prices / ordering

all engraved glass releases can be purchased via the bandcamp page:

mp3 extracts from engraved glass releases

Saturday, March 26, 2011

see CHRIS WATSON using some of my contact mics to explore the hidden inner sounds of trees on BBC's The One Show (friday 25th March edition) - available on bbc site for the next few days

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Jez riley French - 'four objects'

limited edition taiyo yuden full size on deluxe, recycled stock art card - first 20 copies come as 2 x 8cm cd (please state when ordering whether you would prefer a standard cd edition or the 2 x 8cm edition)

gathering together four of Jez's most requested & intriguing pieces for single objects

broken piezo disc
teasel plant
slate window sill


to order the cd version please see the first post on this website
also available as a digital download:

review from The Field Reporter blog:

Jez riley French’s Four Objects is an exploration into the amplification of sound miniatures. Over the course of forty minutes French directs his microphones towards four different objects, including: a piezo disc microphone, a teasel plant, a slate window, a tea flask. These pieces are strategically presented without any compositional intent, each of them being unmodified field recordings. As stated on his website French questions the use of processed sound, concerned that it is removing our ability to listen. Four Objects can therefore be read as an exercise in listening, a form of anti-composition which challenges the audience to become fully immersed within its microscopic worlds.
When French isn’t releasing his own material he is well-known for creating microphones. Four Objects showcases them well. The first track, a piezo disc slowly breaking, captures the tiny crackles and pops of a microphone in its death throes. For ten minutes we listen to the various sounds associated with this process. As with the ensuing recordings the piezo disc is presented without any external ambience. In light of French’s raison d’être this sole focus upon a single object enables the audience to be absorbed into its sonic realm without any other distraction.
A teasel plant on a windy day takes us to the surface of this prickly plant as it sways in the wind. A contact microphone amplifies the plant’s fast irregular rattles, each with its own pitch and wooden resonance. Listening to the recording we are drawn into the plant as it moves from side to side.
A slate windowsill captures a low drone-like vibration emanating from the surface of a sill. While the other tracks feature variously recognisable tonalities and slight moments of silence a slate windowsillhas a relentless propulsion that is at once mesmeric and disturbing.
A flask at q-02 is the final track in the release. Here French presents the sound of hot air as it slowly escapes from a tea-flask. The track’s placement at the end of the release seems critical, reminding us that a world of sound lies before us in the most mundane of objects.
French’s Four Objects is as much a celebration of sound as it is about the act of listening. The duration of the tracks requires the audience to listen beyond the limits of their usual attention span. It also obliges the audience to forego the anticipation of listening for climactic sound-events. Instead French invites us to lose ourselves within the moment of listening and to recognise that music naturally exists around us.

from review on the watchful ear site by Richard Pinnell:

