Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sonic portraits

want these albums described below. They're on sale at Stormy Records. Maybe I should get off their mailing list; its too tempting. That being the case, I'll pass it on.

The photographs are Jeff Wall's "A Sudden Gust of Wind (After Hokusai)" and Hiroshi Sugimoto's "North Atlantic Ocean-Cape Breton Island." These aren't the album covers, just images by the photographers who inspired the music. I love the idea of music made in contemplative response to photography....

Specification Fifteen Line US CD $14.99 LINE is proud to present the first full-length collaboration by Richard Chartier and Taylor Deupree since 1999's Spec. (12k). For this collaboration, sound artists Richard Chartier and Taylor Deupree were invited by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, to create a new live work inspired by the Seascapes series of renowned Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto on the occasion of his retrospective exhibition. The result is this live recording, Specification.Fifteen. This work premiered on March 30, 2006 in front of the curved panoramic window of the Museum's Lerner Room as the sun set across the city1s skyline. Specification.Fifteen evokes the stillness and opposing yet related spaces of Sugimoto's Seascapes, which suggest infinitesimal change and variation under a seemingly uniform surface. Mystery of mysteries, water and air are right there before us in the sea. Every time I view the sea, I feel a calming sense of security, as if visiting my ancestral home; I embark on a voyage of seeing.

For Line US CD $14.99
This Alva Noto CD brings together disparate recordings created throughout the last four years, unified under a theme of dedication. All nine studies share the history of being made specifically for someone or for a project that for one reason or another remained open ended. 'Wall Anfang' for example, opens with the voice sample 'there must be a reason why it is so clear in my mind.' When we realize the person speaking is pioneering contemporary Canadian photographer Jeff Wall, we may understand the rising high tone that introduces the track as the imitation of a photo-flash warming up to be triggered. The track was originally prepared for a documentary about Wall, who became famous for his large scale light boxes that cast white light evenly through his photographs. Like this balanced light, the track presents a purity of thought, that spirals inside and out, the voice of Wall breaking only impartially this conjecture of sound, while adding an atmosphere of introspection and study to the piece. The percussive, almost marimba-like sounds of the track 'jr' echo the woodcutting of Japanese printmaker Katsushika Hokusai, (whose work Wall allegorized in his photograph A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai),1993). The stark, poised three point intervals of sound bring to mind the intricate and exquisitely considered compositions of Hokusai's style of Ukiyo-e pictures of the floating world. Jhonn Balance's premature death in 2004 gave way to multiple dedications to his life and music by people who took influence from his activities in Coil. The track 'odradek' was originally prepared for the tribute record ...It Just Is (In Memoriam: Jhonn Balance). Nicolai worked with Balance when commissioning him for the award-winning release 20' to 2000 a CD set for the last 20 minutes of the year 1999. These diverse engagements come to rest within this release. Like the image that seals the font cover of the CD, that depicts liquid oscillating with various frequencies, we are reminded that sound can give form to image and to thought and that it may continue to resonate in absences, particles, or processes until a point of final closure.

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