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Presenting live recordings from the 2004 UK "Feedback: Order from Noise" tour, an ambitious presentation of artists including Alvin Lucier, Otomo Yoshihide, Knut Aufermann, Sarah Washington, Toshimaru Nakamura, & Nicolas Collins, performing solo, in duos, and as an ensemble.
 

Feedback
Order From Noise [2 CDs & a DVD]

Feedback: Order From Noise [2 CDs & a DVD] (Mikroton Recordings)

Label: Mikroton Recordings    
Released in: Russia    


"Memory is a funny thing. 10 years after touring the UK with the Feedback: Order from Noise tour I am trying to recall the concerts that I experienced in some sort of trance. There I was, the youngest member of a group of musicians that consisted of a mixture of good friends and musical heroes, apparently the curator of this musical adventure, ravaged by self-doubt. Would it all work out? Now, ten years later my memories have been altered every time I have thought back to those days, every time I looked at the photos that Sarah took, every time I listened to the recordings that have spent a decade on an archive hard-drive. Anything that is written here is filtered and might be untrue. Memory is a funny thing. Nevertheless the recordings have stood the test of time for me, 2004 was a good vintage for feedback music. Today dozens of experimental musicians describe feedback as their 'instrument' of choice. Time to release the recordings. Time for another feedback tour?"-Mikroton



"In 2004, a formidable group of musicians assembled, briefly, for a tour of England, ostensibly centered around the use of feedback. They included (at various times, I think) Knut Aufermann, Xentos Fray Bentos, Nicolas Collins, Alvin Lucier, Toshimaru Nakamura, Billy Roisz, Sarah Washington and Otomo Yoshihide. This release offers two discs worth of music performances and a DVD of Roisz' video with musical accompaniment/interaction, curated by Aufermann.

Disc One opens with Lucier's "Bird and Person Dyning", always a joy to hear. This is the only appearance of Lucier on the set and I'm wondering if he actually ever performed with the rest of the ensemble or only realized this piece, which he apparently did at each of the seven tour stops. A quartet of Aufermann, Bentos, Roisz and Washington offer a crunchy, hum-filled noise-fest, followed by a solo by Yoshihide in hyper-noise and, yes, feedback mode, raucous, thick and uncompromising. Aufermann and Nakamura present a more somber duo, dark buzzes with small, silvery sounds flitting through, very attractive and the disc closes with a sextet(sans Lucier and Roisz), "Lullaby"; soft but not exactly lulling, it's a fine exercise in control, the six members retaining composure, contributing solidly to a thick, complex whole that traverses its twelve minutes with tenseness, an outstanding piece.

Disc Two begins with a Nakamura "nimb" work, all quiet sizzle and pop, vintage Toshi. A groaning, gnashing snippet from Yoshihide and Washington leads to a solo work by Collins, "Pea Soup + Mortal Coil". I almost always want to enjoy Collins more than I end up doing so; not this time. Gentle waves of feedback escalate into a wild, complex array of electronic moans and screams, wonderfully unconstrained, not nearly as "tight" as his music sometimes gets. A short, scratchy solo from Aufermann feeds into another performance by the sextet above, "Block 3″. It's far less concentrated than the other performance, more in the cracked electronics/Voice Crack area and not as special, more of a routine performance from that time.

I've never quite warmed up to Roisz' video work though a couple of the five presented herein go some way to correcting that. Her solo piece, "BÖRST" exemplifies what I don't care for, both in the chunky, pulse-driven electronics and the ragged, pale green on black videography who's flatness and sharpness puts me off. Far better, visually, is "TILT" (set to music by the quartet listed above, which doesn't do much for me), where four thin, gray verticals form a kind of framework for the dancing and meandering of red uprights that begin as near-matching overlays but mutate throughout, creating an interesting tension. Presaging their duo formation as AVVA, we see a collaboration between Roisz and Nakamura, my favorite of this set both musically and visually. Toshi's sounds are subtle, thoughtful and concentrated while Roisz' video, all black and white, anticipates the work of Kjell Bjørgeengen (at least, my awareness of same) in its usage of minimal input to generate complex patterns that veer between regular and irrational. The sextet is once again represented, giving a performance rivaling "Lullaby". The accompanying images recall Richter's smear abstracts but, as I often find, lack the depth to really draw me in. Finally the quartet is melded with image system unusual in my limited knowledge of Roisz' work, sixteen monitor-shaped, gray lozenges with red and then green amoeba-like forms making inroads to various degrees, each different though related.An uneven but intriguing compilation, then, and a worthwhile documentation of this particular, one-time nexus of sight and sound.-Brian Olewnick, Just Outside





