review of send + receive 2003 concert by Exclaim!

Send + Receive
Winnipeg, MB – October 17 to 25
By None None

By Jill Wilson and Rob Nay Absent Sound Capping off an evening of performances by local Winnipeg artists, Absent Sound supplied one of the festival’s more colourful concerts. The band’s two guitarists and violinist were joined by a masked stilt walker who stalked the venue, while a dancer offered inspired physical accompaniment to the music. A film projector draped the performers in a range of images as they created rising parapets of sustained melodies and looped samples. RN Adhere and Deny Winnipeg’s Adhere and Deny, an object/puppet theatre troupe, rose to the sound/art occasion in grand, compelling style. Forgoing physical performance altogether, their production of “Clouded Trousers” took place offstage, while onstage, a single red light bulb glowed. The work revolved around Russian poet Vladimir Mayacovsky, who, unlucky in love, betrayed by his country and denied a visa to travel, killed himself playing Russian roulette in 1930. The words of the revolutionary poet, said to have “the voice of a searchlight,” mingled with the voices of his friends and contemporaries. JW Duul_Drv’s Duul_Drv’s computer-based sounds featured swelling tones and subtle glitch-based noises that created a striking contrast, alternately lulling and jarring. The use of disparate elements created elaborate layers of sound. During the conclusion of his performance, Duul_Drv’s S. Arden Hill departed from the stage and delivered a spot-on handstand, adding a touch of humour and surprise to a strong ambient performance. RN Famished Amerika Famished Amerika (Toronto’s Susanna Hood and Nilan Perera) fiddled with radio receivers and sound processors to create a collage that was unique to the moment. When it all came together, there were great moments where bursts of static resolved themselves into moments of coherent sound bites, which were then further stretched, repeated and manipulated, but it often sounded like two radios being played simultaneously. Despite a few shared smiles, the two performers created no sense of a collaborative enterprise. JW Fanny As Fanny, one-time Exploited guitarist and current Winnipegger Fraser Runciman showed how far he’s strayed from his Scottish punk band’s past. Fanny’s set commenced with sounds that resembled an Alfred Hitchcock soundtrack dismantled and rebuilt into something more caustic and anxious. His set proceeded to offer a range of hectic beats and fevered samples, occasionally making transitions into subtle, sparse piano notes before resuming the restless pace once again. RN I8U Montreal’s I8U fashioned expansive electronic tones, forming spellbinding textures that resulted in a very impressive set. Frequencies gradually and adeptly reached tall crests of sound before descending to subterranean reverberations. Shifting from lulling minimalism to resonating noise, I8U sculpted sound with the utmost precision and talent. RN Philip Jeck Britain’s Philip Jeck created sublime reverberations. Using turntables, a mini-disc loaded with looped noises and an old Casio, Jeck shaped a riveting set. Hypnotic waves of sound were intermittently joined by the faint ringing of distant bells. Occasionally more discordant sounds crept into the mix, establishing a solid contrast to the sedate tones. The overall sentiment was one of mesmerising repetition in the midst of gently cascading soundscapes. RN My Kingdom for a Lullaby Featuring the Austrian artists Michaela Grill, Christof Kurzmann, Billy Roisz, and Martin Siewert, My Kingdom for a Lullaby fashioned an enchanting piece of audio/visual art. Their performance blended improvised guitar, oboe, Theremin and electronics with shadowy visuals projected on a large screen. At times, My Kingdom’s performance seemed like the broadcast of a satellite’s decaying signal, presenting flickering images and haunting sounds. RN Not Half Not Half presented a range of varying beats, shifting rhythms and constantly changing samples. As front-man for Not Half, Allan Conroy’s improvised set harnessed a range of elements, adeptly managing to fuse extensive rhythms and noises to create a continuously absorbing auditory experience. With remarkable ease, Not Half dispersed multiple samples and beats to form a highly creative juxtaposition. RN Tim Hecker Montreal’s Tim Hecker removed the performance element from the evening by dimming the lights and setting up his equipment behind the audience, who had to project their own images onto the bare walls and darkness of the gallery in front of them. His face, bathed in the glow of his laptop screen, remained perfectly serene as he created a soundtrack that was at once urgent and dreamy, industrial and pastoral, harsh and liquid, and always evocative. JW Negativland Presented concurrently with Send + Receive, VideoPool’s “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” seminar on copyright brought Negativland’s Mark Hosler to town. Hosler, an affable, low-key speaker, recounted the history of the California culture-jammers and presented a number of short films and songs that demonstrated the groundbreaking group’s use of mass media and its twisting of corporate sloganeering to their own ends. An eye-opening evening, it also included a performance of the infamous U2 cover “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” JW Polmo Polpo Polmo Polpo initiated the festival with extended versions of a few songs from his most recent release, along with a range of further captivating material. The live versions of songs from Like Hearts Swelling featured augmented rhythms that fused the beat-oriented textures from his early singles with the harmonious cascades from his latest recordings. The middle of Polmo Polpo’s set removed the rhythmic aspects and presented soothing, extended drones. The union of melodic soundscapes and somnolent beats supplied an excellent evening of music. RN Gert-Jans Prins Using his distinctive self-created electronic system, Amsterdam’s Gert-Jans Prins manipulated tones to create a range of disruptive and transfixing noises. A small television placed nearby cast discontinuous images of static, resembling miniature blasts of lighting. Towards the end of his performance, Gert-Jans Prins gestured strongly at the soundman for the volume to be turned up as he cajoled further resounding noises from his electronic system. RN Vitaminsforyou A former Winnipegger now living in Montreal, Bryce Kushnier provided the most accessible portion of the evening. As Vitaminsforyou, he makes laptop performance absolutely engaging, which is no easy task. His song-based compositions have sweet, piercing melodies, with Kushnier often adding his own voice to the tunes, and with their pulsing beats, they could be called IDM. JW Otomo Yoshihide Otomo Yoshihide began his set with restrained sounds; he manipulated two turntables connected to a pair of Fender Twin amps, the turntables’ needles running on upended cymbals. In the blink of an eye, Otomo wrenched piercing noise from the turntables, yanking the needles down, coaxing out wall-shaking feedback. As the set progressed, he held pitched noise until the floor almost cracked open before releasing the tension and lowering the volume. Otomo Yoshihide provided a superb, raucous conclusion to the festival on its closing night. RN

