New Attenuation Circuit Releases

Source: Attenuation Circuit.

WIEMAN – Alive Futarist Minifesta
factory-pressed CD in Digifile, ltd.ed. 200 copies

In 1914 Luigi Russolo wrote his famous ‘Art Of Noise’ manifest. The 100th anniversary of ‘Futurism’ was celebrated all over the world but also in Tilburg, The Netherlands. Wieman was invited to perform their meltpot of futurist noise and since Tilburg is the hometown of their close friend Jos Smolders, and since he has switched to modular synthesis (and his synthesizer looks like a space ship control unit anyway), it was decided we would join forces for this project. In the usual fashion of home preparation and then spending a day to sort out the sequence of the tracks, Wieman and Smolders set to work, plundering freely from recordings of Russolo’s original ‘Intonarumori’ instruments, via the sixties soundtracks of sci-fi movies (Star Trek, 2001 A Space Odyssey), Vivenza’s machine recordings, industrial music and afro futurism, Wieman applied their usual meltpop techniques, while Smolders added his modular synth madness. It’s bursting with mechanical rhythms, spacey choirs, and machine noise as well as sampled spoken word. In accordance with true meltpop the guessing game (hmmm, where have I hear this before?) is yours.

Wieman is the project of Roel Meelkop & Frans de Waard; the logical runner-up to Goem, first called Zèbra, but in 2012 they changed their name to Wieman. They call their music meltpop and take conceptual approaches to create new music. They created new pieces out of the catalogue of Factory Records, worked with music that had the word ‘music’ in it, remixed music from the cassette label Limbabwe Tapes, provided music for a performance leading up to screening of ‘El Topo’ by Alejandro Jodorowsky (together with Ben Schot), worked with Wally van Middendorp (of Minny Pops), reworked Cybe (80s synth musician) for an LP, dissected classical notions in pop music and even mined their own Goem catalogue as the source of music for a new piece of music. They only work on commissioned music.

Jos Smolders is a composer and mastering engineer, who recorded for Korm Plastics, Quiet Artworks and Staalplaat, is a member of THU20 and WaSm (together with Frans de Waard) and whose motto is that “Getting into the headspace and understanding the perspective of the artist is essential”. His mastering clients include Merzbow, Pierre Henry and Scanner among many others.


white cassette in black jewel case, limited edition 50 copies

This modestly self-titled tape features the four protagonists in varying configurations and quite literally presents two different sides (namely, A and B) of drone music – the soothing, contemplative and harmonic side, and the brooding, dark, and vaguely spooky side.

Side A contains a live recording by Polish musicians Piotr Cisak and Pawel Oleksinski. Using not only electronic sound sources, but bass and guitar as well, they create an ever-flowing, becalmed kind of immersive ambient drone that will appeal to fans of Dronaement or Mirko Uhlig. It also goes to show that there is some truth to the clichéd claim that analogue sound sources sound ‘warmer’ than digital ones. The first track on the B side is a digital reworking (rather than remix) of the live recording by EMERGE, with additional sounds and final mix by Piotr Cisak. The treatments and subsonic tremor give the source material a harsher (‘colder’ if you will) sound and succeed in creating a totally different atmosphere. The second track on side B is a kind of synthesis of both approaches, with EMERGE reworking a studio track by Piotr Cisak & Freeze, but with Martyna Solecka’s voice adding something more of a ‘human touch’.


EIGENIDYLL – Kurmaßnahmen
CD-R in folded cardboard sleeve, limited edition 50 copies

Eigenidyll is a new collaborative project by two prolific experimental musicians from Germany: Tobias Schmitt aka Suspicion Breeds Confidence and Sascha Stadlmeier aka EMERGE. With both of them using processed guitars as their prime sound source (a guitar and bass in Stadlmeier’s case), it is a completely new departure that results in a beautifully contemplative ambient sound world.

Nothing here sounds like a guitar, but a certian gentleness applied to the electric instruments in order to create subtle, nuanced sounds instead of noisy overdrive seems to translate into the texture of the whole piece, recorded live in concert at INM Phonophon in Frankfurt in January 2016. Schmitt and Stadlmeier create a fine interplay between flowing textures and rhythmic loops, with a measured use of delay and echo effects plus the right amount of silence creating an impression of vastness, wideness, and openness, perhaps a calm nightscape interspersed with occasional flashes of light. As a result, the title “Kurmaßnahmen” fulfils the promise of both of its possible meanings: translated as “curative measures,” the album cures the electric guitar of the rockist clichés associated with it, translated as “methods of relaxation,” it provides exactly that: relaxation without dumbness.

AMN Reviews: Russell Pinkston – Balancing Acts [Ravello RR7921]

rr7921 - balancing acts - front coverThe balance alluded to in the title of this collection of recent work by composer Russell Pinkston is that between acoustic and electronic sounds. Both are well represented here, separately and in conjunction with each other.

