review – physical, absent, tangible (contour editions) – Giuseppe Angelucci, Spiritual Archives

Physical, Absent, Tangible, i8u, Christopher Delaurenti, Gil Sansón and Brian Mackern & Gabriel Galli –

Thursday,  July 8th 2010

Five names selected for the first title in CD format on “Contour Editions”, relatively young label run by Richard Garet.
The catalogue also includes a section devoted to online releases and another one related to visual elaborations.
Just a year ago Richard (acclaimed sound artist who enjoys high esteem and needs no further introduction – his discography here) chose to carry out the project of a record label, a good place where to amplify his visions, a laboratory of new extensions able to represent his personal concepts of aural perception.
“Physical, Absent, Tangible” is an excellent starting point, formed by contributions which promptly succeed in materializing Garet’s ambitions.

Canadian composer i8u (see here) opens the disc: “Rarefaction” is a long, bumpy navigation constellated by short interruptions and abnormal signals which interfere with the main theme. Quite nonlinear, progressively unpredictable, it evolves into delicate shades of sound, randomly hit by sinewaves.
More density in the second half, a sinister landscape as background, some insertions, processed lines, always in a whisper. Great assemblage and stratification of layers.

Seattle based phonographer Christopher DeLaurenti provides the second and third track. “Sigil” wiggles between noise-oriented iterations and sombre tonalities; also noticeable are whirling effects, employed to emphasize the tones. Some passages are heavily affected by manipulations, some patterns deftly juxtaposed, the whole gives an idea of expansion.
A negligible gap leads to “Nictating”, whose break-in is truly disruptive: a resounding rumble and measured impulses rush in parallel, immutable, beating time, for some moments. A slight change of scenery follows, elements of variability are added, all instances become almost imperceptible, the depth of field more palpable.

The next eight tracks come from Venezuelan Gil Sansón (essayist and composer, meaningful presence in the project EA, shared with Garet, Owen, Arno, Graydon and Gonçalves). Eight movements as product of digital sequences and raw recordings, imprints of musique concrète, sketches of organic shapes. Gil uses effective techniques that transpose the listener into open-ended spaces, by (de)structuring the visible: a cinematic (re)construction of familiar places we will never visit.

A weather event (the Santa Rosa storm) as primary source for the last track. Brian Mackern & Gabriel Galli (both from Uruguay) deal with/manage electromagnetic phenomena occurred on the occasion: interferences picked up by radio reception systems are connected with morse code blips, vocal registrations and looped interludes. The piece has a striking impact, passes through phases of transformation, reaches unexpected levels of outspoken melody.

Collection of works substantially in line with the strategies pursued by Garet, despite a strong and variegated personality of the contributors, which offers exciting prospects for the future of the label.

Label: Contour Editions
Cat. #: ce.cd_0001
Format: CD-R
Release date: 02/2010

01 – i8u – Rarefaction (11:31)
02 – Christopher DeLaurenti – Sigil (05:25)
03 – Christopher DeLaurenti – Nictating (11:00)
04 – Gil Sansón – La Montaña Se Ha Ido 1 (02:59)
05 – Gil Sansón – La Montaña Se Ha Ido 2 (03:41)
06 – Gil Sansón – La Montaña Se Ha Ido 3 (02:15)
07 – Gil Sansón – La Montaña Se Ha Ido 4 (04:20)
08 – Gil Sansón – La Montaña Se Ha Ido 5 (00:43)
09 – Gil Sansón – La Montaña Se Ha Ido 6 (01:26)
10 – Gil Sansón – La Montaña Se Ha Ido 7 (01:09)
11 – Gil Sansón – La Montaña Se Ha Ido 8 (02:58)
12 – Brian Mackern & Gabriel Galli – 34s56w / Temporal De Santa Rosa (14:24)

review – physical, absent, tangible (contour editions) 2010 – by massimo ricci, brain dead eternity

Physical, Absent, Tangible, i8u, Christopher Delaurenti, Gil Sansón and Brian Mackern & Gabriel Galli –

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Excellent materials on Richard Garet’s recently founded label, enclosed in an abundant hour of sounds suitable for concentration and active listening. i8u’s “Rarefaction” consists of a humming drone (enhanced by virtually inaudible acute frequencies) whose corporeality and intensity changes with the passage of time. Think an earth loop/ultrasonic activity kind of palette with deeply booming surrounding pulses, imprinting the membranes quite effectively without shock or surprise. Just a nice and increasingly mesmerizing piece made with intelligence and good taste, splendidly functional in this early summer Sunday afternoon replete with chirping sparrows and chattering wrens around the house. On an entirely different note, Christopher Delaurenti first subjects us to the strident ejections and electrically morphing ambiences typifying “Sigil”, then contributes to the improvement of our aural awareness in the longer “Nictating” via whooshing loops of whispered post-industrialism that repudiate colour in favour of mechanical pulse and grey mist, until a series of slowly declining electronic arcs and a few subterranean murmurs appear, ending the track on a slightly anguishing hue.

