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  • Christopher Murphy
    Jan 1, 2003
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      %Array | F.0015.0010


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      NEWS


      %Array

      One of our most popular publications is our periodical %Array - a mix of
      news, reviews, charts and ASCII Art. When we first established it,
      we hoped to publish it monthly, but we've been struggling to maintain a
      bi-monthly /quarterly schedule since, due to pressure of work.

      With a view to restoring the monthly schedule we recently compiled a core
      team of contributing writers to assist in %Array's production. This issue
      is the result of their hard work. We hope to return to the monthly schedule
      over the next couple of issues and have uploaded past reviews to the Fallt
      website in addition to publishing additional, non-emailed reviews.

      Past %Array reviews - in handheld friendly format, optimised for mobile
      devices (via Avantgo, www.avantgo.com) - are available here:

      http://www.fallt.com/array


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      10(10/2002) = 100(+)

      2002 was an interesting year musically, with no shortage of works - both
      published and unpublished - arriving at Fallt. Casting a backwards
      glance we asked ten Fallt contributors and collaborators to shortlist their
      ten favourite releases from the past year. Contributors include: Pimmon,
      Richard Chartier, Taylor Deupree, Alejandra and Aeron, Fehler, si-cut.db and
      Stephan Mathieu.

      100(+) works, all worth exploring, are available here:

      http://www.fallt.com/10


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      REVIEWS

      Ian Andrews | Ceremonial [Fallt, CDR]

      Ian Andrews is a Sydney based artist who has been producing film, video
      and sound works since 1981. Lately his work has branched into Flash
      with the generative audio/visual compilations 'ether-1' and 'ether-2' and
      his 'narrowband' online album 'Radiohack' (http://radioscopia.org).
      'Ceremonial' is his first printed CD album under his own name and the
      inaugural release on Fallt's 'Ferric' burn-to-order series of CDs.

      Having listened to 'Radiohack's' (self-)composed sputter, my expectations
      were duly set only to be wrong-footed by the driving rhythms and easy
      fluidity of 'Ceremonial'. Truer to say that it glides like mercury; take
      'Gynoecium', 'Working the Hole' and 'Andevoranto' and file under Propulsive
      Dub. Andrews also uses melody; 'Da' is in the same vein as the former but
      smoother, flirting with pop-lite inflections and easy listening vocals.

      But for all 'Ceremonial's' aerodynamic sleekness not much is left unflecked
      by digital grit and off-centre interventions. 'Departure', slower and
      grittier than most, takes things under water and ticks over on slapped bass
      twang. Finally, with a hint of Vladislav Delay circa 'Entain', 'Jaffa' burns
      slowly, its chords rippling in the middle distance whilst we view in a
      grainy photo or through a smudged lens the memory of a picnic in a park when
      birds were singing and glasses chinked convivially.

      Well paced and thoroughly immersive.

      [GM]


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      Fennesz | Field Recordings [Touch, CD]

      Not field recordings per se, rather an attempt to cast the spotlight
      onto some of Fennesz' other, perhaps less well known, activities -
      particularly his remixes - and cast a backwards glance over several notable
      contributions to compilations that might otherwise have slipped beneath
      the radar.

      The reproduction of his critically acclaimed 'Instrument' EP (originally
      released on 12" vinyl on Mego in 1995) is reason alone to own this
      compilation. As if that weren't enough, Touch have generously drawn together
      a host of remixes and contributions to a number of compilations making
      'Field Recordings' an indispensable release.

      'Menthol', from 'Clicks & Cuts Vol. 2', shimmers and throbs in true Fennesz
      fashion - heat haze electronics, scattered tonal fragments suspended
      in molten glass. 'Betrieb', remixed from Ekkehard Ehlers' album of the same
      name, is four minutes of swirling chords, distended and set atop low end
      buzz. 'Surf', from Ash International's 1997 compilation 'Decay', a
      shuddering cascade of multi-timbral hiss unwinding slowly but surely...

      Fennesz' restrained electronics are the digital equivalences of Morton
      Feldman's gently-unfolding aural soundscapes or Mark Rothko's captivating
      canvasses. He resists the urge to over-produce, building careful
      compositions which are beautifully understated. His light touch, nuanced
      ebbs and flows, and distinctive voice unquestionably seductive.

      Closing with 'Codeine', his contribution to the remix/version album
      accompanying Stephan Mathieu and Ekkehard Ehlers' 'Heroin' re-release on
      Orthlorng Musork, is perfect. Musical narcotic you'd willingly become
      addicted to.

