experimental music reviews


Reviews for Tuesday November 2, 2021

Philip Samartzis + Eugene Ughetti - Polar Force
Released October 15, 2021 by Room40

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Genre(s): Sound art, Field recordings, Modern composition
Philip Samartzis is a prolific sound artist/composer, professor and sometimes improvisor and engineer. To date he has collaborated with a range of artists, including fellow field recording mastermind Eric La Casa, electroacoustic improvisors such as the queen of sine waves herself, Sachiko Matsubara, the multi instrumentalist Günter Müller, as well as "super star" electroacoustics acts both academic and otherwise (namely, a split LP with Bernard Parmegiani and a collaboration with Voice Crack). In the 1980s and 1990s he cut his teeth performing in some more decidedly lowkey musical duos: Gum, a duo with Andrew Curtis, which featured such self-consciously industrial titles as "Involuntary Orgasms in the Cleaning of Automobiles", "Testicle Stretching", and "Fear" and a techno duo known variously by the names Cynosure and Hysterical Systems with David Haberfeld.
Eugene Ughetti is a composer and performer whose work mostly focuses on percussion. Most of his recordings feature him playing in ensembles with others, but last year's Agglomeration of Measurement is focused on Ughetti as a performer.

Recently, Samartzis had been taking some recordings and making studies of katabatic winds at in Antarctica at Casey Base Station, an observatory founded in 1969. (In a way, this album was along with its companion piece Array is a spiritual successor to his two disc album from 2017, Antarctica - An Absent Presence.) In his studies, Samartzis had been noticing a rather percussive aspect to the winds he observed at Casey. Taking on the challenge as he saw it from Samartzis, Ughetti set to work on creating a sort of installation piece/kinetic sculpture based on an idealized representation of the station, and then recording sounds as affected by materials like ice, water, and wind. In the digital liner notes on bandcamp, Ughetti writes,
"For Polar Force we built an environment, a white inflatable structure reminiscent of a remote research station on the ice. Emanating from outside the space come the complex and foreboding sounds of the natural environment, inside, a live event akin to scientific research in sound occurs."
It all works together superbly, forming a sonic patchwork. Howling wind, rhythmic pings, drones, swelling synthesized waveforms clustering together and falling apart, clanging, rustling, garbled radio broadcasts (blips and all). Never a dull moment and it never stays in the same place too long, either. This coupled with simple but evocative track titles like "Aurora Australis", "Blizzard", "Bubbles", and "Sea Ice" manage to sustain interest throughout the album's runtime. Paired with its sister album, Array, Polar Force is something of an auditory narrative beyond the cinematic, certainly beyond the usual scope albums can convey; to use Eugene Ughetti's own phrasing, a "hyper-realistic sensing" of Antarctica is created.

Highly recommended to anyone curious, as well as existing fans of not just the artists featured but also: Jana Winderen (whose aquatic recordings using hydrophones, particularly those where one can hear water melting, have a certain crossover appeal), Thomas Köner (who is also known for being part of the legendary dub techno act Porter Ricks), Simon Scott (who is also the drummer for seminal shoegaze band Slowdive), and Chris Watson (a former member since founding of two of the most important industrial acts, The Hafler Trio [along with Andrew McKenzie], and Cabaret Voltaire).

Nikos Veliotis & Klaus Filip - Slugabed
Released April 24, 2011 by hibari music

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Genre(s): Electroacoustic improvisation, drone
Nikos Veliotis is a cellist from Greece who is interested in challenging what can be done with the instrument, making extensive use of unusual sounds, drawn out tones and silence. Although he sometimes plays composed music, he is best known as an improvisor collaborating with the likes of Belgian pianist Fred van Hove, Japanese guitarist Taku Sugimoto, Spanish electronicist Ferran Fages, as well as releasing a few solo albums such as 2004's Radial on Confront (a label founded by fellow improvising cellist Mark Wastell) and 2013's Folklor Invalid on Antifrost.

Klaus Filip is a musician, sound artist, and computer programmer from Austria, one for whom these areas have much fertile cross pollination with one another. He is known for improvising using his "lloopp" software which he uses to make this process more open in a live setting. Throughout his career he has experimented with different sorts of sounds though is most known for his extensive use of sine waves, albeit in a much different capacity to the likes of Sachiko Matsubara who employs test tones from her sampler. He is versed in playing in both composed and improvised settings and has played with a range of artists including German pianist Andrea Neumann, bassoonist Dafne Vicente-Sandoval, and trombonist Radu Malfatti. The last of these has appeared with both Filip and Veliotis in at least two groups: a simply named 10tet in which the three are joined by seven of Japan's most accomplished improvisors, and in the thoughtfully named Does Sound Have a Shadow? along with accordionist and sound artist Jonas Kocher and saxophonist Christian Kobi.

