SOUND EDITION

Various Artists
Two Point Two

LINE_016 | 2 x CD | Edition of 1500 (sold out/out of print) | October 2003

Over the course of 7 and 4 years, respectively, 12k and LINE have been at the forefront of minimalist digital music. They have established themselves not only as a home for some of the most important contemporary electronic sound artists but also as labels who are not afraid to introduce new artists and give them the opportunity to create a unique and recognized voice for themselves in the crowded world of electronic music and sound art.

With the release of Two Point Two, the continuation of 12k and LINE’s joint double cd series, the labels showcase their own aesthetics and highlight some of the current and future artists that will be at the forefront of their release schedules for the next year. Packaged in a stark-white double-CD digipack that features the design and photography of Taylor Deupree and Richard Chartier, all of the tracks on Two Point Two are previously unreleased.

CD1 shows 12k’s current interest in melodic and acoustic instrument-based electronic compositions and experiments in deconstructed rhythmic structures. CD2, the LINE disc, continues the documentation of conceptual and installation work by artists who explore contemporary, digital minimalism and the subtlety of texture.

In addition to featuring much of the label’s established roster, Two Point Two brings together several artists in unique collaborations including joint projects from Sogar and Cheason (of Fonica) as well as pioneering artists Asmus Tietchens and David Lee Myers (Arcane Device). Two Point Two presents a cross section of electronic artists’ unique sound palettes, from the haunting piano intro by Sawako, to Steve Roden’s fragile digital/acoustic sculpture to the disjointed videogame techno of Kyoto’s Ken’ichi Itoi and the dark pulsations of COH.

DISC ONE (12K)
SAWAKO – AIR.AIF
SEBASTIEN ROUX – VILLA E-1027
TAYLOR DEUPREE – UNNATURAL TEMPLATE
M FELL – EGG FROM A FETUS
KEN’ICHI ITOI – 455
KOMET – LOOPING 4 = D
SOGAR + UISON – LOCAL TIMES
TAYLOR DEUPREE + RICHARD CHARTIER – SPECIFICATION.FOURTEEN
DORON SADJA + MOTION – 3SMALL
GHISLAIN POIRIER – LES PYROMANES N’ETEIGNENT PAS LES FEUX
KENNETH KIRSCHNER – JUNE 8, 2003

DISC TWO (LINE)
AELAB – INDUCTION PIECE 1
VEND – TEN
STEVE RODEN – FOR THOMAS WILFRED [#3]
RICHARD CHARTIER – ARCHIVAL 1992
ASMUS TIETCHENS + DAVID LEE MYERS – ONE
STEINBRUCHEL – EVENTUELL
THOM KUBLI – VIRILIO-CUBES SOUNDTRACK
SKOLTZ_KOLGEN – UKLIKO
WILLIAM BASINSKI – WORRY
COH – …AND SHUTTLED ACROSS THE SKY

