The following releases are sold out from Alluvial. Occasionally, they can still be found at places such as Drone, Groundfault, and Rund Um Den Watzmann.
Koji Marutani Pataphysics CD ALL 002
Our first release for 2000, this is from Japanese composer Koji Marutani, who also runs the Digital Narcis label. Here, he presents a group of recordings of wide variation. He continues his series of "Scenes" recordings which incorporate field and locational recordings with electronic elements. The first piece is inspired by the radical piano work of Eric Satie. Other pieces includes cool, flowing ambiance and cut up's of American, Japanese and European TV and radio broadcasts. There is also his attempt at adding a warm, human element to the often tired Electro- Blip sound. It's packaged in a perfect balance of austere lights and earthy tones in an edition of 500. (original press release)
Vince Harrigan (Manifold Records, USA)
An extremely varied disc for Marutani, and I must say my favorite so far. The difference in track style is astounding, but then what makes it great is the way they just drip and melt into each other. The first piece is very musical, a minimalist piano piece, with bland notes banged one at a time, some light, some deep, some loud, some far away. Then after a bit this is layered over by sounds of wind, rain and birds…we're outdoors somehow and the piano is still there but fading (Excellent!). There is then the sound of a man typing on an old typewriter, speaking each note as he types it in what sounds like French. Then theres a train, loudspeakers in some european station. Then bells in some dawn courtyard. Then childrens feet going up and down stairs. A winch pulled and rolled up. Japanese voices from a scratchy television speaker. Cups of water dipped into a brook. Then the man typing again. The final work is almost a sort of cut-up track that uses lounge music to create a very surreal 1950's tiki, bachelor pad sort of misalignment. Astounding work, simply perfect in that zen sort of way location work should be.
John Hudak Helen Marie: Reinterpretations 2 x CD (A11)
When John Hudak recorded the "Don't Worry About Anything; I'll Talk To You Tomorrow" compact disk for Alluvial in early 1998, through a series of events, we ended up in possession of an extra piece. We had always intended to release it in some format but remained unsure how to use it. We approached John with the idea of presenting the piece to other composers, many of whom we had in mind prior to raising the idea with John. Upon receiving John's OK, we set about sending it to the composers we chose and a couple of John's choosing. The project ended up taking a lot longer than anticipated. It was well worth the wait. The original track, the source material, is the first track heard. This is followed by Jason Lescalleet. Jason created a shifting, moving tapestry of sounds with beautiful ebb and flow. Marc Behrens
uses his signature, understated approach to create a piece full of layers with focus on the nuances of tiny sounds. Sukora's contribution uses small sounds that are almost imperceptible with periods of near silence. Peter Duimelinks explores the extremes of the original by focusing on the highest frequencies and lowest, bassy rumbles. These are blended with a gentle rhythmic pulse that is easier felt than heard. John himself created yet another rich soundscape that is hard to imagine having been coaxed from the original. Francisco Lopez approaches his track with a violent furor that culminates with stark silence. Eric Lanzillotta pays homage to an earlier phase of John's work from his days using the analogue tape. His piece rumbles steadily along and crushes the original beyond recognition. Frans de Waard presents a piece varied with buzzes and whirling sounds compacted into so many layers. The final statement is from
Leif Elggren. It sounds as though he ran the original backwards in layers. It is accented with loud, piercing blasts of static interference. The variety over the two compact disks is exactly what one would hope for from a project of this scope. It is varied, confrontational and cohesive. This is a beautiful statement that compliments what John does best- single-minded, gentle soundscapes that are deeply personal and peaceful. John's compositions set a calm, serene mood for the listener. Fans of his style will not be disappointed. The CD's are packaged in a 12 page booklet which includes photo work from John Hudak and Rachael Jackson. This is a limited edition of 500 copies (original press release).
Vital Weekly 312, Netherlands, Roel Meelkop
This double album is actually a remix album, including remixed versions of one track by John Hudak: "don't worry about anything; I'll talk to you tomorrow". This track was intended for earlier release, but Hudak decided against it in favour of having it reworked by other artists first. The artists are: Jason Lescalleet, M. Behrens, Sukora, Peter Duimelinks, Francisco Lopez, Eric Lanzillotta, Frans de Waard and Leif Elggren. And yes, that sounds like lot of minimalism. The first track is the original by Hudak, a silent piece of high tones, weaved intricately together, with some feedbacks here and there. A very mesmerizing track, that seems to be forever changing and still staying the same throughout. An amazing work of great strength. Jason Lescalleet picks up from there, with an even higher tone, oscillating through my room. sounds like a case of extreme filtering. Added later is a very gentle lower layer of sound that starts to play with the first layer. A very warm and icy! piece, so that's good stuff of course. M. Behrens seems to take a somewhat more deconstructive approach: sudden cuts are pretty frequent and the dynamic range is larger. And although the source material is still predominant, other sounds are inserted as well (but I presume they were all derived from the source material). Again this is a gentle track, but with a little more surprises, thanks to the composition of the material. Next up is Sukora, with one of the most quiet pieces I've ever heard by him. After pumping the volume way up, one can hear a sound that seems stretched or delayed and that stops every now and then. Putting the volume back to normal, the listenening experience becomes rather in the vein of Guenter or some of the works of Lopez: unless you're in an anechoic chamber, environmental sounds start playing a seriously big role in the piece, at some points getting so obtrusive, that I'd like to skip to the next track......Not one of his best, I think. The last ! track on the first disc is by Peter Duimelinks. He sticks pretty close to the original, but the stereo spectrum is wider and more varied and at some point sounds seem to start cancelling each other out. Besides, some ultra low frequencies appear (watch you speakers with this track!), that fill the room up to the knees in a deep vibration. Pretty heavy! Disc two starts with another track by John Hudak, sounding from far away, dreamy and almost absentminded, but closing in slowly at times. Again a wonderful track. Francisco Lopez' track is a fierce and powerful version of the the original, not in volume, but in density. Many layers of soft sounds intertwine and slowly build up to a crescendo in the mid frequencies and then it's cut off and there seems to be nothing anymore for a long time (which is not the case of course). A good piece once more. Eric Lanzillotta is actually the first one to really take a big step away from the original sound: a low drone with some flutters and a hiss are all that's left of the clear and crisp sound of Hudak. Almost as if one is listening to it under a thick wool blanket. Dark but strong. Frans de Waard has made several loops from the original material; his track slowly fades from loop to loop in a very sober and subdued way. Nothing fancy, but in a strange way very close in effect to Hudak'! s original. Well done indeed. The last track is by Swedish enigma Leif Elggren, who succeeds in creating a gentle noise piece with as dense a layering as Lopez and as tense a sound as Duimelinks. In origin close to Hudak's material, but in effect far removed from it. But again a good track! So there you go: minimalism is still very much alive and kicking and what's more, it's very differentiated as well. An excellent release.