The sonic world of Gil Sansón – expressed in the eight movements of “La Montana Se Ha Ido” – is informed by subtly deployed field recordings and concrete matters rendered scarcely recognizable by the studio treatment; while certain chapters may result a little predictable, a couple of suburban soundscapes and the motionless solidity resulting from opportunely processed layers of environmental manifestations make sure that a degree of respectable acoustic artistry is maintained. Brian Mackern and Gabriel Galli close the show with a composition – “34s56w/Temporal De Santa Rosa” – containing Morse code messages, complex resonances and various kinds of unfathomable intrusion. Alarming atmospheres take shape from a rather static ground, the ensuing music more or less on the level of the best heard on the CD, enriched by a puzzling finale characterized by a vaguely familiar alien melody, transposed to progressively lower registers amidst incessant crackles and discharges.

Contour Editions

Review – physical, absent, tangible (Contour Editions) 2010 – by Adrian Dziewanski, scrapyardforecast

Physical, Absent, Tangible, i8u, Christopher Delaurenti, Gil Sansón and Brian Mackern & Gabriel Galli

Various Artists ‘Physical, Absent, Tangible’ cd-r (Contour Editions, 2010)

It’s shaping up to be a pretty damn good year for the compilation, which has sadly always sort of let me down. For what few I do actually own–label comps, musical collectives, various artists comps–I rarely go back too. Please indulge me in a very winged hypothesis that maybe the ‘compilation’ as an art form/object is just now finally coming into its own. Or, a far more likely scenario: I just haven’t been looking hard enough for the good ones. The ones that really dig their hooks into the listener.

With this said there are some giant exceptions, Elevator Bath’s A Cleansing Ascension from a couple years back was and still is very enjoyable. Recent personal discoveries like the highly anticipated and grossly delayed release of Paper & Plastic on suitcase/petri supply/incubator (March 2010), and the Patrick Mckinley (aka Murmer) curated Framework 250 (Much more info on that soon, check back at the end of the month) discs have re-sparked my faith in the potential potency of the compilation. If some of you remember or can refer back to the Not Alone 5 disc set compiled by Mark Logan of Jnana Records and Current 93’s David Tibet from 2006 then you might understand where my criticism of comps stems from.

Before you start sending me negative vibes and waving your arms around in rage… stop, and hear me out. Almost every artist on that compilation was a favourite of mine at some moment in time, and actually, I was exposed to some bands that I ended up really liking as a direct result of it. Furthermore, as a Doctors Without Borders fundraiser, you couldn’t really argue that it wasn’t for a good cause. But! those discs did lack something. Because of how eclectic all the musicians were it there lacked a fluidity and cohesiveness that other compilations have been able to achieve. I don’t blame Logan either, as it must have been hell trying to lump all those acts together. I don’t actually think it could of turned out better than it did with so much variance in musical style. So what’s my point? let’s just say that there is something to be said about the selection and attention to the congruity of musical styles when assembling such delicate documents.

Various Artists
‘Physical, Absent, Tangible’
cd-r (Contour Editions, 2010)

Physical, Absent, Tangible is kept simple, which plays out very much to its favour. The four artists found within fill their respective musical roles with a unified understanding of what those roles represent. The whole thing works very well. Canadian based i8u kicks things off with an eleven and a half minute analog synth work that juxtaposes high and low frequencies resulting in a pleasant sonic parallel. The experience is a lot like standing on a small patch of land in between two rivers. Christorpher Delauenti’s two pieces are absolutely sublime, the first, “sigil” is a short but impressive arrangement of feedback squall and tonal noise. Where as “nictating” begins as a looped low-end rumble that eventually dismantles as a simmering drone; the album’s high point. Gil Sansón provides eight short pieces that seem to represent fragments of a whole. In consideration of their brevity–and that usually this kind of off-the-grid minimalism is best represented in the long form–Sansón’s section remains very strong. The final contribution, a collaborative work by Brian Mackern and Gabriel Galli (both new to me) is a static soaked excursion into subdued tactility. What sounds like morse code thrown into the mix gives this piece a real Tracer era Omit feel–definitely a good thing. Impressive stuff. Kudos to a very tasteful ice breaker for the label Mr. Garet.