REVIEWS

It's been well over four years since the release of .aiff, the first compilation on Brooklyn's 12k imprint. That record captured a seminal moment in so-called post-techno digital reductionism, collecting works by artists such as label-founder Taylor Deupree, Goem, Komet and *0 who formed their spare, pointillistic compositions with near surgical precision. With Two Point Two, 12k has put together what amounts to a follow-up to .aiff, this time pairing up with its sister/sub-label Line to present an ambitious two-disc set of minimalist electronics that reflects both the growth of the labels and that of microscopic electronics. Though the overall aesthetic is similar to that of earlier 12k releases, the compilation is not without its surprises, including an atypically ascetic and virtually funk-free exercise in oneiric looping from Komet and an exercise in soundscape immersion from Richard Chartier that is a far cry from his usual ear-strainingly quiet work. In addition, while there are contributions from many of the labels' usual suspects (Deupree, Komet, Chartier, etc.), there is a fair share of newcomers as well, such as the Russian-born musician COH (Ivan Pavlov) and Japanese sound artist Sawako, whose drifting piano-tinged "air.aif" opens the 12k portion of the set. By and large, the 12k disc is the more immediately accessible, with gestures toward fractured techno by Ken'ichi Itoi and warm ambience by Sebastien Roux and Komet. As the disc progresses, however, the music gets increasingly abstract, culminating with Kenneth Kirschner's quiet, 24-minute epic, "June 8, 2003," with its gently bubbling percolations. Coming at the end of disc one, the Kirschner track provides an excellent segue to the more abstract terrain explored on the LINE imprint, which is devoted to ultra-minimalist digital sound art. Headphones are definitely recommended for disc two (though they are not absolutely necessary) in order to discern the subtle textural shifts in pieces like Aelab's buzzing "Induction Piece 1." Yet, thankfully, even at it's quietest, the second disc still fascinates with contributions by a top-notch group of musicians, such as Steve Roden, Steinbrüchel, Asmus Tietchens and William Basinski. COH ratchets things up a bit with his closing track "... And Shuttled Across the Sky," which eventually blows things open (LINE-style, mind you) with a burst of sonic steam and a veritable barrage of pulsing sine waves. Within the context of LINE, it's positively smashing.
(Boston's Weekly Dig, US)

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Dickes Doppel-Release der beiden amerikanischen Killerlabels. Nach dem ersten grossen Rundumschlag Between Two Points aus dem Jahre '01 jetzt (logischerweise) Two Point Two. Dass bei sowas die Creme de la Creme der Soundtüftler-, und Minimal-Kopfhšrer-Elektronik herzlich eingeladen ist bisher unveršffentlichte Stücke beizutragen, ist eigentlich selbstverstŠndlich und bei diesen beiden Labels mittlerweile Standart. Bei der 12k-CD liegt die Betonung mit Künstlern wie Sawako, Sebastien Roux, Ken'Ichi Itoi, Komet, Ghislain Poirier oder Kenneth Kirschner (um nur ein paar zu nennen) auf Experimenten mit auseinandergenommenen Rhythmusstrukturen und instrumentbasierten, akustischen Kompositionen. Die Line-CD hingegen nimmt die feinsten Texturen kompositioneller €sthetiken unter die Lupe. Vertreten sind hierbei u.a. AELab, Vend, Steve Roden, Steinbrüchel und William Basinski. ZusŠtzlich gibt es auch noch Kollaborationen, wie z.B. von Sogar und Uison, Doron Sadja und Motion oderAsmus Tietchensund David Lee Meyers, sowie BeitrŠge der Labelherren Deupree und Chartier persšnlich.Und das ist alles gross. Sehr gross sogar. Hšhe wie Breite als auch Dichte. berragend, monumental und definitiv ein klares Zeitzeichen und Statement der amerikanischen Elektronik-Musik-Kultur. Und wenn am Ende COH mit "...and shuttled across the sky" diesen Genuss mit einem pulsierenden Strom voll freigesetzter Energien abrundet, wissen wir, dass dies erst der Anfang ist, es immer unbeirrt weitergehen wird, und dass wir in Zukunft noch einiges erwarten dürfen... . Beste Compilation des Jahres, soviel steht fest - Lieblingslabels sind es ja sowieso! Danke! ****
(de:Bug, DE)

