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Kymatik
Kymatik


CD in 6 panel digipak

Cover by Jo Forty & Kymatik
Released 2001

Includes postage - for multiple items I will refund the excess

 

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•   Dentists for mice  (17:11)  mp3
•   Trawler leaving harbour  (1:30)
•   Excerpt from Kandinsky's 'Im Blau'  (7:30)
•   Crickets in the wind  (3:47)
•   Tisedni  (10:59)
•   Bees  (3:10)
•   Lorenz attractor  (23:00)

total time  67:17

The name 'Kymatik' is derived from the Greek word 'Kyma', meaning 'a great wave', and was used by Swiss physicist Hans Jenny as a descriptive term for the effects he saw using amplified tones to manipulate/create patterns in fluids and powders. More recently Jenny's research has led him to use these findings in a clinical environment for both therapy and healing. These ideas and the use of ambisonic surround sound equipment are the underlying influences on this CD. On this CD there are both environmental recordings as well as compositions that make use of UHJ encoding to enable ambisonic playback. Of the compositions; the musical styles range from the use of dense rhythmic patterns to subtle shimmerings and a pure tone piece that sounds like nothing I've heard before. The short environmental recordings are spaced between the compositions and offer some light relief from the intensity of these works. One thing all the pieces have in common a strong psychoacoustic effect which can be further enhanced for those fortunate enough to have access to a UHJ decoder.


REVIEWS

ALLMUSIC
Dar-As-Sulh, Vol. 1 regroups four works by Kymatik, with environmental recordings (crickets, bees) acting as interludes. The best piece opens the set: 'Dentists for Mice' lies somewhere between sound collage, electroacoustics and techno. It gradually evolves as new sound channels replace old ones - work well done. More conceptual, 'Excerpt from Kandinsky's 'Im Blau'' has less to offer. Kandinsky's painting is interpreted in RGB values transposed into signal output. Each color is assigned a tonal range - interesting idea, inconclusive results.'Tisedni' is the oldest piece in this set (1993) and the only one produced in collaboration (with Mark Tamea). A spin dryer served as the sole sound source to create the weirdest 11 minutes of progressive techno ever recorded. 'Lorenz Attractor' is the most difficult work to listen to. Kymatik can argue that it sums up ten years of research in psychoacoustics and that it is based on Lorenz's mathematical system, the fact remains that for 23 minutes all you will hear is a succession of cumulating tones starting below the range of the human ear and ending above it - linear, static, and of very limited appeal. Luckily, this track comes last. (François Couture)

AUDION 45
The first Kymatik I recall hearing was on the first Paradigm 'Variations' compilation. The promo info quoted Kymatik as a quartet of Clive Graham, Clive Hall, Michael Prime (all from Morphogenesis) and John Grieve (reputedly a one-time Nurse With Wound associate), and I reviewed it as "the CD's second best piece, the aptly titled Morphology which involves a mass of sound that's constantly being re-processed, metamorphosed, oozing and flowing in sonic waves...", however this full album gives no real clues as to exactly who Kymatik is (unless I've missed it somehow, as the cover text is really hard to read) except that Clive Graham features. The ideas behind Kymatik music are all very highbrow and technical, and as such it's more high art than music. Technical and mathematical properties are much fussed about, and special recording using UHJ Ambiphonic systems, it amounts to the type of thing one would expect to hear as an installation at a modern art gallery. Sound wise we have electronic and acoustic collage, use of pure tones that acoustically phase if you move whilst listening to them (a technique used by La Monte Young) and there are simple processed recordings of domestic appliances involved as well. It amounts to an intriguing document, but not an album I'd be inclined to put on and listen to. In that sense, it could be judged as a current parallel to such things as Luc Ferrari's 'Presque Rien' or Michael Prime's recent solo work. Interesting as art, or for those that yearn for something elite and uncompromising. Those that want a tune or some sort of musical reference - forget it! (Alan Freeman)

AUF ABWEGEN 31 (translated)
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..the most exciting CD comes from a mysterious outfit called Kymatik. The label informs us thus 'The name 'Kymatik' is derived from the Greek word 'Kyma', meaning 'a great wave' and was used by Swiss physicist Hans Jenny as a descriptive term for the effects he saw using amplified tones to manipulate/create patterns in fluids and powders'. The sound experiments on this CD are filled with clarity which reminded me of a headache plagued CM von Hausswolff. The clear-cut minimalism is contrasted with raw and short field recordings which develop between the generator-buzz loops. An absolutely essential disc for friends of labels like Metamkine or Sonoris (Zipo)

