Pierce Warnecke – Memory Fragments

Posted: 7 July 2016 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , ,

Room40 – RM469 – 20th May 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

The liner notes describe Memory Fragments as ‘a collection of compositions from sonic fragments recombines, thinned, edited, rejected, re-listened to, improvised, forgotten, filtered, slowed, remembered, reworked, erased, detuned, undone, layered, cut, compressed, trashed, moved, accelerated, pasted, composed, played and exported – undergoing a slowly evolving transience and sedimentation to arrive at this fairly constant state.’ In other words, it’s a collage of fragments which have been utterly fucked about with and manipulated so as to render them unrecognisable. The notes also draw attention to the fact that as integral to the ‘finished’ work (and one must question when a work is the result of such a convoluted succession of processes, to what extent it can ever be truly considered finished) the process is, the listener cannot, and will never hear the process, and the process is something which the artist will only recall through the filter of memory.

These are extremely spacious compositions. To begin, a single note resonates…. And then silence. The notes are some twenty seconds apart. The listener becomes attentive to the silence. Gradually, subtly, but so quietly, the sounds build. The build, the delay… are these notes backwards, or is there extraneous noise loitering in the silence, which then becomes shrinking semi-silence? You listen. You need to listen. And then, to pause for thought. It’s not music to get down to, but to contemplate. It requires focus.

Elongated notes expand as they’re dragged and stretched across time and space. Heavy sounds hang and linger. The track titles are evocative rather than literal, cumbersome but descriptive. Again, some refer to the process, while others carry allusions to how either the artist feels or the sensation. ‘Built on Folds and Braids’ builds a densely-layered wall of tonalities, fizzing and hissing static tears through an ominous low-end and arrhythmic globular beats. ‘Sparseness Gave Way to Infinite’ carries the closest approximation of a tune, but it’s slowed to the point that the output is little more than a protracted groan. The thick, burr-edged electronic sawing of ‘Broadsided by Sudden Swells’ is a dank, fear-inducing sonic experience, bleak and weighty.

But with the seed of awareness sown, it’s impossible not to hear these sounds without returning to the process, and I found myself contemplating the original fragments, the source materials. Specifically, I wanted to unpick the recordings, to examine the ‘original’ Warnecke had done to them. But thinking backwards through the process only provides so much food for thought: as noted in the liner notes, the released version only represents a moment in time, a point at which the artist has deemed the material satisfactory for release. But where could the sounds be taken in future? Is this a ‘definitive’ version? What would the result have been had the project been continued? Such questions are of course unanswerable, but provide fodder to chew on while Memory Fragments unravel from the speakers to form a sonic cloud that’s almost impossible not to get lost in.


Pierce Warnecke - Memory Fragments


Piere Warnecke Online

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