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Some compilations come across as lazy collections of leftover tracks, while others act as satisfying filler between label artists' full-length offerings. The rarest kind, however, become manifestos, definitive statements that overshadow by their collective impact the label's individual artist recordings. While Mille Plateaux's Clicks & Cuts series might qualify in this regard, there's no question that Two Point Two certainly does. It's a definitive collection of minimalist digital sound art that highlights the rosters of the New York-based 12k and LINE  labels managed by Taylor Deupree and Richard Chartier. While the two discs complement one another, 12k's slightly greater emphasis upon rhythmic pulse is discernible, while the more drone-like LINE tracks burrow further into molecular textures. These are sophisticated microminimal works that might best be described as sound sculptures,as so many are static synthetic vistas that develop meditatively. This description, however, might suggest that the discs are full of ambient inactivity where one piece is indistinguishable from the next. Nothing could be further from the truth, as the music teems with sonic activity, and pieces distinguish themselves thoroughly from one another. The ambient beehive of distant glissandi and chattering electronics in Taylor Deupree's "Unnatural Template" is dramatically unlike Ken'Ichi Itoi's bouncy and robust "455" with its clipped bass tones and mercurial treble patterns. A good example of the distinctive sound worlds conjured on these disks is Chartier's "Archival 1992" whose haunted sounds echo like distant whale cries. Laden with static and crackles, tracks by Sebastien Roux, Sogar + Uison, Skoltz_Kolgen, and Doron Sadja + Motion suggest a strong Fennesz influence, while the skittering electronics of M Fell's "Egg From a Fetus" recall Oval. The coup de grace, however, is Kenneth Kirschner's epic "June 8, 2003." While it begins quietly, an intense amount of activity quickly emerges with distant voices heard amongst the static and glistening tones. A satisfying spatial quality permeates the piece as it unfolds slowly over twenty-four minutes, with episodes ebbing and flowing in wave-like manner. Anyone looking for beats should be forewarned, as Two Point Two offers no such conventional anchor, and, at over two hours, is exhausting listening when ingested in its entirety. Admittedly, Deupree and Chartier demand that the listener adopt a strongly active role in attending to such nuanced music but, in this case, patience and effort reap strong listening rewards.
(Grooves, US)

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Double CD showcasing the best artists in the 12k and LINE roster, appealing to the collector (all tracks are previously unreleased) and to the ones not familiar with these labels (one disc each); it's a perfect introduction to digital minimalism and post-modern ambient. The 12k record has its best moments with Kenneth Kirschner, whose "June 8, 2003" is wonderfully detached from the rest of the world in a slowly moving icy piece full of hidden emotion. Also to be mentioned are Sebastian Roux and Ghislain Poirier, talented composers of pretty static yet meaningful soundscapes; I also loved Komet's "Looping 4=D" - nothing particularly new but certainly well assembled - and the already well known Doron Sadja (here with Motion in "3small") whose electro-sculpting is noteworthy. Talking about the LINE CD, pure beauty comes from "For Thomas Wilfred (N¡3)" by Steve Roden, a highly spiritual evocation, and "Uhliko" by Skoltz_Kolgen, perfect melange of shadows and faint buzzing night lights in a suburban setting - alas, too short for its value. I won't bother underlining the extraordinary class of Richard Chartier ("Archival 1992") and William Basinski ("Worry") because you all know we're talking about masters of the game. (touchingextremes.org)

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Taylor Deupree's 12k label has been at the forefront of minimalist digital music for the last seven years. Four years ago Richard Chartier and Deupree set up a subsidiary label, LINE, with the intent of documenting conceptual and installation work by musicians exploring the aesthetics of contemporary minimalism. Two Point Two continues the label and its subsidiary's joint series, which is designed as a taster of their upcoming release schedules. Primarily showcasing the 12k roster, disc one includes the likes of Sebastien Roux and Komet, whose contributions are unusually melodic, even as they're constructed over deconstructed rhythms. Drawing on Line's catalog, disc two is far more rigorous and intense. But Two Point Two is most interesting for the collaborations between electronica outsider Asmus Teitchens and American feedback specialist David Lee Myers, of Arcane Device.
(The Wire, UK)