The sounds of both performers' instruments seamlessly weave in and out of each other into one contiguous slowly wafting cloud. Blending with the sonorities of collaborators' instruments might seem like something easily executed with a sine wave generator but keeping things captivating is a potential challenge on any instrument; most especially so when the music itself is quite minimal. The sound is cohesive yet constantly in flux, with the voice of alternately sticking together and decoupling. The artwork by Ikuhiro Yamagata (who plays with Core of Bells) depicts of a drunken anthropomorphic horse man, who is possibly also asleep. The cartoon is oddly fitting, as the music echoes the peaceful stupor felt by the figure. Note that the album anticipates Netflix's Bojack Horseman by a few years. I would recommend this album to all fans of drone music and all those of eai

5UU's - Point of Views
Released May 14, 1996 by Cuneiform Records

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Genre(s): Progressive rock, avant prog, rock in opposition
5UU's were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1984. In their original lineup, they lasted until 1988 before reuniting later, for another decade from 1994-2004. A few years into the reunion, their first two LPs - 1986's Bel Marduk & Tiamat and 1988's Elements, the latter of which with drummer and main composer David Kerman's other band The Motor Totemist Guild, along with the 7 inch single also from 1986, Misery Loves Company [b/w] Hot & Cold Frog) - were compiled into a single release called Point of Views. I must admit that as a listener, avant prog is a corner of music I have often struggled with in the past, particularly with rock in opposition and zeuhl, despite my interest in its main influences: I enjoy both progressive rock and various notoriously "difficult" styles like 20th century modern composition, free jazz and free improvisation; despite my interest in language and the promising idea of singing in either a conlang, intentional gibberish, or free associative lyrics (being a big fan of Cocteau Twins and Sigur Rós); and despite my own politics being radically left. But enjoying a work of art or a band doesn’t require enjoying what inspired it, or vice versa. The story goes that after performing an almost entirely unsuccessful gig in 1976 as part of a band with the mouthful of a name Farmer Fred Genuflects to A-440, someone handed a young David Kerman a copy of a record or two by each Henry Cow and krautrock legends Faust. These would prove very important in his musical development. Imagine someone were to say, "I want to make some rock music, but without any of the cool parts, plus a whole bunch of technical maneuvers and stilted non-melodies." That sounds like it should be great! And yet, no paradoxically cool music emerges. By comparison, at least Henry Cow demonstrated a strong jazz influence, at least Univers Zero had some texture*, and Shub-Niggurath created incredibly evocative atmospheres. Adding to the embarrassment, this outfit took its name from gang graffiti seen throughout Los Angeles around the time of the band's inception.

A side note on RiO:
The Wikipedia article on rock in opposition says,
'RIO's primary aim was to represent and promote its members. It was decided that membership should remain closed and small, although new members would be welcome provided they (i) adhered to "musical excellence" (as evaluated by the collective); (ii) worked actively "outside the music business"; and (iii) had a "social commitment to Rock". Using these criteria, three new members were elected...However, despite some constructive discussion, disagreements arose between the groups regarding RIO's role and matters were left unresolved. Two further RIO festivals took place in Sweden and Belgium, but no new meetings, and by the end of 1979, RIO as an organisation had "quietly slipped away".'
So, while there was something admirable about the spirit of what it attempted, the need for incessant meetings paired with the then in-vogue trend in 1970s Europe to glorify Maoism and gloss over some of the more horrific parts of the social policies of the Party make much of this scene incredibly alienating to me (see the title of the musically interesting Art Zoyd's Symphonie pour le jour où brûleront les cités). Maybe that's to be expected - anarchists and libertarian socialists (such as myself) often come to loggerheads with Marxists, especially those defending authoritarian governments and the actions thereof. At least Swedish rock in opposition outfit Samla Mammas Manna were part of the more broadly leftist progg movement of Sweden which covered a wider range of political stances. But truth be told, I'm not always one for overt political content in music.

*Many consider them to have prefigured post rock. Indeed it's impossible to imagine the likes of Rachel's or Godspeed You Black Emperor without the groundwork they laid.

