Review of After [12k1017]

Incursion (CA)

After was recorded on the occasion of Micro_Mutek 2, an event in MontrĂ©al organized by the curators of the annual Mutek festival of new electronic music. At the end of their respective solo sets, laptop sound artists Kim Cascone, Richard Chartier and Taylor Deupree decided to perform together for a final improvisational set to conclude the night’s activities. This live set is the first track presented here, which is then followed by three shorter reconstructions of that material by the three respective performers. The original live piece, as one might expect, goes through a series of stages, from resonating tones and sparse surface crackles to more rhythmical sections and a dense layering of seemingly incongruous sounds. More revealing, and perhaps even more interesting than the original performance, however, are the three reworkings which follow it. Employing custom Max/MSP extensions, Kim Cascone builds a short track of dense layers; the crackles and crunches pile upon each other in succession with a punchy, dramatic effect. Rather than compressing the sounds and layering them as in Cascone’s track, Richard Chartier turns his mix into an exercise of subtraction and reduction, with all the subtleties, deep bass frequencies and near silences we have come to expect from his work. Taylor Deupree completes the set, using a mix of four loops as the basic material to create new loops, and then piecing these together to form a minimal, repetitive piece reminiscent of works by Goem. One of the nice things about this release is that each of the remixes reflect an original approach to laptop/microsound composition, evidence surely that this “genre” is by no means one-dimensional or static, but rather is living and breathing with new ideas that are nowhere near running out. [Richard di Santo]

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