Wire 218, April 2002, UK, (Jim Haynes)
Thinking this was going to be released on vinyl, John Hudak composed two distinct movements for Don't Worry About Anything; I'll Talk to You Tomorrow. His minimalist construction takes as its source material a phone conversation between Hudak and his mother a year before she died. Nervous of potential intrusions from surface noise, Hudak and Alluvial scrapped the vinyl idea. Instead Hudak extended one of the two movements into the Helen Marie CD that came out a few years ago. Reinterpretations complements that Hudak piece with a handful of reworkings/remixes by his likeminded comtemporaries. Both on the original and this unreleased piece, Hudak has stripped the Syballic content from the voice, leaving behind a series of slow moving passages of crystalline frequencies, which suggest a poetic meancholia. Disc one features that unreleased piece, plus reworkings by Jason Lescalleet, M Behrens, Sukora, and Peter Duimelinks, which are either too sympathetic or synonymous with the source to add anything to Hudak's original. Disc two on the other hand, finds Francisco Lopez, Eric Lanzillotta, Frans de Waard, and Leif Elggren disposing of Hudak's fragility by pulverising sound into dense textural washes.
Janek Schaefer Weather Report CD (A17) released in partnership with Audioh!
“Weather Report was created during my trips to Minnesota as a McKnight Composer in Residence with the American Composers Forum. I lived in Uptown Minneapolis in a wonderful wooden house surrounded by trees and lakes during December 2002 and June 2003. The catalyst for the project was the Minnesotan love for their diverse and often hostile weather.......which proved to be an exhilarating experience! My initial ideas were to create and collect new sounds that were related to the concept of weather in the broadest sense, to document and research weather in the media, and to float recording equipment up on weather balloons in various ways. These processes were integral as my focus was on sound associated with the weather, in preference to pristine recordings of the weather first hand. An obvious exception, in my last week, was the storm of 40 tornado warnings that touched down around the fringes of the city. The weather balloons were used in 3 main ways. Firstly one icy winters morning I attached a mobile phone to receive and send low resolution sound, letting it float away from the surface of a frozen lake.
Secondly using a digital dictaphone I made time lapse recordings of the sky by floating it 500ft above my lush metropolitan neighbourhood. Lastly three all American friends and I set out to shoot the balloon down late one June afternoon leaving the sound to parachute back to earth.
I let the recordings speak for themselves, no effects, no eq, just straight cut & splice collage where you can hear the edges of time. Some other sounds collected include: underwater ice skaters; flapping; old meteorological kit; leaf blowers; repairing weather damage; various 60’s archive audio; melting ice, ski across snow, Minnesota forecasts on radio, in the car and on TV; Tornado chasing & test equipment; snow flakes landing on mic; squeaky tree; National Weather Service balloon launch; walkie talkie tones from my Science Museum workshop etc. Oh, and all temperatures in Fahrenheit. The result is a highly compressed Found Sound story, heard as a drifting voicemail message from the weather balloon. A hybrid documentary collected and edited outdoors, where it is designed to be heard while walking with headphones....so... go find a Walkman!” (Janek Schaefer) Alluvial has co-released this CD with the AudiOh! Room in a double fold out sleeve and accompanying full colour 24 page booklet that documents the whole of the project. An edition of 500 (original press release).
Vital Weekly, Netherlands, Frans de Waard
Our most beloved three arm turntablist Janek Schaefer is besides also a composer. He was invited by the American Composers Forum as a composer in residence. While staying in Minneapolis he decided upon doing a project with sound recordings made from the hostile weather conditions in that particular state. The sounds were recorded using weather balloons, adding also recording equipment to them, which included a mobile telephone. Furthermore he uses tornado detecting equipment, snow flakes landing on a microphone and radio and tv announcements of weather changes. All of this is cut and collaged together in this twenty one minute work, and Schaefer hastens to say that no post-processing of sounds was used here. The result is simply a fascinating journey of weather sounds. Sounds that we are all familiar with, as weather is always there, and no doubt many people are fascinated by it's sound: rain, thunder, wind - it's usually the conditions we don't like that produce the sound, strangely enough. Therefore a lot of the sounds you hear on this piece are very familiar sounds - but placed out of context, or rather in a new context, it becomes a fascinating piece of music. Plus the package holds an extensive full colour booklet, which documents the project. This project is by far the best Schaefer project I have encountered. Strong in it's concept and strong in its execution.
