morphogenesis discogs resonance

variations 2
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variations 2

Jewel case CD with 10 page fold out sleeve

Includes postage - for multiple items I will refund the excess


•   AKEMI ISHIJIMA - Catalysis  (13:38)
•   MICHAEL ORMISTON - Hym  (04:55)
•   TOM WALLACE - BrixtonQuatrain  (05:08)
•   HUGH DAVIES - Strata  (11:20)
•   BOB COBBING & LAURENCE UPTON - from Domestic ambient noise  (05:59)
•   JOHN GRIEVE -  (03:08)
•   CLIVE GRAHAM - In tension  (11:08)  mp3
•   ROLF GEHLHAAR - Cusps  (16:46)

total time 72:07

Cover by Clive Graham
Released 1998

AKEMI ISHIJIMA has so far had only one other work released on CD, although she has had many international performances and broadcasts. She is currently completing her PhD at the Centre for Electroacoustic Music Studies at City University.

MICHAEL ORMISTON is a virtuoso Khöömii singer with 3 tours of Mongolia under his belt. This piece uses only the morin khuur, a traditional Mongolian stringed instrument, but whilst the music here utilises the harmonic techniques so sacred to the Mongolians, it also extends beyond its traditional origins. This is his first release on CD.

TOM WALLACE is an independent composer who organises the Sonomorph events in London. The 2 events so far have focused mainly on new acousmatic works by young composers, as well as free improvisation.

HUGH DAVIES is one of the first names in the academic world of electronic music. Additionally, his involvement in music making extends from working on groundbreaking pieces with Stockhausen in the mid 60's to playing in Music Improvisation Company in the 70's, and working with Borbetomagus in the 80's.

JOHN GRIEVE is the one artist to carry over from the first volume of variations. His statements are pure and direct. This is another piece for tenor saxophone.

BOB COBBING and LAWRENCE UPTON recorded live at The Klinker. At the age of 77, Cobbing is undoubtably Britains foremost sound poet. Previous recordings are thin on the ground and nothing much has appeared in the last 2 decades. He does however, give many performances across London, often with Birdyak, (a trio with Hugh Metcalfe and Lol Coxhill.) Upton has occasionally colaborated with Cobbing since 1969.

CLIVE GRAHAM is better known for his involvement in the live electronics group Morphogenesis and the running of Paradigm Discs. This is his first solo recording.

ROLF GEHLHAAR became Stockhausen's personal assistant between 1967 and 1970 whilst at the same time he became a member of the Stockhausen Ensemble, with whom he toured and recorded extensively. Since this time he has concentrated on composition and the performance of his own works. This culminated in 1985 with the development of a real-time remote gestural control system. It consists of a set of ultrasonic sensors that pick up the movements of the performer/s, the sensors are linked to a computer, running real-time sound synthesis or sampler control. The many applications of this system are collectively known as SOUND=SPACE. Over the years he has continued to return to the infinate flexibility of this system. Additionally this piece is UHJ encoded for ambisonic playback. He has been living in London since 1975.



Second compilation from Paradigm exhibiting nine works by lesser-know avant-garde composers from in and around the City of London. Features wonderful electro-acoustic work from Akemi Ishijima, minimalism performed on a traditional Mongolian string instrument- the morin khuur- by Michael Ormiston and high-energy avant-garde electronics from Tom Wallace . An obscure composition by Hugh Davies is a highlight, offering a piece for tape machine and Aeolian Harp which stands out on the compilation as it does in his own catalog of electronic improvisation. Saxophonist John Grieve also plunges into electronic transformations of his tenor saxophone. Obscure elders of sonic poetry Bob Cobbing & Lawrence Upton exercise the larynx on a sputtering piece of vocal work while label curator and Morphogenesis member Clive Graham presents his solo debut in the form of an electronic collage. The final piece is a stunning work by one-time Stockhausen technician Rolf Gehlhaar who's electronic work is an expansive and sophisticated sound processing exercise that has to be hear to be believed. (Skip Jansen)

Paradigm Discs has a new release entitled "Variations 2: A London Compilation". The attractive CD insert contains relatively little text information about the artists and pieces, choosing instead to communicate through pictures. Common curiosity breeds unanswered questions, making this a bit irritating at first. It is refreshing, however, to encounter a presentation wherein the listener is freed to intuit the significance of the materials. Perhaps the producer, Clive Graham, offers this format in opposition to recordings presented in a more academic style, where each process is painstakingly detailed and each decision is self-consciously justified in jacket prose. The recording opens with Akemi Ishijima's "Catalysis", an installation from ISEA 97. In the jacket photo, sleek silver spheres hang suspended, casting shadows with no mention made of how the sound orbits with them. The piece contrasts austere, hollow, wooden sounds with shimmering sinusoids. Several sounds evoke images of shuffling, rustling paper and little rolling, dropping beads causing the piece to enter my apartment (which contains similar sounds as I work) in a natural and unpretentious way, as if someone is working alongside me. "Catalysis" sets the introspective tone for this disc with its meditative pacing, which is continued in Michael Ormiston's "Hym", subtitled "for morin khuur" which must be the large stringed instrument pictured in the insert. This piece inherits much of its sound from pre-existing Eastern drone musics while distinguishing itself through the inclusion of shrieking and sparkling harmonics. In addition to the warm familiarity of bowed strings, the directness and simplicity of the material provides a welcome counterbalance to other pieces in this collection. The opening of Tom Wallace's "BrixtonQuatrain" created a serendipitous counterpoint between sounds from my street (through the open window) and his own (field recordings). As he probably planned, I turned up the volume during the quiet beginning, completing the setup for me to be assaulted by the loud entrance of the hip, disintegrating groove that comes in later. Fun. "Strata" is the title of Hugh Davies' offering for Aeolian harp and tape. The live component of the piece is performed on a tree of amplified metal rods, excited through various means. The taped tapestry of colored noise is juxtaposed against instrumental plunks, tinks, scrapes and thin bell-like tones. From "Domestic Ambient Noise" by Bob Cobbing and Lawrence Upton is a vocal realization of a graphic score in grunts, guffaws and barks that supplied ample programme for my mental cartoon. The churning sea of process residue in John Grieve's "" (which I tried as a URL and found down. Is it ftp or am I just gullible?) is presented with a humorous photo of an elderly Christmas party whose guests pose, resplendent in ribbons and paper hats. Is the sound of their revelry the source? Clive Graham's own "In Tension" is a dissonant noise-drone piece with a bumpy, grainy surface and nervous rhythms. Its jacket counterpart is a work made from maps showing intertwined curves of terrain coiling and pulling. A London map segment features prominently in the cover art as well, and the composers' respective turf appears beneath each of their names on the back cover. Maybe the tension in Graham's piece is an effort to capture and transmit a sense of his hometown vibe beyond its borders. The procedures of Rolf Gehlhaar's "Cusps" are concisely encapsulated in a jacket diagram showing a performer's gestures being translated into sounds via an ultrasonic sensor array. While interesting both sonically and technically, the piece suffers somewhat from the constraints of the CD format. It is a 4-channel piece presented here in stereo, and one cannot see the performer who must greatly enhance the live experience. "Variations 2" offers a unique and worthwhile listening experience. By being carefully ordered and studiously vague, the disc engages the listener in a search for meaning through which s/he becomes an active participant in the work. (Michael Barnhart)

DIFFUSION (Dec. 98 - Jan 99)
I found listening to this cross section of contemporary electronic music from some of the lesser known composers living and working in London, had much in common with my experiences of visiting the city itself. Things started out well enough but I have to admit that I soon found myself somewhat lost and confused, before eventually becoming flustered and even angry, and at times wondering why I'd bothered to make the trip at all! Not that the trip is without its highlights. Akemi Ishijima's acousmatic tape work 'Catalysis', (1996, 13:30) which opens the disc, is the concert version of a work for sound installation and provides a promising start to the journey. Even in its concert guise, the work remains unmistakably an installation piece, making no long term demands on the listener, but providing much to draw the mind back from wherever it may otherwise be wandering. The music is mostly gentle and contemplative but never boring. And the journey ends well: Clive Graham's 'In Tension' (1998 11:09) and Rolf Gehlhaaar's 'Cusps' (1992, 16:45) provide a pair of powerful and dramatic works of substance that finally make the whole thing worthwhile - probably even more so if you can take full advantage of 'Cusps' UHJ encoded ambisonics. Unfortunately, the handful of shorter works between the beginning and end of the disc present a somewhat uninspiring array of tawdry backstreet wares which by and large provide little of lasting interest (and in places, nothing that Pink Floyd weren't doing rather better in 1968!). One's sense of orientation is not improved either by the complete absence of any sleeve-notes (Paradigm preferring instead to give each work a single page graphic). All in all then, a disappointing release (Steve Benner)

Resolutely unfashionable in outlook and pleasingly unpredictable in its choice of releases, the London-based Paradigm label, run by Morphogenesis member Clive Graham, has in recent years gradually carved for itself a unique niche. Its releases - all, visually speaking, high-quality presentations, featuring actual label house style and well thought-out graphic design - have veered from obscure Japanese psychedelia (Brast Burn, Karuna Khyal), to English electronics (Morphogenesis, Peter Cusack/Max Eastley), to Eastern European composition (Debravko Detoni/ACEZANTEZ), to eccentric Americana (Reverend Dwight Frizzell), to the odd big name (Pauline Oliveros, to be precise) title as well, making for a discography which charts an aesthetic path that pays little heed to contemporary market forces. In addition to navigating the outer regions of the global avant-garde, Paradigm has devoted itself to documenting work by London-based musicians through its trilogy of Variations compilations. The three installments of the series all reverse the usual formula that governs compilations (short rubbish tracks by names everyone's heard of), instead providing lengthy and largely excellent tracks by names very few people have heard of. Variations 2 brings together a broad range of styles: Akemi Ishijima's 'Catalysis' sounds like a carefully stitched-together electroacoustic composition but is in fact an excerpt from a sound installation; Michael Ormiston contributes a very pleasant piece for solo violin; Tom Wallace's 'BrixtonQuatrain' switches abruptly from inaudible Gunter-esque tones to very loud jungle, then back again, and Hugh Davies - legendary English electronics whiz (see Music Improvisation Company, collaborations with Borbetomagus, etc) famed for building his own weirdly ornate instruments - chimes in with 'Strata', a typically weird mix of the ornate and the brusque. Included also are an absurd excerpt from Domestic Ambient Noise, a composition by the notoriously bonkers sound-poet Bob Cobbing (in collaboration with Laurence Upton); John Grieve's '', which sounds like amplified layers of street noise, with just discernible saxophone on top; Graham's own 'In Tension', which moves from an Organum-esque juxtaposition of environmental sounds and post-industrial droning into more strictly electroacoustic territory; and Rolf Gehlhaar's 'Cusps', a head-trippingly spacey electronic composition. (Nick Cain)

Variations 2 (A London Compilation) features 'lesser known artists living in London'. The eight pieces (by eight different artists) hang together well, even though they feature everything from the morin khuur, a traditional Mongolian stringed instrument played by Michael Ormiston, through tenor sax (John Grieve, the only survivor from 'Variations 1') to (lots of) electronic music by Hugh Davies, Clive Graham, Rolf Gehlhaar and others. Most of the tracks have an ambient quality; the sounds can easily be lost amidst everyday city sounds, such as the rummble of tube trains, traffic noise etc. Truly this album is the sound of the city. I love it (John Eyles)

