Montreal 09.15.2007 – Peau d’âne


Peau d’âne by Valérie Lamontagne

Audio track,  i8u
Fashion designs, Lynn van Gastel
Technical development and project programming, Patrice Coulombe and David Beaulieu


September 15 to October 20, 2007 @ Oboro
Opening: Saturday, September 15, 2007, at 5:00 pm
the dresses will be presented from 6:00 to 7:00 pm
The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, from noon to 5:00 pm


Story Time: Peau d’âne
Saturday, September 29, 2007, at 3:00 pm
as part of the Journées de la culture

From the Charles Perrault fairy tale Peau d’âne, Valérie
Lamontagne draws on the motif of three fabulous dresses: one
made out of moonbeams, one as warm and bright as the sun
above and one cut out of the sky itself. Using innovative technologies
and working with experienced collaborators, the artist has
created three interactive dresses that react in real-time to atmospheric
variations transmitted by a weather station installed on
OBORO’s roof. The colours of the moon dress vary according to
the moon cycles; the illumination of the sun dress corresponds
to the intensity of the sun’s rays; and the sky dress swells and
moves depending on the patterns of the wind. By making use
of climate conditions in this manner, Peau d’âne addresses with
an apparently banal subject matter, but one that hides valuable
clues to our modes of cultural and social exchange. A multitude
of performance possibilities emerge from these wearables,
which bridge the worlds of fairy tales and technology.
At the opening, three dancers will wear the interactive dresses
and mingle with the gallery public. The dresses will also animate
the reading of Perrault’s fairy-tale Peau d’âne, presented by the
artist for the Journées de la culture.

Valérie Lamontagne is a Montréal-based performance/digital media
artist, freelance art critic and independent curator. Her media-based
artwork/performances (Advice Bunny, Snowflake Queen, Sense Nurse,
Mermaid of the Future, Sister Valerie of the Internet and Becoming
Balthus) have been showcased across Canada, the United States and
Europe. She received an MFA from Concordia University (Montréal)
where she presently teaches in the Design and Computation Arts
program and she is a co-founder, with Brad Todd, of the media arts
collective MobileGaze. She is presently a Ph.D. Candidate investigating
“Relational and Ubiquitous Performance Art”. <>
– 30 –
Source : Caroline Loncol Daigneault, August 29th, 2007
OBORO remercie ses membres pour leur appui, ainsi que les organismes suivants pour leur généreux soutien financier : le service des arts médiatiques et le service des arts visuels du Conseil des Arts du Canada, le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec,
le Conseil des arts de Montréal, le ministère du Patrimoine canadien, le ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, la Fondation Daniel Langlois, pour l’art, la science et la technologie, Emploi-Québec, le Service du développement culturel et
de la qualité du milieu de vie de la Ville de Montréal, la Caisse populaire Desjardins du Mont-Royal, le Cirque du Soleil, ainsi que les compagnies Discreet, Adobe, Computer Systems Odessa et Metric Halo.
Valérie Lamontagne – Peau d’âne
sun dress. image : Giannina Urmeneta Uttiker, 2006

Valérie Lamontagne would like to thank the Conseil des arts et des lettres
du Québec and Groupe Molior for their generous support as well as Lynn
van Gastel for the fashion designs, Patrice Coulombe and David Beaulieu
for their technical development and project programing and I8U for the
audio track.

un centre dédié à la production et à la présentation de l’art, des pratiques contemporaines et des nouveaux médias
a centre dedicated to the production and the presentation of art, contemporary practices and new media
4001, rue Berri, local 301, Montréal (Québec) H2L 4H2 Tél. : (514) 844-3250

Montreal 09.05.2007 – Espace SONO

September 5th  2007

How does one exhibit the unseen? Can sound, too, be experienced
as an art, or is it always submitted to the sign of music?