Ultra E-Zine, Belgium
You've got to give it to the man: while others are navel staring or knobtwiddling or waiting for some sound to happen upon them, Janek Schaefer is bursting with ideas. Where you'd thought that Fluxus and everything that came after it had turned almost every stone, this man keeps coming up with concepts that are so simple they excite you. Take the beauty of mail for instance. Schaefer puts a recording device in a package, and registers its journey through the world. What you hear may not be Miles or Mozart, but at least Mr. Schaefer tries to capture straight poetry, where others in his niche bore us to bits with pretentious high concept nothingness. Or take that whole deejay & vinyl rhetoric. Our man Schaefer lays his mecano aside, lets himself be amazed 'ˆ blanc' and builds a three armed turntable. Just to see what can be done with it. Let's keep those arteries open, shall we, and keep the juices of wonderment flowing! And so for the object at hand. "Weather Report" is not a tribute to Joe Zawinul & Wayne Shorter's mighty jazz/fusion outfit, but much rather a mini-cd which registers an unheard of aspect of our daily lives. The weather. And it's being reported in a plus-twenty-minute montage. Not just wet rain or windy air. But the whole shebang, from weather reports in the media (about tornados) over snow flakes landing an a microphone to to the sounds registered by recording equipment floating up on weather balloons. And with a great, full-colour 20-page booklet to go. Fahrenheit 451? Not really. Artefact? Yes. Wondrous? Too. A boring listen? Perhaps, if you don't allow for that ole 'poetry of reality' to enter your mind. Schaefer's recordings were made in Minnesota, USA, but I'm sure this mini-cd will also become a huge hit around Dogger, Viking, Moray, Forth and Orkney!
Frecuencia Electronica, Puerto Rico, Jorge Castro
This document is, in my very personal opinion, the most interesting and important document in Janek Schaefer's career. This is something I find myself saying after initial listenings to most of his albums. The concept, creative process and superb execution are described in the CD's 24 page booklet. This booklet contains a massive collection of pictures which document various trips by the artist to the USA state of Minnesota, where he was chosen as "McKnight Composer in Residence" by the American Composers Forum and commissioned to create this piece on their facilities (which turned out to be the outdoors rather than any sound lab). Minnesota was the perfect place to assemble "Weather Report", because it's location in the northern united states offers extreme climate conditions in the winter and summer (and in all seasons I would presume) which Janek documented in this recording. The result of these interesting experiments is a captivating listen all the way through. Personally, I think the best thing about this piece is the editing of the sound sources, because you can definitely make out Janek's very distinct composing style. His ideas, concepts and execution are amazingly singular and are stand outs in the field of sound art. This is an interesting listen for those who know and understand sound art, as well as those who don't. The booklet suggests to listen to it outdoors and with headphones on! GO!
Igloomag.com, USA, TJ Norris
At 21 minutes this project-based recording had Janek Schaefer traveling to Minnesota to work with local meteorologists and nature types. Most of what you hear on this neatly packaged affair are field recordings with open mic. There is the sound of inflation of a weather balloon, winds and birds, and the people recording the changes in temperature, etc. There is also a great full color booklet documenting the project including images of snowy, windy conditions, measuring devices and other charms of local color. Weather Report uses soundclips from local news and those reporting the changing conditions of the Twin Cities area randomly to illustrate the drama of the skies. The piece opens with these skies mid way through where thunder, lightning and its voiceover illustrators report to the inevitable hostile nature to the people. But the quiet after the storm is as balanced and important to the overall ambience here and Schaefer blends the chaos with quietude. Towards the very end there are what sound like some type of gun shots, are they hunters...do they have to shoot down weather balloons...was this a salute to the completion of the work? This is one of surely other documentary recordings to expect from this multimedia artist in the future
Fallt, Northern Ireland (GM)
Yet another concept-bending project... Armed with a dictaphone, a mobile phone and, I'm sure, various other 'low resolution' recording devices Schaefer set out to document, in as many ways as were to hand, everyday Minnesota weather - its monitoring, recording, forecasting, reporting and its effect on local Minnesotans. The result is packaged with a colourful booklet snapshotting the project. 'Weather Report' opens with a voice message sent from the recent past by a mobile phone suspended from a weather balloon. As the balloon inflates Schaefer's voice can be heard introducing the project, "Up, up and away!" he cries as it floats upwards buffeted by the breeze. Into earshot drift the sounds of a distant plane, a dog barking and birds twittering. In what follows nothing weather-related is left out. The unidentifiable and the commonplace - wind, ice underfoot, leaf blowers, snowflakes and rain (everything from drip-drip-drip to cats and dogs) - are intercut with local and archival TV and radio weather flashes. Mid track the blue/black sounds of a thunderstorm loom to form a kind of centre piece. Anticipation (Reporter: "That red donut is evidence of strong rotation in the low levels of the atmosphere...) and aftermath (Interviewer: "You were blown out through the wall?") are eventually joined by a veritable welter of weather-words uttered, it seems, by every weatherperson in Minnesota. The collage effect is further emphasised by Schaefer's use of time lapse material, recalling his wonderful dictaphone-in-a-package-through-the-post project 'Recorded Delivery'. As the composition ends Janek and friends are heard heading out to retrieve the dictaphone. They have guns. Shots ring out. The balloon bursts and the recording device parachutes to the ground. "End of message." An alternative soundtrack to a walk in your local park or down the street.
DALE LLOYD SEMPER CD (in conjunction with and/OAR) A19
Semper is Alluvial's first release of 2005 and is co-released with the and/OAR label. Seattle-based composer Dale Lloyd has collaborated in the past with people such as Yannick Dauby and Michael Northam, and has had work released by labels such as Bremsstrahlung Recordings, Staalplaat and Sirr.ecords. For the past 5 years, Lloyd has played a quietbut strong role in bringing new life to the notion of "environmental recordings as sound art" (or "Phonography") with the highly regarded compilations produced for Phonography.org, as well as other projects and activities. The first piece entitled "Semper", is mostly a quiet and contemplative work, yet it contains sprawling builds from near silent ebbs and flows to thunderous crescendos. Also heard are delicate field recordings and found objects transformed and woven into intricate electronic tapestries.The second and shorter piece titled "Magnesian Recumbit" is a slowly building ambient work with a unique sense of melancholy that makes fora perfect ending."For me, Semper basically illustrates a series of self-searching questions (with subtle epiphanies) followed by a somewhat enigmatic resolve or 'answer', of which I believe we have all encountered in our lives in one way or another."- Dale Lloyd
Vital Weeky 473 (Frans de Waard)
"In the world of field recordings, and the music made thereof, the name DaleLloyd should not be unknown, even when he so far released his work on MP3 and CDRs. This is I believe his first 'real' CD. It consists of the lenghty titlepiece and the shorter 'Magnesian Recumbit'. The soundsources listed as the usual 'field recordings, electronic sounds, toy xylophone, old coins and othermetallic and found objects'. It's hard to trace back the origin of the field recordings, save for some of the water and insect sounds, but most of the times,the computer is working overtime to process all the sounds into a nice ambient glitch mass. Densely layered with some the microphone quite close to the objects (a trick of trade Lloyd shares with people like Yannick Dauby or MNortham). The combination of the sometimes warm, natural sounds and the somewhat colder electronic sounds work in quite a nice way. 'Semper' is divided in smaller parts, each with it's distinct, own character. 'Magnesian Recumbit' is more of drone piece, with loops and layers of the metallic objects, working in a trance like way. The two pieces have a rather pastoral feel to it, it sounds quite solemnly. Two great works, pity the CD is rather short at that".
