my second solo record & self-produced follow up to AGORA
released May 15, 2012 on bitsquare
press info here [PDF]
for review copies, email me
(list of reviews is below)
radio waves and bells: for this project, my second solo record,
I wanted to pay homage to the first composers
of electroacoustic music and their experiments—
finding out where classical instruments and electronics could intersect.
the sonic emphasis here is placed on the bell,
so I played crotales, cymbals and bells of all kinds,
also violin, wineglasses, toy piano and zither,
and created choirs of my own voice
(celebrating conventional musicality)
I imagine this record transmitted as a radio broadcast at midnight,
perhaps from the shores of a remote island…
endless thanks to my listeners, derek piotr 2012
The mood and sound of this record has advanced past the industrial/digital edge of AGORA into electroacoustic and classical territory. The sonic focus this time was the sound of both the bell and radio static. To underline this, I have both recorded various bells, crotales, cymbals and gongs, and transformed some of my own field recordings into bell-like tones for each track. Radio samples were generously recorded for me by Dendrite. Endless thanks to him for those sounds!!! This record was nominated by the Ars Electronica Jury for the Prix Ars prize 2012 for Digital Musics.
A step forward in conventional musicality has also taken place; I play percussion on each track, violin for the first time on tracks Clandestine Spread and Glass Broadcast, wineglasses on Radimantra, and toy piano and zither on Sixmonth and Insects.
Additional vocalists include longtime collaborator Carahanni, who appears on Deliver, and Lisa Ackerly, who appears on Will Rise. A sample of a prior collaboration with Canadian vocalist jhom is present on Islets. This record also features more layering of my own voice than on AGORA; some of my earliest experiments involved making “choirs” of myself by laying takes atop one another, and this technique is re-used and highlighted here.
The album also features three march pieces; Święte Marsz (Holy March or Sacred March), Marsz Żal (Grief March or Sorrow March), and Marsz Ducha (Spirit March or Ghost March). These pieces are short and serve as transitional points throughout the record.
1. Colossus was originally created using purely samples of my voice. I added light electronics and bells only later, to reflect the theme of the record. The title was inspired both by Sylvia Plath and the Rhodes colossus, a lost wonder of the ancient world. the ending of this track and the beginning of Islets feature field recordings of radio static from my boyfriend dendrite’s car, which reinforces the concept of this record as a transmission.
2. Islets was a piece I had written while working on AGORA, but which I didn’t record until a year later. The lyric is based on a poem I wrote. An additional vocal sample by jhom was added when I was looking through old compositions of mine. her section (concentrate) comes from a spoken-word collaboration of ours called “conjuration”.
3. Nineweek was the first piece I worked on for Airing in February 2011, right as AGORA was being mastered. this piece is mainly based around a drone I processed from a vocal file. additional samples were contributed by Andrew Jordan of a tea kettle, the sample was sent as a video file so I both ripped the audio from this video and straight imported the file into my DAW. the resulting data tone is the first sound in this piece. I also crack and break dried bamboo, and this too is a sound sampled in the track.
4. Will Rise (Will Love) is a minimal duet between Lisa Ackerly and myself. I wanted to focus on repetition in lyrics with the song pieces on this record, so I chose one phrase regarding the sun and moon and multitracked my voice to create shifts in the phrasing. additional samples appear courtesy of Troy Church, the opening sound especially reminded me of a sunrise and inspired the lyrics.
5. Święte Marsz (“Sacred March” or “Holy March”) is the first of the three march pieces I wrote for this record; as with every track on this record it contains samples of bells, as well as a section of vocals I processed with a korg vocoder.
6. Glass Broadcast was a track I wrote with samples of a violin I had played while at Berklee College during Summer 2011. Additional recordings of various bottles and glasses form the main elements of the track as well as the rhythm section. This track was originally the backing to a spoken word performance I gave of Yusef Komunyakaa’s poem Corrigenda.
7. Insects is a short, strong beat piece I started work on after a friend suggested many of the elements of my work sound like insects moving about. Additionally, I play toy piano on this track.
