Clean Forms – New soundworks by Luigi Turra | Shinkei | FOURM

Minimalism, arising from the tide of abstract expressionism of the early 20th century, was one of the signal developments in the art of the 1960’s. Rather than being a defined “movement” as such, minimalism became the fuel for debate that surrounded a new kind of abstraction for the post-war generations. Arguments have prevailed over the precise meaning of the word, and some of the visual artists associated with its original incarnation in the early 60’s firmly rejected it as not being entirely prescriptive of their work – most notably, and ironically one of the movement’s principle exponents, Donald Judd. Overall, the works of the minimalist artists sought out a simplification of format and technique that implied that the work harboured no meaning beyond its material components and the fact of its construction, thereby studiously avoiding the metaphysical claims of the artists of previous generations. Minimalism in the 1960’s became a new, and highly controversial avant garde, producing some of the finest, and most influential artists of the mid 20th century.

The three artists here openly recognise and acknowledge the profound influence of early minimalism on the relatively contemporary field of sound art. The trio of Turra, Shinkei and Fourm have all gained wider recognition for being fundamentally “minimalist”, or “reductionist” in their approach, often producing epically austere pieces that verge on near-silence, a nuanced interaction of minute and discrete elements that actively denigrate them as musical works. Indeed, in the most recent descriptions of their work, the artists themselves often use metaphorical language more readily associated with the visual arts and sculpture. With this in mind, the three artists decided to make recordings alluding to, and partially descriptive of the minimalist artists that they favour most, or have had the most profound influence on their work and imagination. It was decided that each artist would make a sound piece, naming it after a visual work, or an artist (or both) that was highly significant to each of them, translated into sound. We present here the first wave of recordings by each artist, in the hope that it will simultaneously pay homage to a great moment in contemporary art, and also fuel its influence on the next generation of minimalists.

BG NICHOLS | FOURM, August 2009

  • About Fourm


    FOURM began in 2007 as an experimental offshoot of the highly successful Level project, taking a more exploratory and investigative approach to sound outside of the established frameworks and boundaries of composition. FOURM attempts to re-site and reconfigure sound, taking it beyond the level of passive entertainment, by creating structures and atmospheres that work in harmony with personal space, and within, and through architecture (dubbed .ARCHISONICS. by the artist). More recently, FOURM has been working …

  • About Shinkei


    David Sani (Shinkei) was born in 1968 in the heart of Tuscany, Siena. In 2000 he started Microsuoni, mail-order and distribution of sound-art, focused mainly on minimalism in all its forms. After the encounter with composer Luigi Turra in 2008, they founded the Koyuki label, devoted to publish lowercase and minimal sound compositions in limited edition cds or digital downloads. The debut of the label coincided with the first Shinkei cd release “Binaural Beats” a …

  • About Luigi Turra


    Luigi Turra (b. 1975) is a italian sound/installation artist and graphic designer. His main interest is in the aural textures created by a reprocessed-field recordings and concrete sourges captured around a word. With this method it creates a harmonic equilibrium between sound and silence, tactile perception, within “environmental” aesthetics and references to japanese culture. In 2007 he formed with David Sani (shinkei) the recording label Koyuki: This project focused on minimalist aestethics in sound and …

  • Reviews:

  • Those who are interested in minimalism in modern music perhaps know already the names represented in release by label Dragon’s Eye Recordings. Last year Barry G. Nichols aka FOURM quitted his work as a reviewer on his own site WHITE_LINE to concentrate right on work with music. He keeps releasing greater part of creativity’s results on his own within the scope of label WHITE_LINE EDITIONS. Italians David Sani aka Shinkei and Luigi Turra are also engaged in their small authentic label called Koyuki. Besides solo works and various collaborations these musicians had time for working hard together at album Yu for label Non Visual Objects.

    If you want to hear this music for 100%, then having seen the people involved in this CDr, it’s better to isolate yourself at once from any outer sound sources. Even using headphones you may lose the composition clue or get confused of which exactly sound is transmitted by the acoustic system, and which one comes from outside. In general it is a good field for experiments. Having no pronounced structure, abstract audio substances easily interlace with any other sound vibrations. Here can be noise from the street, noises of household appliances, talks of neighbours with heightened voices or some another musical disc played in parallel. Let’s pay attention at least to disc’s title – Clean Forms which as a matter of fact is a generalized image of all three musicians’ creativity or if we go further, at some degree of sound minimalism in whole. Three compositions united in the album are clean, almost transparent audio forms, filling of them is for the listener. Filling with sense, content, events – whatever you want. Like a colouring book for a kid, when simple lines turn into colorful and bright world. Filtered field records, drone, crack, microscopic rippling and rustles here can become a total sound universe for the scene fans. No wonders, no discoveries – it’s just very beautiful and subtle.
    Sound Proector

  • Next up a collab between UK sonician, FOURM, nom de disque of Barry G. Nichols – familiar to experimental readers from his (now defunct) white_line website – with Italians Dani Sani aka Shinkei and Luigi Turra, known to experimental consumers from his Microsuoni mail order and distribution site, both involved in the Koyuki label. All have gained a name for severely minimalist work, radically reductive pieces of liminal listening involving interaction of minute discrete elements that threaten to efface their musical status. Here the trio reference their minimalist artists of choice on Clean Forms, intended both as homage to the past and prospective influence to the next generation of minimalists. The three pieces are fiercely lowercase, needing close listening, the threesome working microsonically to create new layers, with pitched textures – abraded, grainy or metallic – threaded with field recordings, communing with buzz and silence. Though all display common traits of reductive austerity in their microsonic specimens, they are internally distinct. FOURM’s Rothko-dedicated “Seagram Series” hosts remote bell tones and rustles suggestive of winds wafting through cylinders. Lacunae of silence alternate with leaf-crackle, bird calls, and peripheral voices in “Nokori,” Shinkei’s ode to Ken Nakazawa. Luigi Turra contributes the longest quietest piece, the 18-minute “Alluminium.Zinc” seguing between silence and the minutiae of metals.

