20.1.12

DeLaurenti + Worn Vessel

I've now officially started a residency program here in Vancouver. Over the next six weeks I'll be creating a sound piece that'll be culled from field recordings of ferry ports, terminals and from the ships themselves. The latter half of the residency will be especially studio intensive so I imagine that posting will slow down significantly. Once it's over things will inevitable pick-up again. Thanks, as always for your readership.

Cristopher DeLaurenti - Of Silences Intemporally Sung: Luigi Nono's Fragmente-Stille, An Diotima
(Reductive , 2011)

Christopher DeLaurenti returns with another work in his found soundscape series, where he excavates and presents the unintentionally captured sounds that lurk in the shadows of recordings. On "Of Silences Intemporally Sung..." DeLaurenti took a recording of Luigi Nono's only string quartet, Fragmente-Stille, An Diotima as performed by the LaSalle Quartet, and inverted it. What this means is that the bulk of the recording, namely, the sections where the quartet was actually performing, was removed and replaced by digital silence. DeLaurenti then took what was left, that is, the pauses and supposed 'silence' in between the music, and amplified it greatly. In other words, what we're hearing is Fragmente-Stille, An Diotima in its entirety, only without the music.

What's immediately interesting is how much music there is in this musicless piece. This is not to say that DeLaurenti somehow fell short in his intentions, but that he did in fact succeed, at least in unmasking a realm of sound that otherwise would never have consciously been heard: shuffling bodies, on-the-fly tunings, room tone and decaying notes. If one decides to look at the waveform of DeLaurenti's reworking, as I did, they will immediately notice what looks like a very balanced inversion, as many of the areas of sonic activity seem nearly equidistant from the previous and next sections of activity, as though Nono was as interested in the moments between the music as he was with the music itself. As much as this balance is a product of Nono's vision, DeLaurenti deserves credit for bringing it to the limelight, and for his precision in extracting only the in-between moments. I sense much time was spent on this rigorous splicing process.

It's worth adding that Nono added passages by the poet Hölderlin to the performers' staves with instructions to murmer (to think) the lines to themselves while performing, and although I don't detect these murmerings in DeLaurenti's re-envisioning, I feel as though, on some level – maybe metaphysical – they are lurking beneath, waiting to be discovered. A fine recording.


Worn Vessel - The Refuse of Nature C30
(Worthless Recordings, 2011)

Worthless Recordings have managed to spit out something like 20 releases in their first year of operation, with one of these releases finding its way into my hands. Little can be easily found out about the label other than the fact that it's based out of Wisconsin and is dedicated to releasing distortion-heavy drone and old school industrial music. The Refuse of Nature falls somewhere in-between, succeeding in its consistent penchant for grime but failing in its originality in achieving that grime. I've not much patience for early Bianchi anymore and I can't help but hear his overbearing influence. I wouldn't go so far as to call it worthless – like whomever named the label might have you believe – as I've come to try my best in appreciating works that at least have a clear vision. It's just that, I don't share the same vision.

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