Metalux & John Wiese - Exoteric
Released April 1, 2006

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Genre(s): Noise, industrial
Metalux are a duo of MV Carbon and Jenny Gräf, first established in 1996. Gräf is now somewhat more established having played with better known musicians and acts as Evan Parker, John Stevens, and Smegma. Besides this, she has also worked in film and other media. MV Carbon remains largely underground, though she recorded an album with the pioneering minimalist Tony Conrad. This album is a trio of Metalux playing with the highly prolific John Wiese, one of the most prominent figures in the American noise scene, who is known for his many collaborations and for his record label Helicopter.

Exoteric is a suite of eight untitled tracks, ranging from a little over one and a half minutes at the shortest to just over six and half at the longest. There are some sounds which could be labeled classic analog noise, a bit of digital sounds both percussive and borderline melodic, and a smattering of incoherent vocalizations. Sadly, it all comes a bit too haphazard for my own liking. Although I am a great fan of noise which successfully achieves a psychedelic atmosphere, I do not believe that can be reached merely by the performers getting stoned then hitting the record button. Unfortunately, this album sounds in many places like just that. Despite my now middling opinion of this record, however, I must give it some credit for being one of the first noise albums I ever bought.

Alvin Lucier - Crossings: Three Works for Classical Instruments and Oscillators
Released March 1, 1990

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Genre(s): Minimalism, modern composition, drone
Alvin Lucier is a modern composer and a rather divisive one at that, not at all uncommon for the despised minimalists. Even within the ranks of minimalist composers, his controversial status persists, much as it does for one of his peers who is another one of my favourite composers, Phill Niblock. Both have gained this notoriety for just how minimal (or reductive) their music is. A far cry from the arpeggiated flourishes of Philip Glass or rhythmic phrases and phases of Steve Reich, Alvin Lucier has often taken his conception to extremes. This is perhaps best typified by Music on a Long Thin Wire, the performance of which involves connecting electrodes from the performers' temples to oscillators, which reveals to the audience the amplified brainwaves of those they are gathered to hear.

Crossings is much more like a photo album or scrapbook than an album in the musical sense, the way it collects pieces similar to one another in a single location. The sound of the sine waves interacting with that of the instruments on these three works is gorgeous in a way that is distinct to Lucier's oeuvre.
(The first piece was composed 1984, the second, 1985, and the last 1982-1984.)

On the opening piece, In Memoriam Jon Higgins (For Clarinet in A and Slow-Sweep Pure Wave Oscillator), Thomas Ridenhour's clarinet weaves slowly in and out of sync with the electronicaly produced sounds like a breeze blowing through a row of trees, alternately soft and harder. The trees sway, the leaves rustle, back and forth chaotically, at times, stopping and starting unpredictably Occasional periods of stillness give way to additional gusts, which in turn dissipate into near nothingness.

The longest of these at 19 and a half minutes, is the centerpiece aptly titled Septet for Three Winds, Four Strings, and Pure Wave Oscillator. The sine tones interlaces itself with those of orchestral instruments evokes a light rain falling gently upon a lake. Pitterpattering in not so much a percussive manner as the myriad gentle ripples scattered across the body of water, as far as the eye can see or the ear can hear, slowly merging with each other yet continuing on and on.

This septet is composed of cellist Julie Ribchinsky, violist Sharon Dennison, violinist Perry Elliot, double bassist Roy Wiseman, Peter Standaart on alto flute, Gary Bennett on bassoon, and Thomas Ridenhour on clarinet.

The title piece, Crossings (For Small Orchestra With Slow-Sweep Pure Wave Oscillator), is the shortest at 16 minutes. This last piece makes me think of a sleeping cat. One who is purring as her chest rises and falls rhythmically; occasionally swatting her paws in midair at the mice and birds of her dreams. And then at the end of the quarterhour, she wakes up, yawns, and then saunters off. The small orchestra in question has many of the same musicians as the previous number, but with some substitutions and additions. Tim Ward takes on bassoon, Chris Finckel on cello, Veronica Salas on viola, Shem Giubbory on violin, and the flutes are this time in their regular register as well as piccolos are played by Robert Dick. They are joined by Claudia Coonce on oboes and english horns, French horn player William Purvis, tubist Andrew Seligson, and trumpeter Philip Rucktenwald.

