Monday, August 20, 2012

Gregg Kowalsky - Electronic Music for Square and Sine Waves | Track Feature

Things are often lost or rather transformed in translation. It is almost analogous to a cut-up by Brian Gysin or William Burroughs or even a collage by Max Ernst through their transformation of a pre-exisitng entity. The same may be said of what happens when a work that employs the use of multiple sensations. In the case of Gregg Kowalsky's "Electronic Music for Square and Sine Wave" the work is grounded in the interaction of sound and space, something not readily transferable to purely audio recordings. Yet Kowalsky makes it work and beautifully at that.

In this format it seems like the emphasis of "music" as stated in the title "Electronic Music for Square and Sine Wave" comes to the forefront. As the releases press release states it is composed of multiple layers of sound sources and processing including "tuned an AM radio to random interference between channels, static abstractions that bookend the work." Beyond this  for "the core of the piece, Kowalsky used contact mics to process this, and other, sound source(s) as he moved around the performance space." The space in which the composition was performed and recorded is removed from the listeners vision and perception. It is a mortal separation between how the composition was originally received and what it now is.

But is this is not a bad thing. Separated from space and movement the overarching aesthetic nuances of sound manipulation are more readily revealed. It is at the heart of the audio work that deep listening practices can begin to work. Kowalsky creates a web of overtones and subtly moving harmonics to great effect, tones that gently wash over ones surroundings and possibly reactive their sense of time & sound in space.

Gregg Kowalsky and Jozef Van Wissem's album Movements in Marble and Stone will be available via Amish Records as an entry into the largely fantastic Required Wreckers Series this September 4th.

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