Archive for December, 2009

“Transparent Paths”

December 3, 2009

Conceived & Directed by: Jeff Arnal
Choreography: Estelle Woodward
Music: Gordon Beeferman
Video: Donald O’Finn
Installation: Clyde Forth & Iain Machell
Performers: Jeff Arnal, Michael Evans, Clyde Forth, Anders Nilsson, Jane Rigler, Tomas Ulrich, Jonathan Vincent, Elizabeth Ward, Estelle Woodward

Read more about this work at Estelle Woodward’s Vimeo page.

Reviews for 12/3/09

December 3, 2009

Craig Colorusso – “Strap Parts” – Mudd Industries

10″ white vinyl, with a unique twist on the whole A-side/B-side thing– both sides start more or less the same, but end up in dissimilar places. Colorusso cites “different needs” as his reason, but the “choose your own adventure” aspect of the outcome is enough reason for me, not to mention an interesting glimpse into his artistic inner workings. Recommended for multiple listening sessions, especially with a nice stereo to take advantage of this very lovely, warm recording.

Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Jeff Arnal – “Brooklyn Mantra” – Generate Records

7″ 33rpm on colored vinyl, available through Arnal’s own Generate Records label. Arnal provides rich– but not overly busy– percussion, and Diaz-Infante sends out wave after wave of enveloping 12-string pulses. This is one hell of a mood-setting record, so flipping it is a bit of a drag. But then again, there aren’t too many seven-inchers I’ve been this fond of playing over and over, either. Although I technically heard this duo as part of the Focus Quintet (on Sachimay Records release “1-8 in 1”) I suppose my ears had been a bit lazy. “Brooklyn Mantra” re-introduced me to Arnal’s well-placed percussion textures, and has given me a good reason to look him up in a large number of other recordings.

Eyes Like Saucers – “Parmalee, Tribute to a Dog” – Ruralfaune/Ikuisuus

I really enjoyed Eyes Like Saucers’ previous release, “Still Living in the Desert,” so I’m pleased to have a chance to hear where else Jeffrey K. will take this project. As with the aforementioned album, it is the wandering nature of these songs that appeals most to me– no obvious thematic concern or dramatic arc has me looking too far into the future, so it’s much easier to stay in the moment, and enjoy each bit as it comes down the pipe. I imagine this is how animals might listen to music. Appropriately, this occurs to me on an album devoted to Jeffrey’s beloved animal friend who graces the BYG/Actuel-inspired cover.  “So when my mind is in a fog/I reach for wisdom of the dog…” Nice stuff, definitely recommended.

TONIGHT! Tristan Perich and Lesley Flanigan at Lemp Arts

December 1, 2009

Tristan Perich contacted me a few minutes ago, to hip me (and you!) to tonight’s activities at the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center. This is why I wish Lemp was a little closer. And now, watch me cheat the blogging gods by quoting liberally from Perich’s e-mail:

“I’m a New York-based composer, lugging a harpsichord around the country and playing a new composition for it with low-fi 1-bit electronics (an extension of 1-Bit Music, my circuit-in-a-cd-case album from a few years ago). Lesley Flanigan performs on her own hand-built speaker feedback instruments, which generate tones that she layers on top of her own voice.”

For my next trick, I will attempt an astounding feat of journalistic prestidigitation– copy-pasting the press release!

“New York artists Tristan Perich and Lesley Flanigan team up this Fall for a series of unique electronic music performances across the United States. Perich’s duet “Dual Synthesis” (for harpsichord and 1-bit electronics) and Flanigan’s “Amplifications” (for voice and speaker electronics) explore the viscerality of electronic music. Mixing primitive sounds from their own hand-constructed instruments with the harpsichord and voice, each choreographs intersections between acoustic and electric sound.

For composer/inventor Tristan Perich, Dual Synthesiscomes on the heels of finishing his new album, “1-Bit Symphony.” An electronic composition in five movements on a single microchip, “1-Bit Symphony” expands on the format of his 2005 release, “1-Bit Music.” A departure from traditional recordings, “1-Bit Symphony” literally ‘performs’ its music live when turned on. A complete music circuit, programmed by the artist and packaged inside a standard CD jewel case, plays the composition through a headphone jack mounted in the case itself. Probing the foundations of digital sound, “1-Bit Symphony” celebrates the virtuosity of electricity. The new album, to be released by Cantaloupe Music, will be available exclusively for presale at performances during the tour.

Artist/vocalist Lesley Flanigan’s tour of Amplifications introduces her first solo album for speaker electronics and voice. Moving among a cluster of wires and microphones, she builds compositional frameworks that grow and break apart. Her speaker instruments, employing a built-in microphone, create pulsing tones through their own feedback, which Flanigan samples and weaves into her own vocal patterns. The result is music that hovers somewhere between noise experiments and lyrical song, resonating with organic transparency.”

So here’s the moral of the story– if you’re able, get over to Lemp and check these folks out– and when you’re standing in line for that sweet pre-sale copy of “1-Bit Symphony,” remember to pick up a copy for the awesome blogger who told you about it!


New York artists Tristan Perich and Lesley Flanigan team up this Fall for a 
series of unique electronic music performances across the United States. 
Perich's duet /Dual Synthesis/ (for harpsichord and 1-bit electronics) and 
Flanigan's /Amplifications/ (for voice and speaker electronics) explore the 
viscerality of electronic music. Mixing primitive sounds from their own 
hand-constructed instruments with the harpsichord and voice, each choreographs 
intersections between acoustic and electric sound. 

Startling Moniker back from mind excursion

December 1, 2009

In the past, one of my goals at STARTLING MONIKER was to write a mid-sized music review each day. This didn’t work out well for me; it was tiresome, difficult, and simply could not keep pace with submissions. It’s hard to keep one’s sense of accomplishment from turning into a mixture of guilt and dread in such circumstances. That’s why I’m changing things up, starting today.

First off, I’ll be featuring a lot more reviews on STARTLING MONIKER. They’ll be quite a bit shorter, and more immediately focused on the things I find interesting in the recording. Finding out about new music is a lot of fun for me, so I want to share that discovery process with you. Alongside quick, daily reviews of new music, I’ll be working in older material for reviews as well. You’ll notice that the older recordings are often linked in some way to the more current ones being featured– being a good listener doesn’t necessarily mean keeping up with every new release, but it does often mean re-visiting past recordings armed with new knowledge. Hopefully, I’ll be able to help with that.

You’re also going to start seeing a lot more netlabel and creative commons action. Previously, I’ve avoided reviewing freely-available recordings because I believed that listeners were assuming no risk in simply trying them out. While I still encourage all listeners to jump in on their own, I’ve neglected the fact that it’s a big freakin’ ocean of sound out there. I see our musical future as being an amalgamation of physical labels, netlabels, creative commons endeavors, boutique cassette runs, p2p, blogs, and any number of unimaginable things yet to come– there’s usefulness in starting to map it out.

Of course, I’ll be continuing to do my weekly liveblogged broadcast entries for each episode of “It’s Too Damn Early.” With a bit of luck, I’ll be able to get the recording/download situation for past episodes worked out as well! WDBX’s new stream could help this immensely, so keep your fingers crossed!