Reviews for Thursday November 4, 2021

Important Hair - Barnett Newman
Released June 25th, 2021

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Genres: Lowercase, ambient, field recordings
Important Hair is the musical project of Connor Kurtz of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, whose entire discography is available on bandcamp. This album is named for and dedicated to Barnett Newman, the abstract expressionist and colour field artist of and marks the end of a trilogy of electroacoustic works by Kurtz named for twentieth century visual artists.* (By a wild coincidence, the colour scheme of this website, [[ossicle]] music reviews, is not dissimilar to that of one of Barnett Newman's best known works, 1951's Vir Heroicus Sublimis.) Barnett Newman is split into five movements, four of which are seven and a half minutes, which flow into each other seamlessly.

The first two movements sound like a microscopic rustling in the grass before slowly sinking and then bobbing along below the surface of a pond or lake, without so much as a splash of disruption. This sonic transition is assisted by low dulcet sine waves which submerge the listener deeper and deeper into the water. After some time, a slow bubbling unfolds, all while preserving the deep atmosphere. After the bubbling increases its rate, we rise in an erratic yet steady rhythm. Finally, the bubbles begin to burst without threatening a climax. At the start of the fourth movement, dull scraping sounds emerge which call to mind John Cage's Cartridge Music, which remind me of the sound of a zipper. By the last movement, the music has either floated upwards or evaporated into nothingness, a high pitched steam hanging in the air.

Many of Barnett Newman's paintings featured a line or several (which he would refer to as "zips") cutting through the canvas, providing a contrast between the colours and giving a sense of scale. They are often not considered separate from the fields which they over- or underlay. In Kurtz's piece, the third movement is a magnified "zip" laid across the midpoint of the album, balancing the delicate sounds that bookend it.
*The other two are Piet Mondrian and Philip Guston.

Taku Unami/Takahiro Kawaguchi - Teatro assente
Released August 26, 2011

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Genre(s): Onkyo, field recordings, sound art
This album is the work of a duo, though you might not know it to hear it. Taku Unami is a highly prolific artist who on rare occasion makes use of guitar but is better known for his field recordings and electronically produced sounds. He has played a lot in the Japanese avantgarde scene and is also a frequent collaborator of Austrian trombonist composer/improvisor Radu Malfatti, having released four duets with him as well as two with fellow sound artist Toshiya Tsunoda. In addition, he is known for running the record label hibari music. On this album, Unami is joined by Takahiro Kawaguchi, who is usually the sort to play "amplified objects" as well as employing field recordings himself. The tracks of this album describe much of their contents sometimes plainly, sometimes more poetically, e.g. "her cellphone rang while she was watching the blank screen of the theater" and "clockwork society transformed into tropical rainforest, however, nothing was changed". The title, Teatro assente is Italian for "absent theatre" and indeed, some have likened the recordings herein to a work of auditory theatre. If this is so, however, it is a rather masterful illustration of the mundane side of life. This is not a negative attribute, it is a great record that rewards close listening. But alas! it is one I am only seldom able to give my full attention to.

Kevin Drumm - Sheer Hellish Miasma
Remastered reissue released March 12, 2007

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Genre(s): Drone, noise, electroacoustic
This rather descriptively titled album by the wildly prolific Kevin Drumm is one of the first albums to convince me thoroughly of the viability of noise as an artform. It is neither as harsh throughout as many noise albums, nor is it chaotic, but Sheer Hellish Miasma is nonetheless one that I appreciate each time I revisit it. One of the first things that really stands out about this album is the incredible depth and range of sounds Drumm is able to create with his guitar, effects, and tape. The first few tracks combine some roughish sounds with gentle crescendos, decrescendos, and ritardandos, but it isn't until centrepiece "The Inferno" that things get busier closer to his harsher contemporaries.

Reviews for Friday November 5, 2021

Charmaine Lee/Zach Rowden - Butterfly Knife
Released March 19, 2021

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Genre(s): Free improvisation, sound poetry, noise
Charmaine Lee is an experimental vocalist on the rise who has a decent amount of solo recordings and has also performed with established improvisors like Ikue Mori and Nate Wooley and has recorded with Agustí Fernández. Zach Rowden is a bassist who has multiple solo albums as well as performing as a member of many groups, the most famous of which is probably Crazy Doberman. Two young improvisors to watch out for! This album is named after the traditional Filipino balisong or "butterfly knife", of which I'm not sure of the relevance.

As compared with the likes of the many trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, big bands and jazz orchestras, a duo may seem an inappropriately sparse grouping at first blush for many musical styles. However, sometimes, two artists can produce incredible things bigger and better than might be thought. Authors William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin theorized a "third mind" which arises from the cumulative collaborative processes of two artists which would not be present from either on their own. Likewise, the performance each artist brings to each of the two pieces consist of a rather diverse yet cohesive display of their range that put together is more than the sum of their parts. The sound as a whole is incredibly organic, as much of the best free improv is with Lee's wordless vocalizations intermeshing wonderfully with Rowden's study of the many textures his bass can provide, combining both orthodox and extended techniques.

