Friday, June 27, 2008

Preslav Literary School - 3 releases

Working under the arcane name of Preslav Literary School is Adam Thomas, and he has some releases available through Glosses fur die Masses - available as CD-R or download if you contact him via the MySpace page. So what do we we have here before us (in an MP3 sort of way)?

Autumn Bricolage (GFDM002) was the first release of his on the Glosses label. It is a beautiful 32 minute minimalist soundscape, broken into 5 parts. In the first a crowd scene fades into a synth landscape of deep throbs, drifting keyboard shimmers, long notes and a high beeping. This flows straight into the second part, which, after a couple of minutes, reveals its focus: rolling long tones and a flittering sound like a flock of birds flying. Again there is a continuation carrying into the third part during which, after some clicking and woobling, note sequences (which could be described as musical fragments!) develop. In the next section bird song becomes obvious as an adjunct to these tunes, creating a lovely mood that slowly dissolves in the final section as components drop out ending with a repeated high note and some of the birds. The throbbing parts of this work wonderfully through the speaker system, but there is also an intimacy that emerges through earphones. A relatively simple work that is quite captivating.

It was followed by Live At Tripswitches (GFMD003), which Adam described to me as
'not particularly interesting or representative and not the greatest quality'. However I badgered him for a copy of this, which was one of his early gigs! It is a brief 16 minutes characterised by samples over which rapid electro pulses dance, layered , with some slower deeper ones occasionally passing through (Good advice); slow stately synth passages, simple but very effective, morphing into some Middle Eastern orchestra (The third function of dialogue); and finally percussive tapes with more slow deep organ-synths plus some higher warbly ones (Daylight never seemed to appear) where the sample is looped and crackles fascinatingly. I find it interesting, simple and effective, and doesn't need to be 'buried' - and actually reminded me of the earlier Oblique-Graph Muslimgauze in terms of its electronics.

And then the current release Pretext/Context (GFMD010) recorded live for Resonance FM. And the medium and message interact here - PLS have created 2 extended parts, broken into 4 subsections on the basis of changes, which at times sound like a random search through a poor radio-reception area where things emerge from some white-noise pulsing electro to slide into periods of stability; voice recordings have extended periods (rather like tripswitches). Pretext is perhaps more abstract, opening with piano-notes that are distorted and joined by noises, a casiotone slide in, there is a voice-tape deep, a drone that moves into the second part which has piano in it, wavy drones, guitary thrugs and bird songs which will extend throughout now. In the third part there are water samples, birds moving from fore to back ground, indistinct samples and then pulses of birds and white noise. The final section takes an extended sample about bird songs and adds the other elements - casiotone, pulses noises, weaving in and out, ending with an ice-cream van casiotone tune. Context is more grounded in long samples and perhaps more distorted and sqwirlly. White noise and hum, a sample of Treaty Now fading in and out, whistling. A big band jazzy sample comes ion with the second part, with Fur Elise from a phone and the a cool definition of hip and a discussion of the hip Columbus - while string-drenched Satie wavers. The third part has some writing tips amid soft tones, casiotone, pulsing, and birdsong that drift into the final section and an extended period of 'radio search' as pulses, white noises, noise and birds dueting, snatches of music and an extended tone signals the end. Hopefully the description makes this sound interesting! Because it manages a fine balance between deconstructing itself and creating an audio-environmental soundscape that is fascinating and diverting. The ongoing clash between bird song, voices, electronica and simple melody makes these three releases cohere as individual works and demonstrating the development of PLS.

The label is run by Adam and two others who are all members of Kodiak, obviously have releases, and features various combinations solo or in groups. Haven't heard any of the other releases - but look out for these three, and they suggest that other releases would be worth considering.

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