Notice Recordings

This is Nathan McLaughlin’s latest installment of his Echolocation series. Following releases on Digitalis and Gift Tapes, #5 also continues the organic and thoughtful work of his duo Loud & Sad. Focused on tape loops, layers of delay, and some chordal forms, each piece is meticulously and methodically built, with each sonic element given its due. This sense of pacing and care given to every moment is a crucial element of McLaughlin’s work, and it’s deeply attuned here. The pieces reflect the environment in which they were composed, tight-knit and rural; they mass like storm clouds, and then are barely there, leaving just the fluttering of a distant echo. Stretches of silence, and windblown expanses. Rich chords swell into deeply contemplative passages that are gradually stripped away. A gorgeous, hushed set of tape music. --- "Echolocation #5 extends McLaughlin's exploration of the elegiac and the dirge, adding some crunchy, roiling passages as well. Often McLaughlin's loops gather, in small enough increments to avoid overt, ham-fisted drama, a strong sense of the ominous. These tensions, as well as the fine structural drift McLaughlin is patient enough to permit, make the Echolocation series a fluid one, without a start or an end. Echolocation #5 should be heard as an installation in a big-hearted work, issuing from a musician with an immense gift for subtle music. They are sent from a recondite artist who may well disappear before you receive them, so there's no time to waste." - Jesse Goin / Crow With No Mouth --- Mastered by Eric SteigerArtwork by E. Lindorff-Ellery and N. McLaughlin

Nathan McLaughlin – Echolocation 5

Chicago trio Haptic (Steven Hess, Joseph Clayton Mills, and Adam Sonderberg) return for their second Notice release, a densely evocative quartet of pieces that continue to reflect a deeply specific sense of place and purpose, recorded using a “steadicam” approach: probing, passive, multidimensional; a voyeuristic yet highly intentional form of documentation. Although Haptic was initially formed (in 2005) for the purpose of live performance, the rigor of their process continues to be well-suited to recording; these tracks suggest film sound design in their precise, evocative choices and creative blending of sounds, and in the way they unspool as if moving through physical or visual environments. "BTWN 65, 52" whips a pounding backbone into a blinding gale with richly odd electro-percussive tics, while "Lost My Shape" churns with the mysteriously foreboding chorus of activity of a multi-use former factory: the mechanized effort of conjuring precise forms.---Artists' statement:"On the first Monday in July of 2019, we met up and set out to make what would become Weird Undying Annihilation. It's a record of full stops and one incomplete sentence. It's best appreciated through headphones. The last sentence of the above paragraph could be said of scads of records. The advice is given here not because the material is difficult to hear but rather because the recording process encourages careful, focused attention to where the sounds are placed in the stereo field. We’ve been interested in working out an aural version of a steadicam tracking shot for years—creating a sense of movement through a physical space, zooming in on details, then pulling back and shifting focus in a continuous, fluid way—but the circumstances have never been quite right to explore the idea fully in a recording. Achieving strong and seemingly organic figure/ground relationships between various recorded materials is relatively easy to do with a DAW, some good monitors, and a great deal of patience, but seamlessly documenting that dynamic in a live setting is more challenging. In August 2016, at Constellation in Chicago, we gave a performance that used the full extent of the venue’s expansive stage to explore some of these issues, using instruments and other objects as much for their plastic, sculptural qualities as their sonic ones. The concert incorporated shifting distances, changes in scale, and wide dynamic ranges, and it invited varying degrees of focus as different areas of the performance space vied for the attention of the audience. Without careful preparation, it would have been difficult to capture the effect with an audio recording, but a handful of photographs and a few seconds of video remain to remind us of the experience.The recording conditions when we convened in July 2019 were not dissimilar to the setup at Constellation: an almost-empty apartment, with a few different "workstations" arrayed on the floor and scattered on tables, populated with small speakers, percussion, playback devices, electronics, and cassette tapes, among other items. We could move freely around the space, activating various devices and performing on instruments. The entire session could be recorded steadicam style, which involved moving around the room in a slow, noiseless, and deliberate fashion; the figure/ground relationships between the various sources could be composed through movement, and in real time.Nine months later,  in April 2020, the material was edited, layered, and mixed in the same space in which it was recorded. Doing that work in the same room, nearly a year after recording it, one could see how the space itself had evolved - the light, the arrangement of furniture, the deadening of the acoustics brought on by more stuff everywhere – and the final product emerged as a kind of superimposition of those two days within a single space. Our hope is that a sense of that space—and of the relationships developing in that space—is apparent throughout the finished recording."

