Dragon’s Eye Recordings is pleased to present Static Forms by Pierre Gerard and Shinkei. In lieu of a traditional album description, the artists and Dragon’s Eye Recordings offer the following quotations.
“The silence that I manufacture, hears only my ears. like these lengthened forms, often.”
– Pierre Gerard
“Le silence, c’est la meilleure production qu’on puisse faire, parce qu’il se propage : on ne le signe pas et tout le monde en profite.”
– Marcel Duchamp
“On peut voir celui qui regarde, mais on ne peut pas entendre celui qui écoute.”
- Marcel Duchamp
“…But now there are silences and the words make help make the silences. I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is poetry, as i need it. We need not fear the silences, we may love them.”
– John Cage (from Lecture On Nothing)
“Music already enjoys inaudibility.”
– John Cage (from Satie Lecture)
“…For it is the space and emptiness that is finally urgently necessary at this point in history (not the sounds that happen in it – or their relationships) (not the stones – thinking of a Japanese stone garden – or their relationships but the emptiness of the sand which needs the stones anywhere in the space in order to be empty). When I said recently in Darmstadt that one could write music by observing the imperfections in the paper upon which one was writing, a student who did not understand because he was full of musical ideas asked, ‘Would one piece of paper be better than another: one for instance that had more imperfections?’
He was attached to sounds and because of his attachment could not let sounds be just sounds. He needed to attach himself to the emptiness, to the silence. Then things – sounds, that is – would come into being of themselves. Why is this so necessary that sounds should be just sounds? There are many ways of saying why. One is this: In order that each sound may become the Buddha.”
– John Cage (from Silence)
Filosofi di forme apparentemente statiche, l’italiano David Sani in arte Shinkei e il belga Pierre Gerard, chiamati in Static Forms ad appoggiare come sempre al silenzio sculture di suono che si plasmano intorno all’estremo filo dell’udibile.
Difficile trovare due artisti così strettamente legati alle maniere, quelle più radicali delle arti minimaliste, per intenderci parliamo di musicisti che scelgono di svuotare l’ascolto muovendosi intorno alle pratiche d’estetica.
Le cose che contanto per Gerard sono durata, soundcolor e dinamica, lo sanno bene i diciotto minuti di Wooden Mouldings For The Assembly prima traccia di Static Forms in cui continuare il discorso -iniziato con Plateaux (Koyuki-2009) – sull’area di soglia. A questo si agggiunge una presa di coscienza dello spazio inteso come contenitore in cui rilevare le ombre cioè gli elementi impercettibili (note di pianoforte, interruzioni, interferenze o suoni isolati) che giocano tra movimenti di campo e di volume. Per Shinkei -all’apparenza più legato all’azione – invece l’arte del dettaglio alla Roden e la poesia degli oggetti di Rilke allaccitta alla pratica della lower case music e come sempre con la predilezione per suoni prettamente acustici.
Tutto il resto è una continua riflessione sonora tra bassa frequenza, suoni oggetti, field recordings, sfrigolii di particelle, interruzioni, pieghe e frammenti.
Come diceva Arthur Russell quello spazio estremo (qui in poco più di trenta minuti) in cui non puoi portarci le percussioni, ma in cui portare la mente.
Silence and space are punctuated by tiny electroacoustic gestures on this split CDR. Gerard’s piece, “Wooden Mouldings for the Assembly (to Constantin Brancusi)”, contains acoustic sounds: piano notes, bass tones and what are possibly woodblocks or found sounds. These are combined with slivers of hiss and static, occasionally panning through the stereo field and and rising in volume.
Shinkei’s untitled contribution is more abstracted, the sound sources more difficult to discern. Low rumbles and crisp static roll in and out, leaving silences in their wake. A piano enters the mix, then the sounds of clanking metallic objects and as the static rises in prominence the piece takes on a fuller structure until it recedes to silence again. The following sounds are louder and seem to jump out at you after having got used to the quieter passages.
– Zonal Sound
33 minutes subdivided in two individual pieces. Gerard’s is the longest one, inspired by John Cage (repeatedly quoted in the press release; let’s not forget that those sentences opened the road to all kinds of artistic nonentity, thus I tend to read them with a mixture of perplexity or, if you prefer, unconvinced respect). Unspecified instrumental and environmental sources – some of them identifiable, others not – give life to brief flashes of incidental activity in between silence. These sounds are “just there”, appearing and dying instantly, without pretending of being remembered – and, in fact, they won’t. A well-mannered statement, but Bernhard Günter it ain’t. Shinkei (David Sani) tends to let the frequencies work a little more, immediately starting with a Francisco López-like subterranean rumble which, right after, leaves room for the kind of micro-activity that is audible only in a completely silent setting, inserting rare notes of a slightly detuned piano for good measure. The blatant noise of rolling glass bottles – or are they? – trashes any good intention, ruining the suspension that the beautiful beginning had created; penetrating electronics manage to save the track from an unexpected disaster. An impressionistic piece, so to speak, that results less disjointed to these ears. However, this ground has become sterile by now, and not from yesterday. To quote Cage again, “we need not fear the silences, we may love them”.
