Various Artists

lowercase-sound2002

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Steve Roden used the word "lowercase" in a 1998 interview to describe his own sound esthetic. The term sparked something and sound artists from all over the world gathered in the lowercase-sound discussion group, widening the possible definition of what has become known as a style, for better or worse. Lowercase is a form of composition that focuses on attentive listening and microscopic sounds. This two-CD compilation describes better than words the scope and interest of the field. Beautifully and originally designed, the box contains previously unreleased contributions by a representative cross section of artists. Disc one focuses on pieces derived from field recordings or recordings of acoustic instruments. Gal's "Zhu Shui" (an assemblage of bowling up and cooling down tea kettles) and John Hudak's "Radio Past" (a wax cylinder recording severely altered by the passage of time) stand out, with contributions by Dale Lloyd and Jason Lescalleet also offering memorable moments. Radu Malfatti's "Selbander" is an excruciatingly minimal piece for three trombones made of short episodes of droning activity separated by lengthy silences. Disc two culls tracks of a more purely electronic nature and here we find many top names in the field of experimental electronica and installation art: Francisco Lopez, Stephan Mathieu, Carl Stone, Tetsu Inoue, Taylor Deupree, Kim Cascone -- even Toshimaru Nakamura is represented with one of his pieces on no-input mixing board. Stone's gentle ambient workout "Tefu" and Ronnie Sundin's (aka Rsundin) "_siesmol" provide the highlights of this second platter. The latter piece contains a sudden loud sound that ranks as the set's only heart-attack-inducing moment -- you'll remember it. In short, lowercase-sound 2002 is an open-minded, inclusive collection rating high as being representative of both the artists involved in this style and the kind of design that usually accompanies their music. Highly recommended.

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