AVANT 20
Interesting how many of my favourite recent recordings have had more to do with everyday noise than traditional instrumental virtuosity. From Alan Lamb's telegraph wires to John Duncan's particle acceleration chamber, Heimir Björgúlfsson's whales to Matmos' rhinoplasty samples. Cage may have been ahead of his time in illustrating how everyday sounds can be made integral to music, but could even he have foreseen the leaps of both imagination and technology that are now so commonplace? Two of the latest releases on Clive Graham's Paradigm label further the demise of the conventional instrument, perhaps foretelling a trend which will dominate the music of this century. Kymatik's first widely available full-length disc is a diverse collection of electronic and found-sound recordings very much in the territory identified with Touch records. From psycho-acoustic drone minimalism to field recordings of nature, Kymatik offers a distinctly personal take on some of the more interesting music of our time. If his recordings of crickets or bees lack the in-yer-face impact of Chris Watson's vultures or hippos and his test tone pieces the purity of Ryoji Ikeda's, vive la difference! The collection coheres with only occasional longeurs despite the diversity of musical approaches. 'Dentist For Mice', the opening piece, weaves found and processed sound into a seventeen minute piece which sounds rather like a lo-fi Biosphere, and is perhaps the collection's least convincing piece. With 'Tisedni' on the other hand (eleven minutes of processed spin-dryer noise), Kymatik has delivered the most exhilarating music I've heard in years . The piece swells from small beginnings into an oppressive and sinister dark ambient soundscape - rather like being followed and then cornered by an assault helicopter! 'Trawler Leaving Harbour' in contrast is exactly that - a superb miniature of unprocessed found-sound featuring a Scarborough fishing vessel throbbing toward and then away from the microphone leaving a noisy wake. The longest piece on the disc, 'Lorenz Attractor', is pure psycho-acoustic experience, and consists of differently pitched tones in apparently kaleidoscopic motion. This aspect of Kymatik's work demands the listener's undivided attention, and a plea to this effect is eloquently made on the back of the disc. Detailed advice is also given about the necessary audio equipment required to deliver the optimum listening experience, advice which I suspect can be followed by very few. Whatever the listener's degree of commitment, reactions to this beguiling music should range from at least enchantment to total immersion in its deep pools. The good news is that a second volume should be following shortly. (Fred Grand)

BANANAFISH 16
On this CD Kymatik addresses a problem which has plagued civilizations since the dawn of time: just how does one translate a two-dimensional object into sound? Does one follow a painting left to right, like writen text? Jump from section to section, like a viewer might do when first exposed to the picture? Put a microphone behind it and record people's snide comments? Ilhan Mimaroglu knows how he wouldn't do it, as he states on 'Wings of the Delirious demon' "...have [I] been taking measurements on a painting and converting to musical qualities? Negative."As if to herald the end of the romantic era of electronic music, and to embrace the re-emergence of a new classical austerity, Kymatik feels rather differently on the issue, at least concerning 'Excerpt from Kandinsky's 'Im Blau'': "This is a transposition of the painting using RGB values to feed the frequency output." The removal of the composer's hand from music is fine goal - more composers' hands should be removed - although what emerges from the undoubtedly elaborate technological system is seven and a half minutes of a computer-generated A# (slightly flat) with discretely-stepped fluctuations floating around it. The approach ingratiates this piece with the majority of the album, especially 'Tisedni', constructed, it is claimed, solely from the sound of a spin dryer (although I damn wellrecognize the distressing thud of cerebral fluids and the hyper creaking of fingers after a particularly hard night of bingo -UK composers out of my body!), and 'Lorenz Attractor', a twenty-three minute "investigation into complex tones in motion." These slowly Dopplered notes of a molasses organ, coming from a lackadaisical merry-go-round in January will benifit as the sole object of an hour's worth of subconsious attension, as we are told to expect on Dar-As-Suhl Volume Two. The only droneless nirvana reached here is the opening song 'Dentists for Mice', with the phrases of announces slipping collaged linoleum floors as they leave the safety of the television speakers, and wooden spirals nimbly twisting about each other to form a splinter-ridden playset that attracts children again and again.
Unfortunately the issue of painting and music remains unresolved. Rather than debate the relative values of Mimaroglu's herky-jerky Pollock and Dubuffet interpretations and Kymaik's pensive Kandinsky extraction, perhaps a quote from Kandinsky himself, from his story 'Bassoon' (1912), could settle the issue: "Only a bassoon attempted to capture this color. It rose ever higher, its tense tone became shrill and nasal. How good that the bassoon never reached this note." (Alesandro Moreschi III)

