CNV19 | 12.08.2005


The Houses Of The Russians

01. First House

02. Painted in Faded Blue

03. Second House

04. Blessed Medals

05. Third House

06. Faint Lights

ALL FILES (Download)


'The Houses of the Russians' was composed during 2004 entirely of locally recorded field recordings manipulated using Max/MSP on a PowerBook G4.  Each of the pieces is a live improvisation, without overdubs or further post-recording sound processing.  Like the eponymous dwellings, the six segments of this work are deliberately unnatural and out of place; they exist as nebulous entities, storm clouds born of confusion - 'Their houses are supposed to be unlucky, and no one goes near them.' Miehen on mela K ädessä, Jumala venettä viepi.


liner notes by Brian Lavelle



“The Houses of the Russians” was my first listening experience with Brian Lavelle’s compositions in sound and whetted my appetite for more of his work. The individual tracks (whose sounds are derived from field recordings) range from choppy, minimal explorations [“Blessed Medals”] to noisy, dense abstract meanderings [“First House“, “Painted in Faded Blue“] to beautiful, flowing drones [“Second House“] to unrelenting, tension filled atmospheres [“Third House”]. A personal favorite is “Fainted Lights” with a blend of gentle drones, almost annoying percussive sounds, and bursts of discordant noise.


[ Larry Johnson ]


Vital Weekly


Brian Lavelle has been absent for a few years and he was sadly missed! In the mean time also his wonderful weblabel Technoh went offline he seemed to have disappeared from the music scene completely. I was therefore quite surprised when I saw that Con-v released a complete new album. The release notes tell me that every composition is actually a live improvisation without overdubs. Okay, so let's hear this guy live, then! These works certainly don't have an impro feel to them. Each composition uses a clearly limited set of sounds and a compact editing route. That way the composer has better control over the structure and soundpallette during his live routine. Nevertheless Lavelle is able to make very interesting moves from one phase to the other within the improvisation. In the second work (Painted in Faded Blue) after 4 minutes of abstract digital noise changes a bass rhythm combined with a vocoder like layer moves in quite naturally bringing smoothing the atmosphere. It's q uite subtly and everything fits nicely; the abstract and the smooth rhythm and harmonic vocoder sounds. Of course at 8 minutes the laid back atmosphere changes into more machine like hesitant sound alternations. The coherence of the sounds used however prevents the piece from falling apart. It's like that with all the pieces on this release. That's basically the case with many of the works in this release. Next to the compositions which sound like interesting juxtaposed and layered sound particles there are also two compositions with more ongoing synthesized sounds. These give your brain a more time to relax. You can see that Brian Lavelle really has a grip on his sound material and his instrumentation (i.e.. laptop with MAX/MSP). This is a wonderful comeback and I am really really looking forward to hearing more.


[ Jos Smolders]