      [CM]


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      John Hudak | Birds and Reeds [Aesova, 3" CDR]

      During this fading year the music of New York based artist and composer
      John Hudak became a favourite listening experience for me. A pioneer in the
      field later labelled '.microsound', Hudak has been actively developing his
      musical language since 1985 in addition to creating installations for white
      cubes, public spaces and the virtual rooms of the world wide web and
      radio.

      What becomes immediately striking is the clarity in his work: all of Hudak's
      music I know grows from one single, small source of audio, often acoustic
      events captured en plein air. His processing of material seems to focus on
      magnifying small, but evident details to the point where those hidden sounds
      become a world of their own, inviting the listener to wander around, forget
      oneself and probably get lost until one comes to the point where you
      suddenly recognise where you are - in a field of 'tall grasses', looking at
      the ever changing sky from underneath the mirroring surface of a 'pond', or
      having the radio send up coded signals 'from where I am'.

      'Birds and Reeds' seems to come from the opposite direction. Based on
      recordings by Regina Beyer made at different ecological areas of a closed
      landfill in Staten Island we obviously hear birds, reeds and the wind in a
      landscape. But this landscape seems to be formed of tin foil, the birds seem
      to be part of a slowly spinning metal mobile. Compared to his other
      releases, Hudak allows his source material to be itself, but nevertheless in
      its strange concreteness the music seems like reverbations from another
      time, another place than this, like a field recording engraved on a wax
      cylinder.

      'Birds and Reeds' presents one track of twenty minutes duration and yet
      again this little sounding object finds itself spinning in my room for
      hours and hours. Hudak's musical work is one of a very pure and therefore
      difficult kind. Once you've found your way in however, it is highly
      rewarding, probably even addicting.

      [SM]


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      Pure | Noonbugs [Mego, CD]

      'Noonbugs', by the Austrian multimedia artist Pure, is a near 60 minute long
      cinematic experience in sound. Opening with insect-like sounds - that
      recur throughout and contribute to the overall feeling of the work - it is
      mainly a dark melancholic dirge with foreboding orchestral drones, sounds
      like water drips, and even a woman's chorus.

      At its mid-point we have a reprieve from the heaviness with a bell-like
      sound - a state of suspension and limbo that leads to a rhythmic
      environment. More textures take over, another set of rhythms, ending with a
      texture very much like the one in the beginning.

      'Noonbugs' is like a film without a story, parts of which can be listened to
      as background, but with other parts underlying an unseen drama. The fact
      that this work is so much like the score for a film makes 'Noonbugs' an
      exercise in visual imagination, and certainly a fitting soundtrack for the
      present state of things in the world... apocalyptic.

      A sound and video artist, as well as a lecturer on object oriented computer
      language programming (Max/MSP/Jitter), Pure will be touring Scandinavia in
      early 2003.

      [JH]


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      tu m' | Blue in Green [Aesova, 2 x 3" CDR]

      Nature, organic, might constitute the underlying theme for the excellent
      'Blue in Green' by Italian duo tu m'.

      tu m' seem to fit best in the world of loosely structured, abstract,
      glitch-based electronics similar to works by well known and recognised
      artists like Pimmon, Motion and, at moments, Richard Chartier. 'Blue in
      Green' appears focused on the theme of nature, but remains sensitive to past
      accomplishments including their recent release for French label Cut, '01'.

      Comprising two 3" CDRs - one tilted 'Blue', the other 'Green' - and with a
      total play time of thirty eight minutes and ninety eight seconds, the
      average track time is around seven minutes. Each track moves the listener
      through various sonic fields of textured noise and rhythms. Expect to hear
      soft tones, organic rhythms and soft field recordings lovingly processed
      with an exact ear for detail.

      Overall tu m' manage to balance a wide variety of sounds, rhythms, textures,
      tones, noise and silence into a pleasant freeform set of tracks that
      place the viewer into a tiny active world that feels like a spring day after
      the rain out in the countryside.

      [SA]


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      Stephan Mathieu | Die Entdeckung Des Wetters [Lucky Kitchen, CD]

      The first part of Touch - a work consisting of four parts: 'Into', 'Love',
      'Inside' and 'Touch' - 'Into', creates an atmosphere that reminds me of when
      I once visited Prague and travelled from church to church, viewing the
      various interiors of the individual churches. Occasionally there would be an
      organ playing music prior to a church service, that seemed to be playing
      themes and variations on a simple melody.

      Whatever is making the sound in all these pieces seems to have the quality
      of glass when you fill a crystal goblet with water, dip your finger in,
      and rub it around the top edge of the glass to get a steady tone. In similar
      fashion, 'Into' creates a contemplative/meditative mood.

