Kinetix vs. Pylône: Sonology
Sound On Probation

Sonology, the latest release from the Sound On Probation camp, combines two twenty-minute settings by Gianluca Becuzzi (aka Kinetix) and four shorter pieces by Laurent Perrier (aka Pylône), all of them untitled.

Kinetix's first piece is a prototypical electroacoustic dronescape of micro-sounds where insectoid clicks, shimmering organ gleam, cavernous rumbles, percussive noises, and electronics combine to form a consistently captivating stream of controlled sound. Becuzzi holds the material to a mid-level simmer throughout, choosing to neither reduce it to a micro-tonal level that strains audibility nor inflame it to so that it becomes a harrowing monstrosity. The first setting segues uninterruptedly into the more wide-ranging second, which at first establishes an industrial and cavernous character before an unidentified French speaker appears, his voice presented in two layers, followed by the cryptic whispers of a female speaker. Intensifying emissions of hiss and static smother the voice until the voice re-appears, now splintered into unintelligible fragments and accompanied by sci-fi warble. Becuzzi then references Alvin Lucier's I Am Sitting In A Room (“I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now…”) before a seamless transition into Perrier's material occurs. His first piece smolders, growing gradually into a crackling mass of smears and ominous writhing noises, until the mechanoid rhythms of track four take over and eventually morph into the percolating, bass-prodded combustion of the fifth. A swirl of smears and whirrs coalesces into a lulling rhythm that eventually leads into a concluding piece that's as insectoid as Kinetix's opener .

Listeners with a taste for experimental sound sculpting could do a whole lot worse than Sonology. Given that the term refers to the study of sound, the album title choice is a natural one for a collection so focused on exploring the range of electo-acoustic sound possibilities. And even though it's a split release involving two artists and indexed as six tracks, the recording itself unfolds as a single continuous piece of shape-shifting design for seventy-two minutes.

September 2010