Scanner / Stephen Vitiello

Scanner + Stephen Vitiello

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Robin Rimbaud (aka Scanner) and Stephen Vitiello have been collaborating since 1998. Their approaches to sound art are highly compatible: they share an interest in the relation between sound and space, especially in urban settings, and they are both fond of found sounds. This CD, packaged in a DVD-size jewel case, presents two live improvisations recorded three years apart. The first one, "35 Minutes 34 Seconds," is taken from a performance on a rooftop of Atlantic Avenue, New York City, in June 2002. Unfolding at a slow pace, the piece combines ambient electronics, glitch work, found sounds, and what could be heavily treated guitar work from Vitiello. An outburst of French dialogue halfway through (lifted from a TV broadcast, maybe?) disturbs the flow of energy, but once the initial shock subsides the music leaps into a new direction, with a different sound palette. Track two, "20 Minutes 44 Seconds," was recorded in the same city but indoors, at the Knitting Factory, in July 1999. Ironically, the sound quality takes a step down: during the quieter passages, audience chatter and background hiss surface -- unless these sounds are actually just another layer of material. This duo is known for recording the spirit of a particular locale to mini-disc before a performance and incorporating that material into the music. In any case, the recording is more raw but the music is better, more abstract, experimental, and unpredictable, if somewhat less neatly organized. Scanner + Stephen Vitiello is not an essential item from either artist, but it makes a fine document of their collaboration.

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