REVIEWS

‘…Avantwhatever is creating a vital collection of some of the most interesting and challenging music currently being made’.

– Gail Priest, Realtime Arts Earbash Oct-Nov 2011

‘I want to spend a couple of words of praise about this brave Australian label – Avantwhatever – that is promoting and publishing really interesting contemporary music by young and promising artists’.

– Paolo Casertano, The Free Jazz Collective November 2012

MARTIN KAY – STADIUM

While I don’t care much for any sport, certainly not to watch in the flesh, live, in a stadium or elsewhere, this I think is quite a fascinating release. I am sure Kay didn’t record all of this during one of these endless (and dare I say this out loud, boring) cricket matches, but it is rather the culmination of many visits to the stadium and it’s surroundings to find the right spots to record these sounds…The way the voices resonated into objects and odd spaces made a bigger impression than the far away drenched ones, but throughout I kept listening with much interest. This was an excellent experience, part pure field recordings and part social research.

– Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly 1051

DUNLOP/SLAZENGER, 9-15 BOWDEN ST, ALEXANDRIA, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA, 2015 (ACCESS THROUGH CARPARK AT 17-21 BOWDEN ST, ALEXANDRIA, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA, 2015).

‘There are nine tracks, the first and longest of which seems to establish the sense of place: you do have the feeling of being at a large, abandoned site, with echoing bangs arising every so often but also with a consistent high tone and a metallic, semi-rhythmic clanging, each of which strike me as intentional, though I could obviously be wrong. Whatever the case, it’s quite evocative…The remainder of the recording alternates between shorter ambient samples similar to the first track (the third features distorted PA announcements that are subtly chilling) and readings…The texts are dry and boring; in context, they’re quite interesting! The site recordings are superficially sparse but actually rather fleshed out, if thinly, as of departed spirits. Their oppressiveness, with indications of large, impersonal mechanical activity, just beyond the wall, combines with the texts to produce a grimly fascinating document of decay and corporate ghosts. Intriguing release, well realized’.

– Brian Olewnick, Just Outside December 2014

ROSALIND HALL – CARRIAGE OF THE VOICE

‘Hall does an excellent job of casting the saxophone as a conduit between her breath and voice and the room in which she’s playing, the latter, at least seemingly, embodying most of the sound…The disc opens with a speaker-shaking rumble. I’ve no idea if Hall uses mics to generate a kind of feedback (à la Butcher) or otherwise uses electronic enhancements; it sounds as though it’s being recorded in a structure whose walls are threatening to crumble–pretty impressive. There are guttural breath sounds whirling in and out and eventually feedback-y tones, but the overall effect is one of hearing Hall’s chest cavity’.

– Brian Olewnick, Just Outside April 2014

‘It has a great warmth, this recording. It’s very minimal, but at the same time also very ‘live’ – every move, every breath, every bump: we can hear it all. That makes these twenty minutes quite a hallucinatory set of music. Maybe way too short actually. I wouldn’t have minded some twenty more minutes of this. This is improvised music, and of the kind that is very soft, but not as abstract as some of the players who use their instrument to sound like an object; Hall likes to sound her instruments (voice, saxophone) as spaces. Excellent release!’

– Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly 929

‘J’aimerais commencer cette série de chroniques avec un des plus surprenants solo de saxophone que j’ai entendu depuis longtemps. Il s’agit de Carriage of the Voice de l’artiste australienne Rosalind Hall, que j’entends ici pour la première fois. Pour cet album très court (vingt minutes) qui fait suite à une résidence, Rosalind Hall a cherché comment explorer l’espace pouvait servir d’extension à son corps – à travers le son bien sûr. Ainsi, elle a exploré l’espace de la performance pendant plusieurs jours, l’a arpenté et a conçu, suite à ses investigations, une installation de haut-parleurs en larsen gérés par des pédales de volume et d’équalisation seulement. Quant au saxophone lui-même, un alto, il est truffé de microphones tout comme l’instrumentiste elle-même. Ce n’est pas le saxophone à proprement parler qui est considéré comme une extension du corps ici, mais l’espace. Bien sûr, l’espace est travaillé par le saxophone pour se lier au corps, mais c’est avant tout le lieu qui sert d’extension au corps dans cette démarche’.

– Julien Heraud, Improv Sphere June 2014

RISHIN SINGH – THREE WEEVILS

‘A well-structured, tight and fine recording from Singh…the horn played amidst environmental recordings…I like it a lot’.