– Touching Extremes
Après l’ambient drone de Wyndel Hunt, voici la deuxième production dont nous parlons cette année et provenant du label Dragon’s Eye Recordings, basé à Los Angeles. Il s’agit cette fois d’un split entre deux artistes avec d’une part le liégeois Pierre Gerard et d’autre part l’italien Shinkei.
Pierre Gerard vient de l’art contemporain et alterne entre pratique et recherche avec un goût prononcé pour l’abstraction. Après la peinture, le sculpture et la vidéo, il s’est mit à la musique en 2003 dans un premier temps à base d’objets et field recordings avant de se mettre aux instruments. Shinkei (de son vrai nom David Sani) est certainement un peu plus connu de nos lecteurs puisqu’il créa en 2000 le mail order Microsuoni qui, comme son nom le suggère était dédié au minimalisme et à l’art sonore. Depuis 2008, il dirige le label Koyuki sur lequel on croise FOURM (alias Si_COMM), Steinbruchel, ou encore Yann Novak, le boss de Dragon’s Eye Recordings.
On navigue donc dans le petit monde du minimalisme avec pour chacun des deux artistes une pièce unique de 15-18 minutes. Aucune explication ou note d’intention pour accompagner ce disque, si ce n’est une liste de citations de Marcel Duchamp ou John Cage, toutes relatives au silence, point commun des deux œuvres ici présentées. Les deux hommes construisent une musique que l’on qualifiera de musique concrète minimaliste. On décèle de nombreux bruitages, certainement issus de manipulation d’objets, des sonorités électroniques extrêmes, jouant avec les limites de l’audible (sifflement ultra aigu, infra basse), et quelques sonorités instrumentales. Des cordes frottées chez Pierre Gerard, certainement celles d’un violoncelle dont le corps semble être frappé, quelques notes de piano en intro et conclusion chez Shinkei. On aura tendance à trouver le travail du Belge plus proche de la musique concrète, l’Italien faisant plus fréquemment appel à l’électronique, mais les deux hommes jouent de la même manière des silences, interrompant sans cesse leurs instruments pour abandonner l’auditeur dans des failles sonores.
Un album difficile, abstrait, qui demande une réelle participation de l’auditeur, mais sa courte durée semble parfaitement adaptée au propos. Les amateurs de beaux objets seront conquis puisque Dragon’s Eye Recordings porte une attention particulière au design de leurs productions, mêlant simplicité et cohérence.
In place of traditional liner notes for Static Forms, Pierre Gerard, David Sani (Shinkei), and Dragon’s Eye Recordings cite quotations by Pierre Gerard, Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, all of which reflect on silence, space, and emptiness as aural components. The two long-form settings that make up Static Forms naturally exemplify the qualities in question, with Gerard’s “Wooden Mouldings For The Assembly (to Constantin Brancusi),” for example, stitching together minute fragments of electro-acoustic sound into an eighteen-minute amalgam that is as much dedicated to the rests between the sounds as the sounds themselves. That gives the piece a kind of stop-start feel, as whatever forward momentum a musical element introduces is just as quickly curtailed by the pause that’s sure to follow. That Gerard’s background is in visual art—drawing, engraving, sculpture, painting, and such—can be heard in the way he builds the piece incrementally, alternately physically shaping it with minute clippings of acoustic bass, electronic fizz, plucked strings, and piano and then stepping back to reflect on the work-in-progress before making the next move. Shinkei’s untitled fifteen-minute piece is a similarly styled micro-sound (lower case or minimal, if you prefer) setting but one that exchanges a stop-start presentation for constant textural flow. The Microsuoni head and Koyuki label co-founder assembles soft crackle, piano sprinkles, subliminal rumble, and found sounds (rattling noises and the like) into a steadily mutating stream of fluctuating character. Be aware that both pieces are ‘static’ sound sculptures that eschew dynamic contrasts and a conventional narrative structure that includes rising action, climax, and resolution.
This is a slit CD-R by sound and video artist Belgiam Pierre Gerard and Italian David Sani aka Shinkei offering one piece of work each.
“Wooden Mouldings For The Assembly (to Constantin Brancusi)” by Gerard is 20 minutes long track of minimal sounds that is to say hints of piano notes, discrete bass sounds, hiss and static. The sounds come in and out declaring that the option here is the creation of silent spaces.
“Untitled” is the piece composed by Koyuki’s label boss David Sani where static aesthetic it wrap up the hole track while a muted piano comes out and the manipulation of metallic objects gives a raw texture, a sort of contrast facing a pure and minimal sound.
