Periferico - Sounds from Beyond the Bubble
Blood, Muscle & Air - The Intimate Voice

[Sonic Arts Network,]

For the last few years, London arts collective Sonic Arts Network has allowed artists from the UK and outside to grow their creative wings. In the words of the organization, "Sonic Arts Network fosters a culture of creative risk taking and experimental approaches to sound through a cutting edge programme of festivals, events, commissions and education projects. The organization believes in the unique capacity of listening to enrich people's lives by unlocking creativity, promoting social and environmental awareness and engaging a diverse range of communities." Amongst their projects is a quarterly mixed CD, each time curated by a guest artist. Past CDs were directed by people such as Stewart Lee, Nicolas Colins and Junko Wada.
Composer and conceptualist David Cotner is responsible for putting together "Otherness". The way he explains the project, "Otherness. It's being 20: no longer a teenager but not quite an adult. An in-betweenness." Twenty five pieces populate this compilation. With an average of three minutes per piece, the mixed CD moves quite quickly through a multi-dimensional bag of music. Starting off with Cluster & Eno and an edit of "One" [which would be great, were it allowed to develop past its three minute mark], the music moves into David Cotner's off-the-wall, non-categorizable "I Think The Limit Should Be (Three Minutes)". Faust is featured twice - once on the ultra-heavy "Wine of Dreams" and right after with the soothing sounds of "Lass Mich!", while Mick Harris makes a fine statement with an ominous drone on "Let It Find a Hole". Other highlights include percussionist Eddie Prevost in repetitive mode with an edit of "Entelechy", Karlheinz Stockhausen with an extract of "3 x Refrain 2000" and Wander who breaks out high-pitched tones on "Wander". Personal highlight is Michael Prime who recorded sounds of shiitake mushrooms on "Ha, Ha! Your Mushrooms Have Gone". Movement of people in the room during this exhibition forced the live bioactivity of the mushrooms. Quite a thrilling piece though it's a shame that it's abridged. That's one of the short-comings of a compilation, I suppose. Otherwise the design of "Otherness" [which like all Sonic Arts Network compilations, comes in a 45" single-sized booklet] is quite good, as is the music contained inside.
Composer and curator of "Periferico - Sounds from Beyond the Bubble", states in the introduction to the CD, "For these composers, creators of meaning and of cultural value, builders of new worlds, one thing is essential: to exercise freedom through their unique music and project initiatives. An in our time, as it has been for the past five centuries, to exercise freedom to resist. Re-resist." With that said, Gama assembles work from fifteen musicians [including himself] who have been making music from outside western world's influence. Everyone from Lebanon - represented here by audio/video artist Raek Yassin and multi-media-trumpeter-electronics guru Mazen Kerbaj [who also illustrated the booklet] - Ukraine [represented by Kotra or Dmytro Fedorenko], Columbia [the sifting hisses of Ana Romano] to Egypt [multi-disciplinary artist Hassan Khan]. One gets a sense of real desolation in many of these pieces. I'm not sure whether it's because much of the time, composers worked alone on these or perhaps it's because some were made during times of conflict in their respective countries. No personal highlights exist for me on this disc, as the pieces are chosen in such a way as the whole is able to tell a story - story of strength, perseverance and music making amongst less than ideal conditions.
When beginning his work on "Blood, Muscle & Air", vocalist/curator David Moss gave all singers one direction, "imagine yourself sitting in front of a microphone recording this piece as if you were singing directly into the ear of the listener. Send a piece that reflects how you love singing at the moment." Including David Moss, fourteen vocalists answered the call for submissions. Iceland's hidden treasure, Gunnlaug Thorvaldsdottir gives out a shrieking, direct performance on "Circulation", while Japanese vocalist Yumiko Tanaka improvises a gorgeous tale on "Romantic Song". Dutch vocal legend Jaap Blonk fools around with his "cheek synthesizer" on "Idling on Air" [you wouldn't think these sounds escaped from someone's throat in fact], and Spanish chanteuse Madalena Bernardes goes all over the map with her hilarious "Where is the End?". Phil Minton is in his usual jovial mode as he cries out a piece entitled "Breathing Out" [where I swear you can hear him hold in his breath for as long as humanly possible to make the sounds escape]. David Moss is most playful, not only on his tongue-in-cheek piece "Wittgenstein Sings" but also on multiple short pieces that he throws in between other vocalists' contributions. "Blood, Muscle & Air" is a fantastic, all-encompassing collection that will hopefully see this initial idea continue into a future volume.

- Tom Sekowski

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+ EIGHT PENCE CHAINS - Music is Matter / ELLIOTT SHARP - Octal: Book One / GIL TRYTHALL - Country Moog / Nashville Gold / SOEREN KJAERGAARD / BEN STREET / ANDREW CYRILLE - Optics / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Classic African American Gospel / FRODE GJERSTAD TRIO - Nothing is Forever / ERIK LEVANDER - Kondens / BERSARIN QUARTETT - Bersarin Quartett / M.A.N.D.Y. - Fabric 38 / OH ASTRO - Champions of Wonder / THE WRONG OBJECT - Stories from the Shed / MILTON NASCIMENTO - Pietá / BOBBY AND BLUMM - Everybody Loves? / DJ DOLORES - 1 Real / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Wild Style - Original Soundtrack / BENEVA vs. CLARK NOVA - Sombunall / TSURUBAMI - Tenrin / STEVE LACY - The Forest and the Zoo / MORGAN MITTAG - Digiwatt Lydt / AARON DUGAN + JEFF ARNAL - Dog Day / RENDERIZORS - Submarine / SAMUEL BLASER QUARTET - 7th Heaven / CRACKLE - Heavy Water / MARIE QUEENIE LYONS - Soul Fever / CLARK - Turning Dragon / FRICARA PACCHU - Midnight Pyre / BOXDESERTER - TwoRevolutions / THE FALL - Live at the Knitting Factory L.A. - 14 November 2001 / CLIVE BELL / BECHIR SAADE - An Account of My Hut / COSTA MUSIC - Lighter Subjects / PADDED CELL - Night Must Fall / KLAUS TREUHEIT - Madrigali, 1° libro / PURE SOUND - Acts of New Noise / BORIS - Smile / ARANOS - Mother of Moons Bathing / SCOTT TUMA - Not For Nobody / ETRAN FINATAWA - Desert Crossroads
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>> VARIOUS ARTISTS - Otherness / Periferico - Sounds from Beyond the Bubble / Blood, Muscle & Air - The Intimate Voice
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+ ROBERT PIOTROWICZ - Lasting Clinamen

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