The espaceSONO audio.listening.lab is a headphone listening space, a
sound-installation, and a global curatorial project that reflects the
diversity of approaches and practices in sound-art today.


curator / commissaire _ tobias c. van Veen

GALERIE_ HORAIRE [free/gratuit]
Lundi _ Mardi (Fermé / Closed)
Mercredi _ Vendredi (14H – 20H)
Samedi _ Dimanche (12H – 18H

Review – Extract, Portrait of Soundartists(nvo) 2007 – by Heinrich Deisl, skug

Das Wiener Label Nonvisualobjects legt mit “Extract. Portraits of Soundartists” als formschönes Buch plus DCD akustische Fährten Richtung Mikrosounds und schickt die Ohren auf Entdeckungsreise.
Stille: Spätestens seit John Cage eine ernstzunehmende kompositorische Praxis, von David Toop und anderen kontextualisiert, eine Art Gegenbewegung innerhalb experimenteller Soundart, die zum aktiven Zuhören zwingt. Die minimalisierten Soundcluster und -flächen gehen zwar schon als eigenständige Musik durch, dienen aber vor allem als Transportmedium, um die uns umgebenden Alltagsgeräusche musikalisch bewusster wahrzunehmen.
Bislang fehlte eine österreichische VÖ mit internationaler Relevanz, die sich ausschließlich mit derartigen Phänomenen auseinandersetzt. Nonvisualobjects war 2005 vom Musiker Heribert Friedl und dem Grafiker Raphael Moser gegründet worden. Von Anfang an hatte man sich dabei auf Sounds zwischen Installation, Ambient, Fieldrecordings und Stille verlegt, die Arbeitsmethode ist programmatisch: Reduktion. Experimente e-musikalischer Prägung stehen hier an, als Fluchtlinie sei etwa Bernhard Günter genannt.
Die 22 Tracks von Richard Cartier, Nao Sugimoto, Taylor Duprée, Steinbrüchel, Asmus Tietchens, Jos Smolders und klarerweise Günter und Friedl erforschen jene Klangfelder, die sich sozusagen hinter der Musik aufhalten. Mit der aus Montréal stammenden France Jobin aka I8U ist die einzige Frau auf dieser Compilation vertreten. Wenn auch in sich recht stringent, verzichtet dieser “Beginner’s Guide” auf überbordende Theoretisierungen sondern verlegt sich auf die Personen selbst. Ein löbliches Unterfangen, wenn man endlich mal erfährt, wie eben diese Musik entsteht. “Extract” zeichnet ein vielschichtiges Portrait der Künstler und ihrer interdisziplinären Herangehensweise, die sich vor allem an der Schnittstelle zwischen akustischer/visueller Präsenz/Absenz manifestiert. Dies passiert mittels Interviews, eigenen Texten oder biografischen Skizzen, dazu kommen selektierte Diskografien. Schließlich ist “Extract” reich illustriert mit Projektfotos, Grafiken, Zeichnungen und John Hudak liefert Comics ab. Ambitioniertes Projekt.
(heinrich deisl, skug)

Review – Extract, Portrait of Soundartists(nvo) 2007 – by Massimo Ricci, touching extremes

EXTRACT (2CD + book by Non Visual Objects)

The thought of having passed a whole life transferring tapes to CD and DVD only to clutch at flies at the end is enough to think of myself as a cretin but hey, one has to find something to “enjoy the passage of time”, as James Taylor would have it. Seriously, once upon a time I could only have dreamed about a honest publication containing news and pictures about artists whose music I follow and mostly respect, and that in this case are sonically represented by two CDs containing tracks that they recorded for this special occasion.
The names in question are Keith Berry, Richard Chartier, Taylor Deupree, Heribert Friedl, Richard Garet, Andy Graydon, Bernhard Günter, John Hudak, i8u, Dean King, Dale Lloyd, Roel Meelkop, Will Montgomery, Tomas Phillips, Steve Roden, Jos Smolders, Steinbrüchel, Nao Sugimoto, Asmus Tietchens, Toshiya Tsunoda, Ubeboet, Michael Vorfeld.

Every chapter presents an interview or some personal considerations by the artist about his own work and his/her relationships with other members of the same community. Most of them describe their approach and influences, others let drawings and photographs do the speaking while only a few – like Keith Berry, whose splendid track opens the first disc – report about the intimate sensations that unconsciously introduced them to certain types of withdrawn awareness. It is of course very interesting to know how these people have reached goals while still struggling to develop new means to synthesize determinate conclusions, but it’s equally nice reading about a man like Asmus Tietchens, who distances himself from most everything while being capable of producing music whose level of efficacy on the perceptive system is portentous to say the least.

