The Outsider #2 | Framework 250 (Branch Edition)

This is part two of two in a post highlighting the Framework Radio 250 special edition compilation discs. Framework is a radio program focusing on field recording and its use in composition. It is based out of the UK but also broadcasts to Portugal, Greece, and Belgium. Online streaming and podcasts are available through the website linked at the bottom of the page.

Framework 250 - (Branch Edition) Disc One

The first disc of the Branch edition continues in similar suite to the Root edition. Starting things off is Jonathan Coleclough and Ben Owen's "Two Chambers." Coleclough's work has out competed so many other artists' for my attention over the years, on account of his perfectly executed minimalist acts. Ben Owen, on the other hand, is a name I'm not all too familiar with. None the less, the combination of their sensibilities make for a great recording. Though it is the sensibilities of McGinley we should be thanking for the outcome, as both Owen and Coleclough's tracks were submitted separately and were not originally intended to be combined. However, after mixing the two tracks on a framework episode, McGinley recognized them as working perfectly stacked on top of one another and then proposed to the artists that the tracks remain mixed for the cd. They both agreed to this as being the right move. A fine move indeed.

The disc loses a bit of steam over the next few tracks, especially with Michael Rüsenburg neglecting to omit a conversation he engages in during the concluding minute of his recording. Slightly endearing? maybe. I think the piece would have benefitted from its removal. Only a minor misstep however, as Jim Haynes raises the bar once again with an eleven and a half minute excursion of palpable scrapes and inertia-driven vapours. John Grzinich and Jean-luc Guionnet keep things very quiet, working to both their favours. Overall, probably not the strongest disc of the set, but not without its definite moments of genius.

Framework 250 - (Branch Edition) Disc Two

The final disc of this epic collection begins with a ten minute recording of a shoe factory as heard through an old heating system by Jez Riley French. Like the accompanying out-of-focus photography of the workshop, the music within embodies a similar murky disposition. The enigmatic and extremely skilled–one of my all time favourite musicians–Giancarlo Toniutti rattles his way into the second track with a stunning three layer mixdown. Toniutti describes these three separate sources as "vine rows field", "wood scraped cast irons" and "environmental whistlings." Somehow, he's almost been able to replicate the sounds of his "rattle harp", but from completely different sources. Amazing.

Chris Watson's work "Ravens" is not your run-of-the-mill bird recording. No, with Watson, it's always a lot more than just a nature walk. "Ravens" is such a high quality recording, not only in terms of fidelity, but also in what the track reveals about these black winged sky creatures. The birds croaks create a cacophony, then about 43 seconds in, a remarkable and completely unbird like call is captured and repeated intermittently throughout. The call sounds almost synthetic, as if it was slowed down on a computer and given no pitch adjustment. I didn't know any animal could make a sound like that, let alone ravens. Well done Mr. Watson. You never cease to amaze.

As the concluding disc to the Framework set I have to say that Branch two is very strong, easily my favourite over all. Joel Stern and Lloyd Barrett pickup where Watson left off with a twelve minute muted feedback loop. The whole thing unfolding inside an instrument designed by Barrett coined as a metallophone. A haunting and brilliant track. Richard Garet follows. I've really been obsessed with his work lately. Four Malleable, L'avenir and Of Distance are all impeccable works and his contribution here is no different. Michael Northam's "Kashi-Heatdream," is a myriad of environmental layering and simple synth-like melodies. 6 minutes in and it all falls away to the tune of street life, before once again building back up again. Nicely juxtaposed. The disc concludes with Phill Niblock's "Bells and Timps," a stretched out collection of church bells recorded onto analog tape and then layered using Protools. The track is very impressive and displays a definite ethos of decay. It's unlike anything I've heard from Mr. Niblock, and comes as a pleasant surprise and strong bookend to this quintessential collection of recordings.

Thanks to Patrick McGinley and to all the contributors.


