candlesnuffer aka david brown

... ramshackles keep collapsing ...


with Lazy
Microsonics CD
Dr Jim's, 2002

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Downtown Music Gallery
... Closed Mic'd and often Derek Bailey-like in his free, fractured and focused approach to the guitar. Both of these two inventive improvisers take their time to let the improv mystery unfold as they provide an uncluttered approach to a free-spirited exchange. During a blindfold test, someone could easily guess that this was some long lost session from Chadbourne and David Moss or maybe Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley. The good thing is that this never goes too far over the deep end into unnecessary noise and remained often subdued throughout, although it does go pretty far into freer regions of exploration...

Phillip Pietruschka
Microsonic or microscopic music are terms that have largely been colonised by elements of the glitch/DSP 'post-digital' computer music faculty, as exemplified by the likes of Kim Cascone and Taylor Dupree (see microsound.org). A banal, and ocular (-scopic) reference to the production techniques involved (and in particular the waveform view & the zoom tools symptomatic of a 'Pro Tools' interface) rather than the audio-object, and the phenomenological experience of such music. The software, the plug-ins, the algorithms have become the message (Cascone 2000). This 'post-digital' music often draws reference to information theory - functions, statistics, variables, networks, percentage errors - and through such can be understood in reference to Anton Webern's serialist matrices, Iannis Xenakis' stochastic distributions, or Martin Ng's gene-splicing informed approach to scratching records (Ng 2002).

An improvising duo, Lazy, are Sean Baxter and David Brown of Bucketrider notoriety, on percussion and guitar respectively. Refocussing the understanding of microsonics away from the amplification of digital surface noise, towards a perceptual understanding of sonic minutiae and transience. Lazy makes reference to the information, functions, and patterns of aforementioned music, through the patterned artwork and complicated equations bestowed as titles to each piece. But where as the titles and artwork belie a great commonality between these threads of 20th C music - and suggest that such frameworks underpin the music - the music and linear notes presents a markedly different perspective. Whereas most 'information concious' music has been happy to look at a one, and call it a one (when Webern's matrix dictated pp#, a pp# was placed), Lazy invites the dramatisation of the micro, foregrounds the slightest gesture as the amplified distance between two points generated with one of Xenakis' stochastic functions. At this level any over-arcing form remains beyond the threshold of our perception, statistical interpretation remains impossible, instead the invitation is given to indulge in the momentary flux, a dynamic aural massage (Brophy 2002).

The success of such a record, subjectively - and such a record invites a hyper-subjective experience - lies in the quality and range of sounds used and the shifts between perceived states of coherence or balance and chaos. For me, Lazy are by and large spot on. Gorgeous levels of detail have been captured from Baxter's drum, junk, and percussion and Brown's unplugged stratocaster, which more than most records really justifies the extreme dynamic range used here. Likewise the performances (as poorly distinguished from the 'sounds') have sucked me in repeatedly without a great sense of repetitiousness or crushing knowledge of what awaits. Philip Brophy has previously described microsonic music as erotica or tactile - and I agree with this - because it invites an immediate pleasure (if at all) particularly because of issues of fidelity, rather than (necessarily) a lasting and cerebral message to be 'kept' after the experience is complete (Brophy 2001, 2002). At the end of it all not a whole lot is achieved, but damn it felt good. My only bitch about the 'sound' of this record is that sometimes the processing, which is usually very subtle - in particular the reverb seems not out-of-place, but just of a nature that diminishes the fine qualities of the original sounds, but this is nit-picking to the nth degree of an otherwise very fine record. Furthermore the brevity of this record, at just over thirty minutes, prevents listening to the entire record ever becoming a gruelling endurance challenge.

Do you want a dumb-arse one liner? Well then I heartily (for there is no more nourishing a substance, so I'm told) recommend Microsonics to anyone who shops at Thomas' Fine Music or thrills to the mutant voice-bass line intro to Bon Jovi's 'Living on a Prayer'.