Posts Tagged ‘collaboration’

Baskaru – karu:39

Christopher Nosnibor

Within the domain of the avant-garde, there is a recurring thread of self-reflexivity, and a focus on ‘the process’ which borders on obsessive. Many artists have offered theories on the benefits of collaboration, with the practices and methods of another person facilitating fresh approaches to creative processes. William Burroughs and Brion Gysin famously cited Napoleon Hill’s bestselling self-improvement book from 1937, Think and Grow Rich, having latched onto the concept of ‘the third mind,’ whereby the coming together of two individuals brings forth an unseen collaborator in the form of a third, superior mind. Needless to say, collaboration is not for everyone, but Laurent Perrier is very much an advocate, as this release which finds him working in collaboration with three notable artists, namely Francisco Lopez, Tom Recchion, and Christian Zanesi is testament to. But all is not quite s it may seem: Perrier’s Plateforme series, of which this is the second release, offers an alternative interpretation of what collaboration means, with the tracks each standing as what he terms a ‘one-way collaboration’.

The idea works on the basis that Perrier takes sounds provided by his ‘collaborators’ and uses those sounds – and nothing else – to create the pieces. This approach naturally pieces. Raises questions around the nature of the relationship between the artist and the ‘text’ (in the broad sense of the term). Is Perrier the architect, designing and constructing the tracks from raw materials? Is he even the composer? Or do these pieces represent remixes of unmixed material? To what extent can the ownership of each piece be aligned to the collaborator, and how much falls to Perrier, the one who sculpts the raw materials into something? In terms of process, one is also compelled to ask, to what extent do the ‘original’ sounds define the character of each individual artist’s work?

There is a definite sense that Perrier has worked with a strong intention to preserve the identity and integrity of each of his collaborators in these three pieces, and here I would return to Burroughs and Gysin, who claimed “A page of Rimbaud cut up and rearranged will give you quite new images. Rimbaud images — real Rimbaud images — but new ones”. This is a premise with which Perrier would appear to concur: his aim is not to vandalise or otherwise desecrate or stamp his own identity on their sounds, but simply to shape and order them. So, a collection of Francisco Lopez sounds arranged, mutated and mixed results in a nee track by Francisco Lopez, forged with the assistance of Laurent Perrier.

And it works, with or without detailed knowledge of either the work of Laurent Perrier or his collaborators, with Plateforme #2 featuring three long-for tracks which explore texture and tone in a variety of ways, and with each track displaying a distinct ‘personality’.

Francisco Lopez’s material emerges as screeding scrapes and drones, barrelling hums, crackles and slow-motion explosions, fizzing static. Harsh blasts of drilling, rumbling earthworks and abstract noise fill the air. Elongated hisses, like air escaping from valves or burst pipes and storm-force winds all amalgamate to create big, big sounds and a sense of immense space.

Hinting at vintage science fiction and horror movies, long, low, ambient drones hang and turn slowly, to be rent with shrill shrieks of treble, and blizzards of looping lasers to conjure a strange, alien landscape in sound in the Tom Recchion collaboration. Jump cuts extend the filmic analogy. Spectral tracings haunt the longest of the three pieces, with Christian Zanesi’s sounds building from a whisper to a scream; around the mid-point, the piece has evolved to a veritable tornado of sound which blasts from the speakers with breathtaking force.

 

Laurent Perrier - Plateforme 2

 

Laurent Perrier – Plateforme #2 Online at Baskaru

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Dronarivm – 18th July 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Like most writers, and not just music journalists, I sustain myself financially with a demeaning, underpaid yet unduly stressful and arduous day-job in an office. The multinational firm who employ me, being fifteen years behind the times in terms of progressive thinking who have in the last year and a half decided halt the future is digital and that the place to pitch for market share in the coming years is on-line, have gone all blue-sky thinking and have fitted out a large rectangular room in each office with rising rows of seats, like some hideous postmodern parody of a colosseum in MDF. These ‘in the round’ meeting rooms, where the speakers stand in the middle (and consequently have their back to a quarter of the audience at any given time) have been preposterously named ‘agoras’. While throwing out quips about fluffy rabbits and jumpers, I’ve managed to decline all meetings in said room by claiming to be agoraphobic.

The reason for this preamble is that this album’s title is something of a play on words, a hybrid of ‘agoraphobia’ (a fear of public or open spaces) and the suffix ‘phone’, meaning sound. It only half works, in that phonia and phonic tend to refer specifically to speech. And, as anyone with access to a computer will likely know, ‘agora’ (in reference to either a space in an office or a word which simply means ‘public’ or ‘outdoor’) is a misnomer, in that the term ‘agoraphobia’, coined by the German psychiatrist Carl Friedrich Otto Westphal, was taken from the Greek ἀγορά, meaning ‘large public square/marketplace’ and -φοβία, -phobia, meaning ‘fear’. Still, based on the popular perception of the two terms, it makes an obvious punning sense which works in the context of what the album is about, in that it’s ‘a work which explores the relationships between people in given environments, and is specifically set in public spaces, namely the squares, or plazas’.

One might broadly classify this as a work of ‘ambient’ music, but in drawing together field recordings and manipulating the sounds and incorporating them into the rich sonic tapestry that constitutes samples and shimmering drones which form the material of Agoraphonia, Giannico and Aldinucci have gone far beyond the realms of background music and of atmospherics. Agoraphonia is a deeply evocative work, and one that requires a substantial degree of attention and focus.

Created using sounds submitted on-line, the album is a new kind of collaboration, and the end result is a work that requires attention and contemplation. Voices, passing cars and motorcycles and a low-level continuous chatter run through an indecipherable public speech seemingly made outdoors – at least judging by the trebly, tannoy echo – run through the first track, ‘Koutoubia’, as long, lingering drones simmer and eddy, building slowly in volume and intensity.

‘Plaza de Mayo’ finds the soft drones upscaled to vast, multitonal sonic washes which all but obliterate the voices audible at the start and end of the track. But this (im)balance is integral to the album’s purpose. In the world, the voice of man is not always dominant, and the relationship between human life and the environment it has created and inhabits is one which is infinitely variable and in constant flux.

There’s also the relationship between public and private, which at times is uneasy and for some extremely difficult and in some respects the recordings here are manifestations of that seemingly eternal fascination which surrounds the two states, which do not necessarily stand in diametric opposition or exist in binary formation. Giannico and Aldinucci do not offer answers here, but instead provoke thought as they lead the listener through the various locations.

 

 

agorophonia-500x500

Agoraphonia Online