Emptyset continue to tunnel into the nature of sound and space with Signal, a document of a live performance. The group broadcast their sounds from the venue, via radio transmitters, over thousands of miles and back to the venue again, to see how the transmission through the atmosphere altered the sound. Conceptually rigorous: also sounds amazing. On Subtext.
8/10 Ant Staff review, 16 September 2015
‘Signal’ is comprised of two excerpts from a live recording in Berlin, commissioned by CTM and Deutschlandradio. “Well whooptyfuckindoo” I hear you cry. Well fear not as this isn’t just any old Emptyset live recording chucked out on a 12” but something both conceptually and sonically interesting. You see what these chaps have done is beamed their sounds 2000km around a circuit of radio transmitters all the way back to the performance space. I’ve no idea if this is pioneering or if it’s ever been done before. After so many years of evolution I wonder if it’s still even possible to have an original thought. Regardless, I’m into the idea.
I can see why they’ve cropped some extracts and maximized the volume of the cut, as these tracks, like all Emptyset’s stuff rely on volume to give the sounds a physical presence. So what does bouncing sine wave structures across the atmosphere do to them? Well having never heard the original source material it’s pretty difficult to say; but listening it’s appears that the ionosphere and solar radiation grunge them up somewhat and the results are pleasing to the ears. The forces of nature being as integral to the final sounds as the artist's initial input. With eyes closed one can become the sound wave/ radio signal travelling through weather systems and mutating on its journey. I begin to get a sensation of weightlessly soaring through particles, almost like a beam of light, a force or type of energy and all of a sudden I’m no longer human but part of this microcosm, accumulating atmospheric noise. I bloody love it when sound changes you into other stuff, I do. Being human is well over rated.
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