Posts Tagged ‘Gintas K’

Christopher Nosnibor

Into the Void is Gintas K’s second album-length release of 2018, and we’re not even quite halfway through. For this outing, the enigmatic granular sonic artist from Lithuania has delivered an array of 14 fragmentary pieces, the majority titled by number, spanning snippets less than a minute in length to quarter-hour brain-sizzlers, with the majority of pieces clocking in around the two-minute mark.

The limited notes accompanying the release state ‘Pieces created by Gintas K using Travis Johnson sound material.- rhythms loops.’ It’s perhaps worth noting that this is Travis Johnson (2) as listed on Discogs – the ‘sound designer, electronic music producer, improviser, and farmer from Suwannee County, Florida, United States’, and not the bassist with metal band In This Moment or either of the other two.

We’re all staring into one void or another, so there’s a degree of universality in the experimental intent of this release.

Those rhythms and loops are warped, splayed, disjointed, whipping backwards and forwards across the heads in a jumble of crazed anagalogia reminiscent in places of some of William Burroughs’ tape experiments from the late 50s and early 60s, when he and Brion Gysin, with the assistance of Iain Sommerville, who was an electronics engineer and programmer.

For the most part, it’s about variation – or not so much – on a theme. Beats stutter and funnel into disarray and fuzzy edges dominate the sounds as those beats crackle and fizz. Most of the loops on here sound sped up and pitch-shifted, gloopy electronica and synthy beats shifted up to resemble clicks and bleeps and scratches of static. Everything crunches and collides at a frenetic pace to create an overwhelming blizzard of sound, a sonic soup that batters rather than massages the senses and the brain. A great many of the rhythms are arrhythmic, or otherwise disturbed or distorted in some way or another. At times akin to a palpating heart, and at others a flutter beneath a screeching squall of static, a fizz of treble and a mess of skittering noise, Into the Void leads the listener into difficult territory, and at times threatens to abandon them in a sandstorm of sound that will leave them completely adrift.

There are some moments of variance: ‘Void4’ is a slow, woozy slice of opiate dub, and ‘Void6’ is largely distorted thumping and rumbling, and ‘Void12’ brings the emptiness of it all into sharp relief, a quavering, oscillating humming drone. It’s minimal, but delivers maximum discomfort.

Personally, I dig it, but as a listening experience, its uncomfortable and far from easy.

AA

Travis Johnson & Gintas K – Into the Void

Advertisements

gk rec. 2018 – 4th January 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

The ever-prolific and some enigmatic Gintas K kick-starts 2018 with his umpteenth album (26 available via BandCamp for a start) in fifteen years. We don’t hear much from Lithuania, and the chances are that the exploratory and chiselling works released by Gintas K will reach the broader populace is an injustice.

Acousma Light is a mangled mass of bubbling analogue bleeps and whistles, R2D2 slowly melting over a sulphurous swamp amidst an immersive smog of low-end hums and disconsolate drones. As such, it very much continues in the vein of one of the most confusingly-titled releases ever, 2014 (Attenuation Circuit 2017), which was released last year.

Gintas K (no relation to Michael K or the associated neoist project of multiple identity associated with the name) sits in the broad bracket of avant-garde in his approach to creation. He describes himself as ‘a sound artist exploring granules, hard digital, memories,’ and has had works released on an impressive array of labels which promote experimental and avant-garde works, including Baskaru and Crónica. But, perhaps more admirably, K continues to release material apace with or without label backing. This is an artist in the truest sense – one who places artistic endeavour before commercialism, and clearly creates by compulsion rather than being motivated by any desire to create ‘product’ of an overtly marketable nature. And there is nothing commercial or marketable about Acousma Light, an album with a detailed theoretical context which I shall sidestep here, because its not integral to appreciating the audio experience.

