14829%Array | F.0015.0007
- May 1, 2002%Array | F.0015.0007
Regular subscribers will have noticed that %Array, not to mention Fallt,
has been silent since late 2001. We'd like to stress that this is due to
exceptional circumstances and the relative silence and seeming lack of
progress at Fallt in recent months is, we hope, at an end.
We've been struggling with ongoing hardware problems for some six months
now which have, needless to say, impacted badly on our schedules. Since
October, we've lost five computers - a G4 Desktop (once) and a G4 PowerBook
(four times) - and have, on several occasions, lost significant amounts of
data accumulated between archives.
Schedules are thankfully settling though and we're pleased to announce
that we'll be releasing several new projects over the coming months,
in addition to contributing to this year's Mutek 2002 Festival in Montreal.
Further details are available at:
Various Artists | invalidObject Series
"A remarkable document of a vibrant artistic community and a critical moment
in the evolution of digital music." (Philip Sherburne, The Wire/Grooves)
We're pleased to announce that the invalidObject Series was included in The
Wire's 2001 Rewind list. Feedback to the Series has been overwhelmingly
positive with over 250,000 downloads made in the four months the Series was
available in 2000/2001. The Series received full page reviews in, among
others, The Wire, Fader and Grooves magazine.
"Impressive!" (Rob Young, Editor, The Wire)
Limited copies of several of the CDs remain and we will be offering a free
CD with every three CDs purchased throughout May. Orders via Fallt from the
Fallt designers Fehler have recently completed the initial beta [2.1 C7] of
the new Bremsstrahlung Recordings website. Based on Apple's early Macintosh
Operating System it features low system load: raw .html and 100% black and
white .gifs, all < 8 K
The site features a 'Pixel Gallery' curated by Fehler with one-bit works by,
among others, Alorenz [Ritornell, Staalplaat], Fehler [Fallt, BiP-HOp],
Qubo Gas [DAT Politics] and Taylor Deupree [12k/L-NE]. Future galleries by
Otaku Yakuza and others will be uploaded soon.
The site will be featured in Leander Kahney's forthcoming book 'Cult of
Macintosh' and will be covered in HOTWIRED in the coming fortnight.
For further details, check out:
Nosei Sakata (*0) | 0.000 [Mu Label, CD]
Mu sum up this CD in a few concise words: "you can't hear anything".
You can't, except for the two 'test' tracks which bracket the CD's silent
majority. Both use basic 1kHz tones, gradually warbling out of phase
('test1') and blending left-right pulses back into one ('test2'). That's it;
simple confirmation that your equipment and your ears are working. The rest
is all infra- and ultra- inaudible.
What's the point? Sakata's intention appears to be to draw our attention
to the idea of Nothing or the appearance of nothing when there is, in fact,
Something. Fifteen of the seventeen tracks are out of reach to our
senses - perhaps even to our audio equipment (almost certainly true of
mine). This unhearing listener was drawn to these 'sensible' limitations and
perhaps made more aware of his own stimuli-needy impatience. You might
ponder something deeper, meditate, pray or simply read a book undisturbed.
At the very least '0.000' offers an opportunity to be still.
Apparently a remix CD is in the pipeline with contributions by the likes of
Bernhard Gunter, Richard Chartier and Stephan Mathieu. Whether they choose
to multiply, add, subtract or even divide by zero the results are likely to
be no less challenging.
Massimo | Hey babe, let me see your USB... [Mego, 3" CD]
A child of the digital revolution, Massimo is without question one of
Italy's finest proponents of glitch-noise-comedy. 'Hey babe, let me see your
USB... and I'll show you my FireWire' (to give it its full title) consists
of twenty-plus minutes of utterly compelling melody-distortion allegedly
created "with just one trumpet".
Picking up where his previous invalidObject Series contribution left
off, Massimo assaults the senses with the relentless sounds of impending
information collapse. With track titles like 'Fierce Sailor' and 'She male
808' packaged within some fairly graphic graphic design, nothing is left to
The music is no less obscene. 'Bukkake' features wave after wave after wave
of full throttle DSP, mercilessly saturating the listener, while
'Waffenbend' (track locations are arbitrary) settles into a pulverising
groove as discrete sheets of digital hiss cascade over damaged pulses,
clicks and tones.