1998's follow up to the first 'Variations' comp. (reviewed in our very first issue). 'Variations 2' almost surpasses it's 1995 forebear for excellence; and the London theme continues, each sound artist either born or currently based in 'the big L' as we cosmopolitans call it. Clive Graham, who compiles the music and designs the artwork in this series, has evolved into a latterday 18th century publishing gentleman, issuing occasional fine art folios, Views of London by distinguished engravers. So, how does the fair city sound after three years? Claustrophobic. These works view the city from interiors, and the few glimpses of the sky show that it's gritty, polluted and dark. The buildings simply hem us in everywhere. There's an undercurrent of menace in Tom Wallace's excellent 'BrixtonQuatrain': this is mostly extremely quiet, melding real-time documentary recordings from outside his Brixton window with sudden loud interference from a drum'n'bass pirate station woven into the warp. Bob Cobbing and Lawrence Upton reporting from Highbury and Carshalton respectively, hurl their growling dog and shouting matches at us, extracted from a live performance of 'Domestic Ambient Noise' (recorded at the Klinker). Clive Graham himself, stewing in Finsbury Park on a wet Sunday, may seem depressed but nonetheless survives to the end of the day with 'In Tension', a splendidly moody piece which contemplates the descending drone arcs falling out of the rainy sky. Of our other shut-ins, Akemi Ishijima finds many ways to usefully occupy her time in 'Catalysis', the most beautiful and translucent piece of tape-work here (wisely leading off the comp.) and suggests she divides attention between Zen Buddhist meditatio
n, tea ceremonies and tending to her butterfly collection. The mighty Hugh Davies roars, in his massively scaled 'Strata' - a rush of pulsing energy currents and warm analogue burrs. An epic in miniature from the meticulous and inspired Davies, reckoned here as 'one of the first names in the academic world of electronic music'; he was in Music Improvisation Company in the 70's and has worked with Stockhausen. Two excellent pieces of acoustic music: the first, the serenely gorgeous 'Hym' played on a Mongolian stringed instrument by Michael Ormiston; second '25' by Clapton's finest reedsman, John Grieve. This grandiose elephant/aeroplane roar was amazingly generated by multiple overdubs of the tenor sax. Lastly, a magnificent 15 minutes of electronic music from Rolf Gehlhaar of Belsize Park. 'Cusps', an extraordinary foray into alien textures and outlandish waveforms, comes from Rolf's unique ultrasonic sensors that are part of his 'real-time, remote gestural system'. Another Stockhausen acolyte, he worked with the big Kahuna from 1967 to 1970. 'Variations 2' is a fine release, which like its predecessor merely whets my appetite for more recordings by these otherwise somewhat neglected figures (Ed Pinsent)

Another succesful attempt to promote musicians from London, and the majority you never heard of (well guessing of course). The CD opens with a beautiful computerized piece by one Akemi Ishijima of objects sampled and floating free in space. Michael Ormiston multi layers various recordings of violin, oops... I mean an instrument with two snares, slightly similar to a violin. Another relative short piece is by Tom Wallace of high pitched sound in slow movements, a short of megoish. Hugh Davies performs 'Strata for 'Concert Aeolian Harp' and tape - the wind blows his tune into an instrument best described as a TV attena which is being scraped and plucked - the radio is playing in the background. The six minute 'Domestic Ambient Noise' is not for me: I don't like dogs barking and men imitating them. John Grieve - whose fame is being a founding member of Nurse With Wound - provides the shortest piece of densly layered noise - people talking?, insects being burned? too many saxophones playing? - I couldn't tell. Clive Graham (also the collector of these talents) aptly names his piece 'In Tension' and has tons of droning and scraping sounds, with the sea beneath. The tension level is fed by near, but never complete feedback. Rolf Gehlhaar, the grey hairs of the lot, has a computer piece (diagram on the cover) of slowed down sounds, and tumbling wit. Not as good as the opening track - too much of a live recording for me. So if experimental music still has a warm place in your heart, and you love to find out new names - here you go. You need a fax machine to contact them! (Frans de Waard)

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