Notice Recordings

Stella Silbert and Nat Baldwin’s "01.30.22" starts with a disorienting and curt mixture of vinyl static, chopped and skewed mysterious acoustic guitar strings, and a loud, acoustic “thud”. It’s an introduction to a strange piece of music from a strange album by two fascinating players in the current improvised and contemporary music landscape. This first piece, “5”, warbles and wobbles its way though oddly lyrical passages, framed in sporadic collaged format by the rapidly cut pitch-shifted classical guitar emanating from Silbert’s prepared turntable, pockmarked with abrasive static. Baldwin’s breathy, thick, and textured double bass playing wonderfully compliments such engaging sounds, while both voices allow one another to breathe freely. This is a consistent feeling throughout the album: one is allowed to breathe and mentally wander throughout these sounds. Despite their intensity, they are never exhausting. (Quite literally, one can hear Baldwin’s labored breath throughout the recording.) Notice became aware of Silbert’s work via the incredible duo Beige, with Liam Kramer-White, and here on "01.30.22", one can similarly hear the unique approach to timbre, dynamic, and pacing. Baldwin runs the much-loved Tripticks Tapes, and has roots in both improvised music and song-based work, with a number of solo albums on Western Vinyl. His plucked, bowed, scraped or otherwise altered double bass exists as an adaptable and amorphous hinge throughout the performances; facilitating movements of sounds both horizontally and vertically, simultaneously closing and opening segments. The duo’s interplay and dynamic is deeply exciting and presents a fresh and weird sound in free improvisation.

01.30.22 – Stella Silbert and Nat Baldwin

"Live Recordings" presents MAW—the trio of Frank Meadows (bass), Jessica Ackerley (guitar), and Eli Wallace (piano/synth)—fully testing the possibilities of their creative dialogue in front of a live audience for the first time. Two concerts in Brooklyn and Saugerties, both staged in October 2021, display the performance of an acute democratic understanding, acquired across formative years of private sessions and conversation, including the late 2020 recording session that produced their Atlantic Rhythms debut “A Maneuver Within”. Notice Recordings became aware of the trio via Ackerley, a recent Notice artist who recorded a blistering album with Patrick Shiroishi. Having then become familiar with Wallace and Meadows’ engaging playing in other configurations, we were immediately allured by the prospect of the new trio. On this album, MAW traces a broad rhythmic and dynamic range, engaging in fierce rhythmic interplay and patiently suspended motion, all the while maintaining a controlled emphasis on colorful gesture and textural counterpoint. The trio’s knowledge of each other, as well as a diverse range of influences, is carefully condensed into a hard-won syntax which produces the concise recorded summaries presented here. Each set has a heaviness, but they are never imposing. They are taut and physical, yet their fluidity is inviting. Atmosphere becomes important here: One can feel the dark, open, resonant room of Mise-en-Place and its industrial surroundings on Side A, augmented by Wallace's prepared piano, a thunderous and haptic blend with Ackerley and Meadows’ playfully interwoven string work. Alternatively, Side B's recording has the close intimacy of the small gallery setting at Opus 40 in upstate New York, albeit with the door open to a rainy evening, permitting the occasional pastoral ambiance, such as cawing of crows, to settle into the recording. Despite this, Side B is an intense endeavour, with swathes of Wallace's synth laced throughout the performance, a fine example of an unhinged and untamed "electric MAW". 

MAW – Live Recordings

Sunik Kim’s Raid on the White Tiger Regiment arrives three years after 2019’s Zero Chime on First Terrace Records. Raid has strong political undertones and is named after one of the eight core revolutionary operas produced during the Cultural Revolution. This particular opera focuses on the joint struggle of Chinese and Korean communists during the Korean War, during which there were devastating US attacks on the northern part of the peninsula. Raid is an insanely wild ride made with software Sunik custom-built in Max MSP and SuperCollider using free orchestral soundfonts at hyper-speed tempos. Despite the presumed chaos of this album, there is a strong and present voice that permeates the barrage of noises, almost as if the teeming and swirling sounds coalesce to create a slowly shifting mass that is somehow soothing. There is a constant regeneration of textures and sensations here: simultaneously shedding and accumulating, receding and emerging. A multidirectional presence, both solidly grounded but also unpredictable in its motion. Side B presents a unique live document of Sunik’s performances of the Raid material: a lengthy 30 minute piece created from multiple field recordings of the performances at Cafe OTO in London and Counterflows in Glasgow. “Raid Live” stands as an interesting counter to the meticulously crafted studio-created material. Its weight is held by roomtone, pockmarked with the audience’s yelling and mingling; a cathartic experience felt by many.---Artist's statement:This is possibly the second album named after one of the eight core revolutionary operas produced during the Cultural Revolution; to my knowledge, the first is Brian Eno’s Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy. Raid on the White Tiger Regiment, the opera, focuses on the joint struggle of Chinese and Korean communists during the Korean War—a truly “forgotten war” in much of the world, in which the US dropped 635,000 tons of explosives and 32,557 tons of napalm on the northern part of the peninsula, killing 20 percent of the population, and massacred tens of thousands of Korean communists and suspected sympathizers from Nogeun-ri to Daejeon.Raid, the album, pulls its titles from the opera’s program and thereby positions the music as a soundtrack: an inherently limited and dependent form that requires a broader historical and political context—a connection with the world—to reach its fullest state of development. In substituting my wordless, “abstract” music for that of the original opera, I hope to establish a living nexus of contradictions between: (1) the original opera, as direct an example of “political art” as there can be; (2) the extended historical and political processes that birthed it; (3) our current conjuncture; (4) the immediate listening experience. In this clashing and intertwining of timelines, histories, and sense-perceptions, I hope to facilitate a visceral act of comparison, a tracking of excess and deficiency: what aligns, what collides, what falls horribly or comically flat, what brings tears of joy or sadness? And why?The music is constructed with custom software I built with Max/MSP and SuperCollider that controls banks of free orchestral soundfonts at chaotic tempos. I hope the overt “cheapness” of the materials, and their constantly coalescing, collapsing, disintegrating, reassembling movement, establishes a dramatic—operatic!—tension internal to the logic of the music itself: one that, above all, argues that possibilities—aesthetic, yes, but also historical and political—have nowhere near been exhausted, and that the present order will one day be rightfully relegated to “the museum of antiquities, next to the spinning wheel and the bronze ax.”Sunik Kim, 2022