The Outsider #2 | Framework 250 (Root Edition)

I was hoping to get this posted at the end of May but things have been busier than usual. Those of you who read the Physical, Absent, Tangible post from last month will know that I've been dipping into modern compilations lately. So here I go again. While trekking along the twisted musical path that I've chosen, some time back I discovered Framework Radio. Spawned in 2002, by Patrick McGinley aka Murmer, Framework is a radio program dedicated to "phonography/field recording; contextual & decontextualized sound activity" that broadcasts over various frequencies in the UK (Resonance 104.4fm), Greece, Belgium, and Portugal. Lucky for us in North America the episodes can also be streamed live via the website and wonderful, wonderful podcasts. Subscribe as soon as you can!

Over it's eight year run Framework has broadcasted the finest in field recording compositions and live on-air performances. Occasionally there emerges special editions like framework:focus, an hour long soundscape from a single artist, and framework:afield, "a series of programs curated and produced by guest artists from around the world." Also, amazing enough on its own, every regular edition episode begins with an introduction submitted from a listener, and anyone can submit! You just have to follow a simple set of guidelines.

In honour of the 250th episode McGinley, with the help of Evelyn Müürsepp, Hitoshi Kojo, and Maksims Šentelevs, curated a lovely four disc compilation featuring a plethora of outstanding musicians and sound artists. The four discs are split into two sets of two disc editions, (Root) and (Branch). They are exclusively available from Framework at a reasonable donation. Help keep this alive and donate! Follow the links at the bottom of the page.

Framework 250 - (Root Edition) Disc One

Disc one kicks things off with an insect recording from Jeph Jerman. I've been told–the website's track info page further alludes to this–that Jerman has various microphones set up around his property on a regular basis. These mics are then fed inside his house and amplified, the whole thing working as an audible perimeter monitoring system. A great idea, hard if you live in the city though, like me. Or else I would certainly attempt to set up something very similar. Anyway, a definite highlight for sure. Other highlights include Loren Chasse's "Furniture Next to Twilight," an interesting excursion into tactile forms and elongated drone, with this vague synopsis: "listening to the surfaces of my livingroom," and Felicity Ford's "Celebration" capturing sounds of youthfulness and domestic living; a popcorn machine, fireworks, fizzy water and exploding candy all make an appearance.

"Six Small Storms" by Steve Roden takes the idea of incorporating field recording to a new level, recording a simple two note guitar sequence over top of a 78rpm sound effects record of a rainfall. The track was then treated to 6 different EQ settings. An hypnotic work that nicely sets up the tenth track, Keith Berry's incredible "Archipelago." Murmer's centerfold piece "Many Hands, No Eyes" is a distilling of sounds from a workshop that McGinley and Latvian based artist Maksims Šenteļevs hosted, in which participants engaged in blind soundwalks, found object improv and sonic exploration of shared space. It's probably the busiest track on the Root edition, somehow sounding like a New Blockaders jam mixed by the Jeweled Antler Collective before slipping into crystalline anbience and once again building back up again. Very cool.

Framework 250 - (Root Edition) Disc Two

Two of my favourite Japanese artists make an appearance on this one: Toshiya Tsunoda and Hitoshi Kojo. Along with the always impressive Seth Nehil and Eric Cordier. The Japanese don't disappoint, Tsunoda displaying his uncanny ability to capture in the field, with the self-explanatory title (as most of his titles are) of "Vibration of the Rope of a Fishing Boat." A very sparse piece of music. Kojo takes a slightly different approach, providing a lusher work filled with plenty of sounds that I can only describe as spewing. Very characteristic of Kojo's work in the past and as usual, highly enjoyable. Keith De Mendonca's contribution is an interesting mix of bells, chanting and machinery captured in Lhasa, Tibet China. While Nehil's "Twine" pings, simmers and scrapes to life beneath the monstrous bellows of a great mechanical beast. Maksims Šenteļevs performs a river dam with 8 piezo transducers and a stereo mixer while Dallas Simpson recorded the sounds of driving while intermittently listening to Resonance FM, a strange but ultimately compelling piece.

This is post 1 of 2 of the Framework 250 cd compilations.
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