Remastered reissue released November 17, 2018

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Genre(s): Noise, industrial
Kimihide Kusafuka, better known as K2, is a longtime veteran of the noise scene having been actively releasing albums for almost 40 years now. In addition to his music, he is also known as the founder of the label KMI or Kinky Musik Institute. The name of this album, "hagane", or "鋼", is Japanese for "steel". which besides the metal itself can also refer to a device used in the creation of blades such as those found in swords, chisels, or as shown on the cover, knives.

The sounds found in this hour long album are wonderfully varied: Digital, analog, scraping, bubbling, static, clanging, screeching, and more. In addition, there is a constant state of flux, each of these individual pieces of sound last no more than about four seconds, which keeps the music dynamic and maintains the listener's interest. Through this, the album creates many sorts of mental images at once. For me these are as follows: A mosaic, since there is a continuity that emerges from a greater "distance", not immediately obvious in the moment where there is a feeling of brokenness. One of Jackson Pollock's heavily gestural splattered drip paintings, which also sometimes included cigarette butts. Also conjured mentally by these sounds for me is one of Robert Rauschenberg's so called combines, mixed media artworks which incorporated elements of painting directly and indirectly (brushes and silkscreening), sculpture (assembled as well as readymade objets), and collage into single pieces. And in the latter of these three techniques, using not only paper, but also fabric, photographs, pieces of cloth.

Steve Roden - Striations
Released July 21, 2016

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Genre(s): Drone, ambient, sound art
Steve Roden is a very accomplished sound artist and musician. Besides spearheading the style known as lowercase, he also has made much music which falls under ambient and related styles. Striations's sole track, "Distance Piece", makes up the audio component of a multidisciplinary artwork, collectively known as Stone's Throw made in memory of his deceased grandmother, herself an artist. Many of the sounds featured here are from the making of the film component of the work, such as the tapping of stones, and rolling of an old 16mm camera from the production of the film part of his tribute, there is also the bowing of a cymbal, and some electric guitar. The last of these is not noteworthy merely because of how it is consistently intercut with other sounds, but also the methodology used to produce the score: Roden found a piece of text written by the sculptor Henry Moore in his grandmother's studio and composed a piece for electric guitar, based on the vowels in this writing. Steve Roden had previously used a similar technique in how he composed the music for 2003's Speak No More About the Leaves, released on Portugual's Sirr label.

Although it is clearly very thoughtfully composed, played, and assembled, and even succeeds rather admirably at establishing a mournful, reflective mood, Striations is not one of Roden's finest. The music is fine enough as it is and might be among another artist's better works, but put simply, Steve Roden is capable of so much more sonically. This album is but one piece of a multimedia exhibit which also features film and painting, and as such does not (or perhaps cannot) fully demonstrate the level of creativity which made me a fan of his work in the first place.

Phill Niblock - Four Full Flutes
Released October 2, 1990

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Genre(s): Minimalism, modern composition, drone
Phill Niblock is one of the most controversial composers alive today because of just how minimal his music is, along with his novel process for the creation of the music. This album illustrates many of the hallmarks to be found in abundance in his recording career to follow: some wordplay in the title, "for" and "four" sound alike, and this album makes use of a sonic range not usually heard including alto and bass flutes, performances named posthaste with the initials of their performers "P K" and "S L S", and a piece combining the two performances, "P K & S L S". The liner notes of Four Full Flutes explain in detail the creation process:
"Niblock begins the performance by deciding which microtonal intervals to use. Each of his pieces has a cluster of about a dozen tones very close in pitch. The first stage of recording is monaural, one note at a time. Then an eight or sixteen track score is devised. A musician (in the case of this recording, a flutist...is tuned to calibrated sine waves. For Niblock's tuning method, a musician is instructed to match the visual wave pattern on an oscilloscope without actually hearing the tone. After recording a number of examples of each pitch, Niblock creates "tone blocks" by editing out breathing spaces. Next, he builds the mix score, juxtaposing the tones by assigning each pitch block to tracks and time slots of the 8-track recording...In the final stereo mix, the first four tracks are mixed down to the first channel, while the bottom four are mixed down to the second channel."
Later in the notes it goes on to describe how the music may sound different if the listener (and their speaker system) are in different rooms of the house, apartment, studio, etc. An interesting thing about Niblock's music is that although it is microtonal in nature, it is not done out of a fascination with alternate tuning systems in the way that a work by someone like La Monte Young might (Young's most famous work is the cheekily named The Well-Tuned Piano). Although it may sound supremely boring to some, it is an incredible study in tonality and timbre if one has the patience the piece merits. It is in many ways an aural equivalent of the paintings of someone like the abstract Indian painter Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, whose works are subtle studies in texture.