FLUX June/July 2001
An excellent release from this London sound-as-sound label. Cymatics is a way of studying the effects of sound as phenomenology rather than engineering, with a lot of shaking sand into patterns with musical tones and some lovely photos; the same sort of thing is going on here with your head taking up the new arrangements. The culmination, 'Lorenz Attractor', is a marvellous 23 minutes of pure tones circling, clashing and rising in the stereo field, conjuring an inviolable space of its own. Hear this! (Andi Chapple)

OPPROBRIUM
What could initially have been another addition to the legions of blip-bleep 'progressive techno' pabulum of the new century (note warning signs: gorgeous hi-tech digi-pak compu-graphics, ubiquitous '@' symbol in every fucking line of lengthy credits for 'Audio Hardware/Software') actually reveals itself to be one of the most conceptually and aurally intriguing excursions into sound-as-headspace-altering-energy since The Hafler Trio first recorded their own lower colons (or whatever) in the early '80s. Like these worthy compatriots, the enigmatic Kymatik (best lead to date: surname McNaughton) has dedicated a significant amount of time exploring the uses and effects of surround sound ('ambisonics' to you, chum). From the short field recordings (bees, crickets, a trawler leaving harbour) viewed as minimal audio soundscape, to the full-on concept-over-aesthetic approach of 'Excerpt From Kandinsky's 'Im Blau'â (yes, a tonal transposition of the painted surface electronically expressing the visual & tactile as a curiously undynamic tone-waver), Dar-As-Sulh Volume I provides an at times intense, often stimulating range of experiences. 'Dentists For Mice' is probably the most immediately accessible, creating a dense loop & cut-up guided tour of the landscape after the bomb's dropped in Negativland. Later, a wonderful collaboration with Mark Tamea, 'Tisedni', processes the sound of a spin-drier into the kind of music you always thought 'techno' should sound like. Finally, the remarkable and punishingly affecting 23-minute 'Lorenz Attractor': a mind-reaming drone-tone which threads and dances its way through the inner ear in such a way as to create a vertiginous and disorienting audio-drug effect. When the sound abruptly ceases, the listener's head chimes with the neural harmonics of echoic memory. According to supporting material, the word 'kymatik' is derived from the Greek 'kyma', meaning 'a great wave', and was first coined by Swiss physicist Hans Jenny as a descriptive term for the effects he noted using amplified tones to manipulate and create patterns in fluids and powders. By applying a similar methodology, Kymatik attempts to do the same to your brain matter. The fact that stereophonic reproduction can only give an approximation of the full ambisonic range of these recordings makes the whole thing even more intriguing. File along with the likes of Battery Operated and Morphogenesis as UK sound artists of the highest echelon. (Tim Cornelius)

The SOUND PROJECTOR 9
Cymatics relates to a field of physical research associated with the work of Dr Hans Jenny and Peter Manners. Jenny, the Swiss physicist (to whom this CD is dedicated), used the term to describe what he observed when amplified sound tones could make patterns in fluids, or powders. These same observations have fed into the work of other sound artists, such as Disinformation and more obviously ECM 323. Kymatik, the London-based sound artist, claims to have been researching the area of psycho-acoustics for over ten years. Hence he offers us his 23 minute 'Lorenz Attractor' work, a remarkable series of complex tones that create a blissful, ringing drone as they seep out of the speakers. Hans Jenny applied his research to start using complex tones for therapy and healing; Kymatik is clearly aware of that end of the research, explaining that he is trying to create a 'haven from subliminal information', a personal environment where nothing can distract or disturb you. He intends to dedicate his next CD to further exploration of this healing project. One's reminded of La Monte Young, who allegedly lives with a continuous tone playing in his Dream House in New York. 'I would imagine that he has discovered a sympathetic tone that energises him in some way', ECM 323 told this magazine in 1999. Kymatik generates the same sort of benevolent psychic energy; it works, but maybe it needs to be longer than 23 minutes! This is but one track on this rich and diverse sampler of Kymatik's talents, a man otherwise unknown but for an appearance on the first Variations comp and a limited release on his own nONsERVIAM label. He uses electronics and collage techniques with imagination and skill, and is a serious devotee of high-tech methods, if his preamble on AmbiSonics and his circle of audio hardware associates is anything to go by. Some tracks utilise UHJ encoding and thus enable AmbiSonic playback, but these won't work at home unless you have a decoder. Shame. 'Dentists For Mice' remains a particularly strong work however, a high-density collage composed of loops, textures and heavily treated voice samples. It's urgent, clear and dynamic - very exciting. This was made using scraps from his own unfinished works, and 'media edits' (meaning voices from the TV, I assume), and is streets ahead of most contemporary electronica. Kymatik is also well-informed about fine art and gallery installations, and is drawn to the point where art crosses over into physics and scientific research. These interests seem to converge to some degree on his 'Excerpt from Kandinsky's Im Blau', an unusual experiment which manages to translate a painting by this Bauhaus master into music. The audio spectrum CD (see above) likewise converts RGB values from the light-spectrum into sound; Kymatik comes up with a fine electronic drone. Less high-minded perhaps is the 'Tisedni' track, derived from a home recording of a spin dryer. This is fun, but it degenerates swiftly into a kind of muddy minimal dance music, a pitfall that awaits any composer who leans too heavily on the digital delay. All the long works on this sampler are linked by brief field and nature recordings, showing Kymatik also wishes to dabble in an area mapped out by Chris Watson. In all a fine showcase from a gifted creator with many strings to his bow.
(Ed Pinsent)

