remote_ thoughts | contemporary electronic

Antti Rannisto – Ääniesineitä – 12k – CD

Posted in Uncategorized by remotethoughts on November 22, 2005

Antti Rannisto is a relative newcomer to the scene but, for me, made such an impact with his superb ‘Rotate’ EP for Audio.nl that it was with a great deal of anticipation that I awaited the arrival of this new release from 12k.

As a stalwart label of the digital minimalsm scene, 12k has released some classic and pioneering music from the likes of label owner Taylor Deupree, Kenneth Kirschner, Goem, Shuttle358, Frank Bretschneider and many others. As such it’s splendid to see them, once again, going out on a limb to release music from someone on the outer edges of this potent style of music and, certainly, making a departure from their previous work.

Antti’s music is cold, icy, intense and so essentially Scandinavian that it’s hard not to reference a certain iconic label… Pansonic, Ø, Philus… Do you get where I’m going with this? Sähkö. That’s where.

This is the logical successor to the output of that staggeringly innovative imprint and barr the occasional release from Mika Vainio as ‘Ø’, this is realistically the only thing that’s sounded as real or authentic for a long, long time.

From the very beginning this CD says one thing: Depth… and lots of it.

If you’re after dense tones and mind-filling noises, this is for you. If you love absolutely strict minimalism, this is for you. If you love dark and intense mind music, this is for you.

He uses harsh, synthesized sounds to create an increasingly tense atmosphere of isolation and industry that melds effortlessly with crisp, yet subtle, 4/4 beats which act as sonic punctuation.

Resonance is another key with dissonant sounds and notes colliding together to create the kind of frequencies that stay with you long after you’ve finished listening. It’s not so much haunting… more frightening how powerful this sound is and the way he uses the simplest of elements to get into your head is devastating.

Deep sine waves, sawtooth loops and out-of-time progressions that sit uneasily over the rigid structure that underpins everything giving it an unbalanced yet perfectly, sublimely out-of sync feel.

There’s a real flow, though, and it’s essential in drawing the listener in as it can be a lonely and somewhat disconcerting experience listening to this music – you don’t neccesarily want it on as dinner music with friends, for example. Short tonal pieces are followed by lengthy and hypnotic tracks that, in a mutant and freaked out otherworld, could be dancefloor music.

A kickdrum… a sound… a manipulation… Antti proves that’s all you need to move people, and he does so with an incredible amount of style.

This certainly isn’t going to appeal to everyone, but I urge any listeners to go into it with an open mind… you may well be surprised just what you find there.

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Richard Chartier Live – LMC Festival, London

Posted in Uncategorized by remotethoughts on November 9, 2005

Wednesday 2nd November 2005.

An extremely wet, windy and unpleasant evening in London.

At the best of times I’m not really that great at going out to events, but on a night like this it was a serious struggle.

God, I’m glad I made the effort.

The LMC is known for its work with and tireless promotion of experimental music in the London area and occasionally, just occasionally they cross over with the kind of minimalistic Electronica that I really love.

For the most part I find a lot of the things they do a little too conceptual for my taste but when I heard they had booked Richard Chartier to perform as part of their annual London festival at the Bridewell Theatre I rushed to get myself and some friends a set of tickets.

It was an interesting and, at times, inadvertantly funny evening, but I’m not going to go into detail about that because that’s not why we were there. We went to experience Chartier’s music at volume in a live environment.

Coming back from the bar after the interval we were greeted by a completely dark stage with only an Apple Mac logo shining in the middle along with the neon glow of an optical mouse [correction: I’m reliably informed that it actually wasn’t a mouse, in which case I’m just not sure what the light was… mysterious!]… this was to be pure Powerbook minimalism, then.

From the opening chord sounds which gently and almost imperceptibly drifted onto the (extremely powerful and amazing quality) sound system we all knew that this was going to special… and it was.

The way Chartier uses microsound samples and manipulations is subtle, inventive and strikingly beautiful. When he produces this sort of semi-melodic noise he’s at his best, in my opinion. His ultra high-frequency work is amazing, but in a much colder and more fragmented way. This was just beautiful.

The entire 45 minute set was given over to a slowly morphing and changing drone-based composition with elements of both ‘A Field For Recording’ and ‘Set Or Performance’ included as reference points for those who are familiar with some of his work. Deep, dark, resonant drones and chord sequences coupled with high-end static sounds and an insistent high-freqeuncy lurking just at the peak of the human ability to hear it formed the main frame of the piece with an ultra-low bass tone giving a solid grounding underneath. The sort of noise that you can almost feel more than hear, it reverberated through every bone in my body.

From melancholy and beautiful to haunting and moodily atmospheric, the work had elements of everything I love about this music with a wonderfully simple rhythmic passage adding yet another dimension to it – two simple clicks and two simple percussion sounds used to punctuate and accentuate the hypnotic qualities of the music.

For me, it could have gone on all night and I would have sat there entranced, but, as always happens, all good things come to an end and by the time it finished there were quite a few shellshocked and stunned looking members of the audience… myself included.

I would go so far as to say that this is one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen as it still haunts me now and I’ve barely listened to anything but Chartier’s music all week.

A stunning and amazing show.

Make sure you catch him the next time he’s in the country – you won’t be disappointed.

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