Adam Sonderberg

64 Squares

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AllMusic Review by

If Sam Dellaria and Adam Sonderberg's intention was to produce an album that would embody the antithesis of their 1998 debut, Signal Hill, they succeeded. While their first collaboration delved into an eventful noise/sound collage paradigm, the 45-minute single-piece 64 Squares is static, low profile, and as difficult as it gets. There's a sine wave generator and what sounds like a contact microphone. The sine wave sines away (yeesh), one or two tones at a time, usually in the uncomfortable high-end register. Someone delicately toys with the mike (maybe hitting it with a fingernail?). Things move very slowly, change rarely, and amount to very little. Sachiko M.'s Sine Wave Solo comes to mind. Listeners are in the deepest regions of microsound, where nothingness is a state of mind. Some people achieve interesting results in this direction, but one must admit Dellaria and Sonderberg did not. The piece fails to raise questions or sustain interest long enough for something to happen in the head of the listener (after all, that is the point of most avant-garde music). Signal Hill is much more interesting and Sonderberg's Say No EP manages to go further into abstraction while remaining more tantalizing.