Ben Gwilliam and Michael Vorfeld
Lauste, a work for light bulb and magnetic sounds,
was recorded in Berlin in September 2008.
The resulting material is a long piece made of short
sound sculptures; reduced electronic processes and
inherent sounds generated from static, pulsing
and intermittent light. The sounds of tape recording,
playback, the machinery and appropriated cassettes
are picked up with magnets and pins. The lights are
affected by switches, dimmers, relays and flashers
made audible by various microphones.
Ben Gwilliam is based in Todmorden, Yorkshire.
He works in experimental music, sound art,
film and performance. For the last ten years he
has been working with open reel tape, magnetics
and amplified processes in solo and collaborative
Michael Vorfeld is musician and visual artist based
in Berlin. He plays percussion and self-designed
string instruments and creates electro-acoustic
sound pieces, installations and performances with
light; he also works with photography and film.
He is a member of various groups and collaborates
with many multi-disciplinary artists.
Ben Gwilliam (E165)
Edition of 300 copies
Out of Print
What we hear is the hum of the bulb(s), generally quite
softly, but pulsing and intensifying here and there as
dimmer switches, faders and the like are used to adjust
its intensity, and its sound picked up by microphones.
The magnetic sounds are apparently often connected to
tape recorders, and the sounds of mechanisms whirring,
and even actual tape being recorded are caught using
magnets and ‘pins’ and mixed into the recording. Exactly
who of the duo created which sounds, and whether the
music is the result of improvisation or post produced
construction I am not certain either, but none of this
So for the vast majority of the album we hear just very
slight, quiet, calm sounds. The bulbs are mostly just
humming gently, and the magnetic sounds are kept
to little crackles and pops that are scattered sparingly.
Mostly, this is very patient, unobtrusive music that
demands little of the listener, but rewards those that
put the effort in anyway. The first track clocks in at
some sixteen minutes but barely makes it over the
‘just about audible’ threshold, and yet for all the
apparent calm and minimalism there is masses going
on within the sound, frequent variations in the bulb
hum and fizz, little stories told by the crackling
interruptions. The other tracks mostly play with
variations of this theme, the bulb laying a continual
if constantly changing bed for the shrapnel-like
fragments to be strewn across. The fourth track is
the one that stands out as quite different, with the
bulb suddenly pushed to heavily vibrating levels,
building to a comparatively very noisy level, sounding
like a high speed woodpecker, the heaving intensity
really coming as a shock after the same sounds had
been laid so softly previously. For the brief period
of time that the buzz really pushes the volume right
up the sound feels genuinely frightening, as if the
bulbs are being pushed to their limits, ready to shatter
on us and shower us with hot glass at any moment.
Richard Pinnell at The Watchful Ear
Minute bristlings, agitated vibrations, insectoid buzzes
and pinprick static all hang in the upper registers of
the audible spectrum, with nothing whatsoever that
would register a trickle of bass from a subwoofer.
Much of Lauste resembles the kind of sounds Raster-
Noton artists often use as source material; but
Gwilliam and Vorfeld eschew a structuralist approach
in favour of a more painterly approach to flickering
Jim Haynes in The Wire