  • BG Nichols (aka FOURM), David Sani (aka Shinkei) et Luigi Turra présentent sur Clean Forms un travail sonore chacun, qu’ils dédient à des plasticiens chéris.

    L’art qui est célébré ici est un art abstrait illustré par les compositions des trois musiciens : des lignes blanches déposées sur des partitions métalliques de la part de FOURM, des craquements électroniques et des enregistrements de la nature encadrés par Shinkei, des dessins à l’encre sympathique pour Luigi Turra. Minimaliste et pastel, la réunion d’artistes produit sans projeter de manifeste commun, et c’est de cette manière qu’elle arrive à séduire.
    Le Son Du Grisli

  • FORUM/Shinkei/Luigi Turra are the latest sound artists embracing and paying homage to early minimalism and bringing it into 2009 with the aptly titled ‘Clean Forms’ disc on LA’s Dragon’s Eye Recordings. Working within the reduced ‘less is more’ kind of aesthetic they have each contributed a track. FORUM’s ‘Seagram Series for Mark Rothko’ is an excellent exercise in restraint allowing the mind to create a visual to the discrete detailed metallic textures and crystal drones. It’s spacious yet full of possibilities. Shinkei uses near silence and distant hum combined with crackle and static on ‘Nokori (for Ken Nazakawa)’ and I’m transported into a microworld of tiny insect flutters and voices. This one really commands my attention and makes me feel like a particle drifting into different worlds. Luigi Turra ends with ‘Aluminum Zinc’ which makes me think of an amoeba doing Tai-Chi and then a big giant comes along and starts clattering about with sheet metal. I reckon headphones are the way to go with this album unless you have a room with no other audio distractions. My mind is working overtime to all three tracks here. To second the Mark Rothko reference I feel this type of sound art really is the audio equivalent. Some people will look/ hear and be like “That’s a load of bollocks just a load of paint/strange noises” or on the flipside be like “Fascinating abstract stuff/This takes me places” You either feel it or you don’t.
    – Norman Records

  • FOURM, Shinkei, and Luigi Turra—minimalist sound artists all—would seem to be perfect choices for a project designed to pay tribute to the 1960s visual art movement also known as minimalism. In both aural and visual contexts, the minimalist artist reduces the material in question to its purified essence and strives to remove the particular imprint of the individual creator so as to universalize the production in question.

    The CD-R’s three audio works are true ‘headphones listening’ pieces in that while there is a generous amount of activity in play in each, close listening is required in order for it to be fully appreciated. The sound artists present long-form recordings that pay tribute to minimalist artists who exerted a profound influence on their work and, in each case, the sound artist names the piece after the visual artist or an associated work that has been translated into sound. Though all of the sound artists involved share a commitment to the values of reduction and austerity in their micro-sound creations, their pieces also reveal differences in sonic character. Dedicated to Mark Rothko, FOURM’s “Seagram Series” presents ten minutes of faint bell tones and rustles in a manner that often suggests winds blowing through hollowed-out concrete tunnels. Pregnant pauses of silence alternate with field recordings of leaf-like crackle, distant bird calls, and snatches of human conversation in “Nokori,” a fifteen-minute setting Shinkei (David Sani) composed in honour of Ken Nakazawa. Italian sound/installation artist and graphic designer Luigi Turra contributes the longest and most reduced piece of the three, the eighteen-minute “Alluminium.Zinc,” which, like the Shinkei work, segues between passages of silence and low-level industrial sonics of a rather metallic kind.

  • A new release on Los Angeles’s based Dragons Eye Recordings in a limited run of 250 copies came out. This is a collaboration between renowned sound artists Barry G. Nichols aka Fourm from the UK and two Italian musicians, Dani Sani aka Shinkei and Luigi Turra. The first one runs the well known Microsuoni mail-order and distribution company and both of them run the Koyuki label. The trio works on microsounds which are processed reconstructing their tones and creating new layers of sound. The textures are rough, dusty and sharp combining some metal sounds of found objects, field recordings taken from nature and urban places come together with underrated buzz and silence.

  • The last one is actually a compilation, dealing with the notion of minimalism. Again we come across Luigi Turra, of whom we never heard, until last week, but as Fourm and Shinkei, which is David Sani, the man behind the mailorder Microsuoni and the label Koyuki. Fourm is an off-shoot of Level, of whom I never heard. Minimalism it is. Throughout these three pieces the music is very soft; one has to put up the volume quite a bit, to hear anything at all. (Why can’t it never be loud and minimal, I was thinking). At the bottom of it all lie field recordings I think. They are processed in such a way that all the frequencies are removed, until almost nothing remains. With those remainders the music is then composed, by collating a few of those frequencies together. Maybe alternating at times with something higher pitched. More microsound than ambient I’d say, this is music that requires ones full attention as not to miss anything. That is not easy, given the soft volume in all three pieces . Its however a rewarding listen, that may not shed any new light on microsound, but is austerely beautiful.
    – Vital Weekly