It’s awkward, uncomfortable, tense, jittery. The compositions – such as they are – are formed around flickering circuitry, skittering notes – not exactly musical, so much as resembling sparks flickering from a defective socket. Much of Acousma Light reminds of the pink noise extravaganza of early Whitehouse releases like Total Sex, or more contemporary works like

Yoshio Machida’s Music from the Synthi and Yasunao Tone’s AI Deviation #1, #2. It’s also an expansive work: the bulk of the nine ‘episodes’ extend far beyond the five-minute mark, with ‘Episode#3’ (17:24), ‘Episode#4 (9:27), and ‘Episide#7’ (12:50) really pushing the parameters with extended sequences of unsettling noise.

There’s nothing comfortable about any of this. There isn’t supposed to be. Unsettling noise, ever-shifting carpets of discomfort casting patters over which snakes slither and crawl: this is the shape of the ever-shifting shape of Acousma Light. Dark, murky, hazy: above all, this is an unsettling scred of noise which offers a different kind of immersive.

Gintas K

Christopher Nosnibor

It seems as if this release is designed to cause maximum confusion. It’s called 2014 and is being released here in 2017. It was ‘originally’ released by German label Attenuation Circuit on 8th August 2017, and has been – so far as I can make out – independently released by the artist himself, with the subtitle of Attenuation Circuit 2017. Given the album’s contents, it sort of works.

The accompanying blurb – which is in fact culled from a review published on August 12th (is this chronology messing with your orientation yet?) is a curious mix of hyperbole, unusual metaphors and theoretical reference points:

‘Gintas K will shower the ears with a whole lot of incredible data streams, all clustering electronica bits and bytes that drop down in a wild way. As if data communications had been flushed through the shower head, tumble down and ending up together in the drain. Strangely when the tap is closed and these electrodes have calmed down in their dripping ways, they actually form beautiful sounding music… well, music might not be the word for all to say, but it does feel like there is a lot of beauty to be discovered in these busy data dada streams.’

As much as the quirkily playful application of abstract digitalism does clearly it comfortably within the framework of Dadaism, it’s also a work which readily aligns itself to the postmodern, in the way that it effectively recreates the experience of information overload, and does so in a fashion which is both nostalgic and retro (the sparking circuits are more dial-up than fibre optic) and executed with a certain hint of parodic pastiche. At the pace of progress as it stands, even 2014 feels like a point of nostalgia on the cultural timeline: a year which predates the vote for Brexit and the accession to power of Donald Trump, it may be a year with little going for it and which has little to mark it as memorable, but many would likely concur that 2014 stands in a period which is better than the present.

2014 is certainly one of Gintas K’s noisier and more challenging releases. While Slow was a subtle and quite quiet, delicate work, 2014 is far more up-front and attacking in every respect. It’s also more difficult to position, in that it absolutely does not conform to simple genre categories like ‘ambient’, instead straddling vague brackets like ‘electionica’, ‘industrial’, and ‘experimental’.

Hurtling from the speakers from the get go streams a barrage of gloopy digital extranea, a glissando of chiming binaries and a dizzying digital wash that flickers and flies in all directions, an aural Brownian motion of beeps and bleeps.

The eight-minute ‘max’ starts very much as ‘min’, with a full three minute’s silence, before a brief crashing facsimile of some metallic kind of percussion makes a fleeting appearance. There are sporadic clunks and scrapes and minute glimmers of higher-end frequencies, but for the most part, the silence of space dominates the clutter of sound.

‘5 zemu ir max2’ sounds like R2D2 having a seizure, with occasional blasts of distortion and random thuds punctuating the frenzied stream of bleeps. It’s ten minutes long. And I have no idea what the title – or indeed any of the titles attached to the individual pieces – stands a s reference to, just as the overarching 2014 has no obvious connection to the seven tracks it contains.

Crackled a gloops and bloops and whiplash blasts of static, crashes like cars impacting at speed and jangling rings all congeal into a digital mush which bewilders and disrupts the temporal flow. 2014 is disorientating, and not just in the immediate moment, but in terms of a wider placement and sense of time / space.

Gintas K - 2014