Review – 60 artists protest the war (ATAK) 2003 – by Roel Meelkop, Vital Weekly

V.A. - 60 SOUND ARTISTS PROTEST THE WAR (Compilation CD by ATAK)
Well, the title really says it all: this CD contains 60 tracks by 60
artists and they are all protesting the war (the war in question
being the invasion of Iraq by the so called allied forces), simply by
being present on this disc. The initiative for this compilation came
from Keiichiro Shibuya, himself a musician and working for the ATAK
label. Of course, it is easy for people to come up with a one minute
sound bite and yes, it has been done before, but somehow, this
sampler seems to be better than the others I have heard before. This
is probably due to the artists involved and the order in which they
are presented (even if this was decided entirely randomly). It would
go way too far to name them all, although that could be enough for
many people to order the CD at once. Let me suffice to say that
everybody that matters is on it (well, almost everybody) and that it
is a pleasure to listen to. It was my personal pleasure to listen
with the cover in my hand and try to guess who's who. At which I
failed miserably of course........All those opposing the
aforementioned war will have to buy it anyway, so all the others will
have to depend on its quality. Very well done! (MR)
Oh well, here's the list anyway: roel meelkop/shirtrax vs.
shirtrax/keith rowe + toshimaru nakamura/stephan
mathieu/pomassl/slipped disc/bernhard gunter/kim gascone/doron
sadja/yamataka eye/numb/steve roden/steinbruchel/go taneda/akira
yamamichi/tiziana bertoncini + thomas lehn/yuji takahashi/freiband/cm
von hauswolff/keiichiro shibuya/motor/stilluppsteypa/coh/mikael
stavostrand/radboud mens/miki yui/andreas tilliander/minimalistic
sweden/nao tokui + take3tsu nagano/frank bretschneider/evala/taeji
sawai/fennesz/kenneth kirschner/i8u/john hudak/aoki takamasa/mitchell
akiyama/burkhard stangl/goodiepal/hideki nakazawa/aelab/christof
kurzmann/jos smolders/masahiro miwa/janek schaefer/tv
pow/pix/kimken/saidrum/merzbow/m.behrens/maria/klon/mondii/richard di
sant/christophe charles/william basinski/carsten nicolai/yasunao tone.
Adress: http://atak.jp or info@atak.jp

Interview by artcogitans

Interview de artcogitans avec I8U

Question 1 :
A propos de votre animation Obstacle (2003)(1), vous parlez de votre “obsession” au sujet des “transitions”. Et il est manifeste que cette création rend compte de cet intérêt majeur dans votre pratique artistique, pour ce thème, à tel point que l’on pourrait dire qu’Obstacle n’est que “transitions”. Pourriez-vous nous dire d’où vous vient cette obsession? Pourquoi ce thème récurrent dans vos créations ?