CD1

1.
Alvin Lucier
Bird and Person Dyning
Concert date: Brighton, 30 June 2004
Alvin performed Bird and Person Dyning at every concert. The piece, while mesmerising when witnessed live, is not easy to capture on a recording. If I remember correctly Alvin mentioned that he was still looking for a perfect documentation. The pitfalls are noisy audiences, creaky floors or PA systems and rooms that do not lend themselves to produce much heterodyning. This recording was made at Brighton's Komedia in front of an audience that seemed to be looking forward to the noisier parts of the feedback spectrum. However, Alvin opened the proceedings and everybody listened intently to his demonstration of the psycho-acoustic effect, a third voice beside birdcall and feedback strands that manifested inside people's heads. Some people were reported to have found it so spooky that they had to leave the room. Unfortunately the basement venue had a rather noisy air conditioning which impaired the otherwise excellent recording. To my great surprise Bob Drake had already managed to fix this problem through sophisticated noise reduction by the time I arrived at his studio in southern France to assist with the mixing. In the end it was more about watching a master at work. We kept looking at sonograms of the track to convince ourselves that those eerie sounds inside our heads are really not part of the sound files. They weren't. Maybe this is Alvin was waiting for, a recording that does the piece justice.

2.
Knut Aufermann, Xentos Fray Bentos, Billy Roisz + Sarah Washington
Squashed Maestro Hands
Concert date: Exeter, 2 July 2004
The quartet of Sarah, Billy, Xentos and myself became a regular fixture during the tour after we had played together for the first time at the tour start in Leicester. Why this track ended up on the CD without visuals I cannot recall, possibly a hiatus with the video recorder. In some concerts Billy also sent an audio output to the mix, but I am not sure if this was the case here either. Nevertheless her influence can be heard, the feedback from video to sound is subtle but tangible. Bob's mix shows how much life the room microphones add to the live recording. I was not the only one to be a bit overwhelmed by his decision to use them so liberally. Now, 10 years later, I am convinced.

3.
Otomo Yoshihide
DDDD
Concert date: Newcastle, 25 June 2004
I remember sitting in the audience for Otomo's set and jumping when it started even though I knew what would come. The noise that emerged from his two turntables and a Fender Twin amp was just incredible. So was the control he could exercise over his instrument. When the volume fades slowly in the middle part of the piece it was still loud enough to maintain the feedback, that should give an indication for a suggested playback level.

4.
Knut Aufermann + Toshimaru Nakamura
olm talk and slug speak?
Concert date: Leicester, 24 June 2004
This duo was the middle part of a sandwich piece we had constructed for the opening concert of the tour. We were expecting a tiny audience as England was playing in the European football championship that night, a fear that was proven wrong. I had foolishly accepted to be the announcer, which was revised for the next concert when Ed took over. I remember being very nervous before playing, but very much enjoyed our two voices mingling when on stage. The title of the piece comes from a Gary Larson cartoon that was stuck on the lab door of a former university supervisor of mine, who was actually studying the communication of olms. Later in the tour Toshi and I tried to connect our mixers together in a feedback loop, an experiment that failed in my mind due to the added complexity of an already complicated set-up. I blame the lack of rehearsal time.

5.
Order from Noise Ensemble (Knut Aufermann, Xentos Fray Bentos, Nicolas Collins, Toshimaru Nakamura, Sarah Washington + Otomo Yoshihide)
Lullaby
Concert date: Norwich, 26 June 2004
With so many performers versed in the field of improvisation it was clear that at some stage of the tour we would want to try out what it might sound like when we bring all our individual variants of feedback together. In Norwich we decided just on a duration and Ed Baxter suggested the theme of a lullaby. Out came a dark and beautifully restrained dreamland, I was wide awake by the end of it.

CD2

1.
Toshimaru Nakamura
nimb 24/06/04
Concert date: Leicester, 24 June 2004
Toshi's solo from the opening tour concert is the only piece that is documented without adding any of the room mics in the mix, so you will have to add your own background noise wherever you are listening to the architectural world of his no-input mixing board. All of the tracks are unedited, with very limited topping and tailing where necessary. I must have decided against the inclusion of audience applause but I don't remember why. Maybe not all pieces had applause when they were part of a quick succession of performances.

2.
Sarah Washington + Otomo Yoshihide
End
Concert date: Exeter, 2 July 2004
This was an encore from the last concert in Exeter, the last sounds of the tour but a first for Sarah and Otomo. The duo was decided on spontaneously and for me forged another great combination that should have happened more often. Sarah's circuit bent 'Feedback Phone' was able to match Otomo's din.

3.
Nicolas Collins
Pea Soup + Mortal Coil
Concert date: Colchester, 29 June 2004
In Colchester Nic fused the two pieces that he presented throughout the tour. I chose this performance because I liked it best, even though some unwanted distortion had crept in towards the end of the Pea Soup part. Nic spotted this but was happy with my choice and quoted Robert Poss: "Distortion is truth."

