microphones in the trees: uton / antti tolvi / lieven m. moana

Thursday, February 04, 2016

uton / antti tolvi / lieven m. moana

«Experimental electronic studies with psychedelic flavours. Connections to the cosmic currents and invisible beings from the other worlds and dimensions, our collective dimension included. Music to help listener to breathe through its energy centers (chakras), or even from the core of the existence. Sounds to travel in astral ways, and explore the unknown, eyes closed or open - works well with both ways». ikuisuus

I always felt something ironic behind those weird sounds of Uton. Flirting with new age terms and ideas and still remaining truly Finnish noise in composition & sound – I can clearly imagine some yoga coach woman playing this tape in afternoon patio for her pupils... Eyes closed, all sitting in lotus posture... Listening to true inner selves... And suddenly alien invasion begins, starting from that patio: huge UFOs descending out of nowhere, lasers blasting all over the place, screams and panic and that tape continues to roll meanwhile. 

Maybe I listened too much new age tapes from '80s, but seriously – what meditation and yoga practice have in common with these collages of weird noises, playful sound effects and overall atmosphere of kindergarten merriment? But okay, let's not be boring and say that this tape is actual true and 100% new age, but from another solar system. Why not? We sent them gold plate with Bach, after all... If you ever read to vedic literature, it says that there are billions of planets with different kinds of intelligent creatures, but all of them share idea of Hinduism in a way, all being part of Brahman creation and Vedic cosmology. So, if we have chakras and they do, maybe we should establish connection not with prohibitively expensive antennas and computers, but in meditation state? Same energy, same vibrations, only different languages. But prana is universal, meditation state is universal, so let's use it as new internet! Actually, I almost sure that Jani Hirvonen already does it in his cosy apartment. And maybe they already here, among us. Who knows? The truth is out there. 

«To get to know the people, is to walk in their footsteps. Thus by walking Corvo Island’s only road, the Estrada Do Caldeirão, I entered the mind of her dwellers». lieven m. moana

«The idea for these pieces came up when I heard Lieven’s side – early version – for this split cassette. The idea was to make music which is the same as, and also totally different from Lieven’s side. I decided to make different set ups with my analog synths, and let them play themselves. Then do field recordings out of those». antti tolvi

Many artists are working with field recording genre nowadays. Why not, when it seems so easy – buy recorder, go to some place exotic, keep your mouth shut and ears open. But, of course, this is only the surface. There are many field recordings serving as documentation of places and events, released without any editing. And there is completely different thing, when field recordings are used as composition material: not as sample, which may be processed through many effects, but as an instrument itself. Idea is not new, there are some huge names like Francisco López or Slawek Kwi working that way, but work of Lieven M. Moana is probably something different, and not only because he prefers tape recorders and lo-fi aesthetics. Moana creates certain mythology, timeless presence of something bigger than just impression of the place. His recordings have pauses of silence, where you can actually feel more. Going back to John Cage's idea that music is everywhere where listener is, Moana finds another dimension of ever-present listener. He explores it, while visiting geographic locations and finds harmonic interaction between being subjective composer and detached field recordist. We don't have to be educated to feel harmony in things, but sometimes we need someone who will point at it. When  pause appear, you start hearing your own "island" – the one you live in. Have you listened to it today? 

And this brings us to the idea behind Antti Tolvi side of this tape – recording his synths playing themselves. Okay, he admits that failed in being independent observer and turned some knobs during the process, but this is what we do, when we walk away from crowded street, isn't it? Always turning knobs of our aural environment, we may forget doing that, thinking that everything just happens. Which brings us to John Cage again – if we found some sounds musical and other not, we acting like egoists, judging things for being noisy or uninteresting. Try to listen something you find unpleasant for your ears and ask yourself why you don't like it. Okay, this may go far into philosophy, and what we actually have on this tape is nice analogue drones and psychedelic ambient passages between them. But listening to this after Lieven's side makes difference. I can imagine these sounds being field recordings of some astronomical scale location, showing the huge picture of million-year-old nebula evolution with galaxies swirling all around it. And yes, I find it much more ear-pleasing than my neighbours yelling behind the wall. Am I egoist?

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