Reviews for Saturday January 15, 2022

Masayoshi Fujita - Bird Ambience
Released May 28, 2021

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Genre(s): Ambient, electroacoustic, drone
Masayoshi Fujita, also sometimes known as El Fog, is a Japanese vibraphone player and ambient musician. He has mostly recorded for Erased Tapes Records, a label started by Robert Raths, Yasuhiko Fukuzono's flau, and the label Faitiche of his frequent collaborator Jan Jelinek, with whom he has produced two full length albums and one EP.

On Bird Ambience, Fujita creates a range of textural moods, by means of of varied instrumentation: vibraphone, synthesizer, drums, marimba, effects units, and audio recordings all come together to form a collection with strong continuity but variability. The tracks are evocatively titled, some more concretely such as "Thunder", "Morocco", and "Fabric", and sometimes more abstractly, such as "Cumulonimbus Dream", and the tune named for the ancient Greek lyric poet known for his drinking songs and erotic poems, Anakreon. Saturated mallets and gentle pads alike deliver sounds from steady and rhythmic to more amorphous, drifting ambient excursions. The 12 tracks of Bird Ambience vary in mood but offer a unified atmosphere.

Merzbow - Tauromachine
Released July 21, 1998

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Genre(s): Harsh noise
Masami Akita is one of the most prolific musicians in the world of noise music and has been so since the late 1970s. Merzbow's musical oeuvre rewards both neophytes and heads alike, and 1998's Tauromachine is often considered a good entry point into noise music for the uninitiated. One of the things that makes this wonderful album more accessible to those who are not as familiar with harsh noise is the number of tracks and their lengths. It has seven tracks, most of which are under eight minutes, a sharp contrast to the genre's mainstay of sidelong behemoths. Another is that the tracks are less sonically dense than many works by Akita or his peers.

The third track, "Soft Water Rhinoceros", is unequivocally considered one of the album's highlights. It's not hard to see why. Continuing the pulsing rhythms of the two previous cuts (present throughout most of the album), it exhibits a greater diversity of texture in its nine minutes, including a lovely recording of running water. Even beside the delicious analog screeches and scratches found throughout the album, if you're like me, the sound of water is a nice addition to almost any music. From there, "Minotauros", continues to build and build upon its predecessor. Many of the same blistering textures from before persist and are joined by rhythmic synthesizer blips and laser sounds. The sounds thin out some for "Heads of Clouds", another highlight.

Jan Jelinek - Zwischen
Released May 4, 2018

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Genre(s): Sound poetry, electroacoustic
Jan Jelinek is a German musician who has been fairly steadily releasing music since 1999. He was born in Darmstadt, a city already much associated with experimental music due to it being home of the Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, which at its summer school course cum bienniale has hosted a veritable who's who of modern avantgarde composers. Most of Jelinek's music involves electroacoustic manipulation, with varying amounts of abstraction. On his much beloved 2001 album for ~scape, Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records, he fairly seamlessly incorporated drum machine sounds, rhythmic looping, creating a sound which can be described techno in the absolute loosest sense possible.

Originally developed as a radio play is 2018's Zwischen, whose name means "between" in German, a highly conceptual and very creative work in 12 parts, totalling just eight seconds shy of a half hour. The idea is based on the sounds between words, the sounds between thoughts, the so called "asemantic" content of speech, e.g. the 'um's, 'er's, coughs, and laughter. In this case, these sounds are taken from interviews with public figures, some are visual artists, like Yoko Ono and Max Ernst, musician/composers Lady Gaga and John Cage, journalist Alice Schwarzer, and poet Ernst Jandl. Each of these 12 movements is not much longer than three minutes at the most and is titled after the question posed by the person in question's interlocutor, e.g. "Friederike Mayröcker, When You Write, Do You Feel Like the Creator of the Work or More Like a Medium?". In addition to the hemming and hawing, what one might term something like "the sound of thought", are some rather excellent abstract electronic squiggles. The melodic/harmonic content of these synthesized flourishes complement the recordings in each part, which are themselves only the slightest bit edited.