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.