A -My obsession with transitions comes from my quest for fluidity. Often we cannot say why we like a particular piece of art. We simply feel, not knowing why. Personally, I can usually discover a disparity that I fail to digest, a failed transition that can cause me not to like a piece. In my music as in my life, emotion and feelings can change and it is in the transition that one is the most vulnerable. It is perhaps a need to teach or to learn, that the transition will hold an important position in my work.

Question 2 :
Cette animation qui part d’un point pour aboutir à une construction très élaborée, excessivement structurée, n’est constituée que de “passages”. Passage d’un point à un autre, d’un ensemble de points à une ligne, d’une ligne à une autre, passage d’une couleur à une autre aussi, passage d’un son à un autre aussi ; avant de disparaître et réapparaître sous une autre forme. Et l’on sait à quel point l’élément sonore occupe une place prépondérante dans vos créations. Ne faudrait-il pas voir dans ces lignes, dans ces points de passage le désir de donner à voir l’invisible ? Ne faudrait-il pas lire votre animation comme un désir de faire réfléchir l’internaute, sur ce qui, justement, ne se donne pas à voir immédiatement, mais à saisir de manière indirecte ?

A – My intent is definitely to make the user reflect on what is not seemingly evident, I am not one to dictate to or walk someone through a work. I believe that its effectiveness lies in one’s ability to draw one’s own conclusions. I do hope the work will trigger a “réflexion” based on one’s own frame of references and what the work may evoke in that regard. As in Plato’s allegory of the cave, some see the shadow, some see the puppet and others the light from outside.

Question 3 :
Vous parlez aussi de cette création en termes de “métaphore”, expliquant qu’Obstacle représente métaphoriquement parlant “les réseaux en puissance, les liens aléatoires entre les idées, les concepts, les étants”. Est-ce à dire que votre création tente de montrer à sa manière que tout n’est que hasard ? Faut-il comprendre que pour vous le monde ne serait qu’un chaos organisé soumis finalement au seul principe d’incertitude ?

A -Art that is abstract in nature is somewhat of a paradox. The static on the TV when a station goes of the air certainly can be said to be random, uncertain and most would say it’s not art, yet my work which can be interpreted as random , uncertain and chaotic still manages to convey a feeling, a moment, a memory. A moment of TV static is not easily remembered. A moment of TV static holds the same place in my mind as any other moment of TV static. Abstract art however, tends to be sorted, dwelled upon. My work is a need to convey to the user a message for that user. Where that message originated could be debated; from the user themselves, from a memory that is invoked from watching the piece, from the music.

Question 4 :
Toujours en travaillant sur “liens aléatoires entre les idées, les concepts, les étants”, mais aussi en invitant le spectateur à réfléchir sur cette notion, est-ce que vous ne souhaitez pas mettre en évidence, ne serait-ce que de manière métaphorique que les éléments aléatoires ne se situent “pas seulement dans les choses, dans les corps matériels” (J. Baudrillard, Mots de passe, p.60), mais aussi en nous, dans la mesure où en tant que microcosme moléculaire par notre pensée même nous participons à ce phénomène, ce qui crée in fine, “l’incertitude radicale du monde” ?

A -The certainty of chaos, being that every paradigm we choose to apply ourselves, we have the knowledge that previous paradigm shifts, have shown us that we were mistaken and often they conflict. We can be certain only that there will be another paradigm shift that will reverse our thought once again with the only certainty we will continue to change our thoughts of art and ourselves.

Question 5 :
En regardant pour la première fois votre création, je n’ai pu m’empêcher de penser au travail de Vera Molnar avec l’ordinateur, précurseur en son temps. Peut-on voir une influence de cette artiste dans votre pratique artistique ? Pourriez-vous nous dire quel(le)s sont les artistes qui ont marqué votre pratique artistique, et qui continuent de l’influencer peut-être encore aujourd’hui ?

