giovedì 3 novembre 2016

Electronic Murmurs: The Murmure Intemporel Netlabel

Founded in 2012 from the merger of the netlabels Gronde Murmure and Sillage Intemporel, the French netlabel Murmure Intemporel has contributed a substantial catalogue of experimental, mostly electronic music to the Creative Commons movement.

Grain, a set of improvisations for granular synthesizer by Hungarian musician Laszlo Kovacs, is a re-release of music originally broadcast on experimental radio in Berlin in 2011. The nine relatively short pieces that make up the twenty-four minute set largely consist of cyclic structures composed of variably repeating, brief quanta of sound. The odd-numbered tracks tend toward rhythmic or quasi-rhythmic carousels of looping packets of microsounds—creaks, rattles, or the sound of struck metal. Some of the results allude, however obliquely, to conventional structures: Granular Improvisation 3 falls in and out of a 4-4 rhythm and hints at a chord progression; Granular Improvisation 5 arranges its gamelan-like timbres into evasive polyrhythms; Granular Improvisation 6 collects its fragments into something mimicking a song structure. The even-numbered tracks, for their part, simulate the tolling of bells of different pitches and periods. Typical of them is Algorithmic Improvisation 7, whose slightly discordant, overlapping tones create beats as they fade into each other.

Cords and Connectors, which takes its plainspoken, pragmatic title from the name of a Supercollider tutorial, is a seven-part suite by Synflict. Synflict is the pseudonym of Olliver Wichmann, a Leipzig artist with a focus on computer-generated and acousmatic musics. All seven tracks are a unhurried and deliberately paced around the upsurge and decay of Wichmann’s repertoire of artificially-induced timbres. These latter can be jagged or fluid, crystalline or murky; some mimic the natural sounds of wind or surf, while others seem to inhabit a counterfactual world of swarming metallic locusts, self-playing detuned chord organs, or rumors transmitted between mutually incomprehensible languages. Acousmatic, yes, but with insinuations of familiar sounds that have been alienated from themselves.

Some years ago the electronic musician/visual artist Thomas Park, aka Mystified, lived in straitened circumstances in an apartment at the corner of Brannon Avenue and Chippewa Street in South St. Louis, USA. While there he recorded the sounds of some of the everyday objects in the apartment; the processed samples were collected into packs to be used as the basis for a collaborative remix project featuring various artists. The latest installment in the series, Urban Dialogue, finds French musician Berthelot transforming Park’s samples into a single forty-minute-long piece. Urban Dialogue is acousmatic music as jouissance—an obscuring of sources in the pure play of sounds. Unidentifiable timbres fade into one another, undergo surprising transfiguration, throw out sharply-defined borders to divide the audio space that contains them. It’s a finely-honed collage that frequently takes unexpected directions.

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