W I R E M A G A Z I N E #257 (JULY 2005, Jim Haynes)
Semper: Recapitulating the lowercase ethos previously established by Steve Roden and John Hudak, Dale Lloyd manipulates delicate textural events and subtle field recordings for a poetic sensibility that privileges passages of silence and a Zen-like attentiveness to sounds which might otherwise go unnoticed. This album is less of a cohesive body of work, more of a series of loosely related sketches that emerge from Lloyd's refined use of empty space. He runs everything through a variety of DSP techniques, resulting in plasticity countering the organic sounds of birds, insects, and closely observed gestures from old coins and other metallic found objects. The crackling ether from controlled feedback also grafts itself onto those natural elements, further distancing them from their original context. In all of their poetic restraint and well executed detail, the sounds of Semper beg for a larger narrative context to be fully realised.
PARIS TRANSATLANTIC (SEPTEMBER 2005, Massimo Ricci)
Thirty-three minutes and forty-four seconds of assertive and beautifully cultivated microscopic detail and great assembling mastery; Semper easily gets my vote as one of the best records of 2005. Dale Lloyd, who's revealing himself as a very talented composer in many ways (check out his recent Amalgam on Conv.Net Lab) brings together "field recordings, electronic sounds, toy xylophone, old coins and other metallic and found objects" in two intoxicating soundscapes in which thunder, rain, birds and insects fuse unconventionally with the eternal subsonics of a distant earthquake rumble in waves whose depth is felt under the muscle tissue. One can only imagine the painstaking process necessary to place every single attribute in the right light, but such meticulous attention to detail pays high dividends, as the slo-mo radiance coming out of the speakers throbs with vital resonance that's almost painful to experience.
GAZ-ETA Number 40, Poland, February 2006 (Tom Sekowski)
Environmental recording artist Dale Lloyd knows the true meaning of a field recording. His latest release "Semper" sees him quietly reinventing his micro-tonal approach. In reality, this brief [33 minutes] work is about the delicate detail of the sound, rather than the abstract sound itself. Lloyd forces the listener to pay close attention to every minute click, every minute field recording he has assembled here. By using various sounds [electronic] and those that are found in the natural world [old coins, xylophone and various found objects], he surrounds our world with an all-encompassing aural experience. Without a hint of a doubt, "Semper" is music that pulls you in with a magnetic force.
E / I MAGAZINE ISSUE 6, WINTER / SPRING 2006 (William S. Fields)
Semper: Co-released with Alluvial, Semper's two recombinant environmental recordings are specimens of Dale Lloyd's fealty to the art of phonography as an act of both documentary preservation and mimetic creation. The title composition, a daisy chain of discrete vignettes, arrives wrapped in sandpaper-and-rice textures soon shuffling the listener into habitats humid, convulsive and weather-stained. Semper's atmospheres retain traces of this same gusty front throughout the life of the piece, drenching its landscapes in moods reminiscent of Lloyd-collaborators like Kim Cascone and Francisco Lopez in hue and timescale. Dynamic controls and a gift for tone and color are Lloyd's strengths, but even at 33 minutes the muted, clustered frequencies and affected gravities wear thin, winded beneath the weight of too much dawn-or-dusk syncretism, too many mechanical commas to support its duration. Taken as a
compendium of grey days and unpopulated prairies, it remains a well-made and engaging listen that, nevertheless, leaves one positively aching for the occasional sunnier clime.
Auf Abwegen #35, Winter 2005 (Till Kniola)
Es gibt immer wieder spannende Ergebnisse im weiten Feld der field recordings. Immer starker wird in letzter Zeit die Frage diskutiert, wie in Zeiten der einfachen Verfugbarkeit aller moglichen Klange mit der Kontextlosung von Aufnahmen, gerade transkulturell, umzugehen sei. Dale lloyd umgeht auf Semper dieses Problem, in dem er seine Feldgerausche so stark manipuliert, dass Ruckschlusse auf den Kontext kaum moglich sind. Bzw. er arbeitet tatsachlich mit vermeintlich unpolitischen, weil menschenleeren Gerauschen: Windrauschen, Donnergrollen, Wasser (fur Fans ubrigens dringend empfohen: Lloyd's eigenes Feldaufnahmen-Label/Mailorder and/OAR!).
Yannick Dauby la rivière penchée LP (A18)
Alluvial’s newest release comes from French composer Yannick Dauby. Yannick may be best known for his collaborative work with mnortham (entrelacs) and Thomas Köner. We asked Yannick to do something for us in 2003, and what resulted is la rivière penchée. La rivière penchée is located near his home in Lyon. From what he has told me, there is a rock shelter-like structure on one of the banks of the river where he decided to collect these recordings. We have the pleasure of hearing richly textural compositions made up of recordings taken at the rivers’ banks, the manipulation of found objects, and some electronic elements. As one might expect, the record reflects a snapshot of a place-running water, stones, soil, metallic timbres, wind, rain, and even bats- all electronically altered so the sounds become something recognizable, but different. He has woven these sounds together into six pieces that span about 40 minutes. For some reason, we felt that the music found here is best suited for vinyl. Perhaps it is the organic quality of what Yannick does. The LP is on .180 gram black vinyl and housed in a gorgeous matte finished gatefold sleeve. Photography is from Yannick, and the front cover drawing is by Wanshuen Tsai. Strictly limited edition to 280 copies (original press release).
