CNVR13 | 23.01.2007
format: CDR | packaging: discbox slider
duration: 62 minutes, 3 tracks
limited to 50 numbered copies
Brand new full lenght album by droner / noisemaker Phil Julian aka Cheapmachines, head of the excellent Authorised Version label and one of the most active underground sound artists in U.K.
"Fugue Cycle" is a collection of three extended drone works made using layered recordings of electronic and wind-powered organs, guitar and field recordings. The three pieces are deliberately minimal and have a slowly evolving development; on track III for example, the concept was to see what could be done using just intonation and frequencies from the two organs. I would like to suggest that headphone listening is probably appropiate for this disk.
[ Phil Julian ]
Phil Julian aka Cheapmachines released his first net-release at con-v in April 2006 and now "fugue cycle" follows as CDr. In general, net-releases and CDrs at con-v are mostly at a similar high level of quality, only the lenght differs. "fugue cycle" makes no difference and serves drones of impressing emotional strength.
Phil Julian used layered recordings of electronic and wind-powered organs, guitar and field recordings. So don´t expext melodies or rhythmic loops, the main core here exists of endless ongoing tones which don´t change in pitch but subtly evolve a timbral development. I only can stand long drones, if they sound organic and touch me emotionally. Track I fulfilled that completely. It´s a calm but somehow disquieting one. The carefully built up complex of tones is wrapping my brain with some absorbing substance. This effect might come from the skillful placement of single tones in space. In the middle of the about 12 minutes lasting track the colour of sound becomes darker and heavier and tears me to some deeper regions of conciousness. Track II has similar qualities but happens in larger space and sounds more metallic. It needs to be listened with a certain higher level of volume, to unfold its full amount of impact. Occasionally there are higher peaks, which sound like vast metal plates stroken by a heavy commuting anvil on a rope. Good thing, when I start to see pictures induced by listening.
"On track III for example, the concept was to see what could be done using just intonation and frequencies from the two organs." (Phil Julian) So the third track is a kind of conceptual work and sounds much more dry than its predecessors. It has a more spartan substance as you can imagine, because there are just two organs playing each one tone, not changing pitch during the whole time. But there is this subtle varying of timbre and space that makes the last track a valuable listening too. All in all a well produced example of minimal drones, which have organic qualities, induce visual phantasies and are contemplative without beeing boring. An ideal mixture for a mental journey.
[ Sascha Neudeck ]
When I put on the latest Cheapmachines, I checked the volume: not too high, because it would be all noise anyway. Digital noise that is actually good. But noise. I walked in the backroom to get something and after a few minutes I thought: what did I do wrong, as I don't hear anything. It turns that this CDR is still playing, and still at the usual volume, but that Cheapmachines have delivered a very quiet work. 'Using layered recordings of electronic and wind-powered organs, guitar and field recordings', Cheapmachines' Phil Julian has created something that is not like any of the previous Cheapmachines (at least the ones I heard). Most of them, as said, were particular noise related, and sometimes musique concrete, but never far out in the drone field as on 'Fugue Cycle'. Of the three parts, the first two turn out to be the ones with the most action, but it's the third piece that goes way out in the field of drone music. Shimmering tones that makes small, but ever changing waves, taking up roughly thirty minutes of this release, but would stand out making a release by itself. Think Phil Niblock but quieter, or Paul Panhuysen's 'Magic Square of 5', Alvin Lucier's 'Music On A Long Thin Wire', but not as low bass like, and combine this, and get 'Fugue Cycle'. A damn fine release. His best, no doubt.
[ Frans de Waard ]
CON-V EDITION | 2015