The closing track 'Microsound and Glitch and Cuts Can Only Lick my Mafia
Ass!' (18.30 - 20.30) is pure information warfare of the
tongue-firmly-in-cheek variety. A digital soundclash between two of the best
musicians working within .microsound's rapidly imploding genre - Massimo
vs. Pimmon - it comprises two-plus minutes of crowd-dispersing +20 db audio
overload. Looping a fragment from Pimmon's 'Assembler' under a barrage
of DSP abuse, the marriage is perfect, leaving you wishing there was more
than this 3" CD can hold.
Various Artists | Ringtones [Touch, CD]
As our attention spans shorten and our ability to focus for any
significant length of time collapses in on itself with every fragmentary
advert, the opportunities to explore shortform increase. Touch take
things to logical extremes with 99 contemporary ringtones; the perfect
accompaniment to our hyperdistilled digital lifestyles.
If you've ever suffered synthesised versions of S Club 7 within the tight
confines of claustrophobic commuter spaces, now is the opportunity to savour
the sweetness of revenge by inflicting a Pita ringtone on your fellow
travellers. Clocking in at four seconds, 'ichiban' is typical, albeit short,
Pita material: mangled, melodic, certainly attention grabbing.
Gilbert & George, Ryoji Ikeda and Fennesz also contribute, sitting
comfortably alongside less established names in what amounts to a refreshing
snapshot of contemporary sound (art) with the added benefit of possible
future functionality. Disappointingly, Thomas Brinkmann is the only musician
to contribute an actual ringtone (the rest being ultrashort compositions or
Brinkmann's 'score' - 18 lines of code with, I suspect, one typesetting
error - renders a minimal loop which, when keyed into your mobile,
veers from 40 BPM funk to 225 BPM jungle depending on your choice of tempo.
As the only composition to truly explore the narrow dynamic range of the
mobile phone its interactive approach suggests the possibility of doing
away with the CD altogether, an avenue that would be interesting to see
explored further via the Touch website...
With so much on offer, it's difficult to pick personal favourites, but
one contribution stands out: DJ Guacamole's 'A Concise History of
Californian Rock Music in Under 5 Seconds' - the essence of music for the
easily distracted 21st Century mind.
Various Artists | Nanoloop [Disco Bruit, CD]
While still a student at art school in Hamburg artist/musician/developer
Oliver Wittchow created Nanoloop - a software synthesizer and sequencer for
Nintendo's ubiquitous GameBoy. Drawn by the GameBoy's widespread
availability - over 100 million have been sold worldwide - and the special
quality of its integrated soundchip, Wittchow developed a software/hardware
interface to coax 'music' from the GameBoy.
What started as an interesting exercise has now been repurposed by Hamburg's
Disco Bruit to create Nanoloop 1.0, a fascinating compiliation which
showcases the results of a variety of artistic approaches to the challenges
and constraints of the GameBoy's inevitably limited musical palette.
Wittchow opens with 'Nanoloop', 02.44 of reduced-format shudders and
stutters which rapidly collapse into the typically humorous, organised chaos
of DAT Politics' 'Richoux'. Pita's 'Nloopcbn' follows, characterised as ever
by the piercing sounds of corrupted data flows and modem-failure maximalism,
underpinned by an ultra-condensed rhythmic workout.
It's a testament to the calibre of the artists involved that each imposes
their own style and distinctive musical flavour onto the GameBoy despite its
limitations, and it's this that makes the compilation so appealing. In a
landscape increasingly characterised by musical similarities, Nanoloop 1.0
confounds expectations and offers some refreshing musical perspectives.
NanoLoop 2.0 is eagerly awaited.
[Cf. Electric Family | MarioPaint]
Frans de Waard, Steve Roden, Howard Stelzer, Alejandra Salinas and Lutz
Bauer | aenviron:one [Aesova, 3" CDR]
Aesova spoil us with this little collection of strung-together field
recordings. We know who the artists are but nothing more; no locations,
times of day, artist's brief nor, indeed, knowledge of who did what.
Thus the sounds stand alone, divorced from visual and other contextual
The recordings are plain (closer to lo- than to hi-fidelity) but are,
nonetheless, rich and complex and full of the unexpected. Each is given
ample space. The transitions are gradual rather than jarring and serve
to generate a gentle forward propulsion and a shifting point of focus.
I hesitate to catalogue every sound (such as I can identify it) but I
do think it is worth singling out one recording toward the end in which the
natural rhythms of some highly idiomatic speech and the sudden
intervention of a ringing mobile phone puncture the hubbub of a busy street.
A moment of real beauty - perhaps not that dissimilar to the many we filter
out every day. File under Surround Sound.
