Tuesday, 1 April 2008

generator pieces 2727807

Jez riley French - 'generator pieces 2727807' (engraved glass egcdgp001)

pressed, high quality cdr can be ordered by paypal to tempjez (at) hotmail.com (£6 inc. p&p) or via IMJ, Sound 323, and/oar.

‘generator pieces 2727807’ consists of three intuitive / improvised compositions using a series of field recordings made during my residency at Generator projects, Dundee.

Each of the ‘onsite’ pieces focuses on different aspects of the various spaces, structures and objects within the building – as follows (in the order in which each sound is introduced):

‘onsite one’
– the door of gallery 1
– the ambient sound of the gallery 1 space
– the internal electrical sounds of various objects in the office
– alarm box
– rain as recorded via the roof poles
– sink piping
– kettle

‘onsite two’
– seagulls walking on the roof
– various recordings of the roof poles (these include both naturally occurring sounds recorded by attaching contact microphones to the poles and also recordings of the poles being rubbed and lightly struck by myself)
– the ambient sound of the gallery 2 space

The ‘offsite’ piece focuses on sounds recorded using handmade hydrophones in the waters of Dundee & Broughty Ferry – as follows:

– river (plant life, insects, small fish)
– broughty ferry beach waves (recorded under the sand)
– otters and (unexpected !) dolphins
– river (plant life, insects, small fish)

the photographs:
during my residency at Generator projects I also explored the space by taking photographs of small, overlooked details. The six images used on the cd cover are of a ladder splattered with paint. I feel that they sit well alongside the music and the idea of this release.

I have always made field recordings using simple methods and without much preparation – that, for me is the joy of discovery and I prefer to not focus on the process of attempting to make the ‘perfect’ recording by means of extensive preparation. After all the concept of what is perfect must always remain personal and not something imposed on others by any individual.
Every space, environment or object reveals its own nature and its own set of quirks. With these recordings made at the Generator projects building and around the local area there were several problems that resulted in my having no choice but to allow these quirks to directly affect the resulting pieces. After all what happened at the time, happened at the time. Equipment making new noises, contact microphones breaking, hydrophones being displaced by strong waves – these have lent unexpected elements to the music on this disc. As I have been an improvising musician for many years I believe my ears & instinct naturally is tuned towards a more intuitive way of working and accepting the elements of chance. To control each recording situation is not my aim and indeed, seems to me to overlook one of the most joyous aspects of field recording – the element of unexpected discovery.

Review - Richard Pinnell / Bagatellen:

Generator Pieces 2727807 is a quite different album. Described by riley French as “intuitive / improvised compositions” the three compositions here were constructed during his residency at a Dundee, Scotland art gallery entitled Generator Projects from recordings he made in and around the space.

The sounds used on Onsite One the first of the three pieces vary from rain on the roof of the building to the electronic emissions of the gallery’s office equipment. Roughly speaking we are presented with a series of vaguely industrial sounding layers, mostly extended droning tracks that are brought in and out of the piece as it progresses. The way riley French builds the sounds to a considerable roar, only to peel them back slowly, revealing the details beneath is nice, like stripping wallpaper down through its various layers of colour and texture. As the track progresses on through its twenty seven minutes however this technique wears a little thin, and the basic structure of the piece doesn’t evolve enough to retain my interest.

Although beginning in a similar manner the second piece recorded onsite at the gallery is given an extra dimension as riley French added direct human input to the recordings, tapping on poles on the roof that were hooked up to microphones to bring a distant, echoing percussion to the composition. The most interesting part of the piece however comes around halfway in as a recording of external sounds from the roof begins to drift up from the lower reaches of the mix, briefly coming into the foreground as the cry of seagulls can be heard. The juxtaposition of this familiar intrusion with the abstraction of the other sounds works well, reminding the listener of the origin of the material used at the same time as reconfiguring it into new forms.

The final, much shorter track on the album blends four field recordings made away from the gallery at watery sites, local rivers and the beach at Dundee, where the crashing of waves are captured by a mic placed under the sand. Plant and animal life mix with the sounds of rushing water into a nice little piece that somehow manages to take a different, refreshing slant on what might on paper not seem the most original of subject matter. The sparkling details within this last track, Offsite kept me captivated, and ironically on this occasion I wanted the piece to last longer.

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