Haptic – Weird Undying Annihilation

On their first release since 2017, the duo of Anne Guthrie and Billy Gomberg craft a world inhabited by both the familiar and foreign. Guthrie's intimate vocals float like smoke over mysterious piano phrases; elements vacillating in and out of a sense of awareness. Bass and French horn, the duo's main instruments, are inquisitive and gentle, often present as a whisper, a quiet wind, an exhale. Sounds exist as distant vertical pillars, soon shifting into three-dimensional shapes, spinning autonomously. In this album there are meticulously placed auxiliary sounds, including textural field recordings and object play. They complicate and enrich the rigorously sparse instrumental notes, resulting in pieces that, in a vividly engaging way, are less domestic than they are the music of dream-like errands, or an inverted walk through a residential neighborhood. ---Artists' statement:"What became Solum is built from a handful of improvisations collaged with recordings made separately. Necessity somewhat determined creativity, and the work responds to and articulates the rather heightened domesticity of 2020. We still have to wait until 830-9p for the exhaust fan from the restaurant below us to shut off for the night if we want to do any acoustic recording, or accept (amplify) the way it vibrates our apartment. Our studio is really just our lives as they can be lived. As in most things, we have to trust that the other's direction is a good heading. Materially, the instrumentation is somewhat more broad than the above would imply. I think our mix of electronics, recordings, horn & bass are still there but not as consistent a thread throughout, more dispersed in their roles. The range of electronics is certainly more varied and much less glossy than I think either of us have really applied before. We both brought homemade or found materials more than we have previously."- Anne Guthrie and Billy Gomberg 2021 --- Anne Guthrie / Voice, French Horn, Electronics, Objects, RecordingsBilly Gomberg / Bass Guitar, Electronics, Objects, Recordings ---Recorded in San Francisco CA, 2020. (Includes recordings made in Austin TX, Feb 2020) Mastered by Branic Howard. Artwork and video by E. Lindorff-Ellery

Fraufraulein – Solum

Recorded live, this album presents Lonberg-Holm in an intimate relationship with his cello, beautifully recorded by Joaquim Montes at Studio Namouche in Lisbon. Using a variety of extended techniques, he conjures a barrage of multiphonics, interwoven timbral excursions, and minuscule textural knots lined along the peripheral architecture of these pieces. Lonberg-Holm alludes to his music having a non-denominational devotional presence in his life, and this relationship is evident in these deeply personal improvisations. This is visceral playing: heavy, dry, honest, and unpretentious. Lonberg-Holm has performed in an exceptional number of free jazz and free improvised ensembles, not to mention with a variety of indie rock bands; one can hear this experience permeating the seasoned playing in these recordings.----Artist's statement:"Over the years, I have made a number of solo recordings, some in studios such as the now demolished Airwaves in Chicago and the first ESS location (now gone as well), some in concert halls (e.g., Mills College), some outdoors (my father’s farm in central NY as well as the Florida Everglades), and a few at various homes I have lived in. Location has an obvious impact and my long and affectionate relationship with Lisbon inspired me to want to make a solo document there. I have recorded with a variety of projects at Studio Namouche in the Benfica neighborhood of Lisbon and love it. That was where I wanted to make this solo recording.Anyone who has been to Namouche knows it is a magical place. A faded version of its once probably grand self, Namouche is a sort of small RCA studio A that somehow survived the tumults of the recording industry; it still has the right proportions and materials on the walls, floor and ceiling. Add in good mics, a mixing desk, and the very capable ears of head engineer Joaquim Montes and it’s about perfect.I’ve described the cello as a “four string busy box” for many years but only recently did I realize it also acts as a “safe space” for me. Although the outcome of pressing the various levers is more unpredictible on a cello than a busy box, I still feel that if I follow the material where it wants to go, nothing can go wrong. It is an act of faith.For many years, “religious” music has been a source of entertainment and inspiration for me. In spite (or because?) of my lack of religious identity I find beauty in many types of music for worship. Over the years, at different times, I have been obsessed with Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Buddhist musics, sermons and chants. While I sometimes fantasize about making a record of religious music, the only faith I can claim to have any real relationship with is Christianity and a recording of Christian music might be misunderstood so . . . I refrain. Instead, I like to think that my solo cello improvisations are a kind of non-denominational devotional music.During the period when this was recorded, I was listening a lot to Alfred Reed. He seems to favor a very low A (almost A flat) and I experimented with tuning my cello down as a result. Some of the tracks are at that lower pitch and others are closer to A440.Namouche has a very fine grand piano and a number of other excellent keyboards. They also have some derelict pianos. Most noticeable are the two in the front vestibule and the one in the live room. The short piano pieces were recorded using only the piano in the live room. Because such wrecks aren't found in most good studios, I couldn’t resist playing it. The juxtaposition of a derelict instrument and an incompetent pianist in a great room with excellent equipment was simply too good to pass up." --- Fred Lonberg-Holm / cello, unprepared piano --- Recorded March 21, 2019 by Joaquim Montes at Namouche Studios, LisbonMastered by Branic Howard, Portland OR

