ox, metempsychosis, mnemnonic
Each month over the summer of 2023, Justin Bennett publish a new or archival sound work.
The first release (01-06-2023) is the purely electronic ox – an exploration of the possibilities of the vintage EMS Synthi Synthesiser.
The design of the Synthi was quite radical as it was somewhere in between a classic keyboard-controlled synthesiser and an open device for audio processing and mixing – a miniature electronic music studio in a suitcase.
There are two basic techniques behind all the pieces on this album.
Firstly, the use of internal and external feedback circuits to create what the composer David Tudor called “giant oscillators” which can only be tamed, rather than played. Sometimes a delay pedal or a phase-shifter was patched into the feedback circuit to add to the confusion.
The second technique used was that of interfering with the connection matrix of the instrument either simply by short-circuiting it or using a computer-controlled matrix mixer to create superimposed rhythmic sequences.All pieces were recorded live without overdubs.
Thanks for Lex van den Broek from the Institute of Sonology for his CompLex audio matrix.
The second release is metempsychosis (1984-1992). During the lockdowns of 2020 I used the time to go through a very large number of cassettes and DAT tapes. Some of the material I uncovered ended up as the soundtrack to my podcast-series The Constellation.
In this release I collect together other recordings that I decided are pieces in their own right and that have never been released before.
The pieces are so layered that it’s difficult to pinpoint where and when they were made – some of the original source material is from cassettes from the mid 1980’s.They combine acoustic instruments, field recording, analogue and digital processing, tape manipulation, sampling, granular synthesis and Jo Scherpenisse’s legendary VOSIM synthesiser.
Some were recorded in various studios in Sheffield in the late 80’s, but most were produced at the Institute of Sonology, Den Haag between 1988 and 1992.
The third release is mnemonic, using binaural recording to spatialise sounds derived from a small antique cymbal. The tracks metro, shell-like and mnemonic were produced in 1985. They use field recordings, radio, found recordings and acoustic instruments and are all intended for headphone listening.
Mnemonic uses binaural recording to spatialise sounds derived from a small antique cymbal. The cymbal is treated as a recording device, radio antenna, musical instrument and sound processor.
They were made using cassette recorders and 8 track tape, mastered to 1/4 inch tape and remastered digitally in 2023.