Asher: Landscape Studies

I8U: 10-33 cm

Two “lower-case” recordings by Asher and I8U make natural additions to ROOM40's discography.

Struck by the frequencies of certain outside sounds intruding into his home environment, Asher attempts to create settings that convey the impression of a particular room or space. To generate such “landscape studies,” he records and re-records his collected material through a series of hardware devices until the original sounds are radically transformed; in his own words, “This type of composition to me is somehow related to an idea of a landscape with particular elements interacting, the quality of light, the weather and time of year, and the soundmarks of a specific location.” Working by choice within such narrow confines, Asher brings into being ambient drones of soothing character. Gossamer, crepuscular tones gently drift in slow motion through fields of vaporous static, with each one of the six pieces (all in the six- to seven-minute range) a variation on the common theme. The whistling tones resonate and shimmer against thick masses of softly churning noise, suggestive of a coastal lighthouse's light piercing through heavy fog during an otherwise peaceful night. Though subdued in character, Asher's becalmed evocations succeed in realizing their intended effect.

I8U's 10-33 cm is as resonant as Asher's Landscape Studies but wholly different in timbre. Inspired by ideas associated with String Theory, Canadian sound artist France Jobin (aka I8U) creates seven crystalline webs of shimmering, glistening tones and textures. Apparently, the measure 10-33 cm represents the theoretical size of the strings that constitute the universe, and, as Jobin explains,”Resonance is the vibrational pattern which determines what kind of particle the string is, and thus the type of particle is the movement of the string and the energy associated with this movement.” Don't worry: listening to 10-33 cm requires no degree in Physics; one can experience it as pure sound divorced from its theoretical underpinning. Broached on purely sonic terms, the recording offers a wide-ranging series of explorations into microsound textures, rhythms, and tonalities with each of the spatial re-creations pursuing different pathways associated with the originating concept. Comprised of forty-six minutes of reverberant drones, rumbling tones, faint clicks, and softly crackling static, 10-33 cm could just as easily be a Line release as one from ROOM40.

February 2009