The discs contain a lot of great moments, the perfect means to complement a very useful reading, and there is no actual sense in defining a “best of”. But, since you asked, Berry, Deupree, Lloyd, Roden, Tietchens and Ubeboet are the tracks that I liked in particular, and it was not an easy choice. What I really suggest is using both the book and the CDs like a breviary: open your windows, turn the volume up, let the sounds mix and read a few pages. Everything will make sense then.
(massimo ricci, touching extremes)

Review – Extract, Portrait of Soundartists (nvo) 2007 – by Larry Johnson, earlabs

EXTRACT (2CD + book by Non Visual Objects)

For anyone interested in modern-day approaches to experimental electro-acoustic music, especially the more minimal interpretations, Extract | Portraits of Soundartists is a valuable, practical, and enjoyable reference. Conceived by Heribert Friedl and Raphael Moser, the release consists of two compact discs featuring compositions from twenty-two contemporary artists involved in making electro-acoustic music. The discs are housed in a 96-page hardcover book containing text and/or images from each artist. View complete artist/track listing here .

I’ve had Extract | Portraits of Soundartists in my possession for about a month now. It has accompanied me wherever I go throughout the day. Sometimes I just listen to compositions on the discs, other I times I sneak in a few minutes to read (and re-read) the essays, interviews, etc. in the book, but the most rewarding times are early mornings/late afternoons when I can sit down, relax, listen and read at the same time. It’s at these moments that things begin to come together as the text that I read and the images that I see help make sense of and give context to the intricate, abstract, and beautiful sounds that these artists are producing. I’m also humbled by what I’ve read realizing now that so much of what I’ve written and reviewed in the past is way off the mark. If only I knew then what I know now.

Describing the music found on the discs is difficult. In the broadest sense, it’s about artists exploring the seemingly infinite and non-traditional ways in which sound can be manipulated, transformed, sculptured, recontextualized, disassembled, and reassembled. Dean King summed it all up nicely in the form of a question – “how far can music be reduced and still be understood as music? (p.47)”

At a minimum, Extract certainly achieves two important purposes: First, it provides a representative, international cross-section of the many sound artists involved in composing experimental electro-acoustic music (although I would liked to have seen more female artists included). Of the twenty-two artists included, there were only five whose work I was not at all acquainted with. For the remaining seventeen artists, my awareness ranges from very familiar to just a mediocre knowledge. Richard Chartier, Taylor Deupree, Heribert Friedl, Bernhard Günter, John Hudak, Dale Lloyd, Steve Roden, Jos Smolders, Ralph Steinbrüchel, Asmus Tietchens, and Ubeboet are common names to me. Also known to me, but not quite as familiar, are Richard Garet, Andy Graydon, I8U, Dean King, Roel Meelkop, and Tomas Phillips. Now, with deference to Extract, I’ve been introduced to the work of Keith Barry, Will Montgomery, Nao Sugimoto, Toshiya Tsundo, and Michael Vorfeld.

Secondly, we get multiple viewpoints in varying formats (interviews, essays, photos, drawings) detailing the inspiration, influences, purpose, and techniques behind the process of sound construction and revealing mutual threads of interest and other commonalities. Examples are plentiful – Dean King gives a wonderfully articulate and philosophical exposé concerning his methods establishing connections and drawing parallels to literature, abstract painting, and photography. He also writes about disassembling and decontextualizing sound and how granular processing makes possible the “transformation of time.” Tomas Phillips goes into some detail about “minimalist tendencies” and the “minimizing of sound.” Bernhard Günter draws interesting analogies between photography and music viewing both cameras and audio recorders as samplers capturing visible and auditory frequencies, respectively, that can then be digitally manipulated, and the title of his accompanying track “Listen to what you see” says a lot about his methods. France Jobin (I8U) gives a short biographical essay outlining the “environmental and technological landmarks” encountered during the “creative process.” Keith Berry and Richard Chartier each reveal the importance of early childhood “sound memories” and discuss the significance of visual art in their musical development. John Hudak writes about the similarities in the creative processes of drawing and music creation. Heribert Friedl writes about his interest in combining sound art with his work in “non visual objects.” Andy Graydon expounds on the influences of music concrète, film/cinema, and environmental art on his sound work. Toshiya Tsunoda discusses his interest in “vibration phenomenon” and the role it plays in his compositions and installations. Jos Smolders labels much of his sound work as “abstract” explaining that it’s often constructed from concrete sounds, but not necessarily connected to reality, and he makes an interesting analogy between his methods and the expressionistic school of painting. Nao Sugimoto explains that “the sounds, textures, and colors of nature” are essential to his current work. In a similar fashion, Richard Garet regards his sound art as a “constant response to the complexities of the environment“ taking in everything around him and then “putting it out in different reconfigurations.“ Will Montgomery makes reference to the element of “uncertainty” in his work and speculates on the indirect influence of his interest in contemporary avant-garde poetry on his music. Steinbrüchel speaks for several artists when he says that “I feel more connected to other artists throughout the world than in my local area.” There’s a common theme of local “isolation” tempered somewhat by a connectedness with like-minded people outside their locale via collaborations made possible by the internet. Finally, more than one artist made it known that regardless of how much intent and purpose is put into a composition, among the best pieces are the ones in which chance takes over and allows the work to “unfold” naturally on its own.

