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V.A. (VARIOUS ARTISTS) (COMPILATIONS) - A tasty Swarm of small Signals

Format: DVD-Audio
Label & Cat.Number: Strung str008
Release Year: 2010
Note: sound-art project curated by FRANCISCO LOPEZ, collecting 91 x 2 minute micro-compositions from different sound-artists, feat. JAMES WEBB, LAWRENCE ENGLISH, ASMUS TIETCHENS, LOUIS DUFORT, ALAN COURTIS (REYNOLS!), Z. KARKOWSKI, and the master himself, FRANCISCO LOPEZ; 3 hours playtime, DVD-audio (24 bit) playable in any DVD player or computer
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €18.00

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"A Tasty Swarm of Small Signals is an impressive sound art project comprising 91 micro-compositions by sound artists from every corner of the globe. This wide range collection has been curated by Francisco Lpez and includes original work of James Webb, Lawrence English, Francisco Lpez, Asmus Tietchens, Louis Dufort, Alan Courtis and Zbigniew Karkowski. Working with field recordings, sound manipulation, and generated sounds, these internationally acclaimed artists offer us the possibility of listening and experiencing some of the most enticing proposals, tendencies, approaches and investigations in this field of art. James Webb opens the collection with 'Sightings into the dreams of others'. His pieces share a dreamy atmosphere, an oneiric quality, both beautiful and strange. With a delicate, poetic touch Webb introduces several sounds like bird chipping, piano notes and morse code signalling, creating an elegant whole that has the effect of drawing our attention out of the work itself, back into our own sound environment, and finally integrating both. As in Webb's work, the next artist of the collection, Lawrence English, requires the imagination of the listener to complete the pieces here presented. Through an artful integration of field recordings and synthetic sounds, English creates suggestive and beautiful compositions which wake up our imagination and make us see that we are always part of the work itself, in the same way as we are part of the world we look at. The world is not just a set of objects around us and the compositions are not just a set of sounds. We relate to each object, to each sound, with our personal emotions and memories. The world which we live in, as English's compositions, is always a unique experience, a personal creation. While Lawrence English is able to integrate field recordings and created sounds in an extraordinary way, Francisco Lpez goes further and blurs any distinction between these different sounds. By an artful manipulation of the field recordings the artist makes the natural sounds no longer identifiable, and as a result they move away of any reference or visual association. In his proposal Lpez directs our attention to the sounds themselves, and lets them follow their own path, their own development into other sounds and variations. Similarly Asmus Tietchens also focuses on the manipulation of field recordings in ways suggested by the sounds themselves. His artful employment of silence and isolated sounds, (small signals), is complemented by an increasingly obscure atmosphere, conforming a subtle composition. Short bubble like percussive sounds hit repeatedly on a persistent silence, than soon evolves into a dark ambience. No rhythms, no sequence, no pattern, no thought. Just unidentifiable sounds, dropping from nowhere on top a black background, a cosmic silence, a universal darkness. Louis Dufort proposal deals with the inner structure of sound matter. He places sounds under his unique microscope to show us the different frequencies, reflections and elements each sound contains. This approach is able to focus all our attention on the sounds themselves, instead of being treated as elements of a structure that encompasses them and gives them a specific meaning obtained from their place in the structure. In Alan's Courtis pieces, in contrast to Asmus Tietchens proposal for this collection, there is no silence, but a succession of disquieting sounds and distortions, and a constant feeling that we are reaching some kind of limit, something is about to break through. Waves of sound take over, fill all space and ourselves, and carry us through a labyrinth of sounds and variations where we seem to disappear and where only sounds remain. Karkowski proposal is an investigation in the vibration of electronic sounds and takes us to an experience of this ever lasting reality. Everything is a vibration taking place in time. Our first exposure to these pieces can be confounding, but if we get past our tendency to look for rhythm and harmony, an experience of sound can get through, showing us the ever present vibrations surrounding us, inside of us, everywhere. All these proposals are presented in an audio DVD, where each artist presents thirteen two minute compositions over a fixed image, adding to more than three hours of sound. It offers us a taste of the most interesting proposals in experimental sound art, and of the most compelling experiences that this art form can bring us to."[S. Porra]


"This might be the future of releasing music. I think I said that before, with some of the Empreintes Digitales DVD's, containing no images but 24-bit audio. And a lot more difficult to extract and rip and share (for free). But perhaps also a bit too much for audiophiles? I am not sure. Francisco Lopez curated this project, with consists of seven artists, each delivering no less than thirteen two-minute audio compositions. Why seven, thirteen and two, you may wonder? I am not sure either, but Lopez did a nice selection. Besides himself we have here James Webb, Lawrence English, Asmus Tietchens, Louis Dufort, Alan Courtis and Zbigniew Karkwoski. Which I guess makes an interesting selection from various parts of the world of experimental music. The serious avant-garde is represented by Dufort, who does a fine job on the matter at hand, and while heavily under the influence of acousmatica, the briefness of the pieces makes it all nice. Webb and English both represent the world of field recordings and ambience. Delicate pieces here, in which a certain amount of musical-ness slip through the gaps. Lopez and Tietchens also deal with field recordings and electronics, but their work is much more abstract than English and Webb's. In Lopez' case thirteen pieces of mildly droning affairs of heavily treated rainfall or ventilation shafts (or some such, you can't be sure with Lopez), whereas Tietchens offers his highly atomized sparks of sounds and silence. Alan Courtis and Zbigniew Karkwoski are both on the more traditional noise spectrum, each at a side, firmly apart. Karkowski with some highly computerized noise patterns, at times fiercely loud and sometimes a bit less loud, but throughout firmly gritty and digital, while Courtis is much more quiet (than we are used of him?), but not allowing any silence in his work. Drone based soundscapes of a big city at night - perhaps - like indicated through the visual on display. An excellent compilation, which is of course a bit long - three hours - to be played at once, but you could select one a day and have a great week." [FdW/Vital Weekly]