Vital Weekly 429, Netherlands, Frans de Waard
A small group of people concentrate on bringing drone music finding it's origin in field recordings as well as close miked recordings of controlled action, like rubbing wooden sticks or leaves. Mnortham, Seth Nehil, JGrzinich, Olivia Block and Yannick Dauby (or Jeph Jerman, Small Cruel Party and Giancarlo Toniutti to mention the older lot among them) are a few of them. Sometimes they work together on collaborative efforts. Yannick Dauby has released various works with Mnortham (as Entrelacs, a 7" on Drone Records) and one 3"CDR for And/Oar with Christophe Havard and several solo works. On this LP he is strictly concerned with field recordings and hand manipulated sounds. Electronic sounds don't seem to be playing a big role on this record, save maybe for some equalization of sounds. Bird calls are being looped and wind chimes recorded out doors. This kind of music is usually dense, hence the fact that it's part of the drone world, but also acoustic sounding, with more open ended sounds. The minimal aspect, almost frozen like a picture, is of course always present in this kind of music. Now I come to think of it, the artwork of this LP (and other releases of this kind of music) contains usually close up of landscape elements and resemble the music quite well. Yannick Dauby succeeded in producing a more than excellent LP, which fit a small but strong tradition.
Wire #248 October 2004, UK, (Jim Haynes)
(a joint review with the "Low Valley" CD on edition)
French sound artist Yannick Dauby describes his work in highly theoretical terms as a convergence of recording/playback technologies reflecting the natural soundscape. Dauby embraces the decontextualization which occurs for all sound production, not just field recordings. He attempts to emphasis technology's artificial constructs without sacrificing the natural sound quality from the source material. This methodology places Dauby in good company alongside Giancarlo Toniutti, Francisco Lopez, John Hudak, and mnortham, who has occasionally collaborated with Dauby. The very quiet Low Valley is one of two albums from Dauby to be published almost simultaneously. Its marked by whispers of gestural activity with the crackling of leaves and grains of sand being pushed around, accompanied by field recordings of rain and water situated far in the distance. La Riviere Penchee is considerably more active, with his numerous scrabblings evolving into dense hissings against electronic drones.
Auf Abwegen #35, Winter 2005 (Till Kniola)
Yannick Dauby schliesslich komponiert seine Feldgerausche derartig stark durch, dass von vornherein klar wird, dass die aussenwelt vor allem als akustische Basis herhalten soll. Nicht klar ist, ob Dauby die auf der wunderbar gestalteten LP (Klappcover!) nicht sogar selbst erst erzeugt hat, durch zum Beispiel Kettenrasseln oder Metallschaben. Unter den fragil knisternden Sounds liegt oft ein leicht schwebend-kreiselndes Gerausch, dass das ganze aus dem Strom schierer Alltagsgerausche heraushebt. Wunderbar!
The Lumbering Intransitive Dream of the Alial Straa CDr ALL 003
This release begins a series of releases for Alluvial in which we will be reissuing old cassette materials and other rarities. The packaging is simple, but attractive and available at a lower price. Each will be available for one year from its date of issue, which is indicated in each release. This particular project stems from the Orogenetic Collective of artists involved in many facets of sound, the physical arts, theory and installation. For this release, AS is Seth Nehil and John Grzinich. It is a more electronic work, rather than incorporating the usual field recording methods and manipulation of physical materials usually associated with them. At 57 minutes, it is a set of compositions which are primarily made up of long, shifting drones, very satisfying. Roughly 200 of these where printed (original press release).
Vince Harrigan (Manifold Records, USA)
The text/story/myth about what the Alial Straa is found on the card inside the jacket is great, I love it when releases have pointed, relevant literature that succeeds in directing my imagination as I listen to the work. Like some surreal Tolkien/Native American myth….Alial Straa is a collaborative venture of Seth Nehil and John Grzinich. You might remember Grzinich from a colab with Mnortham, Stomach of The sky to be exact. I love this stuff; organic, spooky, sheltered natural-ambient. Struck stones, wind, rustling leaves and groaning gritty ambient swells and waves. A recording that reads like a deep, dark river, currents changing, scenery changing, sounds steady and physical but subtly different in each channel and inlet. Put this right next to IAM Umbrella, Augur, maybe a Rapoon with no beats? Great stuff. In a basic brown sleeve with card inside.
Alial Straa Tunnels/Stairwell CDr ALL004
Our second AS reissue is another tape originally released by the Orogenetics Collective in a very small edition. This time, contributions come from Seth Nehil, John Grzinich, Michael Northam and Olivia Block. As the first is very smooth
with moving, shifting drones, this is more oriented toward filed recordings and improvised instrumentation from Block. Between the two, there is an excellent contrast apparent between the various recording techniques and sonic dynamics that this group of artists explore. Roughly 200 of these where printed (original press release).
Vince Harrigan (Manifold Records, USA)
Some great work is being done in the vast silence of this under-distributed, experimental frontier, particularly on cdr. Its like the taper underground of the 80's that involved Illusion Of Safety, Tietchens, Greif, Jeph Jerman and countless others is starting silently again but with new artists and perspectives. Seth Nehil and John Grzinich work with Mnortham on this one, a grey, naturalist work in two sections. Struck stones, rubbed sticks, pale, ragged instrumentation as minimal ornaments in the background. We go from lair to city, cave to tunnel, sky to stairwell in sound. All progression and change, but staying within a composed Jeph Jerman/His Masters Voice sound, natural and barely affected. Like being hypnotized by the wise ghosts of ancient animals, moving with them in spirit through the structures of humankind, feeling the smooth stone and concrete of sidewalls, nature badly transformed into temporary spaces. A hard one to describe, but one that promisesmany plays before its secrets even begin to be revealed.
