Pierre Gerard / Shinkei: Static Forms
Dragon's Eye Recordings

Shinkei / mise_en_scene: Leftover_1
Dragon's Eye Recordings

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 electroacoustic 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.

One could easily imagine the three-inch release Leftover_1 by Shinkei and mise_en_scene (Tel-Aviv-based Shay Nassi) added to Static Forms as a third setting, not simply because David Sani's involved again but because the collaboration is similar in microsound spirit to the other two. Nassi complements Sani by bringing a background in sound engineering and sensitivity to acoustic sound design to the work involved. The work's curious title stems from the fact that it emerged from the unused parts of the duo's Scytale release (mAtter). In assembling that work, small parts were omitted which prompted the two to gather the archived elements together to form a new piece. Much like Shinkei's untitled contribution to Static Forms, “Leftover_1” assembles tiny sounds of varying character into a ghostly, twenty-one-minute mass. In this case, however, Shinkei and mise_en_scene vary to a slightly greater degree than is heard on Static Forms the dynamic range associated with their percussive noises and crackling textures. Even so, it remains a work that's resolutely microsound in character.

May 2010