AGF | Head Slash Bauch [Orthlorng Musork, CD]
23 shortform files by Antje Greie-Fuchs, 'Head Slash Bauch' is a shadow
of 'Filesharing' the latest multi-format (online/offline) release by German
duo Laub, of which Greie-Fuchs is one half. Both releases develop and
explore similar themes and their common basis is evident, yet 'Head Slash
Bauch' extends into somewhat darker territories.
AGF's lyrics - if they can be called lyrics - are a seamless amalgamation
of texts and code, spoken gently over an incessant chatter of machine noise
and ever-present hiss. A peculiarly post-twentieth century polyglot,
Greie-Fuchs puts the idiosyncratic lyrics down to a recent period of near
constant immersion in computer manuals and code.
The results certainly reflect this - a stream-of-artificial-intelligence
sentences unravelling - unusual, but never sounding forced: "BODY... BGCOLOR
= RED... SLASH = GREEN... BLOCKQUOTE... BLOCKQUOTE..."
Throughout, AGF's breathy vocals reverberate under static and the
ever-present flow of data. 'Implus' buzzes to a simple looped refrain before
cascading into the distended loops of 'Suba +++' and 'Shumine'. Tracks
collide seamlessly, the sounds of compiler errors and buffer underruns,
skips and pauses... with the CD reaching a momentary crescendo at 'Mandeln',
whose precise phrases slip over each other falling in and out of phase
before crashing again into digital imperfection.
And perhaps this is the point - that so-called hard data, black and white is
inescapably imprecise, grey - and that hidden amongst the thousands
and thousands of lines of code that surround us are inevitable flaws in
which lie a certain, undeniable appeal.
740 CHARACTER ASCII ART
This month's ASCII Art is excerpted from 'Sinclair ZX Spectrum BASIC
Programming' by Steven Vickers (First Edition 1982, Copyright Sinclair
Research) and features a simple program designed to play the funeral march
from Mahler's first symphony. [Added distortion by Otaku Yakuza]
10 PRINT "Mahler | First Symphony"
20 BEEP 1,0: BEEP 1,2: BEEP 5,3: BEEP .5,2: BEEP 1,0
30 BEEP 1,0: BEEP 1,2: BEEP 5,3: BEEP .5,2: BEEP 1,0
40 BEEP 1,3: BEEP 1,5: BEEP 2,7
50 BEEP 1,3: BEEP 1,5: BEEP 2,7
60 BEEP 1,7: BEEP 1,8: BEEP 5,7: BEEP .5,5: BEEP .5,3: BEEP .5,2: BEEP 1,0
70 BEEP 1,7: BEEP 1,8: BEEP 5,7: BEEP .5,5: BEEP .5,3: BEEP .5,2: BEEP 1,0
80 BEEP 1,0: BEEP 1,5: BEEP 2,0
90 BEEP 1,0: BEEP 1,5: BEEP 2,0
PLAYLIST [Delayed 2001 Rewind]
Each issue we ask one of our contributors to share their current playlist
with us. This issue we're pleased to feature two best of 2001 selections by
%Array contibutors CM and GM.
CM @ %Array
AGF | Head Slash Bauch [Orthlorng Musork]
Alejandra and Aeron | The Tale of Pip [Lucky Kitchen]
¥ | . [1,024]
Bjork | Vespertine [One Little Indian]
Asmus Tietchens & David Lee Myers | Flussdichte [Disco Bruit]
Wobbly | Regards [Alku]
Herbert | Bodily Functions [Studio !K7/Soundslike]
Stephan Mathieu | frequencyLib. [Ritornell]
Stephan Mathieu & Ekkehard Ehlers | Heroin [Brombron]
Fennesz | Endless Summer [Mego]
GM @ %Array
Fennesz | Endless Summer [Mego]
Rafael Toral | Violence of Discovery and Calm of Acceptance [Touch]
Robert Lippok | Open Close Open [Raster-Noton]
rsundin, Steve Roden & Ekkehard Ehlers | invalidObject Series (default),
(for) & (this) [Fallt]
Oren Ambarchi | Suspension [Touch]
Stars of the Lid | The Tired Sounds of... [Kranky]
Marcus Schmickler | Param [A-Musik]
Mouse on Mars | Idiology [Domino]
To Rococo Rot | Kolner Brett [Staubgold]
DAT Politics | Sous Hit [Digital Narcis]
All the 256 combinations of two 8-bit bytes
All the 65,536 16-bit words
Thanks to all those who contributed to this issue of %Array, in
particular: Gordon McEwen, P & R @ Mego, Ed Benndorf, Michael @ Aesova,
Otaku Yakuza, Angela Lorenz and Fehler.
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