Seth Nehil From Cloud To Seed LP ALL005
This is the first new release from Seth since 1998. Seth was part of a 1998 multimedia installation in Los Angeles at
which he presented a series of six drawings titled "Basic Materials" in addition to a tape concert of this composition. The work is a study of the origins of life, degeneration and decay- themes often explored in Seth's work. The composition is distinct and striking from the onset. He utilizes a vast array of sonorities to produce a flowing piece of quiet hums and cracklings accented with loud blasts of crinkling leaves, snapping wood and breaking glass. It is an interesting blend of
natural sounds, electronics and traditional instrumentation with contributions from mnortham, jgrzinich, Josh Ronsen, Olivia Block and Doug Easterly. Four of the original six drawings are reproduced on heavy, textured paper as a two part sleeve. It is a numbered edition of 300 (original press release).
Vince Harrigan (Manifold Records, USA)
The sound of bottles falling up stairs covered in mud and blankets. An ocean of mumbling blackbirds flying by…rivers of sand and teeth. This fantastic work of organic environments and natural ambient is immersive and tense., rich and crafted. It features sounds and instrumentation by Mnortham, John Grzinich and others. These lps are limited to 300 numbered copies, each with a double cover, two covers folded in on each other in other words. Looks like hand sketched charcoal art? I cant tell. Fantastic. One of those really cool collectible things that ten years from now someone will press to cd as a classic reissue.
Bob Morlock (www.bobmorlock.com)
Nehil is an american visual, performance and sound artist. He is strongly connected and collaborating with other artists working similarly with field recordings as J .Grinzich or mnortham (more info on these artists at kaon.org). On each side, three tracks of music shifting from chord-based drones to loud natural field recordings. The delicate mixing and rich tonalities are noticeable. Nehil manages to magnify our microscopic environment through his electroacoustic approach of natural sounds. Even fire cracklings and objects rubbing achieve a musical texture with his sound treatment. To compare with, the sound definitely reminds Organum and its calm/ambient works (without flutes however !!!).
augur a slender thread of silence CDr ALL006
Augur is Steve Brand, an artist based out of Kansas City. He has mostly released tapes and CDR's on his own. This one is of his very few recordings to have been issued to a wider audience. He often explores a wider range of sounds
and dynamics than other artists might. With this recording, he has chosen a quieter approach which brings to mind the work of Meelkop, Lopez and Lucier. The pieces are long and building with subtle changes and a wide variety of sounds- field recordings, found instruments and voice. That said, it is 76 minutes in length and one of his strongest works to date. Approximately 150 copies were produced (original press release).
Vince Harrigan (Manifold Records, USA)
Halted, startling natural concrete sounds, strained over a razor-thin environment of nothing. More of the airy, white, spacious blank page from the Augur arsenal. Tiny sounds and sometimes character-less bits and pieces strewn over a randonmly viewed landscape like bits of bark and dirt. Often a resonating tone pulls through the scene, like an affecting color trying to breathe life into dead things. Odd, hard to pin down. Has it's own flavor that doesn't lend itself to easy notice.
Richard di Santo (Incursion.org, USA)
These recordings were inspired by a statement made in a lecture by the Jungian scholar Robert Bly: "All great works of art contain a slender thread of silence." Steve Brand aka Augur has taken this statement and made it his central theme for this release on CDR by Alluvial Recordings. Composed using a variety of sound sources (location recordings, flutes, toy piano, chimes, tapes, microphones...), each piece begins in silence, and builds slowly on that foundation. In the first track, minimal tones, sparse clicks and crackles, and a deep drone create a cold atmosphere. The second track begins with all the quiet of a still and sullen night: crickets chirp, an owl passes by, the silence remains. Then slowly, out of the night, the sounds escalate and intensify, the chirping of crickets turns into the buzzing of bees, the tranquil setting comes to life with great intensity and darkness. Rumblings, shufflings, smooth frequencies, the sounds of objects being moved around, the soft cries of a kitten... these are what compliment the void of silence throughout these five intriguing recordings. These pieces are beautifully produced with subtle compositional touches, perfect at a low volume, but even better with the volume turned up. Following this release on Alluvial, Augur has just released another two records, also on CDR (and available from Soleilmoon). The work of an artist full of ideas and talent, this record leaves me very curious to hear more.
Daniel Menche October's Larynx CD ALL007
The first new full length release from Menche in more than two years. Here, Daniel presents five untitled pieces of powerful sonic continuity. From the beginning of the first track, we hear richly layered electronic drones that echo amid
buzzing, furious textures built around his signature, playful darkness. Over the entire hour, the intensity builds in a dense ebb and flow until the pinnacle is reached at the beginning of the last track- a single bell chimes and continues to grow into a massive, overpowering Zen- like hum. With this release, we are undoubtedly hearing one of Menche's finest moments thus far. A beautiful edition of 500 with artwork from Erik Stotik. Approximately 400 of these were available for sale (original press release).
Massimo Ricci (Touching Extremes, Rome)
What a beautiful record. Menche discards every colour except black, white and grey; puts his already excellent releases behind and presents us with almost one hour of ever-changing drone creations. What starts like water in a pan
becomes a slow, distorted rumble; dark vibrating frequencies are looped for a hellish eternity. Sound springs from unknown sources and you’re forced to live with it, like it or not. A tiny sun ray comes at the beginning of the final track, courtesy of metallic bell tolling, but then it’s treated as usual and looped to render it dark grey – again. Shockingly good stuff.
