"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Friday, 23 July 2010

Quiet noise

Talking of prizes, imagine a world in which Erstlaub's astoundingly rich, deeply affecting music was celebrated & garlanded as it should be. However inconceivable from an 'industry' perspective, it's not really that hard.

In one inverted Martin Amis short story writers of sonnets are the swaggering, mega-earning artists of the day. Schlocky screenwriters, in ironic contrast, are the starving hand-maidens of their art.

For Dave Fyans to be the blinged-up beneficiary of such an alternative universe (he'd cope with the moral challenges, never fear, though the rest of Dundee might have to lie low for an initial day or two...) would seem fair enough. It'd acknowledge the vast intensity & depth of his work, its evident total sincerity, its inspiring subtlety of mood & pace, its compellingness.

All of these are embodied by the strikingly complete The Long Road from as far back as 2006 (& now freely available as part of Broken20's 'precursors' programme, happily). Endure three ham-fisted shortenings below or, better, immerse yourself in the magnificent (& somewhat higher-res) whole.

"Sometime in 2006, Erstlaub finally crawled out from the internal wreckage, fully formed and bristling with very specific intentions. The Long Road marked the end of one journey and the beginning of another. The systems had been honed, the process refined, the trials undertaken, it was time to transmute pure thought and will into sound.

The movements and passages contained within it are generally of a subtle, calmer nature with a focus on texture and interplay between modulations but at times configure themselves into a quite daunting amount of quiet noise. The Long Road was performed once in October 2006 in Augsburg, Germany, the first public appearance of Erstlaub.

The Long Road was created on a Nord Modular G2 using a Evolution UC33 midi controller and a Boss DD20 delay unit, it was recorded in one live take with no additional processing or overdubs."

While we're unearthing early-stage Erst, the even earlier, similarly granular but somewhat lighter rumbling Blown also demands an ear. "Originally, "Blown" was created on a modular synthesizer, using basic sound gnerating and shaping components to build a complex and dense environment. The environments were then recorded to computer at 44kHz/16 Bit audio and then transferred to an ageing Akai M-8, quarter inch analogue tape machine. Due to both the age and general disrepair of the tapes and the equipment, the audio has been coloured and treated by the decaying magnetic filaments of the tape and the machines valve circuitry. The audio is played back at a lower speed than it was recorded to further magnify the inconsistencies of the medium. The resulting recordings were then sent back to the computer and layered with the close-miked mechanical noise from the tape machine along with the ghosts of the tapes previous contents. No other computer processing has occurred with these audio files. Blown acts as a study not only into the properties of an archaic recording medium but also as a stark contrast to the clinical, digital age in which we live."

Previous coverage (& here, & here; Broken20 here).

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

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