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


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)