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owldirt on 06/10/2012 at 05:03PM


Owldirt music
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natewooley on 04/15/2011 at 12:15PM

Edition Wandelweiser: Conceptual Music That Just Happens to be Gorgeous

Antoine Beuger, label head of Edition Wandelweiser

From the very first second that I was given any kind of latitude to suggest labels and archives to the Database of Recorded American Music (DRAM), I had visions of being able to cull through and upload the entire Edition Wandelweiser catalog for streaming.  For those that don't know DRAM, it is an online research engine for colleges.  Its goal is to present the student with music that could be a bit more difficult to be exposed to through their normal course of study.  I thought, of all the labels out there, Edition Wandelweiser was the absolute model of what we should include.

After talking to Antoine Beuger (the head of Edition Wandelweiser), he graciously agreed to let us begin the streaming of his catalog on DRAM, and after a follow up conversation, I'm proud to say that he has agreed to let us use some of my favorite EW tracks as our first DRAM-related feature here on FMA.

How to sum it up? Edition Wandelweiser artists are definitely of a certain aesthetic.  I stop short of calling it a dogma, though, and that's what makes it interesting to me.  Loads of Silence, yes.  Minimalist, the degree that minimalism applies to music.  Conceptual, yes....but...this is that very special kind of conceptual music that has at its core the idea that the actual music, in its purely auditory form, has to be at least equal, if not greater, than the articulation of the concept that made it possible.  This is something I've always respected about composers like Tom Johnson (represented here on EW), Phill Niblock, Steve Reich, etc., and it is always great to find a label that consistently strikes this precarious balance between high thought and high art.

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andrewcsmith on 06/28/2010 at 12:00PM

Preparing the Past

Video still by Christy Edwards

"I often have the experience of missing the present time as it is happening," Aaron Siegel says. Siegel and Mantra Percussion were last heard on the FMA in January with "Science is Only A Sometimes Friend," but collaborated again at the beginning of this month for "Preparing the Past," with video (above) by Christy Edwards. The piece, with two vibraphones, two glockenspiels, and piano four-hands, is less a continuous thread of events than a series of stases—like sonic tableaux—that build on one another and exist simultaneously. In these three movements, the first two of which were premiered last year at Roulette, Siegel examines stages of memory and fixing of moments: recording, scrutinizing, and re-imagining.

At the core of this is the desire to look at the same event from multiple angles—that is, in fixing the event, to move through the event and re-create it as your own. But rather than attempting to move toward the truth of a memory, all of these repetitions just make the event more enigmatic. In a certain way, the repeating glockenspiel figures are evocative of writing; the second movement, Scrutiny, repeats a rising, classically unresolved chord in many different forms that all seem to be basic variations on the same event. There is no harmonic or melodic motion, and the repeated action borders on the neurotic; the scrutinized becomes inscrutable.

This is where the final movement, Re-imagining comes in. In this, the pieces break apart—each member of the ensemble has a similar but staggered line—and float separately. When they overlap it's mostly on accident, and each voice moves on its own through a series of chords. This re-synthesis is more of a enzymatic denaturing, as each individual part is left as a shred of an original thought. Listen below to the entire performance, featuring Mantra Percussion on glockenspiels and vibraphones, and Emily Manzo and Anna Dagmar on piano.

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aaron siegel, percussion
zlayton on 06/04/2010 at 08:45AM

Z'EV masterclass at ISSUE Project Room (FREE!)

Z'EV in the WFMU studio (2007)

Super awesome percussion pioneer and legend Z'EV will be performing at ISSUE Project Room on saturday night (6/5/10) and will be doing a special FREE master class at 5pm beforehand dealing with "rhythms in sound & the sounds of rhythm":

"The mytho-poetics of audiology:  ear drum / hammer-stirrup-anvil / labyrinth, drum as traditional trance inducer / the smithy – pythagoras & shamanism / labyrinth as image of return – Initiation, acoustics & psychoacoustics, a phenomenology of sound & consciousness"

don't miss this rare opportunity!  

More info at

Here's an mp3 of Z'EV on Brian Turner's show in 2007:

"A total legend in experimental sound, text, and visual art, Z'EV has been exploring 'spacial poetics' while creative percussive mayhem since the 1970's. He's been responsible for tons of solo releases and has collaborated with the likes of the Hafler Trio, John Cage, and Psychic TV; he last visited FMU over 25 years ago while living in NYC and working with Glenn Branca and Rudolph Grey among others. He's joined today by drum disciples Sikhara (who've been a central cog in the growing Radon label collective), making their second visit to Brian's show. Get ready for some serious volume and heavy metal of a different strain this afternoon." - BT

Z'EV - "(full set)" (36:53)
Z'EV - "(full set)" (36:53)
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zev, percussion