4.
Knut Aufermann
Sollbruchstelle
Concert date: London, 27 June 2004
My solo was an encore at the London concert. I was happy to make use of the high-end PA system that Mark Hornby had assembled which meant that it could deliver smooth low end frequencies. On top of this I tried to use a hacked hearing aid for the first time. My soldering must have been rather poor, the tiny circuit started to falter after just a few seconds. All of it's dying sounds are captured in this performance.

5.
Order from Noise Ensemble (Knut Aufermann, Xentos Fray Bentos, Nicolas Collins, Toshimaru Nakamura, Sarah Washington + Otomo Yoshihide)
Block 3
Concert date: Exeter, 2 July 2004
See also DVD track 4. The majority of performances on the tour were audio only, with Billy joining specific groupings just like all the other artists. If I remember correctly Billy was not part of this piece because she played in the group beforehand. Her video setup needed slightly longer preparation times to switch modes between performances, which meant that she preferred not to play in consecutive pieces during one evening. (Well, the photos from Exeter prove me wrong, so there.)

DVD

1.
Billy Roisz
BÖRST
Concert date: Norwich, 26 June 2004
For all of us on the tour this was the first introduction to Billy's sound world, so far we had only experienced her videos as part of selected performances. Until today I don't know if the phono cable that can be seen hanging down in front of the small TV screen that is part of her video feedback loop is used to introduce visual noise or picks up the sound we are hearing.

2.
Knut Aufermann, Xentos Fray Bentos, Billy Roisz + Sarah Washington
TILT
Concert date: London, 27 June 2004
See also CD1 track 2 and DVD track 5. This is the only piece on this release that has had an outing before - as a film release. On behalf of Billy Roisz it has been touring film festivals since 2008.

3.
Toshimaru Nakamura + Billy Roisz
CNS
Concert date: Brighton, 30 June 2004
The Feedback: Order from Noise tour provided the first public stage for the duo of Billy and Toshi who carried on working together afterwards under the name of AVVA. If the tour was viewed as an incubator for new artistic collaborations, this duo would be the most prominent legacy. After seeing their first performance many people thought it an obvious combination and wondered why it had taken so long to try it out. Eight years after the acclaimed AVVA DVD "Gdansk Queen" you can now see the origin here.

4.
Order from Noise Ensemble (Knut Aufermann, Xentos Fray Bentos, Nicolas Collins, Toshimaru Nakamura, Sarah Washington + Otomo Yoshihide) + Billy Roisz
Block 2
Concert date: Brighton, 30 June 2004
See also CD 2 track 5. The longest single performance was at the same time one that combined all performers except Alvin. The Block piece is a simple composition for feedback music that I concocted during the tour. It requires the performers to listen to what is missing in the spectral soundscape, rather than what is there. A more detailed score of it which I wrote down long after the tour can be found elsewhere on this site. After a short trial run in London, Ed Baxter suggested to play it as the only piece for 3 hours in Brighton. In the end we went for half an hour.

5.
Knut Aufermann, Xentos Fray Bentos, Billy Roisz + Sarah Washington
0.47µF
Concert date: Brighton, 30 June 2004
See also CD1 track 2 and DVD track 2. The driving electronics of Xentos Fray Bentos lead this performance and managed to quieten down a noisy audience in Brighton. A fitting finish for the DVD.


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Product Information:

Label: Mikroton Recordings
Catalog ID: 33 | cd 34 | dvd 35
Squidco Product Code: 20177

Format: 2 CDs + 1 DVD
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: Russia
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded live during the 2004 Feedback tour of England by E M Thomas. Mixing and mastering by Bob Drake.

Personnel:

Knut Aufermann-feedback matrixer, fm tx, hearing aid, customised electronics

Xentos Fray Bentos-unstruments

Nicolas Collins-Hilbert transform backwards electric guitar, assorted circuitry

Alvin Lucier-binaural microphones, birdcall

Toshimaru Nakamura-no-input mixing board

Billy Roisz-video mixers, feedbackcam, audible video devices

Sarah Washington-Sektion Physik Elab, feedback phone, open circuit no-tape machine

Otomo Yoshihide-turntables, guitar

Highlight an artist name or instrument above
and click here to Search


Track Listing:

CD 1



1. Bird And Person Dyning 13:31

2. Squashed Maestro Hands 8:19

3. DDDD 12:34

4. Olm Talk And Slug Speak? 6:29

5. Lullaby 11:48

CD2



1. Nimb 24/06/04 10:28

2. End 2:01

3. Pea Soup + Mortal Coil 14:58

4. Sollbruchstelle 2:25

5. Block 3 16:10