Posts Tagged ‘Random’

Powdered Hearts – 15th October 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Gintas K releases albums more often than I change my clothes. That’s of course intended as a comment on the prolific nature of his output, rather than a confession about my personal hygiene post-lockdown, although not going into the office or being around people – or ever within two metres of them – has meant I’ve maybe made slightly less effort of late.

The same clearly can’t be said of Gintas K, at least in terms of his work, since I don’t know if he’s been tweaking away at his circuitry in his pyjamas or the same jeans for a week and a half or if he’s been bothering to shave or deodorise daily. I don’t need to, either, of course.

Anyway: Sound & Spaces explores what’s become established as familiar territory for Gintas K, with gloops and bibbles, froth and foam, squelchy bubbles of sound rising up randomly against the crackling burrs of electronic distortion. Sound & Spaces is less attacking and less abrasive than some previous outings, and is les intense and intensive in its interrogation of microcosmic space than some of his previous microscopic, microtonal explorations.

The first track – the thirteen-minute ‘Sounds & Spaces #1’ is a challenging mess of stammers and jolts, fizzing and crackling in a swampy slosh of analogue synth soup. It very much sets the tone, but in context, it’s a comparatively gentle start to what ultimately unravels to be quite a brain-shredder of a set.

‘Per aspera ad astra’ is a brief interlude of tingling, jangling dissonance before ‘Sounds & Spaces #3’ brings a bit of low-end grumbling, whining, and distortion, yawning undulations whizzing and popping all over.

By ‘Sounds & Spaces #4’, it’s almost impossible to differentiate distortion from percussion, and what originates where, although there are distinctly snare-like cracks in the feverish melting-pot of contrasting textures and tones, which become increasingly fragmented, fractured, and overloading as the album progresses. As an album it’s a frothy foment, and while some may find it simply uninteresting or a wash of so much noise they can ignore, I’m unlikely to be alone in finding the experience quite tense and uncomfortable – and nothing more so than the twenty seconds of silence at the end of the overwhelming chaos of ‘Sounds & Spaces #5’

If disorder offends your sensibilities, avoid this recording: once again, Gintas K has captured metal turbulence in aural form. It’s hard to process, but well worth enduring the turmoil for.

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Christopher Nosnibor

Fibonacci Drone Organ: three random words spliced together, unshackled from the constraints of context to allow free association to determine interpretation? Or a descriptive indication of what Dave Procter’s second- or t(h)ird-latest (this month saw the debut of HUNDBAJS, which is Swedish for dogshit, the absolute latest) of his myriad projects which include the Wharf Street Galaxy Band and Legion of Swine? The cassette release contains precisely no information whatsoever, even down to a track listing, but a spot of digging reveals that it’s the latter – which should come as no surprise, given that the man behind FDO curated a ‘10 Hours of Drone’ event a while back. The album contains two pieces, each occupying a side of the tape, and they’re formed around droning organ notes. Long, long droning organ notes.

And my (rather limited but suitably fruitful) research uncovered that FDO ‘uses the Fibonacci Series as part of the compositional process,’ that ‘the notes are chosen via dice rolls and coin tosses,’ and that ‘the durations of the notes are chosen by the Fibonacci Series. Notes are added at the appropriate time.’

From this, I infer that in technical / theoretical terms, FDO compositions emerge from an intersection of John Cage-inspired randomness and the mathematical precision of Fibonacci. What this actually means, ‘m not entirely sure, and thankfully, the technical aspects don’t impinge too heavily on the output from a listening perspective. Ultimately, it’s all drones. And on this outing the ‘appropriate’ time for adding noes is seemingly after an eternity.

This means that across the tape’s duration, not a lot happens. Notes may be added, but at such distance that the layers build so gradually that the pieces are over before much depth, resonance or layering has occurred. This is all testament to Procter’s unswervingly uncompromising approach to music-making, and encapsulates the reasons I personally hold him in such high regard (and it’s fair to say that if there’s one person I’ve worked with who’s intuitively understood my vision for creating spoken word with the most hellishly mangled noise, it’s Dave who’s been behind the majority of my best and most exhilarating collaborative live work). With more projects, pseudonyms and releases to his credit than seems humanly possible, he’s practically a one-man underground scene in his own right. Look up ‘northern avant-garde’, and you’ll likely find a picture of Dave Procter – or a bloke in a lab coat sporting a pig’s head or something.

Procter gets art, and is an artist, but doesn’t espouse the pretentious trappings of being an ‘artist’ (or, worse still, an ‘artiste’). Which means he can not only get away with releasing a tape containing 40 minutes of theory-backed drone without appearing a tit, but delivers some of the most brilliantly self-aware electronic drone you’re likely to find.

Side two (not that the sides are marked) brings a quavering decay to the elongated drones – which hover toward the higher frequencies – by way of contrast to the strong, stable drones of side one. The effect is cumulative and ultimately soporific, and it’s definitely the music and not the beer as I listen to the spindles rotate on my tape deck and the notes drift from the speakers. Sometimes, there’s no shame in sleep.

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The Sublunar Society 053 – 11th May 2018

James Wells

Just as Facebook advertising and Amazon recommendations prove that algorithms can be applied usefully but are no substitute for human input.

Of course, The Rosenberg Algorithmic Music Generator is subject to human input, in that it was created by Mick Sussman himself. A programme is designed to ‘compose’ ‘unique’ music, by ‘making decisions based on a sequence of randomised processes.’ The nineteen compositions collected here seem to suggest a greater leaning toward the random than the musical. There are notes and there are rhythms, but none of them seem to coordinate with one another, and the sounds are trebly synthetic, 80s computer gamey. The cover art has obvious ‘matrix’ connotations, and tells much of the story of what The Rosenberg Algorithmic Music Generator is about. Only, this is the sound of the matrix collapsing, of being stretched and pulled in all directions, twisted and tossed.

Sussman observes in the liner notes that in programming terms, Rosenberg is a primitive piece of coding, but is sufficiently versatile to enable him to vary musical phrasings and tempos – to the extent that one option enables the user to allocate a different tempo to each instrument. Why would anyone do this? Because, I suppose. It’s an indication of Sussman’s adoption of avant-garde principles, to disassemble and reconfigure that which has gone before, to build anew. It may well be that no-one has done this before not because they haven’t thought of it, but because they didn’t want to, but that’s every reason for Sussman to be the first.

The result is a disorientating, bleepy, bloopy clamour of sound, with digital notes flying in all directions in an exercise where the concept is considerably more appealing than the experience of the end product.

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Mick Sussman – The Rosenberg Algorithmic Music Generator