Tuesday, December 23, 2008
signatures, in the regular edition, is now available
invisible birds is deeply honoured to release the very fine disc by mr. colin andrew sheffield entitled signatures, in the regular edition.
here, we have posted a nice review:
seattle’s colin andrew sheffield has been quietly destroying sound since the late 1990’s. beginning with 1998’s side one/side two, on his own elevator bath imprint – also home to recordings from adam pacione and rick reed, among others – he’s been utilizing man-made and “found” sounds in a continually sweeping effort to restructure what has come before him, with all genres and mediums up for grabs. his work has consanguinity with many dabblers in electro-acoustic and experimental music; an obsession with turning mechanical, digital, and everyday sounds into contemplative drones through concentrated layers of sustained recording, often with the occasional sprinkling of electrified emphatics to convey external impulse or to mark transition.
back in 2000, sheffield offered up his own music for surgery on the cassette-only, recycled music (rrrecords). while a collaborative effort, it marks an early instance of the conventions used in his music today: to literally disassemble into raw components a recording (tape, vinyl, microcassette, whathaveyou) and frankenstein it into music that can only be described as panoramic. it’s a wildly unique approach that incorporates scientific methods to meet an aesthetic end.
it is appropriate that his newest release would come in partnership with invisible birds, a concept label committed to expression using abstract sound and image inspired by… birds (actual and implied). such a focused model can’t be without well-considered artwork or presentation, and sheffield’s disc sure looks nice. his signatures is the second release in the young catalog (the first a dvd from film artist matthew swiezynski), and some detail is required to get at the music.
a sampler, multi-track recorder, and vinyl were used to capture bird-related and -specific sound for reconstruction into long-play. you likely won’t recognize a single source – short “clips” used are slowed to betray recognition and then layered in parallel and in series with some remarkable results. a sustained chord from a church organ is heard, but it’s really not. bell-like harmonics from an analog synthesizer likely originate from a whippoorwill. our only acquaintance is the occasional, muffled pop from cartridge-on-vinyl. signatures is fours tracks of this, the first and last in dreamy excess of twenty minutes, and they are worth the sit just to hear the nuances come and go. arise uses trebly, airy samples and some killer use of reverb to evoke distance. and surrender is another relatively short piece, and provides the only instance where the disc’s inspiration makes a faint, audible appearance, buried beneath thick textures.
while the disc is copyrighted for 2009, it is released this week, and after nearly a week of continued listening it has crept up as my dark horse for favorites this year. fittingly, i can find no better tribute to commemorate a tunesmith of the same fiber, who would be celebrating his 100th birthday – olivier messiaen.
~alan jones - bagatellen
the release is for sale here