Jez releases a lot of CDs, many by other musicians, but also a good few by himself. I still haven’t had the time to catch up with his album released by the Compost and Height netlabel yet. Its here if you would like to sample some of his music in lossless format for free. I have come to think of Jez as something of a hunter/gatherer of field recordings, (though I’m not entirely sure that the description field recording these days really describes suitably what he and other like him actually do). Jez then releases albums of material that seem a bit like documentation of his explorations, audio photo albums maybe, an apt metaphor given Jez’ considerable skills as a photographer....
....they seem to work as little catalogues of recordings that can present some fascinating sounds, discovered in places we might not expect....little moments of aural revelation....
So Four Objects contains four recordings, each exactly ten minutes in length. As you might expect, the four tracks are focussed on recordings of four objects- a piezo disc microphone slowly breaking, a teasel plant found on the Norfolk coast, a slate window sill in Brussells and a hot drinks flask in the same city, which apparently started making the sounds heard here ten minute sand twenty-eight seconds after being filled with hot water.
The first, the sounds of the piezo disc’s last moments consists of a stream of tiny, tinkling, crackling pops and clicks, about as we might expect. What makes the recording nice is the absence of anything else, so the tiny sounds as they flit past sit against a backdrop of white. Apparently the disc was moved slightly to create these little crackles, and so there is some human input into the generation of the sounds. This piece then, sets the mood for the album in general- nice sounds, found by an attentive ear, captured and presented well....
The second track, the recording of the teasel plant reminds me a lot of the extensive listening I have done int he past to Jeph Jerman’s field recordings of cactii. The plant has a brittle, almost hollow sound to it, so the recording we hear has a strong percussive feel. The wind blows the plant, which makes it knock into itself, so creating this contact mic'ed recording. Again, its a nice capture.
The third piece, the recording of the window sill is another contact mic piece, but here the sounds of vibrations on the slate surface take on a strange, alien quality, almost (for some reason) like standing in a long concrete tunnel listening to the sound of dense church bells ringing at the far end of it. Again, it takes a knowledgeable and creative ear to discover this kind of thing, and Jez is remarkably good at finding hidden beauty in unexpected places, a theme that runs through much of his work, audio and visual.
The hot drinks flask is an intriguing one. The statement that the sounds we hear, a sudden explosion of escaping air, occurred at 10′28″ after the flask was filled suggests that this was no accident, and the careful placement of microphones to capture this phenomena also suggests that Jez was expecting this to happen, perhaps having come across it by accident before. What we hear then is an initial rush of sound that slowly breaks up into little stuttering jabs of sound, not at all unlike the sound of raw open circuit electronics we often hear in modern improvisation. I’d never have guessed that a flask was creating the sound, so again the element of revealing hidden treasure is the track’s strong point....
So Four Objects is not at all without its certainly showcases the remarkable ability of Jez riley French to discover and then reveal to the rest of us a soundworld beyond what we normally perceive.....Four Objects then is a collection of nice, creative recordings....
review by Brian Olewnick / Just Outside website:
Label owner French's latest self-descriptive offering of four 10-minute recordings sourced from four different objects, straddling that hazy line between science experiment and art (often an imaginary distinction, imho). "a piezo disc slowly breaking..." is a delightful track, full of delicate pings and pops, slightly reminiscent of Xenakis' marvelous "Concret pH", the sort of thing I can listen to for quite a while, the sequence of sounds having that nice blend of irregularity on a small cluster level but a general regularity when one moves up a stratum. His recording of a teasel plant is spiny and woolly, a similar area that Jeph Jerman has explored, but somehow wears out its welcome for me after a few minutes. Odd how some things, inherently not so different, have differing effects, I imagine varying widely from listener to listener. The following track, picking up vibrations within a slate window sill is, again, quiet wonderful, the low, complex hums forming patterns I could happily listen to for hours. The last cut, having to do with sounds emitted by a flask filled with hot water some ten minutes prior to recording, those sounds dwelling in the range of sputters and gasps, I find somehow less compelling, perhaps too one-layered, I don't know. But aside from the basic pleasure one does or doesn't derive from the pieces, they cause one to consider why this is so and, of course, to simply listen more closely, always a plus.

Bruno Duplant - 'one hour north'

limited edition taiyo yuden full size cd mounted on art card + additional score / print card.

French musician & composer Bruno Duplant offers three works: two solo, for multiple instruments & field recordings & a realisation of one of his graphic scores featuring Vanessa Rossetto, Paulo Chagas, Lee Noyes, Phil Hargreaves & Bruno himself.

an alternative realisation of the graphic score, performed by class 7, dunedin steiner school, new zealand, conducted by Lee Noyes is available as a free download to those who purchase this cd edition.
(please note: the score card that accompanies this release contains a small typo - it reads 'stainer school' which should of course be 'steiner school')

to order the cd version please see the first post on this website

review by Brian Olewnick / Just Outside website:

An intriguing selection of three very different pieces from Dupont, a bassist who I don't believe I've heard before (as ever, said with great hesitation). "arras, une heur trente d'arrêt" combines field recordings, largely of a mother and children speaking (in French), small percussive objects, between-radio-stations type buzzes and, notably, someone whistling a melancholy almost-tune. It's a very full, vivid and wonderful work, not a little reminiscent of Ferrari; something about the combination of sounds is both warm and subtly disturbing.

"one for for five (who goes slowly goes" is indeed for a quintet (Vanessa Rossetto/viola with small motors, Paulo Chagas/bass clarinet, Lee Noyes/inside & outside piano, Phil Hargreaves/flute and Dupont/double bass and graphic score). The score is included on a separate card, where it's titled "one four for five"--not sure which is correct--and it seems fairly straightforward, each instrument having approximately timed sections in which to play with both graphic and written descriptions ("long notes", "what you want with rhythm", etc.). The result is thick and, not in a bad way, sluggish, like a viscous liquid. It's engaging enough, though marred, to my taste, by many of Chagas' contributions which tend toward a stale kind of free jazz playing that seems very much out of place here (though, I suppose, it might be exactly what Dupont wanted).