Fred Lonberg-Holm – Lisbon Solo

Notice Recordings’ Chicago origins were heavily galvanized by regularly seeing sets by cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and multi-instrumental improviser Zoots Houston. Both have since separately relocated to Kingston, NY, where they continue to engage with the kinds of musical exchanges exemplified here. This set, recorded live at Chicago’s Elastic Arts, finds them performing with percussionist Ben Bennett. Bennett, a musician and performance artist, is a notable figure in the current and vibrant free improv and jazz scene in NYC; recent collaborations include Michael Foster and Jack Wright, among others. All three players metaphorically deconstruct their instruments while scattering pockets of agitated hot air on the performance floor, augmented with pedals, radioesque static sweeps, tightly propelled breaths, and extended techniques. This is dry, heavily structural, bristling stuff, with periodic digressions into melody and a strong control of focused and at times uncomfortably magnified timbres. Much of the material is urgent and electronic, filling the space and remaining firmly gestural. These two sidelong sets display slices of time coming from strong voices within this niche of contemporary improvisation. ---Ben Bennett / percussionZoots Houston / synthesizer, objectsFred Lonberg-Holm / cello ---Recorded live at Elastic Arts, Chicago by Dave Zuchowski, July 21, 2016Mastered by Branic Howard, Open Field, Portland, ORArtwork and layout by E. Lindorff-ElleryLetterpress printed by Small Fires Press, New Orleans

Ben Bennett, Zoots Houston, Fred Lonberg-Holm – Pinkie No

We first became aware of Mike Weis through his drumming in Chicago's Zelienople, in which he blended hypnotic, delicate grooves and shimmering auxiliary percussion into the band's unique downcast drone-folk. In recent years, Weis has expanded his exploration into meditation and ritual in music performance, exemplified by this set recorded for the 2018 Winter Solstice. Weis' mix of such unconventional percussion instruments as tongue drum, dholak, and changgo, as well as gongs, bells, and objects, all performed live, is typical in its unerring time, tightly controlled dynamics, and dense yet drifting atmosphere. The music settles in places which aren’t visible upon first sight, and, like walking through a foggy, mid-December field, pock-marked with patches of snow and tufts of brown grass, sounds reveal themselves for a moment of recognition and familiarity, only to recede, vignetted by the enveloping atmosphere. Mike Weis has been deeply admired by Notice since our inception, and In Low Light provides an engaging illustration of his practice. --- Mike Weis / mbira, tongue drum, dholak, changgo, bass drum, cymbals, gongs, singing bowls, bells, dharma bell, moktak, field recordings --- Tracklisting: 1. Number 1 - 07:062. Number 2 - 05:343. Number 3 - 03:014. Number 4 - 05:145. Number 5 - 02:486. Number 6 - 05:357. Number 7 - 03:538. Number 8 - 05:16 --- Recorded early Winter 2018 Pre-mastering by Matt Christensen Mastered by Branic Howard, Portland OR

