STRINGS OF CONSCIOUSNESS & ANGEL: Strings Of Consciousness & Angel (Important Records)


Posted on Apr 30th 2009 12:43 am

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Strings Of Consciousness & Angel: Strings Of Consciousness & Angel

Strings Of Consciousness & Angel
Important Records 2009
02 Tracks. 40mins43secs

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Strings Of Consciousness, the collective of musicians led by French music activist Philippe Petit, who also heads the excellent Bip-Hop imprint, and Angel, originally a project consisting of Pan Sonic’s Ilpo Väisänen and Dirk Dresselhaus, better known as SchneiderTM, now also comprising Hildur Guðnadóttir of Múm, have teamed up for a project combining the various acoustic, electric and electronic inputs of these formations.

The two tracks making up this album, one clocking at twenty two minutes, the other at just under nineteen, and simply labelled #1 and #2, are the result of improvisation sessions between the two ensembles. Originally sounding somewhat like impressive drone-like monolithic constructions, they soon reveal much more intricate layers of textures and treatments feeding into a vast evolutionary process.

Of the two pieces, #1 is the more resource-intensive, with ten musicians bringing everything from cello, electronics and guitars to harp, double bass and accordion to the track. Kicking off with a slowly rising single note, which rapidly becomes surrounded with other noise particles, #1 progressively gathers dust and textures, but it takes a while for these to affect the coarse rendering of the piece. As the density expands, past the six minute mark, dissonances threaten to throw the whole thing off course for a moment, but soon, a treated guitar shifts the focus onto the growing abrasive aspect of this ever-changing sound cluster. From there on, this track becomes much more intricate, dense, and, paradoxically, structured as a cyclical shape gives it a vague rhythmic drive. As it become almost impossible to identify for definite any of the components, apart for the sombre guitar fuzz, and it begins to show strong signs of decay, the track is steered toward clearer grounds once again, once again almost imperceptibly, until the cosmic noise eventually deflates entirely.

By contrast, #2 requires a more restricted personnel, but its equal complexity is evident from the start. Unlike #1, the sonic space of this second piece is established pretty early on, and, while it continues to grow and expand throughout, its starting and ending points are, in comparison, much closer. Here though, the ensemble drifts toward dissonance much sooner and for a more sustained period, to the point where it becomes the focal point of the piece. In this, it strongly evokes the structure of musique concrete and exposes its electro-acoustic nature in much more prominent fashion. Textures are radically less abrasive on a whole, but pockets of distortions materialise in totally random way throughout. #2 also appears more free-flowing and fluid than its predecessor. If there is an order of sort here, it is articulated away from the main slab of noise.

On both pieces, the rough coating on the sound forms is very reminiscent of Pan Sonic’s own experimentations, but the context is somewhat different here, and the resulting work draws upon very different resources. With this album, SoC and Angel have created an incredibly dense and vibrant soundtrack, which is ultimately much bigger than the sum of its parts.


Icon: arrow Strings Of Consciousness | Strings Of Consciousness (MySpace) | Angel (MySpace) | Important Records
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Comments (6)

6 Responses to “STRINGS OF CONSCIOUSNESS & ANGEL: Strings Of Consciousness & Angel (Important Records)”

  1. mapsadaisicalon 30 Apr 2009 at 11:35 am

    A great record, and fitting review. I bet you wish you had taken me up on my invite to see Philippe Petit at Cafe Oto the other week, don’t you? Hildur Gudnadotir is playing at the Roundhouse’s Touch event in a couple of weeks too, with BJ Nilsen. I’m hoping for some more “drone-like monolithic constructions”…

  2. themilkmanon 30 Apr 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Of course I would have loved to have gone to the Cafe Oto gig but I was out the night before and, as I am not as prolific a writer as your goodself, I need my time for reviews unfortunately.

    I won’t be coming to the Touch event either, but will be waiting for a full report on the night. Drone-like formations or not.

    Reviewing the SoC & Angel album reminded me that I have the first Angel album (released by Philippe Petit on his Bip-Hop imprint) somewhere, and that I probably haven’t given the attention it deserves over the years. Need to rectify this soon.

  3. […] an ensemble counting up to fourteen musicians, with whom he has released two albums, including a collaboration with Angel released last year on Important Records, and a third one counting a handful of original pieces and […]

  4. THE 2009 REVIEW | themilkfactoryon 19 Dec 2010 at 8:41 pm

    […] OF CONSCIOUSNESS & ANGEL Strings Of Consciousness & Angel Important […]

  5. […] collective which counts over twenty musicians, with whom he has released three albums, including one with Angel, the trio of Pan Sonic’s Ilpo Väisänen, SchneiderTM’s Dirk Dresselhaus, and cellist Hildur […]

  6. […] Strings Of Consciousness have released a collection of remixes and a collaboration with Angel, the project of former Pan Sonic Ilpo Vaisänen, Schneider TM’s Dirk Dresselhaus and Icelandic […]