My only wish now is that enough people see the worth and importance of such a dual media work like Extract that we see more of the same. A free, virtual/downloadable online follow-up to this reaching out to anyone interested would be the ideal. A fresh roster of sound artists might include names like William Basinski, Marc Behrens, Esther Bourdages, Joda Clément, Anne Guthrie, John Kannenberg, K. M. Krebs, Francisco Lopez, Stephan Mathieu. Christopher McFall, Nathan McNinch, Michael Northam, Ben Owen, Pablo Reche, Asher Thal-nir, and Sabine Vogel to name just a few.
(larry johnson, earlabs)

Review – Extract, Portrait of Soundartists(nvo) 2007 – by Tom Sekowski, gaz-eta

EXTRACT (2CD + book by Non Visual Objects)

The premise sounds simple. Vienna based Non Visual Objects imprint invited twenty-two sound artists to present a piece of work. Over time, two CDs worth of sounds were filed. What are more impressive though are the non-musical aspects each of the musicians offers in “Extract” project, which not only consists of the music, but a nearly 100 page book. As the two project leaders – Heribert Friedl and Raphael Moser – explain in the introduction, “We would like to present artists that work in different areas in this field of electroacoustic music, to cover a large spectrum even in this quite specific area. With essays, interviews, photos, drawings and other materials presented in this book, we try to look at the motivation and intention behind the sound production from different perspectives, to possibly allow for a new/extended approach to this form of music.” Though each of the artists is somehow tied in to the electro-acoustic and microsound scene, variety of artists included in the project fluctuates greatly. Taylor Deupree chooses to express himself with a variety of photos taken over three year journeys to Japan. Many of these are intensely personal and to get an inside scoop into his work is real difficult. On the other hand, his “Live in Osaka” piece is a rather pleasant, gliding, and ear-ringing glitch of soothing proportions. As many of the artists favour the question and answer interview scheme, so does sound manipulator Richard Garet. His contribution in the form of “Précis” is inundated with off-the-wall, distant crackles and glissando waves of buzzing. Bernhard Günter chooses to display some of his photos and his attached “Listen to what you see (audio sample of location of all Koblenz photos)” is a serene journey into oblique concoction of unidentifiable sound. John Hudak shares some of his drawings [which honestly remind me of Daniel Johnston’s better work], while his “Radio” piece is a glistening sound world full of cricket-like appropriations. Steve Roden’s distant-echo call of old, crackly records “Air Into Form/Voice Into Breath” is accompanied with a four pages of his working diary, which ultimately lets us peak into his thought process. Package ends on a high note with German audio-manipulator and visual artist Michael Vorfeld whose masterful percussive manipulations turn out to be as eerie as they are enlightening. In between all of these are contributions from Toshiya Tsunoda, Ubeboet, Keith Barry, I8U, Dean King, Tomas Phillips, Asmus Tietchens, Richard Chartier and a dozen others. In a nutshell, “Extract” fulfils its goal quite well. In showing the visual aspect behind many of these artists work, their music takes on an entirely new meaning. It’s true that the more you know someone, the more you’re bound to love them.
(tom sekowski, gaz-eta)