A – My biggest influences have been John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Miles Davis and many others. I have only recently been introduced to the visual art field. I am still in transition and my visual work rests on sound as its foundation. I am not familiar with Molnar’s work.

Question 6 :
Lorsque l’on fait l’expérience esthétique de votre animation Obstacle, on a l’impression d’avoir affaire à un tout très structuré, excessivement construit, organisé dans un but donné, clairement déterminé par avance. Obstacle apparaît dans son ordonnancement intrinsèque comme l’opposé de l’aléatoire. Comment expliquez-vous ce choix qui consiste à proposer à l’internaute une animation non aléatoire afin de le faire réfléchir à cette notion d’aléatoire justement ? Pourquoi ou pour quoi ce choix ?

A -There would appear to be structure from which we build the abstract, although that structure can be interpreted in different ways. Like the structure of a music piece played in minor chords tends to bring sadness, even if the chords are played randomly. It is the challenge for the interpreter (user)to build the structure themselves or to adapt it to a structure they have built previously which brings into question what is random about the piece.

Question 7 :
Est-ce pour mieux fixer l’attention de l’internaute sur les points de passage, les lignes de fuite aussi, pour lui donner la possibilité de faire l’expérience peut-être moins d’une esthétique de la participation que de celle de la “contemplation réflexive” ?

A-The non-interactive participation does help to heighten focus, and relieve the user, of the learning curve of technical understanding or discovering the interactivity of the piece. Although some user’s minds may wander, as long as the thoughts or wanderings have the piece playing a subtle role, then I feel the piece has had a desirable effect. Others may find them completely submersed in the work, especially with the technological burden lifted, contemplation is easier to achieve.

Question 8 :
Le choix musical est excessivement important dans votre pratique artistique. Vous avez d’ailleurs récemment participé à UPCOMING RELEASE(2), avec une soixantaine d’autres artistes spécialisés dans les créations sonores. Les sons occupent une place prépondérante dans vos animations. Au sujet de ISÜ présentée à l’occasion de l’exposition Ellipse, sur le site Web du Musée du Québec, ainsi que dans le Pavillon Charles-Baillairgé du Musée, le texte du catalogue d’exposition fait même mention d’un “hommage rendu aux stratégies du mouvement de musique concrète à Paris, durant les années 1950 et 1960”. Pourriez-vous nous dire pourquoi cette “passion pour l’École de Paris, pour l’art du concret ? Pourquoi une moindre attirance pour J. Cage, qui en affirmant que “tout est musique” a contribué à faire de cette attitude, avec 4’33” par exemple, un fait social et universel, historique et philosophique aussi ?

A- This passion is one of many that I draw upon to create a work. In this instance, it is the sounds that we hear and don’t listen to anymore that interests me. Sounds that surround us and that we have learned to ignore.

Question 9 :
Louis Dandrel, lors d’une récente conférence donnée à Paris dans le cadre de l’Université de tous les Savoirs, disait que “Si la musique est l’art le plus commun, elle est aussi l’art le plus réactif au milieu physique et aux humeurs de la société par sa fusion originelle avec la vie. Elle révèle, imite ou s’oppose”. Dans votre animation ISÜ, il est possible de retrouver toute “la documentation audiovisuelle, faite de photographies et d’enregistrements numériques in situ, captant les menus détails sonores et visuels dont se compose l’expérience en cellule”. Aussi, est-ce qu’en construisant votre animation de cette manière afin de faire réfléchir le public sur l’isolement, entre autres, vous pensez, un peu de la même manière que ce musicien, spécialiste sonore, que la question du son est indissociable de toute architecture, comme celle de la lumière d’ailleurs ?

A -The foundation of all my work starts with the sound, the first experience I am aware of when walking into an empty church, is the reverb. Only then, do my other senses get a chance to bring other things to my attention. My art as well, starts with the sound, this is the first ingredient to the work. So yes, it was the fusion of all the ingredients, but it was the sound that first brought the isolation to my work.

