On Noise

That Whispers

Thursday 5 December 2013, 7-9pm

GV Art gallery, London invites you to an evening of deep listening and immersive minimalism on the 5th of December 2013.

Technological revolutions and the emergence of novel terrains of artistic creation are intimately intertwined. Consequently, practices in contemporary music return to us the question of what constitutes music and what constitutes noise in always renewing forms. In conjunction with the group exhibition “NOISE and whispers”, GV Art invites experimental musicians Mendel Kaelen, Pascal Savy and Ed Hamilton to share their interpretation on the evening’s theme: on noise that whispers. After a solo performance of each, the artists join forces for a session of free improvisation.

Interference, loud sounds, those things the ear does not want to hear, and the unconsciousness of music; throughout time, the term noise has acquired a multitude of associations and eccentric definitions. The view that the distinction between wanted and unwanted sounds, music and noise, is however rather thin and artificial, is eloquently formulated by the following pioneers in modern music:

“Noise plays a primary role in the perception of virtually every musical sound. Noise components at the beginning of musical instrument tones (usually no longer than a few milliseconds in duration), referred to as attack transients, very often provide the primary perceptual cues for aural identification. Without these noise components it is virtually impossible for a listener to differentiate between, for instance, a clarinet and piano tone sounding at the same frequency, because their pitched or “steady-state” portions (comprising most of all instrumental tone’s duration) happen to be a timbrally similar. In fact, no acoustic instrument or concrete sound is actually a “pure tone”. It is possible to electronically produce pure pitch (sine wave) or pure noise (white noise). But aside from these two esoteric exceptions, the entire sound world is one in which periodic and non-periodic vibrations intermingle in an endless variety of ways.” – Mary Russo and Daniel Warner, 2004

“Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating” – John Cage, 1937

Mendel Kaelen is a London-based sound artist and researcher. His work often draws upon the concepts of altered states and transiency, and on the use of simple materials like sand, wood, water, environmental sounds and acoustic instrumentation. Although these are often subjected to electronic manipulations, this typically serves to magnify those sonic textures that mirror the presence of these concepts in the concrete phenomena of nature. Where Kaelen’s installations demonstrate an explicit focus on the relation between sound and altered states of consciousness, his music compositions vary from experimental minimalism to more emotionally toned soundscapes.

With this music, Mendel Kaelen merges deep listening sounds with found sound/field recordings and musique concrête. If you’re looking for comparisions, I guess there are hardly any. But if you insist, I’d say that there’s a fair amount of Pauline Oliveiros meeting Chris Watson and then adding some John Cage in the process…” – Ambientblog

Pascal Savy is a French electronic music composer who lives and works in London (UK). He creates organic ambient and drone music as a way to reflect on erosion, transition and decay. He usually eschews melody and rhythm and utilizes tones and noise to explore atmospheres rather than narratives. His work often combines acoustic and electronic sources generated from pick-ups, coils, short-wave radios or FM synthesisers and more recently home made electronics.

We can hear the pops, pings, hisses and crackles of electronica, but what remains is an atmosphere of warmth and fullness.” – Tokafi

Ed Hamilton is an artist who explores the spaces between… whether the sound between the notes of traditional western composition, or the sonic interplay between different rhythmic incarnations, it is these spaces where his music resides. Coupled with a considered approach to sound design, this methodology manifests itself in an intimate persona, enveloping the listener in loops of minimal electronic tones and ambient backdrops, carefully aligned into melodic phrases.

He currently uses his collection of Max/MSP patches, coupled with a variety of sound sources, to create these multi-layered compositions, blending melody and traditional instrumentation with shimmering electronic pulses and drones. Each ‘memory-piece’ delivers a series of rich auditory pictures; either of a feeling, place or person, lit by Hamilton’s unique instrumental tone and compositional assemblage.

Hamilton really does have something new to bring to the table, his rhythmic innovations breathing a fresh vitality into a familiar sound and helping to create an atmosphere that is immediately present rather than wistfully remembered.” – Fluid Radio, 2013



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