Frank Bretschneider + Steve Roden: Suite Nuit (Line, 2014)

November 2, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Frank Bretschneider + Steve Roden: Suite Nuit

Frank Bretschneider + Steve Roden: Suite Nuit

Raster-Noton co-founder Frank Bretschneider teamed up with field recording/found-sound artist Steve Roden for this session of manipulated sounds and electronics, which was commissioned for a 2004 festival at a church in Berlin, and was recently unearthed and released. The recording features the 22-minute live session as well as a 30-minute rehearsal. Both sessions feature Bretschneider’s sine-wave/clicks’n’cuts electronic tones (typical of the labels he’s recorded for, such as Mille Plateaux, 12k, Raster-Noton and Line) along with Steve Roden’s found sounds and recordings. About two minutes into the live session, a minimalist groove is flooded with cluttered, scattered thumb piano notes. After shuddering and glitching out, insect-like high-pitched tones crowd around miniscule convulsing beats. The sounds of a distant crowd appear around 7 minutes, before more swarms of chattering beats and drones emerge. The noise-scape widens around 10 minutes, with heavy reverberations, but nothing erupting into full-on harsh noise. A hypnotic beat underlines subtle, backwards loops, and around 16 minutes, gong-like tones emerge amongst more nervous, shaky beats/tones. A wash of small, wooden stick-like tones is poured around, and the final minutes of the session feature a warmer drone sound along with the continually chattering beats and bass tones. The rehearsal session lasts longer and explores similar terrain, but doesn’t arrive at the same conclusions (such is the nature of improvisation). If anything, it seems like this one sprawls out a bit longer, taking more time for sounds to develop. It gradually seems to drift away from rhythmic elements, until waves of feedback and quiet tones usher back in the vibrating, chattering beats. These give way to ambient droning for the session’s final minutes, with a few obscured field recordings which make you wonder what’s happening in the scenes being recorded.

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