8. Guides is a drone piece which I recorded and processed from wineglasses. The main sample in the piece was spontaneously recorded on my macbook in the Summer when a random freight train happened to be stalled on the tracks outside my house. I ran outside to record it, and this recording forms the core of the piece.
9. Marsz Żal (“Grief March” or “March of Sorrow”) is the second march that I created for this record, derived from filtered recordings of voice, bells and random noise.
10. Deliver is a duet with Carahanni and features organ, tape, bells and field recordings of a pine forest. The lyrics were improvised.
11. Clandestine Spread is mainly based around recordings of violin that I played at Berklee College. It is perhaps the most electroacoustic piece on this project, and features inclusion of one of the files I created by layering takes of my own voice to form a choir of myself. Martina Crouch wrote a poem in response to this piece, forthcoming in a chapbook of poetry to accompany Airing, read the poem here
12. Sixmonth is a piece I wrote for toy piano, zither, bell, gong and electronics. the core file of this piece is a collection of sub-phoneme slices of my voice that I arranged into a jagged spine. the final moments of the piece are another choir file that I filtered to pieces.
13. Radimantra is a meditative piece featuring gongs, cymbals, wineglass and electronics. the piece’s rhythm section was constructed from recordings of radio static contributed by dendrite, and the end of the piece features the inclusion of a piece I wrote for cymbal and voice; the first sketches I composed with Airing in mind. the vocals are wordless. Extended forms of this piece were composed; titled Radio Mantras, they are their own separate release and also function as an abstract radio play.
14. Marsz Ducha (“Spirit March” or “Ghost March”) is the final march piece. Short and hollow, and again features wordless vocals and dendrite’s radio recordings.
15. Vehicle is the last track on the record, the longest, and to me the most classical. The core instrument of this piece is a massive bell, but also prominent is the use of a full choir of myself (layers and layers of takes), as well as sequenced recordings of crotales and vocal fragments.
[16.] Will Rise (Will Love) – Acoustic is the digital bonus track. Troy Church effectively re-imagined my duet with Lisa Ackerly on piano. I want to work more with pure acoustic music, “unplugged” versions of noise tracks are possible! The flute intro comes courtesy of Zach Thorpe. download here
“more abstract than the compositions of Steve Reich…a restless intelligence”
“the more textured and atonal side of things, but the ‘noise’ his tracks are comprised of never comes off as harsh or unlistenable”
“admirably collapses the silly distinction between percussive and melodic elements…Piotr’s control of rhythm is magic”
“genuinely engrosses…the balance between the electronic experimentation and acoustic treatment reach a frequent equilibrium”
“besonde-res augenmerk gilt der menschlichen stimme…klarer kontraste und lässt die form stets den inhalten folge”
“pairs incomprehensible mumbling with magnificent composing”
“compelling pieces…highly recommended”
by beach sloth
“a concise effort in a myriad of ways”
by inane bliss
“balance of minimal and maximal aesthetics…Piotr pulls that juxtaposition off very well”
“idiosyncratic works…fundamentally concerned with exploring the limits of the human voice within tightly-wound digital frameworks”
“at the vicious end of the clever-dance music show…something nice and industrial about it.“
by lo-fi music
“exposes a nerve at the intersection of electro//acoustic”
by vital weekly
“an odd combination of song structured based composition and more abstract electronics”
“avant-pop…too multi-dimensional to pigeonhole”
“one of the most unique records you will hear all year”
released as a CD/Digital EP July 23rd, 2012
pdf info here
“an undulating piece of outsider pop…every remix provides a unique and distinct look into Piotr’s intriguing source material”
“a masterpiece in electroacoustic craftsmanship…surprisingly stunning”
“curious remixes which build on the haunting sound collage present in the original version”
by beach sloth
“overall this is a fine collection with an assorted amount of variation”
released as a CD/Digital EP November 5th, 2012
3 extended forms of track “Radimantra”
pdf info here
buy digital: bandcamp
buy cd: artist shop
Airing teaser, dir. Pierre-Henri Ramboz
Glass Broadcast, dir. Pierre-Henri Ramboz
Colossus, dir. Jeremy Bailey