Sleeping Dogs Lie 69: Paul Panhuysen, Stephan Mathieu, si-cut.db

For many years curator of Eindhoven’s exemplary sound art venue Het Apollohuis, Paul Panhuysen trained as a visual artist during the 1950s. In 1968, inspired by Fluxus activities, he formed the experimental music group The Maciunas Ensemble. His multifarious activities since then have often resembled a kind of dada structuralism: reason at work in the absence of a master plan, delineations of pattern in fields of random occurance. He has found music in such varied sources as long string vibrations, the collective warbling of canaries, the noise of dot matrix printers and agitated Mexican jumping beans.?His latest CD documents the audio transposition of a magic square of five, made for installation that also represnted the visual transposition – a floor design – which can be sampled on the cover art. A magic square is an arrangement of numbers within a square grid where the sum of integers in any row, including diagonals, gives the same total. From the orderliness of such Pythagorean numerical regularity Panhuysen has generated an attractive music of sweeping tones, overlapped and interlocking to create a snese of almost animate pulsation acroos the space of 29 minutes and 15 seconds. The sixth century philosopher Boethius suggested that music is number made audible, Panhuysen presents us with an unusually pure embodiment of that idea. His explanatory notes may have a forensic quality, but the sounds he has used are engagingly rich.

The Macintosh iBooks and iMacs at Aquarius are getting old in digital years, and they’re gradually showing their age. So, let’s hope and prey that neither the “sad mac” icon nor the “chimes of death” start to haunt our aged computing system. For those Windows operators out there, these are the Mac equivalent of the “blue screen of death,” calling attention that something quite dreadful has happened to the computer. Such anxiety producing indicators of a malfunctioning computer are the subject matter for this album from German sound artist Stephan Mathieu. Despite the nail-biting angst that such dilemmas can cause, The Sad Mac is a benevolently tranquil recording in which a variety of sounds have been smeared into melancholic ambience, perhaps composed more as a balm of having to deal with those computer problems. Having established himself as one of premier digital composers with the Full Swing album Edits as well as his collaborative Heroin album with Ekkehard Ehlers, Mathieu makes a profound shift in methodology as he eschews the “DSP-Magic” of his earlier albums in favor of a much simpler arrangement with a few digital programs applied as pixelated flourishes upon field recordings and minimalist compositions for violin, pump organ, and harpsichord. Even without all of the pixel pushing from his Max-MSP patches of yonder year, Mathieu still manages to construct beautifully sustained drones, seamlessly combining all of the elements as the flicker, echo, dissolve, blur, and expand with his signature fluidity.

London-based SI-CUT.DB (pronounced ‘Sye Kut Dee Bee’) aka Douglas Benford has had many recorded releases under many guises: mainly as SI-CUT.DB, but also Radial Blend, Phoenix Jig, Pantunes Music & Media Form (via Douglas’s own imprint Suburbs Of Hell), covering electronica/drum n’ bass/ambient, and then into microsound, glitch and dub…as SI-CUT.DB Douglas also runs and plays at the SPRAWL club, based in London, and it’s label SPRAWL IMPRINT. The first SI-CUT.DB release was in 1991, as SIDE>>CUT.DB (with later off-shoots as LOVE>>CUT.DB).

For over 10 years Douglas has also run and DJed at the London-based electronic music Sprawl Club and label with Iris Garrelfs AKA BIt Tonic, which besides its regular spots in Soho and Farringdon, London, have also held specials such as the Interplay series (Spitz), Sprawl Compass, GroundSwell at the ICA, Watermans (SonicRecycler) & Colchester Art Centres, Tate Modern, plus Sprawl events in Brighton and Leeds. Monthly Sprawls currently resides at various venues in central London, and are linked to the Sprawl Resonance FM Small Pieces radio show (in rota with Slow Sound System, HighPoint LowLife & Dfuse).

Aside from appearing on BBC TV’s News 24, SKY TV’s “The Lounge”, KISS FM and other radio stations, Douglas has turned up with his opinions in interviews on internet clubbing and remixes in national newspapers The Independent and Guardian.

01 Paul Panhuysen: “A Magic Square Of 5 To Listen To” (30:51) from “A Magic Square Of 5 To Look At / A Magic Square Of 5 To Listen To” (2004)
02 Stephan Mathieu: “1745” (16:00) from “The Sad Mac Live At Mutek 2002” (2004)
03 si-cut.db: “mirror’d” (17:02) from “term.07” (2003)