Pinkston (b. 1949) teaches composition at the University of Texas, Austin’s Butler School of Music, where he also directs the electronic music studios. His eclectic background includes studies with Jon Appleton, Mario Davidovsky, Chou Wen-chung, and even a time spent playing—as a quite good guitarist–in a progressive rock band in the early 1970s. In addition, he’s played an active role in founding and administering institutions dedicated to electronic music.

Balancing Acts is a balancing act of styles as well as of sound sources. The seven compositions realized here were written between 1999 and 2014; three are for wind soloist and computer, two are for small acoustic chamber ensembles, one is for electronic sounds alone, and one is for Disklavier and electronics. Some of the compositions are adventurous in their use of techniques and technologies, some are more conventionally neo-classical in their orchestration and tonality, and all are well-constructed. (In a generous gesture, Pinkston has posted scores to all of these compositions on his website.)

Orb Spells, the longest track on the CD, is a multi-movement work for electronics composed for the Sharir + Bustamante dance company in Austin. Inspired by the rhythms of Hindustani classical music, the piece intersperses interludes of synthesized tabla between sometimes somber, sometimes lush, passages scored for simulated orchestral instruments. Full Circle is another multi-movement piece, this time for the acoustic quartet of oboe, clarinet, bassoon and piano. A pulse-centered work, it carries echoes of Minimalism throughout but especially in the seven-beat based first movement.

Lizamander, a composition for flute and computer written for flutist Elizabeth McNutt, is paradigmatic of Pinkston’s tight integration of electronics with solo acoustic instruments. The piece, performed here by McNutt, has a semi-improvised, elastically-phrased sound built around tremolo, overblowing, air notes and other extended techniques which are seamlessly used to round out more conventional playing. The piece centers around the interplay of the acoustic instrument and the computer program, which creates melodic and rhythmic counterpoint out of flute samples lifted and manipulated in real time. Like Orb Spells, the piece seems to allude to Hindustani music, with the electronics and flute at times interacting like tabla and soloist during the jhala section of a raga.

Zylamander for French horn and Max/MSP has a similar jhala-like moment towards the end. The piece, written for Luke Zyla and performed here by Patrick Hughes, moves between a gradually developing, Lydian modal atmosphere and pulsing sections resting on sequences of sixteenth notes.

Daniel Barbiero

This Week in New York 


Branca conducts a world premiere for guitar, bass, and drums, with Reg Bloor, Arad Evans, and Owen Weaver. This piece is the latest development of Branca’s influential 1981 work The Ascension, in which he experiments with resonances generated by alternate tunings for multiple electric guitars.
Tuesday, February 23 at 7:00 PM & 9:00 PM
Tickets $25
The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street New York, NY

Music of the Americas presents Momenta Quartet in a performance of the string quartets of Mexican modernist Julián Carrillo.
Tuesday, February 23 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $20
Americas Society, 680 Park Avenue, New York, NY

Pianist Lisa Moore releases her new solo Cantaloupe Music album, The Stone People, featuring music by John Luther Adams, Martin Bresnick, Missy Mazzoli, Kate Moore, and Julia Wolfe.
Tuesday, February 23 at 7:30 PM
Tickets $15-$25
Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, New York, NY

Tangents at the 2016 Avant Music Festival opens with the world premiere of composer/percussionist Jude Traxler’s Blowback (and other mishaps), for percussion quartet and “roaming click track,” performed by Mangobot.
Tuesday, February 23 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $12, $8 students/seniors
Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street, New York, NY

JACK performs Georg Friedrich Haas’s third string quartet, In iij. Noct, in complete darkness.
Wednesday, February 24 at 7:30 PM
Austrian Cultural Forum, 11 East 52nd Street, New York, NY

Branca conducts a world premiere for guitar, bass, and drums, with Reg Bloor, Arad Evans, and Owen Weaver. This piece is the latest development of Branca’s influential 1981 work The Ascension, in which he experiments with resonances generated by alternate tunings for multiple electric guitars.
Wednesday, February 24 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $25
The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street New York, NY

The music of Alex Mincek is featured at this Composer Portraits concert, including two world premieres featuring Yarn/Wire and the Mivos Quartet.
Thursday, February 25 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $20-$30
Miller Theater, 2960 Broadway, New York, NY

TILT Brass performs music by composer Anthony Coleman.
Thursday, February 25 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $20, $15 students/seniors
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Talea Ensemble performs US premiere of I can’t breathe (in memoriam Eric Garner).
Friday, February 26 at 8:00 PM
Austrian Cultural Forum, 11 East 52nd Street, New York, NY

Tenth Intervention presents Robert Ashley’s Perfect Lives in a marathon concert with guest artists and dancer; completely memorized.
Saturday, February 27 at 7:00 PM
Tickets $15, $10 students/seniors
Spectrum, 121 Ludlow Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY

Three 20-minute “micro-operas” by John King will be sung by his longtime collaborators Joan La Barbara and Gelsey Bell, with the composer on viola and electronics. The program features the world premiere of What Is The Word, based on Samuel Beckett’s last work and commissioned by Avant Media.
Saturday, February 27 at 8:00 PM
Tickets $16, $12 students/seniors
Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street, New York, NY