Question 10 :
Si d’une part ISÜ incite le public à reconsidérer les notions d’isolement, mais aussi de connectivité, en termes de perception, d’expérience de temps et d’espace que nous faisons sur Internet ; et si d ‘autre part Obstacle incite l’internaute à reconsidérer les notions de liens aléatoires, de frontières, de passage aussi, vos animations non interactives qui donnent à voir et à entendre, mais aussi et surtout à penser, ne participent-elles pas plus d’une esthétique de la réflexion que d’une esthétique de la contemplation ?

A-I think for most users, the thinking vs contemplative esthetic will be weighted differently, perhaps from one viewing to another. I think your questions will inspire me to further broaden my thinking esthetic and hence, the next time I view the projects, the weight will fall more on the thinking aspect.

Review – ISÜ Web Art and audio-visual installation – Planète Québec

Planète Québec
http://planete.qc.ca/culture/vie/adulte/adulte-19112002-50075.html

Ellipse. L’art sur le Web***
Le Mardi le 19 novembre, 2002

Au Musée du Québec jusqu’au 1er décembre 2002. On aura accès au site Internet jusqu’au 1er décembre 2003.

Il s’agit de la première présentation d’art Web dans le contexte d’un musée québécois. L’exposition regroupe, dans le bloc cellulaire, six projets d’art Web spécifiquement commandés par le Musée du Québec à des artistes canadiens. Un catalogue est disponible.

Brad Todd – . L’interface graphique présente des pages tirées des manuscrits originaux du Spleen de Paris de Charles Baudelaire et d’À la recherche du temps perdu de Marcel Proust.

Naviguant dans le texte, le spectateur rappelle à l’écran une série de segments vidéo présentant des sites mélancoliques de la ville de Paris (cimetière, rues, statuaire urbaine, musée Grévin, maison de Gustave Moreau) par lesquels on peut s’immerger dans l’environnement visuel de ces icônes de la littérature française.

Une pièce robotique téléopérée est présentée en tandem, invitant le spectateur à participer à l’effacement quotidien d’une image photographique de Paris. On peut contrôler, sur l’Internet, un petit mécanisme robotique utilisé pour activer deux fioles remplies d’un liquide (l’une contenant un décolorant et l’autre, une teinture bleue). L’objectif est de renverser une fiole, ou les deux, sur la surface d’une image, la modifiant irrévocablement par un effacement ou une teinture se déroulant dans un espace-temps réel.

Todd produit des projets qui s’appuient sur l’Internet depuis 1997, incorporant des formes disciplinaires à base technologique comme la vidéo, l’audio et l’animation.

Yan Breuleux – Vector Feedback. Ici, vous êtes invité à créer une série d’animations abstraites en frappant sur les touches de l’ordinateur.

En « jouant » sur ces touches, nous déclenchons des changements dans les formes graphiques (carrés, lignes, cercles, motifs, etc.) Ici, une expérience psychédélique et quasi kaléidoscopique s’enracine dans ces cultures centrées sur le plaisir que sont le rave, la techno et les jeux informatiques.

En 1995, Yan Breuleux présentait sa première œuvre sur l’Internet, Deadline, dans le cadre d’une exposition sur le thème de la mort et des réseaux. Il a déjà été D.J. — et ça s’entend! Fascinant — et même un peu hallucinant!

Peter Horvath – Either Side of an Empty Room (ESER). Ici, nous survolons une série de vidéos multicouches non interactives présentées dans une composition faite de cadres qui apparaissent, se chevauchent, s’effondrent et remplissent l’espace encadré, lui aussi, de l’ordinateur. Une parfaite illustration de comment Internet… peut nous rendre fou!

Né en 1961 dans une famille d’origine hongroise, Peter Horvath a un appareil photo à la main depuis l’âge de six ans. Il a inhalé des vapeurs de chambre noire jusqu’à la fin de la vingtaine, puis s’est inscrit au Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design à Vancouver. Il s’est plongé dans les technologies numériques dès l’avènement du Web.

I8U – ISÜ. Structurée à partir de photographies et de sons recueillis dans les anciennes cellules de prison dans lesquelles elle est présentée au Musée du Québec, l’œuvre ISÜ est une animation non interactive.

Elle commence par une série de formes et de lignes abstraites qui apparaissent lentement pour révéler les composantes reconnaissables d’une cellule de prison. C’est de tout repos! L’écran géant est fixé au plafond, on le regarde couché sur un lit…

I8U a connu un parcours musical assez particulier. De la musique classique jusqu’au blues, il a suffi d’une rencontre fortuite avec David Kristian pour qu’elle s’engage dans la musique électronique.

