An engrossing set of compositions through field recordings captured around the globe, transitioning by passages of trains, trucks and cars and accompanied by unusual percussive elements and strange melodies, as Niblock invites us to a funeral procession, a collective farm, and untold other exotic and fascinating streets and unexpected environments.
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Catalog ID: RM 4181CD
Squidco Product Code: 31746
Packaging: Cardboard Sleeve Sealed
Recorded by the author.
Phill Niblock-field recordings, editing
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• Show Bio for Phill Niblock
"Phill Niblock is a New York-based minimalist composer and multi-media musician and director of Experimental Intermedia, a foundation born in the flames of 1968's barricade-hopping. He has been a maverick presence on the fringes of the avant garde ever since. In the history books Niblock is the forgotten Minimalist. That's as maybe: no one ever said the history books were infallible anyway.
His influence has had more impact on younger composers such as Susan Stenger, Lois V Vierk, David First, and Glenn Branca. He's even worked with Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Lee Renaldo on "Guitar two, for four" which is actually for five guitarists. This is Minimalism in the classic sense of the word, if that makes sense. Niblock constructs big 24-track digitally-processed monolithic microtonal drones. The result is sound without melody or rhythm. Movement is slow, geologically slow. Changes are almost imperceptible, and his music has a tendency of creeping up on you. The vocal pieces are like some of Ligeti's choral works, but a little more phased. And this isn't choral work. "A Y U (as yet untitled)" is sampled from just one voice, the baritone Thomas Buckner. The results are pitch shifted and processed intense drones, one live and one studio edited. Unlike Ligeti, this isn't just for voice or hurdy gurdy. Like Stockhausen's electronic pieces, Musique Concrete, or even Fripp and Eno's No Pussyfooting, the role of the producer/composer in "Hurdy Hurry" and "A Y U" is just as important as the role of the performer. He says: "What I am doing with my music is to produce something without rhythm or melody, by using many microtones that cause movements very, very slowly." The stills in the booklet are from slides taken in China, while Niblock was making films which are painstaking studies of manual labour, giving a poetic dignity to sheer gruelling slog of fishermen at work, rice-planters, log-splitters, water-hole dredgers and other back-breaking toilers. Since 1968 Phill has also put on over 1000 concerts in his loft space, including Ryoji Ikeda, Zbigniew Karkowski, Jim O'Rourke."-Phill Niblock Website (http://phillniblock.com/2007/06/14/biography-photos/)
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"Ghosts And Others is a singular work in the Phill Niblock canon. It's singular not just in its material content, but also in its methodology and approach. It represents a highly focused exercise in editing, location recording and acoustic observation.
In many ways, this work reflects a kind of acoustic mirroring of his practices as a film maker. It makes itself available to the world and in doing so reveals a particular perspective that says as much about its creator as it does about its subjects.
Like all of Niblock's works this is a piece of patience. It is a work that dwells in the places it finds itself in, allowing certain moments to dominate in some sections, and seemingly vanish away in others. It suggests a movement within boundaries, in that it bounces from one locale to another counterpointing their gradual evolutions across time.
There's a sense of collision throughout Ghost And Others. Explosions of Chinese percussion punctuate the piece, dynamic strikes to ward off ghosts during a funeral procession in Aberdeen, Hong Kong. They clang between bursts of car horn, the bellows of cows from collective Soviet-era farm in Hungary and various other sonic ephemera. Elsewhere a reeded instrument tries to carve a space for itself, but the world does not allow it to hold. It is a work that celebrates proximity as much as an aural vista.
Transit is also a theme here. What is a fascinating about Ghost And Others is the sense of movement in the work. Trains divide up this piece, marking points of transition, of distraction and of discovery. They act as gate-keepers almost, allowing us through into new spaces and suggesting new relations between the sounds as they combine or detach.
As a work of field recording, Ghosts And Others is generous, invitational and most of all effortlessly deep. It is resonate sensing of place, people and things."-Lawrence English
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