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.