Review – physical, absent, tangible (Contour Editions) 2010 – by Sietse van Erve, EARLabs

Physical, Absent, Tangible, i8u, Christopher Delaurenti, Gil Sansón and Brian Mackern & Gabriel Galli –
RATED: 8 / 10

A compilation of tracks with the theme of past spaces, memories and time. 4 acts showcase their own take on this subject. There were sound-art and music meet. It doesn’t happen very often that we receive compilations here at EARLabs. This is easy to explain because in most cases compilations are not really are not really a cohesion of tracks, though on the other hand if done well they can say a lot about the label and the involved musicians. In the last category is the collection of 12 tracks that are brought together on Physical, Absent, Tangible on the label run by Richard Garet: Contour Editions. The four acts involved are i8u, Christopher Delaurenti, Gil Sansón and collaboration between Brian Mackern & Gabriel Galli.

Physical, Absent, Tangible gives a clear idea about what Contour Editions stands for. The musical pieces we find here are in the musical outsiders field of sound-art. The artists all approached the sound world here with an inspiration of gone spaces. Gaps in space and time.

The first piece is Rarefraction by i8u. A minimal piece with low sine drones and high pitched beeps. At least that’s how it starts. Gradually the piece transfers into some sort of big emptiness, while the high pitched sounds re-occur through out the whole piece the main part seems to be more ambient drone based. Soft soundscapes set a scenery of a huge empty space, while the high pitches seem more like a proof of organic happenings. As if something is trying to find its way. While at points the high pitches can sound a bit annoying still overall this is a strong piece. It is one with a lot to discover.
The next artist up is Christopher Delaurenti. His approach is from another angle. He presents two different pieces. The first, Sigil, is one based on distorted and clipping low-end noise and feedback. In the piece there are returning cycles. The soundstructures are suitable for a live setting where a surround system is used to let the music spin through the room. The different pulses could blow the audience away. For cd, though, it is a less interesting piece. It stays a bit on the same side of things.

The second piece by Delaurenti is from another level. This is much more for the home listening session. Nictating works with several layered loops. The background is filled with pulsating noise while more to the foreground clicks are slowly evolving through time. The continuous adding and removing of loops makes this an interesting piece. There is a slow transgression in the music that makes it surrounding throughout the complete room. While some of the loops keep on returning the music never becomes boring.
Next up is Gil Sansón, who delivered 8 pieces by the same name La Montaña S Ha Ido. The source for this pieces are field recordings and archived sounds which Sansón had made in the past but forgot where they came from. With these he tried to recreate situations that could have been the original setting. Throughout these pieces there doesn’t seem to be a line to connect them soundwise. Some of the pieces are more drone based, while others hang in the musique concrete side of music. Due to the way Sansón worked the pieces stay a lot on the sketch side, leaving a feeling that it could have been a bit more.

The last act is the duo Brian Mackern & Gabriel Galli. They present a 14 minutes long piece called 34S56W/Temporal De Santa Rosa. The piece is based on radiomagnetic interferences that were generated dring the De Santa Rosa storm in Urugruay. They made use of radio receivers, circuit-bended apparatus and much more. The piece knows a certain progression from pure radiostatics to a rich layered structure of drones, noise and hiss, but honest enough it also shows the most “musical” sides of all pieces presented here. The duo makes use of certain melodic elements which we do not find in any of the other tracks. Besides that the development shows a lot of exciting things with both gradual and abrupt changes taking place. Due to the used instrumentation the sound is quite lo-fi. But, in this case it really adds to the character of the music. It easily fits in with the tape sounds done by Norwegian duo Bjerga/Iversen. A great composition to finish this compilation with.

Physical, Absent, Tangible is a good compilation which promises more interesting things to come from Contour Editions. Though, it is more than just a sampler, it is a nice collection with a strict theme interpreted from different sides. Recommended to check out.