      The second part, 'Love', sounds like the first piece turning in on itself,
      folding, like one kneads dough... Different parts meet different parts, but
      always remain a part of the whole. The same sound source seems to be used
      throughout these four pieces. 'Inside', is close in feeling to the first
      piece, with the addition of some sounds that remind me of air, under
      pressure, escaping intermittently. A calming sound. I couldn't help thinking
      of a factory of some sort, where something is being made with a machine over
      and over again.

      The concluding part, the title track, shares the qualities of the first
      three pieces, with the addition of the feeling of the sounds warmed to the
      texture of a string section: cellos. Composed in July 2001 as an
      accompaniment to a glass exhibition held in an ancient glass factory in
      Meisenthal, France, 'Touch' is now part of a permanent exhibition there.
      The four pieces were played back through a small four channel speaker setup
      in auto-repeat, which I'm sure is a perfect environment for listening to
      them.

      'Die Entdeckung Des Wetters' has a heavier sound, like that of the
      mechanical processing of something... Very meditative again, but flatter and
      more drawn out than 'Touch', it contains a more omnipresent drone with
      little delicate things being done in the distance. It is suitably
      permanently installed in, as it was specifically created for, an old
      ironworks, wherein hard coal was transformed into coke by means of baking in
      hot ovens for 18 hours. The original loop of 70 minutes was played back
      through a four channel system placed in the cokeries area of the ironworks.

      [JH]


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      O.Lamm | My Favourite Things (Remixes) [Active Suspension, CD]

      Having already released a few gems on France's excellent Active Suspension
      label over the past few years, Olivier Lamm has slowly been making a name
      for himself, and rightly so. A computer musician who loves to deconstruct
      everything from obscure Japanese pop music to classical symphonies, you know
      you're just asking for trouble by having the likes of Steve Roden, Hypo,
      Alejandra & Aeron, Team Doyobi, and Blevin Blectum remix work like this.

      Coming to the studio with a palette of sound that will keep you guessing at
      every turn, this remix CD can be compared to a couple of hyperactive
      children let loose in the world's biggest music library with a couple of
      samplers. Everything and the kitchen sink flies by, allowing just enough
      time to recognize it before another sound takes its place.

      Among the more interesting tracks: Noak Katoi's version of 'No medley, no
      fadeout' which sounds like a running collage of a film projector and
      microphone noise; Ms. Blectum's remix of 'bLammo, OverloDenied' which merges
      pretty glitched out chords with warped tape loops; and Erich Zahn's remix of
      'mnLi' that really pulls out all the stops with a fantastic mix of car
      alarms, hip-hop, CR-78 breakbeats and clarinet (!).

      Chalk up yet another excellent and interesting release from one of the most
      dynamic and consistently impressive labels coming out of France today. If
      you're the kind of person that loves a little cut-and-paste pyrotechnics in
      your laptop tomfoolery, then this is something you should most certainly get
      your ears around.

      De-constructed pop music never sounded this much fun.

      [OS]


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      Ryoji Ikeda | op. [Touch, CD]

      It will be no surprise to those familiar with Ikeda's sound work to hear
      that his new release begins on a long suspended high frequency note,
      but it will be immediately apparent that instead of this being another fine
      collection of (what I jokingly term) the 'spatia-minima hearing
      test-tronics' that he is well known for, this appears to be a very promising
      next stage of works involving acoustic instruments exploring similar
      territory.

      Most who are familiar with Ikeda's previous work will find this new release
      of compositions for string trio and quartet to be a seemingly logical
      continuation of the sonic territory he has acutely explored before with
      electronics. One difference some may find between the electronic works and
      the string pieces is that they might evoke more emotion in some listeners,
      whereas the electronic works stimulated only the intellect. Nevertheless,
      some will still find 'op.' to be austere, cold, and only slightly warmer
      than the electronic works, due in part by the string instrumentation.

      This release presents 3 opuses - hence the title - and one 'prototype'
      version of the first work entitled 'op. 1 for Strings'. All in all, I
      personally find that these lovely, elegiac and thought-provoking works
      accomplish what many a classically trained modern composer has not been able
      or inclined to do: sustain and shift long meditative/contemplative passages
      throughout the entire duration of their compositions without feeling the
      common and somewhat academic need to display disruptive outbursts of atonal
      tempi spasms.

      Perhaps this is due, in part, to Ikeda not being a classically trained
      virtuoso musician or composer? Perhaps classical music, as a genre, will
      experience regeneration in a new generation of untrained composers
      who aren't so steeped and entrenched in academic tradition? Ikeda's works
      give me some hope, at least.

