out of print
Robert Piotrowicz / Carl Michael Von Hausswolff - split
LP: Bocian Records, bc 02

A. Robert Piotrowicz - Clinamen 3
B1. Ritual Shaving of an Ass In Belgium (Aka Eating a Piranha Wouldn't Be So Bad The Way Things Are These Days)
B2. Ritual Shaving Of An Ass In Poland (Aka The Snoring Innocence)

Robert Piotrowicz's latest CD, Lasting Clinamen (Musica Genera, 2009), a set of compositions for a modular analogue synthesizer, was acclaimed as a fully mature work, a result of his steady development as an artist. A follow-up to that album, "Clinamen 3" is, to a large extent, a move towards new areas. Its sonic structures feature even more timbres, its dynamics and complexity are greater, while its seemingly meditative quality increasingly gives way to sonic exploration of the instrument's possibilities. And his composition skills are not merely shown in the dynamic arrangement of the sonic textures, but also in finesse in deployment of rhythm, harmonies which lend the piece a remarkable spatial quality, and finally, like in Lasting Clinamen, in a multi-thread narration. Notably, it is narration that is in a way a trademark of Piotrowicz's diverse body of work, whether the Rurokura series (including Rurokura and Eastern European Folk Music Research vol. 2 on Bocian Records), his improvisational music collaborations (with Anna Zaradny, Valerio Tricoli , Oren Ambarchi and Burkhard Stangl) or the music he has produced for theatre and radio plays.
As a result, "Clinamen 3" is an evocative and complex sonic structure, which has little in common with run-of-the-mill drone music or noise music. It rather brings to mind sound sculptures by Harry Bertoi, sound structures by Yoshi Wada and Eliane Radigue and space compositions by Alvin Lucier and Pietro Grossi, an association which has recently been affirmed by inclusion of one of Piotrowicz's pieces in the sixth instalment of the Sub Rosa label's An Anthology of Noise & Electronic Music compilation series.

CM von Hausswolff's compositions here appear to be polar opposites to those of Piotrowicz. In terms of the nature of sound and its production, they feature a classic lo-fi sound, in stark contrast with his previous, accomplished and sonically elaborate works (recently on Auf Abwegen and Die Stadt labels or in collaboration with John Duncan). Nevertheless, one may find them to be a continued exploration of the subject prevalent in his audiovisual compositions and sound installations: relations between the physical qualities of sound and the actual or hypothetical location of their source. Thus, although realised in a direct manner in Piotrowicz's piece, in von Hausswolff's the concept of a spatial sound composition is only reflected through the context of their creation.
The first piece is part of the Rainbow Audio Transformation project, realised at Antwerp's Extra City gallery in 2009. Invited by Carl Michael himself and Nico Dockx, the participating artists (Jana Winderen, Brandon LaBelle and Mike Harding among them) prepared sound loops corresponding to the colours of the rainbow (plus black and white), which altogether constituted the installation. The recording is a sound loop corrresponding to the colour white, produced on the basis of 12 signals from the 400Hz-8kHz range, subjected to multi-filtering through two oscillators. Despite a rather traditional approach employed here, the final result proves the sonic awareness of the composer and whets one's desire to experience the full version of the project.
The second track is a mix of sparingly made recordings from Warsaw and Stockholm. They seem a distant echo of the first track captured among the conversations in the audience. This peculiar reference to both the impact of sound in space and the degradation of sound during its emission makes a startling comment on the function of noise music aesthetics in contemporary realities of galleries and concert venues, accentuated by the grotesque titles. Or perhaps is it a bold statement about the jadedness prevalent among the world's sound art society?

(–) Daniel Brożek / transl. Przemysław Chojnacki
While there doesn't seem to be any specific concept to unify both sides of this split LP, there doesn't need to be. Instead, it is a strong paring of a relatively young artist and one who has a long and established career, with both providing material that is quite different from each other.

The Robert Piotrowicz side consists of one long track, "Clinamen 3," that continues his careful study of the analog modular synthesizer. With each release, his ability to structure and compose has become more and more polished, to where pieces don't have the raw, improvised sound usually expected from experimenting with analog instruments, but instead represent carefully arranged and structured pieces. "Clinamen 3" is essentially three movements in a single piece, the first characterized by a high frequency tone and an erratic rhythmic bass pulse that slowly builds upon one another until it creates a wall of symphonic roar.

This is eventually paired with a low-end passage that is quite dark, and infests the symphonic leads with a sense of evil and menace, the two writhing together in a horror movie haze. It suddenly drops and comes back in a different form, the same basic building blocks rearranged in a more chaotic, disorienting form that defines the second movement. The third goes all out, mixing a low end thump with a siren melody lead, dropping subtlety in favor of pure force, before going out like a lamb with a short, simple melodic coda.

In contrast to Piotrowicz's bombast, Von Hausswolff instead opts for quiet, textural studies of sound. The first of his two pieces, "Ritual Shaving of an Ass in Belgium (aka Eating A Piranha Wouldn't Be So Bad The Way Things Are These Days)," besides being a strong leader for song title of the year, is based upon loops composed for an installation performance. The textures are light and scratchy, with careful variation on the crunchy textures, with the vaguest insinuation of bass hidden.

The following piece, "Ritual Shaving of an Ass in Poland (aka The Snoring Innocence)," is rawer, static, heavy, and abrasive. It's short but it seems to capture extraneous sounds and audience conversations on ragged audio tape, which is then used and mangled to create an approximation of what would be considered a "noise" track, but its worn, decaying nature gives it an historical, hollow quality that makes it quite unique.

Both the artists are doing drastically different things from one another, yet the pairing of them together nicely demonstrates opposite ends of the experimental/avant garde electronic genre. It is one of the rare cases where a work is actually strengthened by the great disparity of its contents, and each side seems to make more sense based upon its accompaniment.

(–) Creaig Dunton, Brainwashed
A split album by two masters of 'loud drone music' with an entirely electronic background. Piotrowicz already surprised us with 'Lasting Clinamen' on CD (see review in Vital Weekly 621), and this is now continued with 'Clinamen 3', also recorded using analog modular synthesizer. He plays what seems a loud, looped drone (no doubt repeated within the machine), which is piercingly loud at the start, but just like his great CD, he knows how to create a subtle piece music after that. It grows and it grows with some great lingering intensity. More complex than the CD release, this is simply another great piece of music.

On the other side we find Carl Micheal von Hauswolff, who always impresses me with his conceptual approaches. The first of the two pieces was made for an installation using loops of sound corresponding to the colors of the rainbow. Some high pierced static sounds move over into a very low (but not silent) dark rumble. I guess there is some connection to colors and herz waves here, which I no doubt fail to see, but its surely a strange piece of music. The second piece has the sound of people talking and I am to believed, through the press text, that these voices are from the galleries in which the work was presented - faint traces are apparent. Like many other works of Von Hauswolff this leaves the listener puzzled behind, but you can simply also be amazed over the beautiful quality of the music. I did. I may not understand the concepts behind it, but I can see/hear the beauty of the works.

(–) Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly