Text by CLOT Magazine
Touch, the prominent experimental electronic music platform, is presenting an interesting double bill at IklectiK (London) on the 1st of February 2019 with Unicazurn and Howlround. With a focus on experimentation in arts, sound art, installation and cross-disciplinary projects, Iklectic aims to be a research arts laboratory where inter-disciplinary lines can overlap, and these performances surely lay at the heart of this intention.
Howlround, a project by Robin de Fog, has been described as ‘Tapeloop Techno’ due to his particular use of tape machines and the thick knotty tangles of dense, pulsating bass and abrasive snarls of feedback sounds. For his most recent album, the only equipment used on the album is two 1/4” reel-to-reel tape machines and one microphone.
The sounds created are entirely at the discretion of the machines (much of them derived from ‘closed-input’ recordings), and all tracks were produced in a single take. Even though the artists have used field recordings and more structured pieces in the past, he has most recently embraced indeterminacy and chance composition to explore the interior world of the reel-to-reel tape machines.
The use of analogue, semi-obsolete tape machines in contemporary art incites a reflection on the use of a piece of equipment that has lost its function as everyday, recordable mass blank media. When media lose their usual context, they are transformed into something extraordinary. and looking at contemporary sound artists. How they engage with analogue technologies, one cannot stop recalling Marshall McLuhan: the medium becomes a substantial part of the message.
UnicaZürn is David Knight and Stephen Thrower. Coming from the improv scene, UnicaZürn builds their long, ceaselessly evolving musical compositions through a process of improvisation followed by careful editing and processing. Their music, drawn from subconscious associations while recording is frequently aquatic or oceanic in overall mood and texture.
Knight has spent most of his life living on the banks of the Thames, while Thrower resides on the East Sussex coast, and their musical flights of imagination tend toward rolling river dynamics and the open seas of synthesised sound. Some have said it is a mix of Tangerine Dream of ‘Atem’ or ‘Zeit’, to some form of progressive rock and the microcosmic sound worlds of electro-acoustic/acousmatic music.
More info here.