Saturday, July 23, 2016

SOUND ART | A decade of noise

The Children of Cathode Ray and autoceremony are featured in this seminal sound art album.

"July 22 2016, marks the 10th year anniversary of the landmark music anthology release that documented and showcased the plethora of experimental/sound art/unpopular music in the Philippines: S.A.B.A.W. An Anthology of Noise, Electronic, and Experimental Music" -- Tengal Nolasnem

S.A.B.A.W. Anthology of Noise, Electronic, and Experimental Music

This is the digital release of a two-CDR anthology launched at Future Prospects, Cubao X on 22 July 2006. It was broadcasted for the first time in its entirety by WSK.FM at Green Papaya Art Projects, Kamuning, QC on 11 November 2013.

1. Pow Martinez - 1-01 - Colored Noise 02:44
2. Conscript - 1-02 - I've seen god 04:24
3. Blums Borres - 1-03 - Cloth 05:13
4. The Children of Cathode Ray - 1-04 - Stations (part II) 12:11
5. Ascaris - 1-05 - Isolation 03:15
6. Teresa Barrozo - 1-06 - bigKAS 10:56
7. Nasal Police - 1-07 - Fan 08:03
8. Tengal - 1-08 - Piece of work in two parts 13:15

9. autoceremony - 2-01 - Sound Environment v0103 05:48
10. Insomnia - 2-02 - Barbarella 07:27
11. Foodshelter&Clothing - 2-03 - Xenocideremix 05:52
12. EAT TAE - 2-04 - Godhead 06:24
13. Elemento - 2-05 - Excerpt from Liquid Angel 09:34
14. Blend:er - 2-06 - Worm 02:20
15. Inconnu ictu - 2-07 - Aldus Janbrean 04:12
16. Arvie Bartolome - 2-08 - After Concussion 08:31

Original liner notes:

The S.A.B.A.W. Anthology was the result of existing material I had collected from experimental musicians and sound artists who had been working in the Philippine underground (read: under-appreciated and under-funded) scene for the last 20 years. The project, conceived with the intention of not just publishing but also promoting innovations and experiments in music, was born nine months ago when I was still hosting experimental music concerts at mag:net Cafe Katipunan, QC.

Just seven months ago, I began posting invitations in almost every mailing list I knew. The overwhelming response turned what should have been a one-disc album into a two-disc anthology. The artists here represent but a cross-section of a much larger body of musicians and artists. I wished that many more had contributed, but for some reason or another not all were able to participate.

This album is a first step, an attempt to fill a gap made real by the lack of critical appreciation and inaccessibility of sound art and experimental music for the past few decades.

This anthology is not a mere "labor of love," but an act of necessity.

Manila, July 2006

Released July 22, 2006

Tracks by:

1-01 Pow Martinez - Colored Noise
Pow Martinez: White, Pink, Brown/Red, Grey, Black, Blue, Purple noise

1-02 Conscript - I've seen god
Tom McWalter: Novation nova synthesizer, Alesis Bitrman effects box, Alesis 6fx mixer

1-03 Blums Borres - Cloth
Blums: Guitar, Effects

1-04 The Children of Cathode Ray - Stations (part II)
Tad Ermitaño: Laptop
Jing Garcia: Laptop

1-05 Ascaris - Isolation

1-06 Teresa Barrozo - bigKAS
Teresa Barrozo: Tascam tape machine, Soundforge 7, Pre-recorded instruments

1-07 Nasal Police - Fan
Pow Martinez: Laptop
Ria Muñoz: Electric Fan, Contact mics

1-08 Tengal - Piece of work in two parts
Tengal: Computer, Kulintang, Reverse Kulintang with electronics

2-01 autoceremony - Sound Environment v0103
Jing Garcia: Computer

2-02 Insomnia - Barbarella

2-03 Foodshelter&Clothing - Xenocideremix
James: Analog bass, Drum programming
Bong: Vocals, Synthesizers, Sound Bites
Ian: Turntables

2-04 EAT TAE - Godhead
Tengal: Composer, Collage, Drums
Anto Bautista: Electric Guitar
Pow Martinez: Guitar Effects
Ivan Garcia: Bass

2-05 Elemento - Excerpt from Liquid Angel
Lirio Salvador: ZPE, Sandata 1G, Sandata 3D, Sampler, Voice
Gilbert Sanchez: Drums, Bicycle Wheel, Found Objects
Kristopher Deuda: Baby Sandata 4
Raymond Patawaran: Paint and Brush

2-06 Blend:er - Worm
Cris Garcimo: Roland sh101, Reason 2.5

2-07 Inconnu ictu - Aldus Janbrean
Inconnu ictu: Tape hiss, Water drops, Basketball, Brass Chimes, Cowbell, Chica, Acoustic guitar, Yamaha DDS, Casio R2-1, Toy Keyboard, Multi-effects, Cassette tape loop

2-08 Arvie Bartolome - After Concussion
Arvie Bartolome: Macmini

Saturday, July 02, 2016

RETROTECH | Gone digital in '83

Sinclair ZX-81
I found a very interesting link a couple a weeks ago, shared by my good friend Tad Ermitano. Tad, who is an established multimedia artist and a pioneering member of sound art group Children of Cathode Ray, knew that I would be fascinated by it. And he wasn't wrong.

In a 2014 post by Robert Sorokanich at Gizmodo, he revealed in an article entitled "The 1983 Punk Rock Record With a Digital Music Video For a B-Side" a long lost recording that I myself didn't know even exist. #ThankYouInternet.

Apparently, a 1983 single by an English music artist named Chris Sievey's was released containing the digital noise created by a computer, a ZX-81.

One of the earliest home computers, the ZX-81 was manufactured by Sinclair Research based in Scotland (Yeah, we had one when I was a kid but my sister didn't like the thing because of the small keys and eventually swapped it with a Commodore VIC-20).

And it's not just ordinary digital noise that was produced but rather an entire computer program created from the ZX-81.

Digital sound, in this case a computer program, when recorded and played back in analog will make unbearable screeches -- similar to the sound of the computer modem when handshaking for an Internet connection, if you remember those times; distinguishable only by a computer, decoding the noise as bits of data.

Sorokanich said "(T)he B-side of Chris Sievey's 1983 single 'Camouflage' sounds like an unlistenable malestrom of noise. It's not an avant-garde song; it's a program for the ZX-81 computer, and if you could load it correctly, it gave you a (very rudimentary) computer-animated music video, coded in the grooves of a vinyl record."

Here's a video of that computer program from the single:

Sorokanich continued saying  in his post: "(T)his neat little tidbit is well known to fans of early 80s punk music, butUsVsTh3m brought it back to our attention recently and it's worth re-remembering. Chris Sievey, on top of being a founding member of The Freshies and the mind behind the charmingly offbeat character Frank Sidebottom, was a computer tinkerer drawn to the ZX-81. The hobby computer, weighing only 12 ounces, with zero moving parts and no display (you plugged it into your TV), bolstered its 1kB internal memory by storing data to cassette tapes at a blistering 250 baud."

Truly ahead of his time, Sievey definitely created something that would mark him a pioneer. The only thing though, the song itself is not 'punk' (music) as described by Sorokanich or the editor's at Gizmodo. The only punk there was the way it was packaged in 1983. Indie maybe. But definitely not punk music by 1983 standards. Power pop is more like it.

Nonetheless, Sievey's contribution in pop (tech) culture is marked by this adorable revelation.