Sunik Kim – Raid on the White Tiger Regiment

"Soulcaster" is the third solo record by Brooklyn-based composer/performer Joanna Mattrey. Following Live in Accord and various Notice Recordings-curated performances in the Hudson Valley, this album is a further development in our years-long friendship. With "Soulcaster", Mattrey scrapes, scratches, and wails on viola, prepared viola, and a tromba marina, built by Webb Crawford. Mattrey’s love of unique and unusual sounds has inspired her to alter the pure tone of the viola through preparations with styrofoam, plastic toys, chains, and other objects. But the newest sounds in her arsenal come from the tromba marina, which has one primary playing string and thirteen sympathetic strings. Rather than gently coaxing out the harmonics, as the historical playing style suggests, Mattrey employs a raucous and roaring approach.The title, "Soulcaster", is borrowed from Brandon Sanderson’s book series, "The Stormlight Archive". In the fantasy series, a soulcaster is an instrument that transforms one object or life form into another. Mattrey’s practice connects heavily to the idea of transformation. She uses preparations and objects not only to create new sounds from her instruments, but to embrace the unknown. No matter how many times the same object has been used, depending on the vibrations on a given day, the preparations might bring out totally different sounds. This randomness creates a joyful challenge for Mattrey, who believes that especially during improvisation, music has its own life that activates and guides the sound forward. Mattrey surrenders to this energetic line of sound over the eleven tracks featured on this tape.

Joanna Mattrey – Soulcaster

Recorded live in Accord, New York, this recording stands not only as Notice Recording’s 70th album, but also the first release to document an event organized by Notice as well. June 6th was one of the hottest days of that summer, and the wooden platform on which the performances occurred was on the top of a small hill on Deer Creek Farm. Many sweaty trips up and down that hill carrying gear ensued. Luckily, the performance and audience space was nestled under a shadowy tree canopy of thick leaves, allowing intermittent patches of sunlight. Charmaine Lee performed solo and was soon joined by Weston Olencki. Following this, featured on Side B, was a first meeting of Fred Lonberg-Holm, Joanna Mattrey, and Gabby Fluke-Mogul, with dance accompaniment by Emily Kessler, Sienna Blaw, and Chelsea Enjer Hecht, whose footsteps can be lightly heard in the leaves throughout the recording, a textural element joined by various distant birdsong and other indeterminate shuffling. The final performance of the afternoon was Fred and Weston, another first meeting, a duo of trombone and cello, also joined by the dancers. This album exists as basically a high quality field recording of the event: atmospheric and intense, ephemeral and grounded, an experience amorphous in one’s memory as are the undulating birdsongs that interlaced the entire afternoon.

Charmaine Lee / Fred Lonberg-Holm / Gabby Fluke-Mogul / Joanna Mattrey / Weston Olencki – Live in Accord

Two sets of music by Chik White, an alias of Darcy Spidle, whose Nova Scotia-based Divorce Records has been slinging LPs of sonic bemusement since 1999. Jaw Works is made up of solo jaw harp performances, wringing mesmerizing detail from variations in rhythm and tempo, while achieving a wide variety of barely believable, almost synthesized-sounding timbres. Behind A Dead Tree On The Shore also features the jaw harp, albeit in concert with the North Atlantic Ocean, which inspired the more minimal, rhythmic pieces performed on the shore. Organic and personal, this is folk music created by a single person in his environment, using the most basic of musical tools. "The immense, magical strangeness of the jaw harp – man, that twanging, cartoonish sproing – fuels this release. It’s essentially a series of brief exercises. On Side A, the Nova Scotia-based White cycles through variations on his daily practice; on Side B, he improvises along a shoreline. Since each track is no briefer than 50 seconds and no longer than four minutes, a game freshness reigns and there is never a sense that the artist is repeating himself: the coiled spritely bounce of “Hiding In A Dead Tree” is as distinct from the breathy, fading hesitancy of “Dreamer’s Words” or the steady, strident vibrations of “Dreamer’s Question.” White’s tones sidle from hypnagogic to inquisitive to – in the case of “Cliff Collapsing Slowly” – downright cybernetic, the echoed thrumming contrasting deliciously with the ceaseless crash and dispersion of waves. “Meditative” is a descriptor that’s thrown around a lot in experimental or drone music, but it’s rarely this earned, even as a crepuscular unease lurks at the edges of this cassette." - Cassettegods   ---   Artwork, layout by E. Lindorff-ElleryPrinted by Minuteman Press  

Jaw Works & Behind a Dead Tree on the Shore – Chik White

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

Solum – Fraufraulein