LINE_011 | CD | Edition of 500 | October 2002
Clean is a compilation of digital work by three international artists/projects exploring their own diverse languages/processes to create both sound and sound installations of minimalist aesthetics. The working title of “clean” was the only parameter given to the artists, who were asked to express this term in sound form.
DUUL_DRV(Canada/b.1974) is S. Arden Hill, sound artist and painter, who explores the environment of miniature re-juxtaposition. His sound work combines various forms of processed audible texture, ranging from phonographic recordings to abstract and pop ambience. These textures are processed with lo-tech software, manifesting slow and organic compositions. duul_drv’s work has appeared on several international compilations including 12k/LINE’s Between Two Points and he has performed at such international events at Extrasensory (London), Mutek (Montreal), and Diagram 11h: Silophone (Montreal) in collaboration with [the user].
NIBO (Japan/b.1977) is active in sound, design and visual art. Many of his works including his multi-media installation pieces focus on scientific or mathematical themes. The n160 label (www.n160.com) was founded by nibo in early 2001 as a laboratory/platform for the input/output of various mediums. His work has been released on n160 and on Germany’s Raster-Noton label. He recently performed in a series of Raster-Noton events in Tokyo, collaborating with Carsten Nicolai.
VEND is Alex Peverett (UK/b.1976) and Joe Gilmore (UK/b.1968). Over the past three years, they have have worked together under various project names. Vend was the result of a mutual interest in understated generative/algorithmic audio design. vend.clean consists entirely of sounds constructed using various forms of audio synthesis. No samples or recordings of anything external to the computer were used, all the sounds were synthesised artificially. vend music usually begins with a vision which is brought about through process, the process being an integral [but discarded] element of the finished work. The project’s work has previously appeared on Between Two Points (12k/LINE).
Line is 12K's even quieter imprint which releases microsounds that are, well, sort of the Ellsworth Kelly's of the sound world we now live in. Clean is comprised of three parts by artists from different countries. First up are three tracks from duul_drv (S. Arden Hill) from Canada which have a spare, luminosity - almost unnoticable, in moments by the naked ear. There is a crisp and washed out blend of white noise and found sound about these pieces. At once biomorphic Hill grows these incidental tones into extensions of a smaller, earthier, subatomic space. Tokyo's Nibo is an audio-visual installation artist who has created three tracks that have a bare sine wave and distant pulsation. This 25 year old artist has been known to collaborate rightly with Carsten Nicolai. Clean 3 is evidence of life in distant unispheres, though it is only trace evidence. Cleverly this finite recording ducks and hides from the headphoned ear, only to evasively peek to be acknowledged. Barely audible and certainly to be relished by those turned on by other releases by Bernard Gunter and like composers. The third artist showcased here is the UK duo known as Vend (Alex Peverett and Joe Gilmore). Squat, fissure-sized sounds so faint you will be hellbent on anticipating each peak. I am breathing in light and breathing out frequencies. I become physically involved by Clean's sheer pitch and other headphonics. Staying true to their overview of contemporary minimal music, 12K makes an impeccable connection between these three artists, in a world the size of a pinhead.
The three young artists on this latest release from Richard Chartier's fearsomely minimalist Line Stable were asked to interpret the title word in digital form. Given the history of the label, the contributions are very much of the "lowercase" bent. There are varying results. Canadian Duul_drv opens the set with the three best tracks. Somewhat oddly, his tones and sinewaves are rather smudged, as if to represent irruptions on the "clean" surface of the CD. Reminiscent of Matt shoemaker's work, these three piecees of grainy, almost growling quality that imples a latent threat and keeps me wondering what lurks in the void. The other two acts offer different variations on the "clean" theme that don't quite reward as much . Nibo works with very high-pitched, narrow-range tones that pass through the tiniest of variations. By his thrid track, the sounds have evolved into a more substantive generator hum, whic is more interesting that it's predecessors, but no so involving as duul_drv's contributions. The lack of timbral change suggests it is the tones themselves that are "clean". UK duo vend offers some blips separated by empty silences; music that would wilt in a gentle breeze. Mixed results, all in all, but it's still worth a look, if only for the duul_drv material.
As a term with both abstract and concrete connotations, "clean" is open to a wide number of interpretations and a virtually unlimited range of definitions. From the absent to the present, from the high to the low and from the instantaneous to the prolonged, "clean" is relative; a perpetually shifting point. Canada's Duul_drv presents the word as a series of tiny crackling eruptions; Nibo, from Japan, as a sequence of almost inaudible exhalations. Vend, comprising Alex Peverett and Joe Gilmore from the UK, isolate bright protean tones against expanses of silence. Each composition, aside from sharing the same title and starting point, expresses a recurring sense of fragile hesitancy, as if they were all simply dust particles accumulating on the surface of a mirror.