Review – Extract Portrait of Soundartists(nvo) 2007 by BGN, WHITE-LINE


It is encouraging that at last there seems to be a genuine groundswell of interest in the sonic arts here in the UK, in part stimlulated, no doubt by groundbreaking tomes by David Toop, followed by his inspirational Sonic Boom Festival in London some years back, which to some extent defined the paradigm shift in public understanding and acceptance of sound art. The accompanying book/catalogue was also representative of a weighty cross- section of sound artists in the world at the time. This was followed by another thoroughly defining book, “Blocks of Consciousness” issued by Sounds323, that has quickly become a kind of ready reference manual for neophytes, would-be sound artists, and sonic art adherents alike. The arrival in the UK of artists such as Alva Noto, Ryoji Ikeda, and RLW, playing in prestigious venues such as the Barbican, Tate Modern, and Sage Centre, also indicate a subtle shift of interest into more obscure, and radical approaches to sound work. Now comes the beautifully produced EXTRACT, by specialist label Non Visual Objects, whose output over the last couple of years has cast a bright light over the genre of minimalism, with a series of exquisitely produced releases that focus primarily on the ultra-minimal, both in terms of design and presentation.
This book, rather than following tried and tested routes trawling the theoretical aspects of sound, takes a warmer, and more intimate approach by selecting sound artists who are very much “of the moment”, and gaining insights into their psyche by asking stock questions about early influences, recent influences, working methods, collaborations, connections to local art scenes, etc ,etc.
What is interesting about this approach is that it becomes a kind of census of a representative cross section of artists, which in itself reveals patterns and commonalities that perhaps may not be obvious to the layman, and are refreshingly re-assuring to others, like myself, who operate within this field. Some of these commonalities such as encounters with the sounds of air conditioning systems, heating systems, refrigerators etc in formative years are deeply interesting, as they become the catalyst for experiments in later life for many of these artists, and indicate a predisposition to the more cerebral and marginalised elements of contemporary culture.
The majority of these artists also appear to be operating in relative isolation with respect to local music scenes and the art establishment, and it is only via the internet, and their respective record labels that they have been able to connect with like-minded individuals and audience alike. Other common themes appear to be that many of these artists are also deeply interested in nature, and natural systems; they also have great sensitivity to the visual arts (many also being visual artists as well). Recurring themes also appear to be Kraftwerk, Burroughs, Cage, Eno, all in themselves highly revealing as sources and origins of inspiration, as very few of these influences are inherently “minimal” in their approach.
I have deliberately not singled out any one artist for scrutiny here, preferring to deal with EXTRACT as a product to be dealt with holistically. From a purely subjective point of view, the strength of this book lies in it’s position of defining minimalism not only as a musical/sonic genre, but as a microcosmic social network, a spiritual economy based upon the communal exchange of information, goods, and most importantly, ideas. The selection of artists in the spotlight in this publication is by no means exhaustive, and prominent figures such as Chartier and Deupree, Tietchens, Günter, Steinbrüchel, Roden, are positioned alongside relative newcomers such as Dale Lloyd, Tomas Philips, Michael Vorfeld for example. This in turn presents a wider spectrum of possibility for those interested in pursuing the work of all of these artists, and in a wider sense, stimulating interest in minimalism in general. The CD’s enlcosed within the end papers of the book will surely emerge as a “who’s who” of the genre, very much in the way that Selektion’s “Tulpas” did in the 90’s, and will be reviewed here at some later point.
EXTRACT itself is a relatively quick read (I did it in under an hour), but it’s influence, and implications will remain with me, and others for many years, I am certain. An absolutely essential insight for anyone interested in minimalism.
(bgn, white line)

Review – Extract, Portrait of Soundartists(nvo) 2007 – by Nicola Catlalano, blow up

EXTRACT (2CD + book by Non Visual Objects)

