LP with 12 x 12" insert
Numbered edition of 500
Comes with download code
Cover by Kymatik
• Dentists for Mice (18:19)
• Ardèche Morning (3:18)
• Two Parts water (22:20)
total time 43:57
Who is Kymatik?
Kymatik first appeared on Paradigm back in 1995 with a spontaneous composition created alone in the control room, with all the sounds being derived from a simultaneous improvisation being played in the studio by Morphogenesis.
Three years later Paradigm released the full length Kymatik CD Dar-As-Sulh, a selection of pieces, some based on purely mathematical ideas, others are more hypnotic pulse based psychedelic soundscapes, some works being performed live in surround sound, with the audience floating on air-beds in a swimming pool.
On this latest release side 1 is mostly taken up with a remixed version of one of these more disorientating soundscapes, structured around dense, ever shifting and phasing polyrhythms. The piece dates from 1997. The side closes with a short field recording.
Side 2 is one piece that combines elements from 2 later pieces composed in 1998 and 2001 and use a similar combination of ambisonic field recordings and abstraction as used on side 1. These long tracks still sound strangely contemporary, and as such, are glorious examples of early domestic computer music.
The compositions could be said to be loosely akin to the musical areas explored at that time by The Hafler Trio, NWW, Sähkö and some of the far reaching aspects of techno music.
Kymatik remains anonymous, even the name he goes by, is not his real name. For the last few years he has been living in northern Spain and continues to make ambisonic field recordings, which are either released untreated, or used to create further sonic collages.
This is his brief statement -
“The works on Anthropological Constants straddle a fence between field recording and experimental composition. The intention of each piece is to lead the listener astray in their environment by firstly identifying cues or references, and then slowly transforming them without replacing them with other [more] cues.”
This vinyl edition was cut at SST and pressed at Optimal in a numbered edition of 500 and comes with an insert and download code
Necessary reissue of Kymatik : Midwitch Cuckoos’s superlative, computer-processed field recordings, originally made in the mid ‘90s between Bristol, Runswick Bay (North Yorkshire) and Plymouth, and subsequently issued on their cult imprint, NonServiam between 1997-2001.
If you thought that late ‘90s electronica was all drill ’n bass, glitch and ambient techno, this is simply none of the above and serves as both a historical document and a strong testament to the UK’s less recognised, explorative rearguard. You can take it on trust that Lee Gamble is a big fan of this one!
Experimental yet coherent, drily psychedelic and perpetually out of reach, the works inside Anthropological Constants trace the after effects of Kymatik’s shift from the analogue source material of their Central Nervous System [CNS] unit in the late ‘80s to a blend of location recordings processed with digital hardware and computer software, by the mid ‘90s - pretty much mirroring a phase shift that many progressive or forward looking artists were undergoing at that time (or even the world at large; on the cusp of transition from analogue TV and radio toward the internet, speech recognition and cybernetics).
Anthropological Constants consists of three pieces drawn from as many releases, all recorded, released and atmospherically time-stamped with that era. In their own words, “[Dentists For Mice] represents a transition from outboard gear [mixing desk and reel-to-reel tape] to computer composition”, and describes 18 minutes of unfathomably layered and absorbing drone flux and irregular rhythm; ticking over from echoic abstraction to subaquatic plunge and cranky space station ambience by way of imperceptibly seamless segues. The fact that it was made on a kitchen table thru basic PC speakers only testifies to the piece’s ingenuity.
Meanwhile the B-side picks up where the other left off, folding in field recordings made as Dentists.. was coming to completion. However the ear’s focus here is more on atmospheric subtlety, rather than momentum and morphology. Using recordings made on the rugged Yorkshire coastline (just down the road from a rare early warning radar detection system) during an inebriated weekend over the New Year, Runswick Bay: Kate’s Painless Gingerbread shifts from an initial smear of rushing wind, sloshing water and dislocated voices with some seriously eerie harmonics, thru denser patches of inclement noise, panicky bass pulses and almost folk-wise ritual percussion, the quickly waking up in the middle of a pub scene, perhaps captured as the New Years party got into its third day?
These recordings make up part of the Kymatik archive and were recorded nearly 20 years ago, yet are timeless and unfold at our leisure.
The sounds captured herein are both mysterious and arcane, the odd rumble of found vocals twisted and torn open on side one are interspersed amongst the insidious creak and gentle murmur of things both organic and not. The rhythmic bounce of a spring hidden in the backdrop as metal discs circle and falter, dipping and droning. We can see an abandoned factory, but one which has been reclaimed, nature taking control once again, though it is not just nature that finds a home here. The earth is taking hold and here and there in scattered anterooms the power is still on and spirits play gently with the leftover machinery.
Sounds ebbing and flowing in and out of our consciousness and slightly in and out of sync. It is difficult to communicate, but Kymatik use the facilities as a means of expression, the sounds laboured and distant. Meanwhile grass grows and the slow, almost imperceptible progress of nature continues unabated. In an ancillary building we are slowly drawn to
the hypnotic, insistent cacophony; the whirr of a projector, the pulse of something greater drawing us nearer, the sounds ebbing and flowing in and out of our consciousness and slightly in and out of sync, causing disorientation and a looseness of mind; a turgid groan, a vibrant rattle consuming and drifting, until there is nothing.
A gentle and soporific field recording of birds and trickling water act as an idyllic segue to the darker journey of side two.
We are wading into the water, far out to sea with laboured steps, the drone of submerged material. The ambience is slightly edgier here. The plunging of something into water brings to
mind some of Etant Donnés‘ work, but is less structured and has a faint eerie wail occupying the backdrop as wind and water appear restless. It feels grey, overcast, brooding, ominous. The somnolent mood is suddenly upset and we are wading into the water, far out to sea with laboured steps, the drone of submerged material, distant explosions, the grip of fear and the silence of survival, that morbid silence filled with something. Now on board, the jostle of movement, sporadic clanks and the blip of radar. The whirl and hum of sonar take over, translating the depths, peaks and troughs, wreckage and nature, efflorescence and phosphorescence, mystery and darkness. Dragged into an outburst of voices, rudely drawn again into the here and now, the hubbub, the rhythm of life, a welcome interjection? I am not so sure; better to set off again, to who knows where.
This is where it took me; allow it to take you. Mr Olivetti