Vince Harrigan (Manifold Records, USA)
The most introspective thing i may have heard from Menche. October's Larynx slowly flashes into oblivion, like the droning, silenced wailing in a faroff canyon. Deep groans and tinkling myriads gather in the foreground of the listeners hearing. Things grow up, lean out and dissolve. Haunting, desolate, spooky. The running course of this disc makes it seem short, but so much packed into its length. Such is the temporal distortion of this dreamy, deathlike opus. Ambient? Yes, but very organic, seeming to still harbor the violent face of Menches work somehow....and always dark. Great artwork by the way. Like Edward Gorey, but not so whimsical.
NOTE: Daniel has made this release available on his blog for free- AIFF files.
Hands To Croatoan CDr ALL008
"If Cahokia was not a full fledged city, it was well on its way to becoming one. Some 200 earthen mounds, platforms and pyramids were spread across its seven square miles. In the core of the settlement was the largest of the pyramids, covering more than 14 acres, containing over 50 million cubic meters of earth, and rising more than 30 meters over the river flood plain. From its summit one can still gaze out upon a large open plaza encompassed by large mounds: flat topped pyramids, conical mounds and low lying earthworks. At its peak, Cahokia was a city of 10,000 and perhaps as many as 30,000 inhabitants, including priests, artisans, merchants, farmers and Kings. Its rulers were buried in sumptuous splendor in log- lined tombs with gifts of stone, shell and copper. One ruler was laid out on a cape made of
over 12,000 drilled and sewn beads. Around his grave were the remains of more than 60 other people, all killed to accompany the King into the afterlife. With its food surplus, stratification and dense settlement, Cahokia has the appearance of an important stage of early North American civilisation. Cahokia is located on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River just east of St. Louis, Missouri. More than 500 years ago, it was the center of Native American life" (Feder/ Park 1989:332-333). This is a reissue of a cassette from Jeph Jerman's own Animist Recordings. His Hands To project differs from more recent projects as Hands To uses electronic techniques to manipulate source material derived from the natural elements. In this case, field recordings from the Cahokia Complex that were collected by Steve and Jill Brand in 1997. It is a fascinating trip through Jeph's interest in sound culled from natural objects and his interest in animism, totemism, Native American culture and pre-history. Approximately 150 copies were made available (original press release).
Vince Harrigan (Manifold Records, USA)
Singular examinations of places and things in the Jeph Jerman style; dissonant, fourtrack humming and wind-shadows, sticks and footsteps across desert gravel, but cleaned up so every clank and rustle of weeds and sticks comes through. And it changes suddenly and completely many times, which is nice. Lots of different places here. You can almost smell the dust of some remote audio-archeological dig-site, Jerman as the conductor and explorer, piles of rocks and dead cacti all about. It is so hard to convey to the uninitiated what Jerman does, and how refreshing it is to hear something that has no regard for entertainment, but rather sets up a situation where each sound is appreciated on its own. How perfect it is to move into these spaces Jerman provides, these simple, strange, common and yet shamanist soundworlds. Croatan is ambient, but in the strictest sense, its all location/outdoor sound recording. With some human interaction.
animist quartets CDr ALL009
Another work from Jeph Jerman, this one previously unreleased. While projects like Hands To use electronic methods to manipulate field recordings and sounds from natural objects, animist quartets allows the natural objects used in the creative process to stand on their own. No electronic modifications are used with these recordings. The variety of sounds that Jeph (along with others here) can coax out of seeds, shells, pods and stones is truly fascinating. The compositions are wove in a rich tapestry that sounds like the earth gently vibrating in the middle of no where. Approximately 200 copies of this were produced (original press release).
Vince Harrigan (Manifold Records, USA)
Primitive runic characterizations and patterns salted over a clear sheet, the other side has text, the credits tell you that this is Jeph Jerman, playing these instruments: cowparsnip chime, sea shells, stones, driftwood, yucca flower stalks, pine cones...and so on, a ton of other natural objects. What it sounds like could be Hands To, but it seems to move around a lot more. A few minutes will be stones rolled around in a hand, a few minutes is sticks moved slightly. A few minutes of bamboo chimes and water. And the odd part of Animist Quartets is that I almost seem to hear multi-tracking in some pieces...like he has melted together a few different actions onto one piece. Very calm, very restful. I only partially try to understand each sound. And I am gratified by the period of enchantment where jerman puts me in a chair, in a backyard, in Arizona, watching three dopplegangers of him move slowly around the ground, manipulating different mounds of objects, each looking at the other from time to time and nodding as if they found some obtuse "groove". I just sit there and listen.
Tidal The Four Rivers CDr ALL010
This is a project of New York composer David Brownstead. This is his first release as "Tidal" aside from a privately released cassette from a few years ago. The concept behind these recordings are "The Four Rivers" as defined by
Japanese author, playwright and cultural icon Yukio Mishima. These rivers are the converging philosophies that Mishima chose to live by and illustrated so well in his considerable body of work. These recordings present moods- sonic meditations, to accompany the ideas present in Mishima's writing. David tends to use older, analogue equipment to record with. Here, he loops dark, gentle, ambient drones that are repetitive and quietly reflective. This is David's effort to
explore the complicated, strained life of the author and mirrors a part of his own personality and intense interest in Eastern Philosophy and Arts. Approximately 250 copies of this were produced (original press release).