In solo due anni d’esistenza e poco più di una decina di produzioni la Nonvisualobjects di Heribert Friedl e Raphael Moser si candida ad un ruolo di primo piano nell’ambito internazionale della sound art. E l’uscita più recente a diventare uno di punti di riferimento imprescindibili per tutti gli appassionati del settore. Esempi di parziale catalogazione dell’universo della sound art con tendenze microsoniche sono già stati tentati in passato, si pensi alle compilation della serie “Lowercase”, ai due volumi della 12k “Between Two Points” e “Two Point Two” o in un ambito più specifico alla collana “Clicks & Cuts” o, ancor meglio, ai volumi con CD “Site Of Sound: Of Architecture And The Ear” della Errant Bodies Press e “Sound Art – Sound As Media” della NTT Publishing Co. Proprio a queste ultime due pubblicazioni può essere accostato “Extract – Portraits of Soundartists”, benché rispetto ad esse risponda ad un approccio meno teorico e sistematico. Si tratta per lo più di istantanee di singoli autori condotte col metodo semplice e pratico dell’intervista, oppure attraverso note autobiografiche, diari, disegni, fotografie, riflessioni estemporanee (in pratica l’aspetto teorico dell’operare di ciascuno viene fuori in maniera più sottile, meno diretta, andando a comporre un quadro d’insieme in maniera piuttosto obliqua). Ventidue gli artisti selezionati con criterio personalissimo ma tutto sommato aderente allo stato delle cose (ovvio che non si possa pretendere completezza enciclopedica), ognuno dei quali presente anche con una traccia altrimenti inedita. Poche le sorprese e pochi i nomi relativamente nuovi (Richard Garet, Andy Graydon, Ubeboet, I8UŠ), con una scaletta che si concentra sulle grandi firme. Poche purtroppo anche le sorprese sotto il profilo puramente estetico, sia formale sia di contenuti, dacché ormai il tipo di ricerca cui si assiste concede poco spazio all’inaspettato e alla soddisfazione uditiva, con l’eterna dicotomia tra chi riesce a cavare dalle proprie manie private qualche emozione che valga la pena comunicare anche a noialtri (Keith Berry, Richard Chartier, Taylor Deupree, Dean King, Dale Lloyd, Tomas Phillips, Steve Roden, Steinbrüchel, Nao Sugimoto, tanto per dire) e chi, con varie sfumature ed attenuanti, rimane chiuso nella sterile torre d’avorio della sperimentazione fine a se stessa (più o meno tutti gli altri). Palese manifestazione di cul de sac o, come si diceva all’inizio, manuale indispensabile (spesso, del resto, il quadro finale è superiore alla somma delle singole parti) è dubbio che lasciamo volentieri sbrogliare al lettore.
(nicola catlalano, blow up)

Review of Mutek 2007 Nocturne 3 by TJ Norris, Igloomag

For the remainder of the night it was over to the cavernous Metropolis for a split venue/themed presentation. In the larger room were mostly the dance music, in the smaller space more experimental and quieter or quirky offerings. I tended to spend most of the earlier part of the evening alongside LA curator Robert Crouch watching the mostly female driven evening of music by the wash of heady and physical, cyclical and sensory sounds of I8U, the soft tweaky dissonance and ambient layers of Sawako and my first exposure to the vivacious Bubblyfish doing 8-bit renditions of Kraftwerk songs. The whole intimate space was filled to the gills with an audience craving a very contained experience. This all started with a helmet scream gaming match where two players stood side by side in a race that used their voices to drive motor vehicles. Noisey and fun.

Review – Extract, Portrait of Soundartists(nvo) 2007 – by Tobias Fischer, tokafi

EXTRACT (2CD + book by Non Visual Objects)

Intensifies the brain’s hunger for information and input: A fascinating read and listen throughout.

In rock, everything is personal. In soundart, it seems, nothing is. That is why a project like “Extract” is much more than just a nicely layouted book with two CDs packed with music. It is a tangible result from the conclusion that our understanding of art can benefit from the knowledge of the composer’s personal history – and that the genre as a whole has the potential to be appreciated by a much larger audience if it allows itself to open up. That’s no buy-out, mind you, but the simple realisation that by its very nature, soundart will always have a certain disadvantage: While crunching guitars, dazzling drums, gripping vocals and the ebb and flow of verse and chorus are mainly self-referential and an effort to offer one’s own ego as a projection screen for others, the attempt to understand the world around us through its audible emissions is of a much more subtle nature. In fact, where the music is firmly placed first, the performer naturally steps back, turning all but invisible in the service of the composition. The functional and mostly faceless aesthetics of the genre have made it doubly hard for experimental works to compete with the bright lights of popular culture in the media. This is where “Extract” steps in.

