“A New Instability” was first presented as a 32-channel piece at Ina-GRM in Paris, who commissioned it. Now, it has been mixed down into stereo for more casual consumption- a two-part, thirty-minute gradually unfolding pseudo-drama of noise, drone and human atmospherics. In varying combinations- sometimes slow waves, sometimes more abrupt drops and switches- drones, hums and glitches are introduced and removed.
A kendo dojo in Switzerland provides the majority of the human sonic material, and the pull between crowd fighting sounds- even if only practices- and the resolutely sombre and arhythmic drone work provides the contrast at the core of the work. The fighting sounds sometimes seem quite brutal, though their usage and volume is so subtle that it’s hard to be sure. The fighting records remind me of CNSNNT’s’ “J”, even though that piece is brutal and this work is an exercise in softening the violence.
Side B offers up more in the way of short electronic bleeps that feel skittish and make proceedings feel more uncomfortable, and longer alarm-ish sine waves that provide an uncomfortable tension- amplifying the contrast between the percussive but ultimately safe fighting sounds and the digital drama happening alongside.
It’s an unusual work, and in stereo, curiously understated- experiencing it in a higher-channel-count environment could potentially have been very disorientating, whereas here, the disquiet is a gentle itch rather than dizzying. Intriguing soundscaping.