Pauwel De Buck
Mecha/Orga is the project of Yiorgis Sakellariou. Since its inception
in 2003, Yiorgis has released a number of albums and performed
his work internationally. He is actively involved with contemporary
and experimental music in Greece through his CD-R label Echo
Music and as a member of the Centre of Contemporary Music
Research and the Hellenic Electroacoustic Composers Association.
Adam Asnan (UK)
Grumbles, Lapses (2009)
This work, as its title suggests, can be best described as a present-
ation of materials analogous to a grumble, rustle, gurgle or rasp.
As the dialogue and interplay between these materials takes form,
periodic lapses give way to variations of perceived obedience and
stillness. The retention and encouragement of selected artifacts
(produced by technological idiosyncrasies or human agency in oper-
ation) provide for extra dimensions of punctuation, interruption
and diversion. By allowing the sounds of the apparatus to remain,
a juxtaposition between the acousmatic window and its inherent
artificiality is suggested.
With a predilection for the classic theoretical/aesthetic framework
of musique concrète, Adam’s work focuses primarily on the variable
natures of sound capture, exploration and projection, often utilising
the playback device and/or loudspeaker as an instrument in itself.
Pauwel De Buck (Belgium)
Neenah Foundry (2008)
Neenah Foundry is a multi-channel composition constructed from
field recordings which were made in the courtyard of an apartment
building and in the cafeteria of Sint-Lukas art academy in Gent.
The premise for this work was the contrast between these two
sound environments. Due to the enclosed nature of these spaces,
the surrounding sounds of the city were heavily filtered; only a
residue was audible in the courtyard. The overpopulated cafeteria,
in combination with its bad acoustics, created a complex frame of
sound reflections and textures.
Joshua Convey (USA)
Tone Change on Pops’ Farm (2008)
New York-based Joshua Convey creates textural, rhythmic and,
perhaps surprisingly, melodic compositions by weaving traditional
instrumentation (guitar, harmonica), field recordings and electro-
nics to create moody tension between the different sounds.
Joshua is also a member of Fessenden, a trio with Stephen Fiehn
and Haptic’s Steven Hess.
Adrián Democ (Slovakia)
Dve prosby (Two prayers) (2003–4)
For flute, soprano and string quartet
Adrián begun studying composition in Brno (Czech Republic) in
2003. Since then, his work has been commissioned and performed
across Europe. He is also an improvising player of the fujara and
other traditional Slovakian wind instruments.
Mastered by Themistoklis Pantelopoulos
This very interesting collection opens with the tense and grind-
ing drones of Greek experimenter Yiorgis Sakellariou. The metallic,
sustained sounds are presented in the guise of iterated strings
and harmonics, before the second track, by Adam Asnan, intro-
duces rough juxtapositions and field recordings in Grumbles,
Lapses — a very abstract improvisational composition, stinging
and vibrating through its strong passages. Pauwel De Buck also
employs field recordings, nicely treated but still containing partially
recognisable elements, sampled in a backyard, with an ethereal
inspiration and a remarkable style, created with a certain rare-
faction of the sound textures. Ticks, deaf auditory emergencies,
tonal patterns and metropolitan ‘catches’ are the backdrop of
the dense articulations of Joshua Convey. The selection ends
with Adrián Democ[’s]a post-classical approach (soprano, flute
and string quartet), modulating imperious scores imperceptibly
disturbed by the sound of the audience.
Aurelio Cianciotta in Neural
Greek dronemeister Yiorgis Sakellariou’s offering is brief and
refreshingly active, his trademark sustained tones here embell-
ished with a frosting of jangling metallic strings originating from
what sounds like it could be some kind of zither. The timbre is
mid-’90s Paul Panhuysen, but the harmony is mid-’70s Steve
Reich – though there’s nothing wrong with that, as far as I’m
concerned. London-based musique concrète composer Adam
Asnan studied with Denis Smalley, but the rough surface friction
juxtaposed with raw field recordings of his Grumbles, Lapses
(2009) would seem to indicate he’s as familiar with recent
developments in improvised music from Tokyo and Berlin (both
Burkhard Beins and Taku Unami come to mind) as he is with
the back catalogue of François Bayle. Pauwel De Buck is one
of a number of fine sound artists based in and around Gent in
Belgium, in whose Sint-Lukas art school he made some of the
field recordings used as the basis for 2008’s Neenah Foundry.
The others hail from the courtyard of a nearby apartment build-
ing, the inspiration for the work being the contrast between the
two sound environments. The source sounds have obviously
been mucked about with and seriously treated, but they’re still
recognisable (just), and carefully edited into a coherent and
satisfying 18-minute span of music. Field recordings are also
used as raw material in Tone Change on Pops’ Farm (2008),
by New York-based Joshua Convey. I’m not sure if that apos-
trophe in the title is in the right place [it is!], but every sound
in Convey’s 11-minute composition certainly is, from the in-
scrutable rattles and roar of passing traffic that try to obscure
the delicate pedal points and sustained harmonies to the distant
guitar strumming left behind in their wake. The odd man out
here is Adrián Democ, a young composer hailing from Slovakia.
His Dve prosby (Two prayers; 2003–4) is a traditionally-scored
five-minute song setting for soprano, flute and string quartet,
in a rather airy live recording somewhat marred by audience
noise. I’m tempted to refrain from making the usual remarks
about dour, Eastern European new (neo-?) classical music,
but let’s just say Shostakovich still casts a long shadow.
Dan Warburton at Paris Transatlantic
Mecha/Orga’s 8:36 sounds as though [its] built from [a] sine
tone along with, perhaps, wires vibrating on metallic surfaces,
though his site suggests enhanced field recordings. Whatever,
the piece is quite enchanting, kind of like taken a sliver of
early Reich, a vibraphone portion say, and inflating it. Nice.
Field recordings certainly figure into Adam Asnan’s Grumbles,
Lapses, rather like a slide show, sections flitting by, natural-
istic scenes abstracted by displacement, disruptive, uneasy,
some appearing with the abruptness of a struck match. I get
the sense of very tight control here, admirable and a little
oppressive at the same time. Interesting work.
Yet more field recordings make up the material for Neenah
Foundry, by Pauwel De Buck, though here the result is airy
and ghostly, not heavy, though brooding. A strong piece, both
troubling and lovely. Joshua Convey, a member of Fessenden,
probably uses a few as well in his Tone Change on Pops’ Farm,
a wonderful piece beginning with shimmering tones that form
the substructure for a huge load of more irregular sounds,
including bluesy guitar, though that throb never quits.
The final track stands quite apart: Adrián Democ’s Dve prosby
(Two Prayers) for flute, soprano and string quartet. Plaintive,
tonal and very moving, at five minutes a kind of Eastern
European blessing on what’s preceded. Why it’s here otherwise,
I’ve no idea, but I’m glad it was included; good compilation,
Brian Olewnick at Just outside