      [DL]


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      ? | ? [Alku, CDR]

      Periodically a surprise package arrives from Barcelona based Alku
      recordings. Invariably a non-descript brown envelope, its contents are
      anything but faceless, more often than not humorous parcels of fun.
      Today's package features a faceless yellow cardboard sleeve containing an
      unmarked CDR with 10 two minute tracks and an A2 poster with giant-sized
      text not dissimilar to that found at Alku's gloriously minimal website
      (http://personal.ilimit.es/principio).

      A self-confessed 'home label' - only releasing works on CDR - Alku have
      nonetheless amassed a wealth of talent including, among others, Pita,
      Merzbow, Wobbly, Beige and 2002 Prix Ars Electronica Winner Yasunao Tone,
      whose 'Man'Yo Wounded 2001' was this year's Digital Musics Category Winner.
      Perhaps Alku's most intriguing releases are those where they invite
      musicians to contribute to a compilation that, more often than not, involves
      conforming or reacting to a tightly defined brief.

      I can't be sure who made what, but I'm happy it's that way. Like The Wire's
      Invisible Jukebox, half the fun's in the listening and guessing. At a rough
      guess I'd say: Track 1, perhaps Wobbly or Beige? Track 2, almost certainly
      the distinctively virulent strains of Evol, (I love those digital insect
      whines...). Track 3, comfortably distended melody, but who is it? Track 4,
      the unmistakable sound of the Macintosh' built-in text-to-speech software;
      as for the artist, I haven't a clue...

      Track 5, pinprick audio - delicate fragments. Track 6, distorted melodies
      sitting on top of decentred rhythms, again Wobbly or Beige? Track 7, sheets
      of carefully modulated noise, very nice, but I'm at a loss to identify the
      culprit(s). Track 8, minimal scribbles again (?). Track 9, Pimmon perhaps (I
      recognise some samples here). Track 10, scroll-wheel shuddering pitch
      modulated pop.

      The game could go on for hours (in twenty minute blocks), suffice to
      say it's a lot of fun and I can highly recommend it. Now, if I could just
      investigate a little further and find out who did what...

      [CM]


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      740 CHARACTER ASCII ART

      This issues's ASCII Art is courtesy of regular Fallt collaborator
      Christophe Behrens whose latest series of works 'Peep Show' will feature
      alongside the work of New York photographer Richard Kern at Fallt
      in mid 2003. The following is, "an edit of a UU Encoded file from one of
      several newsgroups I've been plundering...".


      BEGIN 644 MVC-486S.JPG
      M_]C_X``02D9)1@`!`@$`2`!(``#_[1$>4&AO=&]S:&]P(#,N,``X0DE-`^T`
      M`````!``2`````$``0!(`````0`!.$24T$&0``
      M````!````!XX0DE-`_,```````D````````$`.$))300*````X
      M```````!`"]F9@`!`*&9F@`&```````!`#(````!`%H````&```````!```#4`
      M________`^@`````_____________________________P/H`````/______
      M`^@``#A"24T$"```````$`````$```)````"0``````X0DE-!!X````0``````
      M````.$))300:``````!Q````!@`````````````#
      M` `
      END


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      PLAYLIST

      Each issue we ask one of our contributors to share their current
      playlist with us. This issue we're grateful to regular Fallt collaborator
      Akira Rabelais for, "a selection from his CD changer", ("I just don't
      understand how you can expect me to listen to less than twenty CDs
      at once though...!").

      Homer | The Iliad (Read by Anton Lesser) [Naxos, 3CD]
      Antenne | #1 [Korm Plastics, CD]
      Harold Budd/Brian Eno | The Pearl [Editions EG, CD]
      James Joyce | Finnegans Wake CD 16 [Irish Museum of Modern Art, 17CD]
      The Autumns | In The Russet Gold Of This Vain Hour [Risk, CD]
      Donnacha Costello | Together Is The New Alone [Mille Plateaux, CD]
      Anthony Braxton | For Alto [Delmark, CD]
      Schubert | Piano Quintet in A, 'The Trout' [MCA, CD]
      Slowdive | Souvlaki [Creation, CD]
      Nobukaza Takemura | Animate [Childisc, CD]


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      GOTO

      http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993129

      Molecular icons: "In their experiments, the researchers used a molecule to
      store a black and white image, 32 pixels square...".


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      ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

      Thanks to all those who contributed to this issue of '%Array', in
      particular: Gordon McEwen, A & R @ Alku, Akira Rabelais, Christophe Behrens,
      Scott Allison, John Hudak, Dale Lloyd, Olli Siebelt and Stephan Mathieu.


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