In tribute to Sonambient pioneer Harry Bertoia, here is a split LP between Eleh and Tara Jane O’Neil. O’Neil used recordings from Bertoia’s own sculptures and from an Athanasius Kircher instrument for her piece, while Eleh used a Serge modular system to synthesise 100(!) gongs. 700 vinyl copies, on Important Records.
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- Split by Eleh / Tara Jane O'Neil
8/10 Robin Staff review, 20 January 2016
Briefly passing by with a carton of cardboard for record-packing duties, Laurie stole my headphones, listened to the gong-slapped first side of this record and murmured “Now that it’s here, I can’t imagine it… not being here”. Pretty much sums up minimalism, at least in this incarnation, in that once it’s settled into your brainspace it becomes your latest roommate, or part of your schedule, or as gratifyingly necessary as a long yawn. So very little happens on Eleh’s side of this split -- a little more, depending on how much louder you push the record to hear the recorded gong reverberate outward into a minute drone -- but you fall into its timbres and subliminal pronouncements, and soon enough your world belongs somewhere else.
For those who like sound sculptures and recorded hypotheses, this is for you: Eleh and Jane O’Neil are tributing sonic artist Harry Bertoia, creating something closely related to his ‘Sonambient’ piece and making stilled gong tunes. Sometimes, Eleh’s piece -- which factors in a hundred gongs synthesised on what I’m guessing is a pretty big modular -- can hit as hard as one of Yair Elazar Glotman’s wacky experiments, shaking and recentering the whole composition with a barely noticeable action.
O’Neil, meanwhile, has actually used some of Bertoia’s original Sonambient material, and focuses on busying our ears rather than casting them into a minimalist relay race. O’Neil’s piece begins hissing before whining its tones, the gong eventually relating itself, brushed and dragged with an overloud and oppressive approach that gets closer and closer to noise. Again, it’s the kind of piece that absorbs you into it: this is your new house, and there is a gong in it, so get to know.
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