Ses CD ont été produits par des labels canadiens et européens. Elle présente fréquemment des performances solo.

Stephanie Shepherd – Échelle/Scale. Grâce à une interface présentant une carte de points connectés entre eux, nous avons accès à une série d’animations interactives illustrant des graphiques statistiques.

La navigation ludique offerte par Échelle/Scale imite les conventions d’un jeu informatique dans lequel le spectateur est invité à manipuler des images et à créer de nouveaux graphiques, donc de nouvelles données, à partir des statistiques de départ.

Stephanie Shepherd, dans sa production artistique, se concentre sur les manifestations simulées et structurelles d’environnements naturels et s’intéresse à la représentation schématique et dessinée.

Vincent Leclerc – Mémoire vive. Mémoire vive nous met face à un déluge d’archives numériques personnelles. Naviguant dans un espace nébuleux et indéfini — dépourvu de démarcations physiques — nous nous heurtons à une collection aléatoire et flottante de textes, d’images et de sons. Nous pouvons rapprocher ces éléments pour les inspecter de plus près et nous pouvons également les éliminer de l’écran de façon temporaire.

Au fur et à mesure que nous nous familiarisons avec les données (courriels, messages téléphoniques, photos banales), le portrait d’une personne prend forme. Nous découvrons le vécu d’un jeune homme anonyme qui n’existe que par les données flottantes qui nous sont présentées.

Natif de Québec, Vincent Leclerc occupe la fonction de Webmestre pour diverses organisations de Montréal. Il s’intéresse particulièrement aux mécanismes d’interactions entre l’être humain et la machine et aux problèmes surgissant de l’engouement naïf pour le monde du numérique.

Conférence : Art Web en mouvement avec Valérie Lamontagne, commissaire de l’événement, et les artistes Yan Breuleux, I8U, Vincent Leclerc. Samedi 23 novembre, à 14 h. Gratuit.

Review – grasshopper morphine (Piehead Records) 2002 – by Vils di Santo, incursion.org

I8U: grasshopper morphine 
Piehead | PIE 004 | CDR
Subterranean rumblings greet you when you first hit play on I8U’s latest release. The low frequencies are peppered with staccato clicks that seem random at first, but rhythms slowly develop over the course of this opening piece. This sets the pace for an intense and engaging new release by this Montreal sound artist. Time moves slowly here: there are no sudden jumps, starts or fits to speak of. There are plenty of contemplative moments, where the sound fills your space with an incredible depth and presence, and there are plenty of dissonant moments as well, to keep your ears on edge. I8U has created some wondrous music here that challenges and rewards in the same breath. Highlights include the intense “grasshopper morphine,” the mighty “cattail furnace” and “cantname,” an incomparable closing piece if ever I heard one. Wonderful material from beginning to end, it’s a pity the disc is only limited to 311 copies. [Vils M DiSanto]
+ i8u.com
+ pieheadrecords.com

Review – grasshopper morphine (Piehead Records) 2002 by – Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly,

I8U – GRASSHOPPER MORPHINE (CDR by Piehead Records)

One of two new releases on the limited CDR Piehead Records label and twice
 by Canadian artists.

I8U, who has a real CD on Multimedia Pandora and
 a CDR on Bake Records previously (plus maybe others I don’t know) and
 who plays with Martin Tetreault, David Kristian and Guylaine Bedard
(a photographer). It was David Kristian who changed her way of 
thinking about music. Turning back to simple ideas and flows, she has
 eight new pieces which are best described as utter minimalism.
 Sometimes, as in ‘Numb Summer’ they take the form of one flowing
 chord, with added high pitched sounds, but mostly they take the form
 of a repetitive sound patterns. Not really to be described as
 rhythmic or techno inspired, but rather more dry clicks being 
repeated over and over. There is also a nice piss take at Nurse With
Wound’s Fashioned To A Device under the name of ‘Sun Dogs Rising’,
with the same intense feedback like drones. Very well balanced 
between rhythms and drones. (FdW)
 – Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly

Review – grasshopper morphine (Piehead Records) 2002 – by François Couture, All Music,