"nord" takes another sharp turn, consisting of field recordings (highway sounds, mostly), double bass and, most noticeably, an old vinyl recording of...I'm not sure what, but something along the lines of an East European brass band playing a kind of dirge (a doina?). Whatever, it's an unusual and enjoyable combination of sources, Dupont confining his sounds to commentary here and there, allowing the traffic and phonograph to define the terrain. Good piece, interesting and largely enjoyable album.

review by Richard Pinnell / Watchful Ear website:

Another new CDr from Jez riley French’s prolific Engraved Glass label, this one the tenth disc in

the .point engraved series which I think focuses on the work on other musicians. The disc is named One Hour North, and is the work of a French bassist/composer Bruno Duplant. The album contains three pieces, two of which clock in at between ten and fifteen minutes, either side of a lengthy forty minute central track. All of the pieces though are quite different.
The opening piece is named arras, une heur trente d’arrêt, and is a work that combines a single continuous field recording of what sounds like overheard conversations between children and an adult woman. (Maybe Duplant’s wife and children that are credited on the CD’s accompanying card? Just a guess) This recording is a little blurred, distant, the kind of thing you might imagine hearing on a summer’s day in the park. The voices speak in French, and they sound happy, but beyond this little can be ascertained. Over this field recording are layered tiny little buzzes and clicks and taps, originating from ’small objects’ and a radio. Occasionally the radio bursts into little patches of conversation, but it doesn’t stay with these for more than a fleeting moment. Then alongside all of this is layered a further recording, of a man whistling, somewhat aimlessly, vaguely melodically (I thought I could identify the tune in several places but never quite managed it). The overall effect of all of this is pleasing, a kind of murmuring drift of sound that feels like it does all belong together, even though clearly it doesn’t. I’m reminded, for some very bizarre reason of early hip hop production, where disparate samples would be overlaid to create a massed overall effect, only here the samples are twelve minutes long and aren’t looped. The effect is the same though, with a good compositional ear spotting how well the three elements would work together.
The second track is a different animal altogether. Its a realisation of a graphic score by Duplant (a small image of the score or part of it, is included with the release) The piece is named One four for five (who goes slowly goes) and is realised here by five musicians who each recorded their part separately, with the track then put together by overlaying the five parts. The musicians are Vanessa Rossetto, (viola with small motors) Paulo Chagas, (bass clarinet) Lee Noyes (inside and outside piano) Phil Hargreaves (flute) and Duplant himself playing double bass. The score dictates rough timings for loosely described events (’long notes’, ‘what you want with rhythm’, ‘noises’ etc…) The piece goes on for forty minutes and throughout it wanders all over the place. There are some very nice moments in there, with the piano and bass in particular standing out, but also some parts (notably often Chagas’ clarinet) that veer towards more melodic, even jazzy sensibilities. The problem with a work realised like this (and I am assuming that the five musicians had not heard each others’ contributions when they made their own) is that it takes all five musicians to be essentially on the same page as each other regarding mood and style, and if one or two wander off in a strong direction, as Chagas does here, it will stand out a mile. The score also clearly asks the musicians to “never play loud!!!” and here and there Chagas certainly seems to do this. I don’t mean to pick out one musician here but his contributions do stick out a little.
Overall, One four for five (who goes slowly goes) is OK, but it begins to tire somewhat over its lengthy duration, perhaps because of its meandering nature, which was in turn probably caused by the method of the track’s construction. This kind of thing is always brave, and its fascinating how such a project turns out, but here , while there are some nice passages the piece wanders about a little too much for my taste.
We then get a further piece, named Nord, which combines more murkily enigmatic field recordings, mostly grey-sounding recordings of traffic over wet roads- all very quiet and unassuming again), Duplant’s double bass and a recording of an old record player, playing something classical (for brass and piano I think?) but the sound is warped, slowed and coated in static. Duplant’s playing is very nice here, restrained to just little interjections here and there, often picking out tiny parts of the record playing, sometimes combining with the traffic, mostly bowed but with some knocks and plucks at dry strings here and there. This is a nice piece. In places the gramophone dominates a little too much for my liking, and I’d have liked to have heard the traffic coming through the mix a little stronger in places, but this is nit-picking as the piece is another excellent example of Duplant’s ear for combining seemingly disparate sounds.
Overall a mixed bag but with some lovely moments and a pointer towards a composer with a good ear for layering elements together. While I struggled a little with the central composed piece, and perhaps may have preferred more of the field recording / acoustic instrumentation juxtaposition in its place, this is a nice CD, the first I have heard from Duplant, who promises good things ahead.

Richard Kamerman - 'CHANGES. txt'


limited edition taiyo yuden full size cd mounted on art card

Richard Kamerman - 3 (mp3 extract) by JezrileyFrench

focusing on the acoustic material offered up in one room, this recording session captures a spirit of creative field recording & focused interaction with the contained sounds and objects.

to order the cd version please see the first post on this website

review by Brian Olewnick / Just Outide website:

I do enjoy me some obsessiveness on the part of musicians. I've almost invariably found a lot to like in Kamerman's music over the past few years, both live and on disc, including his propensity to not be pigeonholed so it's a special pleasure to hear these four variations on a fairly tightly controlled theme, recorded just over two months ago.

There are only three or four elements in play throughout, arrayed similarly on each track, with minor but crucial differences: a very low, cottony rumble, a medium range, large-grained static spray that's iterated in a regular, slow pulse, a high, keening series of tones and a mid-range kind of buzz that reminds me of the tail end of a Jew's harp twang.

The general effect might be said to be of a bleak industrial soundscape but an essential difference occurred to me while listening: most such examples, at heart, sound as though they're constructed, contain gestures, if you will, that bear the stamp of the musician involved. Kamerman has, to my ears, managed to remove himself to a large degree, to have created something that really sounds as though it could be a found recording of a marvelous, empty, throbbing, sputtering space. No mean feat. The static may come in one burst here, two there, the high-pitched whine varied within itself and as to when or how often it appears.

Only the last, brief (two minute) track, suitably titled, "in which I let go", shifts gears, a series of random knocks and bumps, almost as though the power has been turned off and the pipes begin to clank as their temperature subsides.

Excellent recording, do give a listen.

review by Richard Pinnell (the watchful ear):

Still suffering somewhat today. I’ve been out and about all over the place as the day went by and although I have generally taken things slow my eyes and body are showing the strain again tonight, and as I have to be up at six for work again in the morning I am going to try and keep tonight’s review brief. I know, I always say that… lets see if I can this time around.
Actually the CD I have been listening to is one that probably only requires a brief review anyway. I say this not because the music is insubstantial in any way, but rather because the music is quite simple in its structure and content, and because if there is a lot to discuss about the way it was made, or the reasons for which it was made, then this isn’t clear. So we are left to just listen to the sounds on the CD and take them for what they are.
The CDr in question is Richard Kamerman’s recent release on the Engraved Glass label named Changes.txt. Now, before I had heard this collection of four pieces, and before I had read the track titles or the short description of the work at the label’s website, I had, simply because of the title of the album decided for myself that the music here could be audio processes of a computer text file. I don’t think this is the case though, despite my recollection of Kamerman doing something like this before. The note at the EG site then reads as follows:
focusing on the acoustic material offered up in one room, this recording session captures a spirit of creative field recording & focused interaction with the contained sounds and objects.
This description, coupled with the track titles, which suggest that Kamerman did not have full control over the sounds included (The second track is named In which I again try to concede authority and the third In which I accept a new potential) lead me to wonder if some kind of process was used to pull together the sounds here outside of merely using the items in a particular room to create them. The fact is, beyond the information we have, and the detail that the recordings were all mace in one day, we are left to make educated guesses about how this music was made, and on this occasion I admit defeat, accept that I don’t have a clue, and just choose to sit and enjoy it.
So, I hear you impatiently wonder, what does it sound like? Well across the four pieces here there is very little material in use, just a few sound sources that come and go but remain relatively consistent throughout the forty-six minute long disc. The over-riding impression is one of quiet, calm sounds; a soft, distant blurred murmur that reminds me of wind buffeting a house heard from behind the safety of thick walls, a thin high pitched shriek that could be feedback of some kind but also resembles something metal being bowed, an occasional ripple of gritty, lumpy static and the odd pop and crackle on top. Until the final two minute long track, very little happens beyond a kind of softly rhythmic pulse formed from these basic elements drifting very slowly in and out, creating a kind of tide-like, very restful pattern that changes slightly across the first three pieces, but not significantly enough to note obvious alterations. Throughout the disc, up until the final couple of minutes when a few other pops and bangs appear, we hear little else apart from the simple ingredients that give the music its simple life, and so the disc quickly turns into something very restful and calming, despite the seemingly raw and unfinished quality of the sounds used in its making.
However he has achieved it, Kamerman has succeeded in forming music that feels thoroughly naturalistic and organic, as if (as the website notes suggest) the composer’s input was akin to a field recordist’s- finding interesting sounds and then just capturing them as they are. The music doesn’t sound human, or at least doesn’t sound like it was constructed deliberately, rather that it happened naturally and was in some way captured and preserved on disc. I found this music really very easy to listen to, which is an unusual trait for me to discover in Kamerman’s music. it was a disc I found useful over the last week or two to put on in the background whilst reading and writing emails. It feels like a modern ambient music, made up of the kinds of sounds that fill our modern ways of living- industrial screeches, digital chatter and crackle and hum- sounds that we already hear and feel and recognise, reworked and placed back into our environment via this CDr, but in a manner that doesn’t assert itself, doesn’t feel like human expression. Changes.txt is in many ways a thoroughly forgettable CD, in that it feels like it doesn’t try and leave an impact on you, and its easy to almost forget it is playing, but then also herein also lies the music’s strengths and mysteries. A curious one indeed.