Review of 0/r [12k1006]

Ambientrance (US)

When Nosei Sakata and Richard Chartier collaborated by mailing minidiscs of sound material back and forth, altering and re-altering the material, 0/r was generated. Talk about electronic music…

Imagine putting a stethoscope to the heart of digital technology and instead of finding cold inanimate circuits, discovering warmly buzzing currents of life…

Nosei Sakata of Tokyo is 0, and Richard Chartier of Washington D.C. is r; track titles (like “r/0”) indicate the order in which each artist worked on each track. From computerized sound fragments, the artists weave a minimalistic, 64.5-minute soundweb featuring 13 tracks of digital intricacy.

Following the barely audible frequencies of brief intro “0r”, the second track, “0/r”, grumbles into existence, laced with blips and pops. One of the more “musical” moments occurs when the ringing tones of “0/r/0” echo and loop amongst themselves, replicating and chiming in a double-helix of sound.

Particularly buzzy, “0/r.” pulses and surges with a quiet forcefulness, brooding with a latent power which is joined by higher pitches and subatomic ruffles. Between the resonating warbles of “0/r/0..”, you can hear the crunchy rhythm of 1s and 0s being ground into digital dust. Droning like a distant generator, Sakata’s “solo” piece “0” is a dense, low thrum of warmth decorated by fluttering ripples and faint clicks.

A stop-and-start assemblage of static hisses, mechanical whirrs, high frequency rings, spacey soundwaves, electromagnetic rumbles and intermittent pops, “0/r/0…” (12:07) seems to be a collection of random snapshots from the core of the machine. Chartier’s “r” reveals the ephemeral microcosm of free-floating electrons which flit about like tiny, glowing particles living within a larger mechanism. The disc closes with the short rumble which is “0/r/0/r” (:39).

To be sure, some listeners will hear only strange electric “noise”, but for those whose ears are attuned to the music within these alternating currents, Sakata and Chartier have produced some powerfully interesting sound design. (Fans of Pan Sonic and Oval, listen here!) The AmbiEntrance says an 8.5 for emphasis on the microscopic details in this high-tech exploration.

And like all 12k releases, 0/r is limited to 500 copies. Visit the website to hear more from the microscopic side of the sound spectrum.

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