As avid listeners surely has noted, exercises in improvised sound has, to an increasing extent, begun to bridge the gap between restrained tone clusters and the underworlds of grit and abrasion. But what is the nature of this ‘noise’ being adapted?
If what we are dealing with truly is a case of adaptation, this might prove problematic, implicating the displacement of sound into new contexts rather than a profound familiarity with the matter at hand. While such strategies have rendered interesting results in their own right, it remains a rare thing to experience a merger not compromising either position. Releases like Kevin Drumm’s Sheer Hellish Miasma naturally comes to mind when reaching for standout examples, but listening to Trunking, it is evident that also Hindi and Riis are stating a vision of their own, exposing a similar understanding of the harsh noise vocabulary.
Alongside delicate wave structures and concrete object rustles the duo naturally cranks out the crude feedback squeals, throbbing crunch and junk metal crashes characteristic of another stratum of the experimental music scene. Yet, what seems to distinguish the playing of Hindi and Riis are not primarily the specifics of the sounds themselves, but what appears to be the genuine pleasure derived from their crafting. Coarse music, not for the sake of exotica, but for the genuine love of a heavy jam.
With a burgeoning understanding of noise, electro-acoustic improvisation might find itself once again embracing the ecstatic qualities of free music that were once rejected on the basis of excess. How are we to come to terms with the, perhaps vulgar, pleasure of noise while still aiming for the refined aesthetics of contemporary improvisation. Or, one might ask, has such a dichotomy of ‘body’ and ‘soul’ been wrongly stated to begin with?
A partial answer lies buried in the binary code of these digital sound files, since, to its merit, Trunking seems to raise questions of this very kind.
Could this be music for fans of Burkhard Beins and Black Leather Jesus alike?
(Peter Henning, Malmö 2010)
Jassem Hindi (FRA/LEB): lo-fi electro-acoustic material: diverted machines, amplified objects, contact mics, found tapes, no-fi field recordings, no input mixing board.
Jakob Riis (DK/SWE): laptop, MaxMSP, real time processing.
Recorded at Mains d’Ouvres, Paris feb. 2007
Cover photos by Nguyenmaler http://www.tuannguyen.co.nr/
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