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...Also on compilation format by 12K/LINE is a double CD that presents artists from both labels, presenting new work and is in many ways the successor to Between Two Points of a couple of years ago. The first CD has artists that have releases on 12K, or could have had. These artists use rhythm in any sense of the word. Quiet, almost non present in pieces by Sogar & Uison, deep dubby as in Komet's or stuttery and uptempo in the Ken'ichi Itoi. M. Fell's track comes very close to his recent Secular Music Of South Yorkshire CD, a stuttery piece of music. Remarkable on the 12K side of things are the three collaborative tracks. The aforementioned Sogar & Uison, but also Deupree & Chartier (that is 12K vs LINE, I'd say) and Doron Sadja & Motion. Maybe an idea for a future compilation made of various collaborations. The final piece here is by Kenneth Kirschner and lasts twentyfour minutes (that is one third of the entire length of this CD) and forms a perfect link between the worlds of 12K and LINE. On the LINE CD things are in a more subtle mode, and rhythm plays no important role here. But it is present, for instance in the water drop sounds by Asmus Tietchens & David Lee Myers (which is maybe an unusual appearance here) or in the piece by CoH and even in the piece by Steve Roden. Another surprise was the quite dark sounding Richard Chartier track with some heavy synth lines. Field recordings are used by Thom Kubli, at least he's the one not hiding them. Here too an interesting varied bunch and you need to crank up the volume only little after playing the 12K CD, so it ain't that soft...
(Vital Weekly, NL)

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12k es el sello de Taylor Deupree, Mejor: es el sello don de publica la musica que considera hermosa, y que debe permanecer. tenue y pequena, bien arropada detras de bonitas portadas done mandan las fotografias de arquitectura, reflejo tactil da ese minimalismo en que milita. Line es otro sello de Taylor Deupree. Aquil da cabida a la musica que cuestiona el conido en relaxion al espacio, a ese arte que consiste en saber escuchar como se liena el vacio con una frecuencia minima. Portades escuetas, apenas unos simbolos, muescas en un grain plano de color pastel con unas pocas letras tatuadas en blanco. Two Point Two recoge el testigo de otra recopilacion Between Two Points, que hace dos a–os trazaba caminos entre los dos sellos. Entonces ambos mundos estaban mas cerca y las frontera era difusa. Hoy, las plataformas ocupan espacios estancos, y cada una dispone de un cd. En el primero, el dedicado a 12k, gobierna el ritmo. Pero es un ritmo sutil, delicado y pausado, que se acelera con Ken'ichi Itoi, se vuelve acuatico con Komet, es volatil para Sebastien Roux ys casi hay que inturio en la preciosa "Local Times" de Sogar + Uison. Que Sawako enquista en samples de piano, M Fell encierra entre glitches y Ghislain Poirier desdibuja. Dos colaboraciones, de Taylor Deupree + Richard Chartier, y Doron Sadja + Motion, fabrican dos de los momentos mas delicados del esta primera parte, que termina con una pieza de veinte minutos de Kenneth Kirschner, en la senda de su reciente disco. En el CD dedicado a LINE, la cosa va de ambientes. Ondas que crecen perezosas en manos de AELab, ritmos punzantes por SteinbrŸchel, sonidos que se desvanecen tras el portatil de Vend, o que chirrian delicadamente, por cortesja de Richard Chartier y de Skoltz_Kolgen. Masas gaseosas por Steve Roden y William Basinski, samples acuaticos para Asmus Tietchens, y un CoH mas sutil que nunca, para el glorioso final que esta recopilacion, la mejor del a–o, merece. Preciosa. Enorme. Necesara.
(Go Mag, ES)

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een showcase van twee gevestigde experimentele labels: 12k maakt grote sier met uitstekende nouveau electronika van Sebastien Roux, Taylor Deupree, Komet, Doron Sadja, Ghislain Poirier en andere getalenteerde wizards. Line grossiert dan weer in installatie-klanklandschappen van AELab, Steve Roden, Asmus Tietchens, Steinbruchel en COH. Voor de freaks die van tuitende trommelvliezen houden.
(Rifraf, BE)

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Two Point Two is the second compilation from 12/LINE. Like the first, Between Two Points, this one is chopped into two disks. The first disc features music from the 12k label, while the second disc features music from the LINE label. Of the two labels, 12k is the more successful, having released some of the best electronic music of the past few years (Sogar's Apikal Blend and Shuttle358's Frame, just to name two). However, LINE also has made a name for itself with uncompromising minimal releases such as Richard Chartier's Of Surfaces and Bernhard Gunter's Monochrome triptych. Together, these are the two best electronic labels in the United States, and this release is a must-have for every electronic music fan. Disc one features eleven tracks from 12k's stellar lineup. Label founder and head, Taylor Deupree, gives us "Unnatural Template," which is an excellent work of nanotech electronics, where sound fragments rearrange themselves in a variety of interesting and exciting ways. Another interesting work is "Looping 4 = D" by Komet (aka Frank Bretschneider), who steps away from his traditional minimal funk to throw in an unusually abstract, circular work. One of the interesting things the 12k disc offers is a series of collaborative tracks, where different 12k artists merge their ideas and styles to create something truly unique. One of these collaborative tracks is Doron Sadja and Motion's "3small," which is a churning, frothy work that begins as a collage of bubbling, hissing, and spurting noise fragments and then pairs them down and sorts them into a rhythmic structure; it's a fascinating work because it is so unlike the work that these two artists create on their own. Another notable collaboration is between Deupree and LINE label boss Richard Chartier; their "Specification.Fourteen" begins with a series of pauses and tones that are more reminiscent of Chartier's ultra minimalism than Deupree's digital surgery, but as the track moves forward, Deupree-like burbles and gurgles spring up and overwhelm the Chartier sine waves, so that, in the end, both are crunching up against one another in a tug-of-war over aural supremacy. It's a great track. The last track on disc one is also the longest: Kenneth Kirschner's 24-minute "June 8, 2003." Why put such a long track on a compilation? Well, because it's Kenneth Kirschner, an artist of incredible skill and uncompromising quality. And this track is perhaps one of Kirschner's best, an epic soundscape that begins with a simple melodic string, which then transforms into buzzing and hissing steam pipes, and into canyon-like echoes and underwater bubbles and tropical forests and campfires and on and on. It's remarkable. If surpasses anything on Kirschner's most recent release, and it's the finest work on disc one. If that's not enough, however, get this: disc two does not only feature wonderful tracks by some of LINE's best artists (Steve Roden, Chartier, and Steinbrüchel), but its final two tracks are by two of the best electronic artists working today: William Basinski and CoH. Basinski's "Worry," at a paltry six minutes, pales in comparison to the artist's sweeping, 90-minute The River, which is the best release of 2003 (and one of the finest electronic albums I've ever heard). However, "Worry" is still an amazing work. It consists of a simple, repeating loop of moaning synth chords; the loop increases in volume and force as the track progresses, but it never really breaks out or explodes in one direction or another. Rather, it stands continually on the verge of escape, much like a person continually worrying about something stands continually on the verge of finding that worrying problem come true. It's a tense, elliptical work that is beautifully crafted and executed. CoH (whose real name is Ivan Pavlov) gained renown for his wonderful Masks of Birth, which is a blistering fusion of industrial terror and electrical delight. His track here, "and Shuttled Across the Sky," is equally memorable, but in an entirely different way. It is split into two parts. The first part bears the hallmarks of a field recording chirping, dripping, and other "found sounds" echo and float around amidst the silence of the universe. Then there's an explosion, and the second part begins, with those same chirping, dripping and found sounds digitally transformed into an array of shifting, repetitive waves. To me, the work suggests that the sounds we create on computers are little more than echoes of the sounds we hear (but do not listen to) in everyday life. In a way, that's the whole point of this compilation: to offer interesting, intelligent electronic artists a chance to explore the very nature of sound by breaking sound up into its component parts and reordering them in new and interesting ways. The end result of these explorations is a work of true passion and dedication, created by artists whose foremost impetus is to create interesting, beautiful music.
(Stylus, US)