Vince Harrigan (Manifold Records, USA)
Artist D. Brownstead invokes four ideas through four different tracks, each I think inspired by the Japanese writer and nationalist Yukio Mishima, who commited ritual suicide in 1970. The brooding, atonal submarine inflection of 'River of Writing', the first track, seem ominous even without these dieas. Indeed, it sounds like a river, a river at night..a very distant bell, so distant that it almost sounds like its outside my window, from across the street as i play this disc, tolls gently behind that soft rumble and caress. I proceed from this atonal stream into the barrier of 'River of Theater', which has a sublime, hawkish groan at periodic cycles beneath winds. Two more tracks simmer and move and call like klaxon dirges piercing the nightveil between this and the place of the dead spirits. If ever a piece of music had the power to raise those who have passed on, this is it. I can't wait to hear more Tidal, but for now, I'll be soaking in this great, haunting work for a while.
augur The Envy of Winged Things CDr A12
Augur, otherwise known as Steve Brand, has been releasing his own music on tape and CDR for sometime. Based in Kansas City, he has released around 10 CDR's. This body of work includes his first release for Alluvial, "A Slender Thread of Silence". He has also collaborated with Birds of Tin (Manifold label) and Jeph Jerman. Brand and Jerman have recently put together a startling double CD which may be among the finest compositions from either artist. Here, we find Augur in a much different mood than on "Slender". As is typical of his work, he composes in a variety of electronic styles, but always unmistakenly his own. "Envy" is harmonically more varied than "Slender". It is audibly louder, but similar in texture. "Envy" weaves delicately constructed tapestries of sound that have a unifying feel and a common theme. Here, Steve explores surrealism. Containing artwork from Steve, a small first edition is packaged in an envelope on high quality paper that beautifully reflects the mood of the release. For additional information, we highly recommend visting his website. Approximately 100 to 150 copies of this were produced. The first 50 came in a handmade paper sleeve with two inserts. The rest came in the "standard" brown Alluvial sleeve (original press release).
Vital Weekly 345, Netherlands, Frans de Waard
Joint Review with AUGUR - SACRED ENGINES (CDR-Private)
After last week's Re:Source vs Augur, here two releases by Augur themselves. 'Sacred Engines' is a self-released CDR. Augur is Steve Brand and he has various CDR releases on labels such as Pyhrric Victory, Solipsism and The Rectrix, aswell as Alluvial, which we also discuss here. The main interest of Augur seems to be in creating drone music of various kinds with various inputs. Using beside traditional instruments also found and handmade objects, toys, voice and field recordings, he creates interesting fields of repeating sound blocks, but at the same time also closely amplified objects which scratch, rub and which are slowly fed to effect boxes to add delay, reverb and other nice sound elements to come up with the almighty drone. Music for the head this is. Dark ambient with a strong touch of musique concrete. Due to it's primitive recording nature the sound is quite thick and a bit primitive. However that's no problem, it never sounds bad. For those who like zoviet*france,Beequeen, old Maeror Tri this is a place to be.The other release by Augur is on Alluvial. Here the six tracks are more open ended and the dynamics are stronger. Track three 'Ladder Hands, Flower-Fingers' is almost just a soft tinkling piano piece, that is barely audible. The drone is present here too, but always more spacious and more open. Drone on this release is more a means then an end, I guess. It's nice to see the difference between these two releases. From a point of liking one over the other, I can't say I a favourite. I think 'The Envy Of Winged Things' is of the two the more experimental, and the more innovative one. The sound is less raw, and more care has been given to the details of the pieces.
brain CDr A13
brain is composer Brian Hanson out of Salt Lake City, Utah. This is a project he started in 1991 with a performance at the Skozey Fetisch Festival, a part of the Utah Arts Festival. He has released three CDR's on his own, "brain", "errata", and "livebrain", all in extremely small editions. He also runs the "Absolute Elsewhere" radio show on KRCL 91 FM
out of Salt Lake City. Alluvial is proud to re-issue his first CDR, simply titled "brain". This work is, quite simply, one of the strongest and most pleasing we have heard in some time. The work has a consistency and flow that is sorely missed in much of what is released today, in our humble opinion. The densely layered sounds almost shimmer and float. Each fills all of the air in the room. These are mellow, subtly intense ambient pieces with rich, melting harmonics. We would dare mention some of the early work of the Hafler Trio or Zoviet France as a point of reference. Limited edition with full color photos from Brian. Check out his website. Approximately 100 to 150 of these were produced (original press release).
Vital Weekly #337, Netherlands, Frans de Waard
The information you get when you buy this release is kinda really nothing. You are learned that the band is called 'Brain' and the catalogue number is a13 and it's a release by Alluvial (there is a small catalogue inside) and that's it. I can report that Brain is one Brian Hanson out of Salt Lake City, who has been working as Brain since 1991, releasing three ultra limited CDRs, 'brain', 'errata' and 'livebrain'. This release on Alluvial is a re-issue of the first one. I really have no idea why his output is so small over the course of eleven years, but what is presented on this release is quite interesting. Brain's music is kinda like an electronic Hafler Trio, spiced with Zoviet*France electronics and a whole string of other ambient industrialists (Illusion Of Safety is another name that springs to mind). Although this work is indexed with 34 marks, it hears like one long work. Shimmering tones, abstract layers of sound, mostly dense, but very refined in playing. It easily meets the best work of the three names I mentioned to compare it with. A much ignored release that gets better everytime I play it.
THU20 Nancy/Het Archief CDr A14
Sometime around 1987, Peter Duimelinks, Roel Meelkop, Guido Doesborg, Jac van Bussel, and IOS Smoulders came together to create a live improvisation group that performed throughout Europe. The records, CD's, and tapes that the group released came in small editions on various labels that went relatively unnoticed in the States. One of those releases was the "Nancy/Het Archief" cassette originally released in an edition of 200 on the Japanese label, G.R.O.S.S. Tapes in the early 1990's. This brings together one of their finest collections of live performances, most notably, the entire performance in Nancy, France. This is one of their richest live performances with usual focus and clarity, particularly in regards to the field of musical improvisation. Long pieces are constructed with warm, flowing electronics and tape music that are beautifully intertwined. A top listening experience from one of the most underrated improv groups playing electronic music today. This edition includes the original liner notes, a great commentary from Frans de Waard who often recorded the group live, and a complete discography complied by Jac van Bussel. The discography includes not only musical releases, but also compilation appearances, live performances, and radio plays. Approximately 150 copies of this were produced. The first 50 to 75 came in a paper sleeve that was sealed with wax and stamped (original press release).
There is a Vital Weekly review out there somewhere, but for some reason, I cannot find it.