Saturday, October 3, 2015

Room40 Label Tour with Rafael Anton Irisarri, Lawrence English & Loscil: Oct 20 - 22 | Vancouver New Music's Nomadic Streams Festival: Oct 22 - 24

This month the Room40 label, Australia's home to all things sound-art, electro-acoustic, post-concrete, abstractly improvisational and cinematically ambient releases the newest album by Rafael Anton Irisarri, the continuance of his ongoing explorations in conceptions of place, both imagined and real. "A Fragile Geography" follows on "The North Bend"'s exercise in impressing sound upon the natural splendor of the Pacific Northwest and charting of what comes back; valleys, mountains, it's fog-lined sea of trees and it's successor's mapping of man-made ecological desiccation, “The Unintentional Sea”'s mimicking of the ideas of the Salton Sea and it's ruinous transformation of place. The tour is assembled by label maven, composer, and sound ecologist Lawrence English, himself in the midst of a run of thematically interrelated works. His inspirations being as much literary as geographic, this year's "Wilderness of Mirrors" draws its root from T.S. Eliot’s elegant poem "Gerontion". Decades later, the phrase took on new associations with the Cold War campaigns of misinformation carried out by opposing state intelligence agencies. English's first album since 2011's ode to J.A Baker’s novel, "The Peregrine", "Wilderness of Mirrors" marks his most tectonic exploration of extreme dynamics and densities to date, sending the listener through passages of colliding waves of harmony and dynamic electric instrumentation. The album acting as a companion to English's recent live explorations into auditory environments of harmonic distortion and dense sonics. The two artists making complimentary framing for the long-established Kranky label artist Scott Morgan and his Loscil project. "Sea Island" released last year, sees him extend the subterranean bass and open expanses of his melodic electronic music into further abstraction and scale.

"Room40 Celebrates 15th Anniversary" this year with concerts around the world including Stockholm's Audiorama promising "Three Days of Radical Listening. 21 Loudspeakers. 50 Chairs. 1 Room." and Sydney's own edition of the annual Open Frame held at Carriageworks, an immense industrial rail yard complex repurposed as an arts venue.There will also be a short run of Northwest dates in atypical non-rockbar settings like the warehouse loft of the Baker Building in Portland, hosted by Beacon Sound and Seattle's performance presented by the monthly Elevator night at Machine House Brewery. The tour concluding it's stretch at Vancouver New Music's offshoot dedicated to ambient and neoclassical music, Nomadic Streams Festival. Along with the Room40 trio the festival's three nights plays host to painter, sound ecologist and minimalist ascetic, Steve Roden, the physical controlled feedback explorations of Crys Cole, plunderphonic analog collage and musique concrete of DJ Olive visual artist and composer Marina Rosenfeld and FLUX Quartet's performance of Morton Feldman's "String Quartet No.1". A rare realization of one of the chamber works that Feldman wrote in the final decade of his life they are among his most challenging and otherworldly. Completed in 1979, "String Quartet No.1" was one of the earliest of those pieces and clocking at 90 minutes, also one of the more compact. His legendary "String Quartet No.2" composed four years later, is over six hours and is among the most beautiful and extraordinary works composed in all of the second half of the 20th century. FLUX Quartet's performances since their premier rendition in 1999, have been marathon exhibitions of what John Rockwell's New York Times review describes as the antithesis of durational longueurs, but is instead, "A Piece that Reveals its Beauty Hour After Hour After Hour".