Review by François Couture

I8U’s third full-length solo album, Grasshopper Morphine, is also her most accomplished, compelling effort. The ideas she sketched in B have flourished into engaging esthetics. The artist aims at the intellect and the body. She doesn’t want to give you an urge to dance, she wants her electronics to find their way into your organs and affect you on a biological level. These are not crude experiments involving head-splitting sine waves or sub-bass tones that make you sick to your stomach. I8U’s approach is much more gentle and elegant; it could be compared to Francisco López at his most physical. For example, “Sun Dogs Rising” features a high tone becoming more and more insistent as the piece unfolds — it’s not alone, there’s a lot going on behind it, but at one point you focus solely on its increasingly menacing presence, wondering how much more it can grow before it devours you. In terms of less field recording-based, more electronic music references, Grasshopper Morphine evokes Ryoji Ikeda, Carsten Nicolai, and David Kristian‘s beautiful Room Tone. The synthesizers create their own rhythms (sometimes conflicting sets of them), but there are no naked beats here and no clicks & cuts like on B. This album can work well as ambient/background music and it literally opens up when scrutinized. High playback volume is essential to experience it fully. Recommended.

Review – grasshopper morphine (Piehead Records) 2002 – by I. Khider, Exclaim

Abstract electronic that is sound sculpting at it’s most laceratingly delicate and refined, like a box of loose scalpel blades. Following the textural yet highly atmospheric release B, grasshopper morphine is intriguing and sometimes downright physically painful to listen to. Some of the frequencies are so delicate yet barbed that it feels as though the sensitive inner nerves of the ears are being plucked and pinched. It seems that I8U’s music grows increasingly complex and intricate with every release, her work demands the listener’s full attention and receptivity with the strength of the craft residing in subtleties and detail. grasshopper morphine is definitely I8U’s most challenging, yet also her most beautiful collection of sound sculptures. In order to fully appreciate this recording, an environment with minimal background noise is strongly recommended.
– I. Khider, Exclaim

Review – Obstacle (Oral) 2002 – by TJ Norris, Soundvision

Limited to only 100 copies, I8U has contributed a fifty minute long track to our dense, temporal sound space. Characterized by quaking tonal forms and unpredictable minor peaks and shallow harmonics, this disc could be called post drone. This is macrosound redux. Parts distance and parts concrete/physical. The canvas is covered, every inch, making for sound in the fourth dimension. Canada’s i8u first presented her work live with video and animation. There are subtle hints of Ryoji Ikeda’s work with Dumb Type herein, but not at the sonic decibel level. This is a visual, sombient, refined take on the contemporary landscape. This is one of two releases from i8u this year (also Grasshopper Morphine on Piehead Records). As a live studio recording this disc has so many secrets. The sensory experience responds to an open field of urban sounds, railways, and mechanics. A gestural highway riveting in its endlessness.

More Info: www.oral.qc.ca

Review – Obstacle (Oral) 2002 – by François Couture, All Music

The first phase of the Obstacle project consisted of a web art collaboration between experimental electronica artist I8U and video artist Gigimatique. Obstacle Phase 2 is a longer concert version and this CD (a limited edition of 100 released by Oral the day the piece was premiered on-stage at the FIMAV festival in Victoriaville, Québec) presents a studio recording of the music. I8U derives all the sounds from field recordings made on bridges. The piece begins with an imperceptible sub-bass drone. Very slowly, other drones come forward. The characteristic buzzing of car traffic remains on the border of consciousness. It’s there, but just not quite tangible or defined enough to make it obvious. The piece continues to evolve through phases of expansion and contraction — a car trip through the streets of a suburb, where you slow down every 200 meters for a stop sign. In its last ten minutes, the piece builds up, first unveiling its source, then gaining decibels to end in a shrieking noise assault abruptly cut 27 seconds after the 50th minute. The form is not new, but I8U does it with grace, constantly holding the listener’s attention in her hands, even though the pace remains excruciatingly slow throughout. The quality of immersion during the first 45 minutes lulls one into an altered state. The finale, made of loops just a bit too obvious, sounds a bit gratuitous. Thoughts of Francisco López, Marc Behrens, and Stephen Vitiello come to mind. This album is not as strong as Grasshopper Morphine released a week earlier, but this is mostly because the extended piece format makes it less varied.