– Brian Olewnick, Just Outside September 2013

ERNIE ALTHOFF – TIDE SHELF

‘A retrospective of a quarter of a century of Althoff’s installat[i]on work, including digital remasters of record[i]ngs previously held on tape. Althoff’s sublime installations, using a variety of natural and recycled materials/technologies, [create] mutlilayered yet gentle plays of texture and rhythm’.

– Shame File Music, December 2012

PETER BLAMEY – FORAGE

‘Blamey here is working with electricity, cutting and completing circuits by twisting wires about, and the same feeling occurs- making music using non-musical raw materials, so what we hear on Forage is in some ways entirely musical, a stream of undulating narrative, but the sounds themselves feel displaced from somewhere else, perhaps only to myself maybe, but this feels like music in a different language’.

-Richard Pinnell, The Watchful Ear November 2012

‘I was fortunate enough to attend the launch of this CD a few weeks back. To watch Peter at work is exciting, the large tangles of copper wire sitting almost cloud like over the computer motherboards to produce a sound that is anything other than a light touch.  However, it was after the performance, when I was able to take the time to read and listen properly to the disc, that the strength of this work was able to hit me’.

-Lisa Thatcher, Lisa Thatcher October 2012

MIKE MAJKOWSKI – TREMOLO

‘This is a remarkable album from another young Australian musician…relying upon his self-evident technical skills, Majkowski provides a work that has the merit to be both a document of an intense musical research and a highly enjoyable listening’.

– Paolo Casertano, The Free Jazz Collective November 2012

‘I cannot even begin to fathom the amount of practice and dedication required to create such remarkable sounds with a double bass for such a length of time’.

-Richard Pinnell, The Watchful Ear September 2012

‘The piece starts with fourteen seconds of anticipatory silence pregnant with the forthcoming work.  The tremolo burst starts, not so much loud but uncompromising at the fifteen second mark, as if the silence is not a fragile thing, but rather a strong platform and surrounding space in which the tremolo is housed. This introductory back and forth that relies on the remarkably fast and accomplished flutter of the bow and fingers lasts through to the 2:54 point when the tremolo becomes louder and the silence starts to recede. The disc gets thrilling here, the sound moving in and out of loudness without treating the soft moments as if they are fragile flowers about to break’.

– Lisa Thatcher, Lisa Thatcher February 2013

SAM PETTIGREW – DOMESTIC SMEAR

‘The work counts three episodes – Truly, Madly, Deeply – and shows in my opinion a brave approach to composition and an “ideological” vision concerning music that is not an end to itself. It would be easy to label the music here as a hypnotic and recursive droning, but there is something more. Below the rattling and the vibrations of sub-tones in Truly we discover alluded melodies, whispers and detailed noises, we find feeble openings coming out from the constant grating as in the middle of Madly, the drilling peal of Deeply and its ethereal bowed closing part’.

– Paolo Casertano, The Free Jazz Collective November 2012

‘What it interesting here is that Sam wants us to go even deeper than this collaboration and to question the very nature of how we see ourselves as “independent, gendered and individual.” Rather than lay an existing politics over the music, we are called to examine what makes us comfortable, and what makes us use definition as a defence against the imagination. Music like this is an appeal to the imagination. Identity is a defence against it’.

-Lisa Thatcher, Lisa Thatcher May 2012

‘Sam Pettigrew’s Domestic Smear is another CDr release on the increasingly impressive AvantWhatever label based in Melbourne, Australia. I didn’t know of Pettigrew before this release, but Domestic Smear comes across as a very mature set of three tracks by a musician very familiar with the tools he uses to make music’.

-Richard Pinnell, The Watchful Ear May 2012

JIM DENLEY – YOUR BREATH ON MY LIPS

‘Starting out firmly in the human dimension, with close-miked blowing skirting the edge of harmonics, a sudden shift in perspective renders the sounds elemental, like an ocean crashing on huge rocks…’

The Wire, April 2012

‘This music has a fine living organism aspect to it…all quite minimal, but in a constant flux. Always on the move, never the same…an excellent work of improvised and yet fully composed music.’

– Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly 820

MATT EARLE, JASON KAHN & ADAM SUSSMAN – CONCERTS MELBOURNE + SYDNEY

‘Last winter, Kahn performed two concerts in Australia with Stasis Duo (Matt Earle and Adam Sussman), the audio from which is available as a free download online. Both tracks are excuisitely performed and recorded, with Kahn interjecting pinpricks and squiggles into the duo’s stark sine tones. It’s one of the most pleasurable improvised music releases of the year so far’.

The Wire, October 2011

‘Its all a very good listen, a nice tussle between three experienced and consistently challenging musicians, and an interesting balance between Stasis Duo’s ascetic, perhaps minimalistic use of a set of sounds and Kahn’s fuller, richer use of a similar palette’.

-Richard Pinnell, The Watchful Ear August 2011

IVAN LISYAK – SOUTH WEST LINE

‘South West Line is sparse, yet never static, with a constant sense of sound waves in motion, evolution and entropy’.

– Gail Priest, Realtime Arts Earbash Oct-Nov 2011

ALEX WHITE – GENUINE INSTABILITY

‘Best at volume, White’s work becomes visceral, curiously embodied despite its utterly digital origins’.

– Gail Priest, Realtime Arts Earbash Oct-Nov 2011

BEN BYRNE – DISPOSITION

‘Humans just can’t help themselves, really. Even when, on the surface, such as on this series of digital bleeps and fizzes, it sounds like random machine noise, the hand of the artist becomes apparent when you consider other elements of music such as structure and dynamic….In many ways, these 5 short tracks remind me of an abstract expressionist painting. As with one of those, the structural elements have been drastically reduced here. Where, say, Kline or Hofmann disregarded any notion of representation of an image, yet still retained the necessary information to create a painting – contrast, composition, tone, colour – so Byrne disregards any notion of creating a song, yet retains the necessary information to create music. This is not just noise…rather than being an endgame of simplified machine noise, Ben Byrne has done what humans do, creating an evocative suite which works on many layers, questioning the very nature of music but, simultaneously, confirming much of that nature’.

– Adrian Elmer, Cyclic Defrost December 2010

‘There is a clear sense of structure, both within the pieces themselves and the composition as a whole, divided across five distinct sections…dense with digital bleeps, spurts, glitches and fricatives always kept on the edge of chaos…While it’s a short set, the focus on structure makes Disposition satisfyingly intense’.

– Gail Priest, Realtime Arts Earbash Oct-Nov 2011

GULBENKOGLU GORFINKEL – VIBRAPHONE/SNARE

’21 minutes (on a 5″ disc) of in your face, coruscating whine ‘n’ clatter; strong medicine….a healthy pendulum swing, no doubt, and this one scours the ears quite well’.

-Brian Olewnick, Just Outside October 2010

‘Vibraphone/Snare is a bold work, refusing to accept traditions in this area of music (there are no slow fades in and out, the music arrives already at full speed and comes to a satisfying clunk of a halt). Being a 3″ disc of material placed onto a 5″ disc it feels like it doesn’t stay around long, but its the perfect length for the music, a firm statement left hanging in the listener’s head for a while after it has ended. A good one for sure, go get a copy while you can’.

-Richard Pinnell, The Watchful Ear September 2010

MATT CHAUMONT – LINEA

‘Certain strains of bass music are often tied to a specific locality. Chaumont goes one step further by making you aware of your immediate surroundings, of where and how you are listening. If you’re using headphones in a public space, you realise their inadequacy and notice the noise around you. If you’re in a living room, Linea gets you waking around looking for standing waves, finding shifts in the stereo picture and testing the placement of your speakers. You realise how quiet sub-bass can be, how subtle and persistent, how it’s almost one with the sound of blood running in your ears’.

– Matt Wuethrich, The Wire August 2010

‘It is almost a cliché to say that works such as these that utilise low frequency sound are in some way inherently invested with notions of the physical, especially as very low frequency sounds (typically those below 20 Hertz) are largely perceived through, andinterpreted as, touch. However, sounds of all frequencies are equally physical phenomena, and impinge upon our bodies in myriad ways regardless of our modes of perception. What is more interesting about Chaumont’s work is the number of ways that it engages its audience across the perceptual scheme. A sense of physicality is induced not just by the sensation of sound vibrating the ear drum, body or furniture but in the way it arranges itself in space, marking the physical relationship between the listener and the waves of sound in the room.

– Peter Blamey, Realtime Arts 98 Online Special Feature August – September 2010