Saturday, August 1, 2015

Prepared Video I: Kim Cascone

Kim Cascone. Lunar Mansions - for Organ & Sine Waves.
Recorded 29 October 2014, Union Chapel, London

“Lunar Mansions,” a twenty-one minute drone piece commissioned for the Union Chapel Henry Willis Organ, continues my recent work with low-frequency difference tones (beats) and meditative states of consciousness.
The intent of this piece is to provide an “aqua sonus” of undulating frequencies created by the difference between the tuning systems of the Union Chapel pipe organ, tuned in equal temperament, and computer generated sine waves that are tuned in just intonation.
This effect will, hopefully, fill the Union Chapel with pulsating frequencies creating acoustic Moire patterns and conjuring associations and visuals for the listener. The piece will be played in darkness for a meditating audience.

Kim Cascone & Keith Rowe ‎– With Hidden Noise
Anechoic ‎– a002. Dec 2000 a field recording of sunspot activity or insects building nests inside an...
Peter Marsh 2002

Kim Cascone's brand of abstract electronica is as hand crafted as it gets. He writes his own software routines, creates his own patches and probably knits his own mousemats in an attempt to break free from the traps of making the same noises everyone else does.
Perversely, this almost molecular level of control allows Cascone to build more chaos into his tools, and generate systems that operate under their own rules. His background as a film sound designer (most notably for David Lynch) might lead you to think of his music as being cinematic, but it really isn't (unless it's film of cells replicating or some amino acids getting it on).
On the face of it, his hookup with AMM guitarist Keith Rowe may seem unlikely, but Rowe's recent work with laptop ensemble MIMEO and Cascone's collaborations with guitarist Kevin Drumm point to the common ground this rather lovely square 3" CD maps out; though not a collaboration in the usual sense (Rowe gave Cascone a live recording to work on) there is a sense that the two mens worlds are meeting in the middle.
On the single track, Cascone spins out a dronework of resonant buzzes, pulses and indistinct voices from his source material. Of course, Rowe is hardly the most conventional of guitarists; played flat on a table, the strings are alternately caressed, rubbed and thwacked by fans, brushes, bowes and knives in an aesthetic that would give Hendrix nightmares. Fed through Cascone's DSP wizardry, Rowe's guitar transmutes into gentle, hollow drones, fractured by tiny sounds like the cracking of ice; Cascone treats Rowe's occasional eruptions with windtunnel ambience, trailing off in fizzy distortions or chiming sinetones.
Its dark, atmospheric stuff, like a field recording of sunspot activity or insects building nests inside an electricity substation, strangely meditative yet slightly unsettling. Give yourself up to it and its a deep, deep listen; when it's over the rain on the window or the hum of your fridge sound different, stranger, louder.

Kim Cascone studied electronic music at the Berklee College of Music and the New School in Manhattan. He founded Silent Records in 1985 and has released more than 50 albums of electronic music on Silent, Sub Rosa, Mille Plateaux, Raster-Noton, Störung, Monotype and Emitter Micro. Cascone has performed with Merzbow, Keith Rowe, Scanner, John Tilbury, Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros and worked as assistant music editor on two David Lynch films.

Cascone founded the .microsound list in 1999, has performed and lectured in Europe since 2001 and conducts workshops in Subtle Listening. He has written for MIT Press and guest-edited Contemporary Music Review and is an advisor for the audio culture journal Interference. His writings are included in many books on sound art.