VITAL 257
Kymatik is derived from the Greek word 'Kyma', meaning 'a great wave', and was used by Swiss physicist Hans Jenny to describe the effects of amplified tones to manipulate/create patterns in fluids and powders. When I read this, I was reminded of the booklet that came with 'The Sea Org' 10" by The Hafler Trio (a decade or so ago), in which you'll find reprints of sonic painting: tones that influence paint on canvas. Now The Hafler Trio simply wrote their own novel on sound that was so real that is was almost real, but what about Kymatik? Who are they/she/he? There is a lot of info on the cover, but as to the basic who, we are in the dark. Kymatik uses environmental recordings and treats those in the studio into his own compositions. Two pieces are about pure tones of which 'Lorenz Attractor' works best. The tones fill your space and if you move through the room, or if you are lazy just your head, these tones keep changing. The other piece is a transposition of a painting by Kandinsky works the same but the sound wasn't appealing to me. Then there are two pieces in which sampling and moreover, looping plays a big role. Loaded with sounds and effects, these are rhythmic affairs and humm... quite psychedelic. Finally the three shortest pieces are 'just' recordings from nature, a ship leaving harbour, crickets in the wind and bees. These pieces form counterpoints in the overal CD, for they are moments of tranquility. If you have a UHJ decoder, whatever that may be (I am not a gear freak), then the psychoacoustic effect can be further enhanced. Well, I thought it was already beautiful enough. (Frans de Waard)

The WIRE (Feb 2001)

Dar-As-Sulh Vol 1 features four longish pieces, two of which are built on fearsomely executed drones. These main works are interspersed with delicate environmental recordings: bees, crickets in the wind, a trawler leaving harbour. The word 'Kymatik' derives from the Greek word for wave, kyma, as applied by Swiss physicist Hans Jenny, whose research lead him to put sound to therapeutic uses. The pieces on Dar-As-Sulh were conceived with 3 speaker ambisonics in mind - surround sound is a Kymatik preoccupation, though it can obviously only be approximated on a regular stereo CD. Kymatik brings interests in bioenergetics, psychoacoustics and physics to bear on his work. Musically his reference points include Alvin Lucier, Pauline Oliveros and Roland Kayn. The first of these rich soundworks, 'Dentists For Mice', has the greatest range of sound inputs. A succession of heavily treated found sounds passes, as a wandering narrative unfolds over 17 minutes. It is carefully constructed but it lacks the feeling of accumulating intensity of the other long pieces on the CD. More involving is the 'Excerpt From Kandinsky's Im Blau'. This takes its tonal quality from atranslation of the painting's colours into sonic information. It's essentially a spatialised drone traversed by other background notes, giving an endlessly shifting stereo image. Another track, dating from 1994, uses a spin dryer as sound source. As one might expect, it's a throbbing whirring piece, overlaid with ever denser loops and fragments of higher pitched sound. Gradually it becomes a grinding epic, writhing with hypnotic potential as, somehow, the body logic Techno meets electroacoustic sound chiselling. The most substantial piece, though, is the culminating 'Lorenz Attractor', which is 23 minutes long and is billed as 'the result of ten years work in psychoacoustics and states of consciousness'. First a low tone comes to the fore. A soft chord is gradually built up. This constantly modulates as different elements dominate and the sounds are continually tweaked. Gradually higher pitches, sharpening in tonal quality, are added (apparently this continues beyond the audible range towards the end of the track). The piece communicates increasing pressure and intensity, and acquires a monolithic weight. Kymatik has also produced a surround sound version, which must be overwhelming. Even in simple stereo, it's an imposinglisten and the listener is well advised on the CD sleeve, to cease all other activity (Will Montgomery)

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