Sleeping Dogs Lie 20nov09: Term

12k is an electronic music label based in Brooklyn, New York, run by composer Taylor Deupree since 1997. 12k specializes in synthetic microscopic sound designs and minimalist compositional aesthetics. In september 2000 12k launched Line, a sublabel focusing on ultraminimal, conceptual soundworks that explore the relationship between sound, silence and spatial metaphors. In 2002, 12k introduced term., an online-only series of minimalist sound explorations. term. is an extension of 12k’s output but its mission lies in careful balance to 12k’s aesthetic. While 12k’s emphasis lies not only in sound but on design and presentation as well, term.’s function is the exact opposite: existing entirely in the digital domain with no tangible object or package, term. is the representation of pure data and imageless sound information. The antithesis of physical form. term. is an ongoing series of MP3 releases by sound artists from around the globe. All downloads are free and will remain online as long as possible.

Stephan Mathieu (born 11.October 1967) is a German musician and sound artist whose work is based on digital and analog processing techniques. He lives and works in Saarbrücken, Germany. Stephan Mathieu works in the field of digital art, mainly as a composer and performer of his own music. He creates audio installations, works as a hobbyist photographer and graphic designer, and taught Digital Arts and Theory at the HBKSaar University of Art and Design in Saarbrücken and as a guest lecturer at the Royal Academy of Arts in Göteborg, the Bauhaus University Weimar and the Merz-Akademie in Stuttgart. Since 1999 his music has been released on 16 albums and several compilations on numerous international music labels, most notably on Häpna, Orthlorng Musork, Mille Plateaux, Ritornell, Fällt, Headz, Cronica, Lucky Kitchen and Tigerbeat6. In addition to his solo work he cooperated with Akira Rabelais, Douglas Benford, John Hudak, Ekkehard Ehlers and Janek Schaefer. Mathieu’s music, based on recordings of acoustic, mainly old instruments, which are transformed by digital and analogue processes, has been compared to the landscape paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, and described as “… slowly shifting washes of sound (…) are simply gorgeous. The predominantly acoustic origins of the source material, however camouflaged and extruded beyond recognition by the software, imbue Mathieu’s music with a warmth and richness of timbre often lacking in the overpopulated world of contemporary electronica.”

Under the assumed alias of Si-cut.db, Douglas Benford has recorded several albums alongside collaborations with Stephan Mathieu, Benge, Saint Etienne, Andrew Weatherall, Marc Weiser of Rechenzentrum and Momus amongst others. In 1999, Si-cut.db was ranked in the top 200 of US College Radio acts. Since 1996 Benford has also co-curated the London-based experimental music club Sprawl, and has performed at various venues such as London’s Tate Modern, The Roundhouse, Science Museum, Brentford’s Watermans and Colchester’s Art Centres as well as international festivals Synch, Mutek, Transmediale, and Bestival.

In 1999, the electro-acoustic group Minamo was formed by Keiichi Sugimoto and Tetsuro Yasunaga. In 2000, Minamo’s self-released CD-R “wakka” was reissued by the New York label Quakebasket. This release was selected by Matmos as one of best sounds in 2001 in The Wire magazine. In 2001 two new members joined, Yuiichiro Iwashita (guitar) and Namiko Sasamoto (sax, organ), to make the band a quartet. In 2002, first CD album “.kgs” has released by the Tokyo label 360 records. Having performed as the opening act for several groups, including Microstoria, Simon Fisher Turner, Vert, Oren Ambarchi, Otomo Yoshihide, On Filmore, Tim Barnes, I-Sound, Ikue Mori, Josh Abrams, Michael Schumacher, Incapacitants, Aki Onda, Masakatsu Takagi, Ogurusu Norihide, Michael Prime, Jonathan Coleclough, oblaat, HIM, BusRatch, Def Harmonics, Aero and more.

Jürgen Heckel, also known as Sogar, was born in Nuremberg in 1970 and has been living in Paris for 14 years and is now located in Munich. He started playing music when he was 19 and became part of several groups as a guitarist. He then got interested in creating and processing sound in unconventional ways. Thus Jürgen manipulates accidental sounds to create light and fragile melodic textures. The sources of these arrangements are guitars as well as sounds from mixing consoles, amplifiers, cables or other aural finds. These sounds are then reworked on a computer to become a music made of cracklings, and rich melodic oscillations exploring the extremes of the sound spectrum by associating acoustic technique and software. Sogar’s music is formed of richly layered textures, a delicate transmutation of static and formerly “nonmusical” sounds, a music where the melodic elements are created out of particular sounds of uncertain origin. All elements in this music slide and cover one against each other, running into itself yet still keeps a very controlled balance, while creating myriads of peaceful new lifeforms in the process. This music call attention by the constant wish to escape from any attempt of qualification or any act of nomination. Extremely dense and abstract as much as it becomes impossible to apply a classical epithet like “melancholic”, “sad”, “happy”, “beautiful”, etc, the music of Sogar is no less than a source of a new musical grammar. Without any conceptual thoughts his music is slightly but constantly transforming to become a sensitive translation of a state of mind nurtured by his subconscious.

Sleeping Dogs Lie 119 19_20nov09