A hole in the ground: Twenty-two biographies

Twentytwo artists have followed the invitation of Heribert Friedl and Raphael Moser, the masterminds behind the Nonvisual Objects label and contributed music, visuals as well as text to the book. Twentytwo entirely different biographies and twentytwo unique views on sound have resulted in twentytwo short but vivid introductions to their work and their life.The nature of these contributions is highly diverse. Friedl and Moser have set up a basic interview with questions on the background of the musicians, their influences, their methods and their stance on collaborating with similar-minded colleagues. While a large chunk of the “Extract” line-up is presented through their answers to this questionnaire, others have chosen idiosyncratic approaches. Keith Berry tells a story from his childhood and how the mysteriously beckoning drone of a “monster of a heating system” in his parent’s house would hold a deep and inexplicable fascination. 12k founder Taylor Deupree fills his four pages with small snapshots of a Japan-tour which, as he points out, “may mean a great deal to some, sparking memories and stories, or may mean nothing to others”. Dutch Roel Meelkop is represented by a short piece of prose entitled “Another piece of general fiction or how I came to be a sound artist” (a hole in his garden apparently played an important role), while seminal American visual artist and composer Steve Roden has scanned entries from his “work diary”, which go from scetched drawings of bagpipes to thoughts on the importance of calligraphy in Zen. Parts are intellectual and require repeated perusal – such as Richard Chartier’s detailed and precise description of his technique and intentions. Others come in the form of personal reflections, such as I8U’s France Jobin looking back on her early days as a sound explorer: “Being a difficult child, it didn’t take long for my parents to realize they could keep me quiet and out of trouble by placing me in between two speakers.” It’s a fascinating read throughout.

Minimalism is the main criterium: Two and a half hours of music

The music is equally eclectic. Miguel A. Tolosa, who runs the Con-V netlabel and operates under the name of Ubeboet, has called this the release of the year and the two and a half hours of material certainly allow for this kind of superlative. From his own sacral choir ambiances to Friedl’s minute incisions and crackles, from Bernhard Günter’s urban field recordings to Steinbrüchel’s perfect drone pulses, this collection offers a plenitude of moods, ideas, approaches and philosophies. Friedl and Moser talk about a network which has formed thanks to interactions between artists all over the world, whose categories for inclusion are very much open: Minimalism is the main criterium, other than that the spectrum and the scope of “Extract” are wide and all-embracing. Nao Sugimoto drove to the outskirts of Tokyo, placed a speaker next to his car, put on a playback of a prerecorded acoustic guitar piece and taped it from a sizeable distance. Jos Smolders meanwhile, withdrew into the solitude and comfort of a grandfather clock ticking in an infinitely condensed space. Some of the harmonic and “musical” tracks reveal their analytical origins, while many of the purely sound-focused pieces take on a hauntingly emotional meaning: The music seems to speak to the listener in a very direct way. “Perhaps the appeal of minimal art”, Tomas Phillips writes, “is that it provides a very particular bridge between self and other, one that meets the artist’s needs to contribute to a community, whilst allowing the listener/reader/viewer space in which to offer his or her own experience to a “collaborative” project”.

That’s not only an excellent observation in relation to the arts in general, but to “Extract” in particular as well. While the common train of thought has been that the cold design of the scene has served to spark the imagination of the listener, forcing him to make his own picture of the composer, this book proves this theory wrong. The more one finds out about the personalities behind the music, the more one is able to appreciate the nuances of their oeuvre, the differences between similar results and the analogies between starkly contrasting contributions. The wealth of information “Extract” offers does not set the brain to rest, but only goes to intensify and increase its hunger for information and more input. Many of the artists talk about how they felt like outlaws during their school time for preferring “the sound of tires rolling over snow” above crunching guitars, dazzling drums, gripping vocals and the ebb and flow of verse and chorus – I am thoroughly convinced that if this book became part of the curriculum, many more would feel the same. Not everything in soundart is personal. But much more than anyone previously thought possible certainly is.
(tobias fischer, tokafi)