Review – physical, absent, tangible (Contour Editions) 2010 – by Jim at Aquarius Records in SF

V/A Physical, Absent, Tangible (Contour Editions) cd-r 11.98

Contour Editions is a new label curated by New York based sound artist Richard Garet, whose tense grey drones had marked his very impressive Four Malleable 2cd set on And/OAR as well as an exceptional collaboration with Brendan Murray released back in 2009. The same technical rigor that Garet employs in his own compositions extends to this compilation of various artists working around the globe, including i8u (Canada), Christopher DeLaurenti (Seattle), Gil Sanson (Venezuela), and Brian Mackern & Gabriel Galli (Uruguay). Aside from DeLaurenti, whose phonography collection of orchestral intermissions has long been a favorite of ours, this compilation is an introduction to all of the artists present. Not a bad thing at all, considering how strong each contribution is. Garet had charged these sound artists to consider the “evocation of the in-between immaterial spaces” – not quite the existential pursuit into nothingness, silence, or the void; but rather, the faintest of sounds brought close to the event horizon, the ghosts that tickle at the edge of perception, etc. Fortunately, none of the artists employ the clicks and cuts techniques which emerged from the Max/MSP crowd from the nascent days of the millennium. Sure, things are quiet and undoubtedly processed and/or produced by digital means.

i8u is the work of Canadian composer France Jobin, who’s actually been around quite a while, producing all sorts of electronica-laced computer-driven compositions. Her track eschews all of the mid-range frequencies, instead splitting her attention between a deep rumbling low-end of a slightest pierced tones at the high-end. Despite the extremes of tonality, there’s something rather lulling and enveloping about this piece almost achieving the same generative stasis that Thomas Koner produces. Christopher DeLaurenti presents two tracks of stone-faced slabs of grey noises looped and snapped into a darkened ambience. Gil Sanson’s eight vignettes are open ended by design, with the composer encouraging the listener to hit shuffle on the cd player. These buzzes, drones, and smeared field recordings connect through a muted aesthetic of dreamy discomfort. The Mackern & Galli piece bristles with electrical static cracked upon a shortwave radio with Morse code blips streaming into the foreground and peculiar gestures of feedback sneaking throughout. Bits of radio transmission break through these disembodied elements, giving the piece the detached aesthetic which was endemic to The Conet Project and The Ghost Orchid, despite the very-hands on approach to this piece. All together, the album seamlessly flows from one track to the other, almost making it difficult to discern where one composition begins and another ends.

Hopefully, one of many good things to come from Mr. Garet’s label. Oh yes, it’s limited to 150 copies, too!

MPEG Stream: I8U “Rarefaction”
MPEG Stream: GIL SANSON “La Montana Se Ha Ido 4”
MPEG Stream: BRIAN MACKERN & GABRIEL GALLI “Temporal De Santa Rosa”

Review – physical, absent, tangible (contour editions) 2010 – by BNG, WHITE-LINE

physical, absent, tangible – Compilation (contour editions) 2010

A compilation of sorts, “Physical, Absent, Tangible” brings together the creations of five artists on a new imprint curated by none other than Richard Garet. Garet’s own works have set the benchmark for soundscaping and sound installation art over the last few years, with releases on a clutch of influential labels worldwide. No surprise then, that an ear for quality control and a talent for working with discerning and intriguing artists has brought to fruition this debut edition on Contour.

I8u’s opener crystallises an interest in auditory minutiae, exploding the almost imperceptible world of the quantum and the superstrings theory, the physical world reduced to digital noughts and ones, Brownian motion set under a sonic microscope perhaps.

De Laurenti’s winding, acousmatic inversions home in on the non-physicality of source material as the locus for a pair of emergent pieces formed from the detritus of malfunctioning equipment, and hard data manipulation and construction. The second part in particular is self destructing, slowly, entropically, like a looped tape that is slowly wiping and dissolving over time, a receding memory trace, with a heterodyne clicking permeating the background.

Sanson works on a series of eight sketchy collages that he likens to assemblages of photographs, maps, old films, a meta-narrative construction that acts like a kind of auditory scrapbook, of half remembered places and events, that even the artist cannot place in his memory. Amongst this ferment of shards, Sanson’s psyche might be revealed in a curious, Ballardian reconstruction of hazy remnants, a kind of grab-bag of activities and presences, that once collaged and re-assembled, might decode or unlock some lost or repressed memory.

Mackern and Galli’s work is based on electro-magnetic interferences from the Santa Rosa storm in Uruguay, these radio frequency elements, combined with hardware hacking, and circuit bending, serve to uncloak the formerly hidden auditory signature of radio atmospherics caused by the storm – what ancient people perceived as the hypothetical “Voice of God”. This is a crackling, fizzing work, peppered with verbal interferences and strange, atonal surges, that remind me of a Storm Chaser’s bad acid trip.

All in all , this is a fine debut from a label that promises to deliver a compelling mixture of intelligently sourced material, fused with a diverse roster of artists from around the globe, taking in elements of minimalism, installation art, field recording, and everything in between. Watch this space.

contour editions