Monday, October 4, 2010

SAMPLE & HOLD : software expressions

Using Iannis Xenakis' UPIC system for graphical sound synthesis, Haswell & Hecker produce a masterpiece of musical expression that finds its genesis in software only. No other instrument is used; none is needed. Using densely packed pencil drawings produced by both artists(in the vein of Sol Lewitt's beautiful pencil wall drawings), the UPIC system literally "draws" the sound, producing a mayhem that is at once playfully continuous and transient. Blackest Ever Black, while suggesting a profound morbidity, is, in spite of its frigid mathematic mother, a work of great playful overwhelming joy.
On the other hand, To Rococo Rot's abc123, a departure for them in that it is wholely laptop generated, does not express the whimsy it is proported to express. To my ears this work presents a nicely measured argument between a cold abstract sensibility and a more ear-friendly electro concern. Noise mingles with comforting sequences, walking the tightrope over potential sonic dissolution(just barely) and pleasing aural security. At just twenty minutes, it left me yearning for more.

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