Christopher Otto, the violinist and founding member of JACK Quartet, brings a strict mathematical approach to acoustic composition and performance. Unfurling drones begin at a base frequency and methodically work their way outwards, causing shifts and minute imbalances between the (impeccably) recorded instrumentation. Utilising just intonation tuning techniques, the result is some really interesting and unique timbral combinations.
According to the blurb “Otto drew inspiration from a particularly complex interval known as the ragisma —a ratio of 4375:4374. The size of this interval, 0.396 cents, is so small that most would say it cannot be perceived as such by the human ear.”
The record has a strong mathematical concept, however it works on levels that can be enjoyed purely as a great tonal record and which rewards deeper listening, especially when referencing the sleeve notes. Speaking of which, the sleeve and overall package follows in the gorgeously high production standard as set in previous greyfade releases.
Out of Japan, Altone, delivers his first release on the long-running dub-techno netlabel Insectorama. Sometimes, with free netlabels / pay as you feel Bandcamp releases, the absence of financial barriers to release means that quality control can suffer, but not in this case. Deep, spatial, aesthetics that sit well with the best of the genre.
Two collaborative compositions between Kenneth Kirschner & Joseph Branciforte, focusing on applying “software-based compositional techniques — including algorithmic processes, generative systems, and indeterminacy — to the creation of new music for acoustic instruments.”
The result being two long form, detailed and hypnotic acoustic recordings. Originally entirely composed and produced within the Max/MSP modular software environment, then painstakingly reverse engineered, scored and performed with double-bass, cello, viola, and violin.
Balmat’s first release comes from Luke Sanger, a Norwich, UK-based artist whose two decades of electronic music-making have encompassed a range of tools and techniques, from MaxMSP to modular synthesis. Along the way he has built an extensive catalog encompassing ambient atmospheres, abstract soundscaping, and more. With Languid Gongue, he puts multiple approaches into play. Experiments in microtonal composition balance out pieces in standard tunings, while esoteric electronic machines merge with familiar acoustic treatments and microphone techniques.
The result is a constellation of his signature sounds: freeform new-age fantasia; spring-loaded toytronic arpeggios; quartz-driven braindance clockworks. Drifting between consonant, almost lyrical compositions and shape-shifting textural sketches, the album drifts with the nonchalance of a sky-high cirrus cloud, and it glows as if illuminated from within. When we heard the material, we knew that it was the perfect choice to launch the label. To us, it sounds like a roadmap for points unknown.
An intriguing audio diary of sketches, taken on the Buchla Music Easel and recorded over a year. Lampeo really highlights the character and range of the instrument here, deftly using looping and spacial effects to layer the sounds, which range from the percussive to the melodic.
The instrument itself has a unique tone, due to the additive nature of the primary oscillator and an analogue signal path that differs significantly from traditional subtractive synthesisers. There’s so much info out there already on the Easel, that I wont bore you with the same old stories. However, it’s worth noting that a large proportion of the online demonstrations using the Easel really do not represent the capabilities of the instrument, which takes time and dedication to master. Something Lampeo is highlighting in this release and firmly stamping their compositional mark.