(the wire, uk)
This new one on Line features three bands (or projects or ?): Duul_Drv, Nibo and Vend. So in a way it is a three way split album I guess. First up is Duul_Drv from Canada with three very beautiful and atmospheric tracks with lots of subtleties, mainly in the high frequencies. One of the most interesting things in their music is the sparse use of 'natural' acoustic sounds, dripping through a texture of dark drones and subtle glitches. The next three tracks are by Nibo from Japan. All of them are made with the good old sine wave and do indeed add something to the 'genre.' Soft and gentle, but piercing. And at some point, too much..... The last five tracks are by Vend from the UK. They are all short, ranging from two to four minutes, and made from short sounds as well. With generous amounts of silence, these tracks have a certain mesmerizing quality, not unlike ambient music, but starting from a totally different approach. Most of the sounds are in the high frequencies range and sort of flutter around the ears, stirring the listener into a certain state of drifting consciousness. Very well done.
(vital weekly, the netherlands)
Clean is a very relative term. My apartment is clean. My friend says his apartment is also clean, and yet I find it to be filthy, with dust in the corners, crumbs on the floor and stains on the carpets. So what, then, is clean, and why are our opinions on the subject so vastly different? Does my friend really think that his place is clean, or is he fooling himself? Or are my standards perhaps too high? When transposed to minimalist aesthetics and sound composition, the term seems to take on yet another meaning. Is it a high frequency or a low one? does it exist within the chromatic scale or is it something more abstract that lies perhaps just outside it? A sharp, close sound or one submerged in echoes? Turns out it's all of these things and more. Duul_drv, a project of S. Arden Hill from Canada, presents three expressions of the term we have been discussing here. Nibo from Japan follows with another three, and Vend, the duo of Alex Peverett and Joe Gilmore from the UK, present five of their own. And it's a very clean affair indeed. Yet what project on Line would not be called an expression of clean? Minimalism embodies what is clean, and Line embraces minimalism with each of its releases. The dust- and dirt-free digital sound environments presented here are each very different from the others, and present the sort of sounds you might expect from such a genre, from such a label, or from such artists, whom you may have heard of before. But within the expected there lies something new, hidden just beneath the surface, and once found, the clicks, crackles, pops and frequencies create something more than the sum of its parts. As with my and my friend's apartments, opinions may very, definitions may fail us, and yet it doesn't stop us from using these terms to describe the things around us. Or, in the case of this release, using the term as a springboard for original expressions in sound.
Fluctuating slips of mechanicalish resonance flutter (and wow) when DUUL_DRV's opening piece, "DUUL_DRV.CLEAN.1" lightly rumbles and glares onto the scene. In their 3rd selection, even slighter dronescape emissions are laced with faraway (though nearing) steam-whistling and water-like drippiness, to a pleasantly desolate effect. After several seconds of almost-silence, the switch to NIBO's section is readily apparent; "NIBO.CLEAN.1"'s high, thin frequencies coat the airwaves, followed by an increasingly powerful dronethrob. "NIBO.CLEAN.3" (8:12) dispassionately operates on low-cycle humming, etched by nearly-unheard filaments. As the track powers up, a popping "rhythm" of sorts arises (far to my left). Again, when the artists change, "VEND.CLEAN.1" is more-sparsely strewn with tinier bits of hard-drive detritus, like little crisp metallic scraps dropped upon a workshop floor. Miniscule twiddling fibers warp and weft through "VEND.CLEAN.3" (1:53), but not for long. Two subsequent tracks excrete more incredibly wee bits. Not as imperceptible as some releases from the LINE label, CLEAN blends elements of old-school ambient/industrial exploration with not-too-overt applications of micro-digital breakdownism. An interesting international 3-way from DUUL_DRV, NIBO and VEND exhibits an assortment of processes and their atomized results. A micro-minded 46-minute-long B+
In some manner it seems, certain of the sounds and moments within Clean could be illustrated in terms of digitized or at least, electrified shapes - cylindrical tones that flow long and drop into smaller spots; tiny points or stars that twist slightly in your ear. Though, this is only a particular aspect within Clean as a collection overall. While there are other sounds to take in here, this plays out more visibly with Nibo's contributions to the disc. There's also a certain weight attached to the tones of each Nibo track that draws the moment out into more tiny stars that eventually spin out into the quiet. Where duul_drv's tracks are concerened, there is a mish mash of sound that everso-carefully mixes found sounds and tonal references together to equal truly lovely ambience. Vend's contribution sharpens things to a thorough sliver - tiny, tiny sparkles of sound shine and twist and pace themselves in their own way, counterbalanced occasionally by truncated sound marks and pops. A lovely addition to Brookklyn's 12k/Line label. Headphones are recommended for this realtime breath-per-minute music.
(stylus magazine, canada)