Dragon’s Eye once again provides us with a fascinating piece of electronic music for our listening pleasure. This work sees Pierre Gerard and Koyuki’s David Sani delivering one piece of work each and they really are both leaders in this quiet minimalist style. Gerard’s ‘Wooden Mouldings…’ is a 20 minute investigation of silence and reductionist sounds. There would appear to be no specific concept behind this piece other than the fact that it exists – and honestly, that’s quite good enough for me. Snippets of muted piano and ghostly voices are joined by distant bass rumbles and the occasional moment of hiss or static. Together they create a barely audible sense of isolation and yet it’s easy to forget at times that there’s anything playing at all. For me that’s a strength of this type of work and I enjoy the sensation it creates. Shinkei’s untitled track is, in many ways, even more minimal and sparse. There doesn’t seem to be a single linking factor or theme between the two tracks but they seem to naturally work together. Sani’s work is slightly more high frequency based, but not the type that will impinge on your senses. In the context of the other tones in the piece it’s exactly what it demands as the sounds of static, microphone rumble and the rare occurrence of a plucked or percussive instrument work off each other in a wonderful way. In all then this is another extremely fine release from Dragon’s Eye and comes recommended for fans of, amongst others, Line and White_Line.
On se souvient de l’oiseau de Brancusi coincé en douane américaine : fallait-il le considérer comme une œuvre d’art ? Les douaniers retournent et retournent encore l’oiseau et les étranges bruits qui en sortent semblent être ceux avec lesquels compose Pierre Gerard dans une pièce qu’il dédie justement au sculpteur. Des bruits faibles entourés par le silence le temps que des interrogations naissent sous la casquette des officiers, un embouteillage d’idées partagées entre l’envie de bien faire et le souci affiché de comprendre de quoi il retourne. Ce sont dans ces soupçons que taille Gerard afin de former une abstraction contenant des propositions musicales en devenir et des copiés-collés qui demandent du volume, et pas qu’un peu.
Une composition non intitulée de David ‘Shinkei’ Sani – split oblige – suit la première pièce : des notes de piano optent cette fois pour un art concret sur des grésillements malingres ou la rumeur créée par des objets que l’on traîne à terre ou dont on joue. Des tonnerres de pacotille et des vents factices, un grain menaçant et des apparitions d’ordre numérique. Shinkei revient au piano pour finir, et conclut le disque qu’il se partage avec Pierre Gerard, que l’on appelle Static Forms.
– le son du Grisli
The prolific minimal-lowercase, sound art label, Dragon’s Eye Recordings is documenting its own kind of “quiet music” genre with the release of Static Forms. The two track cdr consists of one piece by Pierre Gerard and a track contributed by David Sani aka Shinkei. Though there is no indication that this release was a collaboration other than, presumably, a mutual willingness to share a cdr, it is evident on listening the pairing makes complete sense, with both artists exploring “negative sound space” in very similar ways.
Belgian artist Pierre Gerard comes from a visual background with interests that run the gamut from sculpture and furniture to video making. His music making began as a desire to “…step towards work without palpable matter, firstly with objects and field recording.” In “Wooden Mouldings For The Assembly (To Constrain Brancusi)”, Gerard uses fragments of various recorded sound sources to lay down the structure for his moments of composed silences. His sound palette includes electro-acoustic instrumentation consisting of snippets of muted frequency tones, low-key acoustic swells and soft-spoken piano strikes then augmented by the occasional digital glitch or rough edit. It’s a sonic vocabulary well explored by other lowercase artists but Gerard is seemingly less concerned with his sound sources, more with the juxtaposition of these edits. The ambient sounds are subservient to invisible objects Gerard is placing and not simply describing an acoustical space. The sound is very tactile, describing sculptural elements that could fit into a room like furniture. It may sound a cliché, but “Wooden Mouldings…” has a properly tweaked aesthetic to it, not unlike the principles of well implemented Feng Shui. My only critique is that the modern art reference in the track title is a bit overdone. For a better reference point, Pierre’s quote in the press sheet is more fitting: “The silence that I manufacture, hears only my ears. Like these lengthened forms, often.”
Shinkei begins his track, “Untitled”, with a rumble that fades in then pans across the sound field. Surface noise from a turntable rides above the rumble to introduce melancholic sparse piano notes. It’s a continuously evolving composition, as glass bottles clank and roll about and then a synthetic hollow noise field slowly simmers up. If I had to compare artists, Italian-born David Sani experiments more with the timbre and qualities of continuous noise to create an armature. Silence is the catalyst allowing his microscopic shapes to crystallize and take form. In fact, this track doesn’t seem very static to me at all, as roughly halfway through, Shinkei subtly shifts the approach. His micro-composions begin to melt into a synthetic rainstorm. The rumbles now allude to a synthesized thundercloud. The weather moves fast, the piece speeds up with more activity. I like the pacing, more piano keys interspersed with delicate electronic crickets and then more rumble. The patterns start to stack, then after 15 minutes from where he began, Shinkei brings the track to a close.
Unlike Gerard’s contribution, Shinkei seeks to rely more on environmental sounding elements for his composition. The use of silence is important, but its placement fits more in sync perhaps with natural cycles of weather as opposed to man-made forms.