France, Signature series, 2010

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dimitris ThomasGuide to the Greek Pop & Rock Music, 1965–1990,
yellow file with 32-pages zine and color poster, self-released, Hellas, Greece, 1996

A chronological list of Greek LPs, from folk ballads of the 1960s to radical new wave of the mid-1980s, with price indication and degree of scarcity for each record, the latter ranging from the worrying R1 “It does not mean that it can be easily found” to the daunting R5 “Almost impossible to be found”. My favorite of this list is, of course, Horis Peridereo's Horos Gia Mousiki, a resplendent new wave LP from 1985 (“Nearly rare, it is a success if it is found”). Original copies now fetch around $300, but it has been remastered and reissued in 2008 and the band reformed in 2014 as well.

Χωρις Περιδεραιο - Χορος Για Μουσικη, LP, Λαιστρυγόνα, ‎Greece, 1985
[Horis PeridereoHoros Gia Mousiki, LP, from the remastered, 2008 edition]

The pinnacle of Greek new wave. Should be on everyone’s iPod.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

SolventRDJCS5​-​ep, 12” vinyl, Suction records, 2011 [BandCamp]

Last track, “Sandpaper”, is a vinyl exclusive and is hand-etched inside the grooves, not in the lead-out groove, as usual. The story behind the music is also worth checking out on the BandCamp blurb.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

कलियुग

Alain DaniélouLe crépuscule du Kâlî-yuga (3:54)
Read by Catherine Michel. Unidentified music.
Broadcast on Radio Suisse Romande, Switzerland, 1985 [source]
Painting by Paul LafolleyKali Yuga, 1965, from artist’s website.

As descibed in the Vishnu Purânä, one of the 18 major Hindu religious texts, the Kâlî yuga or Dark Age, lasting from 1939 CE to 2442 CE, is the time of “the dissolution of the world, the decline of all things, and deterioration of mankind.” Read in the sound file are excerpts from the Vishnu Purânä, Book VI, Chapter 1, as translated in French by Alain Daniélou in his book La Fantaisie des Dieux et l’Aventure Humaine, éditions du Rocher, 1985 ; reissued as Le Destin du Monde d’après la Tradition Shivaïte, Albin Michel, 1992 [full English text of book VI, ch.1 here]. Here is the transcript of the sound file above:

Ce sont les plus bas instincts qui stimulent les hommes du Kali Yugä. Ils choisissent de préférence les idées fausses. Ils n’hésitent pas à persécuter les sages. L’envie les tourmente. La négligence, la maladie, la faim, la peur se répandent. Il y aura de graves sécheresses. Les différentes régions des pays s’opposent les unes aux autres.

Beaucoup périront. Le nombre des princes et des agriculteurs décline graduellement. Les classes ouvrières veulent s’attribuer le pouvoir royal et partager le savoir, les repas et les lits des anciens princes. La plupart des nouveaux chefs est d’origine ouvrière.

On tuera les fœtus dans le ventre de leur mère et on assassinera les héros. Les Shudrä prétendront se comporter comme des Brahmanes et les prêtres comme des ouvriers.

La stabilité et l’équilibre des quatre classes de la société et des quatre âges de la vie disparaîtront partout. La terre produira beaucoup dans certains lieux et trop peu dans d’autres.

De la nourriture déjà cuite sera mise en vente. Les livres sacrés seront vendus aux coins des rues. Le dieu des nuages sera incohérent dans la distribution des pluies.

La dégradation des vertus et la censure des puritains hypocrites et moralisateurs caractérisent la période de la fin du Kali. Il n’y aura plus de rois. La richesse et les moissons diminueront. Des groupes de bandits s’organiseront dans les villes et les campagnes. L’eau manquera et les fruits seront peu abondants.

Beaucoup d’enfants naîtront dont l’espérance de vie ne dépasse pas seize ans. Des aventuriers prendront l’apparence de moines avec la tête rasée et des vêtements orangés, des chapelets autour du cou. On volera des stocks de blé. Les voleurs voleront les voleurs. Les gens deviendront inactifs, léthargiques et sans but. Les maladies, les rats et les substances nocives les tourmenteront.

Des gens affligés par la faim et la peur se réfugieront dans des « abris souterrains ».

Les hommes ne chercheront qu’à gagner de l’argent, les plus riches détiendront le pouvoir. Les gens sans ressources seront leurs esclaves.

Les pauvres se feront une gloire de leur pauvreté et les femmes de la beauté de leurs cheveux.

Dans le Kali Yugä les hommes sont sans vertus, sans pureté, sans pudeur, et connaîtront de grands malheurs.