Mike Weis – In Low Light (Music for the Winter Solstice)

Notice Recordings is pleased to present the release of Portland, Oregon-based percussionist Matt Hannafin’s “John Cage: Four Realizations for Solo Percussion”, which offers attentive, probing interpretations of pieces that bookend the final thirty years of the composer’s work. Simultaneously restless and nuanced, Hannafin’s performance demonstrates Cage’s continued relevance and enduring ability to push performers beyond their performative biases and toward the unexpected.Written with no instrumentation, “Variations II” (1961) and “Variations III” (1963) both provide toolkit-like sets of marked-up transparencies which are allowed to fall into random overlapping patterns. “c Ȼomposed Improvisation for One-Sided Drums with or without Jangles” and “One4” (both 1990) are two of only five pieces Cage wrote specifically for solo percussion, and explore Cage’s late-career interest in directed improvisation. “c Ȼomposed Improvisation” was written for percussionist Glen Velez, with whom Matt Hannafin studied just three years after the piece was created.Commissioned by Notice Recordings, these four performances are in dialogue not only with each other but with Notice itself, which has its roots in the underground/DIY realm while also exploring contemporary/academic composition. The accessibility, inventiveness, and challenge of compositions like these make Cage a unique pivot point between these two worlds.

John Cage & Matt Hannafin – Four Realizations for Solo Percussions

On the long-awaited Exaptations, Toronto-based composer Nick Storring presents two highly textural, side-long pieces. On “Field Lines”, originally composed for Yvonne NG Peck Wan‘s dance piece, Magnetic Fields, a certain fragmented, uncertain openness is conveyed: a series of brief, dreamlike clearings are vignetted by pregnant silences or various levels of waking or sleeping states. Storring plays with a variety of tonal instruments that swell and tumble along while being nipped at by expressive percussion. Organic clusters develop within event-based sequences, stretching attention across multiple timbres and rhythms. On “Yield Criteria”, shifting drones move about like independent layers of ice on a lake in the dead of winter, slowing crumbling, sliding, and cracking in perfect harmony. Storring has written for dance and other interdisciplinary settings, and here he brings the delicate resourcefulness of a skilled accompanist, as well as a narrative sense that belatedly, profoundly blossoms. --- Field Lines: Composed and recorded October 2013 - May 2014 for Yvonne Ng's dance piece, Magnetic Fields, which premiered in May 2014.Nick Storring / various percussion and found objects, vibraphone, glockenspiel, balafon, chimes, hand bells, toy pianos, thumb pianos, voice/whistling, electric (NS Designs NXT4) and acoustic cellos, electric bass, electric mandola, violin, hammered dulcimer, Hohner Pianet T, Yamaha CP60M, Hohner Clavinet D6, flutes, harpsicle, strumstick, guitalele, steel pan, harmonica, melodica, pitch pipes, hulosiSpecial thanks to Yvonne, Marie-Josée Chartier, Mairead Filgate, Luke Garwood, Christopher Willes. Thank you to Germaine Liu for the use of her vibraphone, and John Farah for the use of his Pianet.Yield Criteria:Composed and recorded February - June 2014.Nick Storring / NS Designs NXT4 electric cello, electric bass, electric mandola, thunder tubes, Yamaha CP60M, toy piano, harmonica, duck call, voice, hand bells, glockenspielElements were used in Eva Kolcze's film, All That Is Solid. Thank you to Eva, Spencer Barclay, Jason Doell, Brandon Valdivia, and Bryan Bray.Processing and manipulation performed on the above sound sources (and the sound of a blank, chemically-treated 16mm film sound-strip) using combinations of the following: transducer speakers on various resonant chambers, instruments and surfaces; talkbox; spring reverb; recordable cassette walkman; various speakers; (contact) microphones.Special thanks to Nicole Cultraro for her violin and kalimba, her support and inspiration, and patience with my process. Thanks also to Andrew Zukerman.Gratitude also to all who listened and offered feedback.Artwork and layout by E. Lindorff-ElleryPrinted